I make the most of a cold bright morning and head to the outskirts of town, looking for early Spring blossom. Skirting round the edges of Standen Hall , I spy plenty of gorgeous Cherry Plum in bud and bloom. My camera phone identifies it as Snow! The stately old building and it’s grounds are mostly hidden from view by high walls ( well, high to me! ) and the front entrance has a ‘ Private Keep Out ‘ sign. I walk up the drive as far as I dare, snapping pictures of cheeky squirrels.
In the surrounding countryside a sprawling new housing development is creeping ever closer to the Hall. I hear the echoing drumming of a woodpecker and see a buzzard soaring in the sky. Not another human in sight. I let Hugo run off lead in the fields. The sky is blue and the ground is dry underfoot. Today looks like Spring but it is deceptively cold.
Primrose Nature Reserve.
On the way home I walk through a local Nature Reserve. The old mill pond is busy with waterbirds including moorhens and a pair of goosanders. I look for the white goose who was brought here by well meaning folk to keep a solitary greylag female company. The two were a pair for a while , but one day I saw her flying off, honking furiously. She never returned.
Time to get home and make myself a brew. Soon Hugo is snoring away in his bed. ☕❤️
I just had to share these photos from our walk on Saturday afternoon. We found ourselves in an enchanting snowdrop wonderland. And we had it almost to ourselves, apart from a couple of others with their dogs.
We were walking through a little woodland adjacent to NT Acorn Bank in Cumbrias Eden Valley. Although the house, gardens and watermill are closed until March, a public footpath meanders through the woods. Much of the ground was carpeted in one of our most delicately beautiful Spring flowers ‘ The Snowdrop’. Seen as a symbol of hope and purity, snowdrops were apparently named after pearl drop earrings, not flakes of snow.
It was really magical to wander amongst them. Have you seen any impressive Snowdrop displays this year?
Saturday dawned grey and drizzley. Time for a woodland walk, somewhere with adequate shelter under a canopy of softly falling leaves. We headed to Armathwaite in Cumbria’s Eden Valley, Coombs Wood with its Riverside path, covered in crunchy copper beech leaves, was our destination.
There are lots of Woodland Walks like this, following the wide River Eden. We came across one of ten Eden Benchmark Sculptures , this one we have seen before, ‘ Vista’ by Graeme Micheson . It depicts a solitary walker who abandons his clothes on a rock , for a dip in the water below.
The Woodland in Autumn is ablaze with colour. I have yet to visit in the Spring when Bluebells, Wild Garlic and Yellow Star of Bethlehem cover the forest floor. Now is a good time to find fungi, see blazing gold bracken and patches of blooming Gorse.
Leaving Coombs Wood our route took us through the little hamlet of Longdales and along an old bridleway with Pennine Fell views, on a clearer day.
And then we headed back along the road to the village of Armathwaite, which had two choices for a pub lunch, a hostelry at each side of a bridge that spans the River Eden.
The Fox 🦊 & Pheasant beckoned, it’s the kind of pub that lights a welcoming fire and has some good real ales on tap. The locals hang their hats on a stuffed foxes head. We enjoyed sandwiches with chips on the side.
Time for an October Round-Up of my life lately. I have been enjoying Autumn colours, reading about a psychopath serial killer, eating left overs and finding funky fungi !
Presently still reading books at a crawl, though I am enjoying ‘ How to kill your family’ by Bella Mackie. Frustratingly thrown into jail, for a murder she didn’t commit, Grace Bernard is busy writing her memoirs ( whenever her nosy cell-mate isn’t watching), for though she might be innocent of that particular murder, Grace has actually done away with…her entire family. Yes Grace might be a cold hearted killer, but she does have her reasons. A dark but amusing read, so far.
The Empress is a glorious romp through Austrian Royalty history, specifically the beginnings of the reign of Empress Elisabeth. A reluctant Royal , her new hubby The Emperor Franz Joseph had previously been engaged to Elisabeth’s sister. The usually independent Elisabeth or ‘ Sisi ‘ finds life at court full of frosty traditions, plots and intrigue. On Netflix. Subtitles.
I also enjoyed watching medieval coming of age comedy Catherine Called Birdy, which can be found on Amazon Prime. 14 year Lady Catherine ( Birdy to her friends ) is of marriageable age, and with a charming gambler for a father, her families only hope of remaining solvent, is for young Birdy to marry. Determined to thwart all her suitors, the mischievous heiress has other ideas.
My favourite watch this month was on the Big Screen. A friend and I went to see Emily, the new biopic of the life of reclusive writer Emily Bronte. Notoriously private, little is known about Emily in comparison to her siblings, much of what we do know about Emily’s thoughts and feelings are through Charlotte, some of which is probably sensored. This film is a reimagining of Emily’s life, as if she herself experienced some of the darker, some of the more passionate moments , that she wrote about in Wuthering Heights. And whose to say, really, that she didn’t……. A heart wrenching , clever, passionate and sometimes humorous picture about an unconventional and inspirational writer.
A friend told us about the Too Good To Go Ap, which lets you know about food that shops and cafes are selling off cheap. For a fixed price you get a carrier bag full of goodies that are nearing their sell by date, known as a Magic Bag. The surprise is you don’t really know what the bag will contain, I was certainly surprised by the amount of stuff in this one from our local garage shop, Londis. For £5 we got 2 Sandwiches ,a loaf of bread, broccoli, bag of salad, Mr Kipling cakes, Manchester tarts, cooked chicken pieces, 2 chicken fillets and some butter. Participating places near me include Spa, Morrisons, Subway and Starbucks. Some independent businesses are signing up too. Have you used the ap before? I suspect I’m a bit late to the party. 😀
Creating. A pumpkin flower arrangement! My friend Fi and I made these at a class in Whalley. Mines the more messy one on the left. Basically you need to hollow out a pumpkin ( happily already done for us), put in some cellophane and a wet piece of water absorbing oasis. Stick flowers, cones etc into the oasis to create an arrangement. And Voila!
Holidaying. As it is Half Term Holidays we managed to get away to the Yorkshire Coast for a couple of days. Fortunately we have another caravan in the family, Wils brother and his wife own a static on a site half way between Whitby and Robin Hoods Bay. Both are such atmospheric places to visit, especially at this time of year. Anyway we made the most of our location, walking along the cliffs to Robin Hood’s Bay oneday and catching the bus into Whitby on the other.
Finding Fungi. 🍄
A day trip to Bolton Abbey and a woodland walk showcased a few fungi finds. Not quite sure if my IDs are correct, but here goes….
Thanks for dropping by and enjoy the rest of October. Let me know if you are watching any spooky films or dressing up for Halloween 🎃 in the comments. X
Believe it or not, there were as many showers as rays of sunshine 🌞 on Saturday. Somehow we managed to dodge the rain quite expertly though, as you can see by my photos. You’ll just have to imagine the speedy dashes to the car , to get out of the sudden downpours.
A trial Pumpkin Patch at Kirkoswald was the mornings destination. It was so close by ( to the caravan) that I just had to drag Wil and Hugo for a wander round a field of giant ( and teeny) pumpkins. The Patch belongs to Eden Valley farmer and writer Hannah Jackson aka The Red Shepherdess . I hadn’t heard of her until very recently , apparently she is quite the celebrity in Cumbria. Anyway if your in the area over the upcoming school holidays Red’s Pumpkin Patch is opening again, until all the Gourds are gone. Just take your wellies!
Later on Saturday we visited family in Askham, first we took Hugo for a walk on the Lowther Estate. Not for us today , the impressive Castle Ruins & Garden , we made the most of the footpaths that fan the parkland instead. The sun shone inbetween showers, a bracing breeze whipped up swirling leaves and buzzards soared in the sky.
The heavens opened on our way to visit Mum . After a lovely tea we headed back to the caravan. There’s no cosier evening than one feeling snug and toasty, whilst rain pitter patters on a tin can roof. 😊
Sunday stayed dry and on our way home we called in at Kirkby Lonsdale in South Cumbria. It was warm enough for ice cream at The Milking Parlour on Jingling Lane. I visited my favourite shops and bought a new bobble hat. Happy days. 🍦
Thanks for dropping by. Are you feeling Autumnal yet? 🍁
So I am finishing off my month with a little Round-Up. March has been a pretty quiet one but I’m not complaining. Spring made an appearance ( hurrah ! ) and of course, I am just thankful that life here in my little corner of the world is relatively peaceful and uncomplicated. 🌻
READING ~ Just finished Girl A by Abigail Dean. This is a disturbingly dark tale about a young family who are imprisoned in their home on the Moors by their increasingly erratic parents. ‘ Girl A ‘ herself is the one who got away, the girl who escaped her chains and made it out to find help. Years later the children are left the house in their deceased Mother’s will. Can anything good come out of it? ⭐⭐⭐⭐
WATCHING ~ For some reason none of the film’s I’ve watched recently have stuck in my mind. Definitely more into TV Shows so far this year. My binge watch faves in March have included Inventing Anna ( Julia Garner is brilliant as scheming New York heiress/con artist/ VIP is always Better Anna Delvey ), Bridgerton Season 2 ( Jane Austin meets Gossip Girl , once again in London’s High Society) and Upload ( comedy drama about a man who yes, looks a bit like a young Tom Cruise, who’m is able to choose his own afterlife after his untimely death). But what can I watch next……..
EATING ~ My first Afternoon Tea of 2022! And hopefully not my last. Enjoyed a sumptuous Afternoon Tea at the impressive Country Manor ‘ Mitton Hall’ in Lancashire. You can read about it here. 🍰.
WALKING ~ Most of my March walks have been on the outskirts of my hometown of Clitheroe. But during a visit to the caravan we did manage to complete the Keswick Railway Walk which runs between Keswick and the nearby village of Threlkeld. Hopefully April will see me getting back into hill walking and attempting some Wainwright Fells. She says………
Enjoying ~ Spring Sunshine ~ Yes we were all lulled into basking in actual warm sunshine 🌞 , then BAM it Snowed! As I turn on the central heating for probably the last time ever ( not out of optimism, but out of dread at April’s fuel cost rises) I will leave you with a few Spring like pics taken when the weather was a little warmer.
Thanks for visiting and if you have any Book/Film/TV/ Walk/ Afternoon Tea recommendations, let me know in the comments. 💛
2021 is a wrap folks! Here’s my usual yearly round-up in photos, of what has been another very Up and Down twelve months.
January ~ We started the year still in lock-down , the rare snow in my hometown certainly made folk here completely giddy, everyone seemed to head up Pendle Hill for fun in the white stuff. There were sad times too as I lost a family member to covid.
February ~ From what I remember the first few months of 2021 involved lots of chilly local hikes and tramping through lots of mud. But as a certain Black Labrador loves his walks, this didn’t bother us too much. 🙂
March ~ This photo was taken on my friend Fi’s Birthday. We were still in lock-down and I’m not even sure that 3 people from 3 households were supposed to meet up actually. We took cans to a local beer garden and celebrated outdoors, not another soul in sight! Fi says it was one of her best birthdays!
April ~ I remember how good it felt in April when we were officially allowed to meet up for walks in larger groups. An Easter walk took us to Downham via a wander up Worsaw Hill. Also in April we could start using our caravan in the Eden Valley again.
May ~ Hurrah, restrictions over and a holiday happened! A week in sunny Norfolk with Wil and Hugo, in a cottage by the sea.
June ~ It was good to spend a few days at the caravan with friends in June. A Cat cafe, the Lakes Zoo and Llama trekking were amongst the fun times had.
July ~ Enjoyed the most decadent Afternoon Tea with pals this month. Life was truly getting back to normal.
August ~ We were fortunate enough to spend a lovely long weekend in Ravenglass & Eskdale in August. It’s become tradition to ride the Ratty on these occasions. 🙂
September ~ I think my favourite walk in September may well have been a local one to find Alfred Wainwright’s memorial, in the hills above Blackburn.
October ~ Unfortunately Wil got sciatica which put a stop to our walks together for a while. Luckily he’s much better now. For once I was faster on my feet than my other half for a change! We went ahead with a mini break in Scotland, but kept our explorations to a minimum.
November ~ Unlike 2020 I got to go out for my Birthday this year. Happy days. 😁
December ~ Theres been Christmas meet ups with family and friends and so far, touchwood, everyone has stayed safe and healthy. Can you spy my moggie Slinky Malinki in the festive photo above?
Wishing my followers and fellow bloggers a Happy and Healthy 2022.
Recent mornings here are chilly and bright. The Autumn colours at Clitheroe Castle have been particularly striking. Hugo and I have spent many a morning walking in the grounds, though I am well aware we need to get a few longer routes in. It’s not just Hugo who is turning into a chunk!
After eighteen months of having nowhere to go for a hot drink in the castle park, the former Bowling Green cafe building is back in business. Now called The 3 C’s Cafe ,it’s a bright cheery place selling coffee, cakes, milkshakes & ice cream. I think it will be very popular with the kids. A quiet brew though, can be snatched early on a week day morning. 🙂
It’s not often that Wil and I have a week off work together and don’t book at least a few days away. . So recently it’s actually been quite nice for us to spend some time at home pottering, doing a few jobs and erm ….eating cheese!
We started our week with a ginormous order of cheese from Tipsy Cows in Great Harwood. Their amazing cheese bags are £35 and include a pie, pate, smoked sausage, crackers, bread, a bottle of wine, chutney, grapes and of course a shed load of cheese. Still getting through it now..
From Monday we were allowed to meet up with friends & family for outdoor walks again. We met up with my sister and the kids and walked further into the Dunsop Valley. A truelly beautiful place.
On Wednesday we decided to go up to our caravan in Cumbria, mostly to check that it was still in one piece. Luckily it was! And everywhere we went there were daffodillions of daffodils. On the way we stopped in Kirkby Lonsdale for a walk.
We turned the water back on at the caravan and gave it a quick spring clean. The weather was really warm.
Back in Clitheroe, the new Nature Reserve has opened at last. As we live nearby it has definitely become our go to place for a stroll with Hugo. One morning we bought breakfast from Marks Artisan Bakery on Whalley road after our walk. Sooo good! I am making a note of the wildlife I have spotted at the reserve, which includes Little Egret, Mallards, Teal, Grey Heron and Canada Geese. I will get working on a post soon.
On Good Friday we met some friends for a walk from Worston to Downham and back. We are so lucky to live in the lovely Ribble Valley and have definitely discovered lots of new local walks and rediscovered old favourites during the numerous lock downs.
There have also been less energetic pursuits. On Saturday I met some friends for a Hip flask walk. We didn’t get very far. From one bench to another in the local park..😀
We had planned to stay home on Easter Sunday and enjoy our new fire pit. 🔥
But after checking the weather forecast we realised we would have to head back up to the caravan again and drain it down. Forcasted minus 7 temperatures meant we had obviously been too previous in opening the van up for Spring. So here are some more lovely Easter views from Melmerby where the van is based.
We also called in at my Mum’s in Askham and had a brew in the garden. Got introduced to these cuties. ❤️
Today ( Easter Monday) the sky outside is deceptively blue. It is freezing out there! There was even a smattering of snow this morning.
Northeast Allie is a blog that reflects influences from the Philadelphia area and the regions around it. It explores perspectives on life, encouragement, travel, wellness, and local living so that you can really enjoy this unique community!