Keswick 2013

The Alley to Crandy NookFire!Street TheatreInvaders!Tiny Castle CragCatbells and Maiden Moor
Pitch and Putt22 years later...NappingWatching the sleepy cowsGrandma's cakeSkiddaw
WaitingLow cloudShelteringLakeland rainThe Keswick LaunchRigging
Amy & SamDistant boatLow cloud 2Coming closerDe-riggingHappy sailor!

Keswick 2013, a set on Flickr.

Another Cumbrian adventure in the North Lakes with the Family and In-Laws of Mine.

Mountain walking, Wayfarer sailing, Lake kayaking, ice-cream eating, Jennings drinking, game playing, jigsaw failing, sheep spotting, photograph taking, waterfall finding…

A great time was had by all.


Devil’s Dyke, West Sussex


The Family made the most of the sunshine last Sunday, driving over to Devil’s Dyke near Brighton, an historic beauty spot on the South Downs Way, that is named after the huge dry valley that carves its way through ridges of rolling chalk grassland.

None of the photographs I took do justice to the depth and scale of the valley. The panorama above, taken from the eastern side, completely conceals the 300 foot deep valley, which according to one of the many stories in local folklore, was dug by the Devil to allow the sea to flood the churches in the Sussex Weald. The digging disturbed an old woman who lit a candle, or angered a rooster causing it to crow (depending on which legend you ‘believe’), making the Devil think that morning was fast approaching. The Devil then fled, leaving his trench unfinished.

Anyway, Children of Mine – my own little Devils – thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon out.


Especially Daughter of Mine, who delighted in all things yellow (her favourite colour – check out those shoes – and yes, she does like butter), including all 395 of the Cinnabar Moth caterpillars she and her brother counted that were feeding on the yellow ragwort.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny


The 'tiny' Family kite flying by the 'giant' windmill

The Family went on an impromptu walk to Halnaker Windmill last weekend. Daughter of Mine and I were out shopping for costume accessories for the show we are both in this week and got a text from Husband of Mine saying that he and Son of Mine had gone up to the windmill to fly kites. So we met them up there, after stopping at home for essentials. Flasks of tea. And my camera.

So they flew the kites, whilst I wandered on Halnaker Hill, snapping away.

I was struck by how tiny everything looked when compared to the windmill – the Family, the kites they were flying, the tiny planes with their vapour trails criss-crossing the sky, the wild flowers and grasses on the hill – even how tiny the features of the coastline looked.

Yet the windmill itself looks tiny from afar. We are lucky enough to be able to see it from our house; the photo below was taken on Boxing Day last year when the snow was still on the ground.

Halnaker Windmill

Halnaker Windmill looking 'tiny' from afar

Here’s some more ‘tiny’ views taken that afternoon:


Laying in the grass for a few shots made everything 'tinier' still


Looking south to the 'tiny' features of the Sussex coast


The 'tiniest' of buttercups

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

The Family are all out in the garden, in the lovely sunshine (but biting wind). Children of Mine have been bribed encouraged to help with chores – washing the car, gardening – in return for a pocket money boost.

I am inside, on a mission to come up with a Plan for the Garden. And cook roast pork.

But I got sidetracked, reading blog entries for this week’s photo challenge: ‘Shadow’.  And the first one I clicked on – Gardening, Bumble bee and a Sunset Shadow – defined exactly why I wasn’t in the garden with the Family instead today – “80% of gardening is the equivalent of housework”.

I rest my case.

And so back to the photo challenge – The Shadow Family on the descent from High Rigg, east of Keswick. It’s the only photo of the 800 or so that I took that I’m actually in (I’m second from the right). Hope you like it.

The Shadow Family

Dream of sheep…

I turned the computer on tonight to do one thing.  And ended up doing something completely different.

What I was going to do was to continue ‘housekeeping’ on my newly revamped PC by checking all was in order with my digital photos, before writing a post about what I found during my recent tidy of the loft.  What I actually did was to log on to WordPress and got sucked into reading a freshly pressed blog post entitled Surrounded by Sheep.

To steal a line from the author, Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe, I too am ‘… forever surrounded by sheep.’

I have loved sheep for a very long time now.  I think I can trace it back to my first visit to the Lake District, where I fell in love with all Cumbria has to offer. Now every time I see a sheep, I am transported in my mind to the majestic mountains of North West England.

One of my early encounters with a sheep was on the summit of Pillar, where friends and I got talking to a group of walkers who had got into difficulties the night before and slept on the mountain in preference to heading down the mountain in the dark.  The group leader had asked us to take some of their surplus food to ease their load on the way down, which we did without question – but this lone sheep on the summit had his own ideas of how to help. Keen to check out the left-overs, he proceeded to munch his way through a packet of cream crackers, thus earning himself the nickname, ‘Jacob’, and then devoured a nectarine before deftly spitting out the stone.

Over the years I have collected, and been given as presents, many ‘sheep’ objects –  among them a sheep puppet which I bought for myself at a psychology conference in Vienna; a wooden 3d sheep jigsaw which now serves as a worthy addition to our Nativity crib at Christmas; three ceramic ‘flying’ sheep (like Hilda Ogden’s flying ducks), not to mention numerous photographs and pictures, cards and notepaper, pens, pots, keyrings and fridge magnets.

My prize sheep though is the rocking sheep given to me as a 29th birthday present from my parents.  As a child I was desperate to own a rocking horse – of course now I am a parent myself I know what a ridiculously expensive present this is to covet – yet my grandparents went some way towards satisfying my childish wants and bought me a rocking chair, which I still own.

But my lovely dad always remembered this childhood desire of mine, so of course when he saw a rocking sheep sitting outside a shop, somewhere on the way up to London I believe, he persuaded Mother of Mine that nothing else would do as a present that year.  Of course, Daughter of Mine came along about 18 months later, followed by Son of Mine, so it has been played with by children as it was intended, but always on the understanding that it’s ‘Mummy’s special rocking sheep.’  It’s now back in my room, at the foot of the bed –  so the memories are always in sight.

So I’ll leave ewe with a few more of my photographic memories of being ‘surrounded by sheep’…

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She’ll be coming ’round the mountain

It was sunny today here in Sussex – so here’s a sunny-ish Lake District photo to celebrate, taken last August on a circular walk incorporating Causey Pike and Sail.

Looking east from towards Keswick

The Family were on holiday last August together with In-Laws of Mine, in the week leading up to two big birthdays – my 40th and my father-in-law’s 70th!  On the day of this walk, they had gone with the children to climb Castle Crag in Borrowdale, leaving me and Husband of Mine to enjoy this long walk.  

Starting at Stair, we made the ascent to Causey Pike via Rowling End, then went on to Sail and Crag Hill before descending some very steep scree to the valley below.  It was a fabulous walk – as always – but made even more entertaining by watching a group who were gorge walking in Stoneycroft Gill. 

Gorge walking involves walking and scrambling through water, swimming across pools and climbing up waterfalls.   Judging by the cheers and shouts of encouragement, the group were obviously having great fun – plucking up the courage to jump from a rocky ledge into the freezing Lakeland water, and then heading downstream to do it all again at the next suitable place.  

If you fancy a bit of gorge walking this year (and I don’t), then check out this video:

Personally, I’d rather just go up, along, round and down the mountain.  Singing ‘aye-aye-yippee-yippee-aye’.  With a squashed cheese and pickle sandwich and a flask of tea in my rucksack.  Follow that with Cumberland sausage and mash in the Oddfellows Arms in Keswick, washed down with a pint of Jennings, and a performance at the Theatre by the Lake

Who could ask for anything more?

Rambling on and on…

Right.  Probably about time I mentioned a hill in my blog.  I got into walking early on my relationship with Husband of Mine*;  in a field of cows on the Isle of Wight; on the South Downs and then in the mountains of Slovenia – in fact, it was Svinjak near Bovec that pretty much cemented things in 1988 (he proposed; I accepted). 

Svinjak from east of Bovec

This was followed a couple of years later by a holiday in the English Lake District, carting the In-Laws of Mine’s* luggage from B&B to B&B while they walked the Coast to Coast walk, in return for the use of their car for the duration of the holiday.  Despite the lousy campsite at Bassenthwaite, I fell in love with Keswick in the North Lakes, and it is here I escape to in the flesh, or in my head – when times are good, or bad, or in-between.  The header at the top of my blog is one of the most photographed shots in the Lakes – Catbells from the shores of Derwentwater – with another favourite family climb, Castle Crag, just visible in the foreground at the end of the lake.  I’m proud to say the photograph is one of mine – I’m no expert, but then to me the mountains never fail to show their best side when I point my camera at them.

The Family – Daughter of Mine* and Son of Mine* – now have to share our love of walking; at the moment it seems quite happily.  Here’s a snap taken last weekend on a walk from Amberley to Arundel – casting our family shadow across the Arun valley.

*The Family of Blood – Doctor Who, Series 3 – share such scary coincidences with my immediate family that I thought these pseudonyms to be appropriate.  The resemblance is most apparent in Son of Mine and Daughter of Mine, who are indeed sometimes “gaseous entities that can control Human bodies” (namely mine – “twist”, “little” and “finger” are words that come to mind).  And The Family are all fans of DW – past, present and future…