Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Gardens of Luddenden

A couple of weeks ago now William and I took a short drive over the border into West Yorkshire and in particular to the village of Luddenden.   Why Luddenden?  Well, because Luddenden was opening to the public (for a small charge) the gates to 16 of its village gardens.  This is something that many towns and villages in Britain do throughout the summer and luckily for us I found out in time to visit Luddenden.

Luddenden is in a very hilly part of the world.  In fact there's not much flat ground to be found anywhere in these parts.  The village clings to both sides of a steep valley so the people who like to garden here do not have it easy.  We must've visited at least eight or nine of the sixteen gardens and only one of them was on level ground.

This is part of the garden behind that house.  The owner was telling me that he and his wife had lived there since 1970 and had worked hard to turn what was just a wild hillside into the garden it is now.  I think I'd call them plants-people rather than gardeners.

Some of the gardens, like this one had plants for sale.  Many of the gardens had thriving vegetable plots this garden being one of them.  The owner was busy cutting down rhubarb to sell while we were there.

The sun was cracking the flags by now and it was hard and thirsty work climbing up and down and around this glorious little village.

So we decided to rest a while and have a bite to eat and a cup of tea.  Very civilised and very British.

I really liked these containers full mainly of succulents. In fact I've copied this idea.  I've got all my fingers and toes crossed in the hope that my little terracotta potful of succulents survives and flourishes like these have. The plastic spray bottle up there in the first of these two pictures contained a garlic solution to keep slugs at bay.  Never heard of that before.

This is the side of the house, we were on our way to find the next house.  Billy is carrying the plant we purchased here in that little brown cardboard box.  

Aren't the original old cobble sets lovely to see?  They are to be found everywhere in this old village.

That's William sitting down there at the bus stop.  He wasn't waiting for a bus he was waiting for me as I had soldiered manfully on up another hill to see another garden.  Billy wasn't fit enough to take on all these hills as only being six weeks away from open heart surgery he didn't have the energy for it.  The heart surgery is a whole other story.  One that came from nowhere out of the blue but he's still here to tell that story and for that we are grateful!

Here he is sitting on another wall earlier in the day.  Lucky for us, and everybody else for that matter, the organisers of this event had laid on transport to take people up the hills to the less accessible gardens without which we would only have seen half of what we did.

Having been up one side of the valley we now began the descent to the valley bottom.  We were both mighty glad we had to walk down this cobbled hill and not up it.

At the bottom of the cobbled hill we were rewarded with this view as we crossed in front of one garden to reach the next.  Lots of lupins in this garden.  I really liked this higgledy piggledy little corner of the village.

Another tiered garden at the bottom of which was a lawned area.

On the lawn was a sweet little summer house with an enviable view.

Moving on again to what was probably both mine and William's favourite garden. I got talking to the lovely lady who lived here and she told me that she and her husband had worked hard over the twelve or so years they had lived here to make the garden what it was now.

Between them they created this large, full to the brim, tiered garden from what was in the beginning just a forlorn wildly overgrown hillside. And now every which way you turned there were loads of different plants and interesting features to take your attention.  The pictures just do not do it justice at all.

In one of the gardens was this greenhouse.  Only small but packed full of goodness.  Look at the size of those cabbages!  (This one's for you, Jerry, I thought you might like to see some vegetables.  Note the tomatoes, they can't compete with yours can they?).

We had had a full day traipsing around Luddenden and thoroughly enjoying all it had to offer.  I don't know which I liked most, the gardens or the panoramic views from them.  As with all good things they come to an end and here's Billy waiting on another wall.  And this time, yes, he was waiting for a bus... well a big 4-wheel Range Rover type vehicle to take us back down the hill to the car park

This was my purchase from the garden where we ate lunch.  Two weeks later and it's still looking good.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Coniston Water in England's Beautiful Lake District

Continuing with our Silverdale break...

Having waved Sylvia off on Thursday morning, a ride up to Coniston Water was on that afternoon's agenda.

It was a bit of a blustery day.  One of those that blows the cobwebs off.   The building you can see up there is The Bluebird Cafe and that was where we ate lunch enjoying stunning views across the lake.

Taking a stroll by the lakeside the weather was definitely a bit fresh.  Exhilarating, even. Middle sister felt the need to rearrange big sister's coat for her.  Looking at this photo now reminds me of chimpanzees grooming each other.  :-)

This is the river which runs through the centre of Coniston town.  Picturesque for certain.

A close up of the house in the distance in the previous photo.  How idyllic is that?  How wonderful it must be to sit out on that deck with a good book and only the sounds of a babbling brook and birdsong for company.   Heaven.

Something had caught Jerry's eye in this shop.  This was the second time he had looked in this window.  He was on the lookout for souvenirs to take home.

Maureen left them to it and Jerry left whatever it was he'd had his eye on in the shop.  Only window shopping done this time.

Gorgeous scenery on the way back to the car.  I think an estate agent would describe this property as "a delightful cottage nestled in glorious countryside near the lake".  And as it happens, so would I.

This was one of several sunsets we were fortunate enough to feast our eyes on from the caravan park.  

"Sunsets are so beautiful that they almost seem as if we were looking through the gates of heaven".
John Lubbock

And so, our break in the Lake District was drawing to a close.

Friday was going home day.  On the way home we broke our journey in Kirkby Londsdale where we consumed a hearty late breakfast at The Old Bakery.  William and I love that little place and have never been disappointed with the food in there.

My birthday is in September and in her card to me Maureen had written "Our road trips together have been some of our best memories and the ones coming up will be nothing less". To that I want to add "my sentiments exactly".   As with every holiday we have ever spent together we had had a wonderfully, happy, fun time in Cornwall and, no surprise, more of the the same in Silverdale.  Silverdale had perhaps even been a bit more special adding Jean and Sylvia into the mix.

Come back soon, Maureen and Jerry, let's do it all over again!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Stunning Autumn Colours at Sizergh Castle

Moving onto Wednesday of our stay in Silverdale.

Every old village worth its salt in days of old had a set of stocks and Beetham still has its set sitting on the village green.  

Here I had asked Jerry to sit down and try them out for size so that I could take a picture. You can clearly tell from his face the answer was something like "You must be joking!"

Beetham village is a lovely little place and has its fair share of quaint cottages.

A post office and tea rooms both of which were closed on the day we visited. 

It also has a come-and-have-a-look-inside church. The beautiful St. Michael & All Angels church is a Grade 1 listed building, parts of which date back to the 11th and 12th centuries. It's a shame I had to cut the tower off in this picture but I couldn't get both all of Maureen and all of the tower so I went with all of Maureen. However, there's a much better picture of the church in this post.

Next up was a visit to Sizergh Castle.  William and I both love this place and have spent many happy hours here.  There are several marked walks to take from the car park, most of which we have done.

But on this day the focus was on the stunning autumn garden.

The colours were jaw droppingly gorgeous!

Just for the heck of it here is that same garden in March 2015.  The difference between spring and autumn. Incredible isn't it?

Our next port of call was  Low Sizergh Barn just a short spell down the road.  We made our way there and were just in time to see the cows squashed together in the barn queueing up for milking.  This poor cow was definitely one of the more squashed ones!

Thursday morning Sylvia made her farewell but not before we had a walk round the campsite...

... and snapped a couple of pictures...

..for posterity.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Autumn in Silverdale 2016

In my last few posts I have chronicled our happy trip to Cornwall with Maureen and Jerry. Well, I haven't done with their visit home yet as I still have our five day break in Silverdale, Cumbria to get down on this blog for posterity.  So without further ado, here goes.

Returning from Cornwall we all had a two day breather at home before reloading the car, collecting Maureen, Jerry and Jean and heading north.  Our base in Silverdale was Holgates Caravan Park.  The idea to stay in a caravan was mine.  Of course everybody agreed to it but ultimately if it turned out to be a bad idea I would shoulder the blame!  I knew the site and the area well.  The site has high standards in everything and Silverdale is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  However, I admit to a couple of sleepless nights after I had booked the caravan.  Would it be big enough for six adults?  Would it be comfortable? Mainly would it be warm enough for visitors from the southern USA who had left behind temperatures in the 80s and 90s?  And my sister, Jean, who isn't in the best of health at the moment, would it be warm enough for her?

Thankfully all my worries faded away.. 

 .. when I stepped foot inside the van to find it was big, spotlessly clean, had a spacious living area, a good sized shower room and a further separate toilet. Moreover the heating was on and the whole van was toasty warm and cosy.  Phew!

Naturally, after unpacking the first thing to do was relax with a nice cup of tea.  The weather was pleasant enough to sit outside and enjoy it.  This holiday was to be all about taking it easy, strolling here and there, enjoying the scenery and filling our lungs with fresh autumn air.  Mostly it was simply about enjoying each other's company.

Tuesday morning we were joined by our sweet cousin, Sylvia, who had driven up from the Peak District to spend the next couple of nights with us.  We had arranged to meet her in lovely, sunny Arnside.

We were so lucky with the  weather.  October 2016 turned out to be one of the driest on record for the last 65 years.

After strolling around Arnside it was time for morning coffee at one of my favourite places in this neck of the woods, The Wolf House Gallery.

Fortified by coffee and cakes we were ready for more wandering.  This is Gibraltar Farm campsite.  For peace and tranquillity I think this site would be hard to beat.

Very photogenic windswept trees in the bottom field.

The men take in the view.

Gibraltar Farm is a working farm and as we passed the open cow barn it was a treat to see all the new calves.  I think they are beautiful creatures.  Those big doleful eyes.  What's not to love?

Four happy wanderers, their faces dappled by the sunshine coming through the trees.

We wandered off the beaten track and just went where the paths led us.

Making our way back up the hill through the bracken back towards Gibraltar Farm and ultimately our base at Holgates which was only a ten minute or so drive away.

Like I said this holiday was all about taking it easy and I think at the end of every day we could sit back and safely say - mission accomplished.

Until next time,