Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Christmas Greetings To You All

 Golly since I came back from Northumberland I have been working at least 17 hours each day - either at work or at home. Just been getting the house ready for Christmas as we have 14 to stay for 3-4 days. Been busy crafting and making hampers. Now I must make a note to myself and begin hamper making much earlier in the year. Also busy baking for Christmas. But it is now 11pm on 23rd December and finally my A4 sheet of jobs is looking almost completed! Hurray. Just paid work to do tomorrow, oh and a very early trip to the hairdressers. Followed by clearing a bedroom of my work stuff, potatoes and veg to peel, quick vacuum - oh and think of something to eat for dinner. Then poor Mr P has to do a 8pm Carol service at his village church, come home and then we will be off to a midnight service. Bless him he is giving our cooker a big clean - ready for the big cook. As I type the oven door is off with chemicals doing their magic.

My Christmas is divided into three lovely parts. Christmas day with friends coming, then Boxing Day the whole family descending for several days of wonderful mayhem. This is then followed by time spent at our home in Northumberland, just Mr P and myself.

I am so lucky as I know out there are many people for whom Christmas is something they have to get through. I want to wish you all a very special Christmas and I shall pray for those who this time of year is difficult that God will give you a special blessing. Thank you for reading my weird blog and I also wish you a great new year. Bye.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Farewell Post

Well today is my last full day in Northumberland. Even the weather seemed to be reflecting my feelings, grey and wet! I started off with good intentions to have a long stroll around the coast at Holy Island, but the weather was so dull.

After I took this picture I realised there was a white thing looming in the far middle of this picture. Of course snow on the cheviot. Golly it must be cold!

Not sure what sort of plant this is growing in the dunes.

As the weather got worse I decided to call this walk a day and head into Berwick to buy a Christmas tree to take back to Leicester. Golly what a hard decision it is! I kept walking around them all, some were really good on the top but then seemed to be lacking branches at the bottom, then if they were good lower down were then sparse on top. After much mooching through all the trees I have hopefully picked one that fulfills my brief. Excited having seen the snow I decide to drive to Wooler, in order to get some better pictures of the snow. Sadly as I drove the rain got heavier and the hills were just shrouded in cloud. No snow could be seen. Still had a nice walk around the town of Wooler.
Tried to take one picture on the way back.

Never mind back to the cottage for a bacon buttie and a mug of hot tea.

Eeeh bah gum it has gone very cold and I decided to brighten up the afternoon and evening with the coal fire going and a bit of crochet.

I'm still busy crocheting this blanket. It's taking ages because I have to keep stopping to do other Christmas projects.

We only have an artificial tree at the cottage, doesn't seem worth the expense of a real one when we only get to see it for a short while.

The tree bunting is up.

Table decorations - I know a bit naff but it isn't our proper home yet.

Angels crocheted and wreath added to the door.

Oh well I have had a lovely week and I am really looking forward to seeing Mr P again. Back to traffic lights ( note Northumberland has NO traffic lights) and work. Need to get back to get Christmas food on the go etc etc. Bye from Northumberland.

Friday, 11 December 2015


Yesterday I decided it was time to head out into the woods and moorland. Knowing how boggy it can be I selected my clothing carefully and also put on my walking gaiters. I drove to my favourite local walk Ford Moss Reserve.

This is the view one sees when you park! Not quite Leicester! When I think of the woods around here I always have this next picture in my mind.

Even though it is winter there is still colour to be found.

Then as I walked further into the woods I saw this tree. It had obviously been damaged by the recent Storm Desmond.

I felt really saddened , almost as if it was an animal. Then it occurred to me that it doesn't matter how big or strong something is we are still vulnerable to being totally knocked back and fall.

These pictures are to show you what beauty I see.

I entitled this blog "freedom" because that is what I feel when I am here. I find living in a city very restricting, almost as if I cannot breathe. So to come out here is like having my lungs topped up and knowing that this is very much the right place that Mr P and I have chosen to retire to. I am not trying to insult cities - we are all different and I know there are many who would hate living in the coutryside, the quietness etc would drive them mad. Isn't it great that we are all different.

Beauty everywhere.

Often when I come here I see something new and today was no exception. I spotted a deer, but was not quick enough with the camera!.

Also this walk I decided to go off at a different angle and spotted these lovely crags.

Sorry just more lovely views.

I saw this tree on the horizon. How did this tree, all alone, manage to stay standing in the storm. Mmmm sure there is much thinking to be done on the issue of being a tree and comparing it with my life.

Sorry not very good at expressing myself, but the trees gave me a lot to think about.

Seeing all the heather reminds me of one of my favourite folk songs - Blooming Heather sang here by Kate Rusby.

Then I spotted something I've never seen before....

This was a mining area and here I think is a disused lifting device.

So lovely to be looking at history.

What an amazing find - need to speak to hubby to understand more what would have gone on here.

Well time to close and get on with the next day. Bye from Northumberland.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Christmas Shopping In Edinburgh

Golly yesterday was like going to work - setting the alarm clock at a similar time as to going to work, getting up in the dark, leaving in the dark etc etc, oh and coming home in the dark. I felt as if I was the only one doing this until you get on the train, from Berwick, to hunt out my reserved seat. I then discover the train is virtually full and these people have been on the train earlier so they must have got up even earlier than me! It must be my age but the train was boiling hot, had the same problem when I used the trains to and from Birmingham the previous week. I was very glad that I had worn a thin tunic dress with short sleeves and a cardigan. As soon as I found my seat the coat and shawl was off followed very shortly by my cardigan. I bet I provided some amusement for my fellow passengers. I love the way that the train arrives into the heart of the city, with all the historic buildings on show - gives me a happy glowing feeling.

I headed straight to John Lewis to get Mr P's Christmas presie. Now I had a good idea what I was getting but wanted some extra information. After a lovely young dishy Scottish man answered ALL my questions he then discovers they have sold out but don't worry he'll order "secret" for me to collect in Leicester. Disaster they've sold out everywhere and may or may not get "secret" in time for Christmas! Aaaaaaargh - devastated. So I then ask him where else I might be able to buy "secret" from in Edinburgh. He kindly gave me a few options, but I felt disappointed as I must be a real shop snob and didn't want to purchase from there! Had to give myself a good talking to and tell myself that I was being ridiculous. It took me a few shops to get what I wanted - also a huge walk, but I was successful.

Lovely to see the trams up and running. It made me feel as if I was in Switzerland or some other country. Must come up with an excuse to go on a tram one day.

Love seeing shops at this time of the year, with their twinkly lights and trees. Now what am I doing in Broughton Street? I know it's not in the main shopping area. Any ideas?

Of course it had to be a woolly shop! Sorry about the picture not displaying all the letters but I feel a bit embarrassed trying to take a picture head on. Apparently she is in the process of having her name repainted on the front of the shop but it keeps on raining and the painters have to come back again, as the last time the paint ran before it had time to dry. Of course it would have been rude to just visit without buying anything. So I got , I know I have OCD, another shawl pattern! I had seen this designer on Ravelry - Lucy Hague. I especially like the way she incorporates celtic patterns into her designs. I looked at the book and was rather overwhelmed by the instructions. So Kathy showed me one of the easier patterns to start with and that was what I ended up getting.

No I have not knitted it already! This is just someone elses knitting. Also I shall be knitting it with a paler coloured wool as Kathy said it is easier to see where you might go wrong. So this will be a project for the new year and not one for in front of the television!

Then I walked about a mile to get to McAree. They have an amazing amount of books and wool. Sorely tempted, but resisted!

I headed back to Princess Street to discover they had a German Christmas market, similar to the one I had seen in Birmingham. Look at the size of those pan handles!

They also had a big wheel, open air ice skating rink and a fair.

Sorry the pictures are dark, but that was the sort of day when it never seems to get bright. Having seen all the food I decided it was time to head to the Royal Mile for lunch. I remember going to a Mexican restaurant some years ago and thought I'd try and find it again.

Viva Mexico in Cockburn Street. I had a seat by the window, so I could carry on watching people. I was not sure what to order and I asked what had a bit of spice and was told the potato and bean dish would hit the mark. The waitress got it right and I found myself drinking a pint glass of water! It took me a while to be able to drink my tea, as my mouth was burning! Now don't let me put you off because I asked for spice and I got it, not everything is that heavily spiced. It was delicious.

After this wonderful refreshment it was time to do some more shopping. The weather outside is getting rather blowy!

I head up the Royal Mile, quick photo of the castle. Then I took this picture.

It came out so blurred because I was physically being moved by the wind! As the wind blew so the rain came and I sought refuge in this woollen mill. There was all the usual tourist stuff and then came the whiskeys. I was staggered at the price tags! Good job I'm not a whiskey drinker! Better stick to my red wine.

Can you imagine buying one of these bottles? I'd be terrified of breaking it on the way home! Perhaps you have a chauffeur if you can afford one of these bottles?

As the day got darker so the shops looked prettier.

The next picture is my last one because I had to stop and put my camera away as the rain became too heavy and the wind became gale force!

I had a fabulous day and spent most of it on my feet. Oh boy was I tired! I treated myself to a long luxurious bath, lit the coal fire watched some television and had an early night. Hopefully off to some woods tomorrow.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

I'm Home - Northumberland

Oh at long last I have finally made it back up north, home. Haven't been to the cottage since March of this year and I have sooooooooo missed it. So unashamedly I have loads of pictures.

View of the River Tweed after the weekends Desmond Storm.

Golly I forget how bright the sky is here. I wonder when I retire will I get used to this brightness and not notice it? Hope not.

Of course I have to have a pilgrimage to Holy Island, looking across to Beal.

A paddle in the sea - yes with wellies on! Cheating I know, but I'm not stupid. But I couldn't wade out to St Cuthberts Island.

Tide was in too high to venture across.

Golly I think this castle must hold a record for the number of photographs been taken of this view!

Trying to be arty farty!

Now the beauty of being on my own is that I can choose all the rubbishy films to watch. So here I am watching Disney's film "Santa Who".

Also can be selfish and choose exactly where I want to walk and the distance. So today, after struggling for 10 days with some sort of virus that has left me with very little voice I chose just to do a short walk along the coast into Seahouses.

I love the way these seagulls were lined up sitting on top of the poles.

I can't help it I love boats! Sorry family! You just don't have to look!

I love Seahouses harbour. It's a great place, if you are hungry, to sit and eat fish and chips looking at the boats!

Playing around with the colour settings.

But what I need to remember that this isn't just a postcard picture place but somewhere that people's livelihood depends on.

This area is home to the eider ducks. They have a funny neck action and noise!

Then as I'm walking around I remember the wonderful fish shop and have to pop in to buy myself something for my tea.

I opted for a nice piece of smoked haddock - nom nom. Time for a cuppa and then walk back. Suddenly the sky went black and a large shower occurred. But it was so worth it to see this amazing rainbow.

Sorry couldn't get the whole rainbow into the picture.

I am very privileged to be able to have the opportunity to take time off to enjoy walking in this beautiful area and having time to play with my camera.

Well tomorrow I'm off to Edinburgh, on the train, hopefully to get some Christmas shopping done. Thanks for popping by. Take care and have a good week.