Hi folks , time for another Sunday Sevens, a collection of seven or more pics from my week. It’s been a strange old week that’s for sure. I am now officially unemployed/between jobs/made redundant. It’s all a bit surreal!
The bank holiday weekend included a night away in Manchester with Wil to see singer Newton Faulkner at The Albert Hall. Wow what a fantastic performer and what a wonderful venue too. Cathedral high ceilings and long stained glass windows. Another highlight was breakfast! I booked us into the Alpine style Albert Schloss right next door to the hall on Peter Street. Wil had a huge cooked breakfast ( look at that sausage! 😉 ) and I indulged in an Apple & Blueberry Cruffin. For the uninitiated a cruffin is a cross between a croissant and a muffin. It was delicious. 😁
It was also fab exploring a bit of the city I had genuinely never been to before. The olde worldy pubs, the contrasts in architecture and a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst standing on a chair in St Peters Square, all stood out for me.
I found a wildflower/plant I D ap called plantsnap recently, which is a good one to put on your smartphone if your a bit like me and constantly stumble upon flowers and wonder what the heck they are. It helped me identify the above Cranesbill I spied on the river bank as a Dusky Cranesbill.
Thursday was my last day at work with this merry lot. We have all ( plus two more peeps) now officially left our jobs on the counters at Tesco , having taken redundancy. Here we are downing some prosecco…in tiny shot glasses I may add. 😉
And my last three minutes as a deli assistant ~ my two bonkers friends Jo and Fi dressed up as those supermarket staples ‘ bottle of sauce ‘ & ‘ fried egg’ and escorted me off the premises!
Currently I’m spending a few days with family before a friend’s wedding, four nights in Ravenglass and then a camping trip at the end of the month. Those are my immediate plans.
Bristol does I suppose seem an odd choice of city break for three Lancashire lasses. But decamping to this historic South West maritime port on the banks of the River Avon definitely proved a hit with my friends Anne, Marian and I. Of course it certainly helped that Anne used to work in Bristol and knew of a few good spots to hang out. 😁
One such place was a restaurant with a view in elegant Clifton Village, a lovely suburb of the city , famous for a feat of Victorian engineering. Clifton Suspension Bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and finally completed in 1864 , five years after his death. Anne had booked a table at Avon Gorge by Hotel Du Vin overlooking the iconic structure which straddles the Avon Gorge. We made the most of a few photo opportunities on the outdoor terrace before enjoying a really delicious three course meal , a delightful ambience created by Brunel’s bridge all lit up as darkness fell.
After the meal we had a couple of drinks in Clifton Village. Well it would be rude not to try out some local Somerset Cider. 😉
On Saturday morning we headed into the city centre. Anne had booked us tickets for the Bristol Street Art Tour. Arriving early we had a little time to potter round Bristol Cathedral before meeting up for the tour on College Green. The cathedral is an impressive example of a medieval ‘hall church’ with vaulted ceilings and elegant arches. As we admired the beautiful architecture we heard serene choir music wafting from the Bristol Choir School nextdoor.
The city’s Street Art is prolific and booking the walking tour is a great way of getting to know and view some of the colourful graffiti, murals and wall art that Bristol has embraced. Big names in the Street Art world ( most famously Banksy) have illegally made their mark here, whilst other art is commissioned. The scene is transient by nature, some stunning pieces can be here today but gone tomorrow.
The above piece is a Banksy called ‘Well Hung Lover’. It was stencilled on the wall of a sexual health clinic some years ago , apparently in the early hours of the morning. It has been targeted by paint bombs but remains one of Banksy’s iconic art works.
Above are a small selection of commissioned pieces from a 2011 art project called ‘See No Evil’ based around Nelson Street in the city centre. Their sizes alone are impressive.
I loved the geisha and the kingfisher , a beautiful and recent mural by Kin Dose. I hope it remains a while.
And I’m quite taken by ‘ Break Dancing Jesus’ by Cosmo Sarsen , situated in Stokes Croft….
Just opposite Jesus is Banksy’s famous ‘The Mild Mild West’ which due to its age and type of paint used is definitely under threat of simply waring away. Do you think measures should be taken to protect the work of our most famed graffiti artist?
I’m inclined towards loving the freedom of expression in Bristol. The colourful murals and evocative works just add to its vibrancy and charm. I took lots more photos on the two hour tour and would definitely recommend to anyone staying in the city. 🙂
After two hours tramping the streets we were ready for some tasty food! Cafe Cuba , a small family run Caribbean cafe in Stokes Croft really hit the spot. I think this is the first time I have ever tried plantain.
Lunch over we headed to King Street, a colourful area of old pubs and hostelries, for a couple more ciders. And then down to the harbor side. This is when the heavens decided to open , so we whiled a way an hour or so in the free museum of Bristol life M – Shed.
Although our Saturday night plans did involve going out for a meal etc near our Airbnb in the suburb of Shirehampton, we all admitted we were actually pretty knackered and all that we really wanted to do was order in pizza, watch Britain’s Got talent and talk about Game of Thrones. So that’s exactly what we did Saturday night ! Honesty is the best policy. 😉
The next morning we were up bright and early so Anne suggested going for a stroll round nearby Portishead Quays Marina before heading home. This clean ,modern and rather picturesque marina is popular with runners, family’s and dog walkers , and it’s definitely somewhere to go and admire the boats and wonder if buying a water side apartment or even a small vessel is in your pay bracket. Well nope! But it’s fun to dream. 😁
The loop round the Marina takes in several pieces of public art ( in fact there are twenty in total) , also a few restaurants and bars, a convenience store or two and the RNLI shop near the old pier. All in all a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.
Sometimes I love to revisit places on my blog and Skipton is no exception. On Friday a friend and I took a bus over the Yorkshire border to this pretty market town, often known as The Gateway to the Dales. With its 900 year old Castle, cobbled shopping streets and beautiful woodland walks, Skipton makes for a grand day out. 🙂
As my friend had never visited Skipton Castle, we decided to head there first. The incredibly thick walls of this formidable fortress held off a three year siege in The Civil War. Visitors can explore the many rooms including The Great Hall , the Muniment Tower and the charming Conduit Court. In the grounds Spring brings a glorious display of dancing daffodils.
After aquainting ourselves with the Castle, we felt a bit peckish ! This tasty pie selection in Farmhouse-Fare was to much temptation. Pies bought, we ambled toward Skipton Castle Woods ……. in search of sculptures.
Skipton Castle Woods is a rare ancient woodland with over a thousand years of history. It’s diverse wildlife includes dippers, kingfishers, woodpeckers, deer, bats, badgers and bluebells. Paths follow Eller Beck , meandering through a green carpet of wild garlic leaves. We used the Mill Bridge Entrance to access the woods.
Since my last wander in Skipton Castle Woods two beautiful willow sculptures have appeared, both looking incredibly natural in their forest surroundings. Other new installations include an Eller Beck Information Board and a gorgeous kingfisher carved bench.
After our walk and nosy round the shops we finished our day off with cake. 🙂
My favourite place to go for tea and cake in Skipton is the colourful and Quirky Cakeole in the Craven Court Arcade.
When Wil and I visited Edinburgh recently ,we decided to leave be the usual touristy venues such as the Castle, the Camera Obscura, Mary Kings Close and the Scottish National Gallery. All these wonderful attractions are definitely worth visiting ( and we will again, I am sure), but we wanted to explore some other parts of this beautiful city.
The Scottish Capital has extensive parks, extinct volcanos, hidden bars, Harry Potter inspired locations and the most listed buildings in the world. Here are a few images from our trip.
Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden is just one mile from the city centre, and well worth the walk, if your feeling active. I must admit I was dying to visit the ornate glass houses, of which there are ten. The Victorian Temperate Palm house below is one of the tallest traditional Palm houses ever built. Because it was quite nippy, it was nice to keep warm inside for a while, so I recommend a Winter trip. Look out for the Gardens cat, a handsome black Tom, called Milo. I didn’t manage to get a picture, but he’ll be the one being fussed over by the tourists. 🙂
From the Botanic Gardens it is a pleasant walk alongside the Water of Leith into Stockbridge, an area of Edinburgh with lots of green spaces and a friendly village atmosphere. It’s plethora of independent shops and cafes makes Stockbridge a great place to linger.
Edinburgh is a walkers city! We followed the Dean Path along the waterside to the Dean Village, a beautiful Edinburgh suburb. An Instagrammer’s delight , the Dean Village is incredibly picturesque, but bring a picnic if your planning to eat here. There are no shops or cafes, though plenty in nearby Stockbridge.
One place we reserved a table for dinner was ‘ The Witchery By The Castle‘ near the castle gates. Fine dining in a gothic setting, this restaurant may set you back a few quid, but it is in a very atmospheric setting and the food is mouth watering.
We also discovered some almost hidden bars on our explorations round Edinburgh. Venture down any ginnel off the Royal Mile, and you will find a traditional real ale pub such as The Jolly Judge ( look out for the nearby Writers Museum) and The Jinglin’ Geordie. If your preference is cocktails, The Devil’s Advocate in the Old Town and Brambles in the New Town are both quite hidden from the hustle and bustle, but can get busy even so.
On the Sunday before catching our train home, we took a stroll up Calton Hill which is home to several skyline monuments. From here there are far reaching views over the city and some quite interesting structures, including a building that was once called ‘Scotland’s Disgrace’. It is in fact a half finished replica of the Athens Parthenon , a tribute to the fallen of the Napoleonic Wars. The money ran out and building of the National Monument was never completed. I quite like it though! Other iconic buildings include The Nelson Monument, The Royal Observatory and Rock House, which you can actually rent as a holiday let.
Sunday Sevens is a collection of seven or more photos from the last seven days.
Last Sunday Wil and I were still in Edinburgh, where we had spent the weekend for Wil’s birthday. Sunday morning was spent exploring the monuments on Calton Hill. Well worth a visit! I will have to get round to writing a proper post.
Our favourite meal in Edinburgh and a tick off my bucket list, was this lamb Wellington at The Witchery by the Castle. Talk about melt in the mouth dining , in a sumptuous setting.
Back home to a foggy England. I have actually had the week off work, due to having some holidays to get in before the end of March. Wil took Monday off and we went for a misty wander round the Pendle Sculpture Trail.
Clitheroe had one gorgeous bright cold frosty day which Hugo and I made the most of , with a long walk by the Ribble. I was amused when these two swans emerged from the river and promptly plonked themselves on the path in front of us.
Even though I have been in Scotland this week, I didn’t try Haggis or the traditional Scottish dessert Cranachan. Made from double cream, honey, oats, whisky & raspberries, cranachan is a simple pudding to make….even for me. 🙂 Delicious not only on Burns Night.
Noticed a few clumps of snowdrops whilst out and about this week. And discovered some hiding in my flower beds, once I tidied them up a bit. If your interested, here are a few links to snowdrop walks & weekends. Not sure I will get to go to one myself this year, as were on with decorating the bedroom.
So I was in the beautiful Scottish Capital when #photoanhour was happening over on Instagram on Saturday. Time to join in and post a few photos of my day. 🙂
First of all I had the best ever lie in. Usually I am up and about before 7am. Being away from our pets for a weekend meant no early morning wake up calls. Definitely bliss on Saturday. By Sunday though, we were missing the noisy little blighters, and fussing over every cat and dog we came across. 😉
So anyway here is how Saturday panned out in Edinburgh…..
9am ~ As we had strolled up the Royal Mile on Friday, today we decided to head over to the New Town for breakfast. We passed the impressive Scott Monument, a stunning gothic pinnacle.
10am ~ Found an Italian cafe , which I can’t remember the name of. Good coffee though and tasty breakfasts. 🙂
11am ~ It was a bracing cold day, so where better to head for some warmth, than The Glass Houses at The Royal Botanic Gardens. We kept toasty as we explored the ferns, tropical plants & cacti.
Noon ~ Time for a brew in the Terrace Cafe, and a nice slice of cake. 🙂
1pm ~ We had headed out of the centre of Edinburgh to a lovely neighborhood called Stockbridge, which has a wealth of independent shops and cool cafes. This bookshop called Golden Hare Books on St Stephen Street has so many titles to choose from…and a cosy wood burning stove.
2pm ~ Not far from Stockbridge is Dean Village, a picturesque and very Instagram able residential area which we found by following the waterside path. The beck is known as The Water of Leith and the buildings are quite beautiful.
3pm ~ There are no shops or cafes in Dean Village, so we retraced our steps back to Stockbridge and found Smith & Gertrude , which is all about cheese and wine. We indulged!
4pm ~ I’m glad we had walked everywhere today because we also ate a lot and drank a lot! These are cocktails at an almost hidden subterranean bar called Bramble on Queen Street in the New town.
5pm ~ Back at the hotel slobbing out and watching Dogs Behaving Badly. The eerie violet light can only mean, we are stopping in a Premier Inn. I actually thought I had booked us into the Hubs By Premier Inn nextdoor, but somehow I hadn’t. Not sure what happened there!
6pm ~ A quick shower before heading out.
7pm ~ A snapshot taken on the Royal Mile. The cathedral is st Giles Cathedral and on the left is the Mercat Cross. Look out for the tiny unicorn on the top.
8pm ~ Pudding at an American Diner on the Royal Mile.
9pm ~ Sad to say I am now tucked up in bed. I was thinking about starting my new book, but I’m absolutely knackered!
I’l be back with more from Edinburgh soon. Thanks to Janey and Louisa for organising #photoanhour.
There was a time when going out for Afternoon Tea was quite the norm for me. I think one year, I managed to devour ten. I know! But in 2018 I had not participated in this delightful institution until Sunday, when I joined some work colleagues for a Festive themed afternoon tea at Mitton Hall.
Mitton Hall near Whalley in Lancashire is a charming country house hotel. It’s the kind of olde worlde pile where a medieval banquet would not look out of place in its traditional oak panelled Great Hall. At this time of year a mahusive Christmas Tree welcomes you on arrival. 🙂 We immediately felt full of festive cheer.
Our Afternoon tea was booked for 5pm, so it was already dark when we arrived. After a quick refreshment in one of the cosy bars, we were lead to our table in the Brasserie.
It wasn’t long before our Afternoon Teas arrived, served on three tiers and piled high with goodies. We had all chosen the standard option which includes any hot drink of your choice and cost £17-50 each.
The bottom tier contained festive finger sandwiches, smoked salmon canopes and pigs in blankets. I always think it’s a shame that afternoon tea is more geared up for the sweet tooth. We would have loved a few more savoury items to feast upon.
However the cakes were to die for. And I am definitely a fan of cake! My personal favourite was the Lemon Drizzle..
Other sweet treats included a mince pie, a chocolate mousse ( unusually flavoured with mango, a hit with me but not for everyone) , a mini macaroon, a stollen bite and of course, plain and fruit scones, served with jam and clotted cream.
And after all that we just had to have a photo in front of the resplendent tree. 🙂
Will you be indulging in a Christmassy afternoon tea this year?
Dog friendly hikes and exploring, mostly around New England. Our Adventures includes: waterfalls, the beach, conservation land, lighthouses, state parks, the woods, the mountains, statues, and castles.
This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. I am a 15 year old young naturalist with a passion for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. I have been blogging since May 2013 and you can read my old blog posts at www.appletonwildlifediary.blogspot.co.uk