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. ☕❤️
It’s a wrap! April is over and here’s what I’ve got up to….
READING. Again I have turned into a real slow coach on the reading front. I downloaded Amanda Marks memoir of her time driving around Africa in a truck for an adventure holiday company. Tiny Amanda worked in finance and after a mugging by a gang of school kids, she decides things have got to change! I am dipping in and out of this book and enjoying finding out about Amanda’s travels and whether she does indeed, find her inner lion 🦁.
WATCHING. Lots! Here are some shows I’ve enjoyed watching in April.
Derry Girls ~ Ongoing on Channel 4 and All 4. Hilarious comedy about five teens attending a Catholic school for girls during the troubles in nineties Northern Ireland. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Hacks ~ Amazon Prime. An old pro Comedienne and a disgraced young comedy writer team up in this clever slow burner comedy drama. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Thief, His Wife And The Canoe. ITV Hub. The bizarre true story of a man who faked his own death to claim the insurance money, whilst continuing to live in the house next door. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Killing Eve ~ BBC I Player. It’s officially finished! The serial killing shenanigans of Villianelle take a backseat as the characters get their emotive…. and explosive endings. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Anatomy Of A Scandal ~ Netflix. Timely courtroom drama about a seemingly happily married politician put on trial for scandalous behaviour. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Life After Life ~ BBC I Player. Be prepared with your hankies if you watch this incredibly emotional war time drama. Ursula, a girl with an incredible sense of deja vu navigates the pitfalls of her life, again and again and again. Don’t think I will ever be able to look at silently falling snowflakes in the same way. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What have you been watching recently? Any recommendations?
EATING. Finally went out for a meal to a popular little bistro in Clitheroe, and my, the food was delicious! See above.
FILMING. Ok I have not actually been filming anything, but Clitheroe was taken over by a film crew for two weeks in April. Along with London and Athens, Clitheroe is one of the locations for new Rom Com Greatest Days ! The movie is about a group of Take That Fans navigating their lives, through the nineties until now. To a Take That Soundtrack. The town was rife with rumours that Gary, Mark and co would actually make an appearance. They will no doubt show up on location in Athens 😉 instead.
So what’s it like when your home town becomes a film set? At first I sought out the action, accidentally on purpose walking Hugo where I thought the filming might be taking place. But soon I couldn’t avoid it. Bursts of Never Forget and Could it Be Magic greeted us wherever we went. Oneday I popped to the market, only to find that nothing was for sale, the stalls had been paid to open as film props. Wil was surprised when a new hardware shop appeared , then disappeared a couple of days later. I bet all the Nineties shop signage did confuse a few people. 😀
Greatest Days will be out in 2023 !
WALKS & Wainwrights. A favourite walk of mine that I did in April was a circuit of Derwent Water near Keswick with my sister & family. I also huffed up a couple of hills. Dodd Fell above ( see exciting exploring collage) and my favourately named fell Binsey, which really should become the moniker of my next pet. What a cute name. 😘
ENJOYING.Spring Blossom ~ My local town is adundant with beautiful blossom at the moment. Gorgeous! Which is your favourite ?
Discovering New To Us Places ~ Alston is only 20 minutes drive from the caravan ,but we haven’t spent as much time there as another nearby town, Penrith. We’ve been trying to remedy that recently! Surrounded by wild moorland, Alston is known as the highest Market town in England.With cobbles and a market cross, I love this description I found online via Sally’s Cottages Guide To Alston ~ Alston is Steep, Unique and chock-full of charm ! Here’s my mini guide to my own personal favourite bits of Alston so far…….
Alston Wholefoods ~ Ethical Grocers and Delicatessen, famous for their large stock of cheeses.
Mellow Yellow ~ Aladdins Cave of clothes, accessories and gifts.
Hi Pennine Outdoor Shop ~ Outdoor clothing, equipment, maps and giftware.
Once Upon A Time ~ Eclectic Second hand book shop situated in The Alston Emporium.
Saddlers Bakery Bistro ~ Contemporary cafe and craft bakery.
Turks Head Pub ~ Cosy traditional drinkers pub with open fires, Real Ales and dog friendly.
The High Plaice ~ Popular Fish & Chips.
South Tynedale Railway ~ Charming Narrow Gauge Railway to nearby Slaggyford. Run by friendly volunteers. Lovely newly renovated cafe on the platform too.
Ha the title of this post sadly doesn’t refer to my knowledge of The London Underground! I am still hopelessly confused by the city’s magnificent transport system. This post simply documents a stroll from A to B, through three beautiful Royal Parks.
After hungrily devouring these gorgeous and expensive cakes in Harrods, with our eyes, we bought a few less expensive items for a picnic in nearby Hyde Park. Hyde Park covers 350 acres and it was just so nice to get out of the hustle and bustle , and into a lovely green space.
Now I’m afraid I didn’t do any research about the Royal Parks. Looking up Hyde Park now, I can see it is full of beautiful sculptures and statues, which we of course completely missed ! I did however see plenty of wildlife and lots of Spring Blossom. 🙂
Boy and Dolphin Fountain.
The Huntress Fountain.
We did spot two sculptures in Hyde Park. The marble Boy and Dolphin Fountain was made in 1862 by Alexander Munro, a friend of Alice In Wonderlands creator , Lewis Carroll. Not far from him is The Huntress Fountain, located in The Rose Garden. Look closely and see that she has made the ideal perch for Mr Magpie.
Our stroll had taken us as far as Wellington Arch which opens into the smallest of London’s Royal Parks, Green Park. Happily we decided to carry on and enjoy the open space. 🙂
The Parks are all the more pretty at this time of year , due to the gorgeous Spring Blossom. If you are in London right now be sure to head to the Royal Parks. 🙂 And look out for the city’s population of bright green parakeets! Popular legend has it that the Ring Tailed Parakeet population was given a helping hand by rock star Jimi Hendrix , who released two on Carnaby Street in the Sixties….
We walked through Green Park towards Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the Queen. A carpet of stunning colours greeted us as we crossed over the road into the oldest of the Royal Parks, St James’s Park.
St James’s Park is a delightful place to stop for an ice cream and admire the water fowl that frequent the lake. There are also wonderful views from the Blue Bridge towards Westminster and the London Eye.
We even managed to spot St James’s most famous residents ! Pelicans have lived in the park since 1664, when the Russian Ambassador gifted some to Charles II. They are cared for by a Wildlife Officer who feeds them fish every day and makes sure they are in tip top condition. The exotic birds also snack on fish in the lake and their usual hangout is Pelican Rock below.
Our walk had taken us through three Royal Parks and the hotel was mere minutes away. Who needs the Underground. 🙂
BOOKS ~ Two books were on my reading list in April. The raucous reinvention of a socially awkward Wolverhampton school girl into the Top hat wearing sex mad rock chick music critic ‘Dolly Wilde’ is the subject of Caitlin Moran’s brilliantly funny coming of age novel ‘How To Build A Girl.’
I must admit I have bizarrely only just heard of Moran after watching ‘Raised by Wolves’ on the telly,which she co- penned with her sister.Why Why Why had I not heard of her before?? I shall now be hunting out all her other novels pronto! I also enjoyed historical romance Spare Brides by Adele Parks.Set a couple of years after the First World War , this story centres around the lives of four upper class women, looking for love/their places in the world after the Great War took away the lives they might have had. Luxury and glamour is tinged with sadness and expectancy in this Downtonesque drama.
Movies~ I bought Paddington on dvd and really loved the magical tale of this polite Peruvian bear’s search for a home in London ~ and now a marmalade sandwich tucked under ones hat does seem pretty essential.Enjoyed Nicole Kidman’s performance as a terrifying taxidermist!
Easter Fun ~ It was good to have a few days off over Easter ( even if the car did break down!) and it was fun to meet up with pals and kids and Bertie and Walter ( two mischevious Bichons 🙂 ) for an impromptu Easter egg hunt. Heres a piccie of us all putting on our best ‘Say Cheeses’ for the camera.
Food and Drink ~ Theres been a couple of new places opened in my hometown this month , so of course I had to have a nosy! See my post about the great new coffee & cocktail bar Escape Coffee & Cocktails. Right next door is The Ale House , a rough and ready Micro pub with a beer fest atmosphere, selling a selection of cask ale, cider and craft beers. There are retro board games, old Beano annuals and even a vintage Bunty upstairs. I’m sure I will do a post about it soon! April was also my sisters birthday and we went out for a delicious afternoon tea at Mitton Hall near Whalley.Check out my blog here.
Guilty Pleasures ~ Shhhhhhh for the past eight weeks or so I have been hooked on a reality tv show.Ok Siberia not a real reality tv show but a mockumentry about 12 contestants abandoned in a Siberian forest to fend for themselves and win $500000 prize money. Theres some creepy stuff going on though including gruesome killings and the film crew abandons them ( except the odd conveniently placed camera man!) so now they are working as a team to get the hell outta there.One more episode to be aired.I think only the first season was ever made.Does anyone else out there watch it?? Sundays 9pm Pick Tv.
Spring Blossom~ April does have to be all about the Spring blossom doesn’t it.Apple, Cherry, Blackthorn and Magnolia.Its wonderful and should be around for a little while yet. 🙂