It was a beautiful day last Tuesday. I loaded the dogs into the boot (they now only seem to argue on the way home but never on the way there) and we set off for our nature reserve trek. It was shorts and t shirt weather and yet we didn’t come across a single soul. This is the way I like it. Harvey is always focussed and rarely takes any notice of other dogs but Riley can get verbal if a dog is on a lead which some owners take the wrong way. I reassure them he’s all mouth and no trousers and a quick ‘this way’ will make him run on.

We finished with the usual dunk in the stream to rinse off any unpleasant fox substances and on the drive home I thought it would be a good day to throw a few things in a bag and head off to the caravan. I must confess I don’t particularly enjoy this drive. I’ve said before it’s got many turn offs and in counties I’m just not familiar with but it’s worth the effort. I managed it without satnav too but there were a couple of roundabouts I went round twice just to make sure I was going to take the right exit.

Somewhere between 3 and 4 some kind of lorry veered from one side of a dual carriageway through the central reservation and over to the other side, hitting some cars on the way. This was within the time frame I travelled down this stretch of road and I counted myself extremely lucky to have missed it. The direction I was travelling was clear and the other side had tailbacks miles and miles long where they’d closed the road. When I was much younger I remember leaving my grandparents house after a visit and getting stuck on the M25 for over three hours with my Springer at the time, Algie. I was in the middle lane and we were all stationary. I took the dog out for a wee and then got back in the car and unwrapped the huge bread pudding Nan had made me and washed it down with the cans of Lilt she’d also packed. To my knowledge I never left their house for a journey without provisions for unforeseen events like this one and on this particular day I was extremely grateful despite the fact I’ve never really liked bread pudding! Algie had quite a good portion too.

It was good to get away from all things manly this week. M and J seem to think they can get away with shouting from one side of the house to the other about football scores now that E has moved out. It also seems to be the only thing discussed round here lately too. I downloaded a couple of documentaries and films that I knew M would never watch with me before I left but between dog walking, crochet a couple of good books I didn’t get round to watching them.

The simple week, cooking for one, walking with one dog, deciding for myself how to carve up my day, watching wildlife, sleeping when tired, waking naturally, achieving so much more on projects that I can barely concentrate on when home did eventually make me start to evaluate the the role of social media, blogging and having a phone with me at all times. I’ve always read other bloggers wobbles with the task of blogging and secretly thought that as long as you blog for yourself and don’t try to be anything that you’re not then there would be no reason to get disillusioned with the process. I think this is why I’ve never wanted to blog in a commercial way and why I’ve been happy for this long, just tapping away and recording events and thoughts.

M and I have agreed that our seasonal pitch worked well for us this year. I’ve put in a request that we try and find a site that is no more than an hour away from home next year. At this distance I can nip home if J needs me, not that he has, he’s like me, he values time alone. We’ve got a few weeks left before we bring our caravan home and therefore only a few more windows when we can make use of it. On this trip I made sure I revisited some of the scenic places we’d enjoyed most so on Friday and Saturday when M had time off we took Riley to the Tissington Trail section where we can park, walk as far as M can manage and then have tea and a snack before returning to the car. With light coats on it was warm enough to sit outside for the tea and watch walkers and cyclists go by. I’d really like M to consider an all terrain motibility vehicle of some kind so that we can take proper walks together. It’s so frustrating knowing that I could be walking miles and seeing more of the beautiful scenery but have to turn back after such a short distance because M can’t manage it. I’m sympathetic but not when he refuses to be flexible. I know he doesn’t want to look old before his time but I do honestly think that in his shoes I would totally embrace this solution if it meant getting some fresh air and enjoying the dogs more. I will keep working on him!

On Saturday my suggestion to do the short walk from car park to the Stepping Stones at Dovedale went down like a lead balloon so I came up with the idea of finding the book store that we’d stumbled across on the way back from Buxton previously. It was a little bit further out than we remembered but well worth the scenic drive out there. It’s called the High Peak Book Store and it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It’s dog friendly which was nice because Riley doesn’t like being left alone and he made quite a few friends amongst the staff and customers. He looked very well behaved when in fact he was just subdued and less bouncy than usual because it was a new place. He was also allowed into the cafe area and was given dog treats by one of the lovely ladies that worked there. It’s an excellent cafe, decorated in that rustic, eclectic, vintage type of look we like. I only took the one photo because people were eating in the other angles. Although we have quite a lot of books at home we bought a modest pile of paperbacks and I found a great book about rustic approaches to jewellery making to give myself a bit of a nudge with that once more. M liked the sprinkling of comfy leather chairs throughout the shop so that he could take a selection, sit down and study the blurb. He takes an awfully long time to decide whether he will enjoy a book or not which I don’t mind so much when I’m sitting comfortably too! We both agreed that if it was local to us we would probably have coffee there every Saturday morning and leave with a few books.

Talking of which, I’ve read a few good ones lately. The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain was very enjoyable. I’ve read quite a few by her and loved them all. I’ve just started ‘This Must be the Place’ by Maggie O’Farrell which seems good so far. I’ve enjoyed other books by her too. I’ve had a big long spell of not reading so much because I’ve preferred to use my down time to crochet but lately I’m consciously trying to accommodate both.

With E now firmly settled in at university I thought I would be a bit of an emotional wreck. On the day of the move I got as far as the car park and when she hopped out to go and get the keys with that mixture of fear and excitement on her face only a mother could recognise I just temporarily lost it and had a bit of a gulping sob whilst telling M to talk about something that would make me recover and quickly! Poor chap didn’t know what to talk about but I did eventually compose myself in good time for her return. I haven’t blubbed since. She has an excellent room, her own bathroom, a big kitchen and she’s a student at one of the most impressively organised and efficient universities I’ve ever come across. Across the city she has a friend who moved in the day before and messaged E to ask her what number she should put her thermostat on. We suggested twenty one and she was astounded, having set it at ten and wondered why she was cold. It seems not all 18 year olds have been encouraged to learn how to feed themselves before leaving home. Although E is branching out and making mashed potato from real potatoes (imagine!) she is making proper meals with meat, vegetables and potato. Previously she was more of a scrambled eggs on toast or bacon sandwich kind of chef. One of her flat mates destroyed four eggs before successfully managing to boil one for his main evening meal. I fear these Mums have done too much for their sons. J is three years younger and if it goes in the oven or microwave he’s happy to cook it. He’s not so keen on saucepan items for some reason but we will be working in that before he goes to uni. I will never worry that he’s not getting his five a day because he’s always eaten mountains of fruit and lately he chops everything and puts it in a blender to make fruit smoothies. He’s probably already ahead of another of E’s flat mates who thought dried pasta had to be kept in the fridge!



Taking part in K’s last photo scavenger hunt was fun. I thought I’d join in again. When I first started blogging I seem to remember doing a monthly mosaic for all of, er, two or three months. I’m easily distracted! It’s a nice way to look back on what has been achieved or taken place. So here we go…

(The large photo at the top is for number 9, ‘R’. The rest are in order from left to right.)

1. New: never give your dogs an old slipper each to play with, they will think that any footwear is up for grabs. When I like something I stick to it and it was tricky trying to find these Birkenstock Bostons again so they are kept on the top shelf of the shoe rack at night now.

2. Rust: close up rust on one of M’s work trestles, as I was casually wandering around with my phone macro lens, as you do.

3. Box: why on earth are Amazon still over packaging? Grrrr.

4. Ingredients: my mission in life is to stop M buying twenty ingredients every time he gets the urge to cook something ‘tasty’. So I offer up any recipe I can find with less than six. This is pea and macaroni, peas, macaroni, Parmesan, basil and olive oil. It’s yum!

5. D: dogs, always dogs. Hard work, demanding, loyal, playful, muddy, naughty, wet, stinky, hairy, expensive, noisy, funny, loving, companionable, protective, amusing, photogenic.

6. Mechanical: my new yarn swift is about as mechanical as I like it these days. Simple, wooden, easy to fix when it goes wrong.

7. Seasonal: cricket season is here once more. Now that J is 6’3 and 16 I am not allowed to do the embarrassing Mum with a camera routine so this snap is from about six years ago when he still had lovely wavy blonde hair (ha, who says I can’t still be embarrassing?!).

8. Recently finished: never thought I’d get there but very pleased that I did, one finished Last Dance on the Beach blanket!

9. R: Riley. Sometimes the best things in life are purely by chance. E saw a Facebook post from someone at her school wanting to rehome a four year old Springer. A few of her friends said, you’ve got a Springer, what difference would one more make? I did the sensible responsible adult for, oo, five minutes maybe and then said, quick, let’s go and see him. Whereas Harvey is loving, playful and loves fetching, Riley is completely nuts in every way.

10. Own: coffee, we have been lucky enough recently to start most days with a freshly brewed coffee in one of several favourite local coffee places. We chat, I often look at the back of his phone and want to throw it in the nearest canal, we chat some more, we watch people going by, we often do crosswords, we have been known to play backgammon, but mostly we just savour the coffee.

Thanks K!


Another pair of cosy cables done and dusted. The fifth pair made from this pattern. I’m finally pleased with the sizing on this pair. I’ve made a note on my pattern sheet to use the recommended size for large, one size down for medium and two sizes down for small. That’s still on the generous side fit-wise but I guess they aren’t meant to be too closely fitted.

Next on my to make list is a pair in a black grey mix yarn to see if they’d be suitable for a certain tall, thin boy of mine. If they still look girly I will find another fingerless glove pattern. The mornings here are now well and truly chilly. We’ve had a spectacular wind and rain session this morning which seems to have relieved the trees of their remaining leaves. I blinked and autumn was over and winter is here.