Monday, 19 October 2015

Take me to the sea

 Somehow I have managed to not see the sea ALL year so Sarah and Suzi put a day trip in the diary and today we went to Formby, a lovely beach a little north of Liverpool.

There's a remarkable walk through this forest down to the beach.

It's utterly beautiful with lots of busy red squirrels.

We had a picnic on the beach and watched a seagull fly off with our pot of Moroccan hoummous!

The crows were edging in on our lunch too.

 It was so good to be by the sea.

We breathed in some good air.

and took lots of pictures between us!

Afterwards we jumped in the car and drove a little further down the coast to Crosby Beach, the home of Antony Gormley's 'Another Place' sculpture. There are an impressive one hundred of these sculptures for a two mile stretch of the beach standing in and out of the sea.

We gave him a heart.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Balls in the woods!

The other day when we were out walking in the woods my young friend Otis (he's 3) discovered these balls in the woods.

I thought they were oak galls at first but when he took us to the tree he found them under there were hundreds and hundreds of them.

We then thought they were some kind of fungi but they had no roots and are a bit hard.

We went up to the woods for another look this afternoon and to try and solve the mystery but we are non the wiser.

Any ideas? They under a canopy of beech trees, under this old tree stump, in a sloping bit of the woods above Fairfield, a little off the beaten track.

Helen from Ribbon Circus suggested that they may be old ceramic beads for washing wool, left over from our industrial past. I'm beginning to think she is right. It's just that they look like they have been dumped more recently than that...and it's such an odd place to put them. 

Strange and interesting.

We saw some good toadstools while we were there.

So purple. Once you'd spotted one, they were suddenly everywhere!

These little guys were cute too.

It's amazing what you can find on the forest floor.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Bye bye Ollie Boy

It only seems like five minutes since we said goodbye to Tomsky and I wrote that blog post about the  story of how this pair of ginger pickles came to be in our lives. 

Yesterday we lost Ollie too. 

He wasn't really the same after Tomsk died. Ollie had spent most of his life like this, all wrapped up in his brother and having his head licked clean every day. Since Tomsk went he was lost and looked so lonely all on his own. His meow became an empty squeak, his kidneys deteriorated and his eyes became partially blind. He followed me round everywhere, never satisfied until he was securely on a warm knee. Bless him.

Yesterday morning (I wish I had a photo as it is clearly in my head) I got up to find him sitting in bed with my friend Rachel, who was visiting, and her little boy Otis. Rachel was having a cup of tea, Otis was having a banana and Ollie was purring. It was a picture of cosiness. Ollie got up for his breakfast and five minutes later we found him collapsed on the kitchen floor panting. 

The next two hours were so hard. The vet wouldn't come out on a Sunday. He was too ill and distressed to take all the way to Halifax in the car. Poor little man. We just made him as comfortable as he could and kept him company while he passed. 

Ollie loved everyone. If you came to our house he would be curled up in your lap within five minutes like he'd known you forever. He liked to make people feel at home. So it was right that everyone was here with him. Thanks goodness Euan was home from uni to say goodbye. They were good buddies. 

Ollie was surrounded by love and so was I.

Ollie we miss you, you sweet little boy. Thankyou for ALL the love you have given us for the last sixteen years. It's the end of an era. The ginger boy era. You boys were the best!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Inspiration at Kew

Last week I had an inspirational trip to Kew Gardens. 

I've wanted to come for years. I don't know what took me so long!

I loved the old Victorian palm house. Green, humid, dripping and full of the most impressive plants.

It was tricky to take pictures as the camera kept steaming up!

So many good silhouettes.

You can climb the old spiral staircase and see everything from up high. 

It was good to look down on the HUGE leaves.

The waterlily house was beautiful too.

Look at those huge lily pads. 

This is the underside of one.

I took my time strolling around the gardens. 

It was beautiful and peaceful, even in the rain.

Autumn was doing it's thing and there were so many busy squirrels carrying huge sweet chestnuts and acorns in their mouths.

Look at this old thing. A three hundred year old Sweet Chestnut tree. 

It was the inspiration for the creation of the Whomping Willow in the set of Harry Potter. They came and took casts of the tree apparently.

I loved the tree top walk way. 

I loved being up so high and up so close to the huge numbers of Parakeets screeching around the place.

Can you spot him sitting in the tree?

Crows, pigeons, parakeets....

There were lots of these purple flowers..

and I bumped into this Peahen too preening herself on a bench.

Then I walked to the wild edges of the park and started to spot mushrooms under the trees.

Once I'd spotted one, I started seeing them everywhere.

I was just remembering how I saw some birds nest fungi when I was a child - then I spotted this. It was much tinier than I remembered. Anyone know if that's what it is?

Big one, little one...both with nibbles.

I came home with muddy knees, a head full of inspiration and billions of photos on my camera. I loved it. Wish it was closer to home.

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