Monday 30 April 2018

Cycling by the Sea

Last weekend, with the promise of a 🌞 sunny 🌞 day ahead of us, we planned another bike ride. The main idea being to head somewhere a little quieter this time so there was more chance of me being able to enjoy a slightly more relaxing ride.

It was very chilly early in the morning, I'd hoped it would have been warmer so we didn't have to set off wearing our jackets. I needn't have worried however, as by the time I'd packed up our lunch and  the bikes were loaded into the van, it had soon warmed up and a light fleece top was all that we required.

We set off on our way and the track was quiet, just dog walkers and other cyclists greeted us so I wasn't as worried about  Lily's occasional  lapses in concentration. It was lovely and peaceful and the local wildlife appeared in abundance. We saw so many butterflies, a heron, a squirrel, and even a weasel crossed our path, which was exciting for me as I'd never seen one before.
Approximately four miles into our route we stopped at a bench for our lunch. Is it me or do sandwiches always taste better when they are part of a picnic, even when they are a little squashed? Tummies satisfied, we  briefly enjoyed the sea views and warm salty air before Lily urged us to push on further. I think she enjoys riding her bike. That, and the promise of an ice cream at our destination probably helped.

Two miles further down the track and with the chocolate ice cream having been given a few licks (she likes the idea of them rather than the reality) Lily decided she was getting a bit tired and asked to be attached to the back of my bike for the return journey, which considering she had already ridden six miles all by herself was probably a good idea - those little legs had worked hard, although the faster ride back was a lot of fun for her too and the warmth of the sun on our backs felt lovely. Of course, the moment we arrived home, what did she do? She went out on her bike! I was exhausted, so sat down with a mug of tea.

This past week has been busy. Good busy. I have managed to complete some more tidying and my wardrobe has had a good clear out, but there is still a long way to go until I feel on top of things in the house. It is still very much a work in progress, but I am finally seeing a difference which feels very satisfying.

For various reasons this week, time for myself has been limited but I have tried to grab a moment here and there given the opportunity - time to complete a little bit more of my crochet, read another chapter of my book, a treat of some fresh flowers, chance to get out for a run.  I am relieved to be feeling 100% better now and with my 10K run in five weeks time (eek!) I really need to get some more training in and hopefully begin to feel stronger.
J. X

Monday 16 April 2018

Breathing space

Where did the last few weeks go? The Easter break seemed to fly by and I must admit it was with a heavy heart that I walked Lily to school this morning all ready for the new Summer term. Although, she's completely fine about it. She's happy to stay home, but just as happy to be returning to school, so for that I am thankful. I've really enjoyed our time off together and it couldn't have come at a better time, so that we had the opportunity to get our strength back following our various illnesses.
We've been keeping busy and done lots of walking. It was lovely to be able to revisit the Coffin Route between  Grasmere and Rydal. The initial plan was to climb Helm Crag, but when the day dawned the weather was a little more unpredictable and much windier than expected, so we decided to stay on lower ground, follow the Coffin Route (Renamed the coughing route by myself for obvious reasons. Thank goodness it's cleared up now), then walk around the shores of Rydal Water and Grasmere, returning  to the car following a brief cafe stop for hot chocolate.  A gentle circular route of around six miles. There are more photographs taken on our last visit here, when the day was brighter.

The woods are always a favourite place to visit. The Wild Garlic is growing in abundance now and I am trying to decide if I should make some pesto like I did last year. I'll have to be quick if I do as the lovely new green shoots won't be around for much longer. Apparently, a stick is a necessary wood walking accessory, required for prodding, swinging and poking at streams.

We enjoyed making (and eating) these chocolate brownies. Half the brownie batter goes in the tin, the salted caramel goes in the middle, then the rest of the batter goes on top. Delicious! They taste so good with the caramel oozing out when you bite into them. I must make some more soon.

The garden has seen a bit of action and I have been adding some colour to the pots. It doesn't take much to brighten things up a little does it? Just a few new plants have made all the difference. We have also sown some vegetable seeds. I wasn't sure whether or not to bother this year, but Lily was very eager to try. So this year we have gone with lettuce, courgettes, spring onions, beetroot, a few carrots and some tomatoes. They are all planted now, so we'll see how we get on. There doesn't seem to be any signs of life yet but I have noticed some random sunflower seeds from a previous year seem to be sprouting, so I'll have to be sure to remove them from the raised bed. The strawberry plants are growing once again and as they are in a larger container this year, I'm hoping we'll get a few more fruits than the five we managed last season. I might even put out the garden furniture at the end of this week, as the weather improves.
Family life is chugging along nicely and as well as feeling much better now, I'm also going to be spending some of the next few weeks getting on with the Spring cleaning and having a good clear-out. I've already made a start on the kitchen and have decided to do it slowly, one cupboard at a time, so that it isn't so overwhelming. I've done three so far and I'm very happy with the results, it all looks so tidy! Being able to reach for something without the entire contents of the cupboard raining down on me as well is also a plus point.
Last Saturday, as the Easter holiday was coming to an end, we spent some time riding our bikes down by the sea. It was very busy - with it being a lovely day there were lots of people out enjoying the sunshine - but we had a really nice ride along the promenade. It's good to see how well Lily has improved in the last couple of weeks and she is a very confident, albeit easily distracted rider.
J. X

Friday 6 April 2018

Spring Sunshine

Spring finally arrived up North, except instead of with a flourish, it has shown up rather reluctantly and dragging it's heels. Still, the daffodils are out, wild garlic is sprouting in the woods, the fields are full of lambs, and yes, there has also been sunshine! There is still a chill in the air, especially early in the mornings and I have yet to put away my Winter woollies, but I am hopeful it won't be long before I do.
School finished last week, although between us, Lily and I missed most of the final week of term thanks to the flu and it has taken until now to feel anything remotely human like again. Even so, I'm still left with a dreadful cough which is showing no signs of easing, thankfully, Lily bounced back much quicker and is already her usual energetic self once again.

As you can imagine I have been left feeling like a wiped out wreck, so even more than usual it has made me feel so grateful when I have been able to get out in the sunshine. 'Clear away the germs, fresh air is good for you' I always think, yet on occasion I have really struggled, my immune system clearly having already taken a battering from the Norovirus just a few weeks ago. The warmth from the sun is just the tonic and  fortunately there is usually somewhere to sit, rest a while and enjoy the view, even swing your legs if the mood takes (and it usually does). I also couldn't help but be cheered when Lily excitedly found this heart shaped stone on the edge of the pathway.

The forecast today is for more sunshine so we are hoping to get out once again. I'm also looking forward to getting to work on the garden  which has been much neglected over the Winter months and is crying out for some TLC. In all honesty, it looks a bit of a mess, but I'm hoping a fresh coat of paint on the shed and a few new plants will help to brighten things up a bit. With being poorly last week, I missed out on a perfect opportunity to give the grass it's first cut of the season so I am hoping it will stay dry today and it might be achievable. Until recently the weather has been too chilly to think about planting seeds but looking back on the blog I noticed it was this week last year that we did some sowing. With the lovely weather we're having just now I'll have to get a move on.
J. X