fEAsible, intentions, my goals

fEAsible…plans for March

INTENTIONS

 

I had to improvise with my header for my March intentions as we are still at the caravan – so with the help of the front cover from my Country Living magazine I managed to cut out the letters using their picture of spring flowers!

After listing far too many intentions last month I have tried to cut down this month to give myself a chance of completing more of them.  March is always a busy month for me with Mother’s day coming up and this year Good Friday falls at the end of the month on 30th March.  We will need to fit in a trip up to North Yorkshire – weather permitting as well as another visit to the cottage.

Most of our additional spending this month will be on gifts for Mother’s day and Easter so this won’t be a huge outlay but the visits will take petrol money and probably a trip to a tea room.  On the bills side we will have my car insurance to renew and a quarterly water rates bill but we have a month free of Council Tax.

On the plus side I am looking to bring in more money – the extra overtime at work and more sales on eBay, but the biggest savings are of course on not being tempted to spend in the first place on items I really do not need.  So staying away from the shops will be key.  We need to save as much as we can now to put towards our Italian trip – the taxi alone to the wedding for 7 of us has been quoted as 120 euros for a 12 mile trip (mmm I think we are being taken for a ride!) – we are presently looking into the bus times but not speaking the lingo it is hard to know if there is even a bus that would get us there in time.

I intend to plan our menus for March again to limit the amount I spend on food.  Most of my overspend last month was taking advantage of the groceries on offer.  I am not keen on stockpiling as it goes against the simplistic / minimalistic lifestyle but I think having extra of what we do use is better than having cupboards stuffed with foods we never use and I try to avoid having hoards of stuff we will never eat. 

At this time of year the vegetables we have been enjoying are still around – Brussel Sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and leek but soon we will see Spring greens making an appearance and this is a good season for watercress. As the weather improves (I hope) I will need to search out my ‘lighter’ recipes to reflect the coming season and make meals using the same vegetables as the winter months but in recipes that are not quite so dense and heavy.  Instead of having a potato topping on my Shepherds Pie I will use cauliflower or broccoli rice, instead of a thick stew I will be doing a lighter casserole with less potato and swede.

Anyway enough of my rambling here is my list of intentions  for March –

 

crEAting

Birthday cards – make 2 cards for friends and one for sister’s wedding anniversary.

Easter cards – twelve to make

Hen tea cosy – make a pattern and cut out the pieces

Reflecting the season and spending a little on some bunches of daffs and tulips to brighten up the house

trEAsury

Pensions – attend free advice appointment and book further appointment with IFA.

More eBay selling – bathroom taps – wooden doors – my wedding outfit

Buy Mother’s day gift for mum

Buy Easter egg for little L

Grocery shopping target – £50 week

Use Boots coupon for face creams and new mascara

Savings – move matured savings in Flexsaver to e-savings to replenish account

Begin new Flexsaver account and set up standing order

Car insurance to research and renew

Pay water bill – look at more water saving ideas – try to shave another £10 quarter off this

homestEAding

Garden tidy up at home

Garden shed to dismantle

appEArance

Self care

Exercises – eyes

Make time to start some much needed fitness training using the plan from ‘Total Body Plan’ by Lucy Wyndham-Read (I have had this Magbook for a while now under my bed – it promises to deliver a toned body in 6 weeks for less than 15 minutes a day – we shall see!)

Continue with mixed fresh fruit in mornings

Take healthier snacks to work

 

nEAtening

Continue reorganising the wardrobe in the main bedroom and mending or decluttering any unused items of clothing.

 

Even though I carefully shortened my list it still seems like quite a lot but I find that setting some targets helps me to keep focused…what will you be doing in March?

Back soon x

mEAndering, out and about, sEAsons

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

beach cottage, bEAching, cottage garden, drEAming, general chit chat, mEAndering, out and about, sEAsons

“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?

beach cottage, bEAching, cottage garden, drEAming, general chit chat

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.