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...


The sky feels different here.

On a whim and spurred on by the fact I had one day left of my leave which needed to be used before the end of the month or I would lose it - Himself and I took last Friday off - added it to the bank holiday weekend and went feral in Dumfries and Galloway for four days!

We have some lovely memories of the area from our days when visiting with the boys and we wanted to revisit some of our old haunts as well as discover new ones, so Zeb (our van) was packed first thing on the Friday and by mid morning we were trundling up the motorway at a very sedate pace. Himself was feeling a little under the weather so despite me suggesting we stay home until he felt a 'little more human' he decided that he'd rather go and breathe in some fresh sea air and walk some gentle woodland tracks - so that is exactly what we did! Nature's curative powers are not to be sneezed at. 

We stopped a couple of places on the way up for a mug of tea and a breather, one of which Himself was incensed at the amount of litter and spent about five minutes collecting a bag full of recyclable bottles and cans - why on earth are people STILL so lazy/ignorant/awful/thoughtless????

We arrived in Kirkcudbright, and having found ourselves permissible free almost wild, off-grid parking, we wandered into the town via the estuarine coast line. Breathing in that tang that only coastal air can give you was delicious. Moss was besides herself wanting to leap into the tidal waters. We had to stop her as the tide was out and to get to the water would have entailed floundering through metres and metres of super stinky, super slippery mud - which she would have done (with such a silly grin on her face) but the thought of having to de-mud an idiot border collie had us recoiling in horror!
Wandering around a sleepy town full of quirky corners, cute cottages and narrow passageways is always a delight. I could have spent long time snapping images but Himself and Moss were both hungry so we returned to our van. There was only one other van parked up, the owner I'd spotted earlier in the local shop - a very distinctive looking bloke sporting a magnificent head of dreadlocks. His van exuded a delicious scent of incense as well as a festival vibe soundtrack - we were gently entertained by him as we ate our meal. 

The next day, Saturday, was the evening of the town's floodlit tattoo and fireworks display celebrating the last of the summer events, so we decided in the morning to visit Cally Gardens - one on our bucket list - and we were not disappointed - I may have even come home with a plant!

I could have spent all day there and even wanted to offer to volunteer an hour or two - however we had to get back for the tattoo and despite us purchasing tickets - we would not be guaranteed a good spot so had to make sure we got there in time.
Despite all good intentions, we got there a little later than planned (dog walks are serious things says Moss - not to be shortened for anything!) However, we still had a lovely evening. We watched the teeniest wee dancers doing the Highland fling (the youngest apparently was only four!) we were 'entertained' (had enough after the first ten minutes TBH) by a motorbike stunt rider, were wowed by massed pipe bands, bored by a Canadian choir (mainly because we could not hear them), amused by the gently drunk family alongside us who joined in enthusiastically with everything. We watched Scottish country dancing, flag waving, tug 'o war and a brass band. Then as the evening wore on, the lone piper played the lament high up on scaffolding - usually up in the castle but it was being renovated then the fireworks to end the evening. We all left as the tannoy was belting out Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline'  Nearly everyone joined in and sang their hearts out as they melted into the darkness and up the streets and back home - once again we have fallen in love with Kirkcudbright.
On Sunday we woke up to another bright and sunny morning and with breakfast eaten, we wandered back into the town to bumble around the vintage car rally - another of our pleasures. 
Later we moved from our site - we don't like staying longer than two nights at any one point and found ourselves another quiet spot. We we arrived there were two other vans, but by night fall one had left and the other quietly - like ourselves - just watched the stars and the tide recede. 
Before we left, we managed to squeeze in walking, visiting a gallery for 'The Glasgow Girls' exhibition, swimming - Moss has developed gills, and wandering - just wandering and enjoying the gentle nothingness of wandering.

As I said before - the sky feels different here xxxx


Twenty two

Sitting contemplating life at the grand old age of two and a half 
at the delightfully named 'Burblethwaite' farm in the lake district

 Aah Tuesday - hello. Not seen you around for about a week.....

Tuesday - you have a significant date today - there are other Tuesdays TBH (51 of them to be precise) and they are probably as interesting and as important. But today, 22 years ago Youngest was born.

Wee babbie C on the beach with bigger bro C in the background

22 years ago yesterday I helped carry a dining room table across a small town centre back home not long after we'd returned from Africa. Being, what felt like a huge whale sized pregga-saurous, was not going to prevent me adopting this table which was about to be thrown away.

Then in the afternoon I visited a friend at a large child friendly park so that Eldest who was only two and a half could play with her slightly older toddler. I felt weary and fed up and when Eldest fell off the mini sized play equipment yet again and howled like a bereft wolf cub with grazed knees, I decided to take him home.... only to find that I had locked the car ... with my keys inside .... and I could see them..... hanging there..... inside the car.... which was locked.

Stormy skies on Traigh beach, Ardnamurchan

My friend, who'd parked in a different car park had already gone and besides, I couldn't ring her - neither of us could afford cell phones then. I remember resting my forehead on the glass of the door window, with a small and sticky hand in mine, staring at the offending keys in the ignition.

So, with a tear-stained child in tow, I found a wire coat hanger in the undergrowth, unravelled it and managed to force it through the rubber window seal, then pull the handle enough to open the door. It 'only' took me twenty minutes, tears of frustration from both of us, nettle stings and when I finally broke into the car - not so much a happy jig of triumph - more a desperate sigh of relief. I just wanted to go home.

12 hours later - Youngest was born two weeks early. 

Happy birthday love - you still know how to make an entrance!!!

All the photos are of an ickum-bickum-Youngest - sadly due to the temperamental vagaries of laptops and computers dying and me not keeping back up copies (I do now!) - I have very few of him (digitally) of him as a wee babbie.



Whilst waiting for lunch to finish cooking, I am sitting at the table typing to you, dear ones.

We have Eldest and his lovely girl with us for a few days, Youngest and his lovely girl will be landing later as we are getting together to celebrate Youngest's birthday. It is wonderful when they descend - Moss and Pan (the cat) are absolutely delighted and don't know which person to shed their fur on the most!)

Yesterday we visited East Riddlesden Hall again -  where the four of us wandered through the gardens which seemed to have survived the heat and lack of rain surprisingly well despite some of the plants looking a little sunburnt.
There was a wedding reception happening in one of the huge stone barns where brightly dressed and happy folk spilled out of the doors in loud and cheerful voice. The bride and her groom were taken around the gardens for their photos - hope they have a long and loving life together.
The bees and butterflies were making the most of the late summer flowers and the borders were abuzz with activity. Particularly the herb garden where even the non flowering herbs were being used. I remember reading somewhere that bees will chew on herbs to get access to their essential oils and the general agreement was that they could be doing it for medicinal reasons - how wonderful is that?
The house is always open however we usually just enjoy the garden and café. On Saturday we decided that we'd go for an explore. The house is a bit of an enigma as there seems to be a lack of relevant historical records. As with all these places, the experts can only 'suppose' or 'surmise'  to extrapolate stories. The volunteer guides were generous in their information and explanations but most came with the proviso - 'this is what the experts think but it could be open to further investigation'.
The house, when obtained by the NT, was bare bar one item - a grain 'ark' so all the furniture and furnishings, paintings and ornaments have been gradually accumulated over the last 90 years. Some original pieces from the family home as well as others from now long gone homes from the same era.
Every corner had something interesting and I suspect we could have stayed longer - chatting with the guides was very satisfying and we learnt so much.
One of the larger and more ornate rooms - a possible master bedroom had it's curtains drawn to prevent the precious textiles from fading. The 'Black work' embroidery bedspread was fascinating - the work(wo)manship was perfect and each leaf seemed to have a different pattern. I was as fascinated by it as I was the last time I came (some years ago in my capacity as a NT volunteer).
After we'd explored every room and many a photo was taken, we returned outside and sat in the grounds with hot drinks watching the ducks on the pond and the wedding party. We'd been very lucky with the weather - showers had been promised and it was only as we were planning on leaving that the clouds began to look a little menacing.
The rain in the evening was glorious - steady and deep, the garden today (Sunday) is looking quite satisfied!

Hope you all had a good weekend - here is to an excellent week! xxxxxxx


the last hurrah

How could we finish our holiday romance❤️ with the Lake District now that we were home? 

By having a brief fling with our village agricultural show - that's how!

We knew it was going to be warm, so we took iced water for Moss, hats and umbrellas (for shade) for us and walked up to the recreation grounds now transformed to house pens of sheep and cattle, vintage vehicles and tractors, marquees full of arts and crafts, vegetable and flowers, horses and stunt motorcycles.

We sampled locally made ice cream (which was glorious) and drank very welcome chilly drinks, moved from shade to shade to make sure that we and Moss did not melt. A number of the stalls had bowls of water for visiting dogs and Moss of course graciously gave a token lick (as she was happily kept well watered with her own bowl and iced water).

Due to the heat a number of the animal entries wisely did not come, which I totally agree with as did most people although there were a small minority complaining that they came to see the 'pets' and 'funny chickens' and there was nothing to see!!

We did the show in two halves, we came back home for lunch and to leave Moss in the cooler house for an afternoon nap and then went back up for the rest of the show and the grand parade of vintage vehicles.

It was definitely a good way to end our holiday week and set us up for the working week. Now to plan for our next adventure!! 


Time to go


Our last day meant that we packed up (reluctantly) as we had to vacate the site by midday. We left Youngest and his lovely girl folding away their tent as Himself and I took Moss for one last little walk from the campsite. That is our set up in the middle - van and green tent - it had been an interesting few days watching other camping setups, people dynamics and camping etiquette (or the lack of it...)

We decided to get a picnic from Kewsick and go up to Nobel Knott Woodlands, eat our lunch then go for a walk - which we did and it was a wonderful way to end our jollies.

It was delightful to sit amongst the trees, eating and chatting. We agreed that we'd rather enjoyed our jolly and it should be repeated. Then, once replete, we followed the trail to the far side of the woodlands to enjoy the view.

Leaving the welcome shade of the woods was like walking into a bracken scented oven - but it was worth it. We did not linger long though and soon returned to the path taking us back into the trees and joy of joys for Moss we found a small and rather chilly burbling stream. We stopped for a while.

Along the route were tree related quotes engraved into slate. There was one from an odd source but on the whole - they were rather inspirational.
Eventually after we'd procrastinated long enough, we knew it was time to return home. We had had a lovely break - it did us all a world of good and like all holidays - it flew by with a blink on an eye. Thank you for coming along with me on my wafflings, it was lovely reliving our adventures!


Laughing shoe

It was now Wednesday and Himself decided that we would walk the opposite way up the valley away from Derwent Water and follow Derwent River towards the village of Rosthwaite - which means ‘ the clearing in the rose thorns’.
The river runs alongside the farm campsite so is very popular with the campers and with the day turning out to be rather warm again, there were lots of people swimming or sitting alongside the water’s edge. The river itself was crystal clear and so so inviting - Moss heard that invitation and threw herself in immediately!

She was most put out when we had to call her away when the pathway lead us up the flank of the hill above the river.

It was a really interesting path with evidence of old slate and copper mining and a natural HUGE archway. We were staggered at how cool the air was emanating from the arch - which at first was most welcome but very quickly it was too cold to linger and we returned to the muggy humid air.

As we reached the end of the wooded section of our route, we could hear and see a farmer rounding up some of his sheep high up above us. It seemed a rather hot and sweaty job to be doing right in the middle of the day - when we realised we were hungry so returned back down to the river where we found welcome shade beneath a huge tree right on the river’s edge. This time it was not just Moss wild swimming in the water as we were alongside a ‘twistle’ - where two rivers meet and had created a deep clear pool. This time Moss was joined by Youngest.

It was some time before we could tear ourselves away and continue to Rosthwaite. As we walked along, the hot and sweaty farmer who’d with his two equally hot looking dogs, had now rounded up a sizeable herd of sheep, was now alongside us - so we stopped to watch as the Herdwick sheep splashed through a boggy stream followed by the dogs. There was lots of bleating and baa-ing as the ewes and their lambs made their way up the farm track and into the fields - it just added to the delight of our walk.

When we reached Rosthwaite we discovered a village shop selling locally made ice cream and it seemed churlish not to stop and imbibe such cool and tasty treats - we sat in the village green surrounded by sparrows chirruping and foraging around us.

I nipped to the loo and was rather amused by the sign - and yes the door was very low and no I I didn't bang my head there!

Along the way Youngest’s lovely girl’s walking shoe had suddenly expired so Himself took us back via a shortened route back to the campsite once we'd sorted out a shoe swap (I'd a spare set of converse in my haversack). We all agreed that the shoe looked to be laughing out loud!

The air as the evening progressed was delightfully cool but a bit too fresh for a rather tired and still slightly damp dog, so her mattress was brought out and her duvet wrapped around her. She slept soundly as we chatted and ate and watched the night sky - yes, it was another excellent day.

Tomorrow was our last day - and we were going to make the most of it!