eggscellent…

Easter is here…

Happy Easter 2017

I don’t know about you but I am ready for a few days off work to gather my thoughts and wind down a bit.  I don’t usually buy ‘Easter paraphernalia’ but couldn’t resist this little pottery hen – only £1.50 from our recent visit to Tadcaster.

Last weekend we had my lovely mum come down to stay for a long weekend and it coincided with the gorgeous warm sunny weather.  On the Saturday we took a trip out down to Cromford Mills in Derbyshire and after a little light lunching we decided to have a walk up to the village of Cromford.  I hope I have managed to capture on camera a feel for this delightful little mill village built around quite a steep hillside and all centred around the mill-pond.

The village with its historic workers houses  is now protected by a Conservation Order and is a good example of housing built during the Industrial Revolution to encourage people to come and work in the mills from the surrounding countryside.

I liked this higgledy – piggledy vegetable plot and garden just beside the road leading to the village – it reminds me of the ones we saw in France crammed into any nook and cranny – I must remember to go back in the summer for another look when I am sure it will be full of vegetables.

Here is mum – she is 91 now (and she won’t thank me for mentioning that!) – still as active as ever and loves going out – we have a job to keep her in.  Unfortunately, the little tea shop in the picture was closed for the afternoon.

As you enter the village just off the main road you come to the market place – it was a bit noisy for us  – the sunny weather had brought all the tourists out and bikers – so we headed off to a quieter corner and started climbing the hill just to the rear of the Fish and Chip shop.  This little lane runs around the back of the Mill Pond.

It starts with The Boat Inn the local pub – one of many in this village – must have been for the thirsty mill workers.  Look at the quaint little opening window on the upper left – this type of window is typical of this village as you will see as we go on.

Halfway up the hill we came across the Post Office always good to see one that has survived – that bright red box a symbol of English village life, continuing despite the modern ways we are adopting to kill them off!

A short distance away is the famous bookshop – Scarthin Books.  Click the link and have a browse on their website. This out-of-the-way little shop expands like the Tardis  – with books, old, new, antiquarian and children’s – they have events, publications, gifts and a vegetarian cafe!  Sadly we did not have time to make the most of our discovery but definitely will have another visit soon.

Turn around at the bookshop and you have this delightful view across the Mill Pond below complete with very photographic swan.

At the crest of the hill now – it is interesting that there is layer upon layer of houses squeezed into the hillside – I expect the delivery men must have fun delivering large items here.  This little round bay is again typical of this area – rather a French feel don’t you think?

I had to have a snap of this window box – the restricted colour range make it work so well against the black painted window box.

We are now about to descend the hill as the lane winds down and narrows at this point by these cottages.  Is this Canary Creeper – I wasn’t sure – does anyone recognise it – it certainly brightened up this shady corner.

I don’t usually go peeping into people’s windows but as we passed this one something caught my eye  – the window was extremely dirty and on further inspection I was amazed to see a disused room spilling over with tiny baskets.  I quite like the resulting atmospheric picture.

At the bottom of the hill again now and back onto the busier road.

Cromford

Turning to the left we followed the road around the front of the Mill Pond it was here we realised that the empty cottage with the room full of baskets was part of this Basketware company!  Note the large black pipe suspended above the gate opening.  Follow it further along the wall to the right…

and it continues to the old waterwheel.

 

Beyond this we came to the Mill Pond and saw the earlier swan’s mate – nesting under the Willow tree.

Just having a change of position.

This is the view now looking back across the pond to where we had just come from – I must say that the hill we walked up does not look very steep at all from this view-point.

You can just make out the bookshop from here and the male swan still paddling away enjoying the weather!

We arrived back at the market place again and decided to go and seek out the original mill workers houses on the other side of the main road and up yet another hill.  Cromford was only a tiny hamlet when Arkwright arrived in 1771 and to attract workers to his mill, like many other famous places such as Saltaire in Yorkshire, he built housing and facilities to form the village we see today even including setting up the market.

All the way up the hill the 3 storey terraced houses (where the originals have been preserved) have one of these little opening windows within the larger main Georgian styled window. 

I was quite intrigued by them and presume the reason is because they needed to have some form of ventilation within the large fixed windows.  As you can see they are not sliding sash like the modernised house next door in this photo.

This is the street of original mill workers cottages – such low doorways and I expect very low ceilings but oh so cute.

In and amongst a cluster of cottages on our way back into the centre of the village we came across this  – a stone lined pit sunk into Cromford Slough named the Bear Pit by the locals.  It is a great piece of hydraulic engineering constructed in 1785 by Sir Richard Arkwright to regulate the amount of water feeding the mills.

In one of the nearby gardens was a majestic Magnolia tree in full bloom.

Cromford Mill

We walked back to the mill and finished our tour with a homemade ice-cream.

We drove on to Wirksworth a small nearby Market town to find a cafe for some refreshments.

We found a few notable things to mention  – one being the Blacks Head, a pub in the corner of the Market place – now having a new sign – the previous showing a rather controversial picture of a grinning black man with turban.  Delving into the history of the pub it is probable however, that the name is just a shortened version of a name once used in the past – the Blackamoor’s Head.

Following a lane leading back down into the bottom of the town I took a photo (sorry for the poor light quality) of this well clipped tree which is unusual as  I think it is Beech.

Happy Easter 2017

That was the end of our afternoon – we had left home intending to visit Lea Gardens but as you can see we got a bit diverted and never made it!!

Have a lovely Easter x

the nicest thing about the rain…

…is it stops eventually!  AA Milne

Daffodils

Don’t you just love the Pooh quotes – they always make me smile – the rain hasn’t stopped here all weekend – so no gardening possible for me –  I even had to go shopping in the rain this afternoon something I dislike doing on a Sunday but needs must.

I had a number of items to look for mainly for the caravan – a doormat, various sticky hooks for the keys and other items that require hanging and a small dish drainer.  You have to be quite creative in a caravan as space is tight.  I headed to Wilko’s as this often good hunting ground for such items and I wasn’t disappointed- though the dish drainer came from Sainsbury’s.

Then on to Boots as I had a few toiletries on the list – I use Liz Earle’s shampoo and conditioner – a bit pricey (for me) but I like the natural ingredients and it suits my hair and scalp.  I find you need very little to get a good lather so it goes a long way.  I took advantage of the double and triple points coupon I had been sent by post this week.

As it is Sunday my usual health food stores are closed so I had to go to Holland and Barrett for some Aloe Vera juice- to help my digestion (should have thought better of eating the sprouts we had with our meal on Friday – they tasted very odd and shortly after my digestion was, shall we say, a bit disturbed and a bit nauseous, and hasn’t fully recovered all weekend).  They had a half price offer on so I added in a tub of vegetarian gravy powder.

 

Finally, I popped into TK Max and found a small decorated box to keep my bits and pieces in on the bedside table and this unusual little white enamel pot with a stainless steel lid that I can keep cotton wool in at the caravan.

 

On my way to the till I spotted a lightweight duvet jacket with hood for my granddaughter.  It folds up into a really tiny package and I thought it is one of those handy items for the summer that you can squeeze into your handbag on a day out just in case of a shower or cool breeze.

 

With Easter in mind –  I picked up a cute little decorated box in Wilko’s for £1.50 and I will fill it with coloured paper straw and hide some little bite sized Lindt bunnies in there to give to my granddaughter.

 

Also in Wilko’s I spotted a rather nice glasses case which I need so my reading glasses don’t get damaged in my handbag.  My last one wore out ages ago and I have been without since.

So quite a fruitful shopping trip – although in terms of spending maybe I have spent a touch more than I intended – but they were all fairly low priced items and I did avoid stopping in Costa for a drink so saved a bit of money there.

The bowl of daffodils above arrived by post and were a surprise from my granddaughter for having her to stay overnight last weekend – (I think my daughter might have had a hand in this as even though my clever little 2 year old can work an iPad with no trouble I am not sure she has yet mastered internet shopping)!

Apologies for the quality of photographs it was quite dark in the house when I returned home after shopping and I am a bit short of time, but no doubt you get the gist!

Thank you for all the tips and hints about eBay in the comments.  It looks like I need to watch out for a few drawbacks.  I must say I am quite daunted by it all even though part of my job is to train people on our computer software programs and I maintain the software at work –  I am not a savvy online shopper.

“and the Spring arose on the garden fair…

“And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley

We spent Easter week at the cottage..not in the cottage exactly as it is still without kitchen / bathroom / power / water and floors!  We stayed in a beautifully spacious cottage up the road.  We were busy in the garden all week – I love this time of year when everything is just coming to life.  Of course all the plants are much later in Scotland but the weather last week was so sunny and warm you could almost see the buds bursting open.

Cottage front garden

Below is the seaside garden – a lot of the top soil washed away with the flood water but it wasn’t the jungle I had prepared myself for.  There is no point in us doing anything at this side as the contractors will be coming and going so best to wait.

Cottage garden

 

The woodland walk is once again taking shape – the planting here has recovered very quickly you would not even know that it was 2 feet deep in water last August.

Woodland walk

We laid fresh bark over the pathways – we had to buy this as we have no power to make our own with the shredder and a few bags does not go very far.

Woodland walk 2

 

I always support my Dicentras with a strip of chicken wire around the base of the plants this keeps them from being blown about and is completely hidden by the foliage as it grows.

Dicentra

 

The Primroses are now beginning to spread around and keep popping up here and there.

Primroses

The burn has a few clumps of Daffodils dotted along its banks.

Stream bank

Ideally the border needs a major reshape and move around, but it may be too late to do this when we go again.

The border

 

One day whilst in Stranraer we took a walk along Broadstones – I love these rows of the wooden breakwaters along the beach.  Broadstones 2

 

Broadstones Stranraer

This is looking towards Stranraer – the beaches are becoming so much cleaner now the ferry has been moved across the bay to Cairnryan.    Towards Stranraer

Breakwater

Rock

This is part of the new Marina that the council are creating to attract more yachts.

Stranraer Marina

 

We had a lovely break – a shame a week is not long enough but being at the cottage and in the garden reminded us why we love the place so much.  Even after the flood we would find it hard to leave.  We did look around at other properties in the area as we have been undecided whether to sell the place and move on – I am not sure I could deal with another major flood and I am not sure the cottage will be reinstated even by August – one year on – but having looked at other properties we realise we would struggle to find anywhere quite the same with a wood and a sea view and so for the time being have decided to stay and battle on.

We have been contacted by the nice man at the Scottish Flood Forum – they provide help and give advice and he is coming to survey the situation and will approach the local Council on our behalf to see what their plans might be, if any, to prevent a reoccurrence in the future should we have the misfortune to experience such a heavy downpour again.  The Witches Glen from where the water came hurtling down has now reopened and the Council have rebuilt the edge of the road that had washed away and made major improvements to strengthen the stream banking.

All too soon the week was over we had to put away our gardening tools and clean our rented cottage and get ready for the journey home on the Saturday morning – the weather by now was much cooler and we could see snow on the distant Galloway hills.

Snowy hills in April

 

Well that is my update on our Easter break how was yours?

Back home again…

 

Hi everyone I’m back.

It is strange going away in the middle of one month and coming back the next I feel quite disoriented and still do not know what the day or date is properly without looking at the calendar. I can see why some retired folk say they don’t appreciate when it is a weekend anymore.

So you may be asking how was the holiday…did we have good weather and did we get lots done on the cottage and in the garden?…did we manage to buy the paint from Homebase before we went?…most of all did we have a great time and have a good rest?

Well, it was not the holiday of our dreams I can say that – all was going well over the Easter weekend – lots of sunshine and we made the most of it both going out and gardening until on Easter Monday when I slipped on the concrete edge of our pond and went down with a bang injuring my back (yes my second accident this year and I haven’t even taken the crutches back yet from the previous accident to my foot!)I spent the rest of the week in agony and often flat on my back until I got to see an Osteopath on the following Monday and during the week he manipulated things back into place enough for me to travel down home to England this last Monday with a sick note for a few days and strict instructions not to garden, lift or even try any exercises yet.

Poor hubby had to do all the meals and gardening as well as supervise the re-roofing.

All I could do was watch the plants and weeds grow and lay there listening to audio books and thinking… I did quite a lot of thinking.

I actually discovered that thinking can be quite therapeutic – and I had plenty of time to think…about what I might like to do and not do and I will no doubt get around to sharing some of this with you over time on my blog, but in general I feel quite glad of this enforced thinking time.

So here are a few snapshots of our Easter break…

I love this picture looking out over Luce Bay when the colour of the sea is almost the same colour as the sky.

Scotland at Easter 2014

Over Luce Bay Easter 2014

When I could sit in the car we had a short trip across the other side of the peninsula to Port Logan Bay below where they made the TV program 200 Acres of Skye.

Port Logan Easter 2014

Port Logan Lighthouse Easter 2014

But to get on with the practical update here are the pictures of our cottage roof being re-roofed.   The slates arrived on time in large crates…

Roof Slates

and the roofers got straight to work removing the old slates…

Cottage roof a

and covering the sarking boards underneath the slates with the breathable membrane now used in place of roofing felt.  Only Scottish roofs have this kind of boarding as English roofs have battens fixed onto the membrane or felt to hang the slates from.  The boards were in pretty good shape and only a few rotten bits had to be cut away and replaced.

Cottage roof 3

Cottage roof 4

Cottage roof 5

Then began the arduous task of re-slating, a back-breaking job, but we supplied plenty of tea and biscuits to help them along…

Cottage roof 6

Cottage roof 7

Then ‘big Harry’ arrived on the scene (their term not ours I must add) to cut the hole in the roof and fit the Velux window.

Velux window in roof

all neatly fitted on the outside but from inside a bit of a hole still remains but that will be another job another day…

Velux from inside

Cottage roof 9

Cottage Roof 12

Cottage roof 11

As soon as two sides were completely slated the zinc corner strips (I have no idea what they are officially called) are put in place.

And there we left it but hopefully it is now complete and watertight.

Below is the garden when we arrived…

Easter 2014

and as we left it had sprung into life with a mass of nodding bells along the woodland walk.

Down in the wood Easter 2014

Woodland Garden Easter 2014 2

Cottage Garden Easter 2014

Cottage Garden Easter 2014 3

Cottage Garden Easter  2 2014

Woodland garden Easter 2014

So that was our holiday – hope you all had a good Easter…and yes we did get the paint and also a mini wooden greenhouse that fits against a wall – more about that soon.

Only two more sleeps…

Not long to go now and we will be enjoying a long awaited 2 week break.  It has been such a long time since the Christmas holidays and I am really looking forward to both a rest and a change…and a lie in.  I have positively yawned myself through this week at work a combination of late nights and early mornings when what I actually need right now is early nights and late mornings.

Of course everything happens just as you are preparing for a holiday and the added increase in the amount of tasks to get done both at home and work before you go just adds to the stress levels.  I feel I am being stretched in all directions and my list runs to 5 pages.  Fitting all the different activities and errands together is like trying to sort out one of those Krypton Factor puzzles and make it all fit.

We have a glut of family birthdays to deal with alongside Easter, our new car is being delivered some time this week even though we asked for it to be available after Easter, my tablets have run down to only a weeks supply and we are away for two so I need to renew my prescription, I will have to cook some meals to use up all the food in the fridge and who was it thought a staff conference the week before Easter was a good idea.  On top of that Homebase are having a 15% off everything weekend starting Friday which will include the Farrow and Ball paint we have chosen to use in our house makeover – so we have to make a decision – should we pop down on Friday morning before setting off for Scotland to take advantage of the offer.  What would you do?

Tomorrow evening after work and after the hairdressers is my only time to pack, make Easter eggs for daughter No 1, make a fruit cake and do any final washing and ironing as well as cut the lawn and move the pots of plants and water them.  Something tells me I won’t be posting on my blog before we go!

Have a lovely Easter everyone – I know I will even though we will be re-roofing the cottage for part of the time (well I will just be supervising) that is as long as the roof slates and velux arrive on the right day and the roofer turns up.

Beach Cottage garden update…

Before I did my disappearing act recently I had promised a post update about the work we managed to do at the Beach Cottage during Easter.  We set off from home on Easter Sunday around lunchtime and had a lovely journey up to Scotland calling at Tesco in Dumfries to stock up on a few items.  As we went along the coast road near to Creetown the sun was beginning to set across the bay and I managed to capture one or two atmospheric pictures of the Salmon nets.

Wig Bay Sunset

It was dark by the time we reached our cottage and so it was a surprise in the morning to look out and see the snow-capped hills across the bay from us above and beyond Port William.  The snow in this area just before Easter had been so bad that our village and many others down on the Mull of Galloway had been without electricity for 3 days and this had completely disrupted our heating and I can tell you that the cottage was extremely cold.  Many people had been marooned in their homes and quite a number of sheep died from being buried in the snow.  One lucky ewe had been pulled out alive after 11 days and made the headlines in the local paper.

Luce Bay

We had a lot of work to get through outside.  The rubble pile is now removed with the help of two friends and and their large trailer…yeah.

The Rubble removed

This is the corner of the garden where about 8 trees fell in the winter gales of 2011.  We now have an open view and a badly damaged compost heap.  So we set to and dug out the useable rotted compost and then levelled the site ready to take the new super-duper compost bins.

The Compost Heap 2

The pile in the foreground below is the rotted compost for the garden, the bins have been placed over to the right of the old compost bins, which were only made of netting,  and will soon be removed.

New Compost Bins 2

The paving slabs are to stop the wildlife from burrowing up into the compost.  On our next visit we will be slotting in the front slats and adding some lids then we can transfer the compost into the new bins and hopefully it will rot down fairly quickly.

New Compost bins

Of course we generated quite a lot of garden waste from all the weeding that I did and this will have to be taken to the local tip on our next visit because we had to hire a car for this holiday and it didn’t have a tow bar for our little trailer.

The rubbish

However things are moving on slowly and on our next visit we intend to try to prepare the seaside garden to put down a lawn and remove the old hedge, put up some fencing and replant.    Now that the weather is becoming warmer it will be a battle against the weeds!

You might like to read the most recent post on Re-routed -my blog tracking the challenge to Reduce the things in my life

DSC04431

April / May Challenge

Sweet April Showers…

It is great to be back… but it was hard to leave as we had such a wonderful time at the cottage and experienced the first rays of warm sunshine that we had felt for ages and we have left it all behind to come back to the dismal grey and rain.  But who can resist April even in the rain.  My elder daughter was born this month and many times we have celebrated her birthday outdoors with a picnic and only once or twice have we had a sudden fall of snow.

In my Art Journal ‘Celebrating the Year 2009’ this is what I wrote…

Luce Bay

My heart gives thanks for many things;

I know not how to name them all.

My soul is free from frets and stings,

For Sun and stars, for flowers and streams,

For work and hope and rest and play –

For empty moments given to dreams,

For these my heart gives thanks today.

 

~William Braithwaite

“By the first day of April everything around us is just beginning to stir and although the winds can still be quite fresh the air is warmer.  With the better weather creeping in the garden begins to cry out for attention as new growth is appearing everywhere.  This is the month when I want to throw open the windows to allow that fresh air into my home and begin a mammoth Spring Clean.  As I pack away the scarves, gloves and cosy blankets I can finally say goodbye to winter and be glad that those long dark evenings are fading fast.
Easter is most likely to fall within this month and everywhere there is so much to do and see.
Although I have lived in this Pennine area for many years I have not yet managed to go to our local- Marsden Cuckoo Day – celebrated in April.  It is a traditional festival that celebrates the arrival of spring (a bit like my Spring Cleaning!)  According to a local legend, Marsdeners used to try to prolong the cuckoo’s stay by building a wall around its nest.
I look forward to spending our Easter week at the cottage on the Mull of Galloway.  During our frequent walks along the beach we come across all kinds of unusual debris which has been tossed around by a raging winter sea and then ‘left for dead’ along the shoreline.  I have become quite a collector of these bits and pieces – it might be driftwood, metal, glass or old pieces of tile but each has become smoothed by the sea and formed into a new shape. Meanwhile in the woodland garden behind the cottage the birds are busy to and fro, gathering their own bits of fallen debris like twigs and hair and moss to make their nests”. 

So now the Spring Cleaning can begin in earnest..I can’t wait to get started.   And before you go I will have plenty of updates to post about our cottage garden in the coming days – we spent nearly all our time outdoors and our rubble pile is no more!