Sunday, 31 July 2011

Sun, Sand and Saltburn by the Sea.

Last week Caroline invited William and I to go to the beach on Saturday with her, Trev and Charlie.  I, of course, said "yes, please"  but William stayed at home.  He had to take the car for it's M.O.T. and also had some work in the garden to do. 


Saltburn by the Sea is up on the northeast coast about a two hour ride away.  We packed a picnic and all the other assorted necessities for a day on the beach and set off around 9.30 a.m.  Charlie was excited and asked the age old question "Are we there yet?" before we were even on the motorway!

It was a bit overcast when we got there and a bit breezy too but nevertheless we claimed a spot on the beach and enjoyed our picnic.  Charlie and his daddy played in the sand.  A text message from Victoria informed us that the sun was cracking the flags at home!  However by the time we were strolling down the pier the sun had come out where we were too.


Saltburn is a lovely place and is a magnet for surfers.  There were tons of them in the water on Saturday.  It was fun to stroll down the pier and watch them do their thing from the vantage point the pier provided.  Charlie found looking down at the water through the gaps in the boards more fascinating though.


We had a lovely, long, refreshing, easy going kind of day by the sea and this much I know - it was definitely my kind of day!  Thanks Caroline and Trev!


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A Sleepover and S'mores

Throw a BBQ into the mix and that was Monday night at our house.  George and Nicholas had been promised a week or so ago that they could sleepover at our house once the school holidays arrived.  Well the holidays are here and Monday they were both excited to be staying the night with us.


The weather was good so burgers on the barbeque was the easy answer to what to feed them.  Followed by a little "campfire" and S'mores. 


Nicholas looks a bit glum in the pictures above, he wasn't feeling too well.  However he still managed a smile for this photo when granddad was doing silly things behind my back.


Caroline and Trev brought Charlie round for the S'mores but I didn't get a good picture of him.  Today however I snapped this picture while he was watching Baby Looney Tunes.  I wonder how much longer he's going to be sucking that thumb?  For now though it still looks cute.


George asked if we could all go back to Ealees on Tuesday afternoon.  Kids just love water don't they?  I'm so glad that John and Lesley recently re-introduced me to this lovely little neck of the woods.


And talking about John and Lesley takes me back to Saturday night.  It was another night when Billy lit our little campfire.   John and Lesley came round and we sat outside with a drink and chatted until it was too cold to sit out there any longer.  At which time we migrated indoors to have a game of cards, a bite to eat and perhaps one or two more drinks.   We had a good time together, as always, even though I was well and truly thrashed at cards.  I didn't win a single hand all night!


Edited to add:-

I didn't think I had a Simple Pleasures post this week but then a blogger friend pointed out that all of the above post qualified one way or another.  I thought about it and realised how right she was - thanks Debbie!  Particularly the playing cards on Saturday night.  I've always enjoyed playing cards and can well remember playing Snap and Fish etc. as a child and being totally unable to hold the cards fanned out in my hands or shuffle a pack of cards without dropping them all over the floor.  

Over the years there have been so many games of cards with different people and all of them hold happy memories, even last Saturday night when I didn't win a single game.  So here I am happily linking up with Dayle at her Simple Pleasures Party.

I wonder how many others share this simple pleasure?

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Messing About on the River.

Well, actually, we were messing about but not so much on a river as in a stream.


The long school summer holidays started yesterday and I know lots of parents are going to be praying for good weather to help them along the way.  Sadly if the Meteorology Office is to be believed then the outlook is not too good!

Anyway, today was fine and Victoria and I were able to take the boys out for some fresh air and fun this afternoon.  We didn't go far, just a very few minutes away in the car, parked up and then followed a public footpath which runs alongside this stream.  The boys had a great time, paddling, throwing stones into the water, getting wet through and just generally having fun. 

This isn't an area of our little town that we have frequented much over the years but I think this summer it might just turn into a favourite picnic and play spot.  So that is my simple pleasure this week -watching the boys messing about on the river. 

Of course an added bonus for me to these little outings is that I enjoy taking the photos and then coming home and playing around in Photoshop with them.   This template is a freebie from The Coffee Shop Blog and the background paper is a Katie Pertiet design and can be found at

As usual I'm joining Dayle for her weekly Simple Pleasures party.


Sunday, 17 July 2011

Picturesque with a capital P.

Today's post is a continuation of Friday's post and the final instalment of our trip to Devon with Maureen and Jerry.


Sauntering further up the village of Branscombe, the graceful St. Winifred's Church came into view.  According to Wikipedia this church "probably dates back to around 995"!   Happily the church was open, choir practice was about to begin, so we took a quick look inside.


Just along from the church was this pretty hillside garden.  Open to the public and any donations given went toward the upkeep of St. Winifred's.


Down at the bottom of the garden runs this tranquil little stream, frequented by more species of ducks than I've ever seen in one place before.


The view, above, looking back up the garden.  Speaking to the friendly couple who were outside the cottage we were told that the cottage is a holiday rental owned by the lady who lives just across the road...

DSC_1209b this thatched, whitewashed, dripping in blooms, cottage.   Mrs Owner happened to be out watering all the plants but wasn't too busy to stop and chat.   Easily in her seventies, fully made up and hair immaculately coifed, she wasn't frightened of getting dirt under her fingernails, it turned out she did all the gardening!  I don't know how she does it, just dead-heading all the hanging baskets would be enough for me!


Different view of the same cottage.


Looking back over to the church.  I really like this photo, the church, the countryside around it, gardens in front of it - it just appeals to me.


It's thirsty work all that walking and admiring all that beauty that is Branscombe.  Therefore it was only natural that we would end up at the village pub and have a cold drink while we sat and rested our weary legs. 

The last photo is one I took with Maureen's camera for her and she has emailed back to me.  See she is holding a magazine in her hand.  There's a long story attached to that magazine but I won't go into it here.  However I will say that if anybody reads "501 Life Magazine", a magazine distributed in Greater Central Arkansas, you might just see this photo in there too.

It was a great holiday and we had a wonderful, fun filled time together.  The weather was good too, what more can one ask?


Friday, 15 July 2011

Breakfast on Beer Beach and Branscombe.

Thursday of our holiday in Devon with my sister and her husband was another beautiful day. 


Bright and early we headed to Beer for breakfast on the beach.


What to have, what to have - important decisions had to be made.


I can't think of a better start to the day than a hearty breakfast with the sweet sound of the ocean on one side and the "song" of seagulls overhead.  Mmmm, heaven!


After breakfast we drove the few minutes to Seaton Hole.  A private, tucked away little beach reached by a climb down a rather steep path.


It's worth the climb for these views though.


From there it was over to Branscombe, just a couple of miles away.  I know I use the word favourite a lot but this place is definitely one of my favourite places.  We'd brought a picnic lunch.  Sea air gives one an appetite.  A lot of walking will do that too and we did a lot of walking! 


Talking of which we set off along the footpath to the village of Branscombe.  Branscombe's claim to fame is that it's the longest village in England.  I would say one of the most picturesque too.


A lot of the area is owned by  The National Trust.  For instance the property above, Manor Mill and...


...The Forge are both National Trust properties.


The Forge is a working forge open to the public and full of handmade stuff, both useful and decorative, for sale.  Made by a father and son team.  That's the son in this picture.


The Old Bakery is another National Trust property.  Picture postcard perfect.   Maureen is peeping her little head out from behind  the rose bush in front of the cottage, do you see her?


A garden outside to enjoy the cream teas in and preserved inside in it's original state.

The inside of this bakery brought back a whole lot of memories for Maureen and I.  As children we both spent a lot of time in a bakery with lots of the same equipment.  That was Mrs. Street's bakery.  A baker's shop on the corner of the street where we lived when Adam was a lad.  All those loaf tins stacked on the mantel are identical to the ones we remember also the paddles to get the tins in and out of the stoves.  Mrs Street's tables had marble tops on them I believe.  Am I right Maureen?

Mrs Street didn't have any children of her own and looking back I think it's safe to say that we were her substitute children and thereby lies a-whole-nother story.

This day was one of the highlights of the holiday for me.  I've been to Branscombe more times than I can remember but never actually walked through the village.  We've always driven through it in the past in a hurry to get to the beach before the sun went in.  In future I think maybe the village will take precedence over the beach.

Well, this post has turned into rather a long one and there are lots more pictures to share.  I'd better come back tomorrow and finish off then.


This and That

This is the book I've just finished reading, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  It's a good book and I really enjoyed it.


I was able to sit out in the garden yesterday and finish it.  The weather was just wonderful, note the sun lotion and the temperature - 86.5 degrees.  Now that's what I call hot but not unbearably hot.  All was peaceful as I sat there reading in the sun.  I hate the sound of electric lawnmowers and strimmers with a passion but yesterday I didn't hear a one of them, it was bliss.


And this is one of our colourful, loaded to the brim, hanging baskets.  William makes them up each year, waters them and the rest of the garden for that matter, and I do the dead-heading.

I hope to be back later with more photos from our holiday in Devon.


Thursday, 14 July 2011


Meet Max.


Max is a 10 week old Yorkshire Terrier and belongs to my daughter, Victoria.


He's absolutely adorable.


Everybody has fallen in love with him.


I ask you, what's not to love?


These pictures were taken last week when my daughter first got him.  He's grown a little bit since then, he's gotten bolder, friskier and like my nearly eight year old grandson, George, says has become part of the family.  He is just very, very cute!  No surprise then that he is my Simple Pleasure this week.



Tuesday, 12 July 2011

A Little Walk

Victoria and Nicholas came round to visit yesterday morning.   Charlie was already here with me.


The weather was good so we put Muffin on the lead and happily strolled around the neighbourhood.

Later in the afternoon I had another walk with my lovely neighbours and our dogs, this time through Ealees up to the lake.  For some reason I didn't take my camera with me!  I really should've done.  The sun shone, and  Ealees which is barely five minutes away in the car is so pretty.  Not to worry, I'll make sure I take it next time.


Monday, 11 July 2011

Newquay, Bedruthan Steps and Padstow.

I'm now up to Wednesday of our holiday with Maureen and Jerry in the West Country.


And on the Wednesday we journeyed over to Newquay in Cornwall.  This was a special day for my sister, it was a trip down Memory Lane for her.  Many moons ago, as a young girl, Maureen and a good friend had set off on an adventure, i.e. to work in the popular seaside resort of Newquay for the summer.  They ended up a little way up the coast from Newquay at Bedruthan Steps Hotel where Maureen worked as a receptionist.  That's Mo and me above paddling and trying not to get our pants wet on Towan Beach.


Seen on many postcards of Newquay, the suspension bridge above links the one house on that huge rock to the mainland.  I remember walking across that bridge as a teenager with my cousin, Sylvia, and it wasn't something I cared to repeat when I was there on this holiday thank you very much.


Leaving Newquay behind we took the coast road and drove past some beautiful bays.  This picture and the one below were both taken from the car as we drove along. 


Pretty as a picture and so very uncrowded.


Finally we reached Bedruthan Steps Hotel.  When it comes to property the experts say it's "location location location" that counts and this hotel above the beach at Mawgan Porth is in a location with a capital L!  Follow the link and you'll see what I mean.


The four of us boldly went into the hotel and had a good look around.  We traipsed through the public areas, around the gardens, swimming pools, tennis courts etc. and took in the beautiful sea views.  Maureen reminisced as we went along and told us tales of the antics she and her friends got up to all those summers ago.  The happy memories all came flooding back to her and it made me happy that William and I had been able to take her and Jerry on this special day out.


Maureen above is standing outside the room she lived in that summer.  The guests lived in the lap of luxury but not surprisingly the staff accommodation didn't come up to quite the same standard.  The window on the left was Maureen's room. 


Moving on we travelled further up the Cornish coast to Padstow.  I've mentioned Padstow more than once or twice on this blog, it's very close to where my cousin Sylvia and her husband have their cottage.


A gorgeous little place and like everywhere else in this sunny part of England is bedecked with beautiful blooms.


A last view of Padstow Harbour as we made our way back to the car for the journey home to Sidmouth.

This had been one of those extra special days and we all enjoyed it.  Toward the end of the day Jerry made the comment to me that he'd seen everywhere else that Maureen had ever been and now having seen Bedruthan Steps Hotel and Newquay he could picture her at every stage of her life and that made him happy.  And that made me happy.

Still more to come.



Saturday, 9 July 2011

Today in my neck of the woods...

..was a nice easy day.  Caroline, Charlie and I set off this morning for an ice cream at  Frederick's at the Chill Factore.


Of course that's something we all enjoy.  Turkish Delight is still my favourite flavour, I think that's what Charlie had too.  Caroline tried a Lemon Meringue and loved that.


Then round to Starbucks for a coffee.  It had rained earlier but the sun shone brightly while we sat outside Starbucks and enjoyed our drinks.


Back home Victoria brought the boys round for a visit.  This is a snapshot of George, my oldest grandson.  We'd had a great time playing all sorts of pretend games such as, Meercat Rescue Centre, pretending to be puppies, then monkeys at the zoo, also being soldier spies in the Navy (mmm I know?) and good old Hide & Seek.

Just an ordinary day, but my kind of day.