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
Got a bluebell fix on the way home from the van on Sunday. We stopped off at the pretty village of Barbon which happens to be located in both South Lakeland and within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. To my delight a nearby woodland was packed with vivid blue bluebells and other spring flowers.
We hadn’t visited Barbon before. It’s attractions include a cheeseshop/cafe and a thrice yearly car race called the Barbon Hill Climb.
Have you walked amongst the bluebells this year? Head to Barbon whilst the colours are at their best. 💙
I think we can safely say that our caravan in Melmerby is fast becoming our second home. Now that England is coming out of lockdown restrictions, we are hoping to spend more time there, hopefully at least two weekends a month. There’s still so much of the Eden Valley to be explored, not least from our own doorstep. Never one to suggest a hike up a hill, I left it to Wil to persuade me that a fell walk from Melmerby on a clear Spring day was a good idea. 🙂
After breakfast at the van, we set off from the village, following a well defined track up through woodland and into the hills. And there are plenty of hills! Melmerby sits at the foot of the mighty North Pennines.
Eventually after a lot of lagging behind I caught Wil and Hugo up. The views are extraordinary , with the Lake District fells and even the sea in sight on a clear day.
Now there are several summits in the fells above Melmerby. And Melmerby Fell is certainly one of the bigger ones at 709 metres ( not that much shorter than two of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, and higher than Pen Y Ghent ) but sorting which cairn or trig belongs to which fell is a bit tricky.
Up on the tops the weather had turned from t shirt weather to something a bit more wild and cold. It even tried to snow! We soldiered on along the Maiden Way, a Roman road later used as a Drovers route.
We made our descent by following an old tramway , now almost given back to nature. It leads down to a large lime kiln by Ardale Beck. I think the kiln looks like a miniature castle. And then on to Townhead, Ousby.
The final part of our walk took us along pretty country lanes from Ousby back to Melmerby.
In the end I was glad that Wil persuaded me to join him on this hike up Melmerby fell. 🙂
Well this year is flying by and I keep forgetting to compile a Books Read post. Here’s a quick catch up from the last three months. 📚
Heroic Animals ~ Clare Balding ( 2020). Wil bought me this and it’s a great book to dip in and out of, or just read through alphabetically. Lots of emotional true stories about animals , many who put their lives on the line for us. Some don’t have happy endings though, so keep a tissue handy. Plus the tale of Mike the headless chicken is quite disturbing. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Duke & I ~ Julia Quinn ( 2000). I enjoyed the first season of Bridgerton on Netflix, this is the novel that it is based upon, written twenty years ago now. A Regency era romance , the book series concerns the lives and loves of the Bridgerton siblings, this one in particular focuses on the lovely Daphnes quest to find a suitable husband. There is one scene in the book ( thankfully not in the TV series) that does sour the story a bit. ⭐⭐⭐
The Moth And The Mountain ~ Ed Caesar ( 2020 ). Many men who survived the first world war brought their physical and mental scars back home with them, some like Maurice Wilson must have thought they were invincible. Wilson who had never been to Asia, nor ever flown an aeroplane before, decided it was his life’s mission to fly from England to Everest in a gipsy moth, then climb to the summit of the world’s tallest mountain, completely alone. I had never heard of Maurice Wilson, a brave but foolhardy & flamboyant character. An amazing true story, I would love to see his life up there on the big screen. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Bone China ~ Laura Purcell (2019). If you fancy a Victorian Gothic tale, set in a creepy crumbling old house, this is for you. Hester Why is running away. She needs to escape her past and has fled to Cornwall to take up a position as the elderly Miss Pinecrofts nurse maid. But refuge here involves eerie superstitions, damp dark places & bone china with changing patterns. Could Hester be in even more grim peril than she was before…. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Magpies Nest : A Treasury Of Bird Folk Tales ~ Taffy Thomas ( 2020). Storyteller Taffy Thomas has brought together a collection of short stories and myths about some of our most well loved birds. Charmingly illustrated too, a lovely book for young and old readers alike. Taffy himself is a storyteller at the Storytelling Garden in Grasmere. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Snapshot Of Murder ~ Frances Brody (2018). So apparently this is the tenth Kate Shackleton mystery, but I am completely new to the book series. Snapshot was passed onto me and has alighted my curiosity! It is 1928 and lady detective Kate is taking a break from solving murders. Her other passion is photography and the local camera club has planned an outing to Haworth and Stanbury, homeland of the Brontes. But one of her fellow enthusiasts will not return from the trip and Mrs Shackletons investigative skills are called upon in Wuthering Heights country. ⭐⭐⭐
My hometown is adorned with pretty pink blossom, pom poms of pink. Take a walk with me up to the castle park and stop to admire the blooms. They look particularly striking , offset by a beautiful blue sky.
Hope you enjoyed my little tour of some of Clitheroes blossom trees. ❤️
At the weekend we made our first trip of the year to stay over at the caravan. 🥰 We decided to deviate from our normal route up the M6 after Kirkby Lonsdale. Instead we meandered through the Dales and into the Eden Valley via the charming town of Sedburgh, nestling at the foot of the Howgills. This part of the Yorkshire Dales is pretty new to us, we usually only view the Howgills from the motorway. Alfred Wainwright once described the fells as ‘ looking like a herd of sleeping elephants’. 🐘🐘🐘
After parking in the town we made our way to the River Rawthey. It was certainly turning out to be a beautiful Spring day.
Presently we came to a field where three Highland cows were residing. They seemed completely happy for us to pass by. Very chilled in the morning sunshine.
I had a plan of course! A little further on along the Rawthey I had read of an old Victorian Wool Mill. Farfield Mill hosts art & craft exhibitions, has a shop and a tearoom ,presently open as a takeaway with tables outside.
Heading back now along the river, there are more cute livestock to see. 🙂
So Sedburgh Is England’s Book Town and has more second hand book shops than Birmingham apparently!
After buying some bread from the Three Hares Cafe Bakery, it was time for us to continue on to our van in the equally lovely Eden Valley. I am sure we will be visiting Sedburgh and the surrounding area again soon though. 🙂
The weather is so surprising at the moment. Blue skies then snow. Warm sunshine. Then snow. And repeat.
I am wondering what to wear for a week night beer garden drink. Looking in my wardrobe, I seriously haven’t bought any new going out clothes since 2019! Pjamas ~ yes. Walking pants~ yes. But no new tops or dresses. However I suspect I will still be frequenting my warm puffa jacket for any approaching social activities!
At present social activities still revolve around walking, so here are some photos from yesterday’s walk along the river to Chatburn and back. A repeat of a post I did earlier in the year, but a little more wildlife on display. 🙂
Recently Hugo and I have spent a lot of time treading the boardwalks…..at the new Nature Reserve in town. Primrose Nature Reserve has opened at last! What was once an overgrown wasteland containing a mill lodge of stagnant water has been transformed, with walkways, a viewing platform and even a Monet style bridge spanning Mearley Brook. A fish pass has been installed close to the old Primrose Mill to allow salmon, trout and eels to travel upstream and gallons of silt has been removed from the lodge. I have taken a few photos which I hope will give a feel for the place. The reserve is suitable for wheel chairs, push chairs and prams and it doesn’t take very long to walk through.
To view the fish pass you have to walk up Woone Lane to the top of the nature reserve and you will be able to see it from the road next to Primrose Mill. At the moment the mill is being turned into apartments so whilst renovations are going on, here’s a photo from Instagram.
I am looking forward to the changing seasons ,to see how the area becomes established. I think the reserve is a lovely little addition to Clitheroe. A wild space in an urban landscape. 😊
It’s not often that Wil and I have a week off work together and don’t book at least a few days away. . So recently it’s actually been quite nice for us to spend some time at home pottering, doing a few jobs and erm ….eating cheese!
We started our week with a ginormous order of cheese from Tipsy Cows in Great Harwood. Their amazing cheese bags are £35 and include a pie, pate, smoked sausage, crackers, bread, a bottle of wine, chutney, grapes and of course a shed load of cheese. Still getting through it now..
From Monday we were allowed to meet up with friends & family for outdoor walks again. We met up with my sister and the kids and walked further into the Dunsop Valley. A truelly beautiful place.
On Wednesday we decided to go up to our caravan in Cumbria, mostly to check that it was still in one piece. Luckily it was! And everywhere we went there were daffodillions of daffodils. On the way we stopped in Kirkby Lonsdale for a walk.
We turned the water back on at the caravan and gave it a quick spring clean. The weather was really warm.
Back in Clitheroe, the new Nature Reserve has opened at last. As we live nearby it has definitely become our go to place for a stroll with Hugo. One morning we bought breakfast from Marks Artisan Bakery on Whalley road after our walk. Sooo good! I am making a note of the wildlife I have spotted at the reserve, which includes Little Egret, Mallards, Teal, Grey Heron and Canada Geese. I will get working on a post soon.
On Good Friday we met some friends for a walk from Worston to Downham and back. We are so lucky to live in the lovely Ribble Valley and have definitely discovered lots of new local walks and rediscovered old favourites during the numerous lock downs.
There have also been less energetic pursuits. On Saturday I met some friends for a Hip flask walk. We didn’t get very far. From one bench to another in the local park..😀
We had planned to stay home on Easter Sunday and enjoy our new fire pit. 🔥
But after checking the weather forecast we realised we would have to head back up to the caravan again and drain it down. Forcasted minus 7 temperatures meant we had obviously been too previous in opening the van up for Spring. So here are some more lovely Easter views from Melmerby where the van is based.
We also called in at my Mum’s in Askham and had a brew in the garden. Got introduced to these cuties. ❤️
Today ( Easter Monday) the sky outside is deceptively blue. It is freezing out there! There was even a smattering of snow this morning.
I have posted about the lovely Dunsop Valley before but I couldn’t resist showing some images from a 5 mile walk on Sunday morning. Only 20 minutes drive from home, the scenic Trough Of Bowland is every bit as picturesque as the Dales of Yorkshire, yet this is a Lancashire gem through and through. The area can also claim to be the Centre Of The United Kingdom, though quite a few other settlements in Northumberland, Yorkshire and even Wales claim to be also. The weather was both blustery and calm, it didn’t really know what to do with itself….
A well deserved breakfast butty topped off the end of our walk from Puddleducks in Dunsop Bridge. 🦆
Hi all I am daring to bare my travel plans on the blog. It sort of feels like we are nearing the light at the end of the tunnel and my first holiday of the year is almost within my grasp. Let’s do this!
North Norfolk Coast.
First up in May we have the North Norfolk Coast. Wil, Hugo and I stayed in an air BnB in the pretty seaside town of Hunstanton 3 years ago and we can’t wait to go back. This time we have rented a cottage near Cley Next The Sea and I’m looking forward to getting my binoculars out , the area is famed for vast beaches, saltmarsh birds and seals. There’s also plenty of seafood which Wil loves and colourful beach huts at Wells for me to gaze longingly at. 🙂
Wil is using some birthday gift vouchers to treat us to a weekend away in the picturesque market town of Kirkby Lonsdale in June. Hurrah! We know the town quite well , even so this informative post by Pack The Suitcase has inspired me to really make the most of it. Kirkby Lonsdale is on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, close to the Forest of Bowland and within the county of Cumbria.
Ravenglass & Eskdale.
It has become a yearly tradition to stop with friends in a holiday cottage in lovely Ravenglass on the Cumbrian coast. The cottage belongs in the family of friends of ours and is right by the beach. In the village a narrow steam gorge railway can transport visitors into the beautiful Eskdale Valley. Last Summer we found the perfect wild swimming spot in a secluded waterfall pool and enjoyed barbeques and sunsets from the cottage balcony. Mostly it will be fab to spend some quality time with chums. 🙂
Our Caravan in the Eden Valley.
It will be two years this year since we bought a static caravan halfway between Alston and Penrith in Cumbria. The area is part of the Eden Valley, a lesser visited, but still beautiful neighbor of the Lake District. Due to the pandemic we haven’t yet stopped at the van during April, May or June ,so we are eager to get up there when restrictions are lifted, fingers crossed. I’m looking forward to country walks and country pubs!
Belfast & the Giants Causeway.
Not that long ago The Carlisle Lake District Airport reopened and had started flying to Northern Ireland. I’m not the best flyer but if I were to travel to Belfast, a small local airport not that far from our caravan, would be an ideal starting point. I would love to discover this vibrant city with its Titanic connections and book a trip to the natural wonder that is The Giants Causeway. 🍀
A Castle in Ayrshire.
My sister has arranged a family holiday for us all in 2022 and she has booked a Scottish Castle! As there will be six adults, two children and a dog, there will be plenty of room for us all at Knock Old Castle near Largs. Doesn’t it look like it’s straight out of a fairytale. Bagsy me my own turret! My siblings and I recall happy memories of our yearly holidays to Scotland as kids, so definitely looking forward to this one. 🙂