Wednesday 30 April 2014

Bluebell Wood Revisited

I don't know how many times I've visited our local woods at bluebell time, lots and lots. Archie enjoys walking there but we don't go during the winter months, it's just too muddy, and with a farmer's field to cross to get there, you can imagine the state he would arrive home in. Our visits to the woods start at just around this time each year, and look at the sight which greets us.

Mick has taken a few walks in the woods with Archie already this year and alerted me to the fact that the bluebells are in flower, and as it was such a beautiful evening on Monday, I decided the time was right for my first visit of the year.

It's a magical place at bluebell time, the colour seems to light the whole area up, even though the ground is shrouded by a great canopy of trees.

I love to see the bluebells en masse like this, it just accentuates the colour and it looks as though the woodland floor is covered by a beautiful carpet.

They can look very pretty on their own too.

The flowers of the wild garlic will be following very soon, just the odd one or two blooming at the moment.

I love to see ivy wending its way up a tree.

The woods will be one of Archie's regular jaunts again now that the weather's better and there isn't so much mud around, especially whilst the bluebells are in flower.

Archie enjoyed his walk in Bluebell Wood and so did I.

Monday 28 April 2014

Challenge Update - April 2014

My 2014 challenges are:-

1) Knit one hat each week for The Innocent Big Knit.

2) Do something nice for me.

3) Choose a non fiction book from the library.

I've gone back to Alison Hogg's Big Knit hat pattern this month, but as you can see, I've knit the hats in two tone. I think it makes them look a bit different, and I'm still loving this pattern. You can find it on The Creations of Crazy Dazy blog.

I think these little flowers just finish the hats off nicely.

I had a lie in for my nice thing for April. I can't tell you how long it's been since I've slept in past eight in the morning, and even eight's late for me. I'm not a very good sleeper, I'm usually awake during the night unable to get back to sleep and I wake very early. The slightest thing disturbs me, and the slightest worry or niggle keeps me awake. I walk around exhausted most of the time as I know I don't get enough sleep, so when I woke one weekend morning and managed to get back to sleep, I took advantage and didn't stir until about ten, I couldn't believe it. I even stayed there even longer and read my book. A rare treat indeed.

I've found, through researching my family tree, that my ancestors have lived in Leeds since 1777, perhaps even earlier than that as I haven't been able to trace my tree further back yet. This has piqued my interest in local history, I often wonder what the area was like when earlier generations of my family were alive. The book I've chosen from the library for April is Blue Plaques of Leeds by Dyson and Grady. The blue plaques have been placed on buildings in Leeds and a short description on the plaque tells something about why it has been put there, but this book has more in depth information. It's so interesting reading about the people and places in Leeds from many years ago and why they have been commemorated in this way.

It's been a quiet weekend here. Mick was supposed to be playing cricket on Saturday but the match was cancelled due to rain, though I think the decision was made rather early as it brightened up and we managed to do a bit of gardening. Eleanor spent the weekend revising for her GCSE's which are now just two weeks away. A scary thought.

Thursday 24 April 2014

Temple Newsam On Good Friday

As I mentioned in my last post, we didn't do very much over the Easter bank holiday for one reason or another. As we knew we'd got lots on, Mick and I got up early on Good Friday, left the teenagers in bed, and headed off to Temple Newsam so we'd at least done one nice thing over the weekend.

I thought that the rhododendrons might be in flower, but looking back at previous posts on my blog, Temple Newsam Rhododendron Walk is at its best during May and early June. There's lots of fat buds just waiting to burst open though.

Some buds are already opening.

We did manage to find some rhododendrons which are already putting on a show.

There was some beautiful blossom on the trees too.

We sat on a bench for a while enjoying the view.

Daisies are carpeting the lawns.

It was a lovely morning, the sun was shining and there were plenty of people about. The farm was very busy, lots of children jostling to see the animals. We didn't go in to the farm but lots of animals can be seen from the park. Look how the sun catches the feathers on this cockerel, isn't it beautiful?

This goat was keeping its eye on Archie.

Last time we went to Temple Newsam, there were Tamworth and Middle White pigs. This time they'd been replaced by these, which I believe are Saddlebacks.

Archie found a friend. This is Alfie, a Wirehaired Dachshund, he was so cute.

He was very fond of Archie and wouldn't follow his owners when they called him. As you can see, Archie was more interested in watching the goats through the railings.

This little trip out was a lovely start to the bank holiday weekend, though we'll have to return in the next few weeks to see the rhododendrons in all their glory. It's a wonderful sight and well worth a visit if you're in the area.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Back To Normality

It's very quiet here today. Having had Daniel home from university for the last five weeks, and Eleanor off school for the last fortnight, the house has been filled with noise. Today, you could hear a pin drop.

We haven't done much over the Easter weekend as Saturday was the start of the cricket season so Mick and Daniel were out all day playing their first match and on Sunday, we packed Daniel up and took him back to university.

While the boys were out playing cricket on Saturday, I did a bit of baking for Daniel to take back with him on Sunday. First, I made a lemon drizzle cake. Can you see all the little holes that I stab in in so that plenty of lemon syrup drains right in to the cake?

Then, I made Daniel's favourite, brownies. This is a Mary Berry recipe and it's delicious, crispy on the outside and deliciously gooey on the inside.

Before Daniel went back to university on Sunday, he decided that he'd open up a tin in which he'd been saving bits and bobs of money over the last couple of years.

He hadn't been able to see what was in there as it's completely sealed and there's no way of getting in unless it's opened up with a tin opener.

I was surprised that he'd managed to squirrel away quite so many notes.

He'd got £95 in notes, £60 in pound coins and £5 in fifty pences. The rest of the coins didn't make up whole bags of what the bank would accept, so he used this money to start off another tin. All told though, there was about £200 in that tin. He's taken some of the money back to university with him and asked me to put the rest of it in his bank account for him. He's not daft with money, he manages his student loan himself, working out his rent, what he needs for food shopping and what he can afford to spend on going out. My friend works all this out for her son and drip feeds him an allowance week by week, but I think it's important that they get used to looking after their own finances, you can't be doing it for them all their life.

So as I said, the house is very quiet today, but it's only four weeks now until Eleanor leaves school. She only has to go back in when she has an exam after that, so the house will, once again, be full of noise.

Friday 18 April 2014

Lister Park

Last Saturday, we visited a park which we hadn't been to before, Lister Park in Bradford. This is where I saw the ducklings that I wrote about in my Twelve Little Ducks Went Swimming One Day... post. There were lots of other lovely things to see too, so let's take a look.

There's a huge boating lake, we could see it shimmering through the trees.

I don't know what these pigeons had found on the grass but it must have been a tasty treat judging by the amount of birds which had landed.

My mum and dad are keen bowlers, they'd love these Crown Green bowling greens.

We could see the boating lake again through the hedges surrounding the bowling greens.

A fabulous bandstand which has recently been restored. There are concerts here on some Sunday afternoons.

As we walk by the bandstand, we can't help but see the back of Cartwright Hall which houses Bradford's civic art gallery. Admission is free. We would have loved to go inside, but we had Archie with us so that was out of the question.

A side view of the front of Cartwright Hall.

What a beautiful building.

Torsos by Sophie Ryder. Minotaur and Lady-Hare. I love her work.

Statue of Diana the Huntress. This is a replica of Diana of Versailles, a marble statue in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

A bronze Stag by Pierre Louis Rouillard.

The formal gardens outside Cartwright Hall.

We decided to have a walk down to the lake, passing this fabulous tree on the way.

These lions guard the entrance to the playground. There's some wonderful equipment to play on which looked very well maintained. There were quite a few people in there otherwise I may have tried a few things out.

Plenty of boats for hire and a cafe for a cuppa or an ice cream.

An island in the middle of the lake.

Another family of ducks. So cute.

But how do the ducks get on and off the island? This is how, their own little ramp.

Lister Park is very well kept and a lovely place for a stroll. We also visited the botanical gardens which you can read about on my Garden Visiting In April - Part One post over on my The Good Life blog.

This is another lovely park which I'm sure we'll return to.