Friday 30 September 2022

Summer Photo Hunt 2022 - the final!

It must officially be the end of summer, as it is the time to share the photos that we have found for this year's scavenger hunt!

I shared the first of my finds here so I won't duplicate those.  Are you ready to see what I've found?  

1. Path

I love the way they cleverly add mosaics into the cobble stones of the promenade along the beach in Praia da Luz

2. Peek-a-boo

Sunset over the hills between Luz and Lagos

4. Faceless selfie

Or actually half a face selfie!

5 Looks like a number or letter

Zero or O?  You decide!

6 A corner

Rounded corners on one edge, square corners on another for a building being built on a corner of a street.  I loved the coloured mosaic they have inserted into the decoration

8 Sipping on

A holiday cocktail - a locally made gin with fresh raspberries

10 OMG the shoes

Well, not actually a shoe but quite a fancy boot that doubles up as a fairy house!

11 Yellow and blue together

Blue and yellow is a popular combination on the Algarve and you see lots of homes painted in these colours

12 Fuzzy wuzzy texture

This plant has self seeded itself in a crack between our paved driveway and a gravel bed in the front garden.  The leaves are beautifully 'furry' and it's hard to resist touching them when you are out there.

13 All gone - empty

Who ate all the After Eight Mints?  I couldn't possibly comment.

16 Oh so colourful

Beautiful coloured glass fish displayed outside a shop in Lagos

17 Out of place
Where else would you find a Venetian style gondola in a dried up garden next to the sea?

18 In the distance
The Cotswolds hills seen from the top of the hill in Burford

19 Culture

What's a chicken got to do with culture I hear you ask!  In Portugal the rooster symbolises faith, good luck and justice through the story of the 'Old Cock of Barcelos'.  A pilgrim is accused of stealing silver and sentenced to death.  The judge is about to tuck into a meal of roasted cockerel and the pilgrim says that if he is innocent the cockerel will stand up on the plate and crow.  The judge laughs - until the cockerel miraculously stands up and crows.  The judge quickly reverses the decision to hang the pilgrim.  Years later the pilgrim returned to Barcelos to carve a statue of the cockerel and to this day, these roosters are considered to be symbols of good luck and faith.  This cockerel is situated in the alcove of a building in the town square of Lagos.

20 You grew it, made it

The epic summer make - talk about a labour of love!  I still can't quite believe that I managed to make it.

21 Invokes a childhood memory

I made this little egg cosy when I was at primary school, probably about age 9 - it kept many an egg warm when I was growing up!

22 Add 1 - 2 To change the taste

Hibiscus tonic water - adds a certain 'je ne sais quoi' to a glass of gin!

And for the one I didn't find 9 Changes shape when wet I have used 
Alt A Recent purchase

Destined to be part of a birthday present for a friend who has also recently taken up crochet, some cute stitch markers.

 That's it!  Every one ticked off.  I can't wait to go blog hopping to see what everyone else found.  
Many thanks for Mary Lou for organising this again, and finding some fun and challenging subjects!

Monday 26 September 2022

Me on Monday

 One of us had the luxury of a spa day/morning last week, look how soft and white she is - quick - before she disappears into the garden in her quest to enlarge that big hole she thinks we don't know she is digging behind the tree.

She may be an older lady nowadays but she still draws a lot of attention whenever we go out and she was very popular over the park on Sunday morning.  We had gone to the town park to see Leo take part in the Junior 2km Park Run.  He's just started going so we thought we would go and see him before the weather got colder/wetter.  It was a glorious autumnal morning and afterwards we walked through the park, bought a cappuccino from the coffee stall and sat and drank it beside the river in the sunshine.  A lovely way to start a Sunday.

It had been an odd week, with the whole of Monday revolving around watching the funeral of Queen Elizabeth on tv.  I am pleased that the media seem to have let the family grieve in private for the rest of the week.

We had friends over for a takeaway curry on Friday evening, which meant that I spent most of Friday afternoon tidying, dusting and hoovering the house but at least we started the weekend with all chores done. It's a nice feeling.

So what does this week hold?  Friends over for coffee this morning - the wife is trying to organise a surprise get together for her husband's birthday in a few weeks time and I shall be on tenterhooks while they are here hoping that neither Paul nor I accidentally slip up and mention seeing them again then!  

Hoping to pop over to Saffron Walden on Tuesday morning - they have a lovely food market there on a Tuesday and I shall be stocking up on fresh fruit and veg for the week. Our new routines have kicked in - it still seems strange to know that we have the whole of Tuesday up to 3.15 free now.  

I need to crack on with knitting Rosie's ballet cardigan so my winter crochet blanket is on pause at the moment.  It is nice to have something small and light on my needles. I took her to her class on Saturday as Rachel and the rest of the family had dentist appointments which had been booked 6 months ago before she signed up for classes. It did seem very strange as they are still run by the lady who ran them 32 years ago when I used to take Rachel!  Rosie is a totally pink and glittery girly girl and she was so happy to be dressed in her pink leotard with sparkly tutu.  She is so like her mum!

It will be nice to have a week which (at the moment!) does not have lots of calls upon our time for childminding as the last couple of weeks have been peppered with an hour here and an hour there, dropping someone somewhere and picking someone up from somewhere else to the extent that I am neurotic that I am going to forget someone, somewhere if I don't write it down in at least two different places!  No parent is climbing a mountain and no parent is going away on business so fingers crossed.

The other thing on my to-do list for today is my flu vaccination, I guess that (as well as thinking about putting a thicker duvet on the bed) is the first sign of winter approaching.  How long can we go before we switch the heating back on?  Quite a controversial subject this year!

Sunday 18 September 2022

Me on Sunday

 I've brought forward my 'Me on ...' post because I think Monday is going to be quite unlike any other.

How things have changed since my last post.  England appears to be centre stage in the world's media and there is a real feeling of living through a period of historical moments.  It has been fascinating to watch the pageantry of such a momentous period of time, and one cannot but admire the organisation of such ceremonies.  I have no anecdotes of meeting a member of the Royal family and I have never been present at an event where the Queen was attending.  I am sad that she has died, and my sympathies go out to her family who, in the midst of grief, are having to be seen to be doing their duties in the public eye.  Anyone who has lost a loved family member knows that there are times when you just want to closet yourself away and hide from everyone while you weep.  They do not have that option.  She was an amazing woman.  To have taken on the role of Queen when she was least expecting it; to have to alter her life plans so dramatically when she was still so young and to take on the role at a time when it really was still a male driven world.  But I am pleased that as well as having lived a good life, she had a good death too.  We have seen photos of her smiling and healthy just two days before she died and that is so fortunate.  She died in the place she loved most, Balmoral, and she had family members with her up until the end.  For that we must be grateful.

Whilst all this is going on, of course life continues and it this week held some unexpected aspects for us too.  We won't dwell too long on the gastroenteritis which struck me in the early hours of Friday.  Despite no one else in the family having it and having eaten nothing different to Paul in the 24 hours before, it just hit me.  Let's move on! 

Paul had his Covid booster.  He is a volunteer NHS worker and was scheduled to do a shift directing people who had been called for their boosters at a local clinic.  At the end of the day there were vaccines left over and so they asked the volunteers if they wanted to be jabbed. That was an unexpected bonus.

The most unusual thing that happened in the family was that our daughter climbed Mt Snowdon in Wales.  No, she isn't a keen climber or hiker.  No, she didn't do ANY training beforehand.  No, she didn't wear any specialist warm clothing and yet, Yes, she made it to the summit!  It was part of a team building exercise with the directors of the company that she works for.  Just her and five men.  What an achievement!  I think it was harder going than she anticipated (she had done the Three Peaks Challenge about 10 years ago and I think she expected it to be similar to that) and certainly colder and worse visibility than she thought.  But lovely views from the top!

Let's finish with something that was expected.  I started a new blanket.  I knew that my crochet hooks wouldn't stay idle for long!  This is a Christmas inspired one and I have to say that it is a little more challenging with a lot of mosaic work.  Being confined to the sofa on Friday has meant that I have been able to get going on the snowflake panel without interruptions.

I am sure that many of us will be watching the Queen's funeral on Monday.  Viewing the ceremony and traditions that make our country what it is.  The end of one era and the beginning of another.  

Thursday 8 September 2022

A long weekend in the Cotswolds

 You probably haven't ever visited the village of Burford, but I bet you have seen it in a magazine, a jigsaw or even a biscuit tin.  Whenever they are looking for a photo of a quintessential example of the English countryside Burford ticks all the boxes!

We were staying at an apartment which was part of the old mill and which has the River Windrush passing through the courtyard.  

Can you see the little ducklings the other side of the wall?  

Burford is considered to be the 'Gateway to the Cotswolds' and is so picturesque, it really was a lovely base for our weekend.

We were up bright and early on Saturday with an eager Coco looking forward to a day of dog walks.  First stop Bourton on the Water which was a lovely place to wander around

Then in the afternoon we went to Batsford Arboretum - a perfect place to explore, and Coco found another bridge for a photo opportunity

After a day of walking, we were all relieved that I had pre booked a table at a nearby pub which advertised itself as 'dog friendly' and it certainly was.  Here is Coco enjoying a delicious side order of dog treats

I'm happy to report that the human food was absolutely delicious too

After a good nights sleep we discovered that it there had been a storm overnight and everywhere was very wet!  Rain had been forecast for the whole weekend so we had made the most of the day before.  But by mid morning, the sun was out, the pavements were dry and we headed out to Lower Slaughter, where Coco found another bridge to pose on

This was yet another pretty village, and I loved the sign on the door of this cottage

Hard to see in this photo but it says 'oh no, not you again'.  The cottage was right next to the mill on the river, so I suspect they get a lot of people taking a photos

Back to Burford for Sunday lunch at a local pub

I don't know if we just struck lucky or if all dog friendly pubs in that area serve restaurant quality food, but it was absolutely delicious.  After a lovely lunch and a couple of glasses of wine we had a slow stroll back to the apartment where we just chilled for the afternoon.

We have friends who moved to this area about six years ago and we still hadn't been to visit them so when I realised we were staying half an hour drive from them I contacted them to ask if they would be home for us to pop in and say hello.  Not only were they home on Monday, but they also had friends who emigrated to Australia 18 years ago visiting, and another friend who moved to Devon staying for a few days!  So we stopped there for a few hours, had a lovely lunch whilst catching up on all the news, before heading home late Monday afternoon. 

All in all it was a lovely long weekend, and we certainly walked off all those delicious meals exploring the local area.  It's an area I would definitely recommend.  Coco gave it 5* too! 

Friday 2 September 2022

Let's sit and have a cup of tea - September

So pleased that you found us ok.  I forgot to mention last month that we would be away for a long weekend.  Isn't the scenery around here lovely?  Before we get chatting properly, let's put the kettle on and make a drink. There’s a nice table and chairs outside on the patio, let’s sit there.

That's better!  We've only just arrived ourselves to be honest and Coco is still getting to know all the smells of her holiday home.  

We always try to take a few days away with her every year, I do a lot of research for 'dog friendly accommodation' and 'dog friendly pubs'.  We've always been pleasantly surprised how welcoming pubs can be and quite often she is served first with a treat and a bowl of water.  We're planning to also pop in and see my friend Julia who moved out this way a few years ago.  Coincidently this weekend she has some other house guests who are mutual friends who emigrated to Australia many, many years ago. Plus another friend who moved to Dorset is coming too so it is going to be lovely to see so many people that we haven't seen for far too long.

When I last invited you for a cuppa and a chat we were still in the middle of our heatwave but that broke in a spectacular fashion with a thunderstorm which shook the house and that front lawn which was so parched last month does now actually have a few blades of green grass growing through.  

This week was my last of my normal childminding activities and it felt a bit strange but I am sure I will soon get used to my new normal.  Coco is also pleased that we have a high chair sized visitor on Wednesdays because that's a sure bet that there will be a few bits and pieces thrown over the sides at lunchtime for her to clear up!  Once children get bigger and eat more politely there's much less heading towards the floor.

Apparently I’ve been on my iPad long enough and Coco is anxious to get to know the lay of the land around here so I will say goodbye for now and will share more details when we get home. Bye for now, have a safe journey home!