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
The Ice Beneath Her ~ Camilla Grebe ( 2016). ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Well this book has a gruesome murder( a decapitated victim, it’s head sat facing the door) and is a somewhat bleak Nordic noir. You can feel the chill in your bones as you read. Lots of twists and turns and narrated by three characters who don’t have much going for them. There is a detective whose just about given up on life, a psychologist recently diagnosed with early onset dementia and a young lady whose fiance disappears on the eve of their engagement dinner. Kept me hooked !
The Hunting Party ~ Lucy Foley(2019). ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Oooh I love the plot idea; a group of thirty something friends spend their Christmas break hauled up together in an exclusive Scottish Hunting Lodge. Old resentments are bound to fizzle. It’s remote, there’s a snow blizzard , there’s a murderer on the loose. Cleverly told , both the murderer and the victim are not revealed until the very end.
The Little Bookshop On The Seine ~ Rebecca Raisin ( 2015). ⭐⭐⭐ Sarah Smith is offered the chance of a lifetime. A bookshop swap for six months in the wonderful city of light ‘ Paris’. It will mean leaving her jet-setting boyfriend Ridge behind, but Oh the possibilities! This is a light-hearted read about Sarah’s quest for independence ,whilst indulging her love for books and navigating life in a new city.
The Family Upstairs ~ Lisa Jewell ( 2019) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Years ago a baby girl is found happy and well cared for in a London house, a group of adults lie dead on the floor. Now on her 25th Birthday Libby Page, since adopted , finds herself sole inheritor of the house and the mystery surrounding it. As missing relatives turn up one by one, Libby is unsure of whether to embrace her new family. A twisty psychological thriller.
Invictus ~ Ryan Graudin ( 2017) ⭐⭐⭐ Faraway McCarthy ( I love that name) was born outside time. His Mother a renowned History Recorder disappeared on a later mission. Now that Faraway is of age he lands a job captaining a treasure hunting ship. But an annoying time- traveller called Elliot always seems to be one step ahead of him. This is a fun and fast paced Y A novel which includes a heist on the Titanic and a gladiatorial battle.
The Penguin Lessons ~ Tom Mitchell ( 2015) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I think it was another blogger who may have recommended this book, but I can’t remember who? Anyway I am glad they did as this is the quirky true story of a Penguin called Juan Salvador. The author Tom Mitchell recounts the time in his early twenties whilst working as a teacher in South America, and his rescue of an oil slicked Magellanic Penguin. Toms memories of smuggling his new friend out of Uruguay and into Argentina and Juan Salvador’s stay in the boys boarding school Tom works at are funny, touching and inspiring.
We started off Saturday with a yummy brunch at a lovely cafe bar in Clitheroe called Jungle. Oh so good! Definitely the best place for brunch in town. And all fueled up for the return of The Ribble Valley Mod Weekender ; the highlight of this popular event of course being The Scooter Rally through the centre.
The town centre was closed off to other traffic for the day. The smokey scent of 2- Stroke Engine Oil filled the air as hundreds of scooters drove through town at 1-30pm, it was quite a spectacle!
I love all the different colours and styles, there were some striking paint jobs.
Doe Bakehouse got in on the action with some scrumptious ‘ The Who’ donuts.
As well as scooters galore , there were 32 gigs in 14 venues around Clitheroe, most of which were on the Saturday. We only saw one band , The Racoons in Keystreet’s Acoustic Garden. They were great and the whole town was buzzing. 🛵
The village of Wetheral near Carlisle was our destination at the weekend, after our planned walk up Hartside was scuppered by mist and drizzle. A mizzley start to our Saturday did have its benefits though. Wetheral has woodland and riverside walks……and not a hill in sight. 🙂 Never mind Wil, you can drag me up the fells next time.
Wetheral has red sandstone dwellings and an attractive village green, so typical of settlements in Cumbria’s Eden Valley. Notable buildings include the Holy Trinity church with its octagonal tower and the 15th Century Priory Gatehouse ; all that remains of a small Benedictine monastery.
By the River Eden footpaths through ancient woodland lead down stone steps to man-made caves, cut into the red rock. The caves were used by the monks to hide during times of border warfare. Etched into the stone are years of signatures.
The caves are named after a St Constantine, who may or may not have inhabited them before the monks saught refuge there. It is possible to explore inside and peer through the slit windows into the river below.
On the other side of the river sits Corby Castle , the ancestral home of the Howard family. It’s Neo-classical facade can be glimpsed from a little beach, along with terraced gardens and folly’s.
My own personal favourite discovery was a wonderful winged bench! Flight Of Fancy is one of ten contemporary stone sculptures to be found along the length of the River Eden. They are called The Eden Benchmarks and here are Some more we found earlier. 🙂
From the benchmarks vantage point we had a clear view of Wetherals 5 Arch Viaduct, known as Corby Bridge. Trains still travel overhead , bound for Newcastle and Glasgow.
After our potter around Wetheral it was time for a spot of lunch. The village store and Post Office is also a cafe called The Posting Pot. We sat at one of the outside tables and people watched. My cream of tomato soup and savoury cheese scone were divine. 🍅
And on the way home I got Wil to pull up at a roadside farm selling one of my most favourite Autumn blooms, the Chinese Lantern. Those flame coloured flowers certainly brought a hint of colour to the caravan decking.
Welcome back to Lancashire for this walk which is a couple of short train journeys away from my hometown of Clitheroe. We don’t use the train often enough and hope to remedy that when finding future hikes. This walk is featured in the Guide To Lancashire Pub Walks by Nick Burton, a handy little pocket size publication. We did a few of the walks mentioned during the first lockdowns , when the pubs weren’t even open. Happily not so the case now. 🙂
Anyway we caught a train from Clitheroe to Blackburn and then went on to the village of Pleasington from there. The whole journey took about 40 minutes including connection time. The walk took us up The Yellow Hills to see The Wainwright Memorial and then through woodland and Witton Park. Refreshments at The Railway Hotel in the village , at the end.
After walking through some woodland we ascended the gentle slopes of the Yellow Hills to come across the Wainwright Memorial , a fitting tribute to the Blackburn born Fell Walker, writer and illustrator Alfred Wainwright. As a young man Alfred would walk in these hills above Blackburn. On a clear day he would be able to glimpse upon the fells of the Lake District, they would eventually entice him to Cumbria where he recorded his hikes in his famous Pictorial Guides.
We walked on to Witton Park, following woodland paths downwards through Billinge Wood and Crow Wood. The Crow Sculpture I had hoped to see didn’t appear to be there ( unless we somehow missed it !) , though there was an information board near where I thought it should have been. And there were plenty of real crows, magpies and other wildlife in the woods.
Witton Park is vast, covering 480 acres. It is Criss crossed by various walking trails and has a visitor centre. We will have to return oneday as we didn’t come across the centre and only saw a small part of the grounds on our walk. After crossing Butler’s Bridge it was a short meander up past the Priory and back into Pleasington.
Map ~ OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors.
Book ~ Guide To Lancashire Pub Walks by Nick Burton.
So it’s raining cats and dogs and you’re out and about in Clitheroe with your four- legged friend. It’s not Beer Garden weather, so where can you and Rover ( or Hugo in my case! ) go to shelter from the rain, sit down with a coffee, relax with a pint, or indeed indulge in a little re Tail therapy? I have put together a list of such places that you and your pooch can enjoy in our Ribble Valley town. 🐶
SHOPS. Clitheroe has a good selection of shops that welcome dogs, many of which are independent retailers. ❤️
Banana News ~ Friendly News Agents in the centre of town. Castle Street.
Bodycare ~ Discount Health & Beauty products. Castle Street.
PUBS AND BARS. Clitheroe has many a pet friendly pub or bar. We are very lucky. 🐩🐾
The Ale House ~ Town centre Micro pub serving cask ales and bottled beers. Market Place.
The Beer Shack ~ Craft Beer bar specialising in craft beers and ciders. Charcuterie boards and beer snacks served too. Semi covered outdoor area at the back. King Street.
Bowland Beer Hall At Holmes Mill ~ For the Real Ale fan, the Beer Hall at Holmes Mill has 42 Cask ales on tap and has lots of original features from its industrial heritage , including a huge steam engine. Serves Bar Meals. Greenacre Street.
Corto ~ Craft Beers, Natural Ciders, Natural Wines, Cheese Boards and Good Vibes. King Street.
Edisford Bridge Country Pub ~ Country Pub on the outskirts of Clitheroe. Small indoor area for eating with your dog. Lovely beer garden too. Good food and perfect for river walks.
The Emporium ~ Elegant bar and restaurant with dog friendly ground floor. Moor Lane.
It was a certain Black Labradors 7th birthday at the weekend. Hugo enjoys opening his own presents. Tearing off the wrapping paper and shredding it into little pieces is all part of the fun. 🙂
To avoid the Bank Holiday crowds on Saturday we headed over the border into County Durham , another county within half an hour’s drive from the caravan.
Our first destination was Cow Green Reservoir , the water of which shone a stunning topaz blue. From here we walked to the nearby Cauldron Snout Cascade, one of the longest waterfalls in England. There were a few walkers doing the Pennine Way, but mostly we had the place to ourselves.
After eating a picnic lunch looking out over the water we decided to drive to nearby Killhope Lead Mining Museum in Upper Weardale. We didn’t do the underground mine tour but did spend a good couple of hours exploring the overground.
Up until the 12th of September there are five large billboards to find outdoors, as part of The Architect Of Ruins Exhibition by Steve Messam. They look particularly striking against the rural/industrial backdrop. I was also delighted to see several Red Squirrels from the Hide in the Woodland. Dogs are welcome at Killhope and the attraction is currently free!
On Sunday we headed to Allonby , a favourite beach of ours for walks with Hugo. On the way we called in at a farm that had opened their Sunflower 🌻 field up for charity. It was amazing to see all those golden flower heads waving in the breeze.
Before we set off home on Monday we took Hugo for a walk in the grounds of Acorn Bank at nearby Temple Sowerby. The gardens, grounds and water mill are open to the public and owned by the National Trust. There are some lovely Woodland walks here, perfect for wildlife spotting and walking the hound. 🙂
It was a bit of an action packed bank holiday weekend. Hopefully Hugo enjoyed his birthday. And thank you to my wonderful other half for driving. He’s definitely a good un. 😁
Although I shared a very lazy story post when I got back from my holibobs on the coast, I do think it would be a shame if I didn’t blog a little bit about my stay in lovely Arnside.
Arnside is a village on the Kent estuary, where the river meets the sea, overlooking Morecambe Bay. A former fishing port, the resort is now a popular little holiday destination.
We stopped at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks which is situated on the sea front. Dating back to 1660 the pub is one of the oldest buildings in the village and a cock pit still exists under the restaurant floor. Today’s guests can enjoy simple pub food, a good selection of ales and gins and a warm welcome, canine visitors too.
All Arnsides seafront views take in the impressive 50 Span Viaduct , with regular trains making the crossing over the River Kent. The Railway Station is excellent with great services to Carlisle, Lancaster and Manchester. Oneday we took a train to nearby Ulverston , the coastal route is truly stunning and definitely worth doing. 🙂
On a clear day the diminutive Arnside Pier must surely have the best vistas of any seaside pier. The Lake District fells are misted over in the above picture though.
I love the 2 Minute Beach Clean Stand on the sea front. Litter pickers and bags are provided and anyone can go and do their bit. I must admit the beach was noticeably rubbish free. 🙂
There are some lovely local businesses in the village to mooch round. I loved them all ! I did treat myself to a few things including a cute fox pin from The Little Shop and a bottle of gorgeous smelling hand lotion from Homeleigh Vintage .
Make sure you wander up Pier Lane when shopping. There’s a fab sweet shop, a cupcake shop and a wonderful art gallery there, all almost hidden from view.
And we can also recommend the bijou but belting The Wayside Cafe near the railway station for coffee, cakes and delicious brunch options.
I do love a pub with a view. 🙂 Arnsides other watering hole The Albion has possibly even better estuary views than Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. We certainly had a few beverages sat outside of an evening.
As new visitors to Arnside we got incredibly excited ( ok I got incredibly excited) on our first night when a sound rather like a wartime air raid siren suddenly filled the air. Having read that a warning siren precedes the arrival of the Arnside Tidal Bore, I immediately started scanning the horizon for an impressive wave rushing up the estuary. An hour later ourselves and a couple of other tourists were still sat watching ( and freezing our bits off, the wind had gotten up) whilst all the locals had disappeared inside. The Bore didn’t make an appearance !
It turns out that the Sirens tend to go off regularly anyway, but it is only in certain high tide conditions that a tidal bore occurs.
If you want to keep an eye out for the bore virtually The Arnside Chip Shop is home to the Pier Webcam and there are a couple of good videos to view on the website. Also I have to say , awesome fish & chips !! But be warned , this is a very popular chippy….
We fancied a fish & chips supper one evening and the queue didn’t seem very long. When I placed my order at the counter though, the apologetic server told me there would be a 1 Hour 20 minute wait! She then gave me this chunky ‘ vibrating device’ that counts down the time and starts vibrating even faster when your order is done. Cut to us sat outside The Albion with a siren booming across the bay and a constantly vibrating handbag. 🤣 Our supper was definitely worth the wait but as the wind had whipped up we took it back to the room and consumed with mugs of wine. 😊
There are some great beach walks from Arnside to Sandside or the pretty village of Silverdale. Or you can head up Arnside Knott for scenic views over the bay. Signposted from the village, the Knott is a small hill with big vistas and well worth the climb. Known for its varied wildlife especially wading birds and rare butterflies , the whole area is a nature lovers paradise. 🙂
A myriad of footpaths Criss cross the Knott and surrounding countryside. A beautiful place indeed. 😊
Hopefully you have enjoyed my little tour of Arnside as much as we enjoyed our visit to this quirky and delightful seaside village. 💕
I didn’t read many books through the bulk of the Summer months and as usual I have been slow to write up about what I did read. Here is a quick catch up. I seem to be favouring Gothic Mysteries and Thrillers at the moment.
The Diabolical Bones ~ Bella Ellis ( 2020). This is the second of two mysteries that puts the Bronte siblings at the forefront of their own fledgling detective agency. The chill cloak of Winter has covered Haworth and the surrounding moorland, when a bleak discovery is unearthed at the remote farmhouse of Top Withens , a child’s bones in the chimney space of a seemingly haunted room. The literary family are brought to life so well in this shadowy gothic tale that combines science, the supernatural and a twistedly devilish villain. More please. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wakenhyrst ~ Michelle Paver ( 2019). Edward Stearne rules his home ( the isolated Manor house of Wakes End) and family with an iron rod. He’s also a religious fanatic slowly descending into madness. Maud his scholarly daughter spends time in the surrounding forbidden fens to escape the chlostrophobic household , her only friends being a wild magpie and a wild fen dweller. An atmospheric tale set in the Edwardian era. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Picture Of Dorian Gray ~ Oscar Wilde ( 1890 ). I had watched film versions of Oscar Wilde’s only novel and seen the handsome narcissistic character of Dorian Gray appear in the TV series Penny Dreadful, yet It has taken me until now to actually get round to reading about Dorian’s pact with the devil , his longing for eternal youth. Whilst our protagonist appears forever young and beautiful, the true Dorian is the one in his portrait, hidden from public view. With every selfish thought, every wicked deed ,the picture of Dorian Gray becomes all the more grotesque and hideous. As time goes on Dorian’s pursuit of pleasure leaves destroyed lives and reputations in tatters. Would you sacrifice your soul for eternal youth? ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Mapping Of Love & Death ~ Jacqueline Winspear ( 2010 ). Maisie Dobbs is a detective, perhaps an unusual occupation for a female in the interwar years. Her latest case ( this is the 7th book in the series, there are more that follow) finds her commissioned to solve the suspicious death of a wartime cartographer. His affair with an English nurse takes Maisie back to her own doomed wartime romance. A slow paced but readable mystery. ⭐⭐⭐
And that is about all I read through May to July. Thanks for reading!
Of the Flowerpot Festival in Settle, the Visit Settle website says ‘ Be Entertained, Astounded and Astonished by the beautiful flowerpot displays in our lovely town’. I couldn’t agree more! Here are a small selection of what we spotted when we dropped by Settle last Saturday afternoon. The Yorkshire Dales town is showcasing it’s stunning flowerpot creations until the first week of September.
On Sunday we were in Northumberland, a county we are discovering more of from our caravan base in the North Pennines. We visited Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 73 mile wall was built under the orders of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD122 , guarding the Northern frontier from invaders further North. Today what remains of Hadrian’s Wall is looked after by English Heritage and other organisations.
We parked at Housesteads Roman Fort and walked along the Hadrian’s Wall Path as far as Sycamore Gap, about 4 miles there and back. Confusingly Housesteads is looked after by both English Heritage and the National Trust, yet the car park is run by National Parks. So as NT members we still had to pay for parking. Then I realised I had left my membership card at home anyway! So we didn’t bother paying to see the fort remains, we just went a walk instead.
The wildflowers along the wall are beautiful. Plenty of harebells, knapweed, ladies bedstraw and field scabious. The heather was just starting to bloom and mountain pansies were dotted here and there.
Your not really meant to sit on an ancient monument but Hugo and I did have one quick photo taken just before Hotbank Farm. A very scenic spot for a hill farm. 🙂
To the left of Hotbank farm lies a body of water called Crag Lough. I had no idea before I wrote this post that lakes in Northumberland and very Northern England are known as loughs . There are several loughs near Hadrian’s Wall.
Sycamore Gap is an iconic and well photographed spot along Hadrian’s Wall. A few hundred years old Sycamore tree 🌲 grows in the dip. The sycamore is known as the Robin Hood Tree as it appeared in the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves.
My goodness, there is so much more to discover in this fascinating part of the world. I am sure there will be future posts!
This blog reflects influences from the Philadelphia and Northeast region. It explores perspectives on life, encouragement, travel, wellness, and local living so that you can really enjoy this unique community!