Category Archives: Pretty things

Lovely Ludlow and some places to visit nearby.

When we could tear ourselves away from our cosy Tree Dome accommodation in South Shropshire, we took ourselves off to the nearby market town of Ludlow. A charming mixture of Georgian and Medieval architecture, Ludlow was described by poet John Betjemen as ‘ Probably the loveliest town in England with its hill of Georgian houses ascending from the river Teme to the great tower of the cross-shaped church,rising behind a classic market building.’

We wandered round Ludlow’s lovely streets, the buildings really are a colourful feast for the eyes. I wish I had taken more photos, my pictures don’t really do it justice. The town has lots of fascinating independent shops and olde worldy public houses. We returned later that day for a delicious evening meal at The Unicorn Inn on Corve Street.

Ludlow Castle. Ludlow has imposing castle ruins with Norman, Medieval and Tudor architecture. Constructed in the 11th century as a border stronghold of a Marcher Lord Roger De Lacy, the building was enlarged in the 14th century and was involved in the War of the Roses. Later it became a Royal Palace , used as a honeymoon destination by Prince Arthur ( brother of Henry VIII) and his bride Catherine of Aragon and then by Mary Tudor whose court spent three winters at Ludlow from 1525 to 1528. And in 1689 the Royal Welsh Fusiliers were founded at the castle by Lord Herbert of Chirbury.

Admission to Ludlow Castle is ยฃ7 for adults, ยฃ3-50 for children and dogs are welcome on a lead.

Berrington Hall. Just over the border in Herefordshire is National Trust Berrington Hall, a handsome Georgian manor with 250 acres of landscaped grounds, gardens and a small lake, on our visit buzzing with dragonflies. We decided to use our NT membership as even though we couldn’t go inside the house with our dog Hugo, there was plenty to see outside.

The parkland and gardens were designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown , his final commission before his death in 1783. My favourite part of our wander round ( apart from that small lake and dragonflies) was a wonderful pink pineapple-esque sculpture called Look! Look! Look! This striking sculptural pavillion has been designed to sit inside and imagine Browns curved walled garden as it would have looked two hundred years earlier.

Croft Castle. Another nearby National Trust property with grounds and gardens that we were able to bring Hugo to was Croft Castle. There are several way marked walks round the parkland and as in a lot of NT houses these days, deck chairs are dotted round the gardens, so you can really make yourself at home. On a walk past the natural play area, I was delighted to catch a glimpse of scarlet pimpernel in the wild. And the gardens in July are vibrantly colourful.

Helpful Websites.

Berrington Hall.

Croft Castle.

Ludlow Castle.

Thanks for dropping by. ๐Ÿ™‚

Advertisements

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt~ March.

Hi, it’s been a while, fellow Photo Scavenger Hunters. Today ( Thursday) I was trying to find inspiration to interpret Kate’s prompts, whilst out and about with Hugo the Labrador. I did! For three photos anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

Flat. So I took this picture whilst flat on my back on a dirt track. I’m surprised Hugo’s snout didn’t get in shot. A different perspective of the woodland above me.

Wheel. There are wheels galore at the Lakeland Motor Museum near Windermere. This is one of several penny-farthings. There was even old film footage of penny-farthings racing. It was a thing!

Swing. You wouldn’t believe it but I was actually thinking how I would photograph Swing, then I saw one right in front of me. Can you see it ?

Ragged. The not particularly attractive Butterbur came to my rescue here. It’s raggedy tight-knit flowers are popular with bees in early spring and you can find them close to streams from March to May. The Butterbur’s name comes from the fact that it’s large green leaves were once used to pack butter apparently. Other names for this Spring flower include Devils Hat, Bog Rhubarb and Pestilence Wort. The mind boggles!

Pot. A typical pot of Mint tea from my fave cafe in Clitheroe ` Escape’. ๐Ÿ™‚

My Own Choice. Last weekend we went for a walk in Gisburn Forest and came across this old church. Dalehead Chapel was rebuilt after the flooding of nearby land to build Stocks Reservoir in the 1930s. The original church was demolished and this is it’s replacement. I seem to remember that in my youth this pretty building had fallen into disrepair and had a reputation as a haunted church! Happily today it is in use again and there are information boards inside detailing the history of the area.

Thanks kate/Hawthorn for organising the Scavenger Hunt.

Street Art In Blackburn.

Finding myself with an hour to kill in Blackburn on Friday, I decided to check out some of the stunning street art that adorns the Lancashire town. Blackburn Open Walls features both local and international artists , bringing creativity and colour to the lesser known streets of Blackburn. The initiative began in 2016 and new murals have been popping up every year since. I didn’t manage to find all of them, but here is a small selection I discovered before catching my train home.

Colourful Kingfishers and Girl by Mexican Artist Goya Torres ~ above archway by The Mall.
Connect 4 by Boo_Who_Up_North.
Couldn’t find any info on this one. Possibly The BFG ?
Bird Art by Curtis Hylton.
Probably my favourite of the street art that I saw. A giant duck by Curtis Hylton on the side of Bar Ibiza, Mincing Lane.
Not really part of Blackburn Open Walls, but seen on a cafe window ~ Exchange Coffee Company in Flemming Square.
Artwork by Blackburn based Alphahol.
A nod to Blackburns industrial heritage. A fantastical creature on a Loom by Sheffield based artist Phlegm.
Bees by Jerome Davenport ~ Australia.
Mural by London based Dale Grimshaw.
Found some more beautiful birds on a carpark wall, mostly obscured by vehicles though. Artist ~ Alexandra Gallagher.

I find myself wanting to hunt out the rest now. And definitely hoping more artists will add to these incredible street murals in 2019.

Do you have any street art near you?

Sunday Sevens 27th January.

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.

Calton Hill.

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.

Lamb Wellington at The Witchery

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.

Tree Nymph on the trail.
Swans on the Riverside path. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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.

Cranachan.

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

Lytham Hall, Lancs.

Hornby Castle, Lancs.

National Trust Snowdrop walks.

Goldsborough Hall, Harrogate.

Hopton Hall, Derbyshire.

National Garden Schemes snowdrop days.

Ruby red Amaryllis.

I will leave you with this cheery amaryllis, a Christmas present that is now blooming beautifully. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks to Natalie at Threads and Bobbins for devising Sunday Sevens.

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

My Bucket List.

Watch a film in an old vintage cinema.

Climb ten more Wainwrights.

Eat out at The Witchery in Edinburgh.

P1080461
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.

p1000410
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.

……

……

……

…….

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

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 isnโ€™t my bag. ๐Ÿ˜

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.

fb_img_15408061590703776058978114781903.jpg
Kingfisher , spotted by a boat in Knaresborough.

4. Photograph a Kingfisher. Done! Got my photo on the river Nidd in Knaresborough. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

8545031c78d25816b61a4346b139d1936262623608525686240.jpg
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? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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……..

fb_img_15408062828847970281795838361492.jpg
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. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

fb_img_15408062347824296963066126464993.jpg
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. ๐Ÿ™‚

fb_img_15408062067946467705416878109719.jpg
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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

cde0831bb9fc7d6aae8eff7d2f63906f8536569810907133285.jpg
Let Snoozy Cats lie. Cat Cafรฉ, Manchester.

23. Do the Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk With the Queenโ€™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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunday Dinner. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ยฃ170 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, cafรฉ 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. โ€˜The Dukeโ€™ at Spring Park ~ Our stay in a Showmanโ€™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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

And after a packed day of exploring, little Hugo was always happy to snuggle by the wood burner. ๐Ÿ™‚

Future Scotland Posts will include our week in the Outer Hebrides and Britain’s most beautiful shortcut. ๐Ÿ™‚