Sunday 22 May 2022



As I sit here, looking out of the window the sky is grey and the drizzle is persistent. It is a miserable kind of day. Spring seems to be dragging out, and as ever I long for the long hot days of summer. 
This time last week we had just returned from a weekend camping, when thankfully we experienced some much brighter and warmer weather.

For her birthday this year, Lily decided she would very much like to stay in a camping pod. And after a lengthy search online I discovered what appeared to be the perfect site, and not too far away, given that we would need to travel there on the Friday evening once I had finished work. With limited time, it was a bit fraught having to rush around packing up everything we needed, but fortunately I had remembered to write out a comprehensive list of items the day before (who doesn't love a good list?) and we arrived at the site just before the farmer and his wife were ready to sit down for their dinner.

*Our accommodation for the weekend.* 

The site itself was lovely, and I would say even better than I had expected. The pod looked out across fields full of sheep and lambs, with access to the river and a great play area, where Lily spent much of her time with newly made friends. It was so relaxing just to sit and enjoy the views. Rabbits ran in the fields, sparrows flew in and out of the hedgerows, and I even heard my first cuckoo of the year.

On the Saturday morning I awoke nice and early, so I could enjoy my coffee, sat on the bench in front of our pod. I wrapped a blanket around myself, as the air was still cool at that time of the morning but the sky already showed promise of a bright sunny day ahead. We had already planned to walk along the river to Lacy's Caves, then on to the village of Little Salkeld, returning via Long Meg and Her Daughters Stone Circle. About 7miles in all. Then perhaps a swim at the nearby pool in the afternoon.

The caves are made up of five chambers, which were commissioned to be carved by Colonel Lacy, of Salkeld Hall, in the 18th century, allegedly for entertaining guests.

Further along, the path ran alongside the Settle-Carlisle line, where we unintentionally disturbed a deer which had been sleeping in the long grass, close to the track

Long Meg and Her Daughters is a Neolithic stone circle, made up of 69 stones, with a diameter of 350 feet. Long Meg being the tallest at 12 feet high. 
At this point on our walk we had begun to feel rather hot, and so it was a relief to be heading back towards the pod. The rest of our route took us through fields and along wooded tracks, bringing us back alongside the river at the bottom of the site once again. After a delicious lunch of sausages, cooked on our small camping stove, I spent the rest of the afternoon reading my book while Lily played with her friends again. We decided not to go for a swim in the end, maybe another time.

In the evening we were joined by big sister and took a very scenic drive over Hartside, towards the delightful little Market town of Alston, startling another deer on the way, where we enjoyed a fish and chip supper. Eventually returning to the pod to light our campfire, toast some marshmallows and drink hot chocolate, as Lily declared it her, 'Best Birthday ever!' 

J. X

Tuesday 10 May 2022

Sunday Sunrise


It was another quiet weekend for me. As usual, I spent a lot of the time working my way through any chores I missed during the week. On Saturday morning I went for the weekly shop before catching up with the laundry. As part of my decluttering process, the kitchen cupboards were cleaned and tidied again (I still don't understand why they get into such a state in the first place), then I treated the houseplants to a good watering.

I baked a courgette loaf cake and some flapjack, then replenished the bird feeders. They are limited to four fat balls every other day now, as they are getting through them so quickly - I'm sure those Starlings sit and wait for me each morning. While I was in the garden, I noticed the lemon trees have worryingly lost a few of their leaves. I hope this is only a temporary response to them being moved outdoors and they will be showing positive signs of growth again soon, they have been doing so well until now.

On Sunday morning, I was awake early, even by my standards, as I had arranged to go out for a sunrise walk. I set off at 4.50am, which wasn't quite as difficult as I expected, having prepared my rucksack and clothes the night before. All I needed to do was grab my phone and fill my flask of coffee before leaving the house. My short car journey was very straightforward, the roads being almost completely clear at that time, aside from a deer :)

The morning air was cool and still, which came as a pleasant surprise, as the forecast had been pretty mixed previously and I had expected it to be quite breezy.

As we began our ascent, the sun crept slowly above the skyline, silhouetting the fells of Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick behind us. The morning was bright and clear and the views over the surrounding fells were stunning, by the time we reached the summit, it was still only 6.30am. It was quiet and peaceful at that time of the morning, the perfect opportunity to sit and enjoy the views while enjoying my coffee. Bliss! Now, if only I could persuade Lily such an early start might be a good idea in future? :)
I was back home by 8am, to enjoy a mug of fresh coffee and a pain au chocolat, as a little treat for my 'efforts'.

In the afternoon, and taking Lily with me this time, we went for much a less strenuous walk through the fields and into the woods. The woodland floor was covered by a carpet of Wild Garlic and Bluebells as far as the eye could see. It is always so lovely there and it is our go-to walk when we just want to get out  for some fresh air without venturing far from home. 

I am still reading everyone's blogs, but for some reason I am unable to leave comments using my phone at the moment, so please bear with me while I try and figure out what the issue may be. Better still, if you know what might be causing the problem, please, please let me know, so that I can fix it.

J. X

Wednesday 4 May 2022

Early May

The weather has been mixed here this last week. Unlike these photographs suggest, it has been mainly mizzly and dreich but the air is beginning to feel much warmer now. After the long spell of dry weather, the gardens will certainly welcome it. The scent of blossom hangs heavy in the air, while tiny pink petals lay scattered on the ground. I caught a lovely moment during the week as Lily, in complete joy, exclaimed 'It's snowing!' while blossom rained down on her, like confetti, as she stood beneath a tree. On my way to work this morning I noticed the grass verges have suddenly sprung to life once again, with  Buttercups, Cow Parsley and Cuckoo Flower edging the path. Tiny elderflower buds cover the trees and the wild raspberry bushes have woken from their long winter rest. It's so wonderful to see, and with the temperatures set to rise over the coming weeks, the month ahead looks promising.
This week, I have re-potted my two apple trees and I've finally been able to move the lemon trees outdoors, all of which appear to be growing really well. Who would have thought it when I planted those tiny seeds just a few years back. At the weekend I managed to mow the lawn just before it began to rain, and I sowed grass seeds on the large patches of bare earth - possibly a result of the additional time we've spent in the garden during the last two years. I dug up some of the tulip bulbs that didn't flower, as next year I will plant them in a container instead. I suspect they need to be much deeper in the soil. I have also planted a few sunflower seeds. 🌻

Last weekend we made a last minute decision to go to the lake. It was a beautiful afternoon, and after enjoying a short walk we made our way down to the water's edge where it was surprisingly quiet, as by the time we got there it appeared most visitors had already left for the day. Even though during the morning the weather had been cool and breezy, down by the lake shore, in the afternoon sun the air felt lovely and still. Feeling warm, Lily dipped her toes into the water. Hopefully, we won't be waiting too much longer before we can look forward to a swim instead. 

This weekend was quiet, although a rest was much needed, as I had been feeling a little under the weather. I have made further progress with my decluttering and made the decision to get rid of the small table which, as suspected, has not been missed. I also have another bag to take to the charity shop in the morning. 

I also baked a batch of delicious these Carrot and Ginger Buns, which had been recommended by Cathy. 

Back soon.
J. X