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...


gentle moments

There is something rather touching, rather precious, when you wander into the garden and the cat runs down (ok ok waddles*) with us as we walk together through the burgeoning foliage to the summerhouse.
The door creaks and needs quite a hefty hoik to open but when it does - warm air floods out and the air fills with the scent of a warm wooden building mingling with a hint of incense.
We all have our 'own' seats, Himself and I flumpf down on the settee - a gift from a neighbour - it is squidgy and soft and very comfortable. The cat choses one of her (many) favourite sunny spots and proceeds to melt herself in the welcome sunlight .......... and the dog throws herself on the floor and proceeds to wiggle under the table.  No we don't know why either.
The summerhouse had initially been bought to be my art studio and it was for three years, then the angst of being an self (un)employed artist got too much and I rejoined the workforce - not for white or blue collar but green collar! (yes it is a term) 
The summerhouse was reduced to a storage of reminders of a disappointed dream until I had a major clear-out - sold as much of the artwork as I could, donated what was wanted, threw the rest away. 
It is now a lovely place where we sit out/in the garden, as I have planted right up to the windows and if you sit quietly enough, birds land an arm's reach away to forage without noticing. The cat loves that, she sits and cackles with her whiskers rattling away. Fortunately she is unable to tear herself off the seat and usually gives the birds a good telling off then flops back to continue the serious activity of sunbathing.
Mean while the dog continues to disappear under the table....toes twitching as she dreams dog dreams.
Sometimes (but lets be honest) not that often - the summerhouse can be rather too warm, so doors are thrown open wide and the rattan blinds lowered to filter the sunlight - that appears to be an invite to bumblebees to rumble in, and they do, requiring gentle herding to get them back out so they don't constantly bump and buzz their heads on the glass as they try to take a short cut to the flowers.

And, usually clutching mugs of tea and a couple of dog and cat treats, we spend happy and gentle moments emersed in the garden - I love it.


Feeling sick

I've just done the tally for the 'Big Plastic Count' and was not too surprised at the amount (seeing I was the one monitoring what was being collected) and I did think that it was not too bad, we do have weeks that we must throw more away and it tickled me that I actually did a 'flat lay' of my rubbish - but that is where the amusement ended ....

In one week you used
bits of plastic
Over a year that's equivalent to
pieces of plastic
If all households were the same as yours, the UK would use
bits of plastic every year
What was your plastic packaging waste used for?
Food & Drink
Food & Drink
Cleaining & Toiletries
Cleaning & Toiletries
Everything Else
Everything Else
Most plastic packaging is single-use – designed to be used once and then thrown away. For a lot of people plastic packaging from food & drink will be highest. If supermarkets reduced the amount of fruit and vegetable wrapping, it would significantly cut plastic waste.
What was your breakdown of hard and soft plastic?
Hard plastic tray
of your plastic was hard plastic
Hard plastic is a lot easier to recycle than soft plastic. Whilst hard plastic is more recyclable, there are many items that cannot be recycled such as black plastic, polystyrene chips and toothpaste tubes.
Hard plastic tray
of your plastic was soft plastic
Less than 1 in 10 local councils in the UK collect soft plastic, like plastic bags and wrappers. Do you know if yours collects it?
What happens to your plastic packaging waste?
recycled in the UK
Plastic waste that is sorted and reprocessed in the UK then turned into new materials.
The UK sends tonnes of rubbish to other countries every day - often to countries in the Global South. Investigations have shown much of it ends up being dumped or burned.
When plastic is buried in the ground at a landfill, it releases harmful gases into the atmosphere, while wind and rain carry microplastics into surrounding areas.
Burning or incinerating plastic releases carbon, toxins and pollutants into the air, presenting numerous health risks for local communities and contributing to climate change.

I have now emailed our local politician (who has a well deserved reputation for enjoying a cake or two...) to say that I was horrified with what happens to the plastic I throw away..... WTF?!!

I shall have to try harder at not purchasing items in plastic (but as discussed before - that can be difficult) HOWEVER - the onus is not on us alone - Government and businesses need to sort their houses out too before lambasting the 'throw away' culture of the public and telling them to improve/repent/change - they have to, too!!

In which flowers abound


A quick weekend getaway.

Gardening and walking.

And GLORIOUS sunsets.

We went down to Eldest and his lovely girl to help with a bit of hedge cutting and gardening then to get some walking in their area which we know very little about.
On Saturday afternoon, after gardening, we set off from their cottage and followed lovely little paths and tracks around their town. We discovered hidden corners, vintage vehicles buried by foliage, ancient houses with carved date lintels proudly stating 'built by WH 1608', cow parsley lined woodland paths, flower strewn walls and almost forgotten stone steps vanishing into the undergrowth. In a short walk we saw so much that we think we need to explore more.

On the Sunday, we planned more of a 'serious' walk, around a reservoir up in the Dark Peaks but were thwarted right at the beginning. A section of the path wandered through open moorland which had been closed to dogs due to nesting birds.  So we had to retrace our steps back to the reservoir carpark and start again.  This time our walk went along the edge of the dale, down into the valley then back up.  Again our route had to be changed as we kept coming up against closed paths - also for good reasons but this time due to construction or rather DE-construction. Seven HHUUUUUUGE pylons were being dismantled and all the lines going undergrown as part of making the national park free of ugly electricity pylons. It was rather interesting to read the info boards and even though it was a Sunday, the pylons were festooned with engineers disconnecting power lines and swinging from ropes.

Moss of course managed a swim or two, it would not be a 'proper walk' in her eyes if we did not. By mid afternoon we'd returned to the van having had a decent leg tiring walk and (unbeknown to me) I had hit my walking target for this month - 100miles walked in May, giving me over 580miles as part of #walk1000miles challenge.

Back home, after heavy evening rain - I wandered around the garden and marvelled at how it had 'exploded' with lush growth. We still have tulips opening and we now have alliums popping up too!

Any hoo - Monday again. How did that happen? Have a good week xxxx

Ps I mustn't forget to log down my plastic waste!




For the next seven days - EvErY SiNgLe PiEcE Of PlAsTiC PaCkAgInG coming into our house and normally throw away (either in the bin or recycling) will be logging on to The Big Plastic Count website as part as a nationwide data collection as to how much plastic is actually in 'circulation' in just one week.

We personally have tried reducing our plastic usage, switching to reusables where possible and in our style of shopping and at home with what we have and what we use. However there are some things we just can't get around. Availability being one and the simple truth of cost being another.

For example - we buy cereal. 

Usually oats and muesli type for ourselves, except when the boys and their lovely girls come home, then we keep their favourites on the shelf too. Where possible, we purchase a paper bagged variety from our usual supermarket or from our own lovely village shop with a refill station - it is small (and perfectly formed!) so does not have the capacity to keep a big selection of cereals apart from oats.

Commercial cereal cardboard boxes are recyclable but the plastic food grade bag inside is not. So once we have finished the contents, the box goes into the paper skip and the bag is pulled fully open, cleaned and then stored to be used as a sandwich or cheese wrap.  I make sure that this 'wrap' is then used many times before it then is disposed of - removing some of its 'single use plastic' moniker but it still is not biodegradable. 

Bread bags.

We used to purchase a rather delicious bloomer style loaf when the boys were still home as each slice was thick and chunky and filled hollow teenager legs. These loaves came in paper bags which were not 'lined' on the inside by a thin layer of plastic so once eaten, the loaf bags went happily into the paper skip. Now it is just Himself and I, we have 'downgraded' to a simpler thinner sliced bread with 'bits' in it - partly due to cost again and partly as we found the previous doorstop type sandwiches were actually quite a 'chore' to munch through in a short lunch break slot. These loaves are sold in plastic bags..... so they are kept and used to store foodstuffs in the freezer, reducing their single use status again, but still needing to ultimately be disposed of. 

Mushrooms/tomatoes/fruit punnets

These are all kept, used either in the greenhouse, as food holders in the fridge, seed packet storage, thread/yarn bits/fabric trimming holders or crumb 'catchers' when we wipe down surfaces then given to the birds or the chickens.

However, ultimately - they are all eventually thrown away (the punnets are either the 'wrong' plastic to recycle or the type that are non-recyclable) but only after they have had to work for that 'privilege' .

Eldest's girlfriend has been working on a 'single use sculpture' with her geography pupils and we were saving plastic lids as part of it....... There was that oxymoron moment when I was pleased to be able to hand over a 'goodly' selection of lids to her yet it brought home how many our 'simple' life style produced.... things have got to change.

Not just us, but everyone including the producers. Either plastic has to be 100% recyclable or replaced with something that is.  

Food for thought (sic).

If you are interested (and you should be) 






Bloomin' eck - it were a good day!

Our life is about honouring gentle rituals and traditions and around this time of the year we go and walk through our favourite blue bell woods on Oxenber Hill. Today (Monday) Himself had taken the day off so we could do exactly that, and it was wonderful (bar a slight mishap!)

We knew that there was the possibility of rain in the afternoon, so we set off after breakfast with a picnic lunch and flask of tea and a rather over excited Moss. She could barely contain herself. She's been on restricted exercise again (due to catching a dew claw and making her 'thumb' tender) but this last weekend the damaged claw finally came off and the new little stumpy claw has been clipped carefully to make sure it was not too scratchy and she was raring to go!

When we first arrived, Himself and I got ourselves booted up while Moss sat (im)patiently fidgeting and wriggling as she watched our every moved, her whole body language was 'shrieking' HURRY UP!
We followed a favourite route and as we got closer to the bluebells we were drenched in their fragrance - it was absolutely gorgeous.  We could smell them before we could see them and as we reached, then climbed over the stile, we were blown away by the rolling fields of blue.
As soon as we could, we were down at flower level taking pictures and just imbibing in their fragrance.
Hidden amongst the wash of blue were flashes of white with wild garlic and wood anemone threading through. 

Further round, where it was sunnier and the soil seemed drier, primroses and violets danced in the light breeze.

The path turned upwards on the the hill where the bluebells completely covered the slopes. Almost at the top we turned off the main path and followed a quieter path to a grassy mound where we stopped for lunch.
It was not long before Moss found herself a 'small' stick and insisted on presenting it to Himself several times.  Her antics made us chuckle but we refused her request as we knew she would go tearing through the flowers and just flatten them, so we invited her to sit with us and have a biscuit or two while we ate our lunch.

Popping up through the bluebells were now rich purple orchids - the array of blooms just invited every bee in the near vicinity to the banquet and the air was not only filled with fragrance but the industrious buzz of hundreds of fuzzy bumble bees - I could just not stop smiling at their fat little bodies going from flower to flower in their quest for pollen.

With one eye on the sky, we thought we better not linger too long at lunch and set off through the woodlands.
We met a few folk along our way, also loving the display and enjoying the walk, one lady we came up to was trying to photograph her dogs however, they were not cooperating, preferring to snuffle around than sitting and posing, so I offered either to hold the dogs (with me hiding behind the wall) or to take photos - the owner plumped for the latter as she felt they - the dogs - would behave for her...... not a chance! She called them, bribed them, grabbed them, whistled and gave them instructions which they totally ignored.  I must have taken at least 20 images for her on her cellphone when we called it a day. I handed the phone back to her when suddenly the dogs posed for her on the wall. I snapped with my camera as I walked away of her taking the photo she'd been trying to take for about ten minutes. 

We walked past a crooked tree which we have rather sweet memories of. We have a number of photos taken over the years of little boys leaning up against the trunk, too small to sit on it safely, then them sitting on it as they were now 'big stuff', then later again as they nonchalantly leant up against it again - too grown up to swing their legs. Now we have Moss in front of it - ready to charge off but good enough to sit and wait for me to take the obligatory picture.

All too soon we reached the far end of the woodland and re-entered farm land, where we passed a husband and wife couple walking in the opposite, we did the 'fellow walker nod' and carried on by, when suddenly I heard the first cuckoo of the year - the other woman heard it too, and almost simultaneously we both gasped out loud 'Cuckoo!'  Funnily enough neither husband had heard it. As the light breeze had become a little more blustery whilst we'd been in the woodland, it made it hard to hear the bird call but I was so pleased when I did!
We met a few more folk - some happily walking along, others marching on a mission and one couple laden with cameras - she was wearing a full length pale green skirt which billowed and flapped in the wind as she clamped her hand on her straw hat - she was delightful as she exclaimed how wonderful it was to see our dog (we missed the first part of her sentence as she grappled with her hat and her bag and her skirt) so we smiled and grinned and agreed with her!
It was soon after that my bad knee suddenly gave way and threw me to the ground. My other knee did the heroic thing and landed hard 'to save me' and in doing so I ripped my jeans and grazed my knee. (Bad knee BAD BAD knee grrrrr) any hoo, our rather jaunty bumble took on a bit of a lumpy gait.
With a bit of a limp and a dent in my pride we followed old tracks filled with flowers and surrounded by sheep and lambs. The lambs are quite large now - little mini sheep.

Our final thing to do was to pick some wild garlic to eat with our meal later (delish!) and to find a stream for Moss to throw herself into. Once we'd returned to the van, my knee was cleaned up, Moss munched on biscuits before falling asleep in the cab and not moving until we got home.
When we returned home - the kettle went on, I gave my knee another clean and slapped on some antiseptic cream. And talking of cream, we then sat down with mugs of tea and scones, jam and cream - what an excellent way to end a lovely day!