Category Archives: travel

In a Vase on Monday: Greenway House

rhododendron in a bowl

This bowl was catching the light beautifully at Greenway House (Agatha Christie’s holiday home) in Devon.

I visited on a glorious spring day at the time of the Camellia Festival and completely fell in love with the place. You can see more posts about it full of camellias, in the drop down list top left of the page.

The garden is huge with wonderful meandering paths giving views of the River Dart

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One of the entrances to the Camellia Garden

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And looking up –  a view of the house and the most spectacular magnolia

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You can even stay there in the South Lodge

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which gives you free access to the grounds after the visitors have left

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and this is the view of Dartmouth

Dartmouth

A white magnolia covered with lichen caught my eye

and wouldn’t you just love to have a greenhouse like this one!DSC_0557

It is a wonderful place – visit if you can!

Joining the others for the In a Vase on Monday party.

Fernery Fountain and Camellias

 

The charming little fountain in the Fernery at Greenway House in Devon

and some more of the gorgeous camellias

 

I hope you are not getting bored with Greenway House – as you can tell – I’m besotted!

In this You Tube clip, Agatha Christie’s grandson talks about the time he spent there.

Here’s another view of the house and its position on the banks of the River Dart, click on the photos to see them full screen.

devon

Along one of the high paths, a cute little cherry tree

so compact and absolutely covered with deep pink blossom

Joining Cee and her Flower of the Day

Camellia Festival at Greenway House

It is a long and winding road to get to Greenway House, the holiday home of Agatha Christie. Don’t believe the Sat Nav as it takes you into a cul de sac in a village about 2 miles away. You must book your car parking space online or by telephone before you arrive or you won’t be let in – so already you know you are going to a very special place.

It is all worth it – just LOOK! this is the view from the car park!view from the car park

And further along the tarmac drive you see more of the River DartRiver Dart, Devon

I was lucky enough to be there on a gloriously sunny Spring Day – they have been precious and few! (As I write this post there is rain, wind, cold and sleet, beating against my window – I neeeeed this post to cheer me up!)

In front of the house,  the enormous magnolias took my breath away!Greenway house and magnoliasmagnolia

Below is the view from the front door – imagine waking up to this on a sunny spring morning!magnolia

Greenway House, Agatha Christie

and looking up from a path that leads down to the Camellia Garden

path to the river

camellia garden Greenway house

camellia, Greenway House

The gardens in general are completely splendiferously, romantically, beautifully gorgeous! But I have to say the area described as the Camellia Garden is a little underwhelming – beautiful blooms had to be searched for and the arbour has definitely seen better days

arbour

camellia

everywhere there are beautiful views of the River Dart – shimmering in the sunlight

from the camellia garden

Click on any photo to see it full screen.

I would have taken all day to record the names of all the Camellias but in my mind I could hear Cathy of Rambling in the Garden asking me the names and so I recorded my favourites

and

 

This one is Marjorie Davis

camellia

I hope this post has conveyed some of the beauty of the gardens ….. there is more to come.

Egyptian Windows

Egypt, El Gouna

Ooof! Don’t you just love the terracotta against that amazing sky.

For my last post about my trip to Egypt, I bring you some Egyptian windows

window shutter

palm trees

In the background of the photo below you can see one of those abandoned building projects that punctuated street scenes everywhere we went

reflections

We went in search of an art gallery, but the only one we found was closed.

gallery

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Egypt, hurghada

I was surprised to see so much English signage in Hurghada.

 

What windows you have found to share with us this month?

I’m looking forward to seeing them. Please leave a link in the Comments below.

Saturday Shells

 

vintage shellsOn Tuesday I found these shell people at Greenway House, the holiday home of Agatha Christie – oh what a delight that place is – if you ever get a chance to visit GO!

These were in the Morning Room along with other vintage shell designsvintage shells

vintage shell picture

The lighting is kept low, so it was not easy to get good photos.

National Trust

Such exquisite pieces of shell art

picture made with shells

shells, vintage

morning room

Agatha Christie spent 8 weeks of the year in this house on the banks of the River Dart.

The garden is glorious, the camelias and magnolias stunning – I have more photos to share with you

Devon

lots more!

Click on any photo to see it full screen.

Greenway House

Linking with Cee’s Flower of the Day

 

Egypt: in search of shells

beachcombing

Of course I went beachcombing whilst in Egypt – I was hoping to find more material and inspiration for some Silly Saturdays, sadly there were very meagre pickings. I did find these few pieces of coral and small white shellsfragments of coral

on the little beach near the villa

beach

which I wandered along each morning (it was only warm and windless enough for me to swim there once). Most beaches are private, or have been snaffled by large hotels. We did make our way to a fairly newly built resort a few miles out of town, but shells – there were none.

The resort was a bit of a ghost town as tourism has been much reduced since the terror attacks as recently as 2017.abandoned projects

Abandoned dreams

unfinished

and a fun piece of sculpture

on a lovely walkway.

And turning the camera dial to ‘Sketch’ mode

palms

beachside

boat

We sat and had a couple of drinks in the fading light and returned to the villa.night

 

Walking through Hurghada

Hurghada and its surrounds are full of contrasts – massive riches and beauty live directly alongside desperate poverty, squalour and rubble.

One day we walked from our lovely enclosed villa complexvilla with its pool that was much too cold to swim in, to the marina at the luxury Marriot Hotel.

One of the first things to notice is that there are so many buildings that are only half built. Something to do with the laws that means one has to build on land in order to own it, but then the building is left unfinished and can sit there like that for years.

Egypt

Some buildings were being worked on and I was fascinated by the medieval looking scaffolding on which men were walking around carrying buckets of stuff with them, no harnesses or safety equipment at all.

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I could not take a photo of the men as if you show any interest at all in anything you are at once pounced on for money or people trying to sell you something – there is no possibility for relaxed window-shopping here!IMG_3101On finished buildings some of the details are quite beautifulwindows

Even the paving, although rickety and often dangerous has pretty elements of design

paving

You had to keep your eyes to the ground as suddenly there could be a few inches of metal pipe sticking up through the pavement for no apparent reason.

street

Palm tree street lights looked fun!

and the occasional majestic statue.

 

 

Cat Café

The friends I was staying with in Hurghada, Egypt, run a diving business there, BlueOTwo. Any diver’s dream is to dive in the Red Sea and there are masses of diving companies there operating there. Some of the British women divers have made their home there. One such woman, Denise, now runs The Purrfect Cuppa Cat Cafe, cat cafewhich is a wonderfully welcoming meeting place for locals and English speaking others alike.

There are masses of cats everywhere in Hurghada and Denise takes them in, neuters and vaccinates them, makes sure they are healthy and gives them a place to call home.cafe Hurghada

cat

There are cat toys, cat beds and little cat cubby holes inside and out where cats can feel happy and safe

Families come in to sit in the cosy corner and cuddle cats

cat cafe

Some of the cats find new homes this way.

There is also a crafting corner

cat cafe

where every Thursday and Sunday people gather to craft together, sometimes somebody teaches a class, other times people just work on their own project and chat. Some work is for sale with a percentage going to help with cat welfare.

My friend and I went along, as you know, crafting with a group of women is right up there in my top ten ways to spend quality time.

The cats like to join in, of course.

at the Cat Cafe, Hurghada

its a wrap

After crafting we all had a delicious lunch together.

A wonderful way to spend a few hours learning more about life in Egypt and swapping art and craft tips.

 

 

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Wordless Wednesday in Egypt

Egypt

Egypt: inspiration

embroidery

The first thing I notice in any new place is the colours, designs, textures and textiles – like this gorgeous cushion in the villa where I was staying in Hurghada. chain stitch embroidery

I’m assuming this is a chain stitch done with a machine – do you think so?

I really like the effect.

And I would have loved to have brought home some of these mandala decorated ceramic bowls, but I didn’t think they would survive the trip

mandala decorated ceramic bowl, Egypt

ceramics

So I contented myself with having my breakfast muesli in them each morning.

Just look at the colour combinations in this woven table runner

faded colours

I see Stylecraft Special Dk : Duck Egg, Buttermilk, Pale Rose, Raspberry, Mushroom, Storm Blue, Parma Violet, Clematis, Pistachio, Lincoln, Blush and Vintage Peach

Makes me want to rush for my hook – but no – I must not start another new project ….. ………  😉

There was an interesting mix of art on the walls of the villa collage

I have a bit of a thing for zebra stripes at the moment, and would love to be able to carve out some time for making more collages

Here is one of my own zebra doodles

rainbow zebra stripes

Don’t be surprised if you see more in another post – as another mini-obsession takes hold.

(you can see more on my Instagram Page)

There is inspiration for doodling everywhere you look – even tiles in a public toilet!

marble tiles

And how about this as inspiration for a Valentine’s or Anniversary card

your smile makes me smile

I’m thinking it would be a fun on a Never Ending card, like the ones I made here and here

My friend and I went to the shop that sold the ceramic bowls, Wood U Like

to see what else they had to offer – oh so many interesting things – sorry for the quality of the photos (taken on my friend’s phone)

 

The wooden cabinets were made of a wonderful jumble of decorative wooden off cuts. And although I did not particularly like the style of the bags, I loved the combination of needlepoint on canvas, with leather. I have lots of needlepoint I don’t know what to do with – so maybe they could be turned into bags …. hmmmm – now to find somone who works with leather.

Hanging in the hall of the villa was this beautiful piece of Arabic calligraphy

arabic

Apparently the meaning it conveys is something to do with love – but I can’t remember exactly what. (I have just sent a message to my friend to ask her and will edit in the meaning later)

 

Egypt: Getting There

hurghada

The picture above is a screen shot from Google Maps.

Red marker marks my destination: Hurghada.

In 1995 I had one of the best holidays of my life when I went on a Nile Cruise with the mother of a school friend of my daughter. We did not know each other very well but we were both single and we agreed that if we did not get on, neither of us would have lost a friend, but if we did get on, then we would both have made a friend. We got on really well and had a wonderful time. We did the tourist tours of temples and tombs and drifted down the Nile each night, watching the life of the river banks slip slowly by whilst sipping cocktails til dusk – it was bliss.

I hope you won’t be disappointed to hear that there will be no tourist tour pictures from this trip. No pyramids or temple paintings. I stayed with friends who run a business in Hurghada, and I was happy to fit in with their daily life and chillax.

Even so there were preparations to be made:

Top priority, crochet (in this post) and sketch books in this post.

Then toe nails – ha! I don’t usually bother with nail varnish but I had visions of lying on a sunbed on the beach gazing past my smooth legs and pedicured feet to a serene turquoise sea – turquoise is a great colour to show off a tan – so I treated myself

crochet whilst the nails dry

at Pure, in Dorchester.

How wonderful it is to be pampered sometimes – sitting there waiting for the varnish to dry, dreaming of sun-drenched beaches and making a mandala, was one kind of heaven for me.

And now for some new sandals to go on those newly spruced-up feet. Of course I had to make them mine

 

and add a bit of colour (with Sharpie pens)

 

I might add more later, but for now, they were just rightsharpietime

Our plane from Gatwick was delayed for about an hour, which gave me some crochet and ‘people-watching’ timecrochet with scraps

I took this picture as a ‘before’ to see how much mindless crochet I would do in a week. Just rows of US dcs (UK tr): I can do this whilst chatting, watching TV and even walking along. I’m using a 5.5mm hook and scraps of yarn of all thicknesses tied together with a reef knot. I will leave the knots and ends on show as a design feature. The crochet hook passed through security no problem – both ways.

As we flew over icy mountainsmountains from the plane

I was happy listening to Pick of the Week, and a Play on my iPad and doodling

doodles on a plane

until we were coming into land over the desert

from the plane

and then a short drive to the villa where my friends live when they are in Hurghada

villa in Egypt

As you can see, not quite the clear blue skies we were all expecting

beach

There would be no lounging about on a sunbed here!Egypt

Or swimming in that icy pool

But the villa was lovely and there was a peaceful view from the sheltered veranda

garden

Where one could watch the many feline residents/visitors come and gocat

but more of them another time ……

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Silent Sunday in Egypt

Egypt

Forde Abbey Windows

Hellooo!!stone mullioned windows

Here we are on the first Tuesday of the Month , our Monthly Meet-up Photo Challenge, with another collection of WINDOW photographs. To join in please leave a link to your photos in the comments. Your photos can be any interpretation of the subject, and can be your latest photos or archive photos and posts – all welcome.

Forde Abbey on the Somerset/Dorset border in the south of England is the perfect place if you are looking for a collection of windows to photograph. Join them on Instagram to see some wonderful photos of the gardens.

The photos above are the windows to the Orangery, we couldn’t go in in February, but peeped through the windows to see the citrus trees inside

orangery

I hope we will be able to wander through this space later in the year when the house is open for viewing.

in February

Til then we had the outside views to enjoy.

Forde Abbey

But we could go into the Chapel where, behind the Rood Screen, there was a delicate tree flowering in the window – is that a Mimosa?

mimosa

but this Window at the other end of the Chapel stole the show

chapel windows

especially with that blue sky beaming through.

I’m looking forward to seeing the windows you have spied this month.

What to Do on an Aeroplane

gel pensWhen planning a trip, I put more thought into what I will do on the plane, train, whilst waiting in airports, stations and in quiet moments on holiday, than almost any other aspect of the trip. I have to get that planned well in advance, only then can I think about clothes and what the place will have to offer.

I will be taking my Scrap Happy blanket to crochet – yes you can take crochet hooks on board a plane. I have done so many times. (Just in case I meet with a problem, I take a cheap old plastic hook that I wouldn’t mind losing, keeping a better one tucked away in my case).

There needs to be an alternative to crochet as well. At first I thought I would take this 11″ x 11″ sketchbook in which I have painted some backgrounds,mandala on acrylic

but it is rather big and heavy, so I bought two 6 x 6 inch sketch books, one with black paper, one with white, and some gel pens intending to draw some small mandalas.

I’m not sure if the airline will be happy with a compass, hence an old CD to draw round. sketch booksI drew some circles in preparationdots

and could not resist having a quick doodle.

dotty cloud doodle

and another

doodle on black

I remembered the ‘false writing’ Julie Balzer had shown us on the Whimsical Collage Workshop

It is such fun to do

doodle on black 6 x 6

These mandalas were not turning out at all as I had originally planned. I thought I would re-visit Alisa Burke’s superb online Mandala Magic Course, that I first took back in July 2015. She has so many wonderful online classes. I can highly recommend them – Alisa is very generous with all of her tips, techniques and ideas. Once you have bought a class you have unlimited access to it forever.

I was on a roll and enjoying this more minimalist form, keeping to the CD as the basis of the patterns – it feels like it might turn into a little series – I’m fantasizing about how I will frame them as a group …….

But Stop! This is supposed to be for when I’m travelling.

doodle writing

Luckily there are 40 pages in each book.

Reluctantly I have put them away for now.

What do you take with you to do when you are travelling?

 

The Tor

Glastonbury Tor

‘We will walk 500 miles’

Today Little Miss M and I reached 60.8 miles of our 500 mile goal.

We walked up Glastonbury Tor – can you see that pink speck nearly at the top? That is Little Miss M (6) racing ahead to get there first.

What a glorious day it was with magnificent views

Glastonbury

stretching far and wide……

looking back at the town of Glastonbury

Somerset

and from the top

from the Tor

so good to stand together when I finally got there!

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looking back at how far we had come

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We were with my daughter, Miss E and Master R. The children were touchingly concerned about the modern carvings, but enjoyed the “love heart” as it had not damaged the stone

heart

Having enjoyed the Spring sunshine, the breeze and the views it was time to go back down

Tor

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with many others enjoying the climb

some leaving tributes or prayers in the trees

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On the 85 minute journey home, Miss E (11) was a bit bored and invented Car Yoga to keep herself and the rest of us amused – with demonstrations of the Eyebrow Pose, the Upward Dog and the Squash-the-Person-Next-To-You Pose – Happy Days!

Click on any picture to see it full screen.

Joining Son of a Beach’s Which Way Challenge

 

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Happy Valentines Day!

shells

Dalby Forest 2: The Nissen Hut

Rachel Whiteread's Nissen Hut

Ever since seeing Cathy’s post about Rachel Whiteread’s, I was looking forward to seeing it. Cathy’s post sparked off a lively and forthright debate about what her readers thought of it and whether it is indeed ‘Art’, if you follow the link you can go to the comments and see what we all had to say about it.

I am a fan of Rachel Whiteread and her work, you can see other posts I’ve written about it, here, here , here and here.Nissen Hut by Rachel Whiteread

It’s not easy to sum up why I relate to her work, but I think it is about the way she gives the small, seemingly trivial aspects of human activity, construction and development a monumental quality. She uses real objects that show the marks of time and use and sets them in a monotone, permanent structure that gives us a chance to explore the details in a new way, and think about the hands that created the original structure and all that it connects to.broken windows

To me this is a war memorial that does not speak of the military, hierarchy or grand gestures, this commemorates Peter Nissen, the man who designed a pracitcal solution to a required need, during the First World War. Rachel WhitereadThe sculpture remembers the men who constructed it and lived in it and it connects us to those who constructed other Nissen huts over decades and all the different uses they have been put to. This one also commemorates the men who worked for the forestry and planted the forest it sits within. It commemorates time passing with the flaws and evidence of decay. It is the only permanent public piece in Britain of this, our most successful living female sculptor, it relates to all her other works throughout the world.mesh window

Making art is not only about making something that looks nice. Nissen SculptureIf it causes one to think about things in a different way it has done its job. broken windowsWithout knowing the story of this sculpture it would be difficult to appreciate what on earth it is doing in the forest.wooden planks, Rachel Whiteread

That is the same for most art – if we don’t want to discover more about it, we can just walk on by, but taking time to discover the story is, for me, an enriching, thought provoking and sometimes emotional experience.

corrugated, Rachel Whiteread

Here is a link to a short video about this sculpture

an article about the sculptor’s family connection,  her grandfather was a conscientious objector.

Not everyone will see it in the same way and all views are valid. Some of the locals were very much against it. I’d love to know what you think.

So that is the ‘deep and meaningful’ bit – now for a bit of silliness

In Cathy’s original post she wondered if the Nissen Hut would attract graffitti,  and Tialys’s comment prompted this quickly scrawled temporary bit of graffitti.

graffitti Nissen Hut

We was

graffitti -

and you can see a few more pics on this post of Cathy’s.

As we left it was getting dark and the sculpture took on a quiet ghostly glow through the trees

Rachel Whiteread

 

Dalby Forest: 1

One of the best days in Yorkshire was when Cathy took me on a favourite walk of hers in Dalby Forest, to the Bridestones, you can see a map and description here.

path

We climbed up through the woods

stream

and were both in awe of the colours, especially the larches

larch, autumn

Which are particularly gorgeous this year

forest

I can just imagine one of Kate Davies’ designs knitted in the colours above

Yorkshire, Dalby Forest

My hair used to be the colour of that bracken! Seems like another life entirely.

Dalby Forest, Bridestones

North Yorkshire

Yorkshire

We arrived at the top where the Bridestones are.

Now this stoneYorkshire is referred to as the Pepperpot, but to me she was an old lady, maybe the wise old matchmaker calling Coooo-eeeeeeeee, down the valley

Bridestone

this is her view

Bridestones

A little further along there is an Elf’s tunnel, I had to squat right down low to get this picture, a 3 year old could just about walk through it, and elves of course.

Elf's tunnel

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now down into the valley

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where we could hear a squawking bird

valley

With a wonderful free App on my phone ‘Chirp’ I could identify it as a Jay, then we saw the Jay flitting through the trees, sounding very perturbed about something – like this

looking back

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and nearly back to the car now

treearch

Oh what a fabulous walk.

Click on any photo to see it full screen.

The day was not over    ………

off we went to see Rachel Whiteread’s Nissen Hut …………

 

 

Whitby

I know I said we would be off to Dalby Forest in this post – but I was getting ahead of myself – my thoughts and memories of my trip are still in a glorious jumble!

So instead we are off to Whitby! On our first jaunt, Cathy took me across the moors to this fascinating place. We parked near the harbour – rich in photographic opportunities

lobster pots

tall ship

turquoise

and headed for the restaurant famous for it’s fish and chips: The Magpie Cafe The Magpie Cafe, Whitby

What a location! Standing on those steps one looks straight across the harbour to St Mary’s ChurchSt Mary's Church Whitby

see the mouthwatering menufish dish

view

We found the perfect spot to sit – what a view …. just had to take another photoWhitby

And here’s the food shot – just for you Sheila!

I went for the top one on the menu, Cathy enjoyed the house speciality.fishdish

Yum YuMmmmmmmm!

Now for a walk along the Pier to use up a few of those calories, passing by a Dracula Emporium on the way – there is a very Gothic air to Whitby. You can find out more about the Dracula connection here. I’m rather glad I missed Halloween!

dracula

The day was overcast adding to the Gothic atmosphere, from the pier we looked along the coastcoast

and back towards the church and castle

whitby

and then for a brief dramatic moment – ta dah! The sun lit up the church!

whitby

The church was our next destination, so we headed back into town, across the bridge passing lots of intriguing little alleyways and shops

 

and up the 199 stepsDSC_0486

From the top we could see where we had been on the PierWhitby

St Mary’s is the most extraordinary church I have ever been inside. I was so overcome by its vast size, and extravagant style that I didn’t take many photos, I was agog. It was filled with Box Pews – hundreds of them, no open pews, and they filled not only the huge floorspace but they went on up into the raftersDSC_0493

Apparently it can seat over 2,000 people! I wonder when that last happened.

Intriguing and bizarre

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See more from Google images here.

If you want to read more about it the Whitby Museum website is a good place to start. A most extraordinary place.

We did not have time to look at the nearby Abbey on that occasion – the days at this time of year are so short!

We made a quick visit to Robin Hoods Bay, where there is a very weird, and I would say ugly, sculpture to celebrate the Millenium. Neither of us could make any sense of. It was so bizarre that I could not get a photo of it that made any sense either. You can  read about it here and see more images here.

We drove back with the low light giving a glow to the magnificent autumn colours. What a fabulous day, we had such a good time, chatting happily away all day long. I’m so very grateful to Cathy for taking me to these weird and wonderful places.

Thank you Cathy!

 

 

The Joys of Whistle Stop Cottage

Whistle Stop Cottage, Newbridge, Nr. Pickering is a gem. I found it through Air BnB,

click on the link to see photos.

It was right by the Steam Railway line and at the time I was there there was always some activity to be seen whilst they were carrying out necessary maintenance.

North Yorkshire steam railway

The above picture was taken at the bottom of the garden.

The one below taken from my bedroom window.

track maintenance

The machine seemed to be levelling the gravel underneath and beside the tracks. There was much laughter and friendly banter going on for most of the day. railway

Walking to the end of the row of cottages brought you to a path

gate

that went over the railway in front of another row of cottagesDSC_0489

steam railway and into the woods beyond

woods

Following this path through the woods I could get to Pickering in about 15 minutes

Such a delightful walk

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Then just before you got to the station you could cross the railway again and walk back along the path and see all the vintage carriages waiting to be of service.

vintage carriages

Then along by the river

autumn colours

over a stone stile and pass by a row of dwellings where a lovely gazebo awaited

gazebo

summer gatherings on balmy nights under the fairy lights, a few bottles of wine and warm conversation.

Then back along the path to the cottage,

path

What a delightful walk to the shops.

There was filming going on at the stationIMG_2296

 

 

 

 

Lights, camera, action! I saw hustle and bustle but nothing very interesting exceptsteam train when the train was puffing by and helicopters swooped over headvintage train

look at these fabulous old wooden carriagesvintage carriages

rolling stock, wooden

And after all that excitement, at the end of the day, I could cosy up,  light the fire and carry on with my collage …… mmmmmmmm bliss!

woodburner

I was so happy in that cottage and got to chat with a few of my neighbours there, a little hamlet of about 10 houses. I would have been happy to stay for much longer.

In the next post you wll be coming on a trip to Dalby Forest with me and Cathy, to see that Nissen Hut.

~~~

Joining in with Cee’s ‘Which Way’ photo challenge.

hosted now by Son of a Beach.

Click on the photos to see them full screen.