Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...

31/12/2015

Thank you 2015 - time to stand down. Your time is done.

At this time of the year, for me, it is a time to be retrospective, time to reminisce, time to realise what is important, time to practise hygge, time for gratitude... Time to say thank you for...
  1. The air that I breathe
  2. My dearest other half who makes me complete
  3. My boys
  4. My Mum and Dad
  5. My family
  6. Friends
  7. The warmth of the sun
  8. Blue skies
  9. The purring of a cat
  10. Hearing the crackle of the fire on a cold night
  11. Snuggling down into bed, feeling cocooned by the duvet
  12. Holidays
  13. A brilliant vivid orange sunset or an amazingly fuchsia pink sunrise
  14. Jeans that act both as a corset and make me feel good
  15. Earrings
  16. Laughing til I cry
  17. Casting on a new project
  18. Casting off the last stitch
  19. Walking
  20. Breathing in coastal air
  21. Camping in new places
  22. The earthy scent of a damp woodland in autumn
  23. Blogging
  24. Hearing the rain on the roof - when we are all inside safe and warm
  25. A Scandinavian police drama that makes me wanting more
  26. My health - I have niggles but then that is all they are
  27. Betty Ferries' Shetland sweet oatcakes
  28. Pepparkakor
  29. My camera
  30. Tea - Scottish, green, peppermint, ginger chai, Yorkshire, valerian
  31. Hugs 
  32. Beach sand between the toes
  33. A good night's sleep
  34. Dancing to the radio in the kitchen
  35. The coffee brought to me on a weekend to sip in bed
  36. Cranberries
  37. Weekends
  38. A good strong cheddar
  39. Silver rings
  40. Feathers
  41. Mist in the valley
  42. The reflections in water
  43. My new dustbin in the kitchen
  44. Finding cat pawprints around the bath edge
  45. blankets to wrap around me 
  46. Watching my boys eating the food I cook
  47. Having friends around
  48. Incense curling around the house and filling my senses 
  49. The smell of bread baking
  50. The feel of furry cat tummies and their cold feet
  51. My garden
  52. The hens in the garden
  53. The plants in the house
  54. Music
  55. Land art
  56. Waking up and realising I still have several hours of sleep left before I have to get up
  57. Reading
  58. Hot showers
  59. Clean hair
  60. Wearing something I have knitted
  61. Seeing Himself in the Skepp-o-hoy jumper I knitted him
  62. White painted wood
  63. Fairy lights all year round
  64. Wicker baskets
  65. Border collie dogs 
  66. Garlic bread
  67. The countryside I drive through every day
  68. Lambs playing in the fields
  69. The sound of waves pulling back through a pebbly beach
  70. Bird song
  71. How much Himself does for me
  72. A really good salad
  73. Wool shops
  74. Wool festivals
  75. Wool....(wool)
  76. Friends - dear sweet friends of which I have many - they are what keep me strong, keep me sane, keep me safe. (I know I have already mentioned friends - but they are worth repeating)
  77. Hearing rain on the roof and know that by shear luck, the house we bought 15 years ago is on a gentle slope keeping us safe from flooding - especially this year when so much flooding is present
  78. That brilliant blue that only the sea and sky on a late spring day can give - the type that fills you until it hurts
  79. Sitting around a table of food and family and sharing meals and laughter
  80. Watching the hyacinths in moss first peaking out then blooming - filling the room with their sweet sweet scent 
  81. Looking for then spotting the first swallow - a sure sign that summer is on its way
  82. A vacuumed carpet
  83. A freshly mown lawn
  84. Watching the hens scratching in the garden finding bugs and grubs that I can never get to
  85. The smell of wood smoke in autumn
  86. Soup - thick warming soup that sticks to your ribs on a cold weekend after walking
  87. The sight of a cat trying to sit in a box that is two (or probably three) sizes too small
  88. Succulent dates, chewed slowly and preferably with my eyes shut so the flavour fills my head
  89. Big sky 
  90. Far horizons
  91. Watching the sun go down on Summer Solstice
  92. Lighting candles for Yule
  93. The smell of my home - familiar, safe
  94. Books
  95. Holding his hand
  96. Listening to our favourite CDs 
  97. Cooking magazines - they inspire
  98. Cheap 'bic' blue pens
  99. Water colour pencils
  100. Watching my three - a bittersweet mix of Dad and Sons/three men/three friends/three gamboling gangly creatures - my three.

Thank you 2015 - time to stand down - your time is done.

29/12/2015

In which I am starstruck by another blogger!

Do you know that feeling when you meet someone you 'know', but in reality you don't know them at all and you get rather giddy and excited on the inside but on the outside you are trying to be cool and end up just tripping over your words?? (words getting garbled here - takes a big breath!)

Well, I met the 'Vagabond Baker' on chrimbly eve and nearly popped!

She was absolutely delightful - no no no wait,  hang on a mo' - let me start from the beginning....

I have a rather special friend who I should try and see more often but due to work constraints, poor mobile reception, distance between us and just being plain busy, we often go weeks and weeks before we dip into each others lives.

On chrimbly eve we finally managed to get together for a brief hour where we slurped the most delicious 'sunshine soup' and cheese on toast. My dear friend, her daughter and I just picked up from our last get together and nattered as if time was of no consequence.

It was during this nonstop chatter catch up, that Rachel - the 'Vagabond Baker' was mentioned.  It was her recipe that I'd used to make my Hufsie Cake and it turns out that my lovely friend - is friends with her!  **I may have squealed a little in a sort of star-struck-bloggy sort of way.....shhhh don't say anything **

Talk about a small world!

My brief lunch hour was just that - brief and I soon had to rush back to work.....leaving behind a chrimbly parcel. Later my friend text me and we arranged a time for me to collect the errant parcel on the way home.

The weather was absolutely foul as I parked up, dashing down to the back of her house as I skipped over huge puddles. I knocked on her door which flung open and my dear friend urgently beckoned me in - curious I stepped into her kitchen, windswept and wet, stepped out of my boots and went into her lounge.

There was Rachel and her partner, Chris. I just pointed at her and I may have just managed to squeak 'Vagabond Baker'! which resulted in an roomful of laughter :) Official introductions were made and it was at this point my insides were super giddy and my outsides were pretending to be sensible....I think I got away with it (but possibly not!) Who cares - it was brilliant meeting her and discussing (at high speed) the wonders of Shetland, travel, cake, blogging, Yorkshire and blogging and cake and Shetland and Yorkshire (all this in a space of about ten minutes MaXiMuM!) It was if we knew each other and we just fell into our conversation - amazing :)

I still had a chrimbly dinner to get to and I couldn't be late so had to leave - I think I may have grinned most of my drive home!

Have you met anyone you 'know' from the world of blogginess and gone a little silly?  --- I think I may just have done that last week !.......




28/12/2015

Reflections.

Sunday dawned bright and clear with not a breath of a breeze and the sun, oh the glorious sun, was warm and dazzling. We'd watched the weather report last night and decided that if we wanted our walk, that Sunday was the day.
The fields were still vast shimmering reflective lakes. The water was so still it mirrored the view. Beautifully. 
Which way is which? 
Any idea yet?
I'll let you know by the end**
We walked through the village of Coniston in Wharfdale, up into the hills behind towards the Dib and Coniston Pie. Our route took us up a lane pretending to be a bubbling brook. Water rushed down, rolling rocks and stones down merrily as it gouged deep gullies into the track.
video
Eldest took go-pro video footage of the water running down the track for me.

 We eventually turned off our wateryway and followed a drier route, stopping on a plateau for lunch and revelling in the warmth of the sunshine. From our vantage point we could see streams and waterfalls all over the hillsides.  We watched other walkers skip and jump over the watery pathways as they made their way across the countryside. The hills just oozed water at every nook and cranny.
Eldest gave Himself an anemometer as a chrimbly pressie and it made it's maiden appearance today. Each time we stopped, it was brought out and the wind speed, wind chill and temperature was pronounced - so a happy man then J , (we were inspired by this post by Jayne from The View From Bag End).
We took chunks of Yule cake, ate it with cheese and washed it down with mugs of hot tea. It felt wonderful sitting with my boys in the sunshine. (I may have mentioned that word once or twice already, but it feels so nice saying it..sun...sun...sun). 
We continued upwards, towards Kettlewell, higher and into cooler air. We donned all our warm gear and kept on moving. Even high up we found evidence of the recent rains.  





video
The two lads at the trig point are mine 
and Youngest is 'spearing' a puddle of mud with my walking poles
'bless him'........

The light was fading and of course that meant the temperature was falling too, we turned back down off the hills towards the valley and towards the car. The windchill was rather sharp, biting at my cheeks and my nose, so I buried my face deep into my scarf and under my hat.
We reached the car in the dark. It was wonderful to have been able to get out after being restricted by the rain.  I am back to work tomorrow, wish I was still at home with my boys.  All three still have another week off and have already planned more walks.  
Have a lovely start to your week and I hope you are safe and dry wherever you are.

**Oh yes - the two photos - which one was upside down? Well,the SECOND one is the correct way round and the FIRST is wrong - the reflections are so perfect that it is not immediately obvious.

Have Lovely and Happy Monday!

hawthornxxxxxxxxxxxxx


27/12/2015

From the heart

In the quiet of a resting house,
when the boys are curled up like cats
on the chairs.
I can sit in peace, with my laptop
and quietly thank everyone 
who made the last few
days
wonderful.
Our family meal on Chrimbly eve
was an amazing one.

At my Mom and Dad
with help from my sister in law 
and my brother,
it was
filled with love and laughter
and delicious food. 
Their home was warm
and welcoming,
their decorations
were perfect. 
Chrimbly day was here
at home.
We started with mugs of
tea,
coffee
and hot chocolate.
We had slippers and sleepy eyes
as we opened gifts
and watched the cats burrow through the paper.
We could not loiter long,
our visitors would arrive
in time
for morning coffee, mince pies and cake.

Later,
my boys and Girlfriend
laid the table for
a buffet style lunch
And created beautiful napkins for me.
We shared food,
and spiced punch.
We told stories
and jokes
surrounded by 
the warmth of family
and the fire.
All too soon, 
we'd eaten too much 
and it was time to say 
good byes
and
thank yous
and 
thank yous some more.
Yes - those socks are odd
but then
hey
so am I!

(Thanks Mom and Dad!!)

Thank you all - 

family,
extended
and immediate,

thank you
for making this weekend

rather

special

xxx


26/12/2015

Rain rain go away...

video
We have had a little rain...
Fortunately  - so far - the river,s although almost at breaking point, seem to be containing the water, however, the villages all around us have drenched roads, burst banks and flooded houses.
video
This is one of the roads I use to get to work... The residents along the river's edge must be worried.
I have a precious friend who lives alongside this maelstrom. She assures me she is fine, but I still worry.
 
We are lucky that we live on the side of a hill.

Lets hope the rain, promised for overnight, is light and brief and the waters can begin to recede.
Carleton in Craven is virtually cut off and, as I was taking these pictures, a dog walker stopped to chat. She said that she had never seen the water this high before and her husband who was 'bred-n-born' in the village had never in his memory known floods like these.

We walked around our village this afternoon and discovered that even the tops of the hills are flooding, icy icy cold water is bubbling out of the sodden earth and pooling in every dip. video

And as I type this - I can hear the rain hammering down on the roof - so very very glad I am not working tomorrow, I would find it virtually impossible to get there in a 'straight line'. My heart goes out to those who are listening to the rain and wondering when the water will burst through their door or up through their floor boards :(

24/12/2015

Ssssshhh... twas the night before....


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house  
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;  
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,  
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;  
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;  
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,  
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,  
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,  
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,  
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.  
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow  
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,  
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,  
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,  
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.  
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,  
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!  
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!  
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!  
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”  
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;  
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,  
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.  
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof  
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,  
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.  
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,  
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;  
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.  
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!  
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!  
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow  
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,  
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;  
He had a broad face and a little round belly,  
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.  
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;  
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,  
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;  
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,  
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,  
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;  
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,  
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,  
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

Clement Clark Moore

22/12/2015

23. Walking under a looming sky.

I have always had more than a passing interest in manhole covers. 

The older Victorian versions are very ornate, proudly proclaiming their manufacturer while the more recent versions are fairly functional and often camouflaged. Most are rectangular, however, this one is triangular. Not only is it triangular, it is sporting a very fine number - today's offering is brought to you by a cast iron triangular manhole cover......23! 

HHHHHHHHHHHH
 Sunday afternoon, wrapping up warmly (not quite warmly enough), strapping our boots up and setting off on a familiar favourite trail.  We follow the old tramlines through the back of the village. Passing through allotments and random garages the line terminates at the village bus turning circle.  A friend of ours keeps a careful eye on the gardens here, planting and weeding the village 'island bed' the bus turns around for the return journey.

We cross the village main road (at this point in the village it is a narrow lane) and take another path through the small corner of sheltered housing, the path winds behind the houses and leads up to the first field. A wet and muddy slip of land. The sun is low and right in our eyes, so with eyes downwards we carefully pick our way upwards to the far end.
The higher we walk, the colder the breeze. It cuts through my hat and straight into my ears making them squeal in pain. I wrap my scarf around my head in an impromptu turban and zip my coat up to my chin. The boys, who's legs have grown beyond all expectation, stride on ahead while I slip and squelch after them as best I can, Himself waits and offers a supporting hand.
 At the top of the field, a sigh of relief did not express my true feelings as I get out of the raw breeze. Turning right and into a sunken lane certainly improves the situation. Ahead, two barns hunker down in moorland fields belong to two friends, they appear huge and brooding as the sky behind begins to take on a strange colour.
We turn left up a rocky and water riven lane towards the moors. An icy moon with scudding clouds flying across the cold sky is ahead of us. As we reach the top of the lane, it becomes more and more stream-like and we straddle and clamber up the path as we avoid getting wet.
We press on, now sheltered by a privately owned mixed woodland, keeping our eyes open for the sculpture hidden in the trees. On reaching the crest of the woods, we re-meet the stream, wider than normal as it slides across the fields. Hopping and splashing across, Himself and I cross carefully as we can while the boys, in wellies, slosh through large puddles and leap a narrow stretch of the stream.
 Our target is a rocky outcrop known locally as Deer Stones, we plan, not to sit on top as we usually do, but to shelter at its feet for a mug of tea and biscuits.
We do not stay long - just long enough to wrap cold fingers around flask mugs and sip scalding hot tea, just long enough to eat home made peanut butter biscuits, just long enough to watch our words and biscuit crumbs fly away on the breeze and just long enough to see the rain clouds building up behind us. 
We leave our brief shelter, turning our backs to the wind, setting off higher up on to the moor slopes. Behind us we can hear the turbines turning, chopping at the air with a whop whop whop whop sound.
Finally our path begins to turn downward, towards one of our favourite local forests. 'Our' hill - Boulsworth, looms bull-like to our right. A huge wet heather and reed covered lump, it grows taller as our path goes down and down. We watch out for gouges in the moorland soil, covered by grass and filled with mud and water. 
As we near the forest gate we stop amazed at a strange phenomenon.  A small section of the fence has taken on the appearance of a hairy waffle, flapping madly in the breeze.
The boys go over to investigate, as do we. 
The grass screams at the wind as it is battered and flung around wildly. 
Eldest takes a few seconds of footage - it is too cold to stay long. (I have inserted his video - I am hoping it works, if it doesn't I will try again - you do need to see the madness of the grass trapped in the fence).

video

We slip into the forest gratefully and immediately feel the dramatic effect of calm and stillness. Above us the trees wave around, but at their bases the air is sleeping and we walk undisturbed. Along the way we find a spring - bubbling up through the earth with a woody sound as clear water runs down hill and disappears into moorland grasses.

We come out of the protective darkness of the forest into a glade with hidden streams and puddles of mud, we again skip and hop our way until we reach the fields. Suddenly it is firmer underfoot, years of agricultural draining has made the ground less sodden and our way much easier.

Down, down, into the first farm yard, down, down through another, more houses, then finally landing at the far end of the village road, narrow and bumpy and in need of resurfacing.  We turn left and walk up through the older part of the village, small terraced cottages jostling for space with their festive lights singing out in the gloom of a wintery evening.

The houses started to get larger, with modern interlopers squeezing in between.  Converted chapels and modernised pig styes now desirable housing.  Down we continue until we finally reach our home. It is dark now, we are surprisingly mud-free and ready to end our walk.

Put the kettle on, stoke the fire, feel my cheeks burn as I warm up - it has been a good one.

HHHHHHHHHHHH

22. Winter Solstice - the turning of the seasons.

Twenty two - a rather muddy one.

A strange year - weather wise.
A roller coaster year.
A nearly completed calendar year.

Winter solstice - the north pole is tilted away from the warm of the sun, shying away from the light so we receive the fewest hours of sunlight of the year.

But it does mean that we are tipping towards summer.
Gently gently, moment by moment the earth readdresses the balance and our days lengthen.
The wheel turns.
The cycle continues.

Solstice can be a magical - it can be contemplative, it can feel rejuvenating and it can feel positive. Over the years we have celebrated with food and stories, with candles and songs, but this year, I suspect we will just celebrate quietly relishing the thought of the return of the sun.
Blessings.

March 2017 Link up Party

If you have joined in with my Scavenger hunt, please link with me on your blog :) Please add your name to the link up ...