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...


A portal to another dimension

Behind us on the moors is a rather enigmatic stone arch - well, its a door way and the only remaining piece of a large farm house built in 1672 by a wealthy Yeoman farmer. We've visited it before, years ago when the boys were quite small and Youngest can only remember how foul the weather was....
For years, we've driven past it - it always seemed brooding and distant on the skyline as we drove along the winding road to Hebden Bridge and I had no inclination to revisit such a gloomy landmark.
Then a few weeks ago, I looked at it as we drove past. A small but dominant feature on an open moorland field and I suddenly had the urge to see it with new eyes. So, on Tuesday, Youngest took me for our first dogless walk to revisit a moment in our history that neither of us really recall clearly or kindly.
Standing at 11ish feet tall and with a now very weathered stone carved sign over the lintel - the door way stands proud in the landscape and I realised how little I know about it.
Typical for around where we live, a lot of narrow valleys were earmarked for reservoirs and just below the doorway are two such examples and apparently in 1886, the building was demolished for their construction. However they are too far away to have interfered with the building so I wondered if it had been relocated up above on the moors.
The weather that day was far kinder than our collective memories and in the spring sunshine, it felt rather refreshing to be out on the moors breathing in clear air and appreciating the far distant views.
We'll go back, but we'll walk further, towards the trees on the horizon then to their right where a more modern monument to the memory of a loved one is situated - a solid granite bench with an sublime view. 
Youngest has a vintage Kodak Polaroid camera with all the quirks and glitches befitting something of that age and he took an image of the door way - doesn't it look like a portal to another dimension? 

Yes, we thought so too.  Our memories of this archway are better ones now than the ones we'd harboured from before.



thank you

Thank you - your kind words, here and by email, both strengthened me and dissolved me to tears - I have had so many hugs from dog walkers who I don't know by name - only by the fellow-dog-walker nod - when they ask 'where's your dog?'. 

Being at work was hard - staff and volunteers seemed as stunned as I, visitors to the park and walled garden were too.  I still catch myself about to call her when I go out into the garden or get ready for work. 

She was a funny, silly, hair shedding, eye-rolling, waggy tailed, muddy footed gallumph who enriched my life and she will be forever missed. So, thank you - so so much for your thoughts xx❤️‍🩹

who you calling a muddy footed gallumph?


no words


Not an easy post today.

Moss - who we rescued, who rescued us, who made us laugh, made us walk, made our house and home into a furry pack - now makes me cry.

RIP my dear sweet buddy. 


Van-ventures of the long weekend kind

 A combination of weather, work and every day commitments have firmly kept us off the hills for anything more than day trips or walking from home. Last week we suddenly realised that we had a couple of days free (during the bank holiday weekend) and a promise of half decent weather by those meteorological folk who can enthusiastically wax lyrically about atrocious weather fronts - they seem to love their jobs...

Any hoo - early Saturday morning we hastily packed the van with the bare essentials, food - tick, bedding - tick, warm stuff - tick, camera - tick, Moss' paraphernalia - tick tick tick. Then we headed to a new to us place - Alston in Cumbria and promptly fell in love with it.
Our first night was at the highest point of the area at a place frequented by motorcycles, bikers and vanlifers. At 1903ft it has the most gloriously airy and light feel to it, however when the weather is wild - it would not be a place I'd want to stay. 
Originally a large carpark for a popular café (now long gone with several failed attempts at replacing it) the views are sublime. And, if a constant and steady stream of visiting bikes is not your thing, by early evening, they'd all gone. And it was quiet - just us and three other vans and miles and miles and miles of hills, views and sky.
When we first arrived, we took Moss for a pootle over the fells, although grouse shooting moors as long as you kept your dog on a lead and stayed on the paths and tracks you can walk. We first checked out the rather stately cairn then trekked up to the trig point where once again the views took our breath away.

The next morning we went down into the village of Alston for a wander around and discovered to our delight that their steam train was up and running and put on a puffing good show for us. 

Alston is full of old quirky buildings, cobbled streets and charm, sadly we suspect that a sizable chunk of the housing were either second homes or holiday lets like so many of these 'desirable' holiday locations tend to have.
Even the gloriously pompous old bank (a Martins Bank) appeared to be apartments - hopefully for residents rather than holidaying folk - locals need affordable housing too.
I won't overwhelm you with any more photos, as I did take .. one or two .. LOADS ..! 

Right, I better stop waffling, I have work to get on with, have been waiting for a break in the weather before I can start and by the looks of things - it is now or never!

Speak soon x


Why do I garden?

I've just stumbled back in from the garden - it is a bit cold out there now and I am pretty sure I heard the kettle call my name several times. Being on hands and knees and not moving very much whilst weeding (I love weeding, it clears the head and gives me permission to think or not to think, but to just be) however, I found I was clenching my teeth to stop them chattering.

First thing this morning - just after 7am, I pottered out in to the garden to take Moss for her first morning leg stretch and piddle and in the early sunlight I was taken how much my garden has gently moved on. We've been away for a couple of nights (wild camping up in the North Pennines) and in that short space of time - so much and yet so little has happened.

It said on the radio this morning that March had been the wettest on record for 40 years and although I did think it was a 'tad damp' (good northern understated term), I didn't think it had been that wet. I suppose, living in the lea of the Pennines we were bound to get our generous share of rain.

After a morning session in a private garden where I disembowelled a 14 year old compost heap on to very hungry and grateful flowerbeds. When I started here, the compost was an enormous unruly pile which dominated the corner it was residing in. It's taken three years to beat it back into submission and now after today's marathon digging and mulching, I just may have tamed the beast - I still have one more bay to empty but I can see that it is far less of a mountain in comparison - more of a molehill!

Just getting my hands back into the soil and feeling the weak sunlight on my face is such a boost. That combined with the scent of the awakening earth and newly emerging shoots is wonderful. However by mid afternoon the sun has slipped behind thin grey cloud and the temperature has plummeted - brrrrr. Definitely time for a brew. Happy - most definitely.



 The verb 'weekending', to weekend, to do - so we did.


Knitter's Paradise  with Youngest and his lovely girl. 
The shop was in an old converted soap mill near Cullingworth - a treasure trove - will certainly return.

there was a lot of squishing and holding of hanks of yarn and bundles of wool - 
the temptation was impossible to fight off.
purchasing ....
coming away with delicious rich russets, burgundys and chocolate browns to add to the growing Woodland Ripple blanket and a couple of pieces of woven fabric from the mill - I have plans!
Walking ...

Somewhere new, Manor Heath Garden Park, Halifax. 
Met up with Eldest and his lovely girl, had a picnic lunch and a dog walk. 
Scones for Himself - with plant based milk and butter and topped with jam and coconut yoghurt - absolutely delicious. Becoming dairy intolerant post covid has been a bit of a trial but we are getting there.
Being sent a rediscovered photograph of a much loved and much missed little feline monkey.
I still 'see' her in the garden when I am working out there.
Crocheting ...
Adding the new yarns into the mix - the Woodland Ripple is growing - slowly but surely.
So - that was my weekend. Hope you had a good weekend too xxx


Out and about

After an odd week at work where two of the three days in the walled garden flew by at an indecent pace and I was left reeling almost as if I'd stepped off a roller coaster by the end of the day, followed by the slowest Friday I have experienced in a very long time.

It took an age to get to 10.30am, forever to get to 12pm. It then appeared to be 1.45pm for several hours. So to get home was an incredible relief. Sitting on the settee nursing a couple mugs of tea before I could move was the best way to recover.
This weekend was set aside to celebrate Eldest's birthday (which had been earlier in the week). When the boys were little and a birthday was during the school week - they were allowed to choose a weekend to celebrate their birthday and the entire two days would be for them. We still do the whole weekend thing but on a more sedate and grown up way these days .... like visiting historic houses and doing afternoon tea.
The weather at the moment is a bit 'nothing', it is almost as if spring thought she could start to appear is now holding her breath while we all collectively wait apprehensively for the return of a vengeful winter.
I wondered if buds and bulbs are not aware of the dire weather reports we have been subjected to recently and are cheerfully making an appearance. Even my garden which is a bit dull and bland this time of year has been cheerfully singing a song of snowdrops and crocus accompanied by choirs of clematis leaves and song birds.
It was interesting wandering around an historic home and grounds during winter - without out the exuberant garden and its abundant roses and lilies obscuring the architecture. I noticed so much more. 
Despite a fair number of other visitors, there was an air of quiet on the cusp calm. The garden was definitely showing signs of bursting into song but the chill air and grey skies were reminders that winter has not gone yet.
I am typing this early (and I do mean early) Sunday morning having woken up from a restless night and decided that rather than lie and listen to the house creak and the cat snore, I'd come downstairs and quietly enjoy a mug of tea and a quiet moment. It is (and I say this in a whisper) pretending to become light. I might slip back into bed once I've finished meandering around the keyboard.
The old house has had a checkered past, but then - most of them do. East Riddlesden Hall is an oasis of historic charm surrounded by industrial and modern life. I was surprised how much it is looked over by neighbouring suburbia. We've not visited in winter before and the bare trees showed starkly how exposed the house and gardens are when not sheltered by thick green foliage. 
Today  - Sunday - Moss is hoping she'll get a dog walk and I suspect she will have her wish come true. I think flasks and boots (and a camera) may be involved. She'd like that.... the walk part, she's not bothered that much about boots and cameras!

The crochet blanket is growing slowly and the gentle rhythm of the hook and chains is rather soothing in the evenings. I find with blanket making that it seems to start quickly, rows appear and like magic the yarn starts to look like a scarf for a giraffe, but then as it becomes shawl-sized, it slows down and it is only when it is almost big enough for a bed that it seems to have a growth spurt. This one appears to be doing the same....

Hope, whatever you are doing for the rest of your weekend makes you smile -  xxxxxx