Sunday, 31 August 2008

Farewell to the UK

The swallows are gathering together, readying themselves for their journey south.

We are just about ready for our journey north, to Sweden. We set sail tomorrow to Ijmuiden in the Netherlands, then continue through to Germany, Denmark and into Sweden, arriving on Friday all being well. Paddy and Jewel are coming with us but Rufus is being fostered for a week when Mike flies back for him. We haven't had him long enough to be vacinated for travelling through the different countries. But he's met his foster parents and their 3 greyhounds and he seemed very happy enjoying himself on his visit. We are looking forward to seeing how Paddy, Jewel and Rufus like Sweden, we're sure they will.

It will be a while before I am connected to the internet again. But when I do get connected it will be from Sweden.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Farewell to The Lakes

I travelled over to Cumbria to meet Mike. We stopped en route at Talkin Tarn where we (me, Paddy, Jewel and Rufus) walked round the lake. The picture shows the lake from an elevated position in a beech wood, if I remember correctly.

When I was younger I would go to the tarn with my parents and sister. We would relax by the lake side and take a rowing boat out on the lake, an activity favoured by my dad.

It's still much the same except it looks a bit manicured to me.

Whilst waiting to get a parking disc from the ice cream/tea shop a lady unfortunately dropped her newly bought ice cream, apple crumble flavoured I think she said. Another lady said 'the dogs will eat it,' and kicked the scoop of ice cream towards the dogs where it lay at Rufus' s feet. But none of the dogs saw it. We tried to point it out to Rufus, Jewel and Paddy but they just didn't realise it was there or what it was. Eventually Paddy noticed it and started licking it followed by Jewel. Rufus stood resolutely with his head up watching what was going on further afield. Then one of the ladies said, 'he's eaten it all!' And sure enough Paddy had eaten the whole scoopful of ice cream leaving Jewel with the lickings on the concrete.

Paddy's lucky day!

After that we took a walk around the lake. Rufus investigating an interesting hole.

I liked this willow hide. Perhaps we can make something similiar in Sweden.
And there were plenty of benches situated around the lake. All of them dedicated to loved ones, which I thought nice.

Here we are at the far end of the lake. The dogs certainly enjoyed their walk. We took a walk into an old bit of woodland, and further on Rufus was curious about a windturbine that we passed. He kept looking up at it. The dogs got lots of admiring glances and it's the first time they've been out away from their home area.

The next day I went to visit my sister and her family. Again I took the dogs for a walk, this time along part of the River Eden.

At my sisters we sat outside with the dogs chatting over up of tea. I initially tied all 3 dogs to the tree to keep them safe. And Rufus and Jewel stayed tied to the tree. Especially after a flash of lightning turned out to be Jewel chasing a cat that crossed the garden. One minute she was tied to the tree, the next she had shot past me into the back garden which is where I found her once I'd recovered my senses. I think she had surprised herself as she was stood motionless probably wondering how she had got there. It is a feature of greyhounds that when they see a small animal such as a rabbit, cat or small dog, their brain disengages and they give chase regardless of any dangers, such as roads and traffic. In fact later on, Rufus was in a fenced compound which he had walked round several times, yet when he saw a rabbit the other side of the fence he ran towards it only remembering at the last moment that there was a fence between him and the rabbit, but too late he barged into it. Fortunately he was okay.

Jazz my sisters cat kept a watchful eye on the 3 dogs. Only Paddy saw her through the window and he doesn't chase cats. Not all greyhounds do.

Paddy seems to be saying, 'can I come in?' But of course we couldn't take them in with a cat in the house. But I let Paddy off his lead to roam the small garden, he doesn't go looking for trouble.

Rufus and Jewel look very contented here. We are looking forward to taking all 3 dogs to Sweden where we have a big garden.

We stayed in a small caravan. it was a bit of a squash with 3 large dogs, but it was cosy. I took loads of photos of the 3 dogs but I think I will show them another time.

We had forgotten that it was Bank Holiday weekend. That means that the Lake District will be extremely busy, so we went to a quiet area. Again it's an old favourite of mine from years ago.

Unfortunately I was plagued with toothache over the weekend despite visits to the dentist over a period of a couple of weeks to try and rectify the problem. Eventually, yesterday the dentist gave me a temporary root canal which should make it pain free. So far so good, I'm keeping my fingers crossed particularly as we start the journey on Monday which will take us to Sweden.

Rufus and Mike sharing a moment.

Family group.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Weekend Away

Just a quick one today. I am going over to the Lake District today for the weekend. My long time favourite place. Rain or not, surely this time I will bring back some photos? I hope so!
A good weekend to anyone reading this.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Updates- Cygnets

Earlier in the year we were watching the eggs that the swans had laid. Their nest was just below the bridge where we walk the dogs every day. People stopped to look and as hatching time grew near more and more people could be seen hanging around waiting to see the first sign of the cygnets.

In the end 5 of the 6 eggs hatched.

The photos show the cygnets from May until last week. They can regularly be seen on the river with their parents.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Beach Days

Well today has been a better day weatherwise. This picture is good at showing the sky and how lovely the weather has been, if a little windy. My friend was taking a picture of me, supposedly!

This one is better. We had a lovely walk on the beach with Paddy, Jewel and Rufus, our Greyhounds. More of them another time.

What was amazing was , it's a Saturday in the middle of the school holidays, the weather is lovely, and the beach was deserted. I've had several visits to the beach of late and it's not unusual.

Here we are at the end of our walk. Each of the dogs had a run on the beach today. That's not always possible as two of them are likely to go chasing other dogs if there's any to be seen.

Butter wouldn't melt in their mouths.

This is a photo taken last week when I looked after my grandson for a day. We had a lovely time at the beach, digging holes, making sandcastles, singing, and then he set off for a run. It was a job keeping up with him. Perhaps I should call him Forest after Forest Gump.

Run Forest, run!

Friday, 15 August 2008

A Glimpse of Autumn

This last week, here in Northumberland, has been very wet. It has been more like November with overcast grey, miserable, heavy skies. But it has been warmer than it would be in November, thank goodness.

There has been a smell of autumn about and just a slight touch, ever so slight, almost a feel of the trees changing colour.

Hopefully the sun will find it's way back to us ....soon.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Updates- Vegetables

Excursions into growing vegetables have been less successful than I'd hoped.

I've been growing 3 tomato plants indoors, each a different variety. Top picture shows Gardeners delight which are cherry tomatoes. They are the most successful in that they have the most trusses of tomatoes on. They are the only ones so far to ripen, but the taste is disappointing.

The tomatoes above are the variety Moneymaker and my dad used to grow these very successfully on the smallholding. And although the ones in the picture are beginning to ripen now since I took the picture a few days ago, there aren't many of them.

There is a third plant, but it wasn't even worth taking a photo of it.

This plant however has been very prolific. Unfortunately I bought it thinking it was Bell Peppers and instead it is a chillie plant, and we don't eat many chillies. And yes they are quite hot!

The allotment hasn't fared much better. After getting the allotment we decided that we wouldn't be staying in the UK so my ideas to grow fruit didn't materialise as I didn't think I would be here to eat it. So anything I did grow was to be harvested by September. In the end I kept it simple. I just put more onions and potatoes in and they are currently being harvested and eaten, and very nice they are too.

I've also grown some strawberries in the allotment. I was given some plants by a woman who has a plot across from me. She's been doing it for years and is very good at it. Unfortunately we were away in Sweden when the strawberries had their main crop. Surprisingly though I did get some fruit from them and they were lovely.

Other plants I've grown (or planted) are:-

dahlias- the snails got them! Yes I know these aren't vegetables, but I like them

carrots-haven't grown any bigger than my little toe, and a lot thinner!

salad leaves- growing okay

sweetcorn- grown at my son's request and seem to be doing okay...I think

Well perhaps not the most successful of vegetable growers, but I can only get better. As I intend growing more vegetables next year in Sweden I think this years growing will have proved very useful as a learning experience, if nothing else!

Saturday, 2 August 2008

A Long Two Weeks

Did I say two weeks?

Well yes we were away two weeks, and we had a lovely time. But I was wrong when I thought I would have lots of lovely photos to show, particularly of Norway.

We had delibrately decided to travel on 2 bikes and take our time to enjoy Norway. We have travelled through Norway before on bikes and in a car with a caravan, but each time it had a purpose to get us to the ferry. This time we wanted to linger. And enjoy.

The pictures above and below are taken from the ferry. The weather doesn't look too bad does it? But by the time we got off the ferry in Bergen, it was dark grey nearly black (first thing in the morning) and pouring with rain. The policeman who checked my passport said,

"Welcome to our rainy country," as he looked up at the sky.

And so it continued. I am quite used to riding my motor bike in the rain having toured parts of Europe by motor bike on several occasions. No matter how lovely the weather or perhaps because of it there will always be one day at least when we have been caught in a torrential downpour. But it has usually happened on part of the journey or has been on a day out from where we have been staying. But this was different. It rained from before getting off the ferry until we finally made it into Sweden where the sun was shining. Boy did we get wet. Despite wearing the correct gear for the conditions, it cannot prevent the rain dripping down your clothes to form a constant puddle in which you are sitting and in your boots. And did I mention my gloves. My hands were wet and cold, not good when you are riding a bike.
These are the bikes we were riding, laden up with tent and sleeping bags, but it was so wet we didn't camp we stayed in the stuga for one night before crossing over into Sweden for midsommer.

No sooner were we home (in Sweden) than we were off to friends to help them celebrate. We had two parties to go to and very good they were to. It was great to see our friends again.

It was lovely to be back in our Swedish home which we had missed. Everything was looking so lush. And I loved being back in the garden. I even did a bit of gardening.

I had plenty of time to do some sewing. So I:-

  • started a dinosaur cushion for my grandson to match his quilt
  • completed the stitching on some foundation piecing ready to become a small cushion
  • finished the binding on a potholder that I was trying out a quilting design
  • and did a bit more to my hexagon quilt that I started years ago. It's travelled with me on various holidays

We travelled back a different route, and this little fella was hitching a ride on the ferry.

Mike relaxing in the cabin...

Mike back home with his pals.