Category Archives: BLOG

Chilli & Bean

At the end of October 2020 we adopted two tortoiseshell cats and every day since has been fun and games. We wanted to rename them so we got to know their personalities over the first week and tried out several names before we chose Chilli and Bean (although they’re sisters they are quite different and yet the same). Their new names suit them perfectly … Chilli is quite a spicy cat and is very adventurous and Bean is, well … a bean, very laid-back and gentle!

Chilli&BeanChilli                                                                            Bean

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They both love the garden and, much to our horror, Chilli climbed our tall willow tree within minutes of her first trip out. Luckily she found her way back down with great agility.

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Christmas was fun, they found every light and bauble worth a play!

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And, of course, they’ve been the inspiration for birthday cakes and there’s no doubt they’ll be appearing in more of my posts in the future!

Goodbye 2020

Finding a number 17 for my Countdown to Christmas was easy, I just used my own door number but to make life a bit more exciting, I decided to hold a ‘Giveaway’ and offer a custom made mosaic plaque to the winner.

Giveaway 1After five days all the entrants names were placed in a box, I picked out a name and announced the Winner, promising to make the chosen number in the new year.

Here’s a round-up of my 2020 work and the ‘Giveaway’ plaque will be shared soon :) 2020 Makes2021 hasn’t begun as we would’ve all wanted with another lockdown and more restrictions, but we have to find joy where we can and meanwhile try to stay well physically and mentally.  Wishing you all well and hopefully things will get better soon.

Countdown to Christmas

Since the first lockdown in March I’ve taken to walking to the local shops and ticking both the ‘shopping for essentials’ and ‘daily exercise’ boxes in one go.  I’ve continued to do so throughout the year (only going to the supermarket when necessary).  When I got the idea to do an Instagram COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS project, it was easy to combine that too.   I just walked and walked and always had my phone or camera with me.

For those of you who don’t have Instagram, here’s my countdown …..

28 SignBlack Friday, 28 days ’til Christmas.

25 edited 2I LOVE this 25 sign!   I just had to go back with a Santa hat to use as a prop!24 - 1918 - 1312 - 76 - 1Before I knew it, it was Christmas Day!

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I hope that however you spent your Christmas, you and your loved ones remained healthy and well.

I really enjoyed having a purpose to getting out every day, in all kinds of weather.  Now when I go out I’m looking for the first signs of Spring :)

 

Short break in Somerset

When we were gifted a couple of days pod glamping in Somerset earlier this year, little did we know what the year 2020 would hold.    After postponing our stay in April we rebooked for the end of September and added a few days to explore Bath too.

Unfortunately some of the places we’d planned to visit didn’t have Covid-19 precautions in place yet, so we made the most of the time we spent there by mainly exploring outdoors.  Lucky for us the weather was warm and dry.

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Bear

Pulteney BridgePulteney Bridge

Designed in 1769 by Robert Adam, Pulteney Bridge is one of the most photographed examples of Georgian architecture in the city and one of only four bridges in the world to have shops across its full span on both sides.

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Directions

Img_3867 resizeThe Circus – Architects John Wood Snr and Jnr

The Circus consists of three curved segments of Grade I listed townhouses, forming a circle with three entrances.  Look a little closer at the detail on the stonework and you’ll see many emblems, such as serpents, acorns, and nautical symbols. Apparently, Wood was known to admire the druids, the creators of prehistoric stone circles. Convinced that Bath had been the principal centre of Druid activity in Britain, Wood studied Stonehenge, and designed the Circus with the same diameter.

The following day we booked a visit to the Roman Baths.

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P1011737 resize Flavia and Apulia, Roman lady and slave girl

P1011724The roman characters were fantastic, especially the lady by the main baths talking about her makeup!

Royal CrescentThe Royal Crescent

The Royal Crescent, a popular location for films and period dramas.  It would have been lovely to photograph the sweeping crescent without all the parked cars, but alas it wasn’t to be.

Now halfway through the week, the weather turned as we headed off to our glamping pod and rained for most of the journey.   As we entered the site and drove around to the reception we saw a funny scene, sitting on the verandah of the first log cabin, sheltering from the rain were three sheep!   I can’t believe I missed the photo opportunity and hoped they’d visit us on our porch, but it wasn’t to be!

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We’ve visited the Jurassic Coast in Dorset many times but I have never been lucky enough to find an ammonite.  When we read about Kilve beach and it’s wide range of fossils, it had to be our next day out.

We drove into Kilve and followed a narrow winding road to the beach, parked and had our first cream tea in the beautiful gardens of The Chantry Tea Rooms.  A little while later we walked down to the beach and, mindful of the tide started hunting for fossils.

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The cliffs were incredible.Ammonites

Within no time at all I found my first ammonite!

Cat Sitting in Northern Ireland (Day Three)

With news of Storm Ciara moving across Ireland and this being our last full day, we set off back along the Causeway Coastal Route hoping to avoid bad weather.   This time we went in search of 700 year old Layd Old Church in Cushendall.

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We’d read somewhere that Medieval warriors are buried in the cemetery, but we didn’t find their tombs.  However, this headstone was intriguing.   Since we’ve been home I’ve done some research and it turns out Bud ‘CJ’ Platt, Wizard of Zigton is alive and well and living somewhere in America.   He sounds like quite a character!

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One of the headstones is a hole stone which has a legend “The Holestone is an ancient Celtic Stone that provides eternal love and happiness.  Couples undertake an traditional ceremony where the woman reaches her hand through the circular hole and her partner takes it, thus pledging themselves to love each other for ever”.Img_0809

As I mentioned in my earlier post, Game of Thrones was filmed in several locations and we were keen to find The Dark Hedges.   We would have found them earlier if I hadn’t sent us down the wrong road for miles!  The beauty of visiting Ireland during the winter months meant that there was only a small number of other fans/tourists there so we were able to take photos pretty unhindered.

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The avenue of beech trees along Bregagh Road form a beautiful tunnel.  Legend has it that a ghost travels along the hedges flitting from tree to tree!

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Another 13 miles and we were at our last stop of the day.  We’d read that Dunluce Castle was beautiful but nothing prepared us for the view as we rounded the bend high up on the coastal road.  With nowhere to stop at this point, it was impossible to take a photo of the castle from this angle but believe me, the ruins looked incredible against the darkening sky.

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Another film location for Game of Thrones, Dunluce Castle represented House of Greyjoy, the ruler of the Iron Islands in the show, but obviously with digital reconstruction!

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The light was fading fast and the wind was so strong it was hard to stand up so we called it a day and headed back.

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A pretty little rock sculpture island, snapped from the car.

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Back in time for dinner and lots of cuddles with this pretty pusscat.  When we first arrived she wasn’t too sure about sharing the sofa with us, but after three days of treats, combing and a playing with catnip mouse, I think we won her over.  Hope to be back soon <3

Cat sitting in Northern Ireland (Day Two)

After spending time with the pusscat we decided to visit the award-winning St George’s Market in Belfast.  We jumped on a train and enjoyed the ride to Lanyon Place.

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The Market is inside a beautiful Victorian building and has become one of the city’s most popular places to visit.  As soon as we walked through the entrance we could hear live music, smell fresh coffee and see beautiful original artworks and crafts.

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After lunch in the market we set off to find The Big Fish.  No trip is complete unless I’ve seen a mosaic!

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The Big Fish printed mosaic sculpture by John Kindness.

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Cat sitting in Northern Ireland (Day One)

When we were asked by friends if we could look after their cat for a few days in Northern Ireland we jumped at the chance.   Apart from never passing up the opportunity to cuddle a pusscat, we really needed a mini-break.  So last week, with weather warnings of the approaching Storm Ciara ringing in our ears, we boarded a plane to Belfast.

Shortly after arriving we had a brief tour of Belfast streets and saw murals depicting The Troubles and, more importantly, the hope for a brighter future in Peace artwork. celebrating community and tolerance.

Peace muralCultural Icons Van Morrison, George Best and C S Lewis, to name a few. ‘Luminaries & Legends of Eastside’ by artist Dee Craig.  

The following day we set off in our hire car along the Causeway Coastal Route.  Every twist and turn in the road revealed one spectacular view after another.  Day 1 (8) GOT resize

Fans of Game of Thrones will already know that the epic series was largely filmed in Northern Ireland (more about that later).  I loved this signpost sitting in O’Kane’s Layby.

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First visit of the day was to CARRICK-A-REDE rope bridge.   For 350 years, fishermen have strung a rope bridge 30m above the sea to allow them to access the best places to catch the migrating salmon.

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The next stop had been on my ‘bucket list’ forever.

GIANT’S CAUSEWAY

Steeped in myth and legend.  Carved from the coast by the mighty giant, Finn McCool ….. or a geological wonder with over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of intense volvanic and geological activity!

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The walk back up to the Visitor Centre was blowy to say the least.  The Audio Guide told us about The Stookans, (or Windy Gap to locals!) a path between the cliff face and a tall rock.   At one point I was nearly blown off my feet!

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Quick stop to take a photo of this beautiful church tower before heading back for pusscat feeding time and cuddles.

 

Elsa

On a sunny April morning in 2005 we met Elsa and our lives were never the same again.  In June we celebrated Elsa’s 15th birthday.   Some might say that’s a grand age for a dog, but it wasn’t enough.  On 16th September we said goodbye.  She brought so much joy and fun to our lives that it’s hard to imagine ever feeling complete again.

Over the last three weeks I’ve been going through hundreds of photos and she is pretty much in all of them, so many happy memories.

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Nick & Elsa

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Sweet dreams my puppydog, until we meet again xx

Our little mitten noir

I just checked and it’s six months since I’ve been here.

Last November we suddenly became aware that our little mitten had a health problem when she began breathing heavily.  Cats are clever like that, they mask their pain.  Unfortunately she was hiding several critical conditions and although we tried a month of veterinary treatment and medicating her, we couldn’t save her.   The last six months have been so hard because we weren’t ready to say goodbye and she has left a huge gaping hole in our lives.

Samba collageSamba 10.05.2005 – 14.12.2018

Our elderly dog, Elsa now requires around the clock care and we think the loss of Samba had an impact on her health too;  they really didn’t know life without each other.

I’ve lost so many furry friends over the last few years so I know that many of you will understand the great feelings of loss, but we have to remember how lucky we were to have spent our lives with each other and cherish all the memories we made.

Autumn 2018

What a glorious start to Autumn.  The temperature has been perfect, the colours have been amazing and the sunsets have been incredible.

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Not a cloud in sight.

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Tree light

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All of a sudden it’s turned a bit nippy, the clocks have turned back and the light has changed.  I’m fighting the need to hibernate, the only way to keep me awake is to make more art :)