Monday 27 September 2021

Misty Mornings


As the seasons shift into autumn we have seen some beautiful mornings here. Early mists and clouded valleys dispersing to reveal bright sunshine and clear blue skies. I'm back in the swing of things at work now. Summer is definitely long gone, although it still feels very mild for the time of year. On days like this my early morning commute feels such a joy, especially when I've been greeted with views like this.

Following a busy week, I enjoyed a more relaxed weekend. We took a walk down by the fields and through the woods. The trees are beginning to shed their leaves and soon the woodland floor will be carpeted. It's coming time for me to be putting on my wellies and thicker socks once again. 

I like to think autumn calls for lots of woodland walking and some baking. Or perhaps that should read some woodland walking and lots of baking ;) And so during the week I've baked shortbread using one of my Herdy cutters and also some banana and cinnamon cake. Delicious! I've even been passed a cookie recipe which I'm really looking forward to trying, well it would be rude not to :)

Going out walking is also my way of putting off the inevitable task of clearing the garden ready for winter. It is definitely looking past it's best out there now. I've already dug out the sweet peas and sunflowers, saving some of the seeds for next season, and I have also trimmed back the Thyme, which had grown so much that it had begun to hang over onto the path. The grass will soon be getting it's final cut of the year, a job which needs to be timed carefully in order  to avoid either wet weather or early morning dew. Not that there is all that much left, since much of it has been worn away by someone playing so much swingball!
The hedge needs trimming right back and I also need to re-pot one of the apple trees, which has almost doubled in size over the summer. 

The plants in the container pond will soon need cutting back to the level of the water and I really should clear the blanket weed. I didn't expect much when I put it together earlier in the year, so it was a wonderful surprise to see a little visitor in there a short while ago. Then the wildflower bed, which has given me so much pleasure this year, will be the last thing to deal with, as there are quite a few flowers still hanging in there and attracting the pollinators.

J. X

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