Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Fruits of Autumn

Some of the lovely hips, hawes, sloes, brambles and berries we saw on our walk this morning

Aren't they all such wonderful, rich and glossy colours?

We went on one of our favourite walks this morning at Consall Nature Park.  We follow the white route through the woods as it climbs up and up through the trees

 It was quite cool this morning but it wasn't long before the sun began to filter through the trees

 My knees were beginning to protest as we climbed  higher and higher to find our favourite seat

 Which has the most spectacular view across the valley

After a short rest and a cup of coffee from the flask it was times to descend via the purple route down over the river and railway line to the canal.

 As we walked along the canal the steam train from the Churnet Valley railway passed us by

 After a further walk up a country lane we re-joined the white route and wandered past the fishing lakes
 on our way back to the car.

We'd been walking for about two and half hours but it didn't seem like it; time passes quickly when you are having fun!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

At Lyme

I think the day we spent in Lyme Regis was the hottest we'd had all week.  It looked positively Mediterranean  as we sat sipping early  morning coffee on the terrace at the back of  a small store next to the museum.  We were last here about 15 years ago;  our first ever visit was about 30 years ago - our first holiday together almost a year after our wedding.

We had a rather traumatic start to our recent visit!  As we were walking down the hill from the car park an elderly man came running past us down to the road where the path to the town lies against the stream.  He'd left a lady, presumably his wife, in a wheelchair by the entrance to the path and was in a hurry to get back to her.  Unfortunately, in his haste, he didn't notice the step down onto the path and as he pushed the chair forward the poor lady hurtled out of it, onto her face and nearly rolled into the stream.  We rushed to help - Paul managed to move the wheel chair and set it upright whilst I and another passer-by helped the distraught man pick the frail lady up and sit her back in the chair.  She'd grazed her face and hands but otherwise seemed unhurt just shaken.  The local lady gave them directions to a chemist shop.  She stopped for a word or two and when we said we hadn't been there for about 15 years she smiled and said 'It hasn't changed' - she was right!

Well,  actually some things had changed - there was an extension to the museum with a new entrance and shop but inside the main building it seemed unchanged.  We spent ages wandering around, Paul looking at the geology displays and me absorbed in the displays about Mary Anning, Jane Austen and John Fowles.

The town was just as I remembered it!  The first time we visited the town looked different because it had been artificially 'aged' with old shop and inn signs, with plastic cobbles down the main street and half a huge sailing ship near the Cobb - filming of John Fowles's novel 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' had just been completed and some of the film-set alterations were still in place.

The little bow windowed houses along the front looked smarter than they used to.

The beach, harbour and harbour wall known as The Cobb still looked as wonderful as I remembered them.

We walked along the Cobb right to the end -  up on the wall for a while but then came down the stone steps to the lower walkway.

When we first visited we stayed in a small hotel called The Old Monmouth and we found it,  still opposite the church but no longer a hotel - just a private house.

Over the road, in the churchyard, we found the grave of Mary Anning, whom I wrote about in this post, and her brother Joseph.

In the church we found the window dedicated to Mary Anning paid for by members of the Geological Society in 1850, three years after her death.

Of course, we visited lots of the fossil shops as well!  I loved the shop bottom left, it had Alice's homemade bears and bear kits (as seen on Kirstie's Homemade Christmas) at street level and fossils below. 

Above, a few more scenes at Lyme - next Charmouth, Bridport and West Bay.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I'm heading away from the coast for a while to take you to Shaftesbury.  We stayed in a lovely 'eco house' BandB near here.  It was a fairly new timber framed house in the small village of Ludwell.  Only a short walk away was a lovely village pub where we had a gorgeous evening meal.  Paul had the chef's Fish Pie and I had goat's cheese, almond and sun-blushed tomato risotto both were very tasty and left no room for a pudding.

We were certainly ready for food as we'd expended a lot of energy here

walking down

and then back up

Gold Hill - famous for the 1973 Hovis advert, of course!  The volunteer warden of the church at the top told us that everyone he spoke to after they'd visited Gold Hill always thought that it was in Yorkshire!

A thatched cottage at the bottom of the hill

Sun and Moon Cottage at the top was a priest's house

There were lovely views over Blackmore Vale from the Abbey gardens.

We'll be back to the coast for the next post at one of my very favourite places - Lyme Regis!

Another Diversion

I've been given a blog award by lovely Kathy at Postcards from the P.P. (Paradise Peninsular).  Thank you very much Kathy!

I have to list just five words that sum up my motivation, philosophy and experience of blogging!  Oo-er!
Well here goes...


I now have to pass this on to ten other blogs.  As you know I always find it difficult to do this as some of the people I'd pass it on to have already received the award and others like to keep an award free blog so I'm going to say, as I usually do, if you want to take the award away with you and list your five words please do, because you are all wonderful bloggers of substance!

It is a lovely bright day here today; very warm and sunny!  I think we've taken a step back into summer again.  I've just been for a walk down into town to do a little bit of shopping.

It's great to be able to still walk about with bare legs and no socks - even though shoes have replaced the summer sandals.

I took with me my constant companion over the last few weeks - a gorgeous bag made by the lovely Diane at Heart Shaped which came in the post along with some tasty Yorkshire goodies just in time for my birthday.

I love it!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Coastal Scenes

After our visit to Dunster we drove through Blue Anchor Bay to Watchet.  Here are just a few scenes from this lovely little town.

The Harbour at Watchet

Over the Harbour wall, Watchet
The Ancient Mariner Statue, Watchet Harbour

After lunch in a lovely little cafe on the main street we drove back through Blue Anchor Bay and down towards Porlock and Porlock Weir.  Porlock is surrounded on three sides by the hills of Exmoor
Porlock High Street

The Lorna Doone Hotel, Porlock

Dovery Manor Museum, Porlock
Porlock Weir looking out to the Bristol Chanel.

Coastgard cottages, Porlock Weir
Shingle beach, Porlock Weir
Looking back towards Porlock Weir village

It was time to drive back to our B&B; visiting Dunster, Watchet and Porlock in one day was not only very tiring but left us feeling as if we had just 'scratched the surface' there is so much to see and do along this coast that  we have decided to return very soon and spend a whole week around these places so we have the time to discover more of their history and heritage and enjoy some of the coastal and moorland walks.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Quick Diversion

Around the garden.
Things have been happening in the garden since our return from holiday.

The pumpkins are growing and hardening up but are still a pale yellow colour - will they darken over the next month do you think?  We've never grown them before so I'm not sure what to expect.  Whilst in the West Country I saw some in a garden that had tuned orange.  Perhaps here further north it will take longer?  Or maybe we bought seeds of a variety that stay yellow? 

In the summer I bought a tray of six hollyhocks for £2 - this is the only survivor and it is very slug bitten but at last it has flowered.  I'd love to grow these in our garden but always seem to struggle with them.  I think I have to accept that they won't grow in our damp, clay soil - even if, like this one, we keep them in a pot.

The sedum has finally turned pink - this usually happens at the end of August and they are usually covered with butterflies - I haven't seen any on there this year.  

Sorry, not a good photo of the honeysuckle and clematis which climb up and around the side fence.  We thought we'd lost the clematis but it has flowered whilst we've been away.

We seem to be able to grow plenty of these japanese anemones both pink and white and they always cheer me up when I see them.

I put the little bird feeder cups near the bird bath as the blue tits and coal tits pop in and out of the holly hedge to feed and splash in the bath but the local squirrel has found them.   Watch out squirrel!  It's behind you!  Chloe loves chasing squirrels!

We've had loads of sparrows this year - we can easily count 20 at any one time - they roost in the bushes and take turns to fly out and eat from the feeder.   We've had fun watching them!

There was something else in the garden this morning!  Here is a link to Paul's blog so you can see what it was.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Walk around Dunster

On our way to Watchet on the Somerset Coast we stopped to have a walk around the village of Dunster.

It is a very pretty, photogenic place with lots of interesting ancient buildings and a splendid castle which overlooks the village.  The castle was mentioned in the Domesday Book and was home to the Luttrell Family for 600 years. 

The 16th century tithe barn - now a community hall - from the front.....

...and from the back.

The old Dovecote

St George's Church taken  from the lovely public garden which can be accessed from the walled garden at the back of the tithe barn.

The garden was so peaceful.

The  timber framed Yarn Market on High street was built in 1590 by George Luttrell to shelter the wool and cloth traders from the weather.

High Street is full of lovely little shops most of which were just opening when we arrived.  We decided that we must go back and look at the castle and the watermill and take the walk to Dunster beach another time or we'd never get to our main goal of the day -  the coastal town of Watchet