Category Archives: Pretty things

30 Before 50 Bucket List.

I’ve wrote my new Bucket List, though I can’t say I’m loving the title! But yes I am now 45 years old and having written a 25 Before 45 Bucket List when I was a mere age 42, I thought I would continue with the bucket listing lark, through the rest of my forties. πŸ™‚

There were a few items on my previous list that I never got round to ticking off, so I have included some of them on here. I would still like to swim in a lido, see the Northern Lights and try a Dutch pancake in Amsterdam. And there are plenty of new ideas too, such as watching a starling murmuration, collecting sea glass from the beach at Seaham in County Durham and eating ice cream in a vintage ice cream parlour. I’m excited to get cracking!

And I’ve already crossed two things off my new Bucket List. I managed to take a photo of a Barn Owl that was hunting in the field next to my sisters house ( wow, they are such beautiful birds) , plus I went to watch a movie in an old vintage cinema , which has definitely made me want to do more of the same in the future. πŸ™‚

My Bucket List.

Watch a film in an old vintage cinema.

Climb ten more Wainwrights.

Eat out at The Witchery in Edinburgh.

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I’ve only done two Wainwrights ever, so hopefully having them on my bucket list will encourage me to do more!

Go on a guided wildlife walk.

Swim in a lido.

Walk The Dales Way.

See the Northern Lights.

Try a Dutch Pancake in Amsterdam.

Collect sea glass on Seaham beach.

Dutch Pancakes in Amsterdam. Image from Pinterest.

Stop in four quirky holiday lets.

Go wild camping.

Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23 in Manchester.

Explore more of the Outer Hebrides.

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Barn Owl in my sisters croft.

Stay a few days in the Peak District.

Go to the No 6 Festival in Portmeirion.

Photograph a Barn Owl in the wild.

Ride a street car in Lisbon.

Watch a starling murmuration.

Go Ice skating outdoors.

Make an honesty box meal.

Yellow Street Car in Lisbon. Image from Pinterest.

Be Nine stone.

Visit Dungeness in Kent.

Eat ice cream in a vintage ice cream parlour.

Cycle round the isle of Cumbrae.

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Meet Felix the Huddersfield Railway Cat.

Go for a cream tea at the home of the Yorkshire Shepherdess.

As you can see, I have left a few gaps in my list, in case I think of a few more things I would like to do.

Do you have your own list?

Have you seen or done anything that I have mentioned here? x

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25 Before 45 Bucket List ~ How did I do??

So as November is my Birthday month , I thought I had better check on my 25 Before 45 Bucket list progress. Considering I am now almost the grand old age of 45 ( Sob! ), I think I haven’t done to badly with the list. I have managed to cross off 15 out of 25 of the entries I wrote down two and a half years ago. Some I still would like to do and I am sure I will probably write another list soon, and add them to it. But for now , here is how I did.

1.Learn to crochet. Discovered this isn’t my bag. 😐

A friend and I had a crochet lesson and I just couldn’t master it. Kind of knew I would find it difficult, as I can’t knit either. Imagine me looking quite confused and then thoroughly bored, with my hands tied in woolly knots.

2.Find a keep Fit Regime I like. Done! I have enjoyed the #walk1000miles challenge and am still continuing. Hopefully 1500 miles this year and maybe 2000 in 2019.

3.Eat a Dutch Pancake in Amsterdam. Haven’t got round to visiting Amsterdam yet. Its definitely somewhere I intend to go for a long weekend.

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Kingfisher , spotted by a boat in Knaresborough.

4. Photograph a Kingfisher. Done! Got my photo on the river Nidd in Knaresborough. πŸ™‚

5.Make an Honesty Box Meal. Still need to create a meal from produce bought from the side of a country road.

6.Read To Kill A Mocking Bird. Done! Bought the book from a second hand book shop in Fargo village in Coventry and loved it. I then just had to watch the Gregory Peck film from the 60s and found it to be a great adaptation of the novel.

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Wrap up warm for Picnic Cinema. Bear suits optional.

7.Watch a Film outdoors. Done! Wil and I Saw a British black comedy called Sightseers at Lowther Castle, under the stars. Sightseers at Lowther Castle~ with Picnic Cinema.

8.See the Northern Lights. Maybe another trip to Iceland beckons. We chased the lights four years ago , with little success. I don’t really need an excuse to revisit !

9.Have a Vintage Make over. I’m not to bothered about this one anymore. Glam is just not me , to be honest. Does a Wham Tribute night , where my friends and I dress up in Eighties style Choose Life T-shirts and tutus count? πŸ˜‰

10.Swim in a Lido. Well I can’t believe I never got round to swimming in a Lido! Ilkley Lido in Yorkshire is the nearest one to me, so hopefully next Summer……..

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Real Ale Rail Trail.

11. Go on a proper picnic with a picnic hamper. Done! Bought a hamper from a charity shop and enjoyed a picnic by the stream in Dunsop Bridge. Unfortunately Hugo took a chomp out of the cake!

12. Be Nine Stone! A-hem, Nope!

13.Stay in a Bothy. Definitely in two minds about this one. The type of bothy I mean is one of the very basic Mountain Bothy Association stone buildings that you find in remote parts of Scotland etc. They are free to stop in, though you might have to share with other hikers. I wrote a post about them called Would you stay in a Bothy? I think I may actually prefer Wild Camping though, as you are zipped up in a tent, and there is no danger of a mouse running up your trouser leg…….

14. Photograph a Barn Owl in the wild. When I wrote this I had actually seen Barn Owls several times. Since then, none at all. 😦

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Our Llama trying to appear as short as us. Cheeky!

15. Do a Rail Ale Trail. The East Lancs Rail Ale Trail from Bury to Rawtenstall. Done! All Aboard for a Rail Ale Trail Tour.

16. Take Part in a sponsored Charity Event. Done! Raised money for the East Lancashire Hospice, whilst walking across Morecambe Bay. The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk.

17. Have Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23. I have really been slacking in the Afternoon Teas department in 2018. Up to press , I haven’t indulged in this very British Institution, all year. I do like the idea of partaking in Afternoon Tea in the clouds though, so Cloud 23 ( at the top of Beetham Tower) your still on my list. πŸ™‚

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Hugo and I doing the doggy paddle over Morecambe Bay.

18. Enter Hugo in a Doggy Competition. Done! Entered Hugo in a bonnie dog category at a local pooch show. He didn’t get placed, even though he is of course, the most handsome boy in the world. I am one highly prejudiced doggy Mum!

19. Get Engaged! Haha.

20. Bathe in a Turkish Baths. Done! The Turkish Baths in Harrogate are a relaxing and fun experience. πŸ™‚ If your ever in Harrogate , treat yourself….

21. Go trekking with llamas in the lakes. Done! Loved spending time with family and some very cute llamas ~ Llama Trekking in the Lakes. πŸ™‚

22. Experience a night out down Canal Street. Done! The rainbow village in Manchester, a top night out!

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Let Snoozy Cats lie. Cat CafΓ©, Manchester.

23. Do the Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk With the Queen’s Official Guide. Done! See number 15.

24. Visit the new Cat Cafe in Manchester. Done! My friend Lisa and I spent some quality time eating cake and stroking cute kitties. Cat Cafe Manchester.


25. Cook a proper Sunday Roast Lunch ( I almost never cook!). Done! I know its a shocker that up until my 45th year, I had never made a roast dinner. Please don’t judge me. ;). Thanks Wil for overseeing my attempt at Sunday lunch. Yes I did cheat somewhat as I bought ready made gravy, Yorkshire puds and a tray of pre prepared veg to roast. But It still counts….I hope. πŸ™‚

Sunday Dinner. πŸ™‚

What would you put on your Bucket List?

A cosy cabin in Slockavullin, Kilmartin Glen.

Although I am back to work now and therefore back to normality, writing blog posts about my trip gives me a chance to reminnis about what was a very enjoyable holiday. After spending a short time on Skye and a week on North Uist ( post coming soon!) ,we fancied a few days on the equally lovely Scottish mainland.

I had booked a cabin in Kilmartin Glen in the heart of Argyll using airbnb. The 1930s hut resembles a wooden train carriage and stands in a small orchard next to the owners garden. Costing a very reasonable Β£170 for 3 nights, the cosy cabin was full of thoughful touches, including a vintage style radio, a wood burning stove and a cupboard brimming with books and games.

The tiny village of Slockavullin where our accommodation was located is almost hidden away, nestled in woodland amongst the many ancient monuments ( 800 apparently! ) that reside in historic Kilmartin Glen. A thirty minute walk will lead you to the slightly larger village of Kilmartin ,where there is a village pub, cafΓ© and museum.

It was very easy to fall in love with the cabin. Its shape definitely reminded me of a train carriage or even the showman’s wagon in Cornwall that we stayed in a couple of years ago. β€˜The Duke’ at Spring Park ~ Our stay in a Showman’s Wagon.

However this cosy retreat was purpose built as a cabin and the present owners have lovingly created a darling holiday home from it.

One quirky touch was the outdoor bath-tub , the water can be heated by lighting a fire underneath. However I never did get round to trying an alfresco dip!

Hugo was eager to explore of course! There are plentiful walks on the doorstep, many lead you past ancient burial cairns, standing stones and stone circles.

Temple Wood Stone Circle.

On our walks we saw lots of……hooded crows. To be honest I got quite excited as there are none in my neck of the woods. πŸ™‚

And your never very far from a Highland Cow. The hardy breed originated in the Hebrides and the Highlands and is now found all over the world.

A short drive from Slockavullin is Dunadd Fort, the Iron-age remains are a steep clamber up a rocky outcrop, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Ancient Gaelic Kings were created here and the Footprint of Fealty was believed to be part of the Dal Riata Kingdoms coronation ritual. They must have had quite small feet though!

2km North of Kilmartin village is Carnasserie Castle, a ruined 16th-Century tower house.

Moine Mhor National Nature Reserve is one of the last wild, raised bogs left in Britain. 242 species of lichens have been recorded here and the reserve is home to the marsh fritillary butterfly and two pairs of nesting hen harriers.

And your never to far from the coast. Crinan Ferry Beach is a long walk or a short drive from the cabin. In the old days a little ferry took sheep and cattle over the estuary. I have a blog post waiting to be written about a lovely walk we did along the picturesque Crinan Canal.

But for now, back to our holiday abode, where the apples and plums in the orchard tempted me to make a crumble. And hot chocolate with marshmallows were very kindly supplied by the owners, as well as fresh milk, eggs, oatcakes, jams, juice and cereals. πŸ™‚

And after a packed day of exploring, little Hugo was always happy to snuggle by the wood burner. πŸ™‚

Future Scotland Posts will include our week in the Outer Hebrides and Britain’s most beautiful shortcut. πŸ™‚

Were All Mad Here ~ Callooh ! Callay Tea Rooms in Clitheroe.

Ah but where in Clitheroe can you find a White Rabbit, a March Hare, a sleepy Dormouse and a Mad Hatter taking tea? There’s a very good chance you might, at Callooh! Callay , an Alice in Wonderland inspired Tea Room on Moor Lane. If your up for a Mad Tea-party…. or simply a tea-time treat, this is the place to come. ♀♑◇♧

Now Callooh Callay has been open for a few years now. In fact I had my 40th Birthday ( or should that be Un-birthday) tea-party here, four years ago. Sob! How time flies and where’s my pocket watch. Its recently become under new ownership and happily the owners have continued with the Wonderland theme.

My friend Lisa and I bobbed in for a brew yesterday and we couldn’t resist the tempting array of cakes on display. Lisa chose a slab of delicious millionaires shortbread and I ordered a slice of starry chocolate cake. It went very well with my March Hare Perk Me Up Peppermint Tea. Delightful. πŸ™‚

As you can see everything comes served upon lovely mis-matched vintage china. Pink flamingos adorn the cafe walls.

After our refreshments we bobbed upstairs for a nosy. There are two further rooms and a cute bathroom on the first floor.

Upstairs you can browse in the newly opened craft shop and there are plans afoot for Craft and Natter mornings.

The cafe now extends to upstairs too. I love the ambience in this cosy room. Now available to hire for private parties, the dressing up area in the corner is a nice touch. I can see my niece and god daughters loving it here. 😁

Callooh Callay is open every day 10 ~ 5pm and 12 ~ 4pm on Sundays. Maybe Alice herself will welcome you!

And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’

He chortled in his joy.

From the poem JABBERWOCKY by Lewis Carroll ~ Alice’s Adventures Through The Looking Glass.

Harrogate.Β 

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A few weeks ago we spent a couple of nights in the Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate. This charming town is the ideal mini break destination , boasting elegant architecture, beautiful parks, art & theatre, olde worldy pubs, over 130 restaurants and shopping galore. Whats not to love!

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From the cobbled streets and boutique stores of the historic Montpelier Quarter to the chilled 70’s vibe of Major Tom’s Social, we discovered some fab places, yet there is still so much left to explore.  Which of course can only mean, we shall have to return. 😁

Wil had booked us into one of these lovely apartments , quite centrally located,  off  Cold Bath Road.  Because we had planned a morning at the Turkish Baths Hugo did not accompany us on this trip. But just in case your wondering, our accomodation did turn out to be pet friendly, so he could  definitely come with  us in the future.

I’ve made a little list of some of my personal favourite places that we came accross in Harrogate.  😁

 

 

Major Tom’s Social.   Describing itself as a ‘ Youth Club for grown ups’ this laid back hangout above a retro vintage shop specializes in selling craft beer and real ales. Also on the menu are fantastic stone baked pizzas made freshly on site. We spent an enjoyable couple of hours here one evening chilling out on a comfy sofa and soaking in the 1970’s flavour of the place. Dotted around Major Toms are allsorts of retro memorabilia and like it’s name suggests it’s a very sociable bar, welcoming everyone including families with children and dogs too.  www.majortomssocial.co.uk

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Covet.   A few doors down from  Major Tom’s Social is an eclectic gift and interiors emporium called Covet  which has a sister store in Ilkley.  Packed full of unique pieces this quirky independent is a treasure trove of the unusual. I wish I had gotten a photograph of the ground floor as some of the more unusual items for sale included wire moose heads and taxidermy butterflies. Well worth a browse for a thoughtful gift or interesting pieces for the home.

 

 

 

 

Baltzersen’s.   Sometimes it’s good to try something a little different and Harrogate certainly caters for all tastes. Balterzen’s on Oxford Road uses Yorkshire sourced produce in its  Scandinavian inspired menus.  This place was buzzing when we arrived on a Saturday lunch time so it’s probably best to roll up early to miss the queues. I tried a delicious open sandwich with maple and mustard roasted root veg , houmous and pickled baby carrots. Was soooo good!  Other goodies on the menu include Lentil and root veg Lapskaus ( Norwegian Stew) , Gravlaks on potato cake with poached duck egg & sweet dill dressing and Mackerel Pate with rye toast, gooseberry chutney and feta salad. www.baltzersens.co.uk

 

 

Betty’s Tea Rooms.  No visit to Harrogate is complete without a trip to Betty’s.  This Yorkshire institution blends the county’s friendly  hospitality with elegant surroundings and a distinctly Swiss flavour. It’s founder Frederick Belmont was born and raised in Switzerland almost 100 years ago. Bettys is renowned for its delectable cakes and chocolates and of course Afternoon Tea ,which has been enjoyed here for nearly a century. One way to avoid the crowds ( Bettys is extremely popular) is to treat yourself to a Betty’s breakfast early in the morning. My Swiss Rosti set me up the day. Make sure you check out the gift shop too with it’s dazzling array of baked goods and confectionary.  www.bettys.co.uk

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Turkish Baths.  Harrogate is  home to Britain’s most fully restored Turkish Baths, dating back to the 19th Century. I have long wanted to discover them for myself, so I booked us both in for a Saturday morning session. πŸ™‚  The Turkish Baths experience begins in the elegant Frigidarium above, where you gradually become acclimatized to the warmth. Next it’s a case of braving The Steam Room, The Tepidarium ( warm room), Calidarium ( hot room) and Laconium ( hottest room) with showering and immersions in the invigorating plunge pool in between. And then…. simply…repeat!  What I treasured most about my visit was admiring the stunning moorish architecture. The Baths are so beautiful and definitely worth a visit. Make sure you book, take some flip flops ( the terrazzo flooring gets quite hot) and drink plenty of the free water that is provided.  www.turkishbathsharrogate.co.uk

 

The Little Ale House.  A very happy discovery , the Little Ale House on Cheltenham Crescent is Harrogate’s first Micropub. Cosy and friendly with a great selection of real ales and gins, this bar is run by a young husband and wife team , often accompanied by their gorgeous collie cross rescue dog. πŸ™‚ A tiny pub but well worth a visit if you can squeeze in. Oh and the pork pies are to die for!

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Weetons Food Hall.  My browse round Weetons was all to brief ,but if you are a foodie you will definitely enjoy perusing the many goodies on offer in this attractive Food Hall. Overlooking the Stray ( one of the town’s many green spaces) Weetons also has a restaurant , an award winning butchers and lots of mouthwatering displays. www.weetons.com

 Have you ever been to Harrogate?  Where would you recommend me to visit on a future trip? I am sure I will return. πŸ™‚

Two Eden Valley Houses in Autumn.

Once you have scaled the heights of Wainwright’s fells and completed The Ullswater Way, there are gentler pursuits to enjoy in Cumbria’s ‘Eden Valley’.  Only minutes drive from the historic market town of Penrith stands a 15th century fortified manor , with an unusual sanctuary door knocker  and a  fine stately home famed for its annual Marmalade Festival.

Last Sunday I took a few photographs of both Brougham Hall and Dalemain House. It was a perfect sunny Autumn day, and though our visits to both were brief, I hope my pictures inspire you to look them up when you are next in the area.

Brougham Hall 

The historic remains of the home of the Brougham family date back to Tudor times . The Hall and several other buildings lie inside the thick fortified walls in the small parish of Brougham. Sir Winston Churchill commandeered the site for secret military research during WWII.   Renovations here are a work in progress, so do not expect a grand old house. Instead delight in the area’s history, enjoy a stroll round the grounds and browse the array of arts and crafts workshops in the courtyard. There is a small friendly cafe too. Entry to the Hall is free though donations are of course welcome. As are anyone who cares to visit, including four legged guests. πŸ™‚  www.broughamhall.co.uk

 

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Free car parking on this side of the Hall.
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The Brougham Door Knocker is actually a replica of the original, but impressive all the same.
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The 1520 door and gatehouse entrance.

 

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Behind the black doors are artist’s studios and craft workshops.
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Plenty of room outdoors for the kids to run around.

 

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Gwen Bainbridge Ceramics are unusual and beautiful.
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Wil and I just had to share a scone in Bettyann’s Tea Parlour. πŸ™‚
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View from the cobbled ramp under the Gatehouse.
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Brougham Hall and Durham Cathedral both have replica’s of these ‘Beastly Bronze Door Knockers’. They are called Sanctuary Door Knockers and by tradition, anyone  who was running from the law and dared to grip the handle and knock, could claim sanctuary within the walls.

Dalemain House  

Unlike Brougham Hall, Dalemain is an impressive Country House that is still resided in by the Hasell family, who have been in residence since the 1600’s.  The imposing Georgian facade certainly makes the visitor curious, as to what the rooms are like inside. Of course we rocked up here an hour before the house and gardens closed for the day!  So we chose to venture round the gardens. We did not have Hugo with us but that is probably a good thing, as dogs are sadly not allowed at Dalemain.  Car parking is free and there is a Tea Room in the Medieval Hall. Because we only had an hour to explore, we were charged a discounted price of Β£3 each to view the gardens. www.dalemain.com

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The impressive rose tinted Georgian Facade.

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Lady Marmalade Rose.

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We came across a giant topiary Dragon!
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Relax and enjoy the view.
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Even at the end of October there was a wide array of flowers at Dalemain.
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Above the house there is a Deer Park.
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And to our delight, a large herd of Fallow Deer. πŸ™‚

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We didn’t even have time for a brew in the Medieval Hall. 😦
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Dalemain holds The World’s Original Marmalade Awards every year in March, along with a festival of all things Marmalade. Next years Festival will take place 17th & 18th March 2018. Will Paddington Bear be there, that’s what I want to know!

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I hope you enjoyed my super quick tours of two Eden Valley delights.  I am determined to visit both of them again in the future. I especially need to frequent the Marmalade Festival. πŸ™‚

If you are thinking of exploring this beautiful area of the Lake District, you might also want to read my blogs about  Lowther Castle  and  Ullswater & Aira Force.  

Which historic houses do you like to visit in Cumbria?

Hawthorn’s October Scavenger Hunt.

So my Photo Scavenger hunt for October is not going to be very inspired, as I haven’t been out and about very much. It’s been a quick scramble to find some suitable pictures. Here goes !

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1. Making.   I have been Making progress with my Christmas shopping!  I know, a bit to organized. But when having a mooch in Oxfam the other day , I saw some really cute recycled  paper bird houses and couldn’t resist buying them. Oxfam have a really fun gift selection this year, including some lovely books and… Beer Bread. Nice stocking fillers. I also found a couple of bits in ‘ The Keep’ , a really fab gift shop in Clitheroe. I’m on a roll ! 

2. Empty.   It’s always good to walk Hugo in the early morning, when the woods and fields are Empty, save for us and nature. 

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3. It Starts with an F.   A favourite  Flower  of mine at this time of year is the Chinese Lantern.  It appears in a front garden of one of my neighbors every Autumn and I always stop to admire the papery orange flowers. A few years ago Wil even bought me a Chinese Lantern necklace, and it’s my favourite piece of jewellery.  πŸ™‚

4. Paper.  I have recently picked up this spooky looking paperback. Thought it may be a good Halloween read. Anyone read it yet? 

5. Neat.  Hurrah that my other half is so neat at wallpapering and tiling! Living room coming on now. Will post some more pics when completed! 

6. Street.  A photo of a Clitheroe Street taken from inside the Castle grounds, on a walk with Hugo.

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7. Kettle.  So here’s a very boring picture of my kettle.  It lives on top of the microwave , as space is at a premium in our kitchen.

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8. Unexpected.    It was  Unexpected  to see a singer sewing machine on a wall in Boot !  This photo was  actually taken last month, on our holiday in The Western Lakes.

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9. Vase.   I love my seahorse Vase in my bedroom window, but I’m not sure a bunch of flowers would suit it.  What do you think ? 

10. My Own Choice.  This shrub in the Castle park bares purple berries every Autumn. I always wonder what it is? Any ideas? 

Thanks to  Kate / Hawthorn  for arranging the Scavenger Hunt once again.