Thursday, 25 July 2013

Catch up on Views from Windows and Escalators!

Two weeks ago we had views from the bank barn. If you have time to spend in the English Lake District and are unafeared of tiny bestioles, stay here!
 Door opening straight onto Brackenrigg Fell.
Barn. Idyllic, except for midges. Sigh. The winnowing window is the one on the left above the door to one of the lower studios. The owl perch is the top one on the right.
Last Thursday we were in an extremely hot London for the day, so had views from Harrods' Egyptian escalator...
Views from the Natural History Museum, though you can see why we didn't pay much attention to the windows...
And views from that escalator that takes you journeying to the centre of the earth and out again. Possibly my highlight there. I made them go through twice. It wasn't that scary.
And yes, once again, a solo respite stroll round Liberty's, where windows, balconies, woodwork and all within amount to a hugely spiritual experience in the midst of an action-packed holiday with mighty men!
We're home again, so normal and utterly monotonous Views from the Suburbs will hopefully join Jane on Thursdays. Ang is also running a Thursday feature- based on Edith Schaeffer's Hidden Art of Homemaking. She has kindly lent me her precious copy, and I have carefully already had to wipe jam off the back cover- don't tell her.... Inspired by Ang's exhortation to artful food presentation, I Shaefferized today's lunch to hide the fact that it was just a Mother Hubbard melee of left-over picnic from Tatton Park on Tuesday.
And so to today's view. Lots and lots of holiday laundry thankfully on the line to dry.  Jo repeats incessantly, "It's so good to be home!" I can't quite concur with the same enthusiasm. We had such a fabulous time away. Thank you, Ang and Bob, for looking after us on our last leg, and making that homeward haul so much easier. Pictures will follow- as will the BP experience!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

IOU Views from my Windows

There will be photos when I can sort out the technology! This week our views are from a converted barn in a beautiful Cumbrian valley. From the front of our floor, which is actually the back of the barn, we can only see the sheer rise of a little garden that is the base of Brackenrigg. From the living area window (which is the winnowing window) we are looking across the field where the boys play with Tig the dog to the low summits of High Rigg and Low Rigg with the Helvellyn range behind. Yes, I know!

The barn dates from around 1850 and is a bank barn- built into the fell to allow level access to both floors. We're living very comfortably on the threshing floor, complete with slit windows and owl perch. The winnowing window's job was to allow a through draught to help with separating the wheat and the chaff. I think we're still working on that one.

When the photos come there will also be the view from the climbing wall- its huge doors open tonight because of the heat and revealing the Skiddaw range as you climb, or belay in my case! And then there's the view of sunset over Skiddaw from the car window. It's a good week for views in the Land of Potter!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Pool update

We took them to the Pool. It has a water slide and a wave machine, and we spent a long and happy time therein. We did walk them up and down round Causey Pike first, but there was Pool today!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Strawberry notes from The Land of Potter

Mum says that she gets to choose activities on her birthday so she smiled her way through a whole Beatrix Potter pilgrimage thing. She says we can go to the Pool tomorrow.

They gave us books of The Tale of Samuel Whiskers at her house, but we had to give them back at the end. We had to find real things in the house that she painted for the book. We saw the dresser from that book and from The Tailor of Gloucester, which Mum says was BP's favourite of all the books. We also saw the fireplaces that she put in the books, and the landing, and the mouse hole, and the dolls house. Mum says it wasn't the real house, because that belonged to niece of the man who made the books, but we're not so sure because it had the ham and the cot.

Lucinda and Jane were supposed to be in the bedroom, because Mum's book said so, but we couldn't find them. She asked the gentleman about them and he said that he didn't know where the dolls had gone. Mum and the gentleman were very sad.

It was very hot again today. Mum says we can go to the Pool tomorrow.

To get to the other Beatrix Potter place we crossed the longest lake on a small ferry. That was fun. It isn't the biggest lake. Mum says we have that at home and that's right because Finn McCool took a big lump of earth to throw at Benandonner in Scotland and that made Lough Neagh.

The Beatrix Potter place is really cool, and sometimes we listened to Mum telling us all the stories, but there was an awesome touch table where you could move maps of the Lake District all over the place. Mum did a puzzle with some random person's child. You can walk through lots of the stories and Jo had his picture taken in Mrs Tiggy-Winkle's kitchen. Matt says he has bumped his head there all two times before. He didn't bump his head today.

Then we had snack, and bought Lego Hero guys with our holiday money in the toy shop and went back to the barn and went for pizza and Mum and Dad took us on this street thing round Keswick. Lots of people dressed up and told stories about Keswick. Beatrix Potter was there but Mum thought the lady doing her made her seem too silly.

Mum says we can go to the Pool tomorrow.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

A Summer Reading of Beatrix Potter

I have decided to read the entire World of Peter Rabbit in one go. With obvious comfort breaks for food, sleep and family interaction. I think that reading all little twenty three tomes in order is definitely the route to the richest Beatrix Potter experience. For example, if you read The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle before The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, because you carelessly skipped from 3 to 5, then you will not know why Peter Rabbit's jacket has shrunk and might be tempted to blame this erroneously on the impeccable Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, nor will you know why old Mrs Rabbit's red cotton pocket-handkerchief smells of onions when in fact she deals only in knitting, herbs, rosemary tea and rabbit-tobacco "(which is what we call lavender.)"

However I am going to start my Potter Log with Little Tome 5, The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. For reasons that were delightful indeed, today was more than the perfect time to be reading the washer woman's story.

Last night we climbed Brackenrigg, and a nasty old time of it we had. The ferns and bracken were above our heads, though luckily Prince Charming was lofty enough to see a way forward! No possible purpose could we find for the jungle, other than to provide nourishment for bugs more sustainable than our blood. Yet when Lucie arrives at Mrs Tiggy-Winkle's door she sees the "clothes-props cut from bracken stems". Maybe I'll venture back over the fence tomorrow when I will have done some laundry of my own!

This afternoon we leafed through the Mountain Rescue Team's annual report, and saw that one of their call-outs last February had been to the search for a missing child. All it stated was that there had been no injuries, so we chose to deduce that all had ended happily.  This was, however, what immediately sprang to mind when "Lucie scrambled up the hill as fast as her short legs would carry her". I wonder if contemporary readers shook their heads in disdain and asked where Lucie's parents had been, or maybe reminisced about the days when they took off into the hills for days at an end with only an apple in their pocket, aged eight.

The best bit for me was at the very end where Potter notes for potentially incredulous readers that she has "seen that door into the back of the hills called Cat Bells", as Catbells is just exactly where we spent lunchtime today, with an hour or so either side. It is a lovely hill to climb; Wainwright described it as "a place beloved", and it is. It must have some of Potter's magic for sure. We got out of the car to put on our boots, and driving into the space right next to us was one of our oldest friends.      Our adventure in the Land of Beatrix Potter continues x

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Views from our windows

It's close of play here at Centre Court, and we haven't had to take cover under the roof much at all today. I think we won every match in straight and happy sets!
Happy Fourth July to those celebrating America, rather than watching tennis at Wimbledon. Can you see my new camellia settling into its pot? My original plant died in the dark, damp winter, despite having survived the fourteen before.
Prince Charming cut the grass tonight, in record time, giving the apple tree a bit of a berth because it is laden, oh lusciously laden, with tiny little fruits. Very exciting!
The windows are still open, and it has been a good week to kick off the summer holidays, with more hot weather to come apparently. It's all good x

Monday, 1 July 2013

Greatitudes 812 - 834

Well, there has been much lovely stuff in and around Strawberry Land lately. Passing wholly over the fact that the last week has been one of the hardest I've lived in a while, let's be concentrating on the good!
I threw myself a surprise Bean birthday* last week, but two crafty (in both senses of the word) friends knew too much and presents were brought. Nice!
We've harvested this year's first strawberries, and will have a bowl a day for the foreseeable future. Just add cream, or warm banana bread and ice-cream...
I'm very glad that my two big cool guys can still pitch in and have a bit of baking whilst nipping off to Minecraft or supersoak or do that Lego thing. Also glad that they will sit at the table and do some school work. I know you'll not approve of holiday school, but this is the summer between P6 and P7 and The Test looms!
Prince Charming's Christmas present is letting us eat and watch Wimbledon, very important with Murray playing his fourth round!
Love Dr Oetker, boys with an eye for icing, and having something nice in a tin. Do call round for a cuppa this week- we have something nice in a tin!
I have upgraded my phone. Touch technology, no less. Very scary. It's a Nokia Strawberry, in case you're wondering. It takes much better photos than my Nokia dinosaur, but you'll just have to take my word for that- I have no idea how to do anything with said photos yet. So you'll have to imagine a nice day at the beach on Saturday and a wonderful day at Summer Madness yesterday! Though I'm beginning to feel that a woman in her mid-forties really shouldn't be at Northern Ireland's premier Christian music festival. And she definitely shouldn't be having a go at the hip-hop workshop. No sirree. Maybe my thigh muscles will work tomorrow...

*When I met my crafting friends a few years ago, we used to survive life and hook in a nearby coffee shop called Coffee Bean Deli. (It's still there, and we still go sometimes- Merville Garden Village for those of you in the area!) For birthdays we would have Bean Birthdays- themed cakes, bunting, and little presents. More recently we seem to be more in each others' houses, but the term stuck!

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