A short holiday away

On Tuesday evening this week I arrived back home after a short almost-six-days holiday on Anglesey. I’d actually booked seven days off work and with two weekends I should have had eleven days starting on the first Saturday of the month, but circumstances beyond my control kept me at home for the first few days. I finally set off for Anglesey late last Thursday morning, with the recent good weather staying with me all the way from home, and once at the site, which was very quiet, I was able to set up camp in near enough the same place as last year. Having had no opportunity to open out and dry my new tent, which had been packed away very damp at Easter, I was dreading what I might find so I’d packed my spare green one ‘just in case’ and set up the van to sleep in but I needn’t have worried – although quite a bit of moisture had got trapped between the plastic windows and the blinds the rest of the tent was fine and surprisingly there wasn’t a mark on it anywhere. After a quick wipe over the moisture on the windows soon disappeared in the hot sunshine and the tent served me well over the next few days.
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All dried out
Day 2 arrived sunny and warm again so I decided to have my ‘big day out’ off the island and set off late morning for Llanberis, just over 18 miles away on the mainland. Ages ago a cafe in Llanberis had been recommended to me as a good place to get a meal so I decided to try it and I wasn’t disappointed – I opted for a cheese and onion toastie and it came absolutely oozing with filling and with a salad garnish, and Sophie and Poppie even got a treat of a sausage each. Unfortunately not long afterwards the sky clouded over and the sun played a good game of hide-and-seek but it didn’t spoil the afternoon too much and I still walked right along the lake side to the slate museum and back. When I got back to Anglesey I found the sun and blue sky were just as bright as when I left so with hindsight maybe I should have stayed on the island.
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The cafe where I had lunch
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Llanberis lake side
Day 3 was another hot and sunny one and after starting off at the car boot sale just outside the village I made a return visit to Portobello beach in Dulas Bay, which I first went to last year. This time though I went when the tide was going out and almost at its lowest so there was no danger of getting cut off on the riverside like I did before. From the beach I drove into Llangefni and parked up at Asda then took the dogs for a walk through The Dingle nature reserve and up to Cefni reservoir and back, and it was when I was approaching Asda from the entrance to The Dingle that I noticed an old windmill with a strange top, on a rocky outcrop above and just beyond the store. Of all the times I’ve been to Llangefni I’ve never noticed that before so I just had to find it and photograph it.
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Portobello beach
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Afon Goch (Red River) estuary flowing across the beach
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Bridge over Afon Cefni, The Dingle
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Cefni reservoir
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Llangefni windmill
Day 4 started off at the big car boot sale on the Anglesey show ground then from there I went over to Rhosneigr in search of Sausage Castle. Not actually a castle but a large house with castellated walls – real name Surf Point Villa – it was built next to the beach in the early 1900s by Charles Palethorpe, a member of the famous pork butchery family, and soon became known as Sausage Castle. A short walk along the beach soon found it and from there I continued along the sand to where the Afon Crigyll flowed out across the beach.
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Sausage Castle (Surf Point Villa) from the beach

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Afon Crigyll estuary
From Rhosneigr I drove up to Penrhos Coastal Park and enjoyed a coffee and cheeseburger from Pete’s Burger Bar overlooking Beddmanarch Bay, then went to Breakwater Country Park on the far side of Holyhead. After a walk round the lake I tackled the steep path up Holyhead Mountain but only went up far enough to get a couple of photos overlooking the park and the rest of Holyhead;  it was getting on for 6pm by then so time to make my way back to the camp site.
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The lake at Breakwater Country Park
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View overlooking the park
Day 5 was hot and sunny once again and this time I was on a quest to find and photograph the old abandoned brickworks at Porth Wen, a place I’d been told was very difficult to find and get to, so difficult in fact that many of the locals didn’t even know how to get there. I was put on the right track by a lovely old gentleman I got talking to while wandering round Cemaes harbour but it still proved to be quite a long and challenging walk along part of the Anglesey Coastal Path, with a couple of rather hairy places where the path was within inches of a very steep and unprotected drop down the cliff into the sea. I found the place eventually though and also had the added bonus on the way there of unexpectedly finding the old Llanlleiana Porcelain Works.
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Cemaes harbour
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Difficult to photograph through the hedge but I couldn’t resist this one
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Llanlleiana old porcelain works
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Porth Wen
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Porth Wen old brick works
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Porth Wen stone arch
Day 6 was going home day but it was still hot and sunny so I decided to prolong the day as much as I could. I took my time packing everything away and left the site just before 1pm, but as is my usual custom I took the dogs for a final walk along the beach; it was so nice down there that I decided to stay a while longer and as it was lunch time I made myself a couple of sandwiches from some chicken I had in the cool box and got a takeaway coffee from the nearby kiosk, then sat in the van and had a leisurely lunch with a great view of the beach.
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Benllech beach
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It was getting on for 3pm before I finally managed to tear myself away and set off for home, though I did make three more stops on my way along the coast. The first was at Llanfairfechan, a lovely little place I hadn’t been to for several years, and the second was at Penmaenmawr, smaller than Llanfairfechan and maybe not quite as pretty but still very pleasant. My third and final stop further up the coast was an impromptu visit to my blogging friend Eileen, and we spent a very nice couple of hours having a good natter over a mug of coffee. It was nearly 7.30pm when I finally set off on the last leg of my journey and after a very quick stop at Chester services, where I briefly saw a squirrel near the van, I arrived home at 9.15pm.
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Llanfairfechan
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Penmaenmawr promenade
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Admittedly the holiday hadn’t been near enough as long as I’d originally intended but I’d made the most of the few days I did have and packed as much into each day as I could so I hadn’t missed out on too much. At least I’d found out that the tent was okay after its Easter collapse and subsequent soaking, I’d found and photographed a couple of out-of-the-way places, the weather had been great all the way through and I’d gained a near-enough Mediterranean tan just by walking about and exploring so I can’t complain too much. Now all I have to do is update my camping blog with more details and photos from the last few days – that should keep me occupied for a while!
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A quarry walk with a difference

With the continuing glorious weather I’ve been getting out and about a lot with the camera and the dogs, although just recently I’ve not been going too far because of my damaged foot. The day after my walk to Smithills Hall I decided to revisit a local place I’d been to back in mid April – the old quarry just a mile or so up the road from home. Just like last time I parked in a convenient place just off the main road and took the path leading into the quarry but unlike the last time things were vastly different – the water running down the middle of the rocky path had been reduced to a trickle in the continuing dry weather, the path itself was looking rather overgrown and the bare and rather desolate quarry had sprung into life with green everywhere I looked, interspersed with colourful rhododendron bushes here and there.
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The path into the quarry
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As I walked along the bottom of the quarry I could see someone slowly climbing up the sheer rock face ahead – it seemed a bit of a dangerous thing to do but when I got closer I could see it was a girl and she was safely attached to a rope with someone at the top guiding her – definitely not the sort of thing I would do though, even with  a rope and harness! Close to where the climbers were the path started to go steeply upwards and on the next level I came across what I assumed to be a bit of a picnic place probably made by and for various climbers – a three-sided seating area with a large flat-topped ‘table’ in the centre, all cobbled together out of various fallen quarry stones.
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Climbing up ‘The Prow’
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Climbers’ picnic place
The higher I went the better the views became, in one direction looking down the quarry with the countryside north east of the town in the distance and in the other direction overlooking the countryside and moorland to the north. The path was rather overgrown in places and at one point I just managed to miss a clump of prickly thistles in the undergrowth, although the dark blue flowers looked quite nice. A bit higher still and the path eventually brought me out on Scout Road near the top of the very bad bend,  and walking along I saw that where there had been clumps of daffodils in the fields only a few weeks before the grass was now dotted with fluffy-looking clumps of pink flowers. I don’t know what they were – knowing my luck they would be weeds – but they looked quite pretty anyway.
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Looking down the quarry
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Looking north
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As I reached the car park where I would turn onto the path across the fields I decided on the spur of the moment to walk a bit further and see if there was still a lake across the road. Bryan Hey is a large private fishing lake, set back from the road behind a high bank and I remember going with my mum to pick blackberries there when I was 14 years old. The blackberry bushes ran between the roadside and the wall at the bottom of the bank, and while my mum picked the fruit from the roadside I went up on the bank and picked the berries from the top of the bushes. All went well until I put one foot too far over the edge of the wall and fell off the bank right into the middle of the bush – all my mum could see was my feet at the bottom and my head sticking out at the top, the rest of me was in the bush! Once I’d got over my surprise and we’d both finished laughing she somehow managed to get me out, though how I survived without being scratched to ribbons I’ll never know, and the event was a source of amusement for many years.
It turned out that the lake is  still there and so are the blackberry bushes, though I kept myself and the dogs well away from them. A few people were fishing over on the far side of the lake but there was no-one on my side and it was very pleasant walking along on the tree-shaded lakeside path. When I got back down to the roadside I noticed something else which was obviously very new – set inside a private entrance with a colourfully decorated board proclaiming it was NOW OPEN was Skip-a-doo’s dog training area, a large securely-fenced exercise and training field with various items of agility equipment. Backing onto the moorland and with large colourful rhododendron bushes behind it looked like a nice place to train a dog.
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Bryan Hey fishing lake
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Skip-a-doo’s dog training field
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Back across the road I retraced my steps to the car park and took the path across the fields abundant with large patches of the fluffy pink flowers. Following the path past the line of pine trees the grass became dotted with buttercups and in amongst them all I found just one small clump of rather sorry-looking bluebells. A bit further on was the pyramid-shaped stone which had been surrounded by a circle of daffodils just a few weeks before; now the daffodils were gone and the grass and weeds had grown up round the stone so much that I almost walked past it without seeing it. Compared to a few weeks ago it looked a mess and it certainly wasn’t worth taking another photo of it.
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From there I went through the farm yard and onto the tarmac lane by the hamlet of houses, though where I turned right last time I went left instead and just round the bend, set back in the angle of a garden wall, was what presumably had, at some time, been a water spout with a small pool underneath it. It was completely dry and obviously had been for a long while but it was such an unexpected thing to see in that location that it was worth taking a photo of it. As I got to the bottom of the lane I was rewarded with a view of the countryside in front of me;  it’s a view I’ve seen many times before when I’ve been out with the dogs but I never tire of it.
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That was to be my last shot of the afternoon, and I returned to the van which was parked close by and drove back down the hill to home. It had been a good walk and my foot had held up well, fortunately with no real pain in spite of it being so damaged, but now it was time for the three of us to have a long cool drink and a good rest while I contemplated where to go for my next walk.

The wrong mail again – and I’m fuming!

Okay, so this is a moan – a big one – but it’s my blog so if I want to have a moan I will! To put you in the picture, the four avenues where I live are all cul-de-sacs; I live in a block of four semis with eight other houses across the road, and at the end of the street is a big field with a modern single storey children’s centre in the corner nearest to me. As far as I know the centre has no actual number although the name of it is on a big board facing the street, but for the last twelve months or so, every so often, I’ve been getting mail addressed to the centre but with my house number on it. Now at first I didn’t mind and was quite happy to walk along the street to the centre and hand the mail to the manager, but this has happened so many times that I’m now seriously fed up with it.
At one time I would scribble out my house number, write ‘Please deliver to correct address’ on the envelope and put it in the post box which I pass every day on my way to work, and for a while I had no more unwanted mail. Then a few weeks ago it started again though I’ve continued to put it back in the post box, but today was the straw which broke the camel’s back and I let my feelings be known in no uncertain terms on both the front and the back of the envelope before putting it back in the post box.
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The centre at the end of the street
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Message to Royal Mail
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Message to the centre staff
Obviously I don’t know if the letter will be redelivered but if it is I hope the centre staff take heed of my message – I have an office shredder here at home so I anything which isn’t mine or Michael’s will  be shredded. If the mail came from the same person/business all the time I could say that person had obviously mistaken the number, but the letters and packages come from many different people which leads me to think that someone at the centre has wrongly given my number.  And the thing which really gets my goat is that my house and the centre are obviously two very different buildings so any postman should realise that, and regardless of any number which happens to be on the envelope, deliver the post to the correct place.
I know it may seem like I’m making a mountain out of a molehill but getting the wrong post has happened so many times that it’s now gone beyond a joke and is very annoying. Yes, I know I could walk a couple of hundred yards along the street and take the mail myself but I don’t see why I should do the postman’s job for him – unless of course Royal Mail want to pay me his wages for doing it!

A local walk to Smithills Hall

Since damaging my foot a week ago I’ve been resting it as much as possible, meaning the dogs haven’t been out properly for several days, however yesterday’s hot and sunny weather was just too good to resist so I decided to take them to somewhere local and almost on the doorstep – far enough to give them a good walk but not far enough to aggravate my foot. Smithills Hall was my choice so I set off across the field at the end of the street, through the nearby housing estate and into the bottom end of the park closest to home. And to say that it’s a bank holiday weekend there was hardly anyone around so I had the place almost to myself.
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The edge of the park
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From the park I went into the nearby woods – the last time I’d been in there the leaves were falling off the trees and things were looking rather bare but now there was green everywhere I looked, with the added bonus of several colourful rhododendron bushes appearing here and there. A tall tree had fallen across the stream from the opposite side and when I looked over I could see where the bank had come away with the movement of the roots as the tree fell. Further on is an old stone bridge and the stream at that point was little more than a trickle so Sophie had great fun running across and back along the bridge.
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Not far past the bridge the path turned uphill for a short distance and wound its way through the trees and bushes, emerging onto the tarmac lane leading to Smithills Hall, a Grade l listed manor house and one of the oldest in the north west of England. With the oldest parts dating from the 15th century it has a lot of history behind it and I did indeed go in to look round, but I ended up with so many photos that I’m keeping them for another post and concentrating on the outside instead.
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The lane to Smithills Hall
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Pedestrian entrance to the gardens
As I emerged round the back of the building and onto the terrace my vision was assaulted by a view which I thought was truly beautiful – a huge expanse of lawn bordered by colourful flowers and shrubs, surrounded by trees and rhododendrons and with benches dotted here and there. With very few people around the place was very quiet so with no-one to get in my way I wandered round at leisure and got several good shots of the building and gardens.
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Smithills Hall gardens
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Overgrown scented garden, east wing
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Garden, east wing and chapel
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Monument and gardens
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Entrance to tea room in Victorian west wing
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Rear of the west wing
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Colourful rhododendrons near the exit
Back on the lane I retraced my steps, this time passing what was once Smithills Coaching House. Originally built in the 17th century as a stable block for Smithills Hall it was converted to a restaurant in 1966 by two local brothers, Alan and Donald Clarke. The brothers, two of three triplets, were born in 1931 – Donald became a trained chef and between them they co-owned Percival’s catering firm originally set up by their father in 1939. Percival’s had a wonderful cafe in the old town centre Market Hall and I remember going in there many times for a meal when I was a kid. Alan Clarke was the local mayor from 1972 to 1973 and died in 1979 at the relatively young age of only 48; Donald was Bolton’s mayor from 1977 to 1978 and died in 2005 at the age of 74.
A four-sided building with an attractive central courtyard, Smithills Coaching House operated successfully as a restaurant for 46 years before finally closing down in August 2012 – in spite of many local objections it was eventually sold to a developer and is now several luxury houses and apartments, with a dozen or so modern town houses built on what was once the restaurant car park. The courtyard entrance is now private, protected by huge double gates operated by key pad, but I was able to get the camera lens far enough through the bars to take a quick snap of what it looks like now the place has been modernised.
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Part of the original building, now a house
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The restaurant courtyard as it was – photo from the Internet
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Photo from the Internet
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The courtyard as it looks now
Further along the lane, and past where I’d come out of the woods, is Smithills Open Farm, a working dairy farm open to the public with lots of different animals to see, hold and feed. With various activities including donkey rides, tractor rides and bouncy castles it’s a very popular place and with no time limit once in there it presumably makes a good few hours out, but when I saw the admission prices I was just glad that I don’t have any young kids!
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Smithills Open Farm
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Through the farm and past the car park I reached the top end of the park I’d walked through earlier; I’m not sure if it’s the local council’s way of saving money or if it’s supposed to be like that but a lot of the land had been left to grow wild, with large clumps of spiky grass growing all over the place. From the path nearest the farm the view down the park was quite extensive, and when I got down to where the playground used to be at the bottom of the slope I turned round to call Sophie and there was my old friend the Winter Hill tv mast, standing tall on top of the nearby moors.
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View down the park
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Overlooked by the tv mast
That was to be my last photo of the day; the rest of my route was all road walking though it didn’t take long to get home from there, and the first thing the three of us did was have a long cold drink! My damaged foot had done well on the walk and had given me no pain at all but I’d gone far enough and it was time to rest it now, so that’s just what I would be doing for the remainder of the afternoon.
Linking up again with Jo’s Monday Walk where this week she takes us on a visit to some lovely gardens and an intriguing piece of Northumberland landscaping with great views and lots of photo opportunities. Follow the link to find out more and to see where other Monday walkers have been to this time.

Scavenger photo hunt – May

I’ve been so busy just recently that I’d almost forgotten about this, even though I knew which photos I would use as soon as the list was published. The prompts for this month are cool, disaster, movement, fence/fencing, spiky/prickly, and my own choice, so here goes –
The first one is my electric cool box which I use for camping. I’ve had it on permanent loan for four years from John, a camping friend who lives in Norwich. He’d bought it from his local Aldi store and never used it so passed it on to me when my camping fridge at the time gave up the ghost. We usually meet up a couple of times each year and I always ask if he wants it back but he says ‘no’ – meanwhile, it comes with me on all my camping trips and is also in permanent use as an ‘add-on’ to my small kitchen fridge. I don’t know how old it is, and even John can’t remember exactly when he got it, but for something which was very reasonably priced compared to more well-known makes it really does keep things well-chilled and is an excellent piece of kit.
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Cool – my camping cool box
There was no question which photo I would use for ‘disaster’ – the one of my brand new tent which collapsed under the weight of an unexpected overnight fall of snow while I was camping at Easter a couple of months ago. Luckily the dogs and I were sleeping in the van so it didn’t come down on top of us, but two of the poles were snapped in the process – I managed to get those fixed once I got home though I haven’t had the opportunity to use the tent since so hopefully it will fare better next time round!
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Disaster – my collapsed tent at Easter
On an afternoon at St. Annes during the last bank holiday I took a walk through the very attractive promenade gardens; the path on one side passes through the rocks where the waterfall flows over the top into the pond, and though the water wasn’t running when I went that way it suddenly started up while I was across the other side. I went back to take a snap of it and hopefully captured the movement of the water as it fell off the rocks into the pond below.
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Movement – the waterfall at St. Annes promenade gardens
I didn’t have to go far to photograph the next topic as it was only three doors away. My neighbours at the corner house have recently had their old timber fence replaced so I snapped a quick shot of their new fencing with the workmens’ orange barrier fencing still in place. They’ve done a good job and it looks so much better than the old fence.
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Fence/fencing – the new-look fence on the corner
The next topic was also fairly easy. On the unit in the kitchen at one of the houses I clean is a collection of small cacti; they could really do with being put into larger pots as they’ve grown top heavy and fall over easily, which explains the bits of soil on the shelf. And it doesn’t matter how gently I move them, they still fall over, though at least I got them to stay still for the photo!
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Spiky/prickly – cacti in the boss’s kitchen
Moving away from the dog-related theme of the last few months my own choice this time is a colourful shot taken a couple of years ago during a private visit to a secret garden on Anglesey. The garden was, at one time, open to the public on just one weekend each year but because of an issue with the change of ownership of the land it was closed indefinitely. It’s in a fairly remote location and I was just lucky that on the day I went to find it, not knowing that it was actually closed, the couple who still looked after the place were there doing some gardening and I was invited in for a look round. Although a bit overgrown in a few areas it was a beautiful place, very quiet and peaceful, and I felt really privileged to be allowed to wander round and get the shots I wanted. A far as I know the garden is still closed, which is a shame as it really is a lovely place.
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My own choice – a secret garden somewhere on Anglesey
So there you have it, my photos for this month, and once again I’m linking up with Kate’s blog – follow the link to see what interesting shots the other photo scavengers have found this time. I’m off to do the same now while I have a brew!

The dog bed didn’t get me but the kettle did!

Maybe a strange title for a blog post so I’d better explain. Bear in mind that I don’t watch a lot of tv – when I’m not walking the dogs I spend most of my free time on my pc in the spare bedroom, so to save having to go down to the kitchen every time I want a brew I have tea, coffee, sugar and a kettle on a small unit. Also in the same room is my cross-trainer – it came out of a commercial gym so is quite a sizeable piece of equipment. Last Saturday evening I washed a dog bed and because my pc is on from the moment I get up until the moment I go to bed the room is always warm, so I draped the dog bed over the cross-trainer console to dry out.
Early on Sunday morning, with my pc switched on, I made myself a brew then checked my emails and blog notifications, and I was just about to go for a shower when it happened – for some unknown reason, and with no-one near it, the dog bed decided to slide off the cross-trainer onto the floor. Now had it gone one way it would probably have caught my computer chair on its way down but it went the other way and caught the kettle – which promptly overturned and sent scalding hot water all over the top of my foot and the carpet. Luckily I had my slippers on so that minimised the damage but it was still enough to be excruciatingly painful.
So I hopped into the bathroom, stuck my leg in the bath and turned the cold water onto my foot for as long as I could stand it. It did ease the pain so as we were going out for the day I swallowed a couple of painkillers and stuck a gauze dressing over the burn, held on by a cotton sock, and with my most comfortable trainers on it felt fine all day. Then as I was driving home I remarked to Michael that my foot felt wet, and when I took my sock off later on I found out why – the skin had blistered and the blister had burst with the friction from my trainer, and when I peeled off the sock and the dressing the skin came off with it, leaving a large red-raw patch even more painful than before.
There was no way I could go to bed with my foot like that as anything touching it would send me through the roof, and I didn’t fancy spending hours waiting to be treated in A&E at the hospital, so I wrapped it in clingfilm, covered it with another sock, and went to the doctor’s first thing on Monday morning. He prescribed some ointment and some silicone dressings to be used once each day, but actually getting the stuff proved to be a total nightmare as it seems that no pharmacies actually stock these things, they have to be ordered – and a 2 to 3 day wait just isn’t on when I’m burnt and I need them NOW! The last pharmacy I tried did prove to be more helpful though and the guy there said that if he ordered the stuff there and then I would be able to collect it later that same day – and he even went one better than that and had it delivered to me.
To be honest I’ve only used the ointment twice since then as it seems to produce more pain and stinging than I can stand, but the silicone dressings are brilliant and are really helping to alleviate the pain. It’ll be a while before my foot heals but at least I can get about even though I’m supposed to take it easy. I should have gone camping this coming weekend but I’m staying home instead, though I’ll probably find somewhere nice to take the dogs – it’s not long off my proper holiday anyway so hopefully my foot will be well on the way to being better by then. And the one thing I’ve learned from all this? – next time I dry a dog bed over the cross-trainer I’ll move the kettle first!

Hornby Castle Gardens

The private family home of Hornby Castle is situated in north Lancashire, almost on the edge of the Lake District and the border with the Yorkshire Dales. Set on a hill in its own grounds by the River Wenning the house overlooks Hornby village and the Lune Valley; the central Keep tower dates back to 1512 but the house was rebuilt round about 1820 in an early Victorian style with ornate ceilings and carved wood panelling. Although the house itself isn’t open to the public it does have a B&B apartment to rent and is occasionally available for private functions and special events. The extensive gardens are open to the public on just a few special weekends each year, and it was through reading someone else’s blog several weeks ago that I found out about it. I’d already missed one open weekend by then but I made a note of the next one – this weekend, and with the current glorious weather it was an opportunity not to be missed, especially as dogs were welcome in the grounds so I could take Sophie and Poppie with me.
Exactly an hour’s drive from home got me to Hornby village where I left the van in a small car park just off the main road and by the river. The bridge over the river gave me a lovely view looking west across to the hills on the far side of the Lune valley, and on the other side of the bridge looking east I got my first view of the castle beyond the trees.
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River Wenning at Hornby, looking west
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View of the castle from the bridge
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Just inside the big double gates a lady sitting in the shade of a gazebo took my £4 admission fee and gave me a copy of a hand drawn map showing where things were then I was left to wander at will. A long tree-lined driveway led up a continual incline and I had a choice of left or right – I chose right first and went to have a look round in the vicinity of the castle and the gardens nearest to it.
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A border near the entrance
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A corner near the lawn
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The castle from the lawn
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Herbaceous border
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The terrace
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The lawn from the terrace
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The rear of the castle
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Across from the steps leading to the castle lawn a woodland walk took me down to a large open area and the walled garden but a sign for the ponds and azaleas caught my attention so I decided to look round there first. The larger pond was well shaded by trees, with a rhododendron bush making a splash of dark pink colour against all the green, and though much of the pond surface was covered in a layer of green weed there was enough clear water to make some good reflections. There was an island in the middle accessed by an extremely narrow, only just about 2ft wide, bridge with a rail just on one side – making sure that the dogs stayed behind me I went across but there was nothing there except a rickety wooden bench, although the whole place was really quiet and peaceful. I must admit to being disappointed with the (lack of) azaleas though; I’d expected to see a riot of colour from lots of different shrubs but there were only an odd few dotted here and there along with a couple of rhododendrons – certainly not what I’d hoped to see, and a bit of a let-down to be honest.
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From the ponds I went to have a look round the walled garden; it was quite a large place but at least half of it was given over to several bare-looking sections and cold frames where various things were being grown – the lawned area was nice though with plenty of colour along the paths and side wall, and there was a small tea room with outside tables in one corner though I wasn’t tempted to go in. From there I went over to the riverside walk and wandered along until a fence and a ‘private’ sign stopped me from going any further then I turned round and retraced my steps.
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The walled garden
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The riverside walk
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Once I was sure I’d seen everything there was to see I made my way back down the long driveway and across the road to the car park. Once there I squeezed through the narrow gap in the corner of the wall and onto the riverside path; it didn’t go very far under the bridge but it was far enough for me to get a couple of shots from right next to the weir, in fact if I’d been any closer to it at one point I would have had two very wet feet.
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Hornby bridge
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Back at the van I gave the dogs a much-needed drink, although they’d had one from the bowl provided in the walled garden, then set off for home, although I did make a brief stop after I left the village. As I drove past an open field I caught sight of a very tiny and very cute pony standing by the field gate – an opportunity not to be missed so I pulled up where I could and walked back to take a photo of him. It wasn’t easy as he was very friendly and insisted on standing so close to the gate but I managed to get my head and the camera through the bars and take a sideways shot of him.
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That was to be my last shot of the day, and with no more interruptions or delays on the motorway I was back home before 4pm. It had seemed a bit of a long way to go just to look round a garden but I’d had a nice few hours out in good weather, photographed somewhere I’d not been to before and rounded the whole thing off with an adorable little pony, so it had definitely all been worth it.
I’m joining in with Jo’s Monday Walk again where this week she’s been wandering round a couple of gardens next door to each other – follow the link and enjoy the beauty of the gorgeous rhododendrons she found while there.