13 February 2013

Return

Of course, when you escape, you eventually have to return.  I've returned to a new Blogger that I hope will let me share my pictures of Scotland.  Here goes...

There were lots of big, fast and beautiful skies...


An incredibly poignant stopping point...


Ailsa Craig


Ailsa Craig and Turnberry Lighthouse



And the lighthouse on its own



So many memories for me at Croy shore.


I didn't intend to stay at somewhere so (usually) expensive.


Thank goodness golf is a seasonal game, and they have offers to attract non-golfers when it's blowy and bitter.  I came to remember the past and to enjoy the present.
The West Coast of Scotland is so beautiful, and I was grateful it blessed me with beautiful skies and gentle weather in November.





07 November 2012

Escape

I booked a holiday today.  Perhaps the term 'holiday' is a bit of an exaggeration, it's an overnight hotel stay.  It's our first 'holiday' for four years.

I'm very excited.

It was a Groupon offer that I deliberated over and wished upon for several days before we pressed the 'buy' button.  Expensive for just one night, but so much cheaper than a week or a fortnight away.  I chose quality over quantity, and the fact that my sister is just down the road so we can get together.

It's Scotland.  I'd love it if it was sunny.  I don't mind if it rains a bit.  But please, please don't let it be misty.


04 November 2012

Marvellous Martin Mere

I haven't been around blogland much recently.  My own blog has been neglected, but I have enjoyed reading other people's.  I haven't had much to talk about, and have been busy with a course I'm doing for work.   I've been lured out of my blogging lull this weekend, though, by a visit to Martin Mere.
It's a place I've wanted to visit for several years, but yesterday we finally went.

I'm not a serious birdwatcher.  I can recognise garden birds, and some wildfowl but that's as far as my knowledge extends.  What I do have though, is an absurdly deep love of nature.  It doesn't matter that I can't identify many of the birds, I simply came to enjoy their company.

I wasn't disappointed, in fact I was totally overwhelmed by the sounds of thousands of feathered voices calling to each other across the mere and above our heads.


I can't begin to describe the noise level that echoed above the mere as hundreds and hundreds of birds landed and took off.  It was almost like the roar of a motorway.  Activity was constant, with many comings and goings.


There are areas where you can wander round and discover birds from many different parts of the world.  So many shapes, sizes and personalities...








I outstayed my welcome here, and got a bit too close to the little (black-headed??) gull above.


Not all of the animals here are feathered.

And some are a little wooden...


Although the mere itself is a huge, open expanse of water and marshland, the edges have been landscaped with slopes and plantings which protect the privacy of its residents and ensure the many visitors don't cause too much intrusion.  The birds can be viewed from a selection of hides dotted round the perimeter of the mere.  The most elaborate is the Harrier Hide.  Built to look like wings, and surrounded by pillars of wood taken from the mere.




At this time of the year there are thousands of pink-footed geese arriving at the mere, and it was absolutely fascinating to watch.

This flock was arriving on the other side of the mere.  There must have been hundreds of birds here.  The sound of their calls was incredible.


There are also over one thousand swans here at the moment.



I took almost two hundred photos, there always seemed to be something happening to snap, and I wanted plenty of pictures to remember this wonderful experience by.  It's rare to have the privilege to observe a true spectacle of nature, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to see, and above all, hear, these beautiful birds.




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11 September 2012

Manley Road Copse

When I've been out walking the dogs, I caught a glimpse of a beautiful bench through a hedge.  It was so lovely that I assumed it was in someone's garden.  It was only when I mentioned it to hubby that it became apparent it was on council-owned land, in a small area called Manley Road Copse.  Next time we went out with Frankie and Bobby I made sure we visited it with the camera.

This bench really intrigues me with its magical topic and annoyingly worn inscription on the seat!  What did it say?  Who made it?

Here it is.


Up close, we can see a fairyland scene that Enid Blyton would be proud of.  Toadstools, a bird, a fairy and a pixie riding a hare (it may be a rabbit, but I'm biased, so I'm going with a hare).


Isn't it beautiful?

And that intriguingly worn wording on the seat...


Keen to find out what it once said, I Googled it - nothing!  This is the first time Google has ever failed to help me with something I've found intriguing and wanted to know more about, but it's encouraged me to do things the old-fashioned way and do a bit of paper-based research!
Alternatively, I could just sit on the bench and make a wish!

If you're more proficient at internet research than I am, and can suggest anything I haven't tried, please share!

28 August 2012

Mojo

Have any of you ever lost your blogging mojo?
I must admit, mine has disappeared like the British summer sun.

When I get out of a habit, I find it very hard to get back into it again.  When we were working towards moving in there was a goal and a sense of purpose, but now we've done it we're, quite frankly, exhausted.

Just over four years of full-time jobs and rest-of the-time-renovations are hard work on the body.  Exceeded budgets are hard on the brain and the heart.  Despite the joy of finally being able to move in and the contentment of actually being there, the desire to fall into bed (and sleep!) is greater than the desire to celebrate.
I'm going to save that small celebration for Christmas, when we hope to have a little bit of mojo for life back!

Lights are my favourite part of the house as the first signs of my favourite season approach.  Each of them were sale items that we spotted over several months and in different stores. Fashions change so quickly that shops change their stock on a regular basis.So, if you're interested in what you like, rather than just trends, wait for the sale!




And don't forget about Ikea for roller blinds!!


This is not a 'loads of money' house, it's about getting the best you can for the least amount kind of place.

I'll leave you with one of my favourite Christmas presents. He personifies how we feel.  He lives in our bedroom. (I'd be reluctant and frightened to tell you how old he is, but US folks may remember him.)




14 July 2012

Offline

Thanks to an error by BT, we've recently been without a phone line for several days, and without broadband for much longer.  I hadn't realised how much I use it.  I do almost everything online, banking, shopping, keeping up with friends, ordering library books, looking up information... the list goes on.

Instead, due to endless rain making much outdoor activity impossible, I turned to television, and a passing interest in The Big Bang Theory became much, much more.  I have become an avid viewer, an addict even.  Have you ever seen it?

The Classified Materials Turbulence #1311

We've been busy in the kitchen too.  Our eBay units have been transformed from this


To this.  They were rubbed down and we painted them in Moonstone Grey by Craig & Rose.



They look really blue in these pictures, they're actually more of a grey-green colour.

The dresser we got with the base unit was cut in half to make the units at each end of the cooker.  The colour of the kitchen units is the same as the extractor cover that we made which you can see at the top.  Funny how the light works in this room!


Now I'm back online, I'm looking forward to catching up with the blogs I follow, but I'm sure my Big Bang addiction will remain!

03 June 2012

Curtains

The local shop that made our curtains couldn't have been more helpful.  Not only do the curtains look fantastic, the owner came to hang them (professionally, rather than seeming as if they've been opened in a hurry which mine usually look like) and brought some tiebacks for us to have a look at to see if there were any we liked.



There was so much choice.  Most were cheaper than I expected, but some were really expensive!!!

Some were simple...


Others very elaborate...



Some were downright ostentatious...


We decided on these for the living room.


To match our curtain fabric.


In the side extension, we used fabric from curtains we already had.


We had enough fabric to make a set of new curtains, and by adding a complementary fabric, four roman blinds for the windows.  This room is full of light, I love it.


But note the pile of rubble and rampant weeds outside...