Blog Archive

Summer in the City

I don't know if I ever told you that, despite living in the beautiful Ribble Valley in the NW of England, I am originally a Londoner, through and through.  I was born and raised there, worked and lived there, until I emigrated to Canada when I was 25.  From there we went to France and then the USA, until we returned to England 16 years ago.  I have definitely made my home here, but there is something about my home town that draws me there every few weeks or in the most recent case, months (far too long!)

POH says I walk differently in London and he's probably right!  As soon as the train draws in to Euston, I get that little prickle of excitement and feeling of being 'home' (yes, I know that's odd, having said the Ribble Valley is home!)  I'm off down that platform, and queuing for my place on the escalator (Tip: NEVER try to stand on the left on a London escalator!)

We travelled down on Saturday morning, chiefly for my dear friends' wedding anniversary party, but we also met up with my daughter and her partner in London on Saturday afternoon. That was so lovely and I always find it hard to tear myself away from my darling daughter.  It never gets any easier.

The party was fun! Lovely to spend the evening with my friend and her family.  

We had Sunday 'at leisure', as the tour guides say, so went to one of our favourite places, the Wallace Collection.  This is a fabulous 'gentleman's residence', a short hop from the hustle and bustle of Bond Street station.  The house and collection were originally owned by Sir Richard Wallace, and when his widow died in 1897 she gifted the entire collection, including the house, to the nation.  

We love it because you can clearly see how it would have been as a private house, and the rooms are cool, spacious and so beautifully decorated.  Each  room is full of works of art, from paintings to sculptures, armour  to furniture.  It is never as busy as the more famous London galleries and collections and so very easy to see items up close.  It is free to enter as well, and donations are welcome.

The Wallace Collection is home to the 'Laughing Cavalier'.  His eyes really do follow you around the room!

There is a also a beautiful dining area in what was originally the quadrangle garden, and it is a lovely place to sit and 'take tea', or something more substantial.

I then deposited POH in a nice pub to watch the England game, and I took myself to John Lewis on Oxford Street.  I had a lovely browse, bought a length of Rose and Hubble fabric for a dress, and then armed with a pot of tea and a slice of cake, made myself comfortable in the restaurant.  I even did some sock knittiing!  Another customer came up to me and told me how clever that looked, so I had to tell her about self-patterning yarn (and Winwick Mum's excellent Sockalong!)

After that we walked around Kensington Gardens, which was beautiful, as ever, but very hot!  We saw the famous escapee parakeets, which have made themselves very much at home.  We watched, fascinated, as one took his time happily devouring an apple!

The Serpentine

Peter Pan's statue

Dinner followed, in an Italian restaurant, then it was back to the blissfully air conditioned hotel for a restful evening and a gin and tonic in the comfort of our room.

We returned home yesterday, and seem to brought the heat with us, as it is currently 32 degrees, which is outrageous for the North of England!

Off to make dinner now, which will be home grown salad, as it's far to hot to put the oven on!

Bye for now,

Donna x 

Summer Days - Part 1

There's something about the summer that makes normal life fly out of the window on occasion, maybe because in these Great British Isles we never know how many Proper Summer Days we will get every year!

This year we have been incredibly lucky and each day has dawned one gloriously sunny day after another.  POH and I have tried to make the most of every sparkling minute and taken up residence on the garden furniture as often as possible, punctuated by trips to some of our favourite National Trust properties.

On Sunday we went to Quarry Bank and took a picnic.  Daisy loves it there as there are plenty of places where she can run free.  POH and I also love the formal gardens (with Daisy on the lead!), and they were particularly beautiful on Sunday.

We also went to Earlham's community cafe and shop, run by volunteers, for a pot of tea and an ice cream.  Such a lovely friendly place and we whiled away some time very pleasantly.  I took part, albeit a day late, in National Knitting Outdoors day too.

We also try and breakfast outdoors whenever we can, and it is the most perfect start to the day.  There is a stillness about the village and we have the birds for company.  The light is perfect, the air warm, but not too hot, and we plan our day over lots of tea.  

Today has been mostly laundry, gardening and a visit to the vets, but I am now indulging in a little al fresco knitting, making a pair of socks for POH, in King Cole, Zig Zag, in the colour 'Michigan'.  My trusty radio is my company and a jug of water keeps me hydrated.  I can't sit in the sun at all - probably too fair - but we have a giant parasol which gives me plenty of shade.

I finished a pair of socks for DD last week, and can't wait to give them to her.  These were the ones knitted in Rico Superba Vulcano.  I just love the colours!  DD picked the yarn herself.  I used Winwick Mum's excellent pattern from her 'Sockalong'.  Still the only sock pattern I have knitted, but it is just so easy to follow!  Truly, I am still amazed I can knit socks, and it's all thanks to Winwick Mum. 

I won't have to wait too long to see them on DD's feet, as she is home for a visit this weekend.  I can't wait to see her!  

I think it may well be time for a pot of tea...  Ah, Summer Living... Brilliant!

Donna x 

A walk with Daisy

We are fortunate enough to live in a semi rural village, with some lovely walks right on the doorstep.

Daisy understands the word 'field', and gets very excited if that's where we are headed!  'Field' is actually several joined together, and we can take different directions each time.

First of all though there's the gate.  Not a problem for Daisy...

Many a German Shepherd has looked on enviously as Daisy marches into the field without delay!

She runs around, sniffing here and scrabbling there.  Having the occasional roll in old sheep or rabbit poo (usually when she's just had a bath and is all sweetness and whiteness).  We avoided this delight today and instead she ran around for a while.

We then went to say hello to a couple of curious lambs, safely on the other side of a wire fence.  

Then hello to a horse, but he was busy...

Stiles are not a problem either for a Daisy; she just goes under them!  

Despite walking the fields pretty much every day, there is always something new to see.  That's one of the joys of dog walking - even if I'm tired or want to do other things, Daisy needs a walk and so off we go.  Once outside I am invariably glad to be out in the fresh air, bathed in nature.

Then completely refreshed and rejuvenated, it's time to wander home to make dinner. Back under the gate...

...and home we go.

Donna x