Monday, 28 December 2009


...Billy suggested we go out for a ride so we headed off out through Todmorden and Burnley to Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford. There's a tourist information centre and Garden Tea Room which are housed in an old 15th century farmhouse, situated just behind the house you see below. The food is all homecooked and we enjoyed a hot lunch there.

This old building complete with pigeon loft is now an art gallery.  I've often heard people use the term "pigeon hole" and have used it myself too but it only made sense to me today looking at these pictures where it came from.  I'm a bit slow to catch on sometimes!

Behind the heritage centre is a park and this river runs alongside it. Very pretty.

And this is the car park we had to use.  It was like a skating rink. Billy was worried about "coming a cropper" (now where does that saying come from?) in it but fortunately we made it with only a little skidding and nobody had to get out and push.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

I can't believe... quickly Christmas has been and gone.  It's almost a week since this picture was taken of Gary and George playing in the snow.  They'd been sledging in the morning, I think George has been sledging more in the last few days than ever before. Then they came to our house for a visit with Gary pulling the boys on the sledge and as you can

see, they went home the same way.

On Christmas morning we all went to Vicki's house for breakfast and to see the boys with their toys.  We had all been to Caroline's house the night before.  We had three very happy and lucky little boys, Father Christmas came up trumps and everybody got what they wanted.

Then on Boxing Day William and I walked up to Caroline's house. It's uphill all the way and was hard-going in all that snow. So the glass of mulled wine we were offered when we got there and accepted (it would have been rude to refuse) tasted good. Muffin, our little Yorkshire Terrrier, came with us and the snow didn't bother him one little bit.
 Charlie got a vacuum cleaner for Christmas and it's his favourite thing ever.

He's fixing it here with his Handy Manny screwdriver.  Got to have the right tool for the job!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

They forecast sunshine...

...and they get it wrong. They forecast snow and they get it right!  Why is that?

It is pretty to look at though, especially when you can just stroll around in it and admire it's beauty. That's what William and I did this afternoon. We had planned to go to Tatton Park today to see the Hall decked out in it's Christmas finery but we knew it wasn't going to happen with the roads on the estate looking like this. That's our street above, not many cars got up or down it today.

The poor driver of this car wasn't having much fun.  He tried I don't know how many times to get up this hill, and its not much of a hill really. The problem was the ice underneath the snow.  In the end he gave up and reversed back onto his drive.

We saw this while we were out. The owners of this house had found a glove outside their house and very kindly put it in a plastic bag and attached it to a stick in the garden where hopefully it will be seen and reclaimed. Wasn't that thoughtful?

I was keen to get home, I've been baking this morning.  I made two cakes before we went out.  I made our Christmas Cake and a Courgette Cake. Courgette Cake sounds gross doesn't it? It's not though, it's delicious and most of our family loves it. Anyway, I'd left the cakes in the oven and I didn't want them to burn. If there's one thing I'm good at in the kitchen it's burning things. Good news though, they were both OK.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

It definitely is...

..beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our house.  On Saturday Billy got the tree and decorations, after much cursing and swearing along the way, out of the loft.  It's no easy task though. We don't have one of those loft-ladders that make things easy and anyway the access to the loft is a tiny hole above the kitchen worktops where no loft-ladder could work.  Billy has to climb up onto the worktop, then stand on a stool, then hoist himself up the rest of the way. I don't know how he does it,  I couldn't. So I allow him the bad language and stay out of the way.

We had some help with the decorating part of things.  Here's Charlie doing his bit.

And here's George doing his bit.  I'm not sure what Nicholas was doing but I'm sure he was doing his bit somewhere too. Then when they all went home and the house was quiet I finished things off.

Sunday it was the Christmas Markets in Manchester again, this time with Caroline and her family.  To say it was busy would be an understatement.  It was a happy busy though, a steel band was playing its heart out in St. Ann's Square and the crowd loved it.  The stalls were doing a roaring trade.

Caroline and Charlie looking at the crib in St. Ann's Square.  It always reminds me very much of the one that used to stand in the town centre gardens where I grew up. 

Here's a very excited George and his little friend.  They had travelled in to town on the train with their mums and little brothers and had been on the big wheel in Exchange Square. They were having a great time.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

I called at...

...Walsden Post Office on Friday afternoon to get some Christmas cards in the post to the USA and Australia.  The post mistress in there is so friendly and helpful. If I had a favourite post office, Walsden would be it.

If you walk round the side of the post office and over the canal bridge you'll find this beautiful old house.  I could live in a house like that.

I love it in this little neck of the woods, it always seems really peaceful. Walkers were out enjoying the weather and I wished I was doing the same thing instead of on my way to the supermarket.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

My Irish Granny

This is one of only two photographs I have ever seen of my Irish Granny and it's on her In Memoriam card.  I never got to meet either of my Irish grandparents, they both died before I was born and sadly I know very little about them.  It's the old story of never asking the questions when the right people were around to answer them.
However, I did ask my dad one day years ago, what his mother's maiden name was and what the names of all his siblings were in age order.  Her maiden name was Molloy.  Ellen Molloy.  Don't you think that has a nice ring to it?

The little white-washed, thatched cottage over on the right is where my Irish grandparents lived and where my dad was born.  As children, my brother, two sisters and I, would be taken for our summer holidays to Ireland.  We would spend a wonderful week in Dublin with Aunt Mag and her family and then a magical week in the country staying with Uncle Tom, one of my dad's older brothers who had inherited the old cottage.  There was no running water, no plumbing of any sort and no electricity.  It didn't matter to us though, it was all that kind of thing that made it so different and exciting for little kids like us from a town in the north of England.  Happy memories... but it's late now so I'll have to stop there.

Click on the photo to enlarge it if you'd like to read the card.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

It's just around the corner ...

... Christmas, that is.  There's just no getting away from it and so yesterday afternoon I went off on the train to Manchester to meet my lovely cousin, Sylvia. We spent the afternoon browsing the Continental Christmas Markets, doing a bit of Christmas shopping, stopping for coffee and dodging the rain.  The weather didn't dampen our spirits though and we had a lovely afternoon catching up on stuff and just mooching around.

Above are pictures of Manchester Town Hall with Father Christmas sitting very proudly on a podium over the entrance to the Hall and the many market stalls in front taking up all of Albert Square.
This is the interior of the Town Hall where a posh handmade jewellery exhibition was being held.  People were also having Afternoon Tea in there and I hadn't seen that in there before but it looked very nice. I've made a mental note of it though and my girls and I will probably, hopefully anyway, try it one of these fine days.

Above is "The Hidden Gem" church (just off Albert Square), it's a very unremarkable building seen from the outside but is very, very beautiful inside. We popped in to light a candle and pause for a minute or two. 

It was a lovely way to spend a wet, very close to Christmas, afternoon.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

This afternoon, ...

...yet another damp and grey afternoon, Victoria and I took the  boys for a ride over the hills to Uppermill.  It's a small mill town not too far from us and is a picturesque little place which depends quite a bit on tourism for its livelihood. Along with the coffee shops and gift shops there is a little park with a river running through it and that's where I took these pictures. 

The river was quite high after all the rain we've had lately, usually you can cross the river on these stepping stones but today they were nearly all submerged under the water.  George still had fun though.

Nicholas had to stay strapped in his buggy, we were frightened of him slipping and falling in the water. He didn't miss out though, his mother just let him dangle over the edge and play in the water while strapped in his buggy!

This is the view taken from the river looking over to the weaver's cottages (well the back of them anyway) just behind the main street and the hills beyond which are part of the Pennine Chain, the so-called backbone of England.

And so as not to leave him out, here's our little bookworm, Charlie, in his element with a book on his knee.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

There's nothing like...

...going through old photographs and that's what I've been doing recently.  My sister has the original of this photo and quite a few more besides. I am scanning them all in to my computer so that I, and anybody else in the family who wants, can have a copy of them all too.
 The beautiful young woman you see here is my mother. She was born in 1910 and I don't know exactly how old she is in this picture. I don't think she was married, could be it was taken for her 21st birthday.  If so she was married a year later and went on to have a family of 9 children, me being the last one. I wouldn't have wanted anybody else for my mother, I was lucky, she was the best.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Little things mean a lot, don't they?

My daughter's baby boy broke my favourite mug yesterday while he was, with her assistance, "washing up" here at my house.  So today, Caroline surprised me with a new mug, not just any old mug but a Starbucks mug.  We love Starbucks and she knew I liked these new Christmas mugs, I've looked at them every time we've been in a Starbucks recently and now I have one.  Isn't that sweet of her?  Thank you, Caroline xx 

P.S. I'm loving playing at this blogging thing!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

A domestic goddess...

in the kitchen I'm not, so it might come as a surprise to some to know that I was absolutely thrilled to bits to receive this in the post tonight.

This blue package was in an outer box, I hadn't ordered anything from Amazon so was a little bit mystified as to what was inside.

Then I read the gift note with it (you can enlarge photos by clicking on them) and guessed what might be inside.  I'm not a great cook, I'd rather do anything than cook and my family knows this. Certainly my daughter Vicki knows this. So why would she buy me a cookery book and why would it make me so happy? 

 Because it's Pioneer Woman's cookbook, that's why and she knows I love the Pioneer Woman!  I'm a big, big fan of  I discovered her through reading photography blogs but her blog is much more than photography, I recommend to anyone to go and check her out.  She is so entertaining and her cookery instructions are full of step by step photographs.  Yes, even I might be inspired to do some cooking, well... baking anyway and I think first up will be her Cinnamon Rolls.  So, thank you Victoria, it was a lovely surprise. xx

Monday, 23 November 2009

It took a while but...

..we have finally found the caravan for us.
While we were on a week's camping holiday with Caroline and Trev in the summer we all decided it would be a good idea to buy a caravan together for our future holidays in Devon. So after a lot of searching and a couple of hiccups along the way we are in the process of buying the caravan you see here. It's a five berth with plenty of room for us all and will be stored, winter and summer, on a beautiful site in east Devon.  A place we love and now can't wait to spend our first holiday in when March comes around.

Monday, 16 November 2009

It's been cold, wet and windy...

..round here lately, just the right weather for walking.  No, not really.  But there was nothing much to do here this afternoon so after grandson #2 had gone home I decided to take our little dog for a walk. I didn't go far, this scenery is right on my own doorstep.   

Looking at the sky to my left I thought I was going to get drenched.

Looking over to my right it was a lot brighter and the fields all looked so pretty with some autumn colour still around.

And I made it home without seeing one drop of rain.

Friday, 13 November 2009

I Cannot Look at This Picture..

.. without laughing. Look closely, Nicholas is wearing glasses! Thankfully they're mine, not his. Doesn't he look, now what's the word I'm searching for, studious? They transform him completely from an impish, never sits still little monkey to a serious, "butter wouldn't melt" little lamb! 

Now, Charlie likes baby dolls and I knew his mother was tempted to get him one for Christmas. Today when I was in my local supermarket a lady was there with a stall full of dolls.  I really wished I had my camera with me, nearly every one of them was wearing hand-knitted clothes, dresses, cardigans, bonnets etc. which she herself had knitted and the money she made was all going to Cancer Research. So, for £3 Charlie got a baby doll and he loves it.  I'm not too sure his daddy feels the same way but he'll get over it.

For ages now...

.. I have been promising to take George to the library, just the two of us, and so last night after school I did.

He went straight to the reference books, wasn't interested in looking at the fiction at all and chose six books.  He was very decisive, no messing about.  The first one was on reptiles.  The picture of a boa constrictor swallowing a whole deer, thrilled him to bits, me not so much.  The others were - Shipping Disasters, The Human Body, Cranes, Big Cats and I can't remember the sixth one. The things that interest little boys are so different from the things that interest little girls aren't they? 

Monday, 9 November 2009

I Won't be Seeing...

this scenery for quite some time. My sister-in-law and her husband have lived in the Lake District for the last seven years and we have been lucky enough to go and stay with them lots of times and enjoy their company and the beautiful countryside up there. Now though they are moving to Wales.  There's nothing wrong with Wales but it's just not the Lake District is it? However, the move to Wales is making them very happy and that's what counts.

Ullswater.  We visited this weekend for the last time before the move to Wales and as you can see the weather wasn't very good but these hills are glorious no matter what the weather is like.

We enjoyed a visit to an Antiques and Collector's Fair at the Rheged Centre. It was full of lots and lots of beautiful china (Mo, you would have loved it).

To finish, a picture of Charlie playing with the Fisher Price school his mummy and aunty used to play with when they were his age.


Thursday, 5 November 2009

Ten Books for £10

Some offers are just too good to refuse and this was one of them.  Caroline and I were in Borders yesterday and tons of books were being sold under this offer.  So we bought five each.  Here are my five.

My favourite among them has to be the Roddy Doyle.  I couldn't believe my luck when I saw "Oh Play That Thing" by him. Then, when I discovered it was the sequel to "A Star Called Henry", a book I really enjoyed not too long ago, I was just thrilled to bits.  It doesn't take much to make me happy!