Friday 28 April 2017

Gently does It

More than I would like to admit, this year has really taken its toll on my health. In theory I am well again. In reality I am  still struggling day to day.

I know I am being ridiculously hard on myself and am expecting too much too soon. I am not the most patient at the best of times and not being able to physically pick up where I left off has left me feeling both frustrated and disheartened.
Thankfully, living where I do means I can walk out of my front door and into beautiful open countryside. For this I am always grateful, especially now. It makes such a difference to my wellbeing.

The weather has been unusually dry for this time of year so Lily and I have been out for a walk most days. At the weekend we went on our Easter Sunday walk once again. This time the bench got sat on and chocolate got eaten. Yay!
Midweek, and feeling a little braver (although incredibly self conscious) I put on my old trainers and took myself out on a gentle run. I stayed close to home and didn't go too far, but oh! the difference it made. My spirit felt lifted and I was thrilled to be actually doing something after what has seemed like months of relative inactivity.
I thought I had done O.K. and I definitely enjoyed myself. The next day, however, my legs were paying the price. Another gentle walk eased the aching somewhat but I'm not used to feeling like that.
Has it put me off?  Of course.
Will it stop me going out again? Definitely not.
I am determined to get fitter and regain my sense of self, so if that means putting on my trainers again this evening, then put them on I will. I may even go for a run in them. I just might not go quite as far this time....for now anyway.
J. X

Saturday 22 April 2017


The last two weeks have flown by and our Easter break has gone so fast.
Unfortunately, for me, the first week was spent virtually housebound following a hospital visit, and although exhausted and in some discomfort it felt very frustrating not being able to get out and about like I'm used to.
By Friday I was going a little stir-crazy but thankfully I was able to manage a short walk. It was such a relief and what a difference a week makes! So many flowers and the Bluebells were really beginning to show themselves. The fresh air and sunshine felt so restorative and just what I needed.

The Easter tree got decorated and we made a delicious chocolate cake which we covered with little sugar coated eggs. As with anything chocolatey in this house it didn't last very long.

Usually on Easter Sunday we take a walk up to one of our favourite viewpoints and eat some chocolate egg whilst sat on a lovely wooden bench. This year, however, the weather was a bit damp. We still managed the walk but instead came home to enjoy the chocolate and warmed ourselves through with a nice cup of tea.

Luckily Monday turned out to be a much drier day and we took the train to Crosby beach. I have always wanted to see the Antony Gormley sculptures and it was a really enjoyable visit.
Even though it looks quiet from these photographs, there were a lot of people and dogs out enjoying the Bank Holiday. There was only a gentle breeze and it was mild enough to sit and enjoy some lunch as we watched the tide roll in and gradually cover some of the figures before we made our way home again.
The last few days have been spent close to home. I've been on some gentle walks, caught up with the housework and concentrated on getting well again.
J. X 

Friday 14 April 2017

Wild Garlic

Last year, I'm not sure why, I missed the opportunity to go foraging for Wild Garlic. So last weekend we went for one of our regular walks through some local woods to find some.
It wasn't too early in the day but it was so lovely and quiet, there was no one else around, except for a rabbit or two.

The path through the woods is beautiful and now that the ground has dried out a bit it made for a more pleasant stroll. The woodland is slowly coming back to life with the help of the sunlight breaking through the trees and the first Bluebells are making an appearance.

We followed the winding path deeper into the woods to find our treasure and we weren't disappointed. A huge green carpet of gently scented Wild Garlic lay out before us.

We carefully gathered together some of the fresh young leaves set back from the path, just enough to fill a small bag, then took the time to sit down and enjoy our surroundings before heading for home again.

That evening, determined to enjoy the results of our mornings efforts, we turned those bright green leaves into a delicious smelling and tasting Wild Garlic Pesto.
This is the recipe we used.
50g Wild Garlic leaves
40g grated Parmesan
40g toasted Pine Nuts
100mls Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
The juice of half a lemon
Thoroughly wash the Wild Garlic leaves and add to the other ingredients in a food processor. Blend to your desired consistency.

It was so delicious, served simply, spooned through some freshly cooked pasta with an added sprinkling of Parmesan on top.

I spooned the rest of the fabulously green Pesto into a small Kilner jar and covered with a layer of the oil it should keep for several weeks in the fridge.
J. X

Friday 7 April 2017

In the Garden

It's that time of year again. So much to do. A race against time to get on top of the garden maintenance before things grow wild and weeds take over.
Since the grass had its first cut of the season the rest of the garden looked, quite honestly, a bit of a mess. My good intentions (I have so many of those) of tidying it all up last Autumn went by the wayside as soon as the cold, damp weather arrived, so the dead plants and weeds have been there all through the winter months just waiting for me.
Most of Monday was spent cleaning the moss from the block paving on the driveway. Hard work, but very satisfying results. It looks sooo much better.

The old plants which were in the raised bed for the sole purpose of keeping the cats off got cleared away last week and the soil dug over in preparation for this season's growing efforts. I managed to 'fashion' a barrier to keep any cats off until the vegetables are (hopefully) established.
We have planted carrots, spring onions, spinach and courgettes. Lily really enjoyed this part. Looking at the difference in the seeds and covering them gently with the soil.

This patch of soil was one of the areas I did manage to clear last year of some well overgrown Lavender. I now need some new plants to fill the gaps. The soil is quite stony but does benefit from sunlight for most of the day. Any suggestions welcome.

At the far end of the garden, my favourite feature, the dry stone wall.

The table and chairs are currently being painted in 'Wild Thyme.' Once I've finished painting them this planter will also be cleaned up and painted the same shade. I'm not sure what to put in it yet. We have previously used it to grow strawberries. If I manage to get it finished soon we could maybe manage some for this season too.
This is the first year that I have really made much of an effort with the garden and even though I'm not really sure what I'm doing, I'm doing my best and, surprisingly,  I'm quite enjoying myself.
J. X

Saturday 1 April 2017

Lily Tarn

Last weekend we were blessed with sunshine, blue skies and no work, so as we do around these parts, we got outdoors and made the most of it.
Now that Lily is getting that big bigger (as they do),  it is no longer as straightforward as putting her in the back carrier and striding out to wherever we like. Instead we now need to make use of distance and terrain more suitable for little legs.

A little research and map reading later  a short circular route from Ambleside led us up to the aptly named Lily Tarn. Although there was snow on the higher fells it was lovely and warm and the air was still.

Looking down at Lake Windermere.

A perfect spot for a picnic.

Lily Tarn.

From where we were parked it must have been about a five mile walk. Little legs did very well.
I am now looking forward to discovering more short walks which we have previously overlooked.
J. X