eat, beach, sleep, repeat…

We had quite an eventful weekend looking after my granddaughter and my mother, now affectionately known as Great Granny,  me being Granny now of course!  We had already planned to stay with my mum last weekend but in the middle of the week we received an SOS call from my daughter asking if we could look after Baby L (now little L due to the growth spurt) for two days at the weekend due to staff shortages.  So nothing else for it but to take both on at once whilst staying in my mum’s apartment.


On Friday I took the train as planned to Eaglescliffe, just outside Yarm in North Yorkshire, and mum met me on the station, then after off loading my bags at her apartment we took a taxi to Teeside Park to do a bit of chatting, lunching and shopping.


On Saturday morning we were joined by my husband who had driven up collecting our granddaughter little L on the way.  We headed off to nearby  Saltburn by the Sea for the day.  It took us a while to park as the weather was so hot everyone had the same idea to go to the seaside.

We finally got a spot in the car park down by the sea and then took a ride on the Cliff Tramway which goes up the steep cliff side, 102 feet above sea level, into the town centre so we could find a place for lunch.  We had a ploughman’s in my favourite cafe a little Deli called Real Meals.

Saltburn has that quaint British seaside feeling – it is a Victorian Spa town with amazing iron work verandas along the shop fronts.  I always find I get a strong feel good factor when I am there.  You will note the lack of pictures but holding on to a 3-year-old and a 91-year-old does not allow for much photo taking.

After lunch we strolled along by the shops then made our way back down the hill to the bottom of the cliff by road – bad move – it is extremely steep for both the push chair and a ninety-one year old – in fact I am not sure who was clinging on to who in the end!

Reaching the bottom we then decided to catch the little train that runs along the valley bottom through the pleasure grounds ending at the tea rooms and Italian Gardens.  I had no idea any of this existed and it was quite exciting exploring the windy paths and hidden corners.  We skipped the tea rooms having just had lunch but did treat ourselves to an ice cream each.

  We walked back so that we could take Little L on the swings and slide along the way.

After this we just had time to fit in a bit of playing time with a bucket and spade on the beach by the pier and find a cup of tea in the nearby cafe for my mum together with a take away pensioners fish and chip tea.  So everyone was happy but I must say I did feel a little worn out trying to cater for two opposing age groups.

On Sunday I was woken early by guess who springing out of bed like a Kangaroo and wide awake saying – ‘Hello granny are we going to play’?

After building bricks and getting the whole ‘chocolate bunny’ family sorted in the Sylvanian Family house we had a trip over to Bedale for lunch and then went round the corner to Crakehall a beautiful little English village with expansive village green on which stands the church.

At the far end is Crakehall Hall and the owners of this beautiful house had opened their gardens to the public for charity.


It was a glorious day again but with a slight breeze and we wandered around admiring the plants and taking photos.  This hidden secret garden was my favourite with the fluffy yellow Alchemilla Mollis mixed with Lavender and Delphiniums – a classic country garden.

We came across a tree swing in the Orchard and then ‘wow’ a trampoline – Little L had a fab time on this while Great Granny headed once again for the tea tent and a sit down.

After more tea and cakes we dropped off Little L back with mum and Great Granny back at her apartment and then drove back to our own home exhausted but relieved it had all gone quite so well and everyone seemed to have a lovely time.

back soon x






weekend plans…

By the time you read this on Friday morning I will be on the train North to Yarm where I will be spending the weekend with my mum – OH will drive up and join us on Saturday but Friday is just mum and me time.  Also joining us on Saturday for the rest of the weekend (which wasn’t part of the original plan but childcare was urgently needed) is baby L my granddaughter – no longer a baby and soon to be three.  How time flies!

I will have an almost three-year old and a 91-year-old to entertain – I think perhaps a day in nearby Saltburn by the sea will satisfy both age groups – the Cliff lifts, the little train, the park, the pier, the donkeys and a stroll around the lovely little town centre – oh and two vegetarian cafes.  I am just hoping we have good weather.



Have a great weekend x

A slow Saturday and a Sunday sprint…

We spent a lovely day just outside Masham on Saturday having a celebratory lunch with my hubby’s sister and her new husband (although they have been together for more than twenty some years)!  Both my daughters and their partners and of course baby L. joined us and we sat and chatted all afternoon then went along to my daughters shop (also in Masham) for a look around.  It changes every time I go – new pieces of furniture and a new selection of goods – at the moment it is all Christmas items.

Birdhouse Interiors

I can’t help thinking that this is how all Saturdays should be spent – just sitting and being and enjoying.

But then on Sunday I had to dash around like a mad thing of course to make up for lost time!

 In the morning I checked over our finances, entering receipts and balancing accounts.

This year I have been trying to simplify our finances as well as our living space but unfortunately I do not feel this is happening as far as the finances are concerned and if anything I am under the impression that they are getting more complicated.

Each time I think I have got the energy accounts sorted and under control again I find that the supplier messes up once more!  Hubby is on the phone now at 8.40pm after waiting 40 minutes already to speak to someone.

Who was it had the brilliant idea of privatising these companies and has it really made our bills any cheaper or our lives just shorter due to the stress experienced dealing with them!!

All year I have been keeping a note of my cash spending – well most of it – once or twice I have been too busy to keep track and I know I have definitely overspent the £10 budget and at times even a £20 a week budget.  This is always due to lack of time – some nights after getting home from work it is either check my finances and record the days spending or cook the tea and eat.   There are no prizes for guessing which of the two jobs wins.

I think it is too late now for this year to get back on track again but I will be in a better starting place next year and I love starting afresh in January.

As far as Xmas plans go – I can say that I haven’t really made many yet – we have most weekends spoken for now and I have managed to send out our Not so Secret Santa wish lists and rules to the family ready for the big name draw on Friday.

Other than that I have not made or even bought any Christmas cards yet or made my Christmas cake and Nut loaf but I am still hopeful that I will have time – I have already been thinking of ideas for the card and I really enjoyed doing the lino cut last year and once done it is so easy to run off any amount.

As we are simplifying the gift giving within the family by choosing to do a Secret Santa the amount of gifts I need to buy for my colleagues at work seems to be growing each year – the group I buy for has now reached six people.  Each year someone else surprises me with a gift and I feel obliged to return the pleasure!

How are your Christmas plans coming along?





A Grand Day Out…

I had this post almost ready to publish way back in June before I disappeared ‘off air’ for a while – so I thought I may as well carry on and publish it now.

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Last weekend we spent with my mum near Yarm.  Saturday was such a lovely day we decided to go back to Eggleston Hall near Barnard Castle now one of our firm favourites after our visit last year.  On the way we saw a sign for Laurels cafe and turned off the A67 into the village of Gainford.  We stopped here for coffee and crumpets – the owner was so welcoming and the food delicious we were sorry that we were not having lunch here too – but we will make a note for another day.  The reason for the name Laurels Cafe is because Stan Laurel was a pupil here when the house was a private school.  Afterwards we had a walk around the pretty village and then went on to Eggleston.

I bought a stunning Clematis from the nursery in pale lilac which is now growing strong in my garden at home and contrasts well with the deep velvety purple of a smaller flowered variety called Guiding Promise growing beside it.  The Hydrangea Paniculata I bought from them last year survived the flood at the cottage and has flowered so profusely I have had to prop each of the heavy heads up with canes.


Just an update…

and to say Hi everyone…I finally made it back to my computer and as you may have guessed by my absence life has not got any easier for me recently what with my bad back and now stiff neck – although they are on the mend I am trying not to spend hours bent over the computer.

As well as this my family keep me busier than ever, we have spent some weekends at my daughters decorating the nursery for our future grandchild which is due in July, as well as making the curtains.  We have had another trip to Shrewsbury to see my mum-in-law and this weekend we go off again to Yarm to visit my mum.

Over the Spring Bank holiday we had a visit to our cottage in Scotland for the big clear up now the roofers have finished.  We spent hours picking out tiny bits of slate from the gravel beds and borders around the cottage (something a bit of fore-thought and a sheet of black plastic might have avoided)!   There was plenty of sweeping up as well as clearing out the garage so that we could safely keep the rest of the slates under cover until we can return the ones we do not need to the merchant.

We didn’t have time for any gardening in fact we had a day out on the Sunday being hubby’s birthday and we ended up across the bay on the Machars (we are on the South Rhins) visiting some of the Artists Open Studios as part of the Spring Fling event.  I will post these pictures another day – in the meantime come and have a little stroll around the garden and see the view.

 Candleabra Primulas

The Primulas I planted last year around the pond are beautiful – they were just starting to burst into flower as we left and I am hoping they will go forth and multiply.

Planting Rogersia

Beyond the Primula is a ditch that separates the lower from the upper wood.  I cleared just enough of the weeds to plant my two Rodgersia plants (50p each) and these will be divided in the Autumn or Spring so that they form a drift along the banking and hopefully suppress the weeds – well that is the plan!

The Woodland Garden

This is taken looking in the opposite direction from the banking.

Wild flowers

I like to keep the wild flowers (within reason as they can take over at a rate of knots).   Here is some pretty pink Campion mingled with self seeded ferns and what I think is blue Pulmonaria (but not sure of this) can anyone confirm the name?

Hidden Trough

To my delight I discovered this little eathenware  trough when weeding one day.  The plant growing around it is creeping Campanula and will soon be covered in a mass of  purple blue flowers for the summer.

Cottage border

This is part of my dry border under the large Pine Trees.  It can be a bit hit and miss finding things that like to grow here.  You can see the leaves of various Agapanthus – they love it hot and dry so are well suited.  The bright orange flowers are Geums and goodness knows what those hundreds of little seedlings are beside them.  I expect I will soon find out on my next visit.

Daisy Path

This is the Daisy path – we always leave it as long as we can before we have to strim it as I love this natural look.


My little terracotta plant pot now gathering moss inside – it is like a mini nature table.

Cloud formation

We had glorious weather over the bank holiday and I captured one or two atmospheric pictures across the bay.

Cloud Formation 2   The cloud formation passing over was quite fascinating and there was hardly any difference between the silvery blue colour of the water and sky.

Evening across the bay

This was taken one very calm evening – the little boat out on the water is the Lobster Pot man checking his cages – probably seeing if he has any supper!

  Porch window view

Looking out of the window from our tumble-down porch on the seaside side we are sheltered by the Privet hedge and have a lovely uninterrupted view of the bay.

Seaside garden

At the moment this part of the garden is mostly covered in black plastic to keep the weeds down but I am hoping to start planting here soon with Coastal plants which for me will make a change from the woodland plants on the other side of the cottage.

Tree Crossing Road

Just thought I would include this picture – we had to stop on our way into town one day for a tree crossing the road!

I have to go now and do a bit of catching up with everyone again – please excuse any lack of comments in the past couple of weeks – no doubt life will calm down a bit soon.  Have a great week everyone.

The great British weather…

It is snowing here in Yorkshire on the Pennines  – it began as I came home from work tonight and the combination of un-gritted surfaces, freezing temperatures and the rush hour created chaos on the slippery roads.
This is not the only place to experience bad weather in the North – at the weekend we went to Scotland and saw first hand the devastation the raging gales and storms had caused last week around the Mull of Galloway.  The coast road along the peninsula had been hit so badly that it became impassable for a time.  As you can see from the picture below where it was once all grass verge the rocks and pebbles from the beach have been tossed by the sea and now lay strewn across to the road like an extension of the beach.   The road has been cleared and is now passable when the sea is calm like this  but if the sea is a bit choppy you might not want to risk driving along here in case you get struck by falling pebbles amongst the spray.

Storm damage

On the other side of the road this farmer had a stone wall here before the storm – the sea has all but demolished it.  He has collected the remnants of stone into the pile you can see in the field presumably to rebuild

Storm Damage

The caravans near to our cottage are almost teetering on the edge with a closer sea view now than they might have wanted!  Previously it had been possible to drive a car in front of this one.

Caravan site damage

The banking that falls from the farmers field to the beach on the other side of our cottage has been badly eroded by the sea in one day and look at the rocks that have been tossed onto the ledge.  Further along a huge piece of banking has slid away.

Disappearing Banking

For all this devastation I still love the bleakness of the winter beach, the grey subdued colours and the sense of complete wildness.

Winter Beach

In contrast come and have a walk around our cottage garden –  most of it is quite sheltered on a good day as it is only when the wind comes off the sea that it can be a bit breezy.  The Fatsia is still a glossy green and the little hideaway birdhouse is a perfect shelter for the Robin – unfortunately I cannot introduce you as he doesn’t appear to be at home today. 
Round by the Herb garden the Chives are already springing in to life.

Herbs Feb 2014

On the Woodland trail the Bluebells too are springing up everywhere…


and Snowdrops


and Primroses peeping out above the fallen leaves Primroses
Along the mossy stream bank the Daffodil buds are swelling and…
Stream Bank Feb 2014
across the stream in the field Fred the Pheasant is stalking the Wood Pigeon!

Fred Feb 2014

On a very sad note this tree stump in the foreground is all that is left of a Silver Birch tree.  It hasn’t blown down in the storm far worse…someone has gone purposely into our wood when we were not around and cut it down and removed all the wood.   As we have piles of logs everywhere that could have easily been taken for burning it is thought that this tree may have been taken to use for wood turning as Birch wood has a distinctive grain.


The worst thing is that we will not be around in 30 years to see any tree we plant now grow to this maturity.

Just a chat really about my week…

Grey Mares Tail

Grey Mares Tail – Galloway Forest park

Coming back down from Scotland last Sunday afternoon we pulled off the A75 leaving behind the unusually busy traffic to take the quieter very scenic route through part of the Galloway Forest.  The road is full of twists and turns and the colours of the surrounding trees and countryside were quite spectacular with a new surprise around every bend.

Each time we drive through we play a game of spotting our Xmas tree – there are plenty of Spruce trees growing on the verge side I always say they wouldn’t miss one!

We stopped to take pictures of the waterfall named Grey Mares Tail – with all the heavy rain on the Saturday it was spilling down over the rocks with some force.  The road continues into New Galloway a tiny village with a wonderful Arts Centre in the old school called the CatStrand.

We had a quick look at the gift shop which is full of handmade goodies and very tempting before getting back on the road again for the long haul home but at least it is all downhill to Yorkshire!

Back at home it has been a long week at work with little progress at home other than having a chat with the man who will be revamping our very retro pampas coloured bathroom after Christmas.  I am not that much into retro that I want to keep the green suite!

I was quite relieved to finish work for the week tonight and although I wanted to head straight for home I decided to go shopping to Dunelm – not my favourite shop – but I remembered they do cushion pads and I needed new insides for two knitted cushion covers for the cottage (I hasten to add this is Sainsbury’s knitting not mine).

I finally arrived after finding myself going around the ring road the opposite way to what I should have which took infinitely longer as instead of two sets of lights I had to sit through umpteen in the rush hour.

On the way through the bedding section I picked up a pack of Deluxe (their wording not mine) flannelette pillowslips – so handy for the cottage when we arrive late on a Friday night and climb into bed before the heating has had chance to warm the place up a little.  Flannelette feels much warmer to the touch than ordinary cotton which can feel like you have been plunged into a cold icy bath – what a shame no one has thought to invent the heated pillow.

Once in the cushion section I found the cushion pads were either the wrong size or the wrong filling so I came away without a purchase and am wondering now if I should even get new covers.  I keep sneaking a look at those lovely crotchet ones over at My Little Red Suitcase – maybe Santa will indulge me this year.

I am sure I am not the only person who goes to the shop for one thing and comes out with another!

Tomorrow is my day off and I will be doing my frenzied clean as usual then having a cup of tea in the afternoon with my neighbour a few doors away catching up on news.  I am hopeful that this weekend I can be inspired and produce another Christmas card and I shall be making plans for a slow walk to Christmas – I feel behind all ready!

Have a good weekend  x