Friday, 25 July 2014

Hot But Happy.

Loving the warm, sunny weather. Loving that we can take a day trip involving ferry rides, beaches and beautiful scenery. Loving this summer...

Today's destination lies ahead... it should have been Bute but we left home too late and missed the noon ferry, so we visit Cumbrae instead...

...we're rather spoiled for choice for ferry options hereabouts. Within easy day-tripping distance lie the Isles of Arran, Bute and Great Cumbrae, and it is also possible to take ferries across the Clyde to Dunoon and Kilcreggan.

Two ferries ply back and forth all day between Largs and Cumbrae. The crossing is short - about 15 minutes and as soon as the ferry is emptied it reloads for the return journey. Many people visit on foot as there is a regular bus service into Millport, the only town/village on the island. Bikes are also very popular - you can either take your own or hire various styles in Millport. The circuit of the island by road is only 10 miles and is very  flat. The views are amazing and there aren't many cars - it's ideal for a family bike ride. 

We set off in a clockwise direction, heading south from the ferry slip.

It's very hot. Soon we pass a a small museum and aquarium, it's only £1 each to visit, we go in to escape the sun for a while...

Then back on the road - we plan to have our picnic at the beach in Millport. It's a gorgeous setting. After lunch the hubby and the children go for a dip in the sea while I lie on the sand and read my book. Did I mention it was hot! To be honest, I'd rather have had a little patch of shade, but the views were wonderful and it was lovely to see people enjoying the simple pleasures of a visit to the seaside.

Eventually the children are persuaded out of the water by a promise of icecreams and cold drinks, then we set off to continue our circuit of the island.

The mountains belong to Arran, where we were earlier in the summer holidays.

 Looking inland. The best views though are out to sea.

 Ox eye daisies.

 N picks one for me.

My shell collection.

 A last pause at one of the little beaches.

 Approaching the ferry. We miss this one but it's only 15 mins till the next one.

 Here it is, unloading a tractor.

On we get. I should mention that N's bike is attached to hubby's by means of a "follow-me". This means he can be towed along, or can cycle independently if desired. He was towed the whole way...

 We see the Waverly in the distance as we cross.

 I'm rather taken by A's footwear.

Once back in Largs we have fish suppers on the esplanade and watch the ferries. The bikes are then packed back on the car and we head for home.It was a grand day out.

Sunday, 20 July 2014


Here are some June & July happenings that didn't make it onto my blog at the time. Just sorting through the photos to prepare them for posting has already triggered lots of happy memories - blogging for me is an on-line diary of the best bits of everyday life.

All photos are in the order they were taken, so a little jumping about in subject matter is involved... 

Back to June, a poppy is unfurling. May and June are my favourite months in the garden in terms of the variety and number of flower in bloom. Now, in mid July, there are fewer flowers but the butterflies are starting to appear, which I like very much too.


 June was quite a wet month. Sports day was rather damp.

Bunting for the village parade... was very wet...

...I don't think it could have rained any more than it did! Such a shame as new organisers had taken over and lots of new events were arranged. Still, there's always next year. 

Snail hunting in the garden. It took about 5 minutes to collect this lot. 

 Skeleton leaf placed on an old slate.

A's birthday cake.

 Cover quickly replaced incase the cat goes for it!

It turned out quite pretty.
For A's birthday tea we went out in Glasgow. You can see A & N at the bottom of the G on the Commonwealth Games sculpture. It's all going to be happening very soon - the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony is on Wednesday.

Pimms! From a night out with some friends from Uni. I went by bike so that I could enjoy the Pimms and not worry about having to get a taxi home. I cycled home along the cycle path at about 1am - it was magical! An owl swooped overhead at one point and there were lots of baby bunnies scooting across the path.

A gorgeous summer evening. I'm heading to the school where I did my first teaching placement to see my class in their end of year show. They were amazing and it was lovely to see them again. It boosted my confidence too as I'd had an excellent experience at that school in contrast to the issues with the school where I did my last placement. It was good to go back.

Fifteen eggs. To be made into batter for waffles to sell at the school BBQ. For a change the weather for the BBQ was excellent. However, you don't get much of a break on the waffle stall, until the batter runs out...

First rose of summer.

The cat, taken about 10:15pm, close to the summer solstice so still quite light. It's already getting dark at that time now, eek!
Loch Ard. We visited on a little family cycling trip...

 The eagle mosaic, needs some TLC.

 I think this is a male common blue damselfly. There were many of them darting about. Unfortunately, there were also quite a few clegs too.

Picnic spot. Hurriedly consumed due to presence of pesky clegs.

 On the road again.

Pretty corrugated hut.

Through the village of Kinlochard.

 Looking out across Loch Ard from the opposite side to where we began our cycle.

A shawl begins.

Part of the teacher's presents for end of term. A had two teachers this year (job share) and I kept one for myself (hopefully not too presumptious!). 

 Osteospermum. Always good.

This isn't my photo, but the cocktail second from the left is mine! From a night out in Glasgow to celebrate me finishing my Uni course. Yummy.

 Photographing washing shadows.

Pretty colours. Not destined to be a crumble...

... we all prefer Eve's pudding - ie with a sponge type topping,

 Now to another little day trip. This is a detail from the tram at Summerlee Industrial Heritage Park. Entry is free and it's well worth a visit.

 Inside the 1810 cottage.

 Now inside the 1940 house.

 Loom and wool.


 Now round the back of the 1940 house and peeking in the kitchen.

 View from one of the train engines. We also went down a mine and had a shot on the tram. There's lots to do and apart from the tram ride it's all free.

Some garden produce.

Love the peas.

 Now it's N's birthday. I like the owl on the wrapping paper.

 Before making his cake I make jam with the backcurrants and raspberries from the garden. At this stage I wasn't sure how it would turn out, much of the fruit seemed to just disappear,

 Anyway, I finish making the jam and get on with the birthday cake.

 Chocolate, as requested.

And actually, the jam is fine. I much prefer it to the backcurrant jelly I made last year. In addition to the raspberries, I also added a bag of frozen summer fruit I had in the freezer (I was emptying the freezer to defrost it) and I think that has helped mellow the flavour - blackcurrant on it's own has rather a strong taste.

 Brambles beside the shed.

Bramble flower and hoverfly.I struggle to keep the brambles out of the garden. This year we have even more than normal, I'm going to let them fruit then prune them back. I think there my even be enough berries from the garden for a batch of bramble jelly, we have that many.


 The Queen's baton relay came down our street. All very exciting.

 Now we've almost caught up. Yesterday we had my folks over for lunch. I used it as an incentive to try and get the house back to some sort of normality after all the DIY work from decorting the living room, and the general neglect it's had while I've been doing my course. I'm not quite there yet but it's a whole lot better than it was. Anyway, I made a baked lemon and vanilla cheescake for pudding...

...for main course we had chicken breasts stuffed with herby cream cheese and wrapped in serrano ham, new potatoes with butter and chives, chickpea salad, baby leaf salad, carrot sticks, podded peas, and garlic bread with coriander and lemon. 

 I was supposed to chuck the strawberries on top, but I couldn't help arranging them in a neat circle. It did make the cheesecake a little difficult to slice.

But it was scumdiddlyumptious, as the BFG would say.


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