Sunday Sevens 31st March.

It’s definitely time for a Sunday Sevens, a random collection of seven photos from the past seven days.

Last weekend Wil and I found ourselves in Manchester and of course immediately gravitated to our favourite Manchester bar The Gas Lamp near Spinning fields. This subterranean drinking den is not posh at all , its interior design can only be described as ’tiled toilet’ , but our friends who were in town shopping had the same idea as us, so we met them for a drink or two.

The real reason Wil and I were in Manchester, was to see the singer Amy McDonald at the Apollo. Here’s a short video! Soz my filming is pretty wonky.

Also last weekend my friend Fi talked another friend and I into going with her to a Rock gothic stage show called Circus of Horror’s which was playing in Oswaldtwistle. This near Victorian freak show combines knife throwing, contortionism, scary clowns, strong men, burlesque dancers and near naked dwarves ( don’t ask) with heavy metal music… and is set in a lunatic asylum!

Who isn’t a cast member here. Haha.

This past few days I’ve noticed quite a few wildflowers springing up in my neck of the woods. Below are a few taken with my phone camera. What is your favourite Spring wildflower? I have a soft spot for celandines of course, and I love violets.

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Flower Power.

Yesterday Hugo had lots of fun with his new floating dog toy when we visited Derwentwater, on the way up to my Mums. We walked from Keswick as far as Ashness Bridge. Derwentwater is a great lake to wander along the shores of. There are a few sculptures and other landmarks to discover.

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Derwent Water.
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Centenary Stone, Calfclose Bay.

The little National Trust Bothy above Ashness Bridge was open, had a cosy fire lit and free tea, coffee and hot chocolate. A lovely surprise! The NT volunteer had a handsome Golden Doodle called Alfie, who was totally adorable.

We walked a good eight miles yesterday and I am on track to become a Proclaimer next week. I should soon reach 500 miles in the #walk1000miles challenge. πŸ™‚

Hope you are all having a Happy Mother’s Day Weekend. I have especially enjoyed spending time with my fur babies and helping out today with my God daughters 9th Birthday Party. X

Thanks to Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for arranging Sunday Sevens.

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Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt~ March.

Hi, it’s been a while, fellow Photo Scavenger Hunters. Today ( Thursday) I was trying to find inspiration to interpret Kate’s prompts, whilst out and about with Hugo the Labrador. I did! For three photos anyway. πŸ™‚

Flat. So I took this picture whilst flat on my back on a dirt track. I’m surprised Hugo’s snout didn’t get in shot. A different perspective of the woodland above me.

Wheel. There are wheels galore at the Lakeland Motor Museum near Windermere. This is one of several penny-farthings. There was even old film footage of penny-farthings racing. It was a thing!

Swing. You wouldn’t believe it but I was actually thinking how I would photograph Swing, then I saw one right in front of me. Can you see it ?

Ragged. The not particularly attractive Butterbur came to my rescue here. It’s raggedy tight-knit flowers are popular with bees in early spring and you can find them close to streams from March to May. The Butterbur’s name comes from the fact that it’s large green leaves were once used to pack butter apparently. Other names for this Spring flower include Devils Hat, Bog Rhubarb and Pestilence Wort. The mind boggles!

Pot. A typical pot of Mint tea from my fave cafe in Clitheroe ` Escape’. πŸ™‚

My Own Choice. Last weekend we went for a walk in Gisburn Forest and came across this old church. Dalehead Chapel was rebuilt after the flooding of nearby land to build Stocks Reservoir in the 1930s. The original church was demolished and this is it’s replacement. I seem to remember that in my youth this pretty building had fallen into disrepair and had a reputation as a haunted church! Happily today it is in use again and there are information boards inside detailing the history of the area.

Thanks kate/Hawthorn for organising the Scavenger Hunt.

Captured On Camera ~ Old Family photographs.

via Captured On Camera ~ Old Family photographs.

I’ve been having another sneak peek at my family tree recently and this reminded me of an old post I wrote back in 2014. Yes I have been hanging around WordPress for that long! Even longer actually. Anyway I am quite interested in first names and it’s been fun to look back in time to see what names were popular in my own family. My paternal grandmother was called Henrietta and I had a great aunt called Isa, a name I have never come across anywhere else. In my Facebook feed recently there has been three lovely babies born. Their names Ronald, Nathaniel and Nora. All old fashioned monikers that are becoming popular once again….maybe. πŸ™‚ Happy reading. What names have appeared way back when in your family tree?

Tucked away in Torver ~ The Lake District.

A perfect Winter break for Wil, Hugo and I definitely involves somewhere with a toasty log burner, a dog friendly pub in close proximity and lots of walks, straight from the door. We chose pretty well I think when we headed for the Lake District village of Torver at the weekend. We had found on Airbnb a quirky little cottage called ‘The Old Dairy’ , one of three holiday Letts at Brocklebank Ground. We arrived in driving sleet and rain so immediately set about getting cosy in our ‘home’ for the weekend.

The Old Dairy ~ a bijou home from home.
Sign swinging in the wind.
Walk research..

Fortunately the next day dawned fine so we decided to get our water proofs on and head out and about. Torver itself is not to far from Coniston Water ( the third largest Lake in the Lake District) so our plan was to walk down to the lake, via a disused railway route. Unfortunately there had been so much rain that the paths we found to the shore were pretty water logged, so we only got as far as Torver Common, which was still a beautiful place to explore.

Hello, Herdwicks!
Old Railway Walk.
Lunch Time.
Torver Common. You can just about spy Coniston Water in the distance.
Hugo posing. πŸ™‚
A sprinkle of snow on the mountains.
Spring Window box at The Wilson’s Arms.

For lunch we bought a couple of bits from the deli in The Wilson Arms, one of two pubs in the village. We ate in both and they are cosy olde worldy pubs with roaring fires, real ales, good pub grub and are dog-friendly too.

After lunch we decided to revisit Beacon Tarn, a beautiful small lake tucked away in the Blawith Fells, about 5 minutes drive from Torver. We first discovered the tarn ten years earlier on a hot summers day, the surrounding fells were green with bracken, and our Labrador Jake dived straight into the water. Our recent visit was sunny, windy and cold, a different Labrador enjoying a bracing dip in the chilly waters.

Beacon Tarn.
My guide book says Beacon Tarn is the ‘Trout Tarn’ of Arthur Ransome’s’ Swallowdale’ ( Swallows And Amazon’s 1930).
The bracken in March, a rusty brown colour.

What follows are a few views of our journey back to Brown Howe Car Park, the nearest proper car park to Blawith Common, where our circular walk began.

A bench with a lake view. πŸ™‚ Brown Howe car park is on the shore of Coniston Water.

Incredibly only a few minutes after we got back to Brown Howe, the heavens opened and giant Hale stones bounced off the car. We had timed our return just right!

On Sunday the bad weather continued as we packed the car and said our goodbyes to Torver. It had been the perfect little get away from it all. πŸ™‚

On our way home we decided to visit Lakeland Motor Museum near Newby Bridge, which is a dog friendly attraction. There aren’t that many museums that welcome four legged friends, so this was a good find! Plus we got to shelter from the weather. It had started snowing!

Well worth a look if your in the area, the museum also has a Donald Campbell Bluebird exhibition and a good sized cafe.

See you soon. X

Books I read in January and February.

This year I am hoping to read 40 Books, a total I have set myself on Good Reads. I thought if I write a short description of each on my blog, this might encourage me to keep up with the challenge πŸ™‚

The Black House ~ Peter May (2011). This is the first book in a bleak murder mystery trilogy set on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. My other half came across the series after we holidayed on another Hebridean Island North Uist last year. Fin Macleod is a homicide detective who returns to his childhood home of Lewis to investigate a grisly murder. Bereft by a recent personal tragedy of his own, Fin jumps at the chance of spending some time on the island. But as the detective hunts for the murderer, he finds himself being hunted too. The Black House flits between the past and the present and paints a picture of a rugged island with troubling secrets. I’m eager to delve into the next instalment. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

How to Be an Urban Birder ~ David Lindo ( 2018). I love how enthusiastic the author of this informative birding guide is. After seeing him promoting the book on Breakfast telly, I was delighted when Wil bought it me for my birthday back in November. Lindo’s motto is ‘Look Up!’ and this is certainly as true of our towns and cities as anywhere in Britain when it comes to spotting birdlife. If you imagine that urban buildings are cliffs ( they could be homes to peregrines) and rooftops are viewing platforms ( excellent bases for watching migrating species) then you get the idea. This book covers the best locations to look for birds in towns and cities and is packed full of photos , illustrations and useful tips.⭐⭐⭐⭐

The prime of Miss Jean Brodie ~ Muriel Spark ( 1961). I picked this renowned Scottish Classic up whilst away for a weekend in Edinburgh. Jean Brodie is an unconventional school teacher in 1930s Edinburgh. In a subtle almost sinister way she sets about grooming six of her pupils to become almost mini clones of herself. The book was made into a 1969 film starring Maggie Smith. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dear Mrs Bird ~ A J Pearce ( 2018). Ahh I loved this story, set during blitz torn London in World War 2. Perhaps my favourite of the books I’ve read this year so far. Our heroine is Emmy who takes a job as a newspaper reporter , but due to a misunderstanding she is actually employed as lowly assistant to no nonsense ( and very unsympathetic ) Agony aunt Mrs Bird. Emmy takes it upon herself to answer the letters Mrs Bird discards. A light hearted but also sometimes heart breaking read. I hope there is a sequel. ❀️⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock ~ Imogen Hermes Gowar ( 2018). Who can resist a novel with mermaid in the title. Not me! A lonely childless widower and a high class ,but down on her luck courtesan’s paths become entwined, through the discovery of a mermaid. This is a discriptive historical novel set in 18th Century London , with a scaly touch of the supernatural. Although I was eager to see how the book would end, I did not find myself warming to the characters, some of whose stories seemed to end… unfinished. ⭐⭐⭐

Nightingale Wood ~ Stella Gibbons ( 1938). It seems that the esteemed writer of Cold Comfort Farm actually wrote shelve loads of books, most out of print until recent times. Nightingale Wood is billed as a modern version of Cinderella ~ modern in the thirties that is, when it was written. Viola is our Cinderella, a young widow now living with her stuffy in-laws. Her father in law rules the roost and his two daughters are dying of boredom. One wants a dog and the other wants the chauffeur. Viola herself falls for a dashing young man who lives in the big house through the woods, but his intentions arent exactly honourable. This book isn’t just a fluffy love story, it’s an observation of how the restrictions of sex and class in the thirties shaped everyday life. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Street Art In Blackburn.

Finding myself with an hour to kill in Blackburn on Friday, I decided to check out some of the stunning street art that adorns the Lancashire town. Blackburn Open Walls features both local and international artists , bringing creativity and colour to the lesser known streets of Blackburn. The initiative began in 2016 and new murals have been popping up every year since. I didn’t manage to find all of them, but here is a small selection I discovered before catching my train home.

Colourful Kingfishers and Girl by Mexican Artist Goya Torres ~ above archway by The Mall.
Connect 4 by Boo_Who_Up_North.
Couldn’t find any info on this one. Possibly The BFG ?
Bird Art by Curtis Hylton.
Probably my favourite of the street art that I saw. A giant duck by Curtis Hylton on the side of Bar Ibiza, Mincing Lane.
Not really part of Blackburn Open Walls, but seen on a cafe window ~ Exchange Coffee Company in Flemming Square.
Artwork by Blackburn based Alphahol.
A nod to Blackburns industrial heritage. A fantastical creature on a Loom by Sheffield based artist Phlegm.
Bees by Jerome Davenport ~ Australia.
Mural by London based Dale Grimshaw.
Found some more beautiful birds on a carpark wall, mostly obscured by vehicles though. Artist ~ Alexandra Gallagher.

I find myself wanting to hunt out the rest now. And definitely hoping more artists will add to these incredible street murals in 2019.

Do you have any street art near you?