Wednesday 28 June 2023

Warm June Evenings

Recently, I saw a quote somewhere, which read 'June is the gateway to summer.' I sincerely hope this is true and that we haven't seen the last of the warm sunny weather.

June began with some truly glorious sunshine and high temperatures, which continued up until last week when heavy showers finally interrupted our long spell of dry weather. And even though the rain has been much needed for the gardens and in order to replenish the reservoirs, I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will be only a temporary blip in the grand scheme of things, and that summer, in the way I prefer it, will return again very soon.

Today has been very dull and incredibly wet. The garden has breathed a sigh of relief and the cats have returned to their usual positions on the beds - even Mog! It is for this reason that I try to embrace those warm sunny days whenever I can, sometimes even on a school night! 

This is often all done in  bit of a hurry, and it isn't always easy, especially while having to factor in the time for homework, necessary household chores etc. But every so often, I remind myself that life moves quickly,  and it is so important to just stop and be present in the moment. Creating those special memories while we can.

On several evenings in the last few weeks, we've been down by the lake shore. It's a wonderful time of day, and it is surprising how quiet it can be there, especially knowing how busy it would have been earlier in the afternoon. And there are also not many activities that compare with watching the late evening sun setting over the fells. This is something that can only be enhanced while enjoying a chippy tea, which has happened on more than one occasion recently :)

We've walked by waterfalls, paddled in the lake and simply sat and watched the world go by from beneath the cool shade of a large oak tree. 

Last week, however, we got to indulge in one of the most idyllic swimming spots in The Lakes, all to ourselves. We walked there late in the afternoon, with Lily still wearing her school uniform dress and her trainers. This must have been great timing on our part because this beautiful, naturally formed plunge pool, surrounded by fells and overlooking the lake was ours alone, for a short while, at least. It was so relaxing, and we enjoyed such a wonderful evening swimming under the bright blue sky, in the crystal clear water. It was the perfect way to cool off at the end of a hot day. 

If June is, in fact, the gateway to summer, then I am looking forward to seeing what else lies in store for us. 

J. X


Saturday 17 June 2023

'Bother That Cat!' Again


It's been quite a week, and not helped by this one, who has developed a bit of a health problem. She isn't off her food at all and doesn't appear to be in any discomfort, so I am hoping it isn't anything too serious.

She has already been seen by the vet, and although they haven't been able to find anything obviously untoward, she has been given some pain relief medication and I have been trying my best to keep a closer eye on her. I have my fingers firmly crossed that the problem will resolve itself without the need for more tests but I just have a feeling that this is something which will require further investigation.

Anyway, yesterday morning I set off for work as usual. Both cats had been fed and I'd also put some fresh water out for the pair of them. Boo had gone back outside again and Mog was fast asleep at the top of the stairs. It's just where the sun hits the house first thing in the morning, and probably the warmest part of the house throughout the day, so really not the best place for her to be at the moment. Just try telling her that :)

I returned home shortly after 3 o'clock and it's not out of the ordinary for me to not see either of the cats for a while (unless I happen to open the fridge door!), especially at this time of year, so it didn't strike me as being unusual that I didn't see Mog. 

As the evening went on, Boo came in, and then went out again. Still no sign of Mog. I assumed she would have gone outside later in the day and found a cool shady spot beneath the trees for a relaxing sleep. 

By the time I went to bed, I was a little concerned, especially given her recent health issues. Years ago she would have been out for hours at a time, but now that she's reached middle age, she tends not to wander too far from home. I checked in all of her favourite places - the spare bedroom, the cushion on the chair at the far end of the dining room, and under the bed. Nothing.

Cue a restless night for me. I got briefly disturbed by Boo in the early hours, still no sign of Mog. 

Every time I woke momentarily I listened out, but heard nothing. I was hoping for that familiar click of the cat-flap, but sadly it remained silent. I was imagining all sorts of scenarios in my head, none of which had a positive outcome. 

Finally, after a very restless night, she was discovered. Fast asleep in the bath, hidden behind the shower curtain. 
Bother that cat!

J. X

Wednesday 7 June 2023

Just a Lovely Week

Last week was our half-term, and we were so very lucky in that it coincided with some absolutely glorious weather. The sun shone every single day, and I did my best to make sure we made the most of it - after all, this could be our summer :) When it is like this I often find it tricky to find a balance between trying to get out whilst the weather is so nice, along with taking some time out to relax at home. This is a consequence of living in an area where it usually rains - a lot! You would think I might be able to take it easy and enjoy it for what it is, but I do so love the warmth and sunshine, that I make sure to soak up every bit of it while I can. 

The countryside is looking incredibly  beautiful just now. In fact, I think June might just be my favourite month of the year, when the weather is like this, at least. Cow Parsley is spilling out onto the lanes, we've been watching damselflies in abundance down by the pond, and everywhere is looking so incredibly green.

After a lot of hard work, the garden is now looking so much tidier than it had been. I managed to dispose of the large trees I'd dug out, cut back a lot of the groundcover shrubs beneath the wall, and pulled up an impressive amount of weeds. The borders are now much clearer and I have replaced just a few of the frost damaged plants with new ones, which I have been assured will establish themselves quickly and be able to cope with the cold winter weather. 

The apple trees are coming along nicely and have been moved to a new position alongside the shed. And I don't know if any of you remember my experimental lockdown lemon trees, but just look at how well this one is doing! I can't tell you how excited I will be if it ever grows actual lemons. I believe they can take between 4-7 years to produce anything, so watch this space.


Lily and I have been out walking with a friend, and it actually felt rather special to introduce her to this beautiful part of the world that we know so well. We shared a tour of Rydal and Grasmere, which included waterfalls, caves, two lakes and a fell summit. We cooled off with a paddle in Grasmere, then of course we just had to treat ourselves to an ice cream when we returned to the village.

Towards the end of the week, and as the temperatures rose even further, we went swimming in the outdoor pool. I'm really hoping this will be the first of many visits this season.

I've enjoyed lighter meals, eaten outdoors.

Then just before returning to school, at the beginning of the week, we walked through the fields and into the woods, along the old tracks that hold a comfortable familiarity for us. It's elderflower season, and we needed to gather just enough of those frothy white flowers to make our cordial. So quick and simple to make, it has the taste of summer that I find so deliciously refreshing.

Also, we managed to squeeze in a few short days away in Stirling. But more on that in another post. 

J. X

Friday 2 June 2023

Chasing Waterfalls

Recently, I have become rather ambivalent about certain social media, or more specifically my behaviour towards it. Now, I don't 'do' Facebook, I've never looked at Twitter. I'm almost certainly too old for Snapchat and TikTok :) YouTube has it's advantages, but I rarely have the opportunity to sit and watch videos. Which leaves me with Instagram. 

I began using the Instagram app way back in 2017 and I have always enjoyed it. There are so many pretty pictures to scroll through, and just as many images to scroll right past ;) It is so very quick and simple to post. I've found it fun,  informative, and inspiring at times. I mainly follow outdoorsy folk who enjoy fell walking, and the app makes it simple to connect with and share ideas with others, which can be wonderful.

Lately, however, some of the individuals I originally began following for inspiration have morphed into influencers, who always seem to be affiliated with certain brands or promoting a new product. I have already unfollowed many for this reason, and yet I still find myself scrolling mindlessly through posts, or worse still, comparing myself unfavourably  with those who somehow manage to have successful careers, as well as some sort of side hustle, an incredibly busy social life and an even more active social media.   

This photo sharing app, which I began using as a bit of fun, has now become something which holds much less appeal for me. And I realise, I think I need to take a step back from it, for a little while at least.

I hope that from now on I will be spending more of my time on here, as for me it feels like the difference between waving a quick 'hello!' to someone or sitting down with friends, while enjoying a cup of tea and a good chat.

Photographs were taken last weekend, while on the waterfalls walk at Rydal Hall. Ironically, I was with a lovely group of people who I met though Instagram. Maybe there are some advantages to using it after all. 

J. X

Thursday 1 June 2023

Beda Fell

For a while now, I had been meaning to walk up Beda Fell, on the eastern side of Ullswater. We had already climbed it's neighbouring fells, so on this occasion there would be just this summit to tick off our list. The starting point which I had in mind for this walk was a little bit out of my way, and with limited parking available, I knew an early start would be required. That was until I realised we could actually reach that side of the lake by boat - I know, I even surprise myself at times :)

We still set off reasonably early, allowing for seasonal traffic, but the drive was very quiet and we arrived in Glenridding with plenty of time to spare. We left the car here, as our route would eventually bring us right back again. And it was here that we boarded the steamer, making sure to sit at the back to enjoy the best views, as we travelled up the lake towards Howtown. It was a pleasantly warm morning and we were soon able to take off our jackets, before getting off the steamer at the lake shore beneath Hallin Fell. 

Our walk began alongside the steep and winding lane which leads to the church at Martindale. We then dropped down into the valley, before following the straight, clear track leading up to Alan Crag, then a little way farther along to Beda Fell. It was perfect weather for walking. The light cloud cover prevented us from getting too hot, and there was barely a breeze. The views towards Ullswater were beautiful, and we  had to keep stopping to look back and appreciate them.

I always love to see Bog Cotton. A clear indication to stay on the path. I had also hoped we might have caught a glimpse of the red deer, which are found in this area, but disappointingly they were nowhere to be seen.  

Beda Fell summit. Looking towards Ullswater, with Hallin Fell in the centre. We stopped here while we ate our chocolate, then descended towards Bordale Hause, a pass which links the Boredale and Patterdale valleys, where we ate our lunch. From here we headed down towards Rooking, re-joining the Ullswater Way path to Glenridding, back to where we started, and where we treated ourselves to an ice cream. 🍦

J. X