Sunday 28 April 2019

Bluebell Walk

On the final day of our holidays we chose to go for a walk close to home. It was a sensible decision, as we still had some preparations to make for the start of the new school term and just this once it felt satisfying to enjoy a leisurely early morning before leaving the house.

There is a lovely gentle walk through the fields, passing the edges of the village and out towards a small woodland which, at this time of year, is known locally for it's beautiful displays of bluebells. 
As has become our tradition at Easter time, we took a chocolate egg along with us to enjoy once we got there, although this was the first time I have needed to put it in a cool bag! It was a beautiful, warm and sunny morning, and I didn't want to chance it melting.

The spring flowers are out in abundance right now and I take great pleasure in helping Lily point out the ones she remembers easily, like wild garlic and violets, and some she needs a little prompting with, such as sunshines (celandines) and woodland enemies (woodland anemones). Although, I think I much prefer Lily's names for them.

Having been a while since our last visit,  I hadn't realised just what a treat we had in store for us once we reached the woods. I had been hopeful of a plentiful display and to my great delight I wasn't disappointed. There were bluebells in every direction and the air was filled with their delicate, sweet scent. The sun shining through the trees really showed them off at their very best as we followed the pathway further along through the trees, so that we ended up surrounded by a carpet of blue.

No matter how many photographs I took - and I took A LOT! - I still didn't manage to capture just how stunning the bluebells really were, but I hope you agree they were definitely worth a trip to the woods that day and a post of their very own.
J. X

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Holiday Weekend

As is always the way, the holidays have been and gone in the blink of an eye and I feel like I'm playing catch up once again - but I'm not complaining, we've had such a wonderful time. The first week was spent mainly on Lily's daily swimming lessons, catching up with chores in the house and garden, and the occasional afternoon out. The second week was a little more relaxed but, as the weather continued to improve towards the weekend, we decided to really make the most of it before our return to work and school.

Last Friday we took a trip to Piel Island, which is just a short ferry ride from Roa Island, on the Furness Peninsula. It was a beautiful day and a little busier than usual with everyone out enjoying the sunshine, so we had to wait until the ferry's third run before we could reach the island - the ferry is a small boat which can only take a maximum of twelve passengers at a time. The water was lovely and calm so it was a gentle crossing and once on the island we found a peaceful spot where we could sit by the shore to enjoy a picnic lunch and collect some shells before exploring the castle ruins.

The following day, at Lily's request, we went to a 'real beach.' In other words, one with sand! Another gorgeous day filled with paddling, a picnic and sandcastles. It was delightfully warm and sunny. Looking out from the shore, the sea appeared to almost merge with the sky and, of course, Lily made some sand angels. In the evening we made chocolate egg nests, which were completely delicious and, funnily enough, didn't stay around for very long.

On Sunday morning, following an earlier than anticipated egg hunt in the garden - 6.45a.m.! - we set off for another visit to the nature reserve.  We arrived quite early so it was still lovely and quiet - just the sound of the sheep and the birds. Even the sound of the water from the beck wasn't as obvious as on our previous visit, due to a lack of recent rainfall. Another lovely day out and even better when there was my home made brocolli quiche to come home to. The warmer weather has seen a definite change to the food we are eating and it feels good to be preparing lighter, healthier meals.

Finally, on Monday we stayed close to home and took a walk through the fields to the nearby woods. I thought the Bluebells would be almost out, but as I hadn't been to these woods in a while, I wasn't sure. They are always so lovely, although I wasn't expecting them to be as stunning as this. I may have taken a few more photographs but I think these beautiful flowers deserve a post of their own.

J. X

Thursday 11 April 2019

Spring Days

The arrival of some gorgeous spring weather has coincided beautifully with our Easter holidays. It is so good to have some time at home to rest and re-charge,  as I feel as though I've barely stopped since the beginning of the year. Windows have been opened wide and the whole house is flooded with fresh air and much needed sunlight - the fact that it shows up all the dust is not lost on me!

Without any plans for our time off, I've been slowly working through all those chores which get overlooked during the regular working week and making some progress with clearing out and spring cleaning. Even these small jobs are making me happy, however - a clean and tidy wardrobe, a mess free dining room (not for long)  and an organised cutlery drawer. I feel ill at ease with clutter and being disorganised so, although this wouldn't be everyone's idea of fun, for me it's baby steps towards creating a more simplified way of living. So far, I've been cherry picking the simple jobs. Those achievable little tweaks which allow me to quickly see a difference, in the hope it will spur me on to more considerable tasks. I would love to be one of those people who can go all out with spring cleaning but, for me, a gradual approach is more befitting.

My tidying has extended into the garden. The grass has been cut several times now and I've seen off most of the weeds - there are always those one or two that get missed the first time around. I've trimmed back some of the plants, swept up and generally made it look a bit more presentable. Sadly, the shed is on it's last legs but I'm hopeful it might just see the year out. The weathered planter has been sanded down and given two fresh coats of wood stain. With the addition of a new lining I think it will last a while longer. This afternoon Lily helped me fill it with some violas - a pretty and inexpensive way to add a bit of colour to our little outdoor space.

Of course, the intention was never to be spending all our time at home and, when the weather is this good, we like to get out and have some fun. On Monday we packed up a picnic and took a trip out to a nature reserve by the sea. It was a beautiful sunny day and we enjoyed a walk around the coast, watching the seals playing in the shallows, while an abundance of gulls and oystercatchers gathered on the shoreline. The gorse is in full flower now and really stands out against the blue of the sky.

As usual, we've been walking through the woods. The, as yet, bare trees still allowing for the sunlight to stream through to reach the woodland floor. It is such a vibrant shade of green and is growing apace, I expect it won't be long until it is covered with bluebells.  It makes a pleasant change not to be trudging through the mud now, as the ground appears to be drying out, at last.

Each morning this week, Lily has been going swimming. She loves it when we go swimming together but I thought it a good idea for her to try some proper lessons. She has been practising different strokes, swimming through hoops and, most importantly, having a lot of fun. She has taken to it so well and just this morning was given her 15m certificate. I'm so very proud of her.

J. X

Thursday 4 April 2019

A Gentle Stroll

Although we have recently enjoyed some warm spring sunshine, the last few days have seen a swift return to wintry weather, with bitterly cold winds and snow on higher ground. I'm really hoping it will be short-lived, as surely it must be time to pack away my winter woollies and boots now. The garden is still to be tackled and I'm longing for the day I can sit out there with my morning coffee, enjoying the (yet to be planted) flowers.

At the weekend, we wrapped ourselves up nice and warm and went for a walk through a beautiful nature reserve. It was a bright, still morning and I'm sure the changing of the clocks had something to do with how quiet it was there, as it felt as though we had the whole place to ourselves.
The pathway through the reserve is built on a disused railway line, so it made quite a refreshing change for us to be walking somewhere without any hills. It was lovely to see signs of spring all around; primroses lined the track and the lambs in the fields seemed very keen to make us aware of their presence from the amount of noise they were making.

There was plenty of nature on offer, including rabbits, deer, red squirrels and woodpeckers. In places we could hear the beck babbling far down below the track, but couldn't actually see it until we reached the viaduct because of all the trees which lined the steep slopes of the gill. The views from the viaduct were stunning and from there we could clearly see the slight detour we were to make on our return. A few miles into our walk we found this lovely Shetland pony lying right across our path. She was one of three and the other two, at least, looked as if they were heavily pregnant. They appeared to be very well cared for and were happy to receive lots of our attention.

Turning away from the main footpath we joined a public bridleway, crossing a small stone bridge over to the opposite side of the river. Here we followed the track back around to the far end of the viaduct where we re-joined the footpath once more. A good spot for a rest, we sat a while and ate our picnic before retracing our steps back towards the farm where we first began our walk.

J. X