Tag Archives: spring

April ~ Round-Up. πŸ’š

It’s a wrap! April is over and here’s what I’ve got up to….

Chasing Lions.

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 🦁.

Hacks.

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. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Life After Life After Life After Life …….

What have you been watching recently? Any recommendations?

Toms Table.

EATING. Finally went out for a meal to a popular little bistro in Clitheroe, and my, the food was delicious! See above.

Greatest Days Movie ~ being filmed down that road!

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 πŸ˜‰ instead.

It was raining and blowing a hoolie when this scene was filmed. And it took 28 takes. Photo from The Sun Online.

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. πŸ˜€

Greatest Days will be out in 2023 !

Dodd Fell.

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. 😘

Pink Cherry Blossom.
Lilac.
Laburnum.

ENJOYING. Spring Blossom ~ My local town is adundant with beautiful blossom at the moment. Gorgeous! Which is your favourite ?

Around Alston.

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.

Thanks for dropping by. 😘

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Spring In Melmerby.

Over the Easter Weekend we spent quite a bit of time walking the dog around Melmerby. We are still discovering new footpaths there, it’s a lovely place for a wander, especially at this time of year.

I still love my original What To Look For In The Seasons Ladybird Nature Books , which were first published in the fifties and sixties. Ladybird brought out a new set last year, they are also quite charming. The Spring book accompanied me on my recent walks.

Melmerby is the kind of village , where I often find myself doing double-takes! This Easter I have seen 2 children walking their pet ferrets, a Grandmother taking the little ones bare back riding on a sturdy horse, a man whizzing round a field in a pony and trap and several llamas being led along the Village Green.

Here are a few photos from Melmerby in the Spring.

Daffodils on the Green.
Lungwort.
Melmerby mud and Rosie Sandstone buildings.
Pied Wagtail.
Blossom.
Honesty.
Peacock Butterfly πŸ¦‹ enjoying a sunny spot.
Little Ford.
Little Lamb.
New Life in the fields.
Dog Violet.
Yellow Hammer.

Thanks for dropping by. πŸ¦‹πŸŒΌ

March ~ Round Up. πŸ’›

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? ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Julia Garner is not some ‘ Basic B**** in Inventing Anna.

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……..

Afternoon Tea Time.

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. 🍰.

Tunnel Vision. πŸ˜ƒ

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………

Sand Martin’s have returned from Africa.

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.

Dazzling Daffodils.
Curious Lambs.
Spot the Tiny 🏰 Castle.
Red Flowering Currant.
Hugo and Hyacinths.

Thanks for visiting and if you have any Book/Film/TV/ Walk/ Afternoon Tea recommendations, let me know in the comments. πŸ’›

Hawthorns Scavenger Hunt ~ Signs Of Spring. 🌻🌼

Kate’s words for this week are ~

Signs of Spring/ Signs of Autumn.

Hopeful window display in a local travel agent.

I thought I would stick with the Spring prompt, even though the temperatures have taken a dip again. The season is awakening slowly. By this time last year I had noticed more wild flowers and blossom than I have so far in 2021.

However I have spied some Spring flowers on recent wanders. πŸ™‚

Celandine.

The Lesser Celandine is a cheery yellow flower with glossy heart shaped leaves. Celandines are mentioned in The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe and Wordsworth has written three poems about them.

Cherry Plum Blossom.

Flowering before all the other blossoms is the Cherry Plum which bares it’s fruit in August. I have confused this with Blackthorn in the past, but the flowers appear even earlier. So pretty.

Red flowering currant.

I notice this Red Flowering Currant every year but I haven’t been able to find out much about the shrub. I don’t recall it ever baring any currants either. The pink blooms are very vibrant.

Daffodils in bud.

The golden trumpets of the Daffodil herald the start of Spring. Daffodils are the national flower of Wales, the inspiration for Wordsworth’s most famous poem and are even the name of a Mark Ronson dance track.

Primrose.

Who doesn’t love the pretty Primrose , its name derives from the Latin primula vulgaris meaning First Rose. Primroses are meant to bring luck to keepers of chickens! A flower to plant around the hen hut.

Crocuses.

Crocuses in St Mary’s churchyard looking almost like a fairyring. A vibrant Spring flower associated with love, success and cheerfulness. ❀️

What signs of Spring have you noticed ?

I am linking up to Kate’s Blog today.

A Wander To Wiswell. 🌼

After studying our O S maps, ( Wil is better at this than me πŸ€—) we found another walk from home, using footpaths we were not previously aware of. For this dear lockdown 3, I am grateful…

We plotted a route to the village of Wiswell and back via Barrow village and Standen Hey community woodland. The weather on Sunday was clear and bright, spring was definitely detected. On our walk we heard woodpeckers drumming, curlews calling and saw buzzards soaring. I noticed a solitary tortoishell butterfly and spied sunny clumps of primroses and celandines.

Heading out of Clitheroe to cross the busy A59.
And on into fields in the shadow of Pendle.
Hugo was happy to find a brook.
Plank bridge.
A huge house, actually newly built.
And into Wiswell village.
Hugo at the watering hole.:)
Wiswell.

Wiswell is a small village that lies at the foot of Wiswell Moor. Pronounced Wizzel, the settlement is possibly named after Old Molly’s Well , which became known as Wise Woman’s Well or Wise Well. We didn’t see the well though. Anyhow we sat and enjoyed a flask of coffee in the village centre a while. A greenfinch merrily chirruped in a nearby Conifer.

Greenfinch. πŸ™‚
The Freemasons public house ~ definitely on our list for future pub walks.
Heading away from Wiswell to Barrow.
Early plum blossom?
Berkins Deli in Barrow.

We got a bit lost in Barrow trying to find footpaths that had been either blocked off or diverted because of new housing development. Eventually we found ourselves on the right track, crossing a train track..

Safely across.
An unsuccessful selfie with Hugo.
Onto a familiar path, the old Roman road and stone cross base.
Community woodland.
Primrose.
Celendines.
Catkins.
Crocuses.
Alpaca πŸ¦™ on the outskirts of Clitheroe.

This walk was a little over 8 miles , started off chilly and ended up quite warm.

Os Explorer Map West Pennine Moors 287.

Bird Count, Elfcups & Snowdrops.

The weekends activities included the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. Hurrah! Something to do, and really quite ideal for lockdown. I must admit though I didn’t have the most exciting hour. My newly filled feeders seemed to be regarded with suspicion by the resident sparrows. Not one bird ventured from the foliage behind the garden shed. What was going on!

Nowt going on at the feeding station.
Female House Sparrow.

I counted 8 sparrows during the sixty minutes I sat glued to the window, camera at the ready. For all that time they mostly stayed hidden in the ivy. Then about five minutes before my hour was up I noticed a much bigger bird had landed in the greenery. It was mostly obscured but I noticed a long speckled tail through the leaves. It wasn’t a pigeon! Then suddenly it flew higher and all was revealed. A sparrowhawk! No wonder my little feathered visitors were staying away from the food. They didn’t intend to be food themselves.

Sorry to say I didn’t get a photo of my raptor visitor. Think I was in shock. 😲 But I have added Sparrowhawk to my birdcount results for the first time ever.

Meanwhile my sister and family were doing the birdcount at the same time as me. I usually join them but unfortunately not this year. πŸ˜” They had a really successful hour with Nuthatch, Long Tailed Tits, Pheasants, Kestrel and a Wren included in the final tally. πŸ™‚

Not all eyes are on the cake!
Long Tailed Tits galore.

After lunch Wil, Hugo and I headed out for a walk from Clitheroe , taking in the fields and River Ribble near Waddow Hall. Plenty of wildlife out this afternoon and an enjoyable 4 mile ramble from home and back.

Scarlet Elf cups.
Scarlet Elf cups.

I was delighted to find some Scarlet Elf Cups, such vibrant pops of colour in the winter landscape. They are also called Red Cups, Moss Cups and Fairies Baths. In folklore Wood Elves drink morning dew from them. Scarlet Elf Cups are most commonly found on mossy decaying branches on the woodland floor.

Robin.
Snowdrops.

I saw plenty of Snowdrops in people’s front gardens today , it was also nice to see some wild ones too. A real sign that Spring is on the way. ❀️

Finger post.
Brungerley Bridge.
Female Goosander.
Male Goosander.

I wouldn’t like to admit to having a favourite water bird ( I love to see them all) , but if you insist, I would probably say the Goosander . I always smile when I see these sawbilled ducks on the river, the female especially with her nut brown quiff . They are super adorable πŸ’–.

Smokey Polypore fungi…maybe.

Thanks for dropping by. Let me know if you have done the Birdwatch, seen Snowdrops or walked anywhere this weekend. πŸ₯ΎπŸ¦

Dean Clough Reservoir Walk.

On Saturday we drove ten minutes out of town for our permitted socially distanced exercise. It’s the first time I have left Clitheroe in six weeks. Wil still drives to Blackburn for work five days a week, so he wasn’t as excited to be out in the car as I was. It’s been a while! Anyway I think the change of scenery did me good. Apart from the odd dog walker, it was fairly quiet at Dean Clough Reservoir, a pretty body of water above York village near Whalley. We parked in a lay by outside the village and soon found the footpath that leads down to the reservoir.

At this time of year the golden yellow gorse flowers are all in bloom, giving off a heavenly coconut fragrance. There were bees buzzing round bugles and I saw my first swallows of the year.

In a few weeks the Yellow Flag Irises will come into flower, for now they are letting the marsh marigolds and cuckoo flowers take all the glory.

On the water we saw various birds including cormorant, Canada geese, mallards and this gorgeous Great Crested Grebe.

Instead of following the path around the reservoir we took another trail up to some rocky outcrops and admired the views for a little while. Butterflies fluttered by in a gentle spring time breeze.

We took the path back into York which is a small hamlet with a nice looking pub called the Lord Nelson. Hopefully it will open back up in the coming months. Spied some belties at a nearby farm.

Back where we had parked the car, this was our view! A rather large man standing on a small hill.

It’s a sculpture of some kind but I haven’t been able to find any information online about why it’s there. In the future will have to walk up to it for a closer look. 😁

Thanks for reading & stay safe. x

Seven days of wildflowers. 🌸

For the past seven days I’ve chosen a wild flower that I’ve seen on my daily walk with Hugo, and found out a few facts about each flower.

Saturday ~ Bluebell. There’s nothing more stunning than a carpet of bluebells in the Spring. I saw clumps of these gorgeous violet blue flowers on a walk today through a patch of woodland by the river. Here are a few facts about bluebells.

Other names for Bluebell include Wild Hyacinth, Wood Bell, Granfer Giggle, Witches Thimble, Cuckoo’s Boot, Bell Bottle and Lady’s Nightcap.

It is against the law to pick, uproot or intentionally destroy bluebells.

Bluebells can also be pink or white.

The bluebell is the flower of St George.

In folklore fairies ring the bells to gather together their fairy kin. If humans hear blue bells ring however, disaster will befall them. 😬

Sunday ~ Cowslip. There are lots of cowslips in bloom at the local nature reserve in Salthill Quarry. They tend to thrive in meadows, dry grassy banks, grass verges and in open woodland. Here are a few cowslip facts.

Cowslip apparently means cow pat! It has been noted that the flowers spring up around where cows have ‘slupped’.

Tea made from the flowers can be used to help cure headaches and insomnia.

In countryside tradition cowslips were strewn along the church path at weddings and put in May Day garlands.

Other names for cowslip include Bunch of Keys, Lady’s fingers, Yellowdrops , Freckled Face & Fairies Flower.

Cowslips are the food of the Duke of Burgundy caterpillar.

Monday ~ Germander Speedwell. These little beauties were growing amongst a patch of primroses next to Mearley Brook. I love the bright blue colour of speedwells. πŸ’™ Here are a few facts about the Germander Speedwell.

Other names that speedwells go by include Birds Eye and Cats Eye.

The flowers are a good luck charm for travellers. A speedwell worn in a button hole will ‘ speed you well ‘ on your journey.

The speedwells Latin name is Veronica Chamaedrys. It is said that a St Veronica wiped Christ’s forehead on the way to his crucifixion and an image of Jesus’s face was left imprinted on the cloth she used. Speedwell flowers resemble little faces.

In Germany speedwells are also known as ‘ mannertreu ‘ or ‘ men’s faithfulness ‘. Ironically the flowers wilt very quickly once picked.

In ancient medicine speedwells were used to cure many ailments especially coughs and congestion.

Tuesday ~ Yellow Archangel. As well as bluebells, the woodland floor near Standen Hall is covered in a hooded spring flower , the Yellow Archangel. Though I prefer to call it by one of its other names, the Yellow weasel snout. πŸ™‚

Although it is a member of the Dead-Nettle family, the Yellow Archangel doesn’t sting.

If you want to know what a weasel smells like, crush the plants leaves. The rank aroma will give you some idea apparently.

The Yellow Archangel flowers near the 27th of April, a day dedicated to the Archangel Michael.

The flower has been used in the past to protect cattle against a black magic disease.

Red Dead-Nettles and White Dead-Nettles are closely related to their yellow flowered cousin.

Wednesday ~ Wild Garlic. An indicator of ancient woodland, this time of year is ideal for foraging the leaves of ramsons or wild garlic. They can also flower on roadside verges, where I saw the above. Here are some facts about Wild Garlic.

Wild garlic leaves and flowers can be used in many recipes including garlic scones and wild garlic pesto.

The plant is also known as Bear Garlic. It’s Latin name is Allium Ursinum ( bear leek). On the continent brown bears like to feast on the leaves.

Cats are apparently repelled by the smell of wild garlic.

In Ireland wild garlic bulbs were put into the thatched roofs of cottages for good luck.

If you forage wild garlic leaves , do not confuse with the similar looking Lily of the valley, which is highly toxic and should not be eaten. The best way to know your garlic is to check with your nose.

Thursday ~ Bugle. Down by the brook I spied several bugles. They can be found in damp grassland and woodland.

The Bugles Latin name is Ajuga reptans. Reptans means creeping & crawling, rather like how the plant spreads on underground runners.

The sixteenth century physician and naturalist William Turner described the plant as ‘ a black herb that groweth in moist ground and shadowy places’. It was used in ancient medicine to stop bleeding.

Bugles are popular with bees and butterflies.

The herb was made into a tea in Austria to help with respiratory conditions.

Friday ~ Red Campion. Today’s flower is pretty in pink , one of the first pink blooms of Spring. Red campions grow on woodland edges, in hedgerows and fields. These were by Mearley Brook. Here are some facts about Red Campion.

Red campion is also known by the names of Adder Flower, Red Catchfly and Robin Hood.

On the continent Red Campion are a scorpion scarer! Scorpions are not fond of red campions , throwing one at a scorpion renders it’s sting useless apparently. Don’t think I would want to try this out!

In fairy folklore Red campion is said to have been used by fairy folk to protect their honey stores.

Another name for the pink flower is Bachelor s Button, perhaps the flower was worn in single fellows button holes at country weddings, once upon a time.

Red campions roots were once used as a substitute for soap.

Of course every day more and more flowers appear! It’s so lovely to see them on my daily walks. What wild flowers have you noticed this week?

Early April ~ Wildflowers On A Walk.

We are quite lucky in our small town that we are within easy walking distance of countryside. The river Ribble is best followed on foot if you want to spy the wildflowers that are springing up everywhere. Wildlife just keeps calm and carries on. πŸ™‚

River Ribble towards West Bradford Bridge.

Marsh marigolds often to be found near water. They are also called King Cups.

Pretty in pink Cuckoo Flowers herald the return of Spring…and the Cuckoo. Also called Ladies Smock and milkmaid.

Lots of Butterbur on the Riverside. In the past its large heart shaped leaves were used to wrap butter.

Primroses, Wood Anemone and Celandines.

Although some people have spotted otters here in Clitheroe, I have never seen a real one locally. Keep hoping!

Colts Foot.

Dog Violets. πŸ™‚

Pied Wagtail. There were a few darting round the river.

Wood Anemone. Saw lots of these bonnie white flowers carpeting woody areas.

Catkins.

Just too pretty not to photograph. Snakes Head Fritillaries in a front garden on the way home.

This walk was yesterday’s. What wildlife have you spotted recently?