Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Photo scavenger hunt: April

It's obviously the month for challenges as this is my second in as many weeks. This time I'm joining in with the Photo Scavenger Hunt organised by Greenthumb at Made with Love. The idea is that every month you're given a list of 12 words and have to use a photograph (new or old) to illustrate the word.

Of everything about blogging, it's surprised me how much I've enjoyed the photography element. Well, maybe except the bit where you take 30 almost identical photos of a piece of cake and then agonise over which to choose! Anyway, here's my entry.

Pink : My gorgeous Kipling bag.

Six : a size too small for me!

Your town/city : Winter Hill. A bit of a cheat this one as Winter Hill isn't in my town. However, I've lived within view of it most of my life and, wherever you go in my town, you catch sight of it.

Sport : Ten pin bowling.

Night light : A tealight holder.

Collection : Fridge magnets from our travels.

Big : Dolly, the British Giant rabbit.

Dinner : At Jamie's Italian in Liverpool. Chicken liver tagliatelle with pancetta, chilli, vin santo and pecorino.

Texture : Pineapple

Curl : An easy one this as my head is covered in them.

Take Off : Rocket on a fairground ride.

Plastic : Laundry basket.

If you'd like to see the other entries or the list of words for next month's challenge, you can see them here. x

Sunday, 28 April 2013


Hope you've enjoyed your weekend so far. We've had a quiet one as I've felt very tired this week - don't know if it's the remnants of my cold or having to get up at 6 again for work after my week off! Anyway, I've got a few random photos for you, taken during the week.

First up, do you remember a few weeks back I wrote about the Quilters Guild Regional Day and was asked to submit a photo of my 'Chickpeas flower garden' quilt for the Newsletter? Well, it arrived this week and I was surprised and thrilled to find that it made the back cover! I'd only been expecting a small photo in the insert in the middle!

I've had the quilting urge all week and have been working on another quilt design by Elizabeth Wall. The front is more interesting - honest! The quilting was finished today and I've just started sewing on the binding. With any luck it will be ready to show you next week.

(Sorry, disgusting photo alert!)

The ducks are still finding my roof the best place to keep an eye on things and are up there most mornings when I set out for work. One morning I opened the curtains to find this broken egg outside the patio doors. I don't know what left it there but the egg and its contents were gone when I came home. The two eggs are still under the bush at the front of the house and have definitely been abandoned. However, elsewhere, the ducks must have had more luck because, look...

Ducklings! We spotted this brood of seven this morning, the first of the year, and got very excited. So cute! I never get tired of of looking at them.

There's new life all around. I've been eagerly checking on my seeds every day and was amazed to find that some have already started to produce seedlings. After previously saying that I usually have no luck at all with basil, they have miraculously sprouted on my kitchen window sill. The courgette and sugar snap peas are also sprouting, as are the stock.

I bought a pack of petunias today at the supermarket. I couldn't resist the cheerful candy stripe colours. Tasteful? Possibly not. Bright and happy? Most definitely.

To finish, I thought I'd show you this beauty. Andy from work has a passion for bonsai and regularly brings in different ones to show us. This flowering cherry was just stunning.

As was this acer. Andy's so talented.

And that's it. Next weekend is going to be a busy one as it's Chickpea's birthday and we have her boyfriend and his parents coming to dinner. I've also got her cake to make. However, before that, I'll be back with another challenge entry. See you soon. x

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Fresh air

Hope you're enjoying your weekend so far. Today I'm actually going to take you back a week to show you some photos I took last weekend. It was such a lovely sunny day last Saturday that I dragged Chickpea out for a walk and some fresh air. We spotted these unusual daffodils on a patch of wasteland.

This friendly pony in a sparkly purple halter was very happy to be petted. We were going to head down the public footpath at the side of her field but a large border collie came running and barking at us from the cottage at the end so we did a quick about turn.

Luckily we did or we wouldn't have seen this unusually coloured, empty, snail shell. The ones that munch my garden are always shades of brown rather than this strange limey green. I brought it home with me and, one day, will get around to finding out what kind of snail left it behind.

Our walk took us to this small wooded area which was quiet and peaceful despite a road running alongside. How bare it looked considering it's almost the end of April. I think if we'd gone today there would have been more spring growth though as everywhere has seemed considerably greener as the week has gone on.

We did see some signs of green like these large patches of wild garlic getting ready to flower. Funnily enough, this week I saw a recipe for wild garlic butter so I'll have to go back and gather some.

As we walked along, we noticed other paths leading away in different directions. Some, like this, had views at the end which enticed you forward to discover what lay beyond. I loved the old cobblestones of this one.

And this is what appeared beyond the stile: horses and geese.

However, we turned back and carried along the main path. On one side there's a little stream and we paused occasionally to listen to the water tumbling over the stones - such a soothing noise.

Every now and then, we disturbed some butterflies - the first I've seen this year. Can you see the two tortoiseshell butterflies in the middle of the picture?

Chickpea spotted this broken branch which she thought looked like a bird. Not a very happy or friendly one!

Luckily there were more cheerful sights too. I've been trying to work out whether this is a wild one or another garden escapee.

Finally, on the way home, we spotted this house selling local honey. I've heard that if you take a teaspoon of local honey every day it helps prevent, or at least relieve, hayfever. As Chickpea has always suffered from it and I've developed it over the last few years, it would be worth a try. Now all I have to do is remember to take some money next time we walk that way.

Hope you enjoyed walking with us. Before starting this blog it would never have crossed my mind to take photos of a walk in our neighbourhood or of all the little details of the things we saw. Yet, it has made the experience so much richer and I've really enjoyed reliving that simple day whilst compiling this post. I wanted to say something more philosophical here but, as so often, just can't find the words, so I'll leave you by saying...

Back tomorrow with some photos from my week. x

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


For a while now, I've had a real craving to see the sea. Last Tuesday on my week off we finally had the time to satisfy it and, with any luck, the sea air would blow away a few of those cold germs.

Our destination was Arnside, a small village on the north east corner of Morecambe Bay. Strictly speaking it's not on the coast but on the estuary of the River Kent but it had everything we were looking for: pretty buildings, a few gift shops and cafes, and places to walk.

It can seem a little bleak and windswept on this corner of the coast and it was definitely windy on our visit. We had planned to walk along the beach beyond the trees in the photo but, as we turned a corner, we were straight into a headwind. It wasn't cold but it took our breath away. We soldiered on for a while but eventually turned back.

Instead we walked up the hill to explore the streets behind the sea front. You're never far away from a view of the sea/estuary though, and the hills and mountains of the Lake District beyond.

The railway line goes right across the estuary on a viaduct. You get a lovely view of the village from the train and it doesn't feel quite as exposed or precarious as it looks! Though I'm sure I've seen photos of waves going over the top in particularly bad weather.

Like most estuaries, it's a haven for sea birds and waders such as this curlew.

While we were there, the siren sounded twice to warn of the impending high tide. Morecambe Bay is notorious for its fast tides and quicksand. And, apparently, Arnside is home to the rare phenomenon of a tidal bore - don't ask me to explain what one is but there are videos of it on YouTube.

Hungry from all that fresh air, we headed for dinner: fish, chips and mushy peas for me, chicken and mushroom pie for Chickpea. When my American friend and her husband visited a few years ago, we tried our best to get him to taste mushy peas but he absolutely refused to have even a forkful! Do they really look so bad? Fish and chips just aren't the same without 'em in my view! Please also note the nice jug of gravy to go with the pie. I once made the mistake of asking for gravy in Banbury, 'down south', and, such was the look of confusion on the cafe lady's face, I had to apologise and explain I was a Northerner!

Suitably refreshed, and after another short stroll, we headed for home. But what was that we spied in a field? I quickly pulled over.

Of course, little lambs! Aah! Had to get a photo of those in here :-)

A lovely day out and a small souvenir to remind us and to add to my nautical collection :-)

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Grow little seeds grow

One of my main aims during my week off was to catch up on gardening and, in particular, to sow some seeds. I usually do this job at Easter but the poor little seeds would probably have frozen solid with the weather we've had, even with the protection of my plastic greenhouse.

Even my horrible cold wasn't going to deter me and it felt so good, so soothing and relaxing being out in the fresh air and the warmth of the sun.

Don't you just love seed packets? Such gorgeous colours. This year I'm growing a mixture of vegetables and flowers. I only have a small plot with limited growing space so some will be planted in soil and the rest in pots.

For vegetables, in the pots will be yellow courgette ('Parador') and carrots ('Nantes 5') and in the ground will be sugar snap peas ('Jessy') and dwarf yellow French beans ('Sonesta'). I've grown all of them before and they're pretty reliable. Later I'll also sow radish, rocket and spring onions.

For flowers, I'm trying a couple of packets which were free with a newspaper: nicotiana ('Roulette mixed') and stock. There was no picture on the stock packet so it'll be exciting to see what they look like.

I've also sown some thyme and lemon basil which were again free. I've never had much luck growing basil but it was worth another try. In the garden, I already have tarragon, chives and mint, though one of the varieties of mint doesn't seem to have survived the winter. In fact there seem to be a few plants which haven't made it through. I'm not giving up on them yet though - hopefully this recent bit of warmth will encourage them back to life. I've been eagerly and impatiently checking on my seeds every day watching for the tiniest hint of green. Come on little seeds, you can do it! Grow little seeds, grow!

Elsewhere in the garden, the buds on my flowering cherry are getting fatter and fatter and it surely can't be long before the pink petals within are revealed.

The ducks meanwhile have decided my roof is the perfect spot to keep an eye on the street!

I've been so lucky with the weather this week and although my cold has lingered long and hard, it didn't stop us getting out and about. In fact it made me even more determined to savour every second. There's been a bit of shopping, lunch with a friend and some fresh air near and far. There'll be more about that in the next couple of posts. In fact, the only thing I haven't done much of is crafting, although I've made a little progress with a couple of projects. I'm off to work on one of those now. Back soon. x

Friday, 19 April 2013

Flower Friday

I took some photos of flowers this week which I was quite pleased with and thought it would be nice to share. The first two are probably my favourites. Hope you like them too. Back tomorrow. x