Monday, 30 November 2015


Well here we are at the last day of November - I am not sure where this month has gone, it seems to have whizzed by so quickly and I still haven't done anything about getting ready for Christmas.

When I thought about blogging this morning I didn't think we had done much during November to blog about but when I looked through my November photos I realised there has been quite a bit going on.

As you know I have been going to Slimming World since the end of March this year and much to my surprise I was nominated for the Miss Slinky award at my group at the beginning of the month. I don't like speaking in front of people so I did umm and ahhh as to whether I should do it but decided to have a go. The evening started off well as it was my first weigh-in since my half term holiday and I lost an amazing 4.5 lbs bringing my total weight loss to 3 stone 9.5 lbs and gaining my 3.5 stone award. All the walking we achieved when we were away must have worked miracles. It was then time for the Miss Slinky part of the evening, there were four of us up for the award and we all had to give a little speech about our SW journey and why we were doing it and to my amazement (as I still have a lot of weight to lose) I won and was awarded Miss Slinky 2015. Here I am together with Mick, another member, who won the Mr Sleek award.

Unfortunately I have struggled for the rest of the month to lose more weight and maintained for a couple of weeks but hopefully after losing 2 lbs last week I am back on track. I really want to achieve 4 stone by Christmas.

We haven't managed too many walks this month for various reasons, mostly because of the horrible wet, windy, grey days we seem to have had for most of the month but we did achieve another lovely walk around St. Mary Bourne. Here are a few random photos I took that day, you can see that it was quite a grey day but it was good to get out and enjoy the countryside.

We have been trapped at home since the middle of the month as we had contractors in refurbishing our back garden. This was a long overdue project. We have found it increasingly difficult to manage the garden and to my shame it has been neglected for a couple of years now with very little being done to it so we decided to rip up the horrible grass (there was no way you could have ever called it a lawn) and have a patio and decking put in its place. Unfortunately the poor contractors struggled as the weather was not on their side and it is still not complete. You can just imagine the mud and mess as it started to rain heavily on day 2 and unfortunately as we have no back access they had to bring everything through the house to the skip on the front drive. They still have to come back and finish pointing in all the paving and lay a membrane and shingle/pebbles around the border but it has been too wet for them to do it. Hopefully we will have some dry days this week so they can return and finish the job and then I get on with the exciting task of buying pots and plants and patio furniture so we can enjoy the garden next year. 

Here are the before, during and now pictures, when it is all finished and I have it all planted up I will show you the end result but that could be after Christmas and into the New Year at the rate we are going.

All of this took us up to this last weekend and what an enjoyable weekend we had. On Saturday I hosted our little craft group that meet up at the end of each month, we usually go to Long Eaton to Colly's house but once a year they all come south and spend a day at my house and then in December we head to Coates, near Peterborough and spend a day at Tammy's house. We had a fun day and a little crafting was done between all the eating, drinking and laughing!

I love these days when we all get together and are inspired by what everyone is making. I chose to work on my Autumn Leaves corner to corner throw, I am over the half way point now and it will be good to start the decreasing soon and have shorter rows to crochet.

And finally, to round off the weekend, we were invited to my cousin's house yesterday to join in the celebrations for my Uncle's 91st birthday. My Uncle is incredible, he still walks miles and manages his allotment, I can only hope if I get to his age I will be half as fit as he is. It was so good to get together with family and my cousin and her husband produced a wonderful lunch and a good day was had by all.

We have another big birthday celebration to look forward to at the end of December, my Mum (pictured above with her brother-in-law) will be ninety on Boxing Day so another get-together with family and friends is planned. I am sure I will be showing you photos from that occasion after Christmas.

Well, this post has turned out to be rather long (especially as I didn't think we had been up to much during November). I am planning to catch up on my blog reading and commenting soon and hope it won't be too long before I am back with another blog post.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Somerset Break Part Two

Wednesday: Wow! What a day, lovely weather and spectacular scenery. We drove to Lynmouth via the Porlock toll road (something we haven't done before - we usually go straight up the 1:4 Porlock Hill). 

On arrival in Lynmouth we walked via the harbour to the cliff railway which takes you up to Lynton.

The Rhenish Tower (the only place that was rebuilt after the 1952 floods)

The cliff railway is a water-powered funicular joining the twin towns of Lynmouth an Lynton

The view from the top

The beautiful Lynmouth coastline looking east 

The plan was to walk the cliff path from Lynton to the Valley of the Rocks. The path turned out to be a very narrow vertiginous path with a steep drop to the sea which my DH didn't like at all! Certainly not a path to follow if you suffer from vertigo! However, we did make it to the Valley of the Rocks (we drove through this area last year but didn't have time to stop on that occasion so vowed we would return this year). The Valley of the Rocks is a dry valley that runs parallel to the coast

The narrow path leading into the Valley of the Rocks

Safely off the narrow cliff path we followed the path through the rocks down to the road

Our first sight of the feral goats that live in this area

The goats in their natural habitat

The craggy tor of Rugged Jack

The towering mass of Castle Rock

A few intrepid climbers climbing Rugged Jack

This must be the most scenic cricket ground in the country

A view over the cricket ground with Rugged Jack in the background

We continued walking down the road until we reached a cafe where we sat outside in the sunshine and enjoyed some lovely sandwiches before exploring the area around Castle Rock. I did venture onto the cliff path to take some more photos while DH sat safely on a seat and took in the spectacular scenery.

This person is braver than I am, didn't mind the cliff path but I wasn't up for climbing up there!

This place really takes your breath away, we were both blown away by the stunning beauty and atmosphere of this place.

We decided to walk back to Lynton via the road, a less scenic walk, but DH understandably did not want to venture onto the cliff path again.

A final look back to Castle Rock 

On arriving back in Lynmouth we had a quick look around the shops before driving to Watersmeet, another place with stunning scenery. We have been here many times but it keeps drawing us back. 

The old fishing lodge which is now a National Trust shop and cafe

As usual the chaffinches joined us for afternoon tea!

On walking back up the steep path out of the ravine we drove onto the moor on our way back to Blue Anchor where we met some Devonshire Red cattle and some Exmoor ponies. We usually see Highland Cattle in this spot but they were keeping out of sight today.

There are Exmoor ponies in this shot but they are hard to pick out in this photograph taken late afternoon

Thursday: Woke up to a wet start to the day. The rain eased off as we ate breakfast although it remained dull and very mild for the rest of the day. Another morning walk for me down to the beach while DH tackled the washing up!

We then decided to visit Cleeve Abbey at Washford. We have driven by here so many times but have never stopped before. I am not sure why because it turned out to be a fascinating place to visit. Cleeve Abbey is a medieval monastery founded in the late twelfth century as a house for monks of the Cistercian order. The abbey church was destroyed by Henry VIII during the dissolution in 1536 but the cloister buildings, the gatehouse, the 15th century refectory and the monks living quarters have survived remarkably intact. 

A 13th century medieval tiled pavement is in the process of having a roof built over it and will be open to the public next year, something we want to go back and view.

After our visit to this tranquil haven of peace we motored just up the road for our second meal of the holiday at the White Horse.

It was then time to drive to Minehead for a bit of retail therapy and a quick visit to the beach ...

... before returning to the Garden Lodge to relax and continue with my Autumn corner to corner throw.

Friday: Our last full day and we made it Dunster day. Firstly to look around the village with its ancient yarn market and castle ...

... and then onto Nutcombe Bottom where we enjoyed a picnic before embarking on the Tall Trees Trail which contains the tallest tree in England.

The tallest tree in England

DH stood at the bottom of the tree, gives you some idea of the scale

From here we made our way to Dunster Beach and went for a walk around The Hawn (a landlocked freshwater lake) before taking a walk on the beach. The chalets on this beach were built back in the 1920's between the sea and the Hawn and at the time cost £65 (or £75 with a verandah), now they cost nearly 2000 times as much!

Finally yet another meal at the White Horse, oh my goodness the food there was so good. Dreading my next weigh-in at Slimming World!

We so enjoyed our week away in this lovely part of the country. We have been to this area so many times and never tire of it and remarkably after all these years we are still finding new places to explore.

I hope you have enjoyed my Somerset postings (although Lynmouth/Lynton/Valley of the Rocks/Watersmeet are actually across the border in Devon) and I haven't bored you with so many photos - I find it really difficult narrowing down my selection of photos!