Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Photo Scavenger Hunt: July

Once again joining in with Greenthumb of Made with Love and her monthly challenge.

Black: Snooker ball.

Eleven : Bingo - Legs 11!

Something very old : 17th century cruck barn.

Something bright : Fairground ride.

Coins : Old coins embedded in a piece of wood in the Counting House at the Staircase Museum, Stockport.

Technology: Chickpea's Nintendo 3DS. She didn't get her love of video games from me.

Numbers : Scoring card at a crown green bowling game. My Dad's is the score on the left - 3 points later he won!

Wheels : Sculpture on a wall in Stockport.

The great outdoors : the River Ribble.

Smile : painting on a fairground ride. The wonderful thing about Tigger...

Umbrella : Who would have thought this would be one of the hardest photos to find? In the end though, the British weather came through and I took this at the weekend during one of the many short, sharp showers.

Feet : Teenagers cooling off in a fountain.

It's great fun hunting down the photos for this challenge. Why not give it a go next month? You can find the list for August here. x


Thanks for the guesses on the identity of the blue flower. I've now managed to identify it as Phacelia tanacetifolia or scorpionweed after seeing a photo of it on another blog. x

Monday, 29 July 2013

Pictorial Meadow revisited

One of the great things about blogging is being able to look back over the months and years. On 29 July last year, I posted about the patch of wasteland I pass on my way to work, which each year transforms into a flower meadow. I still drive past that patch of land and once again it's been in bloom.

As I said then, it's part of a gardening movement called the 'Pictorial Meadow' which several local councils seem to have taken up to transform public areas and wasteland into things of beauty. 

When these photos were taken it was a sea of poppies. However, looking back at last year, I see there are far fewer varieties of flower this time. I wonder whether that's the natural order of things in that some species take over, or whether it's been affected by the weather? It's not quite as spectacular this time but there is still lots to look at and marvel over.

I have no idea what this is and it's not in my book of British wildflowers but there was lots of it around. Any ideas?

[Note added later: I've now identified this as Phacelia tanacetifolia or scorpionweed]

Oxeye daisies.

Lots of cornflowers in different colours.

Golden corn marigolds.

A white plant which could be any number of ones in my wildflower book. Chervil?

And last but definitely not least, the very pretty and delicate Fairy Toadflax, which has to be one of my favourite plant names ever.

As I went by this morning most of the flowers had gone apart from a mist of white flowers. Hopefully the rain over the weekend will refresh the ground and bring forward a new flush of colour. Fingers crossed. x

PS My wildflower book has been getting a serious workout lately and I'm definitely no expert, so please let me know if I've got the name of any of these flowers wrong!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

This week

This week...

...I sent off my contribution for the Yarndale bunting appeal: one each for me and Chickpea. I'm intending to go though haven't made definite plans yet. It would be so exciting to see these hanging with all the others but I'm not sure my purse can handle the strain :)

...I marvelled at the stunning colour of these heleniums which the bees and butterflies found just as irresistible.

...I had a couple of days off work using up the remains of my annual leave (though I still have 2 weeks to come at the end of August). I went for a walk along the canal with Sue and had a truly lovely day. Fresh air, sunshine and the company of a very good friend - it was just what I needed.

...I made more progress on my latest crochet project.

...I revisited the path by the golf course feeling in need of the calm that nature brings me - it's a stressful time at work at the moment.

...I welcomed back Chickpea who had spent the week at her boyfriend's. They had a day out at Chester Zoo (photo taken by Ben). I also welcomed back her camera, which is the one I use most of the time, after a frustrating week having to use my old one again!

...I made these ice cream cone cup cakes from the recipe in the current issue of BBC Good Food magazine.


We're having a day out today and hoping that the rain holds off. I'll write about it at some point along with the canal walk and the nature ramble by the golf course. And I still have other crafting and days out to show you. Everything is stacking up and it's all a bit of a jumble which can sometimes feel like my life at the moment.

Enjoy your Sunday. Back soon. x

Monday, 22 July 2013

Sausage, pea and feta salad

One of our all-time favourite meals is Sausage, Pea and Feta salad. In fact, I'd go as far as saying this might even be what I'd choose for my last supper! The recipe came from the April 2007 issue of Delicious magazine. I've made it countless times and it really couldn't be easier.


Small new or salad potatoes, cooked then sliced
Frozen or fresh peas, cooked
Pork sausages, cooked then sliced
Red onion, finely sliced
Feta, cubed
Fresh mint leaves, chopped
Fresh parsley, chopped
Olive oil
Lemon juice

Simply cook, chop or prepare all the ingredients, in quantities to suit your family, and then toss together.

I like to use sausages with added ingredients to give an extra layer of flavour. Pork and apple is our favourite combination, with the sweetness of the apple combining beautifully with the saltiness of the feta. However, this time I used sausages which included ginger, chilli and garlic and it was just as delicious.

Yum! There really is nothing else to say. x

Thursday, 18 July 2013


During the second week of my annual leave we mostly pottered around at home. However, on the Thursday we ventured over to Pendle, collecting Chickpea's boyfriend, Ben, on the way. Our starting point was the Heritage Centre at Barrowford.

On the ground floor there are exhibits on the history of the building which dates from the 1400s. This room was laid out with a 17th century scene. Upstairs was a video and display boards telling the story of the Pendle Witches and the events which lead to the famous trial and conviction. We planned to visit some of the villages connected to the witches en route to our next destination.

Outside there's a small walled garden filled with cottage garden plants and vegetables.

I thought this one was particularly interesting though I haven't a clue what it is. I took a photo of the label underneath but, when I looked it up at home, it's a completely different plant.

You can also take a walk around the edge of the property and we came across this horse. He was a real beauty and clearly not your average breed. With his long mane, floor length tail and regal stature, Chickpea said he was the kind of horse you'd want your prince to come and rescue you on! (A colleague at work reckons he's a Welsh Cob)

Leaving the Centre, we drove out to the village of Roughlee to see the statue of Alice Nutter. She was the widow of a yeoman farmer and pleaded not guilty to the charges of witchcraft. However, those were superstitious times and she was found guilty and hanged with 9 others in 1612.

Next stop was Newchurch-in-Pendle. On the front of the tower of St Mary's Church is a small oval carving said to be the "Eye of God", warding off evil. No-one knows the real explanation.

Outside the main entrance is a gravestone with the carving of a skull and crossbones and, adjoining it, a headstone with the name Ellin Nutter and the date 1651. The theory is that this was a relative of Alice. However, I've also since read that these are common symbols for mortality. You can tell these were taken before the current heatwave as that's rain on the gravestone.

Near the church, I left Chickpea and Ben sitting on a bench and climbed a steep track to see the views from the top. The track was part of the witches trail and we saw several of these signs in the area. There's also a trail that can be done by car.

It was worth the climb though my heart was pounding when I got to the top - really must exercise more! Just above the rooftops you can see the flag of the church.

Behind me was one of the many views we'd get of Pendle Hill. It was quite cloudy at this point but, even when it's a bright day, the Hill always seems dark and brooding.

Down at the bottom was another reminder of the witches: the sign on the shop, Witches Galore.

And, funnily enough, a black cat! Everywhere we go, we seem to come back with a photo of a cat that Chickpea has managed to befriend.

Our final destination was Barley where we left the car and headed up the road towards the Pendle Sculpture Trail at Aitken Wood. The path is almost totally uphill and pretty steep in places (well at least to us unfit types). Ben gave Chickpea a helping hand from time to time!

Another view of Pendle Hill with Black Moss Reservoir in the foreground.

As part of the Sculpture Trail, there are ten ceramic plaques by Sarah McDade, each one symbolising one of the ten people accused of witchcraft. These four represent: Katherine Hewitt (top left), John Bulcock (top right), Anne Whittle (bottom left) and Anne Redferne (bottom right).

This sculpture, Reconnected 1, is by Philippe Handford. I think it was my favourite - it's so clever.

And this is Reconnected 2.

'Life Circle'. Hands up all those who can now hear the music of 'Circle of Life' in their head!

Finally, and funnily enough, this one is Owl. There are 15 sculptures dotted throughout the Wood so I've just shown you a selection.

The path through Aitken Wood eventually led us out onto the top of the hill with views over the countryside.

What really got me excited though was to see that the field was covered in cotton grass which I've been dying to get a closer look of since seeing so many gorgeous photos of it on Louise's blog.

By now it was late afternoon and time to head for home. A last look at Pendle Hill.

And some lovely views of the lush green Lancashire countryside.

And a slightly hazy but no less beautiful one.

We ended the day going out for a meal with Ben and his parents in a local pub, with views over to Blackpool and the Lancashire coast, to celebrate Ben getting his first car. I think we'll be seeing a lot more of him :)

Next time I think I'll share the sausage recipe. There won't be any more of the radish though: I've just been out to do some watering and they've gone to seed in the heat without producing any bulbs. The courgette is in overdrive though so the daily teatime question is 'what do you want with your courgette'! xx