Sunday, 1 August 2021

Our John

After my mum died I decided that I'd like to plant a rose in her memory. I looked for one with a meaning and eventually came up with Sheila's Perfume which I thought fitted the bill nicely as my mum was called Sheila. I wanted to do something similar for my dad.

Our John is the perfect rose. A floribunda with masses of vibrant yellow blooms and a delicate fragrance. John was my dad's name and many Northerners, especially in Yorkshire, add Our before a name when speaking to, or about, a family member.

It came planted up in a pot but wasn't very big, I didn't expect to get any flowers this year so it was a nice surprise when I found a bud. I think yellow roses are my favourite of all and this one hasn't disappointed. 

As the flowers fade they take on a much more subdued hue which I love. You really wouldn't think that this is the same flower.

I've left it in the pot it arrived in until it settles but I shall get it a shiny new pot where it will live, and it can stand side by side with Sheila's Perfume in memory of my dad.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Settle Flowerpot Festival

Following on from my last post, while we were in Settle having lunch on our day out, we came across a number of flowerpot characters...

...we didn't know what they were all about at first but we soon discovered a sign taped to a lamppost. The Settle Flowerpot Festival. If I'd known about this before our trip I'd have devoted more time to it, I do enjoy a trail to follow.

Here are a selection of a few flowerpot characters that I snapped.

Some are better than others.

I've seen scarecrow trails before but never a flowerpot festival.

I think it's brilliant when a community comes together to put on this type of event.

There's some really creative people out there.

They were all over the town.

This one was in the car park and I think it was my favourite from the ones I took photos of.

Settle Flowerpot Festival runs throughout July and August, the last day being Sunday the 5th of September 2021. There are over 150 flowerpot creations on display throughout the town, three different flowerpot trails and a quiz available.

Kettlewell is another Dales village. It usually put on a scarecrow festival in August but it's unfortunately cancelled this year, as it was last year, because of coronavirus. If you'd like to see some scarecrows from years past you can take a look at my Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival and More From Kettlewell posts from back in 2014. We've visited this festival quite a few times.

There's always something new to see or do each time we visit the Yorkshire Dales, no wonder we return again and again.

Saturday, 24 July 2021


The weather was gorgeous last Friday so Mick decided to take a day off work and we headed off into the Yorkshire Dales. We started off in Malham, a small village in the Pennines. Most visitors pass through on their way to Malham Cove, a cliff formation of limestone rock. On the top is a large area of limestone pavement where scenes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were filmed. We didn't visit Malham Cove this time, we last visited back in 2012, I didn't realise it had been all that long ago, and you can read about it in my Back To The Dales post.

There isn't much in Malham itself but it's a lovely quaint village to wander round.

At the entrance to the village is a carved limestone boulder with a quote from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.

Here you can see the road which leads to Malham Cove. It's about a mile from the village and then there's over four hundred steps to climb. It's a little too much to ask of Archie these days.

The Malham Smithy is the workshop of blacksmith Annabelle Bradley, she's been in residence since 2007. Bill Wild was Blacksmith here from about 1946 until his death in 1985. He bequeathed the Malham Smithy to St Michaels Church and they now lease it out, the rent providing income for the church.

How cute are all these birdboxes hung on the Beck Hall Hotel. I wonder if any of them are occupied.

The Yorkshire Dales are known for their dry stone walls. I love to see them covered in moss like this.

A stream runs through the centre of Malham and there's a woodland walk which runs right by it. It was the perfect place to let Archie off his lead for a breather as the small wood is enclosed by walls and is gated.

It was a hot day and Archie enjoyed being able to cool off in the stream.

These mushrooms were growing on a tree. The photo doesn't show how huge they were.

It was nice to be able to cool off in the shade of the tree canopy. This day out was at the start of the heatwave and it got incredibly hot that day.

After a stroll around the village we decided to drive to Settle, a market town about six and a half miles from Malham. I never tire of seeing all the animals in the fields and by the side of the road. 

It gets a bit much when they block your way though, haha. They don't move out of your way either, we had to manoeuvre our way around these cows but it didn't end there because there was another small herd further along the road. I do love to see animals roaming free though.

Our lunch in Settle consisted of a hot steak and ale pie from Drake & Macefield butchers. If you're ever in the area I can heartily recommend them. It's not the first time we've sampled their wares and it won't be the last. We also purchased some cold pies to bring home with us, they're so good. Afterwards we set off for Hawes, passing the impressive Ribbleshead Viaduct on the way. 

We had a lovely day out and I'm sure it won't be long until we feel the draw of the Dales again.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Book Giveaway Winners

Thank you to everyone who entered my book giveaway.

I have chosen two winners at random. Kay is the winner of Mine by Susi Fox and Flashin Scissors is the winner of Mine by Clare Empson. Can you both please let me know your name and address details so that I can get the books sent out to you. You can find my email address by clicking on my name in the About Me section at the top of the sidebar. 

I hope you both enjoy the books as much as I did.

Friday, 16 July 2021

Puerperium Cardigan

Contrary to what everyone must be thinking by now after I've been knitting a flurry of baby garments just lately, there are no babies on the way in the family, nor do I know of anyone who is expecting, but I see these cute little clothes and can't resist knitting them. Never mind, I'll have plenty of  things ready to give as gifts whenever a baby does arrive.

This latest offering is the Puerperium Cardigan, a simple pattern and an ingenious design. It's a simple style which is designed to be easy for new parents to dress their baby in the puerperium period (6 weeks post birth) as it buttons up the side rather than the front.

I've used Rico Baby Dream DK in the Pastel Confetti colourway and it's so soft, perfect for next to baby's skin. It only took 70g of yarn so with the leftovers I decided to knit a hat to match. I went with the Plain and Striped Newborn Purple Hat by Halifax Charity Knitters, another free pattern on Ravelry and I think it goes perfect with the cardigan.

Both patterns were a pleasure to knit and I can see me knitting them both again in the future, perhaps when there's an actual baby to knit for.

Monday, 12 July 2021

Mine Giveaway

My last post was about two books I'd recently read, each with the same title, Mine. One was written by Susi Fox and the other by Clare Empson. I really enjoyed each of these books and thought you might like to read them too.

You can find the blurb for each of the books in my last post. If you think you'd like to read them please leave a comment on this post and if your name is pulled out of the hat, I'll send one of the books to you. Please let me know if you have a preference in your comment otherwise I'll just choose which one to send to you myself. There will be two winners, each one winning one of the books. I'm sorry but this is a UK only giveaway owing to postage, you'd be able to buy the book cheaper than it would cost for me to post it abroad.

I'll leave this giveaway open for a week or so before choosing the two winners at random. 

Good luck.

Thursday, 8 July 2021


A couple of months ago I bought a few books from The Works. Two of the books had the same title, Mine, but were written by different authors. 

"The baby in the cot is not your baby.

You wake up alone after an emergency caesarean, desperate to see your child. But when you are shown the small infant, a terrible thought seizes you: this baby is not mine.

They say you're delusional.

No one believes you. Not the nurses, your father or even your own husband. They say you're confused. Dangerous.

But you're a doctor - you know how easily mistakes can be made. Or even deliberate ones.

Everyone is against you; do you trust your instincts? Or is your traumatic past clouding your judgement? You know only one thing.

You must find your baby."

The first book I read was Mine by Susi Fox. This was one of those books which kept me reading, I just didn't know in which way the story was going, was the new mum suffering from postpartum psychosis, had a mistake been made, or was there something more sinister going on in the hospital? 

This is the author's debut novel and I think she's done a great job with it, I was kept guessing, and changing my thoughts on what the outcome would be, right until the very end. I thought this book was excellent.

"'Who am I?

Why am I here?

Why did my mother give me away?'

Luke has always felt like an outsider. But when he finds his birth mother Alice, he feels an instant connection with her.

So when Luke's wife goes back to work and they need someone to look after their son, Alice seems like the perfect choice.

But Alice is battling with demons of her own - she's still not forgotten the heart-breaking events of 27 years ago that forced her to give up her child.

And she will do anything to stop history repeating itself..."

I found Mine by Clare Empson to be a slow burner at the start but it was setting the scene and once it got going I was hooked. The story is written in the present from Luke's point of view, and recalls Alice's past, with alternating chapters. It's a beautifully written book which deals with all the emotions of love and loss. Billed as a psychological thriller, this book is so much more.

Two books with the same title and I'd recommend both. I enjoyed Mine by Susi Fox so much that I didn't expect to enjoy Mine by Clare Empson as much, but I was wrong. If I were to recommend one above the other it would definitely be Clare Empson's Mine.

Sunday, 4 July 2021


When Eleanor completed her degree in biomedical science she had the qualification she needed to be a biomedical scientist, however, before she could practise as a biomedical scientist she had to complete an Institute of Biomedical Science Certificate of Competence in order to apply for Health and Care Professions Council registration as a biomedical scientist. In simple terms, her degree is her academic training but she also had to complete a portfolio showing her competence before she could apply for registration.

The portfolio is usually completed whilst working as a trainee, however, trainee jobs have been very thin on the ground in our area. I don't know if this is usually the case or if it's a knock-on effect of the pandemic (so many things are put down to this these days), so Eleanor took a job as a medical laboratory assistant. Whilst she's been there her employers have allowed her to do her additional training and complete her portfolio, which she sent off to be assessed. She also had to do a presentation demonstrating her knowledge. She did this last week and at the end of this, the examiner told her she'd passed. She now has to register with the Health and Care Professions Council and then she's able to practise as a biomedical scientist. She just needs a job now. She's still working as a medical laboratory assistant at the moment but she's hoping that a suitable job will come up at the hospital she's working at already, I don't think she's keen to change hospitals.

One of the things the examiner said to Eleanor was that she was impressed by the breadth of her knowledge and that she was verging on the knowledge a specialist biomedical scientist would have. What a lovely remark, though Eleanor has worked very hard to get where she's at and loves what she's doing so this doesn't surprise me.

Jacob was lucky, he also took a job as a medical laboratory assistant but a trainee biomedical scientist job came up at the hospital he's working at which he applied for and he got the job. He hasn't completed his portfolio yet but he's not far off now, and his employer has allowed him to apply for a biomedical scientist job which has come up at his hospital and he's been successful, so he's got a job waiting for him as soon as he qualifies.

They're both at the beginning of their careers but they're both ambitious and work hard so I can see them going far. We're very proud of them both.

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Matlock Bath

Last Wednesday, while Mick was still on holiday, we decided to head off to Matlock Bath in Derbyshire. We really like this quirky village which was one of the country's first tourist destinations.

We last visited Matlock Bath a couple of years ago and we retraced our steps along the pathway at the side of the River Derwent. This riverside path is known as Lover's Walks.

Again, we had lovely sunshine for our day out, we've been really spoilt with the weather each time Mick's taken time off this year. Both rowing boats and motor boats can be hired on the river and though we did consider taking a boat out, we decided against.

There are some beautiful places in Derbyshire and I feel a close connection with the county as my mum was born in Derby and generations of her ancestors were born and bred in various villages here.

After our walk along the river we had a look in some of the little shops which line the main street. There's quite a few which sell knick-knacks and touristy merchandise and though I never buy much from these type of places, I do enjoy looking around them.

On our way home we stopped off in Matlock, the county town of Derbyshire. It's not touristy like Matlock Bath is but we came across a small market so we had a bit of a mooch around.

Again, the River Derwent flows through the town.

It was a nice day out, made all the better by the lovely weather.

Saturday, 26 June 2021


Mick's been on holiday this past week, we've had some lovely days out. We've been to the coast a few times just recently but with the weather being so nice again we decided another visit was in order. It's Scarborough we usually choose when visiting the seaside but this time we decided on Bridlington, or Brid as it's affectionately known, about eighteen miles south of Scarborough, so that was our destination on Tuesday.

A dog ban is in place on many beaches around the UK, they usually run from the 1st of May to the end of September, and Bridlington is no different. There's usually somewhere on the beach where dogs are allowed though and at Bridlington it's only the main section of the beach which is out of bounds to dogs. This is the south beach which runs right the way to Fraisthorpe and beyond. It was lovely and quiet, just a few dog walkers about.

Although it was sunny, there was a keen wind down on the beach. It wasn't a cold wind though. Just look at Archie's ears blowing in the breeze.

Mick seems to have had quite a bit of time off work just lately, he's been using up holidays that he carried over from last year's entitlement. He just never got round to taking much time off last year, for one thing we didn't go away anywhere on holiday, and another, he's just been so busy at work. It's been nice that he's been able to take all this time off when the weather's been so nice.

I've said before how much Archie loves the seaside. I think this photo demonstrates his absolute pleasure. He's getting an old boy now at eleven and he's slowing down a bit, but he can still act like a puppy at times.

Looking towards the town. There's been a lot of improvements made to Bridlington in recent years and the regeneration of various areas is still ongoing. The sky really was that blue, no adjustments have been made to these photos.

One of the Land Trains which run along the promenade stopping at various locations. It's a good way to get about if you don't want to walk but want to see all the sights.

We walked around the harbour. Although the fishing fleet has declined, Bridlington is the largest lobster port in the UK and is known for its shellfish. The harbour is also busy with sea anglers and pleasure cruises.

Wherever we visit on the coast, there's always seagulls waiting for someone to throw them a crumb or two.

Bridlington was the main holiday destination for my parents and brother and sister before I came along, they enjoyed many happy holidays there. In fact, I took my first steps in Bridlington. Here I am walking on the beach. I was born in 1968 so this will have been taken in 1969.

Another photo of me, this time with my sister. She was twelve years older than me.

Bridlington holds many happy memories for generations of people. Its first hotel opened in 1805 and people still flock there for their holidays today.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Fly Away

It's a while ago now since Maggie from BlackCountry Wench blog sent me Fly Away by Kristin Hannah. She'd just finished reading it herself and thought that I might like it. She hadn't realised at the time that it was the sequel to another book, Firefly Lane, but she enjoyed it as a standalone book nevertheless. I decided that before I read Fly Away, I'd borrow Firefly Lane from the library and read that first but I had to order it and it's taken such a long time for my name to reach the front of the queue. It was worth the wait though.

"In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the social food-chain at school. Then, to her amazement, the 'coolest girl in the world' moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all - beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be, but they make a pact to be best friends forever: by summer's end they've become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

For thirty years Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship, jealousy, anger, hurt and resentment. Tully follows her ambition to find fame and success. Kate knows that all she wants is to fall in love and have a family but what she doesn't know is how being a wife and a mother will change her. They think they've survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart and puts their courage and lifelong friendship to the ultimate test."

I loved this book, it's such a rollercoaster ride of friendship and you're carried along with the story of TullyandKate.

When I finished Firefly Lane I wanted to know what happened next and so the very next book I reached for was Fly Away.

"Celebrity news reporter and presenter Tully Hart has hit rock bottom. Kate Ryan had been her best friend for more than thirty years. They'd  lived, laughed, danced and cried together. Kate had been her anchor, and now Tully was cast adrift - not knowing how she was going to survive.

Kate's daughter, Marah, was only sixteen years old when her mother died. Consumed with guilt over the fights they'd had during the last months of Kate's life, Marah runs away and drops out of society - even withdrawing all contact with her family.

Tully's mother, Cloud, a child of the Sixties, has lived in a world of her own, dependent on drugs for most of her adult life. She now wants to prove that she can help her daughter. But what will it take for Tully to forgive?

And then something momentous happens which causes each one of them to realise what they've done, and what they have become."

Another fabulous book which answers a lot of questions left hanging from the first book and ties up all the loose ends.

To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy Fly Away when I started it, it just seemed different to Firefly Lane, the dynamics of it were different somehow but as the story unravelled I enjoyed it more and more. There's some great characters in the book, I didn't always like them, but by the end I understood them.

I'd definitely recommend both books. Read them in order, they're great stories.

I thought I'd just mention that Firefly Lane has been turned into a drama series on Netflix. After enjoying both these books I thought I'd give it a go. I managed to get half an hour in to the first episode before I turned it off, it was awful. Perhaps I should have watched longer, perhaps it would have got better, but after enjoying the books so much I just couldn't stand another minute longer. Have you watched the series? What did you think?

Friday, 18 June 2021

Back To Fairburn Ings

We used to visit RSPB Fairburn Ings often when Daniel and Eleanor were small, they used to love feeding the ducks and it was the perfect place to take them where they were guaranteed to encounter some hungry birds. It's only about five miles away from where we live but we don't go so often these days so on Saturday we thought it was about time we paid another visit.

Unfortunately, we were a bit disappointed. Firstly, some of the pathways are one-way. I'm presuming that this is because of coronavirus restrictions, however, others are not, so what's the point? Secondly, we didn't even venture near the hides as they were choc-a-block with people. I'd have thought there'd have been a maximum number of people allowed in them at any one time at the moment with the times we find ourselves in. I may have had both my jabs now but I'm still taking precautions when I'm out and about and I wouldn't want to be in such close proximity to all those people.

The other thing I noticed was that various areas were blocked off, such as the pond dipping platform and the duck feeding platform, I'm not sure if this is down to coronavirus restrictions or something else, but there's no consistency when so many people are occupying the hides at one time.

So it turned out that we weren't to see any birds on our walk except for a crow and three ducks. Oh, there was a robin too which a crowd of people had gathered to see, all huddled together and blocking the path. There were quite a few damselflies about though, I had to be quick to get a photo as they don't hang around for long.

There were some lovely flowers to admire. 

I think the wildflowers have gone mad this year, perhaps it's down to all the rain we had in May.

There were probably some birds on this lake, though they were too far away for me to see.

Perhaps we'll leave it a while before we return, I'm not really in any hurry to visit again at the moment. We did have a good walk though and Archie was tired out when we got home, I think it was the distance we walked coupled with the heat, it was a scorcher.