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Our stay in Smokey Bay ~ Reykjavik, Iceland.

Reykjavik Rooftops.
Reykjavik Rooftops.

For a very long time I have wanted to visit Iceland and recently my dream came true. Early on Saturday morning our plane landed at Keflavik International Airport and our Icelandic adventure started. It was cold ( though not as cold as I imagined it would be!) and damp but our spirits were high as we made our way to the capital city of Reykjavik. I thought I would write a short post about each day we spent there ( three days in all ) so here is the first. :)

Day One.

After checking into our room ( we stayed quite centrally at Hotel Klettur) , we walked down to the harbour, purely because I’m always drawn to the sea. Just before the shimmering glass Harpa Concert Venue is the beautiful Solfar ( Sun Voyager) sculpture , looking out accross the ocean. It is said that this art work symbolises hope, light and freedom. Another interpretation is that the Sun Voyager is a vessel that takes dead people’s souls out to sea. Anyway it has the perfect location and I’m glad we saw it. :)

Solfar Sculpture.
Solfar Sculpture.

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Further down from the sculpture is the Harpa Concert Hall looking resplendent in all its glittering glass glory. I wish I had taken more photos now as none I have do it justice. There seemed to be a multitude of monster trucks outside in the car park !

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The harbour area has various cafes and bars, fishing boats, whale watching boats and two whale hunting vessels. Although whale hunting is practised in Iceland’s waters , they do seem to have a ‘Meet the Whales, Not eat the Whales’ attitude going on. :)

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Not far from the Harbour we came across Reykjavik’s famous Hot Dog stand. Tourists and locals flock here for Baejarins beztu pylsur ( the best hot dogs in town) and the business has been doing a roaring trade since 1937 apparently. Not sure why the stand is such an institution….but it is incredibly cheap for Iceland , about £3 for a hotdog with the works. And yes they are tasty with crunchy onions, raw onions, mustard, ketchup and a sweet onion sauce.

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Reykjavik is full of wall art.
Reykjavik is full of wall art.

Next we headed for Hallgrimskirkja, the largest church in Iceland. Its rocket like appearance is easy to spot all over Reykjavik, so its a good place from where to get your bearings. We took the lift up to the top of the church tower and were rewarded with gorgeous views of the cities colourful rooftops. :)

Hallgrimskirkja.
Hallgrimskirkja.

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After we walked to Tjornin which is the city pond and a favourite haunt of ducks, geese and swans.

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As you can see it was a bit of a damp and drizzly day, so time to get toasty with a brew and cake. We found a fab place called Laundromat Cafe in Austurstraeti 9 which is a laundrette/cafe with a library and board games and friendly and cozy atmosphere. By night it turns into a bar.

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Laundromat Cafe.
Laundromat Cafe.

On our way back to the hotel to get ready for our Northern Lights trip, we passed the Icelandic Phallological Museum which I totally forgot to photograph in my infantile fit of giggles.It houses over 200 penis specimens ( mostly mammals) and has a gift shop too…..

Picture from website.
Picture from website.

Saturday night we went in search of the Northern Lights with Grey Line Tours , who took us out of the city and away from any light pollution. Unfortunately the lights are unpredictable and I guess the cloudy weather was against us. :( Grey Line tours , to give them their dues tried their very best for us, chasing ahead of the clouds as if chasing twisters! It wasn’t to be though. :( They do offer to take you out again for free if you don’t see them. Unfortunately the weather was against us this time.

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I enjoyed my Northern Lights cocktail in the hotel bar though! I will post about Day Two of my Icelandic adventure very soon. :)

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Pendle Sculpture Trail.

Although I live a stones throw from Pendle Hill ( I can see its gently brooding slopes from the bedroom window), it is not often that we have travelled to the other side of Pendle and explored the countryside there. Such an occasion though came up on Sunday afternoon.The weather was glorious, both sunny and warm, quite rare for an Octobers day. We arranged to meet my sister and her family and some friends in the pretty little village of Barley which nestles at the foot of the hill. Having done some research online , I had come across various information about ‘The Pendle Sculpture Trail’ in Aitken Wood. In the process I found a lovely new blog to follow ( Home Jules) and this is Julie’s great post about the trail and surrounding area here…

pendle Hill from Black Moss reservoirs.
pendle Hill from Black Moss reservoirs.

Having parked in Barley car park ( £1 charge for the day), we headed out of the village towards Black Moss Reservoirs and followed the track up to Aitken Wood. The trail is signposted so was no problem to find.Leaflets and maps are available from the Cabin Cafe, next to the car park.

Walking to Aitken Wood.
Walking to Aitken Wood.

The Sculptures take their inspiration from the areas wildlife and nature as well as various events that are associated with Pendle Hill. It is from the top of Pendle that in 1652, George Fox had a religious vision which led him to found the Quaker movement. And Pendle also has connections with witchcraft. Over 400 years ago nine innocent residents of nearby villages were hanged in Lancaster, after Britain’s biggest witchcraft trial. The sculpture trail celebrates the area’s beauty and reflects on those times past.

Broomsticks. :)
Broomsticks. :)
Witchfinder Sculpture.
Witchfinder Sculpture.
Beautiful moss.
Beautiful moss.
Upside down Bat.
Upside down Bat.
Curving tree sculpture.
Curving tree sculpture.
Toadstools ( real ones.)
Toadstools ( real ones.)

I especially liked the ceramic plaques by artist Sarah McDade ,which were dotted around the forest. There are nine to find and each one represents one of the ‘witches’ who went on trial.

The sheep's skull  representing John Bulcock, who was said to have roasted stolen mutton at a meeting to plot the release of four witches taken to Lancaster Castle Gaol.
The sheep’s skull representing John Bulcock, who was said to have roasted stolen mutton at a meeting to plot the release of four witches taken to Lancaster Castle Gaol.
The Hare plaque represents James Device who apparently saw a strange Hare like creature after eating communion bread.
The Hare plaque represents James Device who apparently saw a strange Hare like creature after eating communion bread.
Anne Redferne was accused of making a clay doll , to put a spell on a local man.
Anne Redferne was accused of making a clay doll , to put a spell on a local man.

We had such a lot of fun doing the Pendle Sculpture Trail, although we somehow managed to miss out on spotting a few of the sculptures. Thats ok though as we intend to go again. :)

Four kids, two Bedlington terriers and a few of the grown ups. :)
Four kids, two Bedlington terriers and a few of the grown ups. :)

When we got back to the village , the kids had a play on the swings and then we stopped for a pint at The Pendle Inn which is dog friendly and has a decent looking menu and a selection of real ales.

Heading back with views of pendle.
Heading back with views of pendle.
Friendly cat in the village.
Friendly cat in the village.
Pendle Inn Pub sign.
Pendle Inn Pub sign.

For those of you who are interested , nearby Newchurch ( 1 mile from Barley) has a witchy shop and cafe called ‘Witches Galore’ , with a scary looking witch stood outside. I made Wil take me for a nosy before we met the others. :)

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I’m so glad we found a new area to walk in. I think its somewhere we will take a certain ‘Mr Hugo’ when he is old enough. :)

Thanks for dropping by.

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October Photo an Hour.

Its Photo an Hour time again :).Yesterday I joined in with several other bloggers and took a photo on the hour , every hour. Its a challenge carried out every month by Janey from Is That You Darling. I join in when I can. Here goes!

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8am ~   This is Slinky. She is basically telling me to bugger off and let her have the bed to herself. She thinks its her bed.

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9am ~ Today I’m doing a craft fair in the church up the road. I sell teacup candles. Yep I’m the crazy teacup lady. :)

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10am ~ Just my luck , I’m next door to the chocolate stall. ;-)

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11am ~ My other neighbor is Vicky from Daisy Louise Jewellery. She makes quirky pieces from objects such as cake forks.

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12pm ~ Heres a shot of my fave candles on the stall. These pretty wildlife ones were soon snapped up. :-)

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1pm ~ A quiet moment, so reading up on puppy training.we pick Hugo the pup up in two weeks. :)

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2pm ~ Yummy carrot cake from the craft fair cafe. Couldn’t resist!

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3pm ~ Admiring a gorgeous felt owl on the stall opposite.

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4pm ~ Finally home after my day at the Artisan Market.

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5pm ~ walking through the park to the local pub. We fancy an hour or two ~ its weekend after all. ;-)

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6pm ~ A friend joins us with his springers Ted and Molly. Here they are with an eye out for biscuits!

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7pm ~  A quick pic of us in the pub.

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8pm ~ Chilli nuts. Might end up being our tea!

After this more friends joined us and we stayed out until about ten, got a takeaway  ( after about five packs of nuts :( )and headed home. Quite a nice day really.

Thanks for dropping by….

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A Celebration of Black Cats ~^^~

Recently I found myself some what astonished by the information that black cats in animal rescue centres are usually the last moggies to find homes. :-(
As the human of a black cat called Slinky ( named after the mischevious storybook kitty) , I can asure cat lovers that black cats are just as lovable, annoying, naughty and adorable as any other variety. I speek from experience, having always had furry felines in my life, of differing sizes and colours.

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Slinky Malinki.

Of course black cats are often asociated with superstition and witchcraft, especially at this time of year. In the middle ages they were often percieved to be witches familiars or even witches in disguise. And the myth that a black cat crossing your path is bad luck is still a superstition some people believe, like a broken mirror or not walking under a ladder. It is easy to logically see why a smashed looking glass can be bad luck…but not a cat….unless you trip over him! Who am I to speek though.I always have to greet any solitary magpie I see with a cheery hello…..

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A rather bewitching witch and her companion.

In any case doesn’t the magic and mystery surrounding the black cat make them more alluring. I’ve been having fun on Pinterest collecting beautiful images of le chat noir. :-)

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Moi !

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Love Cats. :)
Playful Puss.
Playful Puss.

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Moon Moggie.

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Chat Noir Poster. Le Chat Noir was a Parisienne nightclub in the late 1800's.

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Chasing leaves.
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Black magic.
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The Owl and the pussy cat.
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1960's advertisement for Christian Dior featuring a black cat.
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Slinky Malinki was blacker than black by Lynley Dodd.
Pumpkin Puss.
Pumpkin Puss.

I devote this post to all the Midnights, Jets, Buntys, Bouncys, Kingstons, Tommy Sues, Boos, Miles, Maus, Sisis and Slinkys out there ~ black cats who have been the beautiful kitty companions to myself or various friends and family over the years.

What are your thoughts on black cats?

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We dined on Quince.

When I saw a basket of Quinces in my local supermarket, I remembered my scrapbook of recipes cut out from magazines languishing on the book shelf. There is an easy peazy recipe in there for ‘ Quinces, baked in orange juice and honey’, so I thought ,a ha I will give it a go! The quince is lemon in colour( when ripe) and shaped like a pear. Autumn is the season to find them in the supermarket.

The quinces in the supermarket were green. In hindsight I now realise my fruit was no way near ripe….which could account for it being really hard to slice up and taking longer to cook. I bet the Owl and the pussy cat didn’t have that problem!

Baked quinces in honey.

280g honey
300ml orange or grapefruit juice.
6 quinces, peeled, cored and quartered.

Preheat the oven to 160°/gas 3. Mix honey with fruit juice.Place the quince quarters in an ovenproof dish and pour over the liquid so it covers them.Bake in the oven for two hours. Once cooled, serve with cream.

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The Owl and the pussy cat.

They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand ,on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.

From the Owl and the pussycat by Edward Lear.

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Was quite a nice pudding. Have you ever made anything using this seasonal fruit?

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Spellbinding Screen Witches.

Halloween is on the horizon, so I thought I would compile a list of those spellbinding sorcerers , the winsome and the wicked, who have appeared on the big screen ( and the small screen) over the years. Do you remember these magical movies and tv shows?

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Hocus Pocus (1993). Three witch sisters are resurrected and cause hilarious havoc one Halloween. They like to sing, dance and eat the odd child or two.. Look out for SJP before her transformation into Sex and the city’s fashionista Carrie Bradshaw.

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005).
Tilda Swinton is the powerful white witch Jadis in the 2005 Narnia movie. She manages to portray her as both ethereal and evil.

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The Wizard Of Oz (1939). Probably the most iconic Witch of all, the Wicked Witch of the West ( Margaret Hamilton in lurid green makeup) truelly terrifies with her evil cackle and flying monkeys. Hide those ruby slippers Dorothy.

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The Craft(1996). Teenage supernatural movie centreing on four high school outcasts who form a coven and cast spells to get revenge on the people who have wronged them. Things soon spiral out of control. Fairuza Balk who plays the rather nasty Nancy apparently became a wiccan in real life.

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Bewitched( TV series 1964-1972). A beautiful witch marries a mortal man and agrees not to use her magical powers in their everyday life……but often finds she cannot resist. With a twitch of her lovely nose ,Samantha can’t help but try and save the day, especially if her interfering Mother visits( another witch) or Darrin ( her hubby) needs a helping hand. They are joined later in the show’s run by baby witch Tabitha. Happy families!

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The Witches of Eastwick(1987). Jack Nicholson plays a mysterious warlock who moves to the town of Eastwick and sets about seducing three friends , who become his coven. Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pheiffer play the sexy witches to be.

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I married a witch(1942). Charming supernatural romantic comedy starring Veronica lake as the reincarnated bewitching Jennifer, intent on having her revenge on the ancestor of the man who originally had her burned at the stake. Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble.

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Bedknobs and Broomsticks(1971).
Angela Lansbury plays ‘Miss Price’, an apprentice witch , who reluctantly takes in three child evacuees during World War 2. The children soon find themselves on a magical adventure, involving a flying bed and an adundence of animated characters, as they search for a way to save the country from invasion.

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Charmed(Tv series 1998-2004). The Halliwell sisters are three powerful witches known as The Charmed Ones. In the show they battle demons and save innocents, whilst juggling their magical powers with the trials and tribulations of everyday life in modern day San Francisco.

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Bell, Book and Candle ( 1958). Gillian, a sorceress in a rut, living in New York with her familiar ( a siamese cat called Pyewacket :) ), casts a spell on a man she’s just met to fall in love with her. But the problem is…. she soon finds herself falling for him, for real. And witches who fall in love with mortals risk losing their powers. Kim Novak and James Stewart star in this spell binding rom com.

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Harry Potter Films. We all know and love the good witches who passed through Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. The most evil and loyal follower of Voldemort however was the evil Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange. In the films she first appears in The Order of the Phoenix and is played by the wonderful Helena Bonham Carter.

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The Witches(1990). A young boy on holiday in a seaside hotel finds out that the ‘Royal Society for the prevention of cruelty to children’ convention being held there, is actually a witches get together. Angelica Huston plays the Grand High Witch demanding that all Englands children must be destroyed…..or turned into mice. Roald Dahls witchy tale is given the big screen treatment.

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Sabrina, the Teenage Witch( Tv series 1996-2003). Sabrina discovers she is a half witch on her 16th birthday and madcap magic follows.She is taught how to use her new powers by her two six hundred year old aunts and their black cat Salem. Sabrina has to learn to Juggle high school with hocus pocus, often with hilarious results.

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Snow White and the seven dwarfs(1937). The Wicked Queen , jealous of Snow Whites beauty ,uses witchcraft to transform herself into an old hag and gives our heroine a poisoned apple. Lots of Snow White adaptations. This is the Disney
original of the brothers Grimm fairytale.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV Series 1997-2003). Ok Buffy was a mean kick ass vampire slayer, but remember her best mate Willow? She became an extremely powerful witch as the series went on. I think a Buffy fest is on the cards!

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Practical Magic(1998). Sisters, Sally and Gillian Owens ( played by Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman) are witches with not your average relationship problems. Any mortal men they take up with are doomed to an untimely death. The feisty Gillian meets an evil demon,who’m the ladies have to vanquish…..but he keeps coming back to life! And Sally finds herself drawn to a dishy cop whose investigating the case. Toil and trouble in this entertaining witchy chick flick.

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Maleficent(2014). I have yet to see this classic retelling of Sleeping Beauty,told from the perspective of the villianess Maleficent. Angelina Jolie certainly looks magnificent in the part though. :)

Hope you have enjoyed my list and its certainly inspired me to dig out a few of the films/shows mentioned here. Who is your favourite Screen Witch? What will be on your Witchy Watch list this October? Let me know.:-D

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Fall, leaves, fall

Today ( October 2nd) is National poetry day in the UK. As Autumn is taking hold , what better way to celebrate than with pictures of the seasons changing colours and a poem by Emily Bronte.

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Fall,leaves, fall; die,flowers,away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
Emily Bronte.

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Still, I am quite enjoying our Indian Summer. Loving the oranges and pink flower hues in the castle park.

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Do you know any Autumn poems?

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