Friday, 17 September 2021

As Summer Slips Away

I can't quite believe we're halfway through the month already. I feel as though I've spent most of my time adjusting to a new routine and getting my head around the change to my working hours. Usually, I am more than ready to get back to it once September arrives, but this year not so much :) I don't really know why this should be the case. Perhaps it is because I enjoyed such a lovely summer (all considered) and I'm reluctant to let go of it all too soon. Anyway, I am certain this will be different once the weather turns cooler and the more autumnal days are upon us. 

Just as last year's walk up Hallin Fell seemed to mark the end of our summer break, this year it was a final swim in the outdoor pool on the day it closed for the season. It won't be open now until next May, which feels like a long way off at the moment but will, no doubt, be upon us before we know it.

The freezer is now filled with blackberries and elderberries. These have been foraged from the nearby hedgerows and when I have some spare time I will be making compote, which I will enjoy spooned onto my porridge for breakfast each morning. Washing and sorting the berries can be a tedious job but they are delicious, and here they readily available for the picking. In fact, I think I might go and gather some more elderberries this weekend, so I will have enough to last me through the winter. As usual, I've also used some of the blackberries to make my Blackberry Vodka.

Last weekend we enjoyed a walk up to High Seat near Thirlmere. It was a relatively short walk so I was able to try out my new (and rather fabulous 😁) walking boots. I had expected the day to be a bit more overcast, but it turned out to be quite bright in the end. My boots, which I thought might have rubbed, were actually very comfortable. I was a bit concerned with them being brand new and I am also much more used to a lighter weight boot, that I put my trainers and some plasters in my rucksack just in case. Thankfully I didn't need either.

It was a lovely walk up through the trees and the ground wasn't anywhere near as boggy as I had been warned, although this was probably down to the long spell of dry weather we've been experiencing. From these photographs, you can easily see the low water levels in the reservoir. The air was completely still - not a breath of wind at times - so it was quite peaceful up there. We enjoyed our lunch at the summit with views towards Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite beyond, before taking in the lower summits of High Tove and Armboth Fell on our return to the car.

J. X

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

The Last Week of the Holidays

Each time I have tried to write this post, my attempts have been thwarted by someone already utilising my laptop.  Previously, I have sometimes managed to post using just my phone but my weary eyes can only take so much of that. Also, I've been missing reading any blogs this week (see above 😁) so I'm really looking forward to popping the kettle on and having a good catch up with your news over the next few days.

Even by my usual standards this post will probably be quite picture-heavy, and for that I apologise. I keep thinking I should perhaps take fewer photographs when I'm out and about, but I do love to look back at them and the happy memories they evoke - some which would have otherwise been easily forgotten over time. 

Last Monday we went swimming at the outdoor pool. I can't tell you how much I have appreciated this facility over the summer months. To watch Lily's confidence return after being out of the water for so long has been a delight and, if I'm honest, a relief. And I'm also happy to have learned that her swimming lessons are going to be starting again in two weeks time. With her love of the water this is something I have always prioritised, and has been much missed over the last eighteen months.

The following morning we set off from Glenridding to walk up Birkhouse Moor. As is usual for us, we took the lesser frequented route up. It was an incredibly steep climb but still much more pleasant than the more obvious path, which was full of hikers heading towards the infamous Striding Edge on Helvellyn. We passed a lot on our descent although, given how many of them appeared totally unprepared for what lay ahead, whether they made it to the summit that day, I'm not so sure. 

On Wednesday we ventured into North Yorkshire and enjoyed a lovely circular walk from the village of Malham, taking in Janet's Foss, Gordale Scar and Malham Cove. The walk felt strangely flat compared to what I'm used to but that didn't stop my knees from complaining while I was descending the steps from the limestone pavement. Lily gave up counting them when she reached 139! 

On Thursday morning I kept my promise to Lily and we went for a boat trip on Windermere. It was a lovely bright morning and we caught the first small boat which visited Wray Castle and then Brockhole, before returning again to Ambleside. It was such a scenic journey and for a short while we even had the boat all to ourselves. Naturally, Lily couldn't return home without first getting her feet wet, so we stopped off at Borrans park for a while, where she got to paddle in the lake.

Friday saw us in Ulverston to visit  'Gaia', an art installation which is an exact replica of the earth, suspended in the Coronation Hall. While we were there we also took a walk up to the Hoad Monument and then to the Buddhist temple, before taking a walk along the shore. Surprisingly, even though there was an incoming tide, there was hardly a breath of wind on the beach, which made it the perfect place to stop and enjoy some picnic lunch before treating ourselves to coffee and cake at the café.

Finally, over the Bank Holiday weekend we returned to Yorkshire to visit the lovely little town of Settle. It is a few years since we were last there and we weren't disappointed. The flowerpot displays were a joy to see dotted all around the town and after a chippy lunch, we enjoyed a walk up through the woods to Castleberg Crag to take in the view over the rooftops.

This last week has been wonderful and I'm so happy we have been able to squeeze it all in before school and work begin to fill and structure our days once again. I feel so very fortunate. And even though my focus is on my very small part of the world, my thoughts are never far from those who are suffering just now.

J. X

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Plodding Along

It's just a little over a week since my last post but it seems so much longer. For various reasons, I've been feeling a bit flat lately. That, along with the down turn in the weather, not spending enough time outdoors, and the strong probability of having low iron levels, means I really need to start taking better care of myself. Easy enough to say, but never quite as straightforward to put into practice. Oh, how I wish I could listen to my own advice at times. 

I spent last weekend in Manchester. After all this time, it felt very strange to be travelling by train again, but it was fine and even better, none of my plans needed to be cancelled or postponed due to any restrictions. Success! Now I'm looking forward to visiting again in October.

Also last week, I baked Chocolate Brownies in celebration of another year around the sun. I spent the day quietly. Lily and I went to Windermere and took a walk up Orrest Head. There's a lovely pathway up through the woods which opens up to a gorgeous view of the lake and the fells beyond. Or, it would have done if the cloud hadn't been so low that day. The rowan berries are turning red now, a clear sign summer is beginning to wane. 

I have, however, been taking things easy over the last few days. Too easy, perhaps, to the point of slothfulness. This is only a brief intermission though, as I have lots planned for the remainder of the holidays.

J. X

Saturday, 14 August 2021


I've been enjoying a very relaxed week, and having reached the half-way point in my summer break, a change in the weather has seen me spending more days at home, along with some much needed down time. 

I began the summer without plans and with fewer expectations, other than to enjoy some days out here and there, for Lily to have an opportunity to go swimming again and to maybe climb a fell, or two. I can definitely say that we've already ticked all those boxes, so now anything else is a bonus, although, Lily has asked if we can take a trip on one of the large boats on Windermere before the end of summer. I'm sure that can be arranged :)

Last week, we enjoyed a trip to the sea. It was a little overcast and breezy but we had a lovely walk along the shore, and some very tasty take- away chips for our lunch. 

This one waited very patiently, hoping for a chip.

We've also been swimming at the pool again, and I've booked another session for next week. I'm so relieved Lily has this opportunity, as I've no idea when, or even if, her lessons will re-start.

Mid-week we visited Sizergh Castle. It was a warm sunny morning, so we set off early and took a picnic lunch with us. The gardens are looking beautiful just now, and I especially loved the kitchen garden and the rows of sunflowers which led out to the orchard. 

The following day, again, dawned bright and sunny and, with my overriding desire to make the most of any good weather, we spent a wonderfully carefree morning down at the lake. There was some paddle boarding, there was some swimming, and then there was some hot chocolate - it was a warm day but the water had been chilly!

In between these days out, I've also enjoyed being able to spend some long awaited time with friends once again. 

This week has been much slower paced. We've still enjoyed a few local walks, but I've appreciated spending my days at home. 

We've been reading together, I've been continuing with the decluttering and catching up with household chores, and we've done some baking. Lily made some flapjack, with just a little bit of assistance, and I baked some scones, which were delicious, served fresh from the oven with some homemade raspberry jam.

This week I've sensed a change in the air. I'm trying my best to deny it, but the shortening days are an indication of the changing seasons. Having said that, the blackberries and elderberries here are still a little while from ripening, so perhaps summer will be with us for a while yet. 
I hope so. 

J. X