Category Archives: reading

The Tolkien Trail On A Rainy Day.

Typically, the day we chose to walk The Tolkien Trail dawned damp and grey, a Ribble Valley rainy day. ๐Ÿ˜ These kind of drizzly conditions are always a hit with our labrador Hugo though, so we didn’t let them dampen our spirits. Waterproofs on, we set off on our trek through boggy fields, and some of the loveliest countryside in Lancashire, unfortunately obscured by rain clouds.

Writer J. R. R. Tolkien often stayed in the area. He was writing Lord of The Rings , whilst visiting his son who attended Stonyhurst College. He and his family regularly stopped in the grounds of this stately pile, which became a boarding school in 1794 . I have no doubt the author, when out walking in the surrounding woodland and river meadows , drew inspiration from the lush greenery and rolling hillsides of this unspoilt part of Lancashire.

The route we took.

We had with us a walking guide book which contained a map and instructions for our route. Unfortunately after parking in the pretty village of Hurst Green and walking up the long drive to Stonyhurst College, we came face to face with several Private No Entry signs. Aaagh what to do! It turns out the guide book was written in the nineties, when maybe you could walk right up to the front of the building. After much discussion we decided to chance it and follow the route as it is written. Luckily it was such a miserable day that there was nobody about to challenge us!

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Cemetary on the way to Stonyhurst.
Sir Richard Shireburn started building Stonyhurst in 1592. Oliver Cromwell visited once , commenting that it was the ‘best half house’ that he had ever stayed in.
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There are two small lakes at the front of the college and lots of water fowl.

I didn’t manage to get very many photos of Stonyhurst, as I have to admit being a trespasser didn’t really help me on the photography front. ๐Ÿ˜— Happilly we were soon back on track, heading through fields with Pendle Hill supposedly on our right, hidden in the clouds.

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Shy Roe Deer.
Woodland.
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Cromwell Bridge, also built by Sir Richard Shireburn. Legend has it that Cromwell’s troops crossed it at the time of the Battle Of Preston.
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Trespassing again! Hugo on Cromwell Bridge.
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Wood Anemone flowering next to the bridge.

The rivers Hodder, Ribble and Calder can all be found in the locality. Perhaps they were the inspiration for the fictional rivers of Brandywine, Shirebourne and Withywindle.

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We walked through Winkley Hall Farm.
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Farmhouse.
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Blackthorn in blossom.
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Saw lots of clumps of primroses.
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Tree Person…..perhaps?
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The point where the waters of the Hodder unite with the Ribble.

A good portion of the walk is on the riverside and at one time a Boat House housed a ferrymen who would take travellers across the Ribble between Winkley Hall and Hacking Hall below. Soon the river Calder also joins the Ribble as it curves through the countryside.

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Hacking Hall.
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Following the Ribble.
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Pussy Willows.
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Goosander. ๐Ÿ™‚
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Hobbit Hill.

In the distance we spied the glamping cabins of Hobbit Hill perched above the valley. I wondered if anyone was staying there and if they too would try out the Tolkien Trail. Check out their website for a more up-to-date version of the walking route.

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A house called Jumbles.
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An aqueduct over the river.

Eventually the footpath passes through woodland again and then through a very muddy meadow , before we arrived back in Hurst Green. There are a couple of nice pubs in the village. One is called The Shireburn Arms and is named after the man who built Stonyhurst College and Cromwell Bridge, Sir Richard Shireburn.

Continue reading The Tolkien Trail On A Rainy Day.

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Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ March.

It feels good to join in again with Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt this month. Heres what I came up with for the prompts.

Hole. I guess the most famous hole in Clitheroe ( teehee) is the one in the front of our tiny Castle Keep. Local legends to how it got there include Oliver Cromwell fireing a cannonball from Pendle Hill. Even less likely, the devil himself flung boulders at Clitheroe Castle, also from the top of Pendle. Which do you think?

Making. I attempted to make some Chocolate Truffles from my Eat What You Watch ~ A cookbook for Movie Lovers cookbook. They ended up looking more like onion bhajis! But they do taste like chocolate truffles. Success! The recipe is inspired by Vianne’s chocolate creations in the sweetly sensual film Chocolat starring Juliette Binoche and a yummy Johnny Depp. Well worth a watch by the way. ๐Ÿ˜Š. These truffles are very rich though, I can only manage one with my mug of coffee..

Reading Now. You may be shocked to learn that I have never watched Star Wars! Yet I am reading this book by Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher. From what I have read so far she was one very funny, bat crazy, inteligent and gutsy lady. Enjoying it so far. Oh yes I know, I am still using my snowflake duvet set. Hopefully this is not a future weather prediction!

Black & White. Last weekend we met a llama and some alpaca on a walk to a local village. This black & white llama was definitely the most inquisitive and demanding, he came trotting over when he saw us stop at the fence. Wil gave him a bit of loose hay, then he tried to chomp my rucksack! I do love llamas though and a couple of years ago I dragged my family on a llama Trek in the Lakes.

Starts with an H. Well I just had to include a picture of our gorgeous Hugo for this one didn’t I. I think he is as much a part of this blog as me really. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hugo is a three year old black labrador and we have had him since he was a wee pup. I definitely have a thing about labradors now as before Hugo there was Jake, who came with Wil ( his faithful shadow) when I met him. They are such a loyal , loving , mischievous breed of dog. I can’t imagine life without a labrador.

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My Own Choice. The bright sunshine we have experienced recently has certainly brought out my blogs namesake, these cheery celandines. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Happy Easter guys. Have a fantastic weekend.

A bird and a poem ~ Little Egret.

A few weeks ago I couldn’t resist buying a little book of poetry from a book fair that I came across. The anthology is full of beautiful poems about…..birds. And each one is paired with a gorgeous illustration. The book is actually a collection of stunning avian art works that can all be found in The British Museum. It is therefore called The British Museum Birds and if you find a copy, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway I thought it might be a nice idea to pair the poetry in the book with my own photographs on here occasionally. Though I am cheating a bit today as these pictures of a Little Egret were taken by my other half on our walk by the river Ribble on Saturday. I think its quite unusual to see egrets inland, but this one has been spotted here in Clitheroe a few times recently.

The illustration in the book is Egret On Willow In Snow , a hanging scroll painting on silk by Oda Kaisen ( 1785-1862).

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Snow

In the gloom of whiteness,

In the great silence of snow,

A child was sighing

And bitterly saying : ‘ Oh,

They have killed a white bird up there on her nest,

The down is fluttering from her breast!’

And still it fell through that dusky brightness

On the child crying for the bird in the snow.

Edward Thomas ( 1878-1917)

Little Egret. Photo Credit D Wilson.

Sorry the first poem I included is quite sad. But I hope you liked it anyway. X

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. โ™คโ™กโ—‡โ™ง

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜

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.

Ice Cold In Haworth.

Here I am snug as a bug in a rug. The radiators are piping hot , I have numerous throws to wrap round myself and two fur babies to snuggle up with. Bliss !

Friday night though was spent ( mostly shivering!) In a little B&B in the Yorkshire town of Haworth. I won’t say it was our accomodations fault. I couldn’t properly get warm anywhere at all. I think Yorkshire folk must be alot hardier than us Lancashire lot. The heating was on everywhere but didn’t seem to make much of a difference. I layered myself up and was tempted to keep my coat and hat on….even in bed. I have turned into a right softy!

Bronte Parsonage Museum.

Wil and I ( minus the pets) stopped over in Haworth as we were attending a talk in nearby Keighley by the Arctic adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. It certainly seemed touch and go whether the event would take place. But of course ‘ the world’s greatest living explorer’ was easily up to the challenge of travelling from Exmoor to bleakest Yorkshire, whatever the conditions. ๐Ÿ™‚

Despite my whinging, we did have a lovely time. The snow gave the cobbled streets of Haworth a wintery charm. The town is of course, famed for being the home of an extraordinary literary family, the Bronte’s. Writers Charlotte, Emily and Anne lived in the parsonage with their father the Reverend Bronte and brother Branwell. We had the Bronte Parsonage Museum all to ourselves on Saturday morning. Photography is no longer prohibited inside the museum,so I took a few pictures and imagined the Bronte siblings sitting at the dining room table, scribbling away. How frozen must their fingers have felt in the perishing south pennine winters.

Cobbled Streets.
Howarth Railway Station.
St Michael & All Angels Church. All the Brontes apart from Anne are buried in the Bronte family crypt, beneath the church.
Old fashioned sweet shop.
A nice coffee shop with a great selection of cakes. ๐Ÿ™‚
Peppermint tea and a ginger bun in Villette. The cafรฉ is named after one of Charlotte’s novels.
Icicles.
Inside the parsonage. The Dining Room. The sisters would have wrote here at the dining table.
Mr Bronte’s study. Emily and Anne both played the piano.
The kitchen.
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The children’s tiny playroom.
Landing window.
Inside Branwell Brontes bedroom. Branwell was a troubled soul and failed to live up to the high expectations his family had of him.
A small bed embroidered with words by and about the Bronte sisters. Visitors are invited to make and unmake the tiny bed ( using the white gloves provided), to reveal the prose written in the bed clothes..
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A snowy pathway.
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Inside The Cabinet of Curiosities on Main Street. The shop was an apothecary even back in the days of the Bronte’s.
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Book I bought from the gift shop in the Bronte Parsonage Museum.

We ended our visit to Haworth with a winter warming lunch in The Hawthorn on Main Street, whilst browsing our purchases. I bought ‘The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne by Catherine Reef ( Can’t wait to start it! ) and Wil had purchased a signed copy of Ranulph Fiennes appropriately titled ‘Cold’, the evening before.

Which is your favourite Bronte sister novel?

Sunday Sevens 25th February.

Welcome to another Sunday Sevens. Managed to actually write two this month. ๐Ÿ™‚

I noticed this book on the Instagram page of a lovely gift shop I know in Clitheroe ‘ The Keep’ just off Moor Lane…and I was intrigued. I love movies and I love food! So when Wil very kindly bought it me as a belated Valentine’s present ( Thanks Wil! ) I was delighted. We immediately decided to try out a recipe…and chose The Hawaiian Burger based on The Big Kahuna Burger eaten by Samuel L Jackson’s God fearing Hitman in Pulp Fiction. It was great! We also rewatched the movie. I had forgotten what a cool soundtrack Pulp Fiction has! I am sure I will blog about Eat What You Watch , A cookbook For Movie Lovers once I have attempted the creme bruliee from Amelie and/or Uncle Buck’s Giant Pancakes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Meanwhile this was Hugo when he spied the finished results. Oh Hugo……

Another book I happened upon recently at a second hand book sale is this beautiful book of bird illustrations from The British Museum, matched accompanying poems. It was only ยฃ3 and I love it. ๐Ÿ˜

On Friday evening myself and friends Fi and Jo went on a spooky ghost walk round Hoghton Tower near Preston. Fi saw it advertised on Facebook and immediately decided we should go. Reputedly the 3rd most haunted house in Britain, Hoghton Tower seems to have a ghost residing in every room. As we were lead by torch light from wing to wing and down through underground passageways, we kept a nervous eye out for Ladies in white, Ladies in green, monks, little french girls, mischievous spirits and black dogs, amongst others. I wouldn’t have minded seeing the black dog. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ•

Wil and I took our black dog on another walk to a country pub yesterday. My #walk1000miles challenge is going well. So far walked 220 miles in 8 weeks. ๐Ÿค—

These two flew to the pub on their Broomsticks. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanks to Natalie as usual for organizing Sunday Sevens.

Sunday Sevens February 4th.

Its actually Friday morning as I gather together some pictures for my Sunday Sevens post. Yesterday ( Thursday) I had the day off as I am working for a colleague on Saturday. Yay , I can hardly wait! I know I am totally spoilt really and have become to used to having my weekends off….

I have just finished reading ELeanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and I must say, I really enjoyed it. The story centres round Eleanor, a thirty something office worker who exists according to a regimented timetable during the week….and buys two bottles of vodka to drink at home every weekend. Eleanor thinks her life is rolling along as it should be, in other words she’s completely fine. And then she makes a friend. I found this book to be sweetly funny, heart-breaking and unputdownable. Anyone else read it?

Linden and Holder image saved from abduzeedo.com via Pinterest.

Currently watching ~ The Killing on Netflix. I am probably very late to the party! Based on the Danish TV series Forbrydelsen ( The Crime) , The Killing is a serial detective drama set in the more often than not bleak and rainy Seattle. With Scandi Noir influences and Linden’s Danish knitted jumpers, our crime busting duo are two very different homicide detectives ,with contrasting styles of how to get things done. Although I am very definitely the kind of audience that hides behind a cushion when I think something bad is going to happen, I am seriously hooked on a good mystery at the moment. Other Netflix series that I have enjoyed recently are The Sinner, Godless and The Lizzie Boden Chronicles. Any recommendations?

Thursday and Friday have been bright and cold days. On Thursday I had a good walk round my local Castle grounds. I went up to the top of the keep and it was freezing up there! This gave me an excuse to visit a tearoom and indulge in a pot of hot tea and a slice of Lemon Drizzle Cake. ๐Ÿ™‚

Callooh ! Callay in Clitheroe has just re-opened. If your a fan of Alice In Wonderland and your tea served in vintage china, you will love Callooh!

I also did a spot of shopping. I found a couple of cute cards in Roost, a fab new Gifts and Interiors shop on Moor Lane. Plus I purchased a pretty top in a charity shop for ยฃ4. Can you see it is covered in little cat motifs. Slinky does not care to compliment it. That little fur ball on the edge of the photo is actually Slinky curled up in sleep ( or ignoring! ) mode.

Slinky Malinki

Speaking of which, I was disappointed to read ( yet again ) this week, that black cats in rescue centres are finding it hard to be re-homed due to them not being seen as photogenic enough for Instagram or selfies. If a person only wants a pet to decorate their social media feed, then I’m afraid they don’t deserve one. There are some eejits out there!

Walkies!

My final photo shows Pendle Hill in the back ground and is a view I tend to see a lot, when we are out and about with Hugo. I am hoping to #walk1000miles in 2018 and my progress in January has been pretty good. I have walked 120 miles in the first month. However I am probably only walking what I have always walked, its just that I haven’t bothered to record the distance before. If we didn’t have Hugo, would I have the motivation??? I think I would struggle!

Thanks as always to Natalie at Threads and Bobbins for organizing Sunday Sevens.