Thursday, 25 August 2016

I'm back!

Hello, I am back at last from my unintentional break from Blogland. I am not sure what happened but for some reason I completely lost my blogging mojo. I fully intended to catch up with everything over the Summer holiday but it didn't happen and here we are almost at the end of the holiday. I will endeavour to make amends and get back to more regular blogging and catching up with all of your blogs.

So what have I been up to during the Summer? My activities fit neatly into three  categories - holiday, crochet and a day out. There have obviously been other bits in between but that is mainly boring stuff including some days working at school, shopping etc. This post will be about my holiday and I will be back very soon with posts about my crocheting activities and our day out.

We enjoyed a wonderful fortnight in East Devon returning to Brackens, the cottage we have stayed in before. I guess we are creatures of habit and once we find somewhere we enjoy we tend to return. There are many other places we would like to go but for some reason Brackens keeps drawing us back. I cannot believe how quickly the fortnight disappeared, we enjoyed some of our favourite locations and discovered some places new to us. I will show you a few collages of the many photos I took in this beautiful and quiet part of Devon. We were really lucky with the weather only having one day of fairly continuous rain and managed to fit in lots of walking.


This first collage is of the cottage we stay in. We love it here as it is so quiet and peaceful and has a beautiful garden which we enjoy relaxing in when we are not out and about.

Budleigh Salterton

The closest location to Brackens is Budleigh Salterton. This place is like something from back in the 1950's, totally unspoilt with a huge pebble beach with the Otter estuary behind. We have seen the sea here in all its moods, from the tranquil to the really rough - it is always beautiful though.

I have already mentioned that we spent a lot of our time walking, on the first Sunday we decided to walk from Brackens to East Budleigh. We have done part of the walk before but have never walked there from Brackens. We couldn't have had a more glorious day and we thoroughly enjoyed the walk and the stunning scenery. I will never tire of the view looking from the top of the hill to East Budleigh and the coast. I was so proud of myself as before when we have attempted this hill I have been puffing and panting whilst climbing to the top. This time I managed without getting out of breath at all - the power of Slimming World and losing over five stone! We enjoyed a lovely roast lunch at the Sir Walter Raleigh before re-tracing our steps back to Brackens.

Exmouth and Orcombe Point

We visited Exmouth on a few occasions. We undertook a walk to Orcombe Point, past the geo-needle and on to Sandy Bay. Again, we had done part of this walk in the past but it was good to walk on further than we have been before. We also caught the ferry from Exmouth over to the other side of the Exe Estuary to Starcross on a couple of occasions and used it as a starting point to walk up the Exe Estuary. The sunsets over the Exe Estuary are something else, part of the joy of being in this part of the world is enjoying the BIG skies and watching the sun go down was wonderful.


 A trip to Beer with fish and chips on the beach is a must when we are in this part of the world. Even my DH who is not a fan of walking up steep slopes which you cannot avoid in Beer loves it here and was proud of himself for making it to the top of the cliff. I seldom eat fish and chips these days but this is one treat I had been looking forward to, Ducky's, the beach cafe serve the best fish and chips ever. 

Exe Estuary

We visited various parts of the Exe Estuary. There is now a cycle/walk way all around the Exe which makes for ideal walking conditions (as long as you keep alert and listen out for the bikes which whizz past you on occasions). DH and I have come to the conclusion that there are three types of cyclist that use this cycle way - (a) the serious cyclist who is only interested in getting from a to b in the quickest time possible and not really interested in the surroundings, (b) the tourists and holiday makers, who hire or bring bikes with them and pootle along enjoying the scenery and (c) the locals who use it to commute or cycle into town - we had fun trying to guess which category they all fitted into! On our last day we decided to challenge ourselves to do a longer walk than usual so we caught the train from Exmouth to Topsham and walked back along the estuary - we walked about eight miles in total as we took some detours around Topsham which probably doesn't sound a lot to some people but for us these days it was quite an achievement. 

Starcross and Cockwood

The villages of Starcross and Cockwood are on the other side of the Exe, we have driven through these places before and bypassed them on the train but have never actually spent any time there so we decided we would rectify that. It is quite a quick journey to make by catching the ferry from Exmouth. On the first occasion we walked from Starcross to Cockwood and around Cofton Hill with a superb lunch in the Anchor which is said to be haunted before walking back to Starcross. We returned on another day as there were two steam train excursions and DH wanted to photograph the trains at Cockwood Harbour. What a good excuse to enjoy another lunch in the Anchor.

 Sidmouth is a town we usually pay a visit to when we are in East Devon. A lovely regency town with lots of interesting and unique shops. We always enjoy a visit to the Connaught Gardens up on top of the cliffs above Jacob's Ladder, these gardens are stunning and the tea room there serves wonderful food. If you go there make sure you bring your appetite with you, the slices of cake are huge!

Flora and fauna

Lots of interesting flowers, insects and animals were seen - some more exotic than others! We visited the Otter and Butterfly Farm at Buckfastleigh, I wasn't terribly successful in taking some of the exotic butterflies but managed to capture a few. The otters were just adorable and I would like to make a return visit one day to try and get some more photographs. However, even after seeing the exotics we still enjoyed sitting in the garden watching the native species and capturing various flora when we were out and about.


To round off my holiday photos I thought I would show you some of the quirky sights that we came across. We couldn't believe the pipework on the side of the cottage - obviously done by someone with a sense of humour and too much time on their hands! There was lot of pebble art on Budleigh beach but I think it is the first time I have seen someone create a bus. The washing hung out on the little beach at Lympstone always makes me smile, it was certainly a blowy day and I am sure they have to peg it on firmly to stop it blowing away down the estuary. Finally as we were walking through the village of Exton one day we came across this bronze gorilla, not really what you expect to see in a garden, he was huge.

This has turned into quite a long post so thank you if you have stuck with it to the end. See you again soon.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Sorry - I have been AWOL

Many apologies to all my followers - I have been AWOL for a little while and have been very lax about replying to your blogs as well. Life has been very busy just recently, I am not sure why but time has been getting away from me and I am falling behind with everything. However, now school has broken up for the holidays I hope to get back on track shortly. I have been busy crocheting my charity blankets plus the Last Dance On The Beach crochet CAL (I will do a blog post about these sometime in August). If you are still around and following me I thank you for your patience and I will leave you with a few photos from a walk we undertook yesterday, some views of my garden plus my latest crochet project. 

Crochet jellyfish - made for a special little girl to match her pink bedroom

Just a quick post but at least now you know I haven't disappeared completely, hope to be back very soon. Thank you for visiting.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Five On Friday

A late Five on Friday post here, I don't normally work on a Friday but it is a busy time of the year in school so have been putting in some extra hours hence posting late in the day. Once again I am joining with Amy at Love Made My Home to bring you my Five this week. 

1.  Last weekend we went to Long Eaton to my friend Colly's house for our monthly craft get-together, this is always a fun weekend when like minded crafting friends meet to enjoy our crochet and have a good laugh. Here are some photos of us all.

Sarah and Tammy

Sarah, Me, Tammy and Colly


2. While I was at the get-together I put the finishing touches into another SIBOL charity blanket, I am really pleased with how this one turned out.

3.  Colly has the most beautiful garden, I always think of it as a little bit of heaven of earth, here are a few pictures.

I just love the expression on the face of this garden ornament, Colly has called him 'Grunt'

I loved this beautiful flower, not sure what it is called - does anyone know?

4.  We stayed overnight at Colly's and as we were enjoying a leisurely breakfast we were watching this cheeky squirrel attempting to work out how to get the food from this feeder which was only installed the day before after the squirrel chewed a large hole through the plastic of the old one.

I wonder if he has found a way yet?

5.  Yet more crochet - I made these three little cardigans for my boss and his wife who have recently had a baby girl. They made a change from crocheting blankets and I have now been asked to make some for a baby boy so will have to fit them in between all the blankets I am making.

 I have also made some progress on my next SIBOL blanket

Well that is all for this week, I am hoping to fit some walking in next week, the weather has been so awful or I have been working on the days when it hasn't rained so haven't been able to get out and about as much as usual.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. I am going to attempt to catch up on my blog reading and replying this weekend. Do go and visit Amy's blog to find links to more Five On Friday posts.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Five On Friday - garden pics

I am sorry I am late posting today, I spent most of the morning in the Vodafone shop in town getting my new phone sorted and time has just run away with me this afternoon so this is a very quick post this week. 

I am once again joining with Amy from Love Made My Home to bring you my five this week and I thought I would show you five photos of how my garden is progressing. 

As regular readers will know the garden underwent a major refurbishment during the Winter to turn what was an unsightly jungle with horrible meadow grass into something that was more easy to manage. I am very new to gardening but am pleased with the progress the plants I have purchased, most of which are now growing in pots. I am attempting to grow plants that are bee and butterfly friendly - I haven't seen many butterflies yet but the bees certainly seem to appreciate my efforts!

I will keep you updated with my garden as it progresses, especially the flowers that I am attempting to grow from seed which I hope will start flowering before too long. Meanwhile I am trying to keep away from the Garden Centre as I am finding buying plants quite addictive and have spent far too much money on plants and pots during the last couple of months.

I will try and visit your blogs and leave a reply over the weekend, not sure where time is going at the moment and I know I am behind with visiting and replying at the moment - please forgive me, I do hope to catch up very soon. In the meantime pop along to Amy's blog to find links to more Five On Friday posts.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Five On Friday - Weathervanes

Where has this week gone? Cannot believe Friday is here already and therefore that means it is time to link with Amy at Love Made My Home for another Five On Friday post.

I have decided this week to show you something a little different from my usual crochet/walks/weight type posts. I haven't done anything very exciting this week so am delving into my weathervane photos - yes that is right, sad I know, but since we have been out and about walking more I have been amazed by the number of different weathervanes we have seen - so I have decided that every so often I would show you some on my 'Five' posts.

For centuries weathervanes have kept people in touch with the elements, signalling shifts in the wind which bring changes to the weather. For more information please follow this link.

Traditional weathervanes often feature a cockerel. This one can be found on an outbuilding in Longparish, Hampshire

This ship fittingly is to be found adjacent to the sea at Minehead, Somerset

Being a bird of prey lover I just love this red kite vane at Hannington, Hampshire

This sheep sits atop an outbuilding in Kingsclere, Hampshire

This quite intricate dragon design sits atop the museum in Newbury, Berkshire

It is worth looking up when you are out and about, you never know what you are going to see!

Please go and visit Amy to find links to more Five On Friday posts.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Five On Friday

I am, once again, linking with Amy at Love Made My Home to bring you my Five On Friday post.

It has been half term this week but unfortunately the weather has been more like February than end of May/beginning of June. Apart from a day out on Saturday before the weather turned decidedly chilly I haven't really been anywhere apart from a trip into town (more of that later) so have been busy crocheting - I really have the bug at the moment and have far too many ideas in my head that I want to transfer to my hook!

Anyway, here I go with my five this week:-

On Saturday we motored to Crofton on the Kennet and Avon Canal, the main reason was to see Flying Scotsman again, but this time at speed rather than stationary as it had been in Salisbury the week before. I tagged along as well as I enjoy walking along the canal and it was a good opportunity to get some steps in. When we arrived we saw that Crofton pumping station was in operation and as we had never been inside before we decided to add that to the day's activities. I cannot begin to understand all the technicalities of what the beam engines do but basically the pumping station was used to raise the water by steam up to the summit of the canal at nearby Bruce tunnel to maintain the water in the canal after boats have passed through the locks. Since 1959 this all happens by electricity apart from the occasional break down where the steam engines come into operation again. However they still hold occasional open days at Crofton where they demonstrate how the beam engines work.

We took a footpath from the canal past Crofton Water through the meadows up to the village of Wilton. There was a profusion of wild flowers growing in the meadows, it certainly seems to be a bumper year for flowers everywhere which is so lovely to see.

Red Campion

Ox-eye Daisies

complete with insects!!!

White lilac

Vetch plus ants!!!

Besides the above there were masses of cow parsley, buttercups and speedwells. We thoroughly enjoyed this walk and I am sure we will be repeating it one day very soon

I mentioned above that it has been a busy crochet week and I was pleased to complete another charity blanket, this time a ripple blanket. I love making these, it is something I can do without really thinking about it and ideal to pick up when I have been watching the tennis at Roland Garros (when it hasn't been rained off) and makes a change from projects where I have to concentrate a bit more.

This was a interlocking colour sequence blanket and is complete with a butterfly which is the symbol of the Sunshine International Blankets of Love. I am tempted to start another one of these but really must finish some other projects first.

Yet another Sunshine blanket has been in production this week, I only have three more squares to complete before the joining and edging can begin. Hopefully I will be back with another completed blanket to show you soon.

And yes, I have already started another blanket, what am I like! This one is a V-stitch blanket, I haven't made one of these before but again, it is one that I can do while watching TV (well that is my excuse for starting this one before finishing the previous one).

I still have to work my squares for the Last Dance On The Beach CAL this week, hopefully will get to those over the weekend.

I mentioned above having to make a trip into town - I suddenly realised early on Wednesday morning that my wedding and eternity rings were missing from my finger. They have been loose for sometime (a downside to losing weight) and I really should have done something about it before now but hate not wearing them. Anyway, after a three hour search (missed crochet time) turning out the freezer, kitchen bin, wool boxes and just about everything else I did eventually find them thank goodness. Having found them I decided to take the action I should have done months ago and they are now safely in the jewellers being resized (down three whole sizes) and I have also taken the opportunity to get my engagement ring repaired, I haven't worn that for ages as I lost a stone out of it a few years back. Hopefully I will get them back in a couple of weeks time.

Well that is it for this week, please do go and visit Amy's blog where you can link to other 'Five' posts. Have a great weekend.