Sunday, 17 June 2012


I forgot to mention this but Nick and I are doing the Yorkshire 3 Peaks walk next Saturday.  The girls are having an indulgent weekend at their grandparents and we are going to go for it.

I think I can make it round ok but there are a few little niggling concerns.
  1. Sweating
  2. Socks
  3. Sausage fingers
The sweating is a combination of being a bit overweight and my age I think.  I have now got some wicking polyester t-shirts which are pretty good at dealing with the sweat - just a bit pongy.  The problem with cotton t-shirts is the fact that they get wet and they don't really dry for hours and you end up feeling cold and clammy.  I also have some decent walking trousers now.  This leaves just one small issue - pants!  All of my pants are cotton and so all of the same issues apply.  I think I may have found a solution - Tilley Coolmax Extreme Briefs!  I'll let you know how I go on after my 24 mile trek!

Socks - it's all about size.  I have really diddy feet.  The smallest womens walking socks are still a bit on the big size.  Today we called in at Whalley Warm and Dry  and I found some Falke socks that are really dinky.  Not just kids socks either but for adult shoe size 2.5 -3.5!  They are brill.  Really good shaping too with a left sock and right sock - I realise how daft that sounds but I mean anatomically shaped for left and right feet not that there are two of them!! Handknitted socks just don't have the support or padding of some of these awesome technical socks.  How nerdy am I?

Whalley Warm and Dry is a really good local outdoor shop.  They specialise in Paramo clothing.  It's fabulous but pricey.  They also do proper boot fitting.  I can't really stretch to a new pair of boots at the moment but maybe next year.  I will go there and have a proper fitting I think.  Never done that before.  I deserve it. Got my socks and new knickers from there.  I think I probably spent more on one pair of knickers than I usually do on all of my knickers in 2 or 3 years!!! 

Oh the sausage fingers.  This is a funny one.  It only happens when I am hot and fell walking.  My fingers and hands really swell up.  So much so that I now take my wedding ring off before heading to the hills because it is just too tight.   It doesn't happen when I get hot cycling, just hill walking so it could be to do with the position of my arms.  Solution.  Trekking poles.  Now I am not sure how well I am going to get on with poles so have got a really cheap pair to begin with.  I'm hoping that having my arms flexed most of the time rather than hanging by my sides will help.  Also holding the poles should help too.  Again, we'll see next week how all these solutions fare.

Colourful, scrappy granny

This is not yet a finished object.  It's a work in progress really but it has been huge fun so far.  I am a bit of a hoarder you see, and there is a massive collection of half used up balls of yarn that I keep, you know, just in case!  I desperately need more room (for more yarn, of course) so it needed using up.  Can't bear to, gulp, gasp, throw it out, goodness me no!

So may I present to you my colourful, scrappy granny blanket.  Be prepared for many gratuitous pictures ahead!

Ok, here's what I did.  I decided to do 6 round granny squares.  2 rounds per colour.  I decided to join as I went along and pick random colours all the way through.  Huge fun getting out all of my leftovers and picking out the scheme for the next square.

Currently running at 9x9 squares, 81 in total.  At this point I haven't decided whether to stop or carry on for a bit.

It's not a bad size as it is.  But it is very square.  I might add a couple of rows in one direction to make it a bit more rectangular.  I just can't make up my mind.

It's quite snuggly, as you can see and I don't think I have repeated any of the squares exactly at all yet.  Some of them have the same colours but not in the same order.  I am loving the randomness of it all and the brightness.
Get your sunglasses on! It's very bright
More colourful granny squares
The leftover yarn is mostly stylecraft special DK but there are also odd leftover balls of James C Brett's TopValue, King Cole's Pricewise and other acrylic double knitting yarns (ball bands gone astray so could be anything!).

Flowers - today the garden, tomorrow the world!

A few more lovelies from the garden today.
Honeysuckle - gone a bit haywire
 All the rain and occasional bursts of sunshine has suddenly made all of the plants and flowers go a little bit bonkers.  Mind you, the fact that I haven't got around to any weeding is also a contributing factor methinks! There's honeysuckle all over the place. Winding around other things and peering out from hidden places all over the garden.  Good job I like it.  I can pretend that it's all intentional.
Little delicate geraniums - also tyranical empire builders
The gorgeous little pink geraniums are back and they are planning to take over the world!  They are really rampant and are taking over huge areas out back at the minute!  It's a good job they are so pretty really isn't it.

And then, in the woody part of the back I spotted this magnificent speciment.
Foxglove - such a glorious, triffid-like plant
Foxglove - such a brilliant name that conjures up all kinds of silly images in my imagination!  Lovely flowers too.  They are so tall.  A bit like triffids, so ever so slightly scary too.  But always so very, very handsome.


I love flowers.  What's not to love about them.  They are beautiful and so, so varied.  My peonies have been and gone in the flash of an eye this year.  Perhaps the lack of decent weather and "sitting out" time  helped the weeks fly by.  I did manage a couple of shots in a brief break in the rotten rain we've been having so much of lately.
Big, blowsy pink peony
Here and gone so fast
I look forward to the peonies every year.  I am not much of a gardener, so it's always a real joy to see them pop up year after year.  Most years, they are wiped out by wind or rain so it's only a fleeting pleasure but I still adore them.

I enjoy looking at flowers when I am out and about too.  I rarely buy flowers but when I saw these blue chrysanthemums, well I just couldn't resist.  I mean they are just so blue.  True blue.  I don't think I've ever seen such blue flowers before.  They don't look real to me at all but they are.  Had to have them.  Gorgeous.

True blue baby I love you!
Out and about the wild flowers are exceptional this year.  Lots and lots of flowers in the fields.  I can't remember there being so many before.  Maybe the rain is the reason.  Who knows? But they are really full of flowers and so lovely to look at.

Bees on a thistle flower 
Flower filled fields
I think it's Mother Nature's way of apologising for all the bum weather we've been having lately! What do you think?  My mum thinks the weather is similar to 1976 and reckons we are in for a fabulous summer.  I can't really remember it all that well so am not getting my hopes up.  A run of a few dry weeks would do me really.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

New Babies and Blankets

Another new baby in the family.  Little baby S arrived on June 4th.  A beautiful little girl and a sister for baby O.  All doing well.
Little Girl S
This meant another excuse for yarn and crochet! Yay!  Here's the granny stripe I made for baby S

Rainbow bright colours because we didn't know what flavour little baby was going to be.  I don't really do neutral - just bright, bright, bright.

Also a work colleague just told me that she was expecting.  She knows she is having a girl so here is the little blankie I made for her. Still bright, bright, bright but using girlier colours. and granny squares instead of striped.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Chillin' in da crochet

School holidays.  Gotta love them.  The girls get themselves up, head downstairs, make their own breakfasts and chill out until we surface a bit later on. In complete contrast to the shouty, last minute mornings of a typical school day.

This is the site that greeted me most mornings this week
Chillin' in da crochet
I love seeing my girls wrapped up in blankets that I have made... makes me feel totally justified in buying more yarn and making more blankets.
If you look carefully, you may just spot a child amongst all the crochet!

Pendle Hill - another new route

On how we love Pendle Hill.  It's not the biggest around but it is such a giant in its landscape that it is almost irresistible. You just want to go up there again and again.  Today it wasn't throwing it down so we decided to seize the moment and head up there to blow away the cobwebs. It's the end of the half term holidays and the weather had been pretty dire the last few days - we were all a bit stir crazy.  We packed water proof as it didn't look too promising and set off.

We took a route via Ogden reservoirs and Ogden Clough.  It's also part of the long distance Pendle Way trail.  We thought it might have less people on it and it was quieter than the usual route up the Big End.  Plus it went past a couple of reservoirs which I always enjoy looking at.  I love the quirky stone towers you often find and the elaborate overflow systems that you find there.  Really interesting
Looking back over Lower Ogden Reservoir
Strange concrete posts in the overflow
No idea what they are for but it looks fab!
Ogden Clough - a secret valley
Ogden Clough is a beautiful little valley.  It's hidden from view so it's also a secret valley.  Absolutely stunning.  Also the weather really started to pick up, the clouds parted and we saw blue skies and sunshine. What a turn up for the books.  It was really warm and felt like it was actually June.
At the summit. In the sunshine.  Hooray!
Headed back down to Barley village.  Simply blown away by the loveliness of the season, the scenery and the sunshine.  Can we have some more of this please!
A little piece of heaven... Pendle in the sunshine and a meadow of buttercups

Simonstone - a hidden treat

The weather over half term was a bit of a mixed bag - so it seemed like all our plans for 'big' walks went out the window.  Not to worry, we decided to explore some of our local footpaths.  We'd walked over to Sabden so we decided to follow the Calder and look for the disused railway line.

500 year old St James church, Altham
We are lucky to live in such a great spot for walking and cycling.  Only a 10 minute walk and you are in the middle of beautiful countryside.  Across the river is this lovely old church.  You don't notice it on the main road that runs past but it's a real land mark in the fields.
Fly fishing on the River Calder
Watched this man in his waders fly fishing for a while and then chatted to another chap with a camera who was waiting to see if he could catch a glimpse of the Peregrine Falcon that's been seen around lately. We didn't spot it sadly.
Who says it's grim up north?
There used to be a railway line running through these parts.  You can just see a tumble down part of it to the right of the photo above.  There is a proposal to restore it for walking and cycling but I think that is a while off yet.  There are lots of hidden bridges and tunnels knocking about though which are fabulous.
Little old tunnel under the disused railway
I love it at this time of year.  The hawthorne is out and it smells so summery.  We spotted some pink hawthorn which you don't see so much around here.  It's usually the white snowy stuff.
Pink hawthorn
Again, I am truly grateful to live in a place with all of this on our doorstep.  

Jubilee off the street

We walked over to Sabden to check out their village celebrations.  Not brilliant weather so just a quick look around and then back home over the tops - fabulous walk.
Face painting in Sabden
Who's queen!
My dad found this little gem from the first round of Jubilee celebrations.  I am on the right of the girl in the red dress with the white collar.  But more importantly - JUST CHECK OUT THE LADY'S PLATFORMS!
Street party 1970s style

Jubilee - Our Street Party

It turns out that we are well up for a party on our little street.  A licence to close the road was obtained, meetings were held and massive amounts of bunting were put up.  It was time to celebrate! And it was really great. Just a really good event.  Everyone mucked in and got stuck in.
Jubilee Party
Jubilee cakes & doughnuts
Bouncy Castle
Fabulous live band

The Hottest Day of the Year

Hot and sunny in the Langdales
At the end of May found us tramping around the Langdale Pikes.  It was glorious...

We decided to try the girls on a longer and more strenuous walk to see how they would get on.  It was a hot and sunny day so shorts were on and sunblock applied.  We set off from the Old Dungeon Ghyll carpark and headed up to Pavey Ark.  Phew! It was a hot one.  We decided to stop off at Stickle Tarn for a snack and a bit of a paddle for the girls.
Cooling off at Stickle Tarn
Despite the complete absence of any other people in the picture, it was actually quite busy at the tarn and lots of people were having a cooling paddle.  A daft old Labrador dog was swimming around and around and refused to come out.  I think it was a bit old and confused.  It was getting a bit tired so some gallant chaps ended up swimming out to rescue it in the end! All very entertaining stuff.

Onwards to Pavey Ark and the Pikes. Gosh it was all so very high!
Looking back down on Stickle Tarn
One of the Langdale Pikes - Harrison Stickle I think - we went up and down it!
Big Girl triumphant on a rock
Ooh it's a long way down
All in all it took us around 6 hours.  We only covered about 5.5 miles but there was a LOT of ups and downs within the walk.  Absolutely brilliant.  No problem for the girls.  Hot and sweaty and fantastic!

Nestle what's in your breakfast?

Not sure what it is!
Hmm.... discovered a foreign body in our cereal recently. At first Little Girl was rather excited as she has heard tales of the wonderful surprises that you used to find in your cereal in "the olden days".  Then she thought it might be a large piece of chocolate and was licking it to find out that it most definitely wasn't....

A letter is on it's way to Nestle... we'll see what happens....

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Settle Loop

Had a bit of a girl free day in May so what to do, what to do???

Didn't really have enough time to do a big, epic walk so we decided to do a bit of mountain biking.  Had grabbed a few spare hours a week or so earlier and followed the bridleways up to the Nick of Pendle.  Coped ok so we decided to have a go at the Settle Loop.  This is a little section of the much larger Pennine Bridleway and looked just about perfect for the few hours we had at our disposal.

Despite a bit of a gloomy and overcast, slightly ominous looking sky we headed off to Settle.  Again, there had been a poor forecast.  Honestly, if you paid any real heed to some of the twaddle they tell you, well you would never get out of the house would you!

There is a simply enormous climb out of Settle.  Really long and it took ages to get up.  I confess, I cried a bit as I was so far behind it made me feel very inadequate and unfit..... so it must be good then!  Here I am finally getting to the top of the first hill.
Stopping to admire the impressive scenery
Once at the top of the first climb, you go through some incredibly amazing Yorkshire scenery. Lots of limestone humps and bumps.  Victoria caves are in the area around here.  It's superb.  The tarmac lane eventually ends and you head off onto the bridleway.  The riding is much rougher and gets quite technical towards the summit.
Bit rougher riding here - you need to do a bit of "gurning"
Nick looking fresh as a daisy ahead.  Me behind, red-faced, sweaty and possibly on the verge of tears!
Trudging and pushing up the technical bit!
It gets really rocky up towards the summit.  I had to push at this point.  Was unable to ride on this at all. Just kept falling off.  But then even Nick struggled with this part and had to push at times too.  Still ended up way behind though... Mind you I would have huffed and puffed just walking up here, never mind pushing my bike at the same time!
At the top - Malham Tarn in the distance
The view at the top is amazing. On top of Yorkshire with a great view over Malham Cove and Tarn.  You can carry on in that direction but we decided to stick with the loop and follow it back round to Settle.

Now came the really, really fun part.  So muddy in places that there was hardly any tread left on your tyres!! They were that caked up.  Mostly down hill too so you could really let fly.  Huge fun.  Lots of lumps and bumps to make you almost take off too.  And then the best bit.  A properly made bit of track.  Sandy and bendy and downhill.  Utterly brilliant!  Got some real speed up and flew over the bumps - sure I took off a few times.  So exhilarating.  Made the nightmare climb out of Settle seem a teeny tiny price to pay for such a fantastic ride back down.  Next bit was a bit more gravelly but still fun.

Almost back in Settle.  Final steep decent.
Very steep final bit of decent back to Settle.  A brilliant ride.  It made me cry at one point so it must be good!  Recommended!