Welcome to my blog. Thanks for dropping by. Hope you'll stay and enjoy reading about where I've been and what I've been doing!

I don't mean this to be a replacement for personal emails, but it gives me the chance to put up photos and my scrapbook layouts, so I don't block up your in-boxes, or have to send the same photos and stories to everyone separately!
Thanks, and welcome, to the followers of my blog. I'm very honoured that you enjoy it. Drop me some comments from time to time! It's good to hear what you think about the posts. Come back again soon.

Thanks also to Mary of Mary's Mixes for doing all the work on the blog's heading. You are great, Mary!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Up the dale

Richmond hasn't changed a great deal, apart from various shops having closed and others taken their places. It's maybe looking a bit shabbier than it used to be, but isn't that the same at home! I mainly just pottered around the market place, doing a bit of window shopping, and just checking out what was where and what wasn't! I had got a surprise when I went to post Morag's birthday card at the post office, because it wasn't the post office any more and was in fact a bar and restaurant! The post office is now in a road off the market place in what I remember as the craft supplies shop!

The market place looked much the same, minus Woolworths of course, and again different shops to what I used to know. Only a handful were familiar and in their familiar places!

If the weather had been less blustery I might have gone to the castle and attempted the climb up the tower for the view, but I decided against it. Shame, really! You can see the castle in the above photo. The tower is on the left.

Anyway, as I had been visiting in the morning, and it was now well on into the afternoon, there was some food shopping to be done before getting back to Colin's for tea - and guess where I shopped? You got it. The Co-op! A nice purpose built store... that doesn't look like a concrete block. In fact I even began to wonder if there had actually been a building there before and it had just been refurbished, but no, I am assured it is new! It's bigger than our Co-op, a fully fledged supermarket to our convenience store! Got a lot of nice stuff we don't have!!!

I said I'd been visiting in the morning. Lynne used to live with her parents and young son, along the village from me when I was living in Swaledale. She and her husband had split up. However now she has remarried and is living not too far from Colin actually, with her new husband. Her son is also married now with a 2-year-old daughter., and Lynne floored me by saying he will be 32 next month!

We caught up on a lot of news, and had a look round their nursery garden. They are putting tubs and hanging baskets together just now - primulas and pansies mainly. One greenhouse was just full of pansies. It was nice to see Lynne again. It must be a couple of years since I saw her last.

So that was Monday, and on Tuesday I drove through Richmond again and on updale to Reeth which was the village I originally moved to from Edinburgh - 30 years ago! It hasn't changed much either, but there are loads more teashops, a craft centre and a new village shop!

One lovely teashop - the white house in this photo -is still run by the two guys who started it up shortly before I left the area, so I dropped in for a pot of tea and a toasted teacake. Like me, the "boys" are getting older but were just the same as ever, taking a rise out of the regular customers - the old ladies of the village love it - and chatting away to strangers. Again I caught up with some news of the village - we always said it was like Payton Place (American TV of the 60s/70s perhaps!), and that hasn't changed. All sorts of things have been happening!

Taking a walk round the village afterwards I took in some of the changes, and one place that hadn't changed - the Gift Shop on the "Cobbles" - where I found my friend, Yvonne's sister behind the counter when I called in for an ice cream. The milk for the ice cream comes from Yvonne's husband's herd of Jersey cows, so it was beautiful rich ice cream!

Snap snap snap down Memory Lane with the camera! Hap snappy, as one of my Aussie friends once announced after snapping lots of snow photos! They probably won't mean a lot to you but enjoy them anyway.

The yellow painted shop on the left was Gill's hardware shop when I moved to Reeth. The building to the left of the church was once the blacksmith's but in my day was and I think, still is, a pottery. On the right at the top of the row was the Temperance Hotel, which became teashop and village store for a while. To its left was the doctor's surgery, now a craft shop.
Moving round the Green the flagpole and war memorial stand in this section. My wee cottage was down a lane to the right of the low white house, and where the shop is on the left of the photo was once a garage. Wouldn't you have thought I could have taken the picture from in front of the road sign plumb in the middle?!!! My old home was right behind it!

Closer up, my cottage was actually to the left of the white house, next to the big grey house. Along the wall there's the bench where we used to sit and enjoy the evening sun. There's a plaque there now in memory of my parents, who actually introduced me to Reeth at a very very early age. It was probably my first holiday destination - ever!

Now here's my wee cottage - well, it was, for a while -

and the house down the lane where my parents' old friends lived... the "aunties and uncle" - sisters and a brother who had lived together all their lives, none ever marrying. It was once the police house, with a tiny police office at the front and the much larger cell round at the back. It siill had its old cell door when I knew the house. The old folk have gone now, but a family member still owns the house and has done it up very nicely inside!

Moving round, the post office and shop are in the centre of this pic!
And this is the top end of the village, with the old Burgoyne Hotel dominating! Peeping out from behind the war memorial is the bus shelter where some of the older and retired men of the village tended to gather of an evening to "put the world to right". They were referred to as Reeth Parliament. I imagine they're all gone now but wonder if the next generation have carried it on! That will soon mean my generation! Incredible!
Well, I think that's enough for now. More next time, if you can stand it! Me and my memories!!!
Talk again soon.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Visit to the Lake District

I've come down to visit my friend Colin in North Yorkshire for a few days, arriving on Saturday evening just before sunset. On Sunday we took a run out in the car over the Pennines to the Lake District - a favourite area of mine in the north of England. I love it when you're driving along the A66 and can see the Lakeland mountains in the distance. Then you pass Blencathra with its fingers of ridges radiating from the main ridge - Colin and I were climbing that in 1985 or so, when the famous climber Chris Bonnington strolled past us with his hands in his pockets, and disappeared towards the summit way ahead! - then conical Skiddaw towers ahead, and the road arrives in Keswick, which was hoaching with people - being a fine Sunday, and Mothers' Day, I suppose it was no surprise! We didn't stop but continued down Borrowdale alongside Derwentwater, taking a detour up the narrow, climbing Watendlath road, to look at "that bridge again"!

Ashness Bridge is its real name but it's such a picturesque bridge that photos of it appear on chocolate boxes, tea towels and a fair amount of other Lakeland souvenirs, so that you tend to look at something and recall that it's "that bridge again" in the picture! The view today wasn't as clear, with the mist hanging low over Skiddaw, in the distance behind Derwentwater.

A bit further uphill is Surprise View, where the road runs close to the top of the cliff edge, affording a fabulous view up and across the lake, as well as down to the road and the Borrowdale hotel looking like a dollshouse way below. We had intended to stop at a cafe the rockclimbers use at the hotel but when we had driven back downhill and joined the road again we found it was closed - still winter! It will probably open again for Easter.

However Colin knew of another cafe - at the top of the Honister Pass, a road that must surely have been constructed first for the slate miners up on the mountain. The road over the pass climbs up a 1 in 4 gradient to a high point of nearly 1500 feet, one of the highest passes in the area, though not the steepest! The old slate workings can still be seen, and tours underground are organised for visitors. Not that we did one of those! A mug of tea and a sandwich was all we needed, and after having a quick look at the surface workings we were on our way again. Twisting downhill again we turned off at Buttermere to continue back to Keswick by the Newlands valley, passing the back of one of my very early hill climbs with my dad, Cat Bells. I love some of the Lakeland mountain names - Haystack, High Street, CatBells...... I wonder where they came from.

Back in Keswick it was still busy, and even at the Lakeside there were folk feeding the ducks, swans and geese;

waiting for the Derwentwater motor-launch for a trip around the lake;

taking a walk along the well worn track to the viewpoint of Friars Crag. We opted for the crag, and took the short walk to view the length of the lake towards Borrowdale.......

........and Cat Bells across it.

Then there was the drive back through the town and on down to Ambleside, passing another of my childhood hillclimbs, Helm Crag, above Grasmere village. Climbing again we looked back at the small lake of the same name.

Then we were off over another climbing and twisting wee road to the Langdales, pausing for a few photos of the hills - The Langdale Pikes.....

and the hardy little Lakeland Herdwick sheep with their distinctive grey fleeces.

At last we arrived at Ambleside, like Keswick always bustling with visitors, and made for Hayes Garden Centre - a paradise for those into "homes and gardens". I restrained myself from buying any more plants for my already overplanted wee garden space, but came away with a pair of loppers and a small hedge trimmer! Now I've no excuse to let the leylandii bushes get too high or the buddleia not to get cut back when I get home! I think I'm looking forward to semi retirement next month so I can actually get outside and do a few of the jobs I can't get round to doing just now.

After a cuppie in the busy cafe we were off again, up and over the Kirkstone Pass this time heading for Ullswater and the A66 back home again.

This is another of the area's high passes, with the old inn for weary travellers at the top!

Do you remember last year I lost three people close to me in the space of a few weeks? One was John, who died of a heart attack at the age of 60, and whose funeral I couldn't attend because I was attending my cousin Leslie's funeral the same day. I was keen to see where John was buried so we detoured to Arkengarthdale, and the Methodist church cemetery, where I said goodbye to my good friend.

Being near teatime we decided to call in at the CB Inn where I worked about 28 years ago. The current owners have done a lot of work to it over the years since then, restoring the old and extending in a very sympathetic traditional way - well you have to in the National Park! I doubt if you'd get permission to do anything very avant garde! It all looks very nice, inside and out. Our meal was wonderful, and I met some old friends in the bar. I had to laugh to realise that the older folk were the ones I knew and the youngsters were kids I remember from the primary school. When I worked there WE were the youngsters!

And so ended a lovely day. It was dark when we left t'CB (as they'd say down here) for Colin's again to be welcomed home by Esme the cat, waiting for something to eat!

Talk again soon.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

For Finlay

Well, it has taken me long enough to get round to doing a scrapbook layout of any sort, but Mary, my scrapbooking friend made a lovely little baby boy frame for me when she heard about Finlay, so I was inspired! I made a picture for his sister when she was new-born so this one is for Finlay!

Talk again soon.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


Here's my latest little cousin, Finlay, with his big sister, at home, in Sutherland, where he was born on Friday 13th!

I like commas! A piece of writing quite often needs commas, though it's not fashionable to use them these days. I guess I could do without some of the ones in the first paragraph though, and it would still make sense, but I'm leaving them in! I like commas!

Talk again soon - or should that be Talk again, soon.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Another one!

And today came the news that my cousins in Sutherland had a little boy yesterday too! No photos yet! He's called Finlay! I must get up for a visit soon too! Haven't been up there for a while! Congratulations to you two! I wonder how Nuala likes having a wee brother!!!
I'm off to Edinburgh today to look at samples of granite! It seems my fireplace idea is perfectly feasible, and the plinth the stove will stand on will be granite - but what colour? That's what I intend finding out today! It strikes me I may not have mentioned the alterations I am planning here! I intend swapping over the living room and my bedroom!

Both overlook the river, but there's a balcony outside my bedroom window - accessible from the living room - and I thought that if it would be nicer to have the living room overlooking the balcony with French doors instead of the existing window.

<<<From this, as it is now.....

.........to this - I played with my computer>>

So I plan on swapping over the two rooms.

As well as getting the new doors, the living room gas stove can be moved from the one room to the other, to the corner of the room, to the left of the window as you are looking at it, with the flue vented through the roof, and hey presto I have a new living room! I'm quite excited about it all!

My new bedroom will then get a built in walk-in cupboard, and a utility cupboard will be accessed from the hall! I do wish I had had the chance to study architecture when I was young. Wasn't an option when I was growing up, but I think I've played with the arrangement of every house I've lived in - for the last 28 years anyway, and I even designed a house that I could have had built instead of moving here! It's really only the last house I had in Peebles, and the little self-catering flat I had for a while, that have actually had the work done, and now I'm starting all over again with this one!


Well, I went to Edinburgh and had a lovely day - but the granite showroom was closed! The ad had said "Open 6 days" so I assumed it would be Monday to Saturday! I can't see it being open on Sundays so it maybe shuts at lunchtime on Saturdays! Oh well, just have to make another visit!

However, Linda and I went for lunch at the famous inn in the old fishing village of Newhaven, the Peacock, which was first opened in 1767 by a Thomas Peacock, vintner in Newhaven. The story is on the website.
The north-facing entrance in my photo is a new one. Originally it was at the other side of the building, facing Newhaven High Street, which seems logical! It would have served many generations of fishermen as a drinking place, and visitors to the village who stayed there.

In 1959 the inn was derelict and was taken over by Peter Carnie - by his name he has to be a local man - who I expect was responsible for the present nautical theme, and the peacock decoration.

The small restaurant where we ate lunch was like the rear cabin of an old sailing ship, and from where I sat I could see into the next room to the Peacock fireplace. Even the carpet had peacocks on it - specially woven for the inn, I should think.

The menu is extensive and includes a lot of "old fashioned" choices! Up till about 40 years ago, for a starter you generally had the choice of soup or fruit juice, and maybe egg mayonnaise, but where today will you be offered a fruit juice starter? Well, at the Peacock you will, alongside the egg mayonnaise, the soup and several more current favourites! Haddock and chips (fries) have always been a favourite and are a speciality at the Peacock. Then Baked Alaska features among the present desserts. That was a real favourite when we were kids, but you rarely come across it these days. (It's what I had today though!)

After lunch and the discovery that the granite showroom was closed,we decided to drop briefly into the nearby mill shop and look at what they had for sale. I actually found three shirt tops I rather liked, which for me is a miracle! I can never find stuff I like, so over the years have developed a real hatred of clothes shopping. However, I came out with the three tops, because Linda persuaded me to go and try them on, and lo and behold, all three fitted and even looked pretty good. So, on to another shop - just to look - where this time I found a pair of trousers and a top I liked. Linda also found some clothes to buy, and we laughed when she reminded me that although we have known each other since we were three or four years old we have never ever done the girly thing of shopping for clothes together before! She likes clothes shopping as much as I do, so neither of us does it very often. When each of us finds something we like we tend to buy two or three the same but in different colours and almost wear them out rather than go shopping again. I think we both find it's better to go looking with no intentions of buying, so if we find something it's a bonus!
Well, I think I'm kitted out for the summer now! My last year's t-shirts (same style, different colours) that I wear constantly all year round are still fine, and the trousers I've had for a couple of years are OK too!
So, that was today's little escapade! Maybe I'll get up to the granite showroom sometime this week to pick a colour I like for the stove's plinth!
Talk again soon!

Friday, 13 March 2009

A new baby!

Well, I am so thrilled! I got the news today that my dear friend and almost cousin, Eunice, in NZ, has just got a new grandson.......

...........and I have photos!

Here's the lad himself - weighed in at 8 and 1/2 pounds he did! He's so cute! What a lovely photo!

His big brothers and sister got their pic taken with him too.

(You might remember Rachel from her naughty kitten dance some time ago, when I showed her in her kitten costume.)

Anyway, here's hoping I can get back over there before long, to bring them my love in person! They are such a wonderful family, Eunice and Keith, their grown up kids, and the little grandkids.

Many congratulations and lots of love to Rosemary and Geoff (Mum and Dad), and lots of love to grandparents, uncles, and brothers and sister! xxx

Talk again soon!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


A quick few words from me! I am leaving it all to Alan today instead. Would you read Alan's World Travels blog.

I am planning on doing some fundraising for the school and would be so happy if you could help in any way you can.
Some of the women at NMV

Obviously Alan is almost for the off just now so contact me if you'd like to contribute to the fund. I can email you a couple of attachments that Alan sent me too.

Talk again soon.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

An expensive day out

Tried to put in another blog-piece last night but blogspot wasn't playing! Seems to be OK again now so here I go!

I went to Edinburgh on Saturday; took the car in for repair and left it till later in the day when I was to collect it. In the meantime Linda and I decided to try a new pub restaurant for lunch. Nice looking place! Looks like an old farmhouse with outbuildings, but is in fact a new build.

Inside, lots of old reclaimed beams and timber made the place look olde worlde, and the old, also reclaimed, brick fireplaces added to that feel.

The dark wood tables and chairs of different styles gave the place quite an appealing atmosphere, especially as the fire was real and ON!

We ordered our food, and waited. Well, I have to say neither of us was impressed! Often we tend to go for the same choices, but on Saturday we chose different starters and different main courses. Let's just say we ate them because we were hungry! We decided against puddings/desserts/sweets, even cups of coffee, and later had tea and cake in the nearby garden centre cafe, which was much nicer.

This is a huge garden centre with a large pet section. We took a walk to see what was in the various runs and cages:-

firstly birds.....

If you don't like wee beasties, close your eyes and scroll on down - NOW

I've just remembered some other pet pics I took at another pet store that I haven't shown you so here they are too:-

This is my favourite pic..........

Those of you who know me, know how much I love small animals. I think the rest of you know that now too!
Anyway getting back to Saturday, I picked up the car later in the afternoon. £372 it cost me! 372!!!!! The whole exhaust system had to be replaced and the catalytic converter alone cost a couple of hundred! Oh well! It had to be done, and as pay day came along recently, at least there was money in my account! So it was a quieter drive home that night, and I nearly £400 the poorer!
Talk again soon.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Spring is springing!

Well, it does seem like Spring is getting here! The sun is shining. The sky is blue. There are a few lambs in a field not too far away, and the trees and bushes are showing signs of green! Of course the crocuses, snowdrops and aconites are looking great - and I must go and look in one particular garden to see if my favourite of the early flowers is blooming yet!
Unlike the other early flowers that are mainly white or yellow, the hepatica is pale blue, a very delicate colour for a very delicate looking flower. There are also pink ones and white ones, but I love the blue! We had them growing in our garden when I was just a wee tot, and was told in years to come that it was the first flower name I knew, though I used to call it "hy-patica"! I really must buy some for my present garden!
I saw one in a catalogue, called Pyrenean Marbles that looks like an even paler blue, so I think I'll go for the blue and that one - and maybe also a pure white!

Tomorrow I have to take my car to get the exhaust looked at! I'm not even sure it's just a hole in it as it is roaring like the silencer has gone! It's quite an embarrassment! Anyway, I've arranged to meet Linda for lunch so I'll drive up to Edinburgh, meet her, then head for the garage with her following on in the Jimny. We'll go and lunch and I can fetch the car again in the afternoon.

Oh the joys of running a car! I actually don't use it that much these days - no longer having cousin Moira away up north in Sutherland to visit for long weekends, or elderly rellies in Fife to keep a regular eye on - but I would miss it like hell if I was to be without it! Next month I qualify for my free bus pass, so could go anywhere in Scotland when I wanted, but it's not the same! It's freedom to go where and when you want, and I do like to drive myself! So until I am too decrepit to take to the roads or too forgetful to remember where it is parked - no parking space with this flat - I'll keep Smudge, my Peugeot Quiksilver. I have a few days holiday coming up so maybe I'll take him on a visit to Yorkshire. Haven't been back to the Dales in a while! More of that idea anon! It's time to head for work now!

Talk again soon.