Sunday, 29 May 2011

Saturay Morning Bike Ride

I was lucky with the weather, I only got rained on twice and the sun actually shone most of the time.

The countryside is looking lovely and green so for those of you in drier parts, this is what it looks like when it rains practically every day of May!

A nice little bench at the top of the hill from the village.

Looking westwards over a pond, there are swans but they're out of view. Pesky pylon lines above, tumbledown stone wall and cow parsley in front.

So many shades of green.

This weeks bird on wire photo. These are house martins. There were at least thirty or so of them flying around this little area. It's next to a farm and above a burn so there are plenty of insects around.

I managed to catch one of them in flight. They were darting around so swiftly, it was quite a spectacle. I stopped and watched them for about ten minutes.

The pretty farm sign is surrounded by hawthorn blossom at this time of year.

Looks like a favourite spot for itchy sheep!

I love this view. The little tree mound I like to photograph can be seen in the far distance.

Bands of colour; blue sky, white then grey cloud, green fields and trees, white hawthorn.

A closer look at the hawthorn.

The red gate post, beech hedge and tree sillouhette.

A little further on and looking back, the same tree can be seen on the left of the above photo.

Lovely open countryside and big skies.

A little further on I take a detour into the woods beside a little loch.

A fungus covered branch lies on the ground.

Bike shot.

Then home, with rain for the last three miles or so. This is my favourite short bike ride route (about 10 miles) for when (i) I can't really be bothered/(ii) have left too late/(iii) the weather's rubbish. The weather turned out fine so only conditions (i) and (ii) were met today!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Egg free, dairy free, nut free chocolate cake.

I use this egg free dairy free nut free cake recipe when allergy ridden children are visiting.

It makes a deliciously moist chocolate cake.

It's very quick and easy too. It's close to becoming my favourite chocolate cake recipe as it's so simple and tasty.

I've actually been doing quite a lot of baking recently, it's just been that kind of weather, and has been so here for much of May.

Earlier in the week N and I visited a fancy playground. It was as cold as it looks, I was glad to have my gloves and scarf with me.

The sun did make a brief appearance though and we manage to dodge most of the showers.

Some garden news...

...our gooseberries are gubbed. It's too late for this year, but for future reference I'd be interested to know if anyone can recomend ways of avoiding and/or getting rid of caterpillars?

A sunny view of the path, though still cold and very windy. This was at the start of the gales we experienced earlier this week. I drove into Glasgow for orchestra practice on Tuesday night and the roads were lined with broken branches and the occasional blown over tree. There were leaves everywhere! Honestly, it was like November, except the leaves were all green instead of autumn colours. On the subject of orchestra, I was unaware of this fairytale story surrounding the pianist who is performing with us...

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


December 2009: when asked by Mum what I'd like for Christmas I request a copy of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and the DVD set of the BBC series of the same name, neither of which I have read/viewed.

Early 2010: I read and enjoy the book. The DVD's remain unopened.

April 2011: I get round to watching episode 1 of the DVD. It's not bad at all. I'm not too keen on the added violent scene (not in the book) which I find a little unecessary and which doesn't particularly endear me to the DVD version of Mr Thornton.

May 2011: I finally watch the remaining episodes while crocheting the new blanket. Episodes 2 and 3 are enjoyable though I remain ambivalent to the DVD Mr Thornton (probably because I'm making that darn blanket so the tv does not have my full attention). Now to episode 4, the final one, and the end, and what an ending! It defintely has my full attention! If you've seen it you'll know what I'm talking about, if you haven't then I'll say you should watch the series, you lucky things! It's a little changed from the book, and I'm sure it's not proper Victorian gentlemanly behaviour, but hey, it's a tv drama, make-believe, fantasy, and breathtaking! No ambivalence towards Mr Thornton remains, haha!

Hubby is out on Thurs evenings, I'm going to watch the whole thing again tomorrow night. I've already watched the final episode three times. Ahhhhh!

Go on, the DVD set is only £3.97 from amazon...

Monday, 23 May 2011

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

No route planned, I free wheel down the hill to join the cycle path...

...and to admire the flowering hawthorn which lines the cycle path (a disused railway line). Not as spectacular a display as it can be, due to a rather over enthusiastic (so I think!) pruning session earlier in the year.

Green fields, solitary tree and a sky criss-crossed with pylon lines.

Past the castle, pink campion and hawthron flowering together in the foreground.

A little pause on this bridge over a deep gorge for a bike shot. Fairly soon after this I leavethe cycle path and join the network of unclassified roads.

Bird on a wire.

This weeks cow photo, and rather lovely cows they are too in gorgeous shades of toffee and caramel. The hawthorn hedge is a little high for a perfect view.

And then it starts to rain, so some of the following photos look a little blurry!

Hills and hawthorn.

A tempting lane lined with cow parsley but I'll go this way another time, I take the road to the right. The rain gets heavier and I get rather wet. I decide to opt for a more direct route home but with a little detour through woodland to avoid some of the rain. It's a wood I've been to before and have tended to follow the same paths through it. I now realise I've been going the wrong way..., finally, are the bluebells I've been looking for the last few weeks.

All the better for being unexpected. Next year I'll try and catch them at their peak.

Carrying on along this new path I climb a steep hill and come across what would be (if it weren't raining!) a lovely view over the surrounding countryside. A great spot for a picnic methinks (in nicer weather, of course!)

Horses, too busy munching the grass to say hello.

Dog roses in bloom.

The (wet) track back to join the cycle path and a quick cycle home to dry off. Scone baking weather - I do make some later that afternoon, but they're for eating not photographing!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Sunny Spells

Thursday afternoon turned out not so bad after all. My washing dried and I zoomed round the garden taking a few photos during the sunny spells.



Hawthorn finally flowering. The buds on our pink hawthorn tree are still to open though.

I made some biscuits.

Choc chip cookies from All Colour Baking Book (2nd left).

They were nice but not as nice as the recipe I usually use (which can be obtained by following the link on my sidebar). I need more space on my cook book shelves and I'm trying to decide whether or not this book is a keeper. It has some fabulous looking fancy cakes in it but I really need an occasion to make one, perhaps the next craft night I host would be a good excuse!

On Friday morning the dry weather was still holding so N and I went for a walk to the woods (inspired by sitting under the turtle blanket which then takes on the appearance of a forest canopy)

A view through the woods to the steeple.

Following the path.

Wow, bluebells! For some reason I didn't think there would be blubells here. Thery're a little past their best, but at least I know a new place to come looking next year, and within walking distance too.

Looking up through the leaves.

Dinosaur feet.

Back to the village and along a favourite lane. I like the little door set into the wall on the right.

There is a lovely garden on the left here, it belongs to the house on the right which has a little bridge from the upper floor to reach it.

N and I don't make it back to the house in time to avoid the rain. A very heavy shower catches us about 300 yds from home. It can take quite a long time for a tired 2 year old to walk 300yds so by the time we reach home we're soaked. Although the shower only lasted half an hour or so enough rain falls to flood the school sports ground so A's sports day is now postponed till June. Here's hoping the weather has improved by then...


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