Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Monday, December 08, 2008


I've been lucky enough to have received these two awards from nita, do visit her lovely blog called The Kentish Lass.

I have to list various things about myself so here goes:

7 things to do before I die

1. Learn to spin
2. Visit South Africa again
3. Learn to do natural dyeing
4. Walk the length of The Ridgway
5. Go to Maiden Castle in Dorset
6. Learn to make baskets
7. See a Golden Eagle

7 Things That Make Me Happy

1. My family
2. Seeing thr rooks coming in to roost in the woods at dusk in winter.
3. Being in the countryside.
4. Spending time with friends
5. Messing about in my garden
6. Losing enough weight to finally get back into some of my favourite clothes again!
7. Curling up on a stormy winter day with a really good book and a large box of
chocolates - unfortunately 6 and 7 are mutually exclusive!!

7 Favourite foods

1. Reese's Chocolate peanut butter cups!
2. Smoked salmon
3. Bacon sandwich
4. Carrot cake
5. Cherries
6. Cheese,ham and potato casserole
7. Chips!

I'm not going to pass this on to anyone but please feel free to do it if you like.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Walk in the Woods

B Baggins Esq has been enjoying his walks in the woods lately and wanted to show you some of the lovely autumn scenes that he passes as he goes round. The colours of the beech leaves are especially lovely with their patchwork of greens and golds.

We walk by the river on a beautiful rustly brown carpet of beech leaves.

There are already a lot of bare branches but even in midwinter there is still some green from the holly, yew and Scots Pine trees that grow among the beech, oak and sweet chestnut trees.

Monarch of the Glen!

There are many large stones along the river bank many of them thickly covered in moss like these, this also adds some green to the landscape even on the darkest winter day.

We've climbed up the hill from river and are back on one of the official paths walking along by the bird sanctuary now. B Baggins and I spend as little time as possible on these paths, we prefer to be off the beaten track. On this section the official path is the only way because of the sanctuary. It's a poor photo as the light levels were so low when I took it.

We walk a triangular route and this is the start of the final leg, back to the quieter tracks again.

Is it time to go home already?

Waiting for my lead to be put on again - don't know why we can't stay here all day. I'll definitely catch that squirrel next time we come though!

Sunday, November 09, 2008


IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

Remembering all those who have given their lives for their country, but especially
Pte Harry Hindley Simpson, 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers killed in action August 1916


AC2 Harold Harrison RAF buried in Jakarta War Cemetery, Indonesia 1942 - far from home but never forgotten.

"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud......

During the summer one of our days out in the Lake District was to Grasmere to visit the two houses lived in by the poet William Wordsworth. The little white house is Dove Cottage. William and his sister Dorothy moved here in 1799 and in 1802 William married Mary Hutchinson and their three eldest children were born here.

Clicking on the photograph will enlarge it so that you can read the information. Ullswater is 9 miles from Grasmere so we didn't see the actual place where Wordsworth saw his 'host of golden daffodils', that will have to be for a future visit.

This is the back of the cottage taken from the middle of the steep little garden which William and his sister designed and where they spent much of their time. The house you can see beyond wasn't there in the early 1800s so there would have been a lovely view across the fell at the time when the Wordsworths lived there.

There were always a lot of visitors staying with the Wordsworths at Dove Cottage and with their growing family it became too small. I have to say that it would have been quite a squash with just William,Mary and Dorothy! Apparently at times it was a bit like a modern sleepover with people sleeping on the floor wherever they could find space. It must have been absolute chaos! In 1808 they moved and, after brief periods in two other houses, in 1813 they moved to Rydal Mount which is in the photo above. They lived here for the next 46 years.

The summer house at Rydal Mount where William Wordsworth often sat composing his poetry.

A view from the garden looking down to Rydal Water.

This is the parish church of St Oswald in Grasmere which dates back to the very early 14th century.

A plaque giving a little information about the church and the saint to whom it is dedicated.

This is the grave of William Wordsworth and his wife Mary.

This is the Wordsworth family plot in St Oswald's churchyard with the grave of Dorothy Wordsworth in the centre. Dorothy kept a detailed journal of her life at Dove Cottage which wasn't published until after her death. It's a fascinating book giving a vivid picture of life and the countryside in the early 19th century.

The interior of the church showing the medieval Nave and the ancient timber roof trusses.

The arches in the previous picture were made in the 1500s when the original church was enlarged and they give access to the Langdale Aisle in the above photo. We happened to be in Grasmere in the week following the annual Rushbearing Ceremony. The medieval Nave was made of beaten earth until the 1800s when it was finally flagged. The floor of the church was covered in rushes to sweeten the air and try(vainly I imagine!)to keep dampness and mud at bay. The rushes were renewed annually with great ceremony, this describes it better than I can. In the photo you can see the rush covered floor.

This is the font also decorated for the Rushbearing, Wordsworth's children were baptized here.

Grasmere has another claim to fame besides William Wordsworth and that is Grasmere Gingerbread originally invented by Sarah Nelson. The package in the photograph was bought from the cottage where Grasmere Gingerbread was originally made.

The contents of the package - long since gone I'm afraid! It's an odd mix of a biscuit and a cake but very moorish.

A final view of the countryside around Grasmere, it's a really beautiful area and well worth visiting if you ever get chance.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fun at the Farm and Kentwell Hall

I recently went down to Suffolk to spend a couple of days with Neil,Cesca and the boys. There was a Harvest Open Day on at a local farm so we went along. Gabriel was fascinated by the goats.

There was a little playground for the children, he loves playing on a slide.

Ready to Roll!!

They had pick-your-own corn so we ventured into the jungle to get some.

The next day was my belated birthday treat and I was taken to Kentwell Hall for one of their Tudor re-enactment days. An invasion by the Spanish Armada is expected at any moment and the men of the Estate form a militia which must train to defend England against the Spaniards. This brave lad is priming a small canon which was fired regularly during the afternoon. It made us jump at first then you got use to the noise. Clicking on the photos will enlarge them.

English archers were the best in the world and villagers were required to practise at the butts regularly.

A quiet moment and a chance for some gossip and perhaps a little flirting?

There are a surprising number of children among the re-enactors, here are some enjoying a chance to ride one of the big working horses.

These two are off to the fields perhaps to help with the last of the harvest

A lovely peaceful rural scene.

There was a group of people doing natural dyeing, I thought this line of newly dyed yarn was just beautiful. The colours are so soft and rich. I watched as some yarn being dyed in indigo was taken out of the vat, it came out a sort of dirty cream and then before my eyes it started to turn blue and the colour got deeper and deeper. It was amazing to see.

The wool being carded ready for spinning.

Explanations for interested spectators - though George seems more interested in sleeping than listening.

I couldn't decide what these ladies were doing and finally had to ask, the answer was really unexpected. They are washing animal guts that will eventually be turned into the strings for musical instruments. If I'd guessed all day I wouldn't have come up with that and yet I did know that this is what the strings were made of - I just didn't make the connection.

I couldn't resist this - felt hat making is obviously tiring work!

The Lord and Lady of the manor honoured us with a word as they passed by.

Strolling players entertaining the passing crowds.

There was plenty on the Home Farm to entertain Gabriel too, as well as various kinds of poultry and the horses there were large black pigs...........

more goats.......

and cows.......

and some donkeys with incredibly shaggy coats. There was so much more to see, we never got inside the house at all so next summer we'll be going back again for one of the Tudor days.