I’ve seen some lovely Bluebell walk posts recently, both on WordPress and on Facebook, so I just had to find my nearest Bluebell Wood and go for a wander, whilst these gorgeous Spring flowers are still in bloom. The nearest such place happens to be just outside the nearby village of Whalley. Spring Wood was once owned by the monks of Whalley Abbey and is classed as a semi ancient woodland. There is ample parking, toilets, picnic benches and quite often an ice cream van parked at the site entrance. We took Hugo for a short walk , as he is on restricted exercise at the moment.
Spring Wood proved to be the perfect place to admire the many bluebells and other wild flowers that frequent the woodland at this time of year. A friend even saw a deer last week ,so it’s well worth taking a camera. 🙂
After our wander we drove into Whalley and went for lunch at Benedict’s which is a lovely Cafe Bar in the Village ,that happens to be dog friendly.
There is a varied menu that includes a good selection of free from foods. Wil chose the Farmers Board ( a tasty combo of cheese, meats & pate ) and I had the Chicken & Smashed Avocado Salad. My drink of choice was a bottle of sparkling Rhubarb Mimosa and Wil enjoyed an Americano Coffee. Hugo was given some treats from Millie & Ruby’s Dog Bakery. 🙂
I loved my salad but it was a bit to healthy for me. 🙂 So I had to sample the Lemon & Poppy Seed cake! And I tried a piece of Wil’s Rocky Road too. Both were delicious.
Hi I’m mixing up my Links & Likes with a few piccies I took on walks at the weekend. April brings sunshine, showers ….and lots of flowers. That certainly rings true here in the Ribble Valley. Enjoy the photos and check out the blog links for some of the posts that I have particularly liked this month. 🙂
Despite being a Lancashire lass born and bred, the EastLancashirePanopticons have totally passed me by. Until very recently that is, when Richard’s post ‘ Its Grim Up North’ ( honestly it’s not that bad ! 😉 ) , brought Burnley’s iconic Singing Ringing Tree to my attention. Ever since I have been very keen to visit this amazing structure and its fellow Panopticons. Panopticons. Panopticons. I love that word! 🙂
On the Mid Pennine Arts Website I found this description of a Panopticon.
Panopticon ( noun) Structure, Space or Device providing a comprehensive or panoramic view.
East Lancashire is home to 4 such sculptures and on Saturday Wil, Hugo and I managed to hunt down two of them. Thankfully it wasn’t a bad day weather wise ( unlike Richard’s experience) and my home county was bathed in sunshine. 🙂
First we drove to the town of Rawtenstall in Rossendale and parked at The Whitaker Museum & Art Gallery on Haslingden rd. The museum is set in a pretty park and car parking is free. There is a cafe and a bar in The Whitaker and a children’s playground in the park. Therefore it is a great place to start and finish a walk up to The Halo Panopticon on Top O Slate , in the hills above Haslingden.
My first celandines of the year.
And flowering Gorse.
It didn’t take to long to find The Halo , an 18 metre diameter steel structure , supported on a tripod. It definitely resembles a Flying Saucer don’t you think ??
In daylight this Panopticon is the perfect vantage point for admiring the panoramic views over Rossendale. But it is when darkness falls that The Halo really stands out. The structure lights up at night and it’s blue glow gives the impression that it’s hovering over the valley. Maybe it does get mistaken for a UFO. 🙂 Check out haslingdenhalo.co.uk for more images.
After our spaceship discovery we walked into Rawtenstall , had a nosy around the shops and enjoyed some refreshments at Fitzpatrick’s Temperance Bar & Emporium. Fitzpatricks Temperance Bar on Bank Street has been serving Lancashire folks alcohol free tipples since 1890. In fact it is England’s only remaining original temperance bar ! Having recently been refurbished, Fitzpatricks now sells delicious cakes, icecreams, floats, coffee & tea , as well as its famed vintage cordials.
We sat outside with a couple of hot cordials. Wil had a Blood Tonic and Orange and I had a Lemon & Ginger cordial. Of course we had to sample some cakes as well. 🙂
These lovely Temperance Bar goodies set us up for our next Panopticon. The Singing Ringing Tree is situated about 15 minutes drive from Rawtenstall at Crown Point above the town of Burnley. Taking the form of a tree bending in the wind, this unusual musical sculpture is made from galvanised metal tubes. The wind whistleing through them creates a humming sound, as though the tree is singing. 🙂
We were treated to a harmonious wailing up there in the Pennine landcape,which I find hard to describe. Think a cross between angels singing in old black & white movies…and a pack of howling dogs. Hugo was most intrigued..
With far reaching views over the urban sprawl of Burnley and to the hills beyond ,this Panopticon gives the town dwellers and visitors a new appreciation of the surrounding countryside……as well as its own personal backing track. 🙂
So thats two East Lancashire Panopticons bagged and two more to go, the others being Colourfields in Blackburn and The Atom in Wycollar Country Park. My Panopticon Quest continues….. 🙂
One of my favourite places in Clitheroe to meet for a coffee or even a cocktail , is the warm and welcoming Escape Coffee & Cocktails in the centre of town. This attractive bar with it’s industrial yet cosy interior runs Cocktail Making Masterclasses for groups of 4 people or more, upstairs in a private bar space. When my friend Fi suggested a girly get together to celebrate ‘Galentine’s Day’ ( Yep thats a thing!) , I jumped at the chance to develop my somewhat non existent cocktail making skills. 🙂
Upon arrival we were treated to prosecco bellinis in the bar upstairs where our instructor Ben introduced himself and handed us our Cocktail Menus. We would each be making Five cocktails over the course of the evening, three classics and two that we had chosen beforehand. I must admit to feeling dubious about drinking five cocktails. But I was willing to try!
First cocktail on our list ‘The refreshingly popular Mojito!’ as modelled by Ailyn and Fi. According to the Masterclass menu ( which someone helpfully slipped into my bag, thank you 🙂 ), Mojitos first became popular in Cuba, where rum was in abundance. Add Lime juice,Crushed Ice, Mint and Sugar syrup and hey presto…the most refreshing combo ever. Our friendly Bar man demonstrated how to make every cocktail first of course, and even gave us a brief history of each. I’m afraid to say my memory is a little hazy. I totally blame the alcohol !
Porn Star Martini.
My favorite Cocktails of the evening were two, designed by ‘Escape Mixologists’ themselves. The ‘Happy holidays’ is a refreshing blend of Gin, Rose Liqueur, Grenadine,cranberry juice and freshly squeezed lemon juice. A sugared rim and lemon soaked strawberry added to it’s celebratory vibe. The ‘Delightful Trifle’ is actually a pudding in a glass. No pictures sorry but imagine a heady combination of strawberries, blackberries, salted caramel vodka and creme de mure , capped with fresh cream.
And a cocktail that everyone loved equally was The ‘Porn Star Martini’. Unfortunately it also gave me heartburn. 😦 But rest assured, I was swiftly created a heartburn cure. It worked and I was able to continue with the rest of my night. 🙂
At some point in the evening we were given a quick fun quiz on some of the cocktail related facts we had learnt along the way. A bottle of prosecco was our prize, which we decided to share after the Masterclass finished. That was not before we made our fifth and final creation ‘ The long Island Iced Tea’ , probably ( according to the Masterclass Menu) first concocted in NY to resemble an Iced Tea, when in fact it contains Rum, Vodka, Tequila, Cointreau ….and Coca-cola.
The Cocktail Masterclass at Escape costs £35 per person and includes five cocktails, tuition to make the five cocktails, a welcome drink and a fun quiz. It’s the perfect evening for getting together with friends. Just book the following day off! 🙂
Hey I’m joining in with Natalie’sSunday Sevens today and posting 7 ( or maybe more! ) photographs from my week.
Above is a photo from Instagram.I am trying to post a piccie each day as part of Kate Gabrielle’s #brilliantphotoaday challenge. Oneday the prompt was Polkadots so my whirly windmill came in very useful. 🙂
Tuesday was of course Valentine’s Day and Wil and I exchanged cards. I got him a humerous yet vaguely insulting card and he got me a lovely romantic card. Hurrah! I celebrate …because for years we chose cards for each other that we would rather have got ourselves. He likes funnies so he would get me something silly. I like pretty romantic cards so that’s what I would get him. We would joke that we should ‘swap’ cards. At last though, we have maybe got it right? Only taken us nearly 12 years! 🙂
On Thursday morning we took Hugo a walk up past Standen Hall, which was a good exscuse to look at all the lovely Snowdrops. It’s a private residence but I couldn’t resist stumbling over the cattle grid and taking a few photos. There were even some turkeys and a grey squirrel too! I hope those turkeys are not being fattened up for Christmas…
Friday night was a great fun night out with the girls…..but I have got to say, I am still recovering! Friend Fi arranged for 6 of us to try out a Cocktail Mixing Masterclass at Escape Coffee & Cocktails In Clitheroe. The class was upstairs in our own little private bar area and after a demo from Ben our Mixologist, we each got to make five very different cocktails….and drink them of course. After experiencing a welcome Belini, a Mojito, a Happy Holidays, a Porn Star Martini, a Delightful Trifle, a Long Island Iced Tea and a glass of prosecco, I may just not be able to remember enough to write a full post about it. ;). All I can say is at £35 per head it was great value for money, and a good time was had by all!
Yesrerday I did manage to emerge from the house and meet up with a pal for tea and cake at Callooh Callay in town. This Alice In Wonderland inspired tea room has had new owners of late, so we were a little worried it may have changed beyond recognition. Happily it is still devoted to all things ‘Alice’ ,though the new proprietor isn’t English, he presented us with some dates to try before our tea came. I guess that only adds to the quirkyness! 🙂
Tucked away down a quiet ginnel in the picturesque village of Wiswell in Lancashire, the Freemasons is almost hidden from the eye, a secret place , that if sought out, delivers the most delicious food in a cosy country pub setting.
It seems a while ago now but a group of us congregated here for New Years Eve Lunch. I was almost tempted to sit outside, all wrapped up in one of those lovely plaid blankets that are draped over the benches. The promise of pre-luncheon drinks lured me indoors , where fox and stags heads adorn the walls and a roaring fire welcomes guests.
Once inside we were promptly shown to our table. As there were 11 of us eating, we had the advantage of a small intimate room to ourselves with a long wooden dining table. Chef Patron ‘Steven Smith’ has turned the bustling Inn into an aclaimed Gastro-pub with accolades including the highest ranking pub in 2017’s Good Food Guide .There are apparently also plans for several boutique bedrooms! But back to the food……
The delicious selection of breads that were brought out before the starters were divine and soon devoured. I didn’t have a starter but options included Wester Ross Salmon and Crispy Hen’s Egg with gammon & pineapple. Definitely a ‘ Fish n Chips’ girl , I ordered the Panko crumbed Haddock for my main course. Served with chips and mushy peas and the most lip smacking tartar sauce, I confidently declare this to be my favourite ‘ Fish n Chips’ dish in a long time. 🙂
For dessert several of us chose the Quince. It came with a stem ginger icecream and brownies….and many questions about Runcible spoons. 😉 Wil decided upon the Artisan Cheeses, which he really enjoyed.
With some starters costing more than your average main , the Freemasons is somewhere I would return for a special occasion or celebratory treat. Hmmm maybe I should hint to Wil about a certain date in February!
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