It’s the time of year when English woodlands come alive with Spring flowers. Bluebells of course and another indicator of ancient woodland, Wild Garlic. White starry globes carpeted the ground admist a sea of fresh green leaves when Hugo and I visited a local woods.
A tweet by Nature Writer Robert McFarlane ~ “Buckrams” — one of many common names for Allium ursinum, aka wild garlic, bear-leek, ramsons; filling forest floors with millions of white stars & forest air with garlicky scent. Ancient woodland indicator, bluebell co-conspirator, soup-maker…
Wild Garlic is a foraging food. I did in fact once collect the leaves to make some Wild Garlic & Cheese scones. Click Here for a baking post. It doesn’t happen often. ..
The plants Latin name is Allium Ursium. Ursium is Latin for Bear. Brown Bears once roamed our forests and wild garlic bulbs were a favourite meal of theirs. Wild Boars love them too and the flowers are popular with pollinators.
I adore Bluebells of course, Woodlands of Wild Garlic are a little bit special too.
Which woodlands do you like to visit for their floral displays?
It’s a wrap! April is over and here’s what I’ve got up to….
READING. Again I have turned into a real slow coach on the reading front. I downloaded Amanda Marks memoir of her time driving around Africa in a truck for an adventure holiday company. Tiny Amanda worked in finance and after a mugging by a gang of school kids, she decides things have got to change! I am dipping in and out of this book and enjoying finding out about Amanda’s travels and whether she does indeed, find her inner lion 🦁.
WATCHING. Lots! Here are some shows I’ve enjoyed watching in April.
Derry Girls ~ Ongoing on Channel 4 and All 4. Hilarious comedy about five teens attending a Catholic school for girls during the troubles in nineties Northern Ireland. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Hacks ~ Amazon Prime. An old pro Comedienne and a disgraced young comedy writer team up in this clever slow burner comedy drama. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Thief, His Wife And The Canoe. ITV Hub. The bizarre true story of a man who faked his own death to claim the insurance money, whilst continuing to live in the house next door. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Killing Eve ~ BBC I Player. It’s officially finished! The serial killing shenanigans of Villianelle take a backseat as the characters get their emotive…. and explosive endings. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Anatomy Of A Scandal ~ Netflix. Timely courtroom drama about a seemingly happily married politician put on trial for scandalous behaviour. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Life After Life ~ BBC I Player. Be prepared with your hankies if you watch this incredibly emotional war time drama. Ursula, a girl with an incredible sense of deja vu navigates the pitfalls of her life, again and again and again. Don’t think I will ever be able to look at silently falling snowflakes in the same way. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What have you been watching recently? Any recommendations?
EATING. Finally went out for a meal to a popular little bistro in Clitheroe, and my, the food was delicious! See above.
FILMING. Ok I have not actually been filming anything, but Clitheroe was taken over by a film crew for two weeks in April. Along with London and Athens, Clitheroe is one of the locations for new Rom Com Greatest Days ! The movie is about a group of Take That Fans navigating their lives, through the nineties until now. To a Take That Soundtrack. The town was rife with rumours that Gary, Mark and co would actually make an appearance. They will no doubt show up on location in Athens 😉 instead.
So what’s it like when your home town becomes a film set? At first I sought out the action, accidentally on purpose walking Hugo where I thought the filming might be taking place. But soon I couldn’t avoid it. Bursts of Never Forget and Could it Be Magic greeted us wherever we went. Oneday I popped to the market, only to find that nothing was for sale, the stalls had been paid to open as film props. Wil was surprised when a new hardware shop appeared , then disappeared a couple of days later. I bet all the Nineties shop signage did confuse a few people. 😀
Greatest Days will be out in 2023 !
WALKS & Wainwrights. A favourite walk of mine that I did in April was a circuit of Derwent Water near Keswick with my sister & family. I also huffed up a couple of hills. Dodd Fell above ( see exciting exploring collage) and my favourately named fell Binsey, which really should become the moniker of my next pet. What a cute name. 😘
ENJOYING.Spring Blossom ~ My local town is adundant with beautiful blossom at the moment. Gorgeous! Which is your favourite ?
Discovering New To Us Places ~ Alston is only 20 minutes drive from the caravan ,but we haven’t spent as much time there as another nearby town, Penrith. We’ve been trying to remedy that recently! Surrounded by wild moorland, Alston is known as the highest Market town in England.With cobbles and a market cross, I love this description I found online via Sally’s Cottages Guide To Alston ~ Alston is Steep, Unique and chock-full of charm ! Here’s my mini guide to my own personal favourite bits of Alston so far…….
Alston Wholefoods ~ Ethical Grocers and Delicatessen, famous for their large stock of cheeses.
Mellow Yellow ~ Aladdins Cave of clothes, accessories and gifts.
Hi Pennine Outdoor Shop ~ Outdoor clothing, equipment, maps and giftware.
Once Upon A Time ~ Eclectic Second hand book shop situated in The Alston Emporium.
Saddlers Bakery Bistro ~ Contemporary cafe and craft bakery.
Turks Head Pub ~ Cosy traditional drinkers pub with open fires, Real Ales and dog friendly.
The High Plaice ~ Popular Fish & Chips.
South Tynedale Railway ~ Charming Narrow Gauge Railway to nearby Slaggyford. Run by friendly volunteers. Lovely newly renovated cafe on the platform too.
Oh my it’s March already so it must be time to write a quick round up of my February. I have seen snowdrops , experienced some Van Time and watched a bit of good telly. Can’t be bad…..
READING ~ I haven’t finished it yet but I am enjoying reading Helen Russell’s ‘ The Year Of Living Danishly’ an amusing memoir of a Brit couples relocation to the land of Lego and Cinnamon Buns ‘ Denmark’. Apparently Denmark still tops the ‘ Happiest Country Polls ‘ 7 years after this book was published. Pass me a Danish Pastry!
WATCHING ~ I have been in a binge watching mood this February. Blame the horrid weather! I’ve been reaquainting myself with money laundering in Ozark, sinking my fangs into Wolf Like Me, preferring the new Reacher series to the Tom Cruise films and of course adoring all things Midge Maisel in The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. ❤️
EATING ~ I won’t mention my new found addiction to Pot Noodles ( aagh why is this happening! ) but instead share a photo of a delicious curry some friends cooked for us. Quite simply scrumptious.
VAN TIME ~ We did manage a couple of nights away at the caravan in-between Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice. Luckily we felt very safe and cosy inside the van. And managed a walk and a visit to Penrith whilst the weather was calm. Now that Spring is round the corner we are hoping to get away to our bolt hole a couple of times a month.
ENJOYING ~ Going Out Out. Spot Funk & Soul DJ Craig Charles in the background.
~ Signs of Spring. Despite the dismal weather there have been a couple of dry days. The sun came out on Sunday whilst walking round Dean Clough Reservoir near Great Harwood. It was a privilege glimpsing a couple of Great Crested Grebes affirming their relationship with a dazzling Water dance display.
I thought I would do a little round up post at the end of every month. Who else thinks that January has whizzed by!
READING ~ It’s been a gentle month of reading, easing me into 2022. Luckily there has been no need to buy new books or borrow any books, just yet. The first month of the year lends itself perfectly to making a start on lovely Christmas gifts , such as Angela Harding’s beautifully illustrated ‘ A Year Unfolding ~ A Printmakers View ‘. This gorgeous publication is packed full of Angela’s stunning prints of the wildlife she sees from her home in Rutland , her adorable hounds and holidays on the coast. Though late to the party I have also just finished reading Richard Osmons ‘ The Thursday Murder Club’ which I loved too.
WATCHING ~ I have watched quite a few good dramas on the box recently including ‘ Rules Of The Game’ starring Maxine Peake and David Tennant in ‘ Around The World In Eighty Days’ . My favourite show to binge watch in January was the excellent ‘ Afterlife ‘ on Netflix. I couldn’t help but blub at the end though. : ( And as for Guilty Pleasures ~ can’t help it, I’m becoming addicted to The Masked Singer as usual. 😋
WALKING ~ There have been a couple of gentle walks this month, nothing too strenuous though. I blogged about hikes in Lytham, Paythorne and Skipton Castle Woods. Hugo the Labrador always makes sure I get my steps in!
EATING ~ Wil made a delicious Burns Night Pie using Veggie Haggis , which went down well. I can’t find the actual recipe online but theres a similar one Here.
A friend and I had a delicious Belgian Waffle Breakfast at The Chocolate Works in Clitheroe recently. It’s the photo in the post header. All that fruit has got to be healthy, right. 😋
ENJOYING ~ Regaining my sense of smell after covid and loving the scents of these Lakeland Lights Candles. Hand blended in Cleator Moor in Cumbria, I fell in love with these gorgeous creations after receiving two off my brother for my birthday in November. I treated myself to a couple more recently too. Ullswater ( Grandeur) and Whinlatter ( Forest ) are my faves. So far. 🙂
~ Tartan. For some reason I am totally in love with tartan! I own a lovely tartan thermos flask and a snuggly & soft tartan blanket, both presents off my other half. They are perfect for keeping me toasty through the winter months and taking out on walks too.
~ Wordle. Google Wordle and find the online word game that everyone ( it seems like! ) Is becoming addicted to in January. The premise of finding a 5 Letter Word in less than 6 goes is both surprisingly simple yet sometimes frustratingly difficult. Enjoy!
The recent colder weather has made me crave toasty fires, cosy sofas….and hot chocolate! In the interests of this blog I thought I had better go ahead and sample some of the delicious and heavenly hot chocolates that Clitheroe has to offer. 🤩
Escape Coffee & Cocktails ~ Oh my goodness, have you ever seen anything so crazily colourful as The 🦄 Unicorn. It’s just bound to bring a smile to your face. Escape are renowned for their eye-catching creations and presently feature a Christmas Hot Chocolate and their ever popular Classic Indulgent Hot Chocolate. So why not relax in lovely surroundings and Escape to chocolate heaven.
The Beer Shack ~ If you haven’t realised yet that Craft Ale Bar ‘ The Beer Shack ‘ on King Street opens daily and in the mornings, you probably haven’t sampled one of their cute frothy Hot Chocolates, served with squirty cream and marshmallows. I love the cosy alpine feel of the place and if your lucky you might bagsy the comfy sofa or arm chair in the front room. There’s a home baked cake selection too. Yummy 😋.
Maxwells ~ Which festive delight will you partake in before you board the train bound for the twinkling lights of Manchesters Christmas Markets?? Situated near the train station Maxwells Cafe Wine Bar has a Christmas Hot Drinks Menu that includes a fabulous Ferrer Roche Hot Chocolate ( above) and a madly morish Cadburys Chocolate Orange. Both come with a mouthwatering chocolate treat.
Toms Table ~ I must admit I haven’t tried the heavenly Hot Chocolat from French Bistro Toms Table at the time of writing, but I think it may very well find its way onto my Festive Treat List. Ooh la la. 🤩
Fenners Bakes ~ What better way to warm up whilst shopping in the market town of Clitheroe, than a decadent Hot Chocolate from the bustling market itself. Fenners Bakes not only make their own delicious Chocolate Brownies, their continental Hot Chocolate is made from the finest Belgium Dark Chocolate. A real treat , it’s thick and velvety and goes excellently with a warm fluffy croissant. Scrumptious!
The Chocolate Works ~ Of all the establishments in Clitheroe that serve sensational Hot Chocolate , its The Chocolate Works that inevitably is always the first on everybody’s lips. This lovely cafe always makes me feel like I have been enfolded in the wrapper of a sublime bar of the finest freshest home made chocolate. Indeed the folks here make their very own chocolate and turn it into waffles, marvellous milkshakes, fondues and winter warming beverages. Heavenly.
Moor ~ Once you’ve tried one of Moor’s marvellous marshmallow loaded mugs of Hot Chocolate, I guarantee you will go back for more. Situated on Moor Lane ( of course ! ), this homely cafe with its unique Clitheroe floor map and pretty decor is also very reasonably priced. I am tempted to return. 🤗
Bowland Food Hall at Holmes Mill ~ I always find wandering round the Food Hall at Holmes Mill a treat ,especially at this time of year. There are plenty of mouth watering produce on display, much of it from local suppliers in Lancashire. A friend and I enjoyed a warming Hot Chocolate recently, accompanied by a dainty Portuguese Custard Tart. A delightful combination.
The Secret Garden Cafe ~ Tucked away above Clitheroe Market, this Vegetarian/Vegan Cafe is a hidden gem, a welcoming stop off after perusing the stalls. Serving fresh and tasty food including home baked cakes, their menu features both regular and vegan Hot Chocolate.This one was made using Oat Milk and was super delicious. And if your wondering, the cafe includes an adjacent Health Food Shop and Wool Shop.
Exchange Coffee Company ~ Their Three Storey Coffee House , Roastery and Shop on Wellgate has been a Clitheroe staple for many years. And the well established Coffee Company always knows how to jazz up their Winter warming beverages! I relaxed in the lovely William Morris wallpapered dining room on the second floor with a toasted teacake and a delicious white chocacino topped with half a Tunnocks Snowball. Bliss.
Hope you enjoyed my Ten Places Post. I’m thinking of doing a few others for Clitheroe in the future!
My Other Half treated me to the best early Christmas Present this year. A night away in the lovely Yorkshire Dales town of Settle and a gig in its popular Victoria Hall. It was a Sunday and quite a few shops in town were closed but there was still a festive atmosphere about the place. Here are a few photos from our trip.
We stayed at The Golden Lion on Duke Street which is one of those welcoming Yorkshire hostelries with a cosy wood burner and a good Full English breakfast. 🙂
In the evening we went to Sydney’s Tapas Bar & Restaurant for a meal, followed by Peat & Diesel at Settle Victoria Hall which amazingly is the World’s oldest surviving Music Hall.
The next morning we had a leisurely lie in ( for us!) followed by breakfast at the pub. Then there was a small detour on the way home……
It was absolutely pouring it down as we set off back. Still time for a quick visit to award winning Cheese Monger The Courtyard Dairy to finish off our trip. Cheese was tasted and cheese was bought. 😁
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. Also opening mornings for coffee & cakes. 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.
The Dispensary ~ New to the List! Craft Beer & Gin Bar also serves coffee & cakes, cheese and meat boards. Dogs welcome during the day. Moor Lane.
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.
So the world must slowly be getting back to normal , for I have been out for Afternoon Tea. Oh yes I had my cake and ate it too…..though there were definitely enough goodies left over for a doggy bag.
Gill booked a table for five at the suitably stylish Alexanders Grand Cafe & Restaurant in Skipton. Situated on High Street this elegant venue has botanically inspired decor and a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere. Perfect for whiling the afternoon away with the girls. 💗
Like all the best Afternoon Teas, Alexander’s is served on pretty vintage china. I actually used to own an identical ivy patterned teacup and saucer set , which I turned into a teacup candle in my craft fair days. I still appreciate a vintage tea service. 🙂
The food was delicious. A shot of velvety veloute, three choices of sandwich, pork pie, a selection of cute cakes and of course , a fluffy scone served with jam, strawberries and clotted cream. Tea, coffee or hot chocolate were included in the price of the afternoon tea, which was £25 per person. We additionally paid for a glass of something each, Becky and I chose a refreshing Cherry Blossom Cocktail from the cocktail menu. Cin Cin !
Afterwards I joined the girls for an hour or so, exploring the canal side and shops, before catching the train from Skipton to Langwathby in Cumbria. Langwathby happens to be a village not far from Melmerby where the caravan is based. Wil and Hugo had driven to the van a day earlier and were due to pick me up from Langwathby station. I was quite excited to board the train as I would be travelling on the famed Settle – Carlisle Railway.
This is a very scenic train journey that meanders its way through the stunning Yorkshire Dales and Eden Valley countryside. We passed over the impressive 24 stone arch Ribblehead Viaduct and through England’s highest mainline station at Dent. I did find it pretty impossible to take many good photos out of a speeding train window though, so I borrowed a couple online.
At Garsdale Station a statue of a dog on the platform peeked my interest.
Back in the 1980s the Settle to Carlisle Railway was under threat of closure. On a quest to save the iconic transport link, The Friends of The Settle – Carlisle Line managed to obtain over thirty thousand human signatures plus one pawprint signature. The pawprint belonged to The Friends co – founder Graham Nuttalls 14 year old border collie Ruswarp, a frequent traveller with him on the line.
It was Ruswarps pawprint that swung the decision and after years of campaigning the line was saved in 1989. 💗 🐾
In January 1990 Graham Nuttall and Ruswarp went walking in the Welsh Hills. Graham was never to return, his body was found by a stream eleven weeks later by another hiker. His faithful companion Ruswarp had remained at his master’s side all that time.
Ruswarp was cared for by an RSPCA vet and lived long enough to attend Graham’s funeral but died soon after. A bronze statue of the loyal collie was erected in 2009, a tribute to the many people….and one wonderful dog, who fought to keep the Settle – Carlisle Line open.
After googling Ruswarp and Graham’s story, I felt quite emotional, I can tell you. I for one am very glad that the beautiful rail route survives. I enjoyed my one and a half hour train journey from Skipton and was very happy to see my other half plus faithful companion, waiting for me at Langwathby station. ☺️
Ruswarp was not the only dog statue I saw last weekend. On Sunday we happened to be in Keswick, where we came across Max, a popular Springer Spaniel. His handsome bronze statue had only been unveiled the day before in the town’s Hope Park. You can read here about Max The Miracle Dog and his amazing fund raising efforts. I have loved following Max’s walks, along with Paddy & Harry and their owners Kerry ( and Angela behind the scenes) on Facebook, especially through the lockdowns.
Have you been for Afternoon Tea recently?
Have you travelled on the Settle-Carlisle Line?
Do you know of any other monuments to inspirational dogs?
Hi there, I have been stopping at the caravan with friends and we were using it as a base to visit some places in Cumbria and the Lakes! I thought I would update this blog everyday diary style and post at the end of our stay. 🥰
Day One. We arrived here last night , so today we nipped to nearby Penrith for supplies, had lunch, did some shopping, went for a few drinks and explored the red ruins of Penrith Castle. The girls had their nails done at a great little nail bar in town and we bought some pretty bits and bobs from a lovely clothes/gift shop called Adlib.
Day Two. An epic start to the day with an informative & interesting Whiskey/Vodka/Gin tasting tour, booked in at The Lakes Distillery near Keswick. Well Somebody had to take the morning slot. 😀
After the tour we headed to The Lake District Wildlife Park nearby. Lots of lovely animals & birdlife to learn about and admire, including Otter, Red Panda, Scottish Wildcat, Flamingo and Zebra. 🦓
An impromptu row on Derwent Water rounded up Sundays adventures. 🚣♀️ Look out for the rowing boats for hire next to the Keswick Launch & Jetty.
Day Three. A scorcher of a day! We are happily having untypically warm Bank Holiday sunshine. Our first destination was gorgeous Grasmere, the home of poet William Wordsworth and yummy traditional Gingerbread.
Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is definitely a must when you visit the village. Although the store is tiny it brims with character and the scrumptious aroma of baking gingerbread is impossible to resist. Yet more sweet treats were purchased at the Grasmere Chocolate Cottage. A short walk was needed to burn off those soon to be consumed calories.
After walking to Grasmere lake we called in at Faeryland Tea Garden which has an enviable position overlooking the water, and pretty pastille coloured rowing boats are available for hire. 🧚♀️
Although I have been to a Cat Cafe before, none of us have ever visited a Cat Bar….until now. Kittchen in Hawkshead is home to seven adorable rescue cats and serves yummy food and alcoholic beverages. Because the weather was so hot most of the furry felines were asleep, but the sunshine did mean we had the cats all to ourselves. A purrfect end to the day. 🐱
Day Four. Another hot day. Our anticipated llama trek was put back to late afternoon, so it wouldn’t be too hot for the above cute camelids, Warrior and Jester. We booked an hour mini trek with Lakeland Llama Treks based in Brougham and Melmerby. It was great fun to groom, learn about and walk with both boys to Brougham Castle ,with our lovely guide Caroline. 🦙
Day Five. The girls went on a little roadtrip to find a beach, spending a couple of hours relaxing on the sands in Maryport. Meanwhile I met up with family at my Mum’s in Askham and we enjoyed a saunter up the fell.
Day Six. Alot cooler today so we chilled at the caravan, watching films etc. It was Arwen and Tammy’s last full day with me at the van.
Day Seven. After a tasty lunch at The Old Village Bakery in Melmerby, the girls have made it home. I am presently waiting for my other half to arrive. It’s been great spending time here with friends, a treat and a bit of normality all at the same time. 😊
Instead of posting photos on the last Friday of the month, Kate is asking us to post one or more each Friday for her popular Scavenger Hunt. Today’s prompt is ….
Baking– festive or otherwise and may be share the recipe so we can all have a taste 🙂
Well I am not a good baker. As you can see below my Clementine Biscuits look nothing like they should !
The only change I made to the recipe was to use grated Clementine zest instead of orange zest because I had bought a couple of Clementines from the market . Although they tasted nice , asphetically pleasing they were not. The recipe can be found here. 🍊
The Christmas tradition of putting an orange ,clementine or satsuma in a stocking possibly dates back to the 4th century. A prosperous Greek bishop known as St Nicholas tipped gold coins down the chimney of a man who had been unable to raise the money for his daughters dowries. The coins fell into the girls stockings that were hanging by the fire. Oranges became representative of the coins and stockings continue to be hung by the fireplace on Christmas Eve.
Have you ever received an orange in your Christmas stocking?
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!