Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


Bless This House

One of the reasons I’ve been absent from blogging  of late, is that we’ve had quite a big building project going on. I’ve no complaints about the guys working here, they’ve been great, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs and you certainly can’t knock an old house about without some disruption, noise and dust. It’s a scheme of works we’ve been planning for a long time

Construction gets in your head space, making decisions and sourcing everything from light switches to windows, gobbles up a vast amount of time  energy and money.

We’ve tried to chose our building materials carefully, recycling where ever possible,


trying to do justice to the existing building. In addition we’ve been bringing insulation up to a higher standard.  Here is Rocky the cockerel checking out the acoustics and the under floor heating ( which is heated by  ground source heat pump).

bless this house_


I was pleased when I found that we got to the ‘soft stuff,’  curtains, furniture, pot plants even. I went shopping at Ikea, at the checkout, I helped the Chinese couple in front of me in the queue to find the ubiquitous and ever useful Ikea ‘big blue bags’ I must have earned myself some good karma, for in return they explained that the house plant I had in my trolley was good feng shui for our home, and that it would bring us good fortune.

bless this house 2

All I can say is it certainly seems to be flourishing

good fortune 3

and I am indeed fortunate to have such a beautiful space, Spud and Jammy agree.

Ben Squeak_


Domestic Upheaval

One of these days I’ll give you the full story, which must run to  a couple of dozen posts, but for this evening I’ll just say there has been a lot going on around here, especially for the last week; so much so that Dodger the kitten cat left home for three days, in disgust. His belly led him back, just as I’d drafted the ‘lost cat’ email to the neighbours. We are relieved to see him.

There have been moments of great beauty,  rolling mist framed by alpine blues, ebbing in and out of the valley

trees mist


Branches, twigs, encased in ice

oak apples

Oak apples

Ash tree ice_

An ash tree, where the ash keys once were.

But for the most part, it has been grey, muddy; and oh yes, very dusty. There is nothing quite like ancient dust, it has a  penetrating power of its own. The haze in this photo, is not poor image quality, oh no, it is dust.

This is the kitchen.

dusty kitchen_ 

can you see why my blog lies unattended?


My Life in Linoleum

As my brothers and I peeled back the layers of the family home of 48 years  swatches of decades gone by, started to reappear.

I remember this linoleum in my parents room in the early 1960’s (Kath Kidston, eat your heart out).

1950's lino_ 

And this fern fronded pattern in the bathroom (it comes with later paint speckles)


1950's lino 2-2

Wall paper in the bottom of drawers and the backs of cupboards all arc straight back to my childhood (hands up, who ‘backed’ their school books in the following papers? I don’t think there were many designs to choose from, were there?)

1970's wallpaper_

We found a tin of watches that time forgot

where time stood still

I don’t remember us being much of a ‘game playing’ family, my brothers are older than me by a good measure, I’m sure as a little sister I would have been a bit of a nuisance, impatient for my turn.  But we must have done at some time.

broken beads and games

Another moment captured in time, a lone Christmas peanut, lurking in the box


Is that a box of pins from my Spirograph? Oh look, what fun, you can play on line!


Vintage Years

We finished emptying Mum’s house this week,it goes without saying that it was emotional work, but there was laughter as well as tears. Here is a photo I found, that Mum had taken in  July 1997, the garden in full bloom.

Pride and Joy

It all looks a lot sunnier than it did on Tuesday.

There many discoveries, of lost childhood memorabilia, forgotten heirlooms (notably, a spectacularly hideous antique plate that had been waiting for its moment to shine, for over five decades, hidden away in the back of a cupboard, as I lifted it out, the bag it was in disintegrated, the plate fell to the floor, smashed beyond repair. My brother who’d recently seen a similar plate on a TV antiques programme, refuses to tell me just how much it was worth).

In the cupboard under the stairs, I found six crates of my Dad’s home brew, dating back as far as 1989.


home brew

Some of it looked very dodgy, and alarmingly it was in screw top bottles.

home brew 4

After a dynamic risk assessment, I decided a little eye protection wouldn’t go amiss before moving it.

home brew


How Time Flies

I’ve been busy decorating, I’ve set myself a bit of a deadline, I’ve invited the neighbours round for a bit of a do, its in a good cause.   The British Heart Foundation is a charity close to our  own hearts, especially in memory of Daz H.

The invites have gone out.

ramp up the red

But it does mean there is no time for dawdling, but more haste can mean less speed: this is an old house, no wall is true, no plaster smooth, (I did succumb to a little plaster envy the other day) exposed  oak beams may brim with ancient character but they  are a fiddle to decorate around. Here is one on the landing.

oak beam

And this is my favourite beam, in the lounge, I love its rough and ready, vernacular style and wonder why a load bearing beam was placed over a window opening?

forked oak beam_


One day we’ll find out how old they are.


I was so busy at the weekend,I forgot about the The Big Garden Bird Watch.

Take a look at these birdy videos, mesmerising I really want to get to see a murmeration of starlings.


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