All posts by shazza

My name is Shazza and I live in a small town in North west England with my boyfriend and our black lab Hugo and black cat Slinky. I work in a supermarket full time and in my spare time i enjoy reading,film,food( mostly eating it,I am a terrible cook!),taking photos,travel,camping,wildlife,spending time with my mates and hunting in car boots and charity shops for vintage teacups.This blog is hopefully going to be a collection of my fave things and musings on life,the universe and everything.Xx

Wild buds and blooms.

At the weekend we were blessed with actual warm sunshine and blue skies. On my walks with Hugo I took my camera along to record the abundance of wild flowers that had literally sprung up in the April sun rays.

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Blackthorn Blossom.
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Sunshiney Celandines. The leaves were a valuable source of vitamin C to prevent scurvy.
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Paraglider enjoying the blue skies.
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Buds.
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Early morning Wood Anenome.
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Horsetail grass.
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Perhaps a flowering red currant?
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A leafy umbrella.
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Barren strawberry flowers.
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Ivy leaved Toadflax.
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Female pheasant in the grass.
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Daffs in Pendleton Village.
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Daffodils.
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Masses of Marsh Marigolds, also known as King-Cups.
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Blue Forget-me-nots.

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I also saw my first butterflies of the season, a small tortoiseshell and a cabbage white, though still waiting to see my first swallow. Spring really has sprung….at last. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Sunday Sevens 15th April.

Hi folks welcome to another Sunday Sevens, a collection of 7 or more photos from the last 7 days. ๐Ÿ˜

On Monday eve I met a couple of friends for a date with some dogs! Isle Of Dogs is the latest Wes Anderson movie and it’s definitely got the Anderson quirkiness. The story revolves round a Japanese Cities population of dogs who are all banished to ‘Trash Island’ after an outbreak of doggy illness. One boy vows to get his beloved ( though some what tick infested! ) best friend back, so we follow the scruffy mutts adventures as they attempt to become reunited with their former humans. I quite enjoyed it. โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†

It was my sisters birthday recently so it was nice to get together with her little family to celebrate. We went out for a lovely meal to The Three Fishes in Mitton. I loved my Fish & Chips served on a fishy plate. ๐Ÿ˜Š

My sister will probably kill me ( if she reads this!) but my favourite photo that I have loved this week has got to be a selfie she took of her and the cat. ๐Ÿฑ Sis has just turned 41 and Chloe is 20 this year. Talk about the fountain of youth ladies. xx

Thank goodness Spring has arrived! Lots of colour in my local park this week. Always nice to see. ๐Ÿ˜

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Yesterday was a pleasantly warm day so we made the most of it with a couple of walks. We drove over the fells towards High Bentham, hoping to do a good hike round there.

Unfortunately we couldn’t let Hugo off lead as there were lots of ground nesting grouse in the grass. I was pretty delighted to hear their calls and catch glimpses of their eye-catching red eye flashes. I swear I saw a black grouse ( I think the one below is a red grouse) but now I’m not so sure. Anyway it was wonderful to see them….and also The Great Stone Of FourStones , a local landmark , that made us think of a mini Ayres Rock. ๐Ÿ™‚ This glacial deposit has been used as a border marker for Lancashire and Yorkshire. It is said that it was dropped on the moors by the Devil himself, whilst on his way to Kirkby Lonsdale to fashion Devils Bridge. There are well worn steps carved into the side.

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After larking about on The Great Stone we drove over to Clapham in North Yorkshire and had a wander along Clapham Nature Trail with Hugo. He had a splashing time in the brook with a couple of golden retrievers. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks to Natalie at Threads And Bobbins for devising Sunday Sevens.

The Tolkien Trail On A Rainy Day.

Typically, the day we chose to walk The Tolkien Trail dawned damp and grey, a Ribble Valley rainy day. ๐Ÿ˜ These kind of drizzly conditions are always a hit with our labrador Hugo though, so we didn’t let them dampen our spirits. Waterproofs on, we set off on our trek through boggy fields, and some of the loveliest countryside in Lancashire, unfortunately obscured by rain clouds.

Writer J. R. R. Tolkien often stayed in the area. He was writing Lord of The Rings , whilst visiting his son who attended Stonyhurst College. He and his family regularly stopped in the grounds of this stately pile, which became a boarding school in 1794 . I have no doubt the author, when out walking in the surrounding woodland and river meadows , drew inspiration from the lush greenery and rolling hillsides of this unspoilt part of Lancashire.

The route we took.

We had with us a walking guide book which contained a map and instructions for our route. Unfortunately after parking in the pretty village of Hurst Green and walking up the long drive to Stonyhurst College, we came face to face with several Private No Entry signs. Aaagh what to do! It turns out the guide book was written in the nineties, when maybe you could walk right up to the front of the building. After much discussion we decided to chance it and follow the route as it is written. Luckily it was such a miserable day that there was nobody about to challenge us!

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Cemetary on the way to Stonyhurst.
Sir Richard Shireburn started building Stonyhurst in 1592. Oliver Cromwell visited once , commenting that it was the ‘best half house’ that he had ever stayed in.
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There are two small lakes at the front of the college and lots of water fowl.

I didn’t manage to get very many photos of Stonyhurst, as I have to admit being a trespasser didn’t really help me on the photography front. ๐Ÿ˜— Happilly we were soon back on track, heading through fields with Pendle Hill supposedly on our right, hidden in the clouds.

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Shy Roe Deer.
Woodland.
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Cromwell Bridge, also built by Sir Richard Shireburn. Legend has it that Cromwell’s troops crossed it at the time of the Battle Of Preston.
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Trespassing again! Hugo on Cromwell Bridge.
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Wood Anemone flowering next to the bridge.

The rivers Hodder, Ribble and Calder can all be found in the locality. Perhaps they were the inspiration for the fictional rivers of Brandywine, Shirebourne and Withywindle.

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We walked through Winkley Hall Farm.
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Farmhouse.
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Blackthorn in blossom.
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Saw lots of clumps of primroses.
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Tree Person…..perhaps?
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The point where the waters of the Hodder unite with the Ribble.

A good portion of the walk is on the riverside and at one time a Boat House housed a ferrymen who would take travellers across the Ribble between Winkley Hall and Hacking Hall below. Soon the river Calder also joins the Ribble as it curves through the countryside.

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Hacking Hall.
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Following the Ribble.
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Pussy Willows.
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Goosander. ๐Ÿ™‚
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Hobbit Hill.

In the distance we spied the glamping cabins of Hobbit Hill perched above the valley. I wondered if anyone was staying there and if they too would try out the Tolkien Trail. Check out their website for a more up-to-date version of the walking route.

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A house called Jumbles.
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An aqueduct over the river.

Eventually the footpath passes through woodland again and then through a very muddy meadow , before we arrived back in Hurst Green. There are a couple of nice pubs in the village. One is called The Shireburn Arms and is named after the man who built Stonyhurst College and Cromwell Bridge, Sir Richard Shireburn.

Continue reading The Tolkien Trail On A Rainy Day.

Ribble Valley ~ Glamping Ideas.

Ribble Valley and Pendle Hill by Keith Melling. Click on image for website.

I must admit I am prone to taking for granted the fact that I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. If England is a ‘green and pleasant land’ then the gorgeous ‘Ribble Valley’ encapsulates this. Tucked away in the Forest of Bowland AONB , it’s lush meadows, picture-postcard villages and the historic market town of Clitheroe are all lorded over by the scenic slopes of Pendle Hill. Meandering brooks and rivers criss-cross the valley, including it’s namesake ‘the River Ribble’. Hailing from the nearby Yorkshire Dales ,the river makes its merry way through Lancashire and towards the sea, lending it’s name to an often overlooked area of the county. But with it’s thriving foodie scene, cosy watering holes, quirky independent retailers, stunning countryside and fascinating history, the Ribble Valley is the perfect destination for a break away.

With this in mind , I thought I would look into the glamping scene here. Over the last twelve months several glamping options have sprung up in the Ribble valley. And what better way to enjoy an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. ๐Ÿ˜Š


Camping Pods at Bowland Wild Boar Animal Park.

No tent needed for this back to basics style of glamping. Bring with you everything you’d need whilst camping, except for the tent. The pods are fully insulated and all usual campsite facilities can be found on site. The real charm of these camping pods is the fab location, inside the grounds of Bowland Wild Boar Park near Chipping, which is a very popular visitors attraction, especially with families. With wild animals and farm animals on your doorstep, a large kids adventure playground, tractor rides, riverside walks and a lovely cafรฉ, this glamping option sounds like a fun family favourite. Pods from ยฃ65 per night. Dogs may stay too for an extra ยฃ5 per night. wildboarpark.co.uk

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Ribble Valley Wigwams.

Set on a family run farm near Langho, these six luxury heated en-suite wigwams have views towards Pendle Hill and Longridge Fell. All cabins have an integrated shower room with walk-in shower, hand basin & toilet, electric hob, toaster, kettle, microwave, fridge and television. A home away from home! You might prefer to bring your own bedding, however you can hire a bedding pack as an additional extra. A picnic bench and fire-pit outside completes the cosy camp. There is a small shop on site in reception and a riverside walk will take you into the charming village of Ribchester, with it’s Roman Museum, art gallery and selection of eateries. Wigwam prices from ยฃ75 per night. Three of the cabins are dog friendly. wigwamholidays.com

Yurts at the Red Pump Inn.

I have long coveted a stay in a yurt and these beauties are only up the road from where I live in Clitheroe, in the tiny village of Bashall Eaves. Owned by the Red Pump Inn, there are four fabulous Yurts, set in a private garden area adjacent to the Inn. Each yurt has a king size bed with fur throws, a cosy wood burning stove, fairy lights, electric lamps and sockets and it’s own ensuite bathroom. Breakfast is included in the price and is taken inside the Red Pump , which is also a popular steakhouse and real ale pub. Nearby attractions include Bashall Barn Food Visitor Centre and the historic town of Clitheroe with its many pubs, independent shops and Norman Castle Keep. Yurts prices for a two night stay from ยฃ250. Dogs are welcome for an additional charge of ยฃ12.50 per night. theredpumpinn.co.uk

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Hobbit Hill Glamping Cabins.

Did you know that the lush green Ribble Valley inspired the writings of Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien? His son boarded at Stonyhurst College near Hurst Green and Tolkien often visited and penned much of his beloved novel here,perhaps taking inspiration from the surrounding countryside for Middle Earth and the Shire. The glamping cabins at Hobbit Hill are set on the Tolkien Trail….and look cosy enough for any discerning Hobbit. Two of the five cabins have king size beds and all have sockets, fridges, toaster and microwave plus a firepit/bbq area outside. There are toilets and shower facilities on site and some very good country pubs and cafes in the nearby villages of Mitton and Hurst Green. Glamping Cabin prices from ยฃ70 per night. hobbithill.co.uk

For more Lancashire Glamping Ideas, check out this post Can you glamp in Lancashire?

Thanks for reading.

I now feel inspired to walk the Tolkien Trail !

Spring walks, a Nature Diary and an Easter treat.

The Easter Weekend so far ~ a Good Friday walk with friends, spring shoots and wild flowers and a visit with my lovely friend Lisa to Stydd Gardens in Ribchester. ๐Ÿ˜

Blackthorn blossom
Good Friday Walkers assemble in the Calf’s Head Beer Garden.
Stydd Gardens.
Nutella Hot Chocolate and an Easter treat. Rosie Duck at Stydd Gardens.Soo good. ๐Ÿ™‚
Lovey Dove.

Treats for the dog at Rosie Duck.

My Ladybird book What To Look For In Spring helped me identify some of the spring flowers below.

Butterbur by a stream.
Golden Saxifrage.
Wild garlic leaves. I do have a recipe handy for wild garlic leaves & cheese scones!
I am going to start a nature diary for my sightings. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Easter Weekend has been lovely so far. ๐Ÿ™‚

Roll on the next two days. X

Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ March.

It feels good to join in again with Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt this month. Heres what I came up with for the prompts.

Hole. I guess the most famous hole in Clitheroe ( teehee) is the one in the front of our tiny Castle Keep. Local legends to how it got there include Oliver Cromwell fireing a cannonball from Pendle Hill. Even less likely, the devil himself flung boulders at Clitheroe Castle, also from the top of Pendle. Which do you think?

Making. I attempted to make some Chocolate Truffles from my Eat What You Watch ~ A cookbook for Movie Lovers cookbook. They ended up looking more like onion bhajis! But they do taste like chocolate truffles. Success! The recipe is inspired by Vianne’s chocolate creations in the sweetly sensual film Chocolat starring Juliette Binoche and a yummy Johnny Depp. Well worth a watch by the way. ๐Ÿ˜Š. These truffles are very rich though, I can only manage one with my mug of coffee..

Reading Now. You may be shocked to learn that I have never watched Star Wars! Yet I am reading this book by Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher. From what I have read so far she was one very funny, bat crazy, inteligent and gutsy lady. Enjoying it so far. Oh yes I know, I am still using my snowflake duvet set. Hopefully this is not a future weather prediction!

Black & White. Last weekend we met a llama and some alpaca on a walk to a local village. This black & white llama was definitely the most inquisitive and demanding, he came trotting over when he saw us stop at the fence. Wil gave him a bit of loose hay, then he tried to chomp my rucksack! I do love llamas though and a couple of years ago I dragged my family on a llama Trek in the Lakes.

Starts with an H. Well I just had to include a picture of our gorgeous Hugo for this one didn’t I. I think he is as much a part of this blog as me really. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hugo is a three year old black labrador and we have had him since he was a wee pup. I definitely have a thing about labradors now as before Hugo there was Jake, who came with Wil ( his faithful shadow) when I met him. They are such a loyal , loving , mischievous breed of dog. I can’t imagine life without a labrador.

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My Own Choice. The bright sunshine we have experienced recently has certainly brought out my blogs namesake, these cheery celandines. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Happy Easter guys. Have a fantastic weekend.

A bird and a poem ~ Little Egret.

A few weeks ago I couldn’t resist buying a little book of poetry from a book fair that I came across. The anthology is full of beautiful poems about…..birds. And each one is paired with a gorgeous illustration. The book is actually a collection of stunning avian art works that can all be found in The British Museum. It is therefore called The British Museum Birds and if you find a copy, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway I thought it might be a nice idea to pair the poetry in the book with my own photographs on here occasionally. Though I am cheating a bit today as these pictures of a Little Egret were taken by my other half on our walk by the river Ribble on Saturday. I think its quite unusual to see egrets inland, but this one has been spotted here in Clitheroe a few times recently.

The illustration in the book is Egret On Willow In Snow , a hanging scroll painting on silk by Oda Kaisen ( 1785-1862).

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Snow

In the gloom of whiteness,

In the great silence of snow,

A child was sighing

And bitterly saying : ‘ Oh,

They have killed a white bird up there on her nest,

The down is fluttering from her breast!’

And still it fell through that dusky brightness

On the child crying for the bird in the snow.

Edward Thomas ( 1878-1917)

Little Egret. Photo Credit D Wilson.

Sorry the first poem I included is quite sad. But I hope you liked it anyway. X