Saturday, 8 May 2021

Bluebell Time

I've been having a rather lazy day today. Outside, the sky is grey, the wind is blowing and it has been raining on and off all afternoon. It's still quite chilly and, as I've been feeling wiped out for much of the past week, I am happy to stay home, drink far too much coffee than is good for me, while reading some of the magazines which I've had tucked away in a drawer for a couple of months - 'the simple things' and 'Lakeland Walker' if you are curious. It's exactly the kind of weather that lends itself to me spending a cosy day on the sofa, and so, as there was nowhere else I needed to be, I conceded this to be my best option under the circumstances, even if it does feel a little self indulgent. 

I haven't been totally dormant, however. This morning I've baked some flapjack, as I'm sure we'll be heading out somewhere tomorrow, and I always like to pack some to eat with our lunch. I have also worked my way through the huge pile of ironing, which had been decorating the dining table since the middle of the week, when I had far more appealing things to do with my time. That's because on Wednesday, as soon as I finished work for the morning, I took myself off down the lane, along the track which leads out from the village, then out past the riding stables and into the woods. My only intention being to see the bluebells while they were still looking their very best.

As usual, I was not disappointed.


















I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed capturing them. Now, I think I'll just go and put the kettle on...again. 

J. X
























Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Early May

The year is flying by and it is going to be summer before I know it. I just wish the temperatures would begin to reflect this - the fells had a covering of snow, and there was a light frost as I cycled to work this morning. My sweet pea and sunflower seeds have not been successful, so I'm going to sow some more this week. Although I'm still not wholly convinced we've seen the last of this cold weather. Fortunately, the strawberry plants don't appear to mind the chill, as they are covered with flowers.

I'm spending the week playing catch-up with myself. Thanks to the Bank Holiday I'm a day behind, but at least this way Friday will arrive much quicker for me. Last weekend was so lovely though. On Saturday we set off early and made our way to Tarn Hows, a National Trust managed area, which is midway between Hawkshead and Coniston. It is known for getting incredibly busy there, which is the main reason I had never actually visited before, so I was relieved when we woke nice and early, enabling us to set off just after 8 o'clock. With my sole focus concentrated on finding a parking space, once we arrived I was abruptly taken aback by the view. It was stunning. And I was, for once, simply lost for words. It was breath taking. Just over the brow of the hill, the tarn sparkled below us with the fells beyond creating the most beautiful backdrop against the clear, blue sky. Unfortunately, as I was driving, I wasn't able to capture this image but I hope you can get a sense of it from the remainder of my photographs. Oh, and in case you were wondering, we got there so early that, in fact, mine ended up being only the second car in the car park 😁 but at least that meant we enjoyed the tarn all to ourselves, for a while at least.





There is an accessible circular walk around the tarn, which we extended to climb Black Fell at the far end. For a small fell it has big views, especially on a bright, clear day such as this. 


Returning back towards the car park, we took a slight detour to view Tom Gill Falls, where we stopped to eat our lunch. Much of the beck looked to be completely dry so we were pleasantly surprised to see any water there at all. It was very pretty there and imagine there would be much more of a surge after a heavy rainfall.


Just before heading for home, and by this time with an overcast sky, we stopped off at the lake, where some time was spent paddle boarding before enjoying a quick visit to the park.

As we wont be going away this summer, I have a feeling we will be doing much more of the same throughout the coming months. And I don't mind one little bit.

J. X



Tuesday, 27 April 2021

I Spoke Too Soon

That didn't last long! No sooner had my hours been reduced at work, when I was asked to provide cover for a colleague. To be honest, I don't really mind, the shifts are much more convenient for me and I realise how lucky I am to have a job I enjoy, which fits in so well with family life. 

Aside from my mild excitement at getting on top of all the housework recently - oh, how wonderful that feels - day to day life has become fairly mundane. Life is quiet just now, albeit pleasantly so, and all feels good in my little corner. Weekdays are busy with work and school, so weekends are precious and I have been trying to balance going for days out with spending some of our time relaxing at home. 

It's all a bit mixed in the garden just now. The weather has been so dry that the grass hasn't needed cutting and, even though the wildflower seeds appear to be sprouting now, the sweet peas and sunflowers are not enjoying quite the same success. I'll see how they look in another week's time, then I may choose to sow some more. The strawberries are flowering though, and the runner bean is doing well, so all is not lost. After seeing some very creative ideas on one of the gardening programmes, Lily and I decided that we would make ourselves a small container pond and last week our new planter arrived. We needed to fill it from the outside tap so we're leaving it to settle for a week before we get some plants to put in it. I did, however, fit a small solar powered fountain, which is making me very happy indeed - you can change the nozzle to create different sprays :) 






At the weekend we enjoyed a walk from Grasmere up to Easedale Tarn, then beyond up to Tarn Crag. There is a clear and often busy track which leads out from the village but, thanks to our usual early start, it was lovely and quiet while we were there. The path climbs alongside Easdedale Beck and past Sour Milk Gill before reaching the tarn. Here, we enjoyed a short rest and a slice of flapjack before taking the faint grassy track heading north east to reach the summit. Another bright, clear day meant we were afforded some beautiful views from the top before walking the more direct, and less steep, path back down the fell.



The footpath then took us down alongside a drystone wall, and where a small wooden bridge crossed the beck, we sat to eat our picnic lunch, while watching the now steady stream of walkers make their way up to the tarn. I must admit to feeling rather pleased at my decision to have made an early start to our day, which was rounded off perfectly with some chocolate ice-cream when we arrived back in the village.



In other 'exciting' news, I made Honeycomb. And I might just have made myself feel a little bit queasy from eating too much of it :)

J. X







Friday, 16 April 2021

April

My break lasted a little longer than I intended, but I've enjoyed a lovely few weeks and it's only really now that I've had the chance to catch my breath. The weather has undoubtedly assisted in lifting my mood. Although it's still fairly cold here, the weather is dry and bright - there's not a cloud in the sky this morning - and I'm loving the much lighter evenings.

A lot of the last two weeks has been spent out and about in the Lakes and it has felt incredibly special to be able to enjoy this time while it has been so much quieter up on the fells. 

At the beginning of the month we went to a nature reserve which, although not far from here, we had never actually visited before. Unfortunately, some sections were closed off because of the restrictions, but it was lovely to take a walk around and I'm certain we will visit again soon. I've never known so many tadpoles in one place before, and I expect there will be plenty more to see before very long.

 

Lily and I made our favourite chocolate egg nests. She doesn't eat cake, so I love that we can embrace this tradition and look forward to it every year. Eating them feels pretty good as well :)









On Good Friday we walked the Dovedale Round which is a horseshoe of five fells which are accessed from the shores of Brothers Water, near Patterdale. It was a beautiful and quiet morning and, while we made our steep ascent, we could hear woodpeckers drumming in the trees nearby. Five summits and seven miles later, of course, Lily insisted on paddling in the lake and we finished eating our lunch in the warm sunshine.




On the Sunday we completed the Easter trail at Allan Bank in Grasmere. Walking through the trees we were lucky enough to catch sight of a woodpecker in the distance and also a young roe deer. Afterwards we had a walk along the path beside the lake and it was nice to see the views of Nab Scar and Heron Pike, which we had walked up in the fog just the week before.  



Two days later saw us walking up Seat Sandal. A small fell to the north of Grasmere, which we climbed by hiking steeply by the side of Raise Beck, before bearing right alongside a broken wall to reach the summit. Here we were rewarded with views for miles over the surrounding central fells and east towards Saint Sunday Crag and Grisedale Tarn but it was incredibly windy. We needed to hunker down in the wind shelter to eat our lunch and we didn't sit around for very long, instead we quickly retraced our steps down alongside the beck, watching out for the huge icicles on our way.



The  following day was a little more restful with a gentle stroll through the woods and some time at the park for Lily, although I may have had a quick turn on the swings :)







Our final fell walk was on a direct ascent from Ambleside to Low and High Pike. Another gloriously sunny day and, thankfully, much less windy than earlier in the week. We passed a few other walkers this time, which was to be expected with the trail being a section of the very popular Fairfield Horseshoe walk. We also passed what appeared to be some very contented highland cows.




Finally,  at the weekend and desperate for some sea air, we took a walk out through the woods and back along the sea shore. It was beautiful and calm, and it was great to see people out in small boats and kayaks enjoying the great weather conditions. The blackthorn blossom is out in abundance here and it looks lovely against the bright blue of the sky.

This week has seen  me back to work and I'm adjusting to my new hours, which I can tell already are working so much better for me. I've also spent some time having a really good clean and sort out in the house. It's looking a lot better already but there is still so much more that needs to be done.

It's been a wonderful few weeks, and a member of school staff even commented to me that Lily appeared as if she'd been on an actual holiday, so I'm counting it as time spent very well indeed.

J. X