Friday, 31 July 2009

Early Giveaway and The best kind of shower.

In anticipation of my 100th post (this is my 96th, but the timing is right for holidays etc) I would like to offer a giveaway, as appears to be the custom. I have embroidered a tote bag using inspiration from my garden. The pocket on the front is lined with fabric that I watched being weaved at Masson Mill near Matlock - one of Sir Richards Arkwrights mills.

It will arrive in a box full of other goodies. I have popped in some seaside postcards, a couple of corsages and some felt flowers. I also found some scraps of the Ikea fabric that was designed by Cath Kidston, so I whipped up a couple of lavender bags. I knitted you an organic cotton dish cloth, and there is also a coca cola glass (that makes a rubbish drinking vessel, but a great little vase for flowers from the garden). There is a bottle of Hendo's for you to try, and a bar of Green & Blacks - for medicinal purposes!! If the winner has a crafty blog, i'll also add a little package of buttons and ribbons. So if you want to be in with a chance of winning, then just add a message to the comments, and when I get back from Norfolk, I'll draw out a winner - so you have plenty of time to enter. I do hope you win!!! (Open to all from wherever you are in the world!!)
Whilst I am away, I need you to keep an eye out for the "Perseid Shower". If you have never seen this before, you are in for a real treat. This occurs every year in and around the UK ( I don't know how far spread this is). It is basically a meteor shower - thousands and thousands of shooting stars. It is at its peak on Wednesday the 12th August, so if the skies are clear around this date, and you look up, you will see the spectacle. It is best when it is darkest, and if you have little light pollution. The best place I have viewed this from is the Channel Islands, so get ready Bumblebee Cottage. But my mum and I once lay on our front lawn at 11pm and were totally gobsmacked by the spectacle. So find yourself a loved one (human, dog or cat), pour yourself a glass of your favorite poison, and lay that blanket on the ground. Sparkling romance!
Good luck with the giveaway, and I'll see you when I get back.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Ive found you some...........

sunshine!!!!!! We have had the most threatening skies, and lashings of rain all day, but as soon as I stepped out of the office and headed home - the sun came out!!! It was waiting for me!! So off we went for a walk, do come with me.
Look at the sunny reflection on the lake - can you see the bull rushes?

The overspill was pouring - no wonder!! The weatherman said last night, that the reason they predicted a better summer was because there has only ever been 2 instances in the past (since records begun obviously) that we have had 3 rainy summers on the trot. He said the good news was that we have never had 4!! So they will undoubtedly be moving the "Barbecue Summer" to 2010.
Anyway, the baby ducklings were enjoying a splash. They moved so quickly I couldn't get them all on!
Is it just me who wants to go where I shouldn't?
The corn fields have turned to gold - I'm always reminded of Stings "Fields of Gold" I love Mr Sting. He has definately got better with age.

And I found you all a heart shaped leaf - feel the love!

Must dash - tea's on. Morrocan Chicken and Rice. (Really just fried chicken thighs - as these were very economical - with onion, garlic, tinned tomatoes, cumin, corriander and chopped dried apricots.). I'm going to sit in the garden, with a nice glass of red and encourage the sun to stay out until the end of September!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


I find it unbelievable to think that a total stranger see's something, during the course of her working day, that she thinks I might like, and buys it for me. That's exactly what Lydia did whilst on a course in her new job. She was at the Cavendish Cancer Care centre in Sheffield, and remembered that I like the artist Pete McKee's work. Pete had donated a piece of artwork to be used on their bags to be sold for fundraising. Lydia contacted me and asked if I would be offended if she sent it to me!! Its really lovely and I used it when I went to the swimming baths earlier today - and I shall be taking it to the beach with me next week.

However, it doesn't end there. She also sent me

just in case I was disappointed with the bag!! Many many thanks Lydia, not only do you restore my faith in woman kind (which has taken a bit of a battering over previous years!) but I totally love my wonderful gifts. Blogging is the best!!

Just to prove that all the bees are in South Yorkshire, and that they do prefer blue flowers, I couldn't resist posting these photo's that I took on my walk on Sunday. The plant was practically humming!!!

The young man is back from his adventures - finally! They were delayed when the coach driver got stopped for speeding and then didn't have up to date documentation!! and he couldnt pay his on the spot fine!! so the headmaster had to step in. I had a text from the young man to say that he was listening to Michael Buble's version of "Home" on his ear phones!! Any way, he has returned a good 6 inches taller, more muscular and totalling brimming with confidence. He has had a great time - and he slept over 13 hours last night!!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

How does this happen?

Not bad for a garden that supposed to have a colour scheme of blue, white and green!!! A last I have sussed the mosaics!!


You may remember that I introduced you to Hendersons Relish - a local delicacy know affectionatley in these parts as "Hendo's". It's great on pie & chips, sausage and mash, and spiced up my summertime bubble and squeek (leftover new potatoes and peas crushed and fried with spring onions) and fried chicken last night. Henderson's webpage makes me laugh. I love the Tales & Poems section and also the list of famous fans. I may include a bottle in my giveaway!

Hurray!! All she needed was a sunny day! Her twin sister stays firmly shut for the time being though. She didn't even produce a bud last year - that's how bad the summer of 2008 was! I think she is a perfect beauty.
Whilst the young man is still away (he sets off for home later today and arrives around lunchtime tomorrow), I am focusing my motherly insticts on my new little baby. Every year, we get a baby blackbird in the garden. Some of them give me heart failure when they jump out of their nest before they can fly. However this young chap is a confident flyer I'm pleased to say. However, I caught two neighborhood cats prowling last night, so I am keeping guard.

Saturday, 25 July 2009


The dancing queen had to be in Manchester on Tuesday evening for a dancing thing, so hubby and I volunteered to take her so that she did not have to go on the train. We had planned to wander around for a while, then go for something to eat until she had finished. Manchester is less than 30 miles due west of Sheffield, with the most spectacular scenery of the Pennines, and nothing else in between. Both cities have been industrial city's, but they are so very different. Sheffield was founded on heavy industry - the Steel Works, and was bombed a fair bit in the war, whereas Manchester was made rich by the cotton trade. In recent times, Manchester lost its industry quite a while before Sheffield (like Leeds did ) and so has had a lot longer to find another identity. The buildings in Manchester - especially the old Victorian ones are really splendid, and I love the old warehouses alongside the canal. The old sewing factories are great too, but many of them are decaying away. It was raining heavily when we left Yorkshire, but you don't really know the meaning of "heavy rain" until you have been to Manchester! We had to change our plans and dive straight into Pizza Express for our tea. Fortunately, it was late night shopping, and so afterwards, we got to look around whilst keeping dry. The city is very geared up for the "Footballers Wives" element with fabulous shops like Harvey Nicks and the like, and another big difference I noticed was that people were actually spending - lots! Although we Yorkshire folk don't need a credit crunch to be tight!! I planned to take loads of photo's, but the camera was getting too wet, so these are the only ones I took.

We did have a great evening, even with all the rain.
Text updates from the young man over the last couple of days have included:
* I was bitten by a yellow ladybird, are they poisonous? !!!!
* I have seen the Tour de France and Elton Johns summer house
* Night mum
The last one made me cry.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


Using modern technology - the mobile phone - I was able to speak to the young man in France last night. He has Kayaked many kilometeres, he was almost killed whilst rock climbing(!!!!), and the disco every evening is very boring. He is such a home bird. When we go on holiday, we pack the car, get on the motorway and the first question he asks is "when are we coming back?" . Roll on Monday I say!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Coco Avant Chanel

As I mentioned earlier, I managed to obtain preview tickets for "Coco before Chanel" and I said I would give you the low down. 8 of us went to see the film. Six ladies between the age of 35 and 60 - all thought it was beautiful. I thought the cinematography and scenery were gorgeous. The costumes and fabrics were a delight. Audrey Tatou is lovely in it. There isn't much of a story, it is in French with subtitles, but neither of these facts detract from it being a really lovely film. The dancing queen came out of the film wanting to "chic up" her wardrobe and spent the rest of the evening sorting through all of her clothes!! The hubby felt it needed a few car chases and Bruce Willis in it!!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Wentworth Garden Centre

After we had dropped the young man off to catch his coach, hubby and I went to Wentwrth Garden Centre for a few supplies (supports for battered plants!!). It was really warm and muggy, but the sky was turning black all around us.
Behind the garden centre are old ornamental gardens. The Garden centre itself sits in the old kitchen gardens to the big house. The ornemental gardens are great to wander around and they are totaly free (as is the parking). They have just opened a Maze too - which hubby and I couldn't resist.

At the side of the sunken garden is an enormous conker tree. I used to bring the young man here to collect conkers when he was little. We noticed that there are loads on this year.
The summer house is very pretty and has an open fire in it.

The Acers are a pretty colour with the last of the blue sky and sunshine behind them.
These are all that remain of the old greenhouses in the walled garden - I hope that they restore these in years to come. One of my all time favorite TV programs EVER was "The Victorian Kitchen Garden" with Harry Dodds (and also the Victorian Kitchen with Ruth Mott.) I heard the music from it the other day on Classic FM and it made me want to be in Harry's garden. The potting sheds etc are all still intact to these greenhouses - its just the glass etc from the front that is missing.

I realised that I shall soon be onto my 100th post!!! (I didnt realise I talked that much!!) so I am making something for a giveaway. Stay tuned.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Ashford In the Water

The young man is departing for the Ardeche region of France shortly on a school trip. He is going on a water sports holiday and won't have his mummy stopping him from partaking in dangerous activities. He is looking forward to it, mummy's got a big knot in her stomach!! We decided he could choose lunch before our walk yesterday, and he requested Steak Pie in a pub, so we headed to Ashford in the Water as they have a couple of lovely pubs. I could live in Ashford in the Water. It is so picture postcard pretty and surrounded by beautiful countryside and walks.

After Steak Pie, we headed to the village shop for supplies for our walk - it is a lovely little shop selling everything. The owner is a bit grumpy sometimes though. He appears to work in the shop 7 days a week. I once engaged him in conversation and he told me that he used to be cabin crew for British Airways and he had retired. The shop was his retirement project. My retirement project will hopefully not see me working 7 days a week!!! Any way, the displays outside of his shop were very colourful.

The village is situated on the river Wye as it flows through on its way to Bakewell. This is the lovely little packhorse bridge.

It has lots of little cottages and a lot of these are now holiday cottages, but it also has lots of houses where Mr Darcy would come calling too.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Familiar Places

In "My Family and Other Animals" the highest accolade that Mrs Durrell gives to a place is that "she could have her ashes scattered here". Well I certainly give that accolade to Monsal Dale in Derbyshire. I feel so lucky that we can get to one of our favorite places in the world so easily. I know that it is a favorite of some of you other bloggers too (Rosie and Rowan ) so I thought I would take you on our walk. Photographs do not do justice to this spectacular landscape. The valley is so deep, cut out by the river Wye below.

The river was very swollen and fast flowing following yesterdays all day downpour.

The path to Litten Mill was flooded.

You can just see the mill owners gothic mansion peeping out of the trees high above the valley.
The mill (in the fore ground) has been converted into luxury apartments - I'd love one of these. In the background are some of the old mill workers cottages. The mill was used up until 1965. It used to be a cotton mill, and they also distilled peppermint and other herbs that are grown locally. I find these tranquil, beautiful valleys so amazing. I would love to be able to step back 100 years and see how industrial this valley was then.

The walk along the disused railway track is full of the most amazing wild flowers and fruit. I loved this carpet of herbs - I think it is wild Thyme

The boys could not believe how giddy I got when we found huge patches of tiny wild Strawberries. They had a wonderful smell, but they were very sharp tasting!!
We also found wild raspberries - it was a foragers delight!!
After scrambling up hill and down dale, I couldn't resist dipping my tootsies in the river. Very refreshing and highly recommended.

After Monsal, we made our way home via Great Lonsgtone where there are many beautiful houses. Mr Darcy could come calling here!!

They were holding their Well Dressings this weekend. These are made out of flower petals and are really beautiful.

The Morris dancers were very entertaining outside of the Crispin Arms - I always think there is no more English a sight than Morris Dancers outside of a pub on a hot summers day.

And finally we finished off with Bradwells Ice Cream (this Derbyshire ice cream gives the Cornish version a run for its money!!)

An absolutely perfect day.