Perfect afternoon!

The last two days we have been enjoying the nicest weather we’ve had since about May – blue skies, fluffy clouds, just the right strength of sun, cool breeze … perfect!

So L and I took advantage of it this afternoon and went walking!

We walked down through town to The Quay.

You can hire canoes to go up the river, or bikes to take on the tow-path … or you can walk up the paths, like we did. But first we stopped at a little place called The Jolly Roger’s Tea Room to but some scrummy ice creams which we munched on as we walked! πŸ™‚ I had maple, pecan and fudge in a waffle cone – you should try it sometime, it’s yummy! πŸ˜›

The river is beautiful, especially in this weather and I love having a piece of countryside so close to town!

Doubles Locks is a locally famous pub which is very popular as a walking and cycling destination. We sat under the magnificent cedar trees outside and enjoyed a chilled pint of beer/cider – ah!

There were lots of people there, enjoying the sun, the space and the good food and drink – it was nice and cheerful!

We had some fun messing around for a bit before starting off on the walk home …

We were quite tired by then and had sore feet by the time we got home again, but it was so worth it!! I haven’t enjoyed a Saturday afternoon so much in too long, and I got to spend it all with my lovely hubby! πŸ˜€

The Royal Mile – Edinburgh Part 3

I have read about the Royal Mile in story and history books and tried to imagine what it might be like. I think I based it on the nearest “big city” to where I grew up (it’s just a town really, nothing like a city!), then enlarged it in my town … combined with quite a bit of Bath (a city which features a lot in Jane Austen books/movies) … threw in the tiny amount of London I’d seen … much to my shame added some of the older parts of Washington DC (sorry for offending your sense of English or Scottish nationality … ) … and came up with something vastly different and vastly inferior to the regal and historic reality that is the Royal Mile, Edinburgh!

The Royal Mile begins at Edinburgh Castle and runs downhill, where it ends at Hollyrood House.

We started at the Castle, but didn’t make it all the way down to Hollyrood House. It’s just a mile, right? Trust me, psychology conferences and academic talk take it out of you! πŸ˜‰

The views were amazing and apparently it’s pretty unusual to get such amazing weather in Edinburgh in the spring – must have been saved up especially for us! πŸ˜‰

I especially loved the views from this side of the Castle, as there was so much green and springyness!!

I fell in love with all the daffodils and took many more photos of them than I’ll force upon you! πŸ˜›

But don’t worry, L made sure flowers were not the only local beauty that got caught on my camera! πŸ˜‰

Tonight my hubby and I are going to a whiskey tasting evening (including a 5-course meal – um, you’re meant to fit that much food inhow?!) with some friends. L’s friends clubbed together and bought this and a night’s stay in the inn for us for his 30th – we’ve been looking forward to this generous present for a long time! For those of you who might worry, photos will follow!! πŸ˜›

I am the gratified recipient of a blog award, so a post with the various instructions which come with it shall soon be coming your way … and check your comments, as some of my lovely readers will shortly be given the award as well!! πŸ˜€

Seeing Good Things

Sometimes life can look pretty bleak.

Sometimes the “sometimes” seems to last for what seems like forever.

During those times, seeing good things … God at work … a slightly brighter side to your day … a bit of hope for the future … seems impossible … but we have a gracious God who doesn’t just leave us in the pile of gunk … at least, not permanently and not without some hope! πŸ˜‰

Right now, these are the good things I see.

Who could not love that blue?!

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve taken an evening walk down to my beautiful cathedral to find some minutes of peace and stillness.

I have always loved trees – bigger than me, touching the sky, spreading branches, solid.

These photos speak for themselves really! πŸ™‚

This evening my best friend R and I had pudding/desert at Giraffe cafe. Friends are amazing. These puddings were pretty good too! πŸ˜‰

I went to Scotland!!!

I’ve been kinda silent for a week or so …but with good reason!

The hubby and I have been to Edinburgh!

I have long wanted to visit Scotland (although not as much as my lovely sister N, who adores Scotland, Scottish history and has a calender of Scottish countryside every year – sorry you couldn’t come too 😦 ) and have read about Edinburgh (the capital city of Scotland), Arthur’s Seat and The Royal Mile in books.

L is workingΒ  a few hours a week as his PhD supervisor’s research assistant and very much wants to get into full-time academic research/medical research. He submitted the findings from his PhD (on Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to the Ninth World Brain Injury Congress and was accepted to present them – in Edinburgh! In academic circles being published, seen presenting at conferences and being introduced to influential people is pretty important in getting jobs and moving on in your career, so for L, this was pretty important.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned on here before (forgive me if I’m being super-boring and repeating myself! πŸ˜‰ ) that my husband is partially sighted. He is registered as blind, but has 10% of normal vision and is so capable that you’d have to study him for a long while to realise he can’t see just as much as the rest of us can. New places are a bit of a curve-ball though, as he can’t read the signs, doesn’t know the area and can’t see enough to get around without a lot of stress.

Enter stage left … er, right:

Dr L’s assistant!

And yes, I do look pretty exhausted! Let’s just say that getting anxious about the trip for a week in advance, followed by flying, map-reading, hours of sitting through nearly incomprehensible lectures (Thank God for a kind friend who lent me her Kindle!!), hours of standing around at a drink’s-reception-come-meet-inportant-people, loads of walking each day, disturbed sleep, meeting and charming (of course! πŸ˜‰ ) so many new people … you get the picture!! πŸ™‚

We stayed in a lovely B&B (Bed and Breakfast) just 10 minutes walk from the conference centre, but far enough removed from the centre of the city that it was wonderful quiet and peaceful – we actually heard more birds than we do here at home!

We were on the other side of the road from this stately place called Donaldson’s College. It’s up for sale and I think we should buy it, don’t you?! πŸ˜‰ Oh, think of all those stairs to vacuum … um, maybe not! πŸ˜›

L has been really ill with a cold/flu since we got back and I’m starting to go down with it too, so I’m going to end this post for now and update you with Part 2 tomorrow! You see, I thought I’d been really good and not taken too many photos while we were away … it turns out I took 90 photos in 4 days … πŸ˜›

Ten beautiful things

Yesterday I was having a very sad day – I’ll imagine various sympathetic expressions!! πŸ˜‰ When I decided I was going for a long walk, my usual answer, L gave me a task … he challenged me to take ten photos of beautiful things and then I’d have to show him the proof when I got back … what?! How was I meant to find anything beautiful, let alone ten, in that mood?!!

My hubby knows me well! I found ten beautiful things to take a photo of … in fact, I ended up finding more than tenΒ  … what a surprise for this camera-loving girl, right?! πŸ˜‰

How could I have avoided this first one, sitting, as these flowers were, right in my path outside the green grocers round the corner?!

Laugh if you like, but I just had to include this in my beautiful-things-line-up!! I think that the sight of rows and rows of books is a truly beautiful sight!!! Is that very sad of me?! πŸ˜›

This used book stall, which is much bigger than this picture suggests, is set up nearly every day of the week on the street just 2 minutes from my front door … let’s just say that the friendly man who runs it recognizes my face and is always glad to see me back … !!! πŸ˜‰

What could be more beautiful than a tree dripping with red dots?!? πŸ˜›

There’s something so beautiful and graceful about trees and their spreading branches!

These leaves looked almost like scattered petals on the grass where I found them!

I love reflections! Beautiful!! πŸ™‚

This is one of the first of many, many photos of autumn-coloured leaves that you will definitely be seeing over the next three or so months … I love autumn, I love autumn colours and guess what?! I love taking photos!! πŸ˜› Bet you couldn’t have guessed that one!! πŸ˜‰

This one speaks for its self really, doesn’t it?!

Have I ever mentioned the words predictable, compulsive or adictive in connection with myself, trees, the sun and my camera?!! πŸ˜‰

The wind was gusting these willow branches around, the sun casting beautiful shadows and patterns!! A moment of perfection!

I took this photo late last night, when after a day of sun, muggy heat and gathering black clouds, it poured down with rain. I caught the rain in the light of the street lamp outside my living room window … I love the beautiful, glowing golden-orange light!

What are three beautiful things that you’ve seen so far this weekend?

A family weekend of fun – take 2!

On Saturday my Mum-in-Law, L, KY and I went for a walk and a picnic … we drove down country lanes … we parked on the side of the road … we walked down mud and grass tracks … we explored inside the woodland … we sat and ate yummy food in the sunshine … we had fun! πŸ™‚

And I got to indulge one of my passions …

… and take lots …

… and lots …

… of photos!! πŸ˜€ I was a happy bunny! πŸ˜›

There were hundreds of these bright red, cheerful poppies lining the edges of the fields – don’t they just make you want to smile?!? πŸ™‚

Then there were the trees …

… the breath-taking views …

… beautiful butterflies (yes, I do have a bit of a thing about butterflies! πŸ˜‰ ) …

… oh yes, and the lovely people I was with!! KY was slightly aghast that I was snapping her with her mouth full :P, and L was pointing out how dower the lady on the front of the crisp packet looked … yup, I have a family full of character and originality!! πŸ˜‰

KY went delving through the bushes into the seemingly impenetrable trees and, after a while of hearing her crashing around in the undergrowth, we launches in to the adventure from another spot … and found this little clearing!

There was lots of spreading bracken … some of which came up as high as my ribs! Just imagine what a giant plant that must seem to a little kid!! πŸ˜›

The light filtered and shone through the trees, leave, branches above my head …

It was a lovely, peaceful afternoon …

… full of fun and silliness …

… family and food …

… and the amazingΒ  and awe-inspiring beauty of our surroundings! πŸ™‚

What are some of the beautiful things you have seen this week?

Adventuring in the forest …

… at least, that was the idea …

Last Friday (our usual date night) we were having fun with L’s family and this Friday night we were chatting away at a friend’s birthday cocktail party! Both great fun!! πŸ™‚

This did, however, mean that we hadn’t had a Date Night in 2 whole weeks … so we took this Saturday as a Date DAY!! And it was completely fabulous!!! πŸ˜€

Not having a car of our own, we took, after much online consultation from me, a bus to a stop nearest to the forest we wanted to walk in.

I packed up a yummy picnic of all our favourite picnic foods in the picnic backpack we’d bought for our honeymoon – it’s covered in multi-coloured dots, of course!! πŸ˜‰

I’d copied down directions on how to get from the bus stop to the entrance into the forest … they looked easy to follow and made it seem like it would be a little trot around the corner and we’d be there …

Have I given you enough hints so far that you know what I’m going to say next … ?!? πŸ˜›

Yup, it wasn’t so simple to follow the directions when we were actually there … especially when “the bridge over a stream” was more like a hidden-by-bushes water trickle and tunnelled under the pathway … so I spent the whole time till we reached the roadway again following my nose and looking for that tricksy stream and bridge … on the way back a little hunting in the trees brought the discovery of the much mis-described “landmark” …

The barley fields we walked round the edge of were truly beautiful and such an amazing golden colour! They stretched on and on and disappeared over the brow of the hills … seemingly endlessly! It’s reminded me that I am really quite partial to barley bread … ! πŸ˜‰

It had reached 2:30pm and we hadn’t had lunch and didn’t know how much further we still had to go before we reached this forest … it was beginning to feel like every step we took towards it, it retreated a step … maybe this forest was a community of Ents … ooh … ok, so I guess not, but we did want that elusive forest to prove that it really did exist!!!

We decided to have our picnic under the shade of this massive oak tree, which was at the side of the field we were walking up, just when our tummies told us they needed some attention! πŸ˜‰

Crunchy cheese and onion crisps (maybe we broke into those while waiting for our bus …!), scotch eggs, juicy cherry tomatoes, a chicken and lettuce sandwich for L, cheeses and biscuits, salted pistachio nuts, mozzarella with sun-dried tomatoes and olives – a favourite of the hubby’s!, fig rolls and last, but definitely not least, cans of cloudy lemonade! Yumtastic!! πŸ˜€

L enjoying his mozzarella and olives – “oh, hello, are you taking a photo of me eating?!” πŸ˜›

Me enjoying the multiple photography opportunities … thankfully my hubby knew all about my love of taking photos well before we started going out!! πŸ˜›

L decided it was just the right time and place to have a little snooze … about 15 or so minutes later, we heard people talking, so, as we were on the edge or and over the path, we got up … it was a good thing we did …

… the voices belonged to these people, on galloping horses … thankfully, they saw us and slowed down to a walk, so we had time to move any stuff out of the way and stand up … phew!! πŸ™‚

I do love my English countryside! I am sometimes taken aback by the beauty, depth and history of the country I live in, despite having grown up in a rural town and despite having been hiking on the local moors before I could walk – do you think I would have looked cute all huddled up in a back carrier?! πŸ˜‰

The first time, after I’m guessing about 2 or so miles worth of walking, we came across something which promised a forest in the near vicinity, were these stacks of felled logs at the side of the road … ooooh! Maybe it’s just round the corner …

Whoop whoop!! The long-promised bridle-path into the forest is finally in front of us! We kind of felt like we had already had a pretty decent walk, but now that the long anticipated goal was within grasp, we didn’t feel we could give up and re-trace our steps without first venturing into some wooded walk ways …

Yay!! We got here at last! πŸ˜›

The forest was beautiful, peaceful, alive, green …

… and one of the forest inhabitants, who kept leaping in front of the camera every time I pointed it in a different direction, obviously wanted to be included in my documentation of this auspicious (ha ha) visit … so here it is … an Elke of the rarest species … πŸ˜‰

On the way back to the bus we did some log-climbing …

So yes, we might seem childish, but we had so much fun and hey, at least I’ve spared you the pictures of us climbing to our victory points .. which, let’s face it, were not so elegant and maybe involved too much of a bummage view!! πŸ˜‰

We didn’t walk very far into the forest, as we felt like we had already done a day’s worth of walking and some … but we ventured in amongst the trees, took a look, took some photos, took a walk, took a path – or two, or three! – then took a decision … time to head back to catch a bus home … !!

I couldn’t resist taking one last photo of the amazing fields of barley …

… before we got back to our bus stop where, thankfully, we only had to wait about 10 minutes for our bus back into town!

Now that is what I call good and fun adventuring!! πŸ˜€

I’ve only just realises how many photos I’ve included in this post … and that’s partly because I haven’t yet been able to master posting photos in blocks … do I post too many photos? Are my posts too long? Please so let me know how you feel … ok?! Thank yoooouuuuu!!! πŸ˜›