Thursday 23 June 2022

Sunny Thursday

It is beautiful and bright here today. Several loads of washing have been hung out to dry, and earlier I even witnessed the rare occurrence of the base of the laundry basket becoming visible! A small but important victory. 

This morning, I visited the supermarket for what should have been the weekly shop, but in reality what I have bought will only last us for the next couple of days, as I just could not be bothered to think any further ahead than the weekend. I am quite sure I'm not alone in finding meal planning tedious at times, but then comes my guilt at knowing that having a choice is, indeed, a first world problem to have. With that in mind, I have settled for Spanish Omelette this evening - simple, but tasty.

While I was in the garden hanging out the washing, I had a potter around. I enjoy spending time looking at the plants and checking for new growth. The wildflowers are beginning to open up now and there is a constant sound of buzzing in the air. The little lemon trees appear to be growing well, and I can't think how I have managed to keep them alive up to this point. The lavender and hydrangea are creating a nice border for the lawn and the large dry patch beneath the swing has grassed over - for now, at least. The solar fountain is currently working hard in the sunshine.

The blackcurrants are beginning to ripen now, and it is already clear that the bush will produce far more fruit than it did last year. I've collected a bowlful this morning, which I will wash and freeze later, ready for making jam in the coming weeks. 

Cycling home this afternoon, I couldn't help but notice the sweet scent of the hedgerows, from the honeysuckle, meadowsweet and elderflower, which spill out onto the lane. It is a lovely ride to and from work, and I feel so lucky I don't always have to drive at this time of year. Instead, I get to experience the beautiful countryside views and warm, gentle breeze as I ride along. I will enjoy it while I can, as it will be a very different story when the days begin to shorten and there is a chill in the air.

Talking of elderflowers, just as I'd hoped, I did enjoy some of my cordial in a glass of prosecco at the weekend. It was a small celebration of myself and a friend having completed The Ullswater Way, which is a 20 mile walk around - yes, you've guessed it - the lake of Ullswater! It is a really lovely, waymarked walk, which we started and finished in Glenridding, at the lower end of the lake. The walk can be completed in shorter sections, but we decided to walk it all in one day. It took us around eight hours in total and I certainly slept well that night. 

J. X

Wednesday 15 June 2022

Life Lately


Recently, there has been a gentle shift in my outlook. I have found myself placing fewer demands on my time outside of work and any other necessary day to day happenings, and I am beginning to feel much more relaxed for it. A weekend without set plans, household chores that need doing, those DIY tasks which keep getting overlooked, well, I am trying not to worry too much about any of it. I'm not sure how long this feeling will last, but as someone who has always been a bit of a worrier and a list maker (I do still love a good list!) I find it strange that for some reason I no longer feel the need to put pressure on myself to complete certain tasks within a set time frame, besides the essentials, of course. Perhaps it's an 'almost summertime' thing :) Whatever the reason, I am here for it. 

The wildflowers are growing apace around here, and at the weekend we took part in a survey of Cowslips and Yellow Rattle along with our  local wildlife group.  It's surprising just how many more varieties you discover when you are actively looking for them. It is also surprising how important you can feel while carrying a clipboard! ;)

In the garden, the Welsh Poppies are currently in charge of catering for pollinators, with our bed of wildflowers almost ready to take over the task. It looks like there are some of my favourite Cornflowers in this year's mix and they have grown significantly in the few days since this photograph was taken.

There are an abundance of blackcurrants just waiting to ripen and even the neglected strawberry plants have provided us with a very small harvest, although I suspect the birds may have had a part to play in the lack of fruit this year.

As the hedgerows and verges begin to spill over, our pathways become narrower and more tricky to navigate. The Cow Parsley tickles but the nettles sting! 

During the week I gathered in some Elderflowers and made up several bottles of cordial. It is such a delicious and refreshing summer drink and it smells wonderful, but I still haven't tried it yet. Perhaps at the weekend I might enjoy some in a glass of prosecco, as hopefully I will have a small accomplishment to celebrate. The recipe is on the sidebar if you would like it. 

And I finally got around to baking this Bakewell cake, from a recipe I came across earlier in the year. If you have been here a while, you will know how I prefer simple recipes that don't need too many ingredients, and this cake definitely ticks that box. It has all the delicious flavour of a Bakewell tart but without the faff. Perfect! 

J. X

Thursday 9 June 2022

Jubilee Weekend

Better late than never, but wasn't it a wonderful weekend! Around here, the bunting is gradually being taken down now and everything feels a little flat, much like the morning after an amazing party. I'm not usually one for such occasions, but even I was drawn into the celebrations and I can't remember the last time I watched so much TV. I really enjoyed the concert, even if some of the performances were a little underwhelming :)

On Thursday morning we went out walking in the Uldale Fells, setting off from the tiny hamlet of Longlands. A gentle 7 mile loop, pausing only to enjoy our picnic lunch beside a small stream (yes, we had a paddle), before making our way back to the car just in time to avoid the rain. Fortunately, it had been a lovely bright morning and we managed to tick another five fells off our Wainwright list. 

There were showers on and off for the rest of the day, but in the evening I was out with friends and there was a huge downpour and the rain was literally bouncing off the pavements. Not ideal for the lighting of the beacon, but we didn't manage to see it anyway. In other news, I wore a dress! Lily's response, 'Mum, that dress is nearly as beautiful as you!' You can see why she is my favourite ;)

On Friday, I woke ridiculously early, especially seeing as I hadn't fallen asleep until the early hours. Undeterred, I made the most of my extra time by throwing on my trainers and heading out for a run, relishing in the peace and quiet of the morning. Later, we enjoyed a short bicycle ride into the village to take a look at the Platinum Jubilee Exhibition, which included details of both worldwide and local notable events from the past 70 years. A lot of work had gone into the displays, which also included many beautiful keepsakes and commemorative items from previous Royal Jubilee celebrations. Some events were lovely to be reminded of, some not so much. 

On the Saturday we had been invited to a celebratory barbecue, which in the end turned out not to be an actual barbecue, which was fine by me - I much prefer a buffet any day, and I'd already made a quiche and some 'Jubilee' gingerbread men to take along with me. It was a lovely afternoon sat out in the sunshine, and on one of the warmest days we have experienced recently. 

On Sunday we rounded off our weekend by going down to the lake. We took our lunch with us and, of course, some more of the gingerbread men. We even enjoyed the company of a mother duck and her four ducklings, which looked incredibly cute, especially when the wake of a larger boat would occasionally wash one of them ashore.

J. X

Wednesday 1 June 2022

Taking it Easy

I'm having a relaxed kind of day. This last week I've been up and down with symptoms of a head cold. One day I've felt completely fine, the next I've been snuffly and achy again. Today I'm feeling fine, I hope it lasts. 

The boiler has been given the okay following it's annual service this morning, the washing is blowing gently on the line and I've just taken some freshly baked flapjack out of the oven. Whilst eating my lunch, I managed to finish the book which I'd started reading when we were camping, and out of the window I can now see that the sun is shining and the bird feeder is busy with Blue Tits, Starlings and the occasional Sparrow. The grass could do with cutting. My next job once I've sat down with a coffee, I think. 

It's a good day, and I'm enjoying a week away from work free from pressure or expectation, besides some unhurried mornings and a few good walks. 

These photographs are from last weekend when we hiked from the shores of Thirlmere up to Ullscarf, one of the most central (and quieter) fells in The Lakes, stopping off for a (very) refreshing paddle in Harrop Tarn. The water was so cold! Our walk began with a steep climb up past Dobgill Falls, then along a track through the forest where we reached a gate. Here the route opened up onto the fell side, where to my delight I heard another cuckoo, before continuing to reach another gate overlooking Blea Tarn, where we turned left towards the summit. The summit itself was quite uninspiring, but the views of the surrounding fells more than made up for it. Spending time this way only serves to remind me just how necessary it is to my wellbeing and something I hope to prioritise now that the days are longer and the weather is improving. 

I apologise for there being a delay in publishing some of your comments. I don't know if it is the same for anybody else but I've noticed many comments I've received are being sent to my spam folder and some I've left on other posts simply disappear for some reason. I hope these issues are resolved very soon.

J. X