Tag: England

The 4 Ws: The Wonderfully Weird Weather this Week

It’s been a week of weird weather and there’s really nothing wonderful about it, I just thought the four Ws had a nice ring to it.

One minute it’s all springlike, the next it almost feels like winter decided to make a u-turn and give spring a cheeky little nudge back.

One mum said to me that she took her time to do the morning school run because they had a hail shower as big as pebbles!  Another one said that they woke up to a dusting of snow in their garden.

I’d step out of our house to do our daily walk with Doc all bundled up because of the winter-like cold harsh breeze from the ocean, only to strip off my layers up in the headland, because it suddenly feels like spring again.

The weather here in England has always been a bit like a menopausal woman, one minute cold, the next minute feeling hot.  Or could also be akin to an angst ridden and moody teenager, happy and bubbly, then suddenly turning all sulky and mad for no reason at all.  And this week, that’s exactly what it felt like.  One can never really predict the English weather.

In other news, T is excited because two of her close friends are joining her at her gymnastics class, though of course they’ll be in a different group.  I’m hoping they’ll last like T because it’s nice to be surrounded by good friends isn’t it?  Although to be fair, T has managed to make friends with the girls at her group.

It’s a bank holiday on Monday, that means the kids will have another extra day at home.  Didn’t spring break just happen?  It certainly feels that way to us.  We don’t have anything planned over the three days, all I want to do really is just laze around especially since T has such a bad cough.  Yes, that sounds like a good plan, a grand plan –  laze around from Saturday to Monday, preferably in our pjs.

What about you?

Would you like to laze around in your pjs too?

The Reading Residence

Little Village Style Halloween Madness

As my tagline goes this blog is all about motherhood and life in a small village, we’ve lived here since 2008 and have never experienced Halloween madness till this year.  Who would think that our small village is even capable of such mania?  Then again, Halloween + children + sugar rush = madness.  We certainly know that now.

This was also little T’s first time to go trick or treating around our village.  Since Halloween falls on their half-term break, we usually are away on holiday.  This time we decided to stay put.

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And here’s our little bat looking “serious” after all, bats are not known to smile!

It started out as a quiet evening of the three of us going out of our front-door, ready to meet-up with a few friends, little did we know that our small company would turn into a mob!

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There were lots of houses ready for Halloween, loved the look of this door and their happy-looking pumpkins.

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T and her best-friend F ready to conquer the night!  T as a bat and F as a vampire – the perfect pair!

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The best friends then decided to try out the blue door first on their own.

We stopped by little T’s best friend’s house and walked up our local pub with his parents to meet-up with a couple of other parents too … or so we thought.

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Trick or treating “our little village style” at least, the kids were queuing!

As we left the pub, our little group was no longer a small one.  And as we crossed the street, our little group was slowly growing.  As we knocked on the first door, our group was no longer a little group.

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Little T paired up with her school-friend S who was dressed up as a Mummy and there they are knocking on someone’s door.

I’m not sure when it turned out or felt like a mob, but when the kids knocked on someone’s door and a poor unsuspecting person opened theirs, gave a few sweets to the kids, but then saw the other kids coming up their door-step and quickly shut the door on their faces! (Don’t blame him really.  He probably had the fright of his life seeing all those kids rushing up his doorstep).  I heard some parents boo.  I wanted to hide and pretend I wasn’t included in the group!

We passed another house, the lights were on.  The kids knocked again, no one answered.  I heard a mum say “Slash the tires!”  It was a joke of course.  But at this point though, I just felt that it was too much.  And by the time we reached the top of our village, the three of us decided to call it a night, said goodbye to our friends and quietly slipped out of the group.  Was half expecting T to protest, but even our little bat seemed to think that it was too much and gladly went home with us nary a whimper or whinge.

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T’s loot for the night.

No wonder she didn’t complain, her little pumpkin bag was filed to the brim with sweets! Before we could even look any further, our doorbell rang and thankfully it wasn’t the mob, but a sweet little boy with his parents.

Next year, we are hoping to stay away from the group and do it quietly with perhaps just little T and her best friend.  The problem is though, we live in a small village and will most probably bump into the mob again.

What was your Halloween like?

Did you go out “trick or treating?”

Three Birds

The photo above was taken on the 12th of January this year.  I posted it on my Instagram and wrote a caption:

Bird 1 to his friends: “I told you we should’ve turned right for Spain!”

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About a week ago, just as I was making little T’s bed in her room, I glanced out the window and saw three birds again and thought of the photograph I took at the beginning of the year and thought “What are the chances that these are the same birds from that picture?”  Impossible of course.  But I couldn’t help but make a caption again.

Bird 1 to his friends: “I told you we should’ve flown the other way!  Now look, we’re back here again!  The sun never shines in England!  This is all your bloody fault!”

If you could make your own caption of the photo above, what would it be?

ANIMALTALES

Good Day Sunshine

I think I know what McCartney was thinking when he wrote the lyrics to the Beatles’ song “Good Day sunshine”.  Just reading the words, makes you feel good already:  “Good day sunshine.  Good day sunshine.  Good day sunshine.  Good day sunshine.  I need to laugh, and when the sun is out.  I’ve got something I can laugh about.  I feel good, in a special way.  I’m in love and it’s a sunny day.”

And he is so right, when the sun is out, the gloom is nowhere to be found either.  As I’ve mentioned we’ve been having absolutely glorious weather and when you live in the UK you keep expecting it will be over soon and the rains will come again.  And as of yesterday, the rain has come!  But that’s life in the UK 😉 and the plants needs some watering, so it’s fine.

The glorious sunshine started during the Easter break, the sun came out in its full glory and since we had a close friend over, who also happens to be little T’s godfather, we went on a lovely  country walk.  T also had a little friend over, so along with two little people, three adults and a four-legged over excitable dog, we all headed out for a little procession through the woods.

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Over the hills we went, but had to go skirting around the hills, trying to avoid the cows with their calves.

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We didn’t want to risk it, not with two children and the cows with their babies would definitely be nervous around an over-excitable dog like Doc.

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After a bit of walk and hearing a few whinges from the little ones, we finally reached St. Peter’s Woods, which meant we weren’t far from Minster Church.

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And then there it was – Minster Church, just like Forrabury, parts of the building was built during the Norman times.

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I love the graveyard here, it always looks beautiful and different as the season changes as seen on this post.

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Poor Doc, as usual, had to be left outside as we all went inside to have a look around and actually, a bit of a rest.

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You might be wondering what little T is doing in this photo:  She’s actually practicing her “hard-stare” made famous by Paddington Bear.

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Kids will be kids.  Clambering over stairs with no fear, in spite the adults cautioning them to slow-down.  Then it was time to head home.

What about you?

Does the weather also affect your mood?

As I type this, grey clouds are hovering outside.  But like I said, we actually welcome the rain, so it’s not so bad and I besides, I just checked, the sun will be out again tomorrow 🙂

An Easy Sunday

I had a grand plan yesterday (sunday).  The plan was to get up, eat breakfast with the family and then drive all the way down to Falmouth to visit Pendennis Castle.  We haven’t had the chance to use our English Heritage membership for ages now, nor have we used our National Trust one, part of my genius plan was to make the most of everything.

But then, as always, I had another bad night and when you have terrible nights, plans do tend to fly out the window.  Luckily though, all wasn’t lost.  You’ve probably heard me say this a dozen times, especially if you’ve been following my blog, the good thing about where we live is that you don’t really need to go far to go to somewhere nice.  So instead, of going to a castle built during the reign of Henry VIII, we ended up in Widemouth bay, a lovely beach not far from our little village.

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It was a cold and blustery day, but of course, the little one hardly noticed it.  No matter the weather, the beach is always a fun place to be when you’re a child or a dog.

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I love this photo of the three of them.  I remember taking a photo similar to this one, but only it was of my husband and Mutt (our dog who died of bone cancer, before little T was born).  If you’re curious too see it, click here.

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Poor sun.  It was trying its best to peer among the clouds, but sadly, the grey was just too strong and stubborn to allow it to take more than just a peek.

And when it got too cold, we decided to take shelter in the nearby beach cafe for a little snack.

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of yummy delicious hot-chocolate complete with whipped cream and choco flake…

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Little T settled for ice-cream on top of waffle swathed in maple syrup.

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As you can see, she quickly demolished the ice-cream.  And when it was done and dusted, she wanted to head back to the beach for more fun and play.

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Apart from the beach and the rock-pools, the nearby cliff also offers a few small caves where one can go exploring.

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And it wasn’t just people and dogs who were out enjoying the dry weather yesterday …

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so were the horses.

I love sundays like this one.  There’s really no pressure to do anything or to stick to any plan.  I’m actually learning now that the best memories made are actually the ones that were un-planned, that were spontaneous, and done in the last-minute… do you agree?

Exeter Christmas Market 2014

We love Christmas markets and especially love going to the one in Exeter.

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While it isn’t as big as the ones in Birmingham or Manchester, it suits us well and has enough food stalls and other little shops to make a little family like ours – happy.

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This was actually a French stall that showed lovely colourful treats, but as you can see, they also sold some Turkish delights.  We asked little T if she wanted anything, to our surprise she replied “No thank you”.

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But she couldn’t resist the Italian ones and chose more than a couple of these delicious treats.

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She actually had a bite of each one and put them all back in the bag – kids!

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Now this is my idea of a “treat”.  I love paella, especially authentic Spanish paella like this one.

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And of course, it wasn’t all food stalls.  There were loads of little shops that sold Christmas decorations, presents and everything one would need for Christmas.

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A Christmas market isn’t complete without German sausages which little T and our friends had.  Sorry folks, wasn’t able to take any photos.  By this time I was busy eating and enjoying my paella.

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That’s little T doing a silly one, but her dad clicked before she could even pull it off.

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And there’s the beautiful 14th century Exeter cathedral, which apparently has the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England.

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On our way back to our friends house, we passed a Father Christmas decoration, standing just outside a Polish store.  Little T actually asked me to take her photo, but before I could even click, she did her silly pose again.

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What about you?

Have you visited any Christmas market yet?

All About The Cows

Yep, the blimming cows!

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During autumn and winter, the National Trust who happens to own the headland near where we live, has an agreement with farmers in our area that allows their cows to graze on their property, which is supposed to help the wild flowers grow in the spring time.  I’m not really sure it’s working though …

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The problem with the blimming cows is that the enormous headland suddenly becomes small.  And all the dog-walkers of course have to put their dogs in leashes, and when it rains non-stop, the headland’s walk-path becomes really mucky, almost impassable.  If you’re lucky, your boots won’t get stuck in all mud.  The locals in our area are not pleased with the cows, I don’t blame them.

So the first thing we do, as soon as we get to the headland is to take note of where the cows are.  Then we choose which part of the headland to head for.  Sometimes though, you’ll find them littered all over the stitches – when that’s the case.  I usually take Doc to the other part of the headland, which is separated by thick hedges and bushes.  That way, the excitable Doc can still have a run around, without the fear of disturbing the blimming cows.

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Dear cows,

Please can we share the headland?

You can all stay on one side

and I’ll stay on the other side.

ps

I love the smell of your dung.

Love,

Doc

ANIMALTALES

That Dog

Are you a dog-owner?  Do you walk your dog?

Do you sometimes notice a woman, or could also be a man, with a dog that’s just way too-excitable for its owner?  Their human is always looking frazzled, stressed-out and can’t seem to handle their energetic dog, especially when there are other four-legged-furry-animals around.  Their dog won’t come back when called and would excite the other well-behaved dogs, whose owners would peer down at the over-excitable one with disapproval, as well as at the owner, calling for their dog in a desperate plea, to please come back to them.

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I have a confession to make, I am that woman.  Yep, that stressed-out woman who loses her dignity when there are other dog-walkers around.  When I do finally manage to put him back on his leash, he’ll spin-me-around like a ballerina, although not gracefully, as I mutter apologies under my breath “Sorry about that.  He’s just an excitable teenager”.  Most owners would smile at me, some would even laugh and of course, there are others who would just give a curt nod, nudge their dogs to move away from that mad-dog and his owner, lest their craziness is catching.

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That’s Doc.  I usually take him out for a walk when it’s lunch-time, hoping that the headland would be empty and he can have a ran around without getting distracted by other dogs.  When there are others, he becomes like a mad-one, yapping away, being-over-friendly, some dog-owners try to shoo him away, which he interprets as a game or sees it as a come-hither gesture. My husband says he’ll outgrow it soon.  He’ll settle down soon and I always ask … when?  Impatient for that time to come NOW!

He isn’t that bad actually, though I’m not exaggerating what I’ve described above.  It really does happen, especially when there are other dogs around.  But he’s fine.  He is Doc.  Little T’s dog.  We have lovely walks together, especially when it’s just the two of us.

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This is our rock.  In the summer, I sometimes sit here and watch the sea while he hovers around me, smelling, always smelling everything on sight, as if having a conversation with them, with his nose.

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This is what our village looks like in November.

When I stop to take photos, he gives me an “Oh no, not again look”.  Exasperated, would go off in a trot, leaving me behind.  Most times, he’ll come back for me.  I’ll see him peering in the corner, with his little head, tilted a bit as if to say “Are you coming?”

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I love the whiteness of this building against the grey sky and orangey-greenish colour of the hill.

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If we do manage to go out at lunchtime, we always, always stop in this little spot, beside that post, with the yellow arrows.

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Not because of the scenery …

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If you look closer, you will see little T’s school.  It’s that building right in front of the church with the green door. And if I time it perfectly and it’s not raining, Doc and I will hear the children’s laughter and actually see them playing outside.  Sometimes I say to him, “Do you hear her Doc?  Do you hear your little T?”  I imagine him saying “Yes, I can just about hear her faintly.  She is laughing and giggling.”

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And then our walk always ends up by the side of this Norman church.  We go through the wooden gate and make our way back home.  By then, he is knackered and is well-behaved, walking along with my pace, instead of pulling away from me.

Do you have a dog?

Are they as excitable as little T’s dog?

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Have a lovely week folks!

W is for Wall

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This is Clovelly’s 14th Century Harbour wall.  Apparently they started building it in the 13th century and then extended it in the 16th, and lengthened it again in 1826.

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For those who aren’t familiar with Clovelly, it is a small village in Devon, the county beside Cornwall where we live.  What makes it different from the many sea-side villages here in England?  Well for one, it’s the only village that is privately owned and has been associated with only three families since the 13th century.

So yep, you can’t buy a house here in Clovelly, nor rent.  I think you have to apply to live there (that is, if there are any vacant houses at all!), and be approved by the custodian of the village.

Clovelly is a beautiful village.  It’s as if time has stopped ticking here.  The streets are cobbled and the old cottages still  stand the way they stood hundreds of years ago.  If you’re in the area and haven’t visited, this is one place you simply have to visit!  Though a word of warning, they do charge and admittedly, I found it a bit of a turn-off they way they’ve commercialised the village.  But that’s just me.

W is for Wall.

#alphabetphotographyproject

Little T's Headland

Haven’t posted photos of Little T’s headland in a while, maybe because during the summer holidays, my husband isn’t busy with work so much and so he gets to walk Doc most of the time.   But now that he’s back on the grind and today in fact, was his first lecture/tutorial in Plymouth and so, little T and I took Doc out for a walk up the headland.

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Entrance to the Headland, or depends where you’re coming from, you could also go in through the graveyard or the side of the church.

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And off they go!  Before letting Doc off the leash though, I usually check if there are other dog-walkers.  He still gets over-excited and goes all silly when there are other dogs around.

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In spite the greyish clouds hovering in the distance, it was still a lovely day.  As you can see, we came out all bundled-up, but at the end of the walk, layers had to go.

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There’s little T marching through the headland.

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And Doc, doing what he does best – springs across the grass.  He absolutely loves it here.  Then again, all dogs do.

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Took this photo of the empty harbour, minus the tourists and then noticed the rainbow… Can you see it?

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Little T with our little now quiet village in the background.

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Then I heard voices and spied them – tourists!  They are still here after-all.  We expect things to die down just a bit, and then, perhaps they’ll be a small wave of visitors over the half-term break at the end of the month, before it all goes hush again.

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And there’s my country-girl who loves climbing gates.

What’s your weekend like?