There was a time when going out for Afternoon Tea was quite the norm for me. I think one year, I managed to devour ten. I know! But in 2018 I had not participated in this delightful institution until Sunday, when I joined some work colleagues for a Festive themed afternoon tea at Mitton Hall.
Mitton Hall near Whalley in Lancashire is a charming country house hotel. It’s the kind of olde worlde pile where a medieval banquet would not look out of place in its traditional oak panelled Great Hall. At this time of year a mahusive Christmas Tree welcomes you on arrival. 🙂 We immediately felt full of festive cheer.
Our Afternoon tea was booked for 5pm, so it was already dark when we arrived. After a quick refreshment in one of the cosy bars, we were lead to our table in the Brasserie.
It wasn’t long before our Afternoon Teas arrived, served on three tiers and piled high with goodies. We had all chosen the standard option which includes any hot drink of your choice and cost £17-50 each.
The bottom tier contained festive finger sandwiches, smoked salmon canopes and pigs in blankets. I always think it’s a shame that afternoon tea is more geared up for the sweet tooth. We would have loved a few more savoury items to feast upon.
However the cakes were to die for. And I am definitely a fan of cake! My personal favourite was the Lemon Drizzle..
Other sweet treats included a mince pie, a chocolate mousse ( unusually flavoured with mango, a hit with me but not for everyone) , a mini macaroon, a stollen bite and of course, plain and fruit scones, served with jam and clotted cream.
And after all that we just had to have a photo in front of the resplendent tree. 🙂
Will you be indulging in a Christmassy afternoon tea this year?
Its December everyone! Is it to early to do a bit of a round-up post?? 2018 has been a pretty good year for spotting wildlife I’ve never seen before. I glimpsed my first Gannets plunging into the ocean for fish off Skye, my first Stonechats darting between fence posts and gorse bushes in Ravenglass and my first Great Crested Grebes fishing in the lagoon at Hodbarrow Nature Reserve. I witnessed my first Eider Ducks bobbing along an aquamarine blue sea in the Outer Hebrides and watched for the first time, wild otters swimming and playing in a sheltered cove there.
And this year I have tried to identify and record every flower, mammal, bird, butterfly and moth I have come across whilst out and about , in a Nature Diary. Doing this has definitely got me busy looking up everything in my often neglected wildlife guides. My diary has gotten quite full, though I know there are still so many plants and animals, that I haven’t had the pleasure of viewing in our beautiful British Isles.
Here are just a few photos of some of the wildlife I have managed to capture on camera this year. 🙂
Hope you enjoyed the photos.
What are your own favourite wildlife moments of 2018?
Today I thought I would round off my week with a Sunday Sevens, seven or more pictures from the last 7 days.
A Witchy Walk.
Even though we are busy decorating the kitchen at the moment ( when I say we, I really mean Wil ! ) , we did take time out for a walk in Aitken Wood near Barley. Pendle Witch country, the little conifer woods here are home to a spooky sculpture trail that tells the story of the Lancashire witch trials of 1612 . I have now reached 1300 miles walked in 2018, so still hoping to complete 1500 by the end of the year.
Guilty Pleasures. 😈
So I’m in love with the devil ! Fantasy horror writer Neil Gaiman is one of the creators of the supernatural characters in Lucifer, a TV series about the original fallen angel, the devil himself. Now residing in LA, Lucifer is keen to learn more about humanity and is even using his devilish powers for good ( well kind of 😉 ), working as detective Chloe Decker’s wickedly sexy sidekick. Swoon! I am late to the party as usual…but totally loving this show. ❤️ You can watch it on Amazon Prime.
Also very appropriate for this time of year, how about a supernatural romance that begins in Autumn and is set in historical Oxford? Diana Bishop is a young scholar ( and reluctant witch) , who unwitingly stumbles upon an ancient enchanted manuscript, buried deep in Oxford’s Bodleian library. It’s discovery both thrills and disturbs the supernatural community, who all want to get their hands on both it and the young witch who summoned it. Diana finds herself being both hunted and protected by an ancient brooding vampire called Matthew Clairmont. This book has apparently just been made into a fantasy series on Sky, so one to look out for. For now though, I’ll just curl up with this couldron bubbling paperback romance. 🕸️
The first recipe we tried from The Little Book Of Hygge was a success! We made Skipper Stew which is a winter warming stew, perfect for Autumn and Winter. As its name suggests Skipper Stew was originally made on ships. The main ingredients are brisket ( though any meat will do), chicken stock, onions and potatoes. We served it with sourdough bread and pickled red cabbage instead of the suggested Pickled beets and Rye bread though. You can also find the recipe online here.
Wine Tasting. 🍷
Yesterday I was lucky enough to go to a Wine Tasting in Waddington with some friends. At first we were all very professional , swirling our glasses round and declaring ‘ I detect hints of elderflower’ , but it soon descended into chaos when we realised there were fifty bottles to try, in a two hour time slot. Haha. Great idea! If your thinking about wine now , check out www.winesbytimbyrne.co.uk
Every so often I remember to join in with #photoanhour on Instagram, and yesterday was one of those days. The concept is simple. Just take one photo of whatever your doing every hour and join in with the hashtag #photoanhour. Either Janey or Louisa chooses the date each month.
Bank Holiday Monday was a scorcher wasn’t it! I had been working in the morning so was definitely ready for a little trip out. The Lancashire coast was a possibility, but in the end we decided to nip up to The Trough Of Bowland, a valley and high pass in the Forest Of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I was quite pleased with this idea as I had heard that a statue of a mermaid resides in the trough, and I wanted to find her. 🙂 Because of the intense heat we decided to leave Hugo at home and take him out for an early evening walk instead.
But why on earth is there a mermaid living in an inland Lancashire valley, I hear you ask? I was a bit confused myself. Even though the Trough of Bowland is the scenic route to Lancaster and the coastal towns beyond, this is the only connection to the sea , that I know of. Several babbling brooks do meander through the countryside though and three Water Intakes were built in the 1920’s. Langden Water Intake is the home of our mermaid. Her name is Miranda.
Miranda is quite easy to find. Park at the Langden Car Park by the brook. This site is popular with picnickers on sunny days and at weekends there is usually a mobile hotdog/icecream van parked up. Cross the blue bridge and walk down a tree lined avenue, following the track a short way into the Langden Valley. You will see a cottage and the water treatment works ahead. Peer over a gate at the side and you should see a mermaid perched on the wall of the settling pool. Of course, we somehow totally missed spotting her at first…and walked straight past. I then spied the statue through the trees and got quite frustrated, as I couldn’t get a good photo. 😦
We found ourselves looking over a fence at the back of the property, with lots of No Entry signs. I decided to chance it and climbed over the gate, snuck up to the wall and got a couple of photos. Luckily our camera has a pretty good zoom! Though in hindsight I really didn’t need to do this ( Wil got some pictures from over the gate I mentioned afterwards), it’s great that I now have shots of the mermaid from two different angles. 🙂
Miranda was sculpted by water engineer George Aldersley in the fifties . She was modelled on his wife Madge and he actually sculpted the water nymph in their front room. She was possibly named after the mermaid in the 1948 film ‘ Miranda’ starring Glynis Johns , in the title role.
You have probably noticed that this mermaid does not have a huge swishing tail. She is apparently a twin-tailed mermaid, the statues legs tucked underneath her, end in flat fins.
After my spot of trespassing , we had a short walk into the Langden Valley. The sun was really beating down though, so we didn’t amble very far.
We soon headed back through the trees to the car park and treated ourselves to an ice cream to cool down. I also noticed a memorial to 25 air pilots who crashed in the Forest of Bowland during the second world war. The airmen were from Britain, America, Poland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Thanks for reading. If you would like to know more about the Langden Mermaid , I got my information from mermaidsofearth.com
Have you come across any mermaid statues, anywhere in the world?
Beacon Fell Country Park in the beautiful Forest of Bowland area of Lancashire is not that far from where I live, yet it is somewhere we rarely visit. I think that will change this year, now that we have discovered what a fab afternoon out, this popular Country Park is. After picking up my niece and nephew and demoting Mr Hugo to the boot, we set off from Clitheroe to the village of Chipping and beyond, passing Bowland Forest Gliding Club and Blacksticks Lane ~ which immediately made me think of the Lancashire cheese. 😊
The park has several car parks, the main one having a cafe and visitor centre and a small parking charge. After piling out of the car, we set off to explore. There are several sculptures dotted round Beacon Fell. In hindsight we should have bought a 20p map from the visitor centre, as is the usual case with sculpture trails, we failed to spot them all.
Beacon Fell Country Park is a mixture of heather moorland at the summit and spruce woodland ,so is a rich haven for wildlife. There are numerous walking trails and the blue Fellside trail may also be used by mountain bikers and horse riders. The weekend we visited was very busy with families and dog walkers, so we failed to spy the area’s native roe deer. I imagine at quieter times, there is probably lots more to see. I settled for a photo of a camera shy kestrel. 😊
The views from Beacon Fell’s Summit ( 266m high) are lovely all around. From the Bowland Fells you can glimpse the Lancashire coastline and on a bright day, the skies are generously big.
On our future return we will be sure to look out for a heron, a walking snake , a living willow deer and a black tiger. We did at least spot a dragonfly, he isn’t on the map! There is also a tarn to discover, which apparently buzzes with real dragonflies….
After a couple of hours of climbing trees, wildlife spotting and throwing sticks for Hugo ( his ball on a rope ended up tangled round a tree branch as usual 🤣) ,we had a drink at the cafe and a quick look in the visitor centre. We all agreed a return trip is a must!