Monday 25 July 2022

All Set for Summer

School finished almost a week ago, and just over another six weeks lie ahead. It is a much welcome break, as this has been the first 'normal' school year in quite a while, and I had forgotten just how busy my days can be at times, filled with work and various other activities. Already, I have spent some mornings doing absolutely nothing, as often that is exactly what is required :)

A couple of days ago I enjoyed a thorough clear out and re-stock of my food cupboard - adding to the tinned goods and topping up the storage jars (although, I forgot to buy more red lentils!) It felt incredibly satisfying and now I can see exactly what I have in there. It isn't a huge space, so I need to utilise it wisely. And better still, I didn't need to throw away very much at all, just some out of date herbs and an almost empty bag of bread flour - I can't even remember the last time I baked bread! 

Today, I will be catching up on some housework. Not too much, just dusting, vacuuming and ironing. Then I need to sort out our rucksacks and walking gear - as you do! I can't think how much time I spend filling and emptying my trusty walking companions. Their contents dependent entirely on the weather forecast and often a lot more besides. 

Last week, we enjoyed another stay at the campsite we'd previously visited back in May. We were in a different camping field this time, but as it was nearer to the play area, Lily was more than happy with this arrangement. We went there via Appleby, and spent a lovely morning looking around the town before sitting for a while down by the river. Later, we drove to Acorn Bank, a beautiful estate owned by the National Trust. Here we enjoyed a tour of the water mill, where we could see flour being milled. Then we walked along by the river and through the woods, before enjoying our picnic lunch in the stunning gardens, overlooking the house. Sat there in the sunshine, beneath the dovecot, I could have been on holiday in France - it was so beautiful! I will definitely be making a return visit. Then, the following morning we called in at The Village Bakery in Melmerby, where I treated myself to as slice of Carrot Cake. It had been many years since I'd last enjoyed any - I used to work in a health food store where it was sold - and it was just as delicious as I remembered. Their scones were amazing as well ;)

Back at home, I finally harvested the last of our blackcurrants. Together with the ones in the freezer, which I'd already picked, I was able to make nine jars of jam. A vast improvement on the two I managed last year, and just as delicious. 

Yesterday, we braved the weather and walked from Mosedale up over Carrock Fell and then on to High Pike. A great little walk, and it felt so good to be out, but oh-my-days it was windy! I could hardly stand steady enough to take this photograph. We were buffeted by strong winds the whole way, so it felt as though we had walked far more than the six miles by the time we returned home. As is appropriate, we were fully rewarded for our efforts with a fish and chip supper. 

As for the rest of the summer break, there are some vague plans and some not so vague plans. But I think I'm all set, and whatever happens, I'm sure it will be great.  

J. X

Friday 15 July 2022

Two Years

If you have been reading here for a while now, you might remember this post and this post in which I talked about images I captured of Lily on Latrigg, a small fell just above Keswick. This began way back in 2014 when she was just over a year old and we walked up there together (Actually, Lily was in her carrier for much of it but she still managed to walk the final stretch). Two years later, and during the same walk, I coincidentally took a photograph of her in almost the exact same spot. Since then, it has become a tradition. So every two years we walk up Latrigg and I take a photograph of Lily sat overlooking the lake. The last time was in 2020. I can't think two years have passed since then - and what a couple of years!  

Anyway, last Sunday I thought would be the perfect opportunity to take the latest photograph. It was a beautiful, bright sunny day and there would be the chance of a quiet morning, before The Lakes become overwhelmed with summer visitors. Our early start to the day, meant we could enjoy an almost deserted summit, which on Latrigg is an achievement in itself. I was able to to take the photograph, and we managed to sit for a while taking in the scenery, before more people began to arrive at the viewpoint. There may have also been chocolate :)

Just look how she's grown! It seems like no time at all since our first walk up Latrigg and I remember it well. The day was overcast but warm, and Lily was happily snacking on rice cakes (still a firm favourite), when I took the photograph. 

Heading back down the fell, we passed an increasing number of people out walking and I instantly knew our early start had been the right decision. And as we still had the rest of the morning to do as we pleased, we made our way back through Keswick and down to the lake, where we enjoyed a refreshing paddle, before eating our lunch in the shade of a large tree beside the lake shore.

Before we made our way home again, there was just one more thing I needed to do...

We took a walk through Hope Park to visit the bronze statue and bench dedicated to Max The Miracle Dog. You might remember I met Max and his owner last summer, the evening before the statue was to be unveiled. Since that night, I had always intended to go back and see it for myself, and it really is something special, although nowhere near as special as Max himself, who, very sadly, is no longer with us.

It was a lovely weekend and now I am counting down the days until our summer break. I have a some thoughts on a few things I would like to do, but my focus will be on relaxing, enjoying the unhurried mornings, and I might even pick up my crochet hook!

J. X

Thursday 14 July 2022

Weekend Walking

Last weekend we were spoiled with some beautiful weather here, and as always I was up for making the most of it. 
On Saturday morning Lily and I set out to climb Clough Head, which is a rather steep looking fell just south of Threlkeld. Although I had checked out the route and done my usual 'research', I still wasn't quite sure what to expect. I am happy to report, I was pleasantly surprised. 

It was a bright, sunny morning and we set off nice and early, parking in a little lay-by on the road between Threlkeld and Thirlmere. From here, there were some lovely views over towards Blencathra, but Clough Head itself looked a little intimidating, the steep, rocky crags on it's eastern slopes disguising any obvious track. However, the route we were taking initially led us up and around the Old Coach Road, taking in more of the stunning scenery, before turning sharply to climb the grassy fell side. Besides the effort, the walk itself was very straightforward and as we neared the summit, we were treated to some amazing views over Keswick, Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite. We could even see Scotland in the far distance! After enjoying our summit chocolate (Chunky KitKat if you were wondering 😊) we made our way down the craggy side of the fell which, in fact, had a perfectly clear track with just a very short section of scree.

We did, however, make one slight detour, which had been requested by Lily. As we began our walk, she had spotted this bench and thought it a perfect spot to eat our picnic lunch - I think she was right! 

J. X

Friday 8 July 2022

Sunshine on Leaves

All credit goes to Lily for the title of this post, from her exclamation as we walked through the woods at the weekend. And apologies to those of you, who like myself, now have a certain song by The Proclaimers stuck in their head. Oh well. Who doesn't love The Proclaimers!

Our walk took us along some of our favourite tracks. Often completely empty during the autumn and winter months, they are now beginning to fill with summer visitors. I sometimes resent having to share 'our' woodland, which I know is completely ridiculous. But it's where we go to escape. Where the air smells earthy, and yet fresh. It's where we observe the changing of the seasons, gather elderflowers, wild garlic and berries. And for Lily, it's where the best sticks can be found! 

And at this time of year it attracts so many butterflies. 

It's where we walk when we don't want to venture far from home. It's where we eat chocolate, sat in our favourite spot, upon a fallen tree. It's where Lily explores independently, where her once tiny hands held tightly on to mine. It's where wellies are worn to allow for walking along the stream. It's where we look up at the sky through the gaps between the trees.
And it is where we gaze in wonderment at sunshine on leaves.


Saturday 2 July 2022


I've had a busy week, and I was already feeling extremely tired, when Lily became poorly during the night. Instead of going along to our wildlife group, as planned, today has been filled with rest and laundry. Lots of laundry. Thankfully, she feels fine now and has even managed to eat a little, she's just wiped out. Hopefully, a good night's sleep will see us both feeling much brighter in the morning. 

At least the weather has been good. Sunny and breezy, perfect for getting all the washing dried. The windows have been opened wide and the house filled with fresh air. Mog has spent most of the day fast asleep on my bed.

This morning I spent a while pottering around the garden. I've picked more of our ripened blackcurrants and spent some time photographing the wildflowers, which have grown significantly, thanks to the recent wet weather. Due to a lack of garden activity, the bare patches of grass have completely covered over now. I had hoped we might have spent more time out there, but we just haven't had a decent spell of hot weather so far this year. There's still time and I'm feeling hopeful :)

Earlier in the week, we enjoyed the school sports day, and I'm very proud to report that Lily came second in her sprint and what has now become tradition, first in the skipping race. I swear she runs faster if she has a rope in her hands! It was so heartening to see all the children encouraging one another and joining in the fun, the later finishers receiving even louder cheers than the race leaders. As the results were announced the children were all given ice lollies for their efforts.  A thoroughly lovely afternoon. 

J. X