For the last fortnight we’ve been cruising around the Baltic on Magellan and I have to say it was about a week too long for me. I was really desperate to get home after we had visited St Petersburg, but we had three more stops after that. Mind you, one of those stops was to Stockholm, a place I hadn’t been before and I was very pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it is.
I found the actual cruise to be rather boring, but I did manage to read six books, some of them chunky classics too. Unfortunately just about everyone on the ship ended up with a cold which developed into a hacking cough – including me and Jack, I’m still not feeling great. The air conditioning just about guarantees that any lurgy is liberally shared around everyone. On the plus side – despite having five course dinners – we both managed to lose weight! The food is another aspect of cruising that I didn’t enjoy. Most people seem to feel that as they’ve already paid for the food they’re determined to eat as much as they possibly can. It’s really off-putting.
Otherwise the highlight of the cruise was St Petersburg – as expected. We took loads of photos, well, Jack took most of them but at some point I’ll be using them in blogposts soonish. Meanwhile, I was so glad to get home and so impressed with the lush green growth since I had last seen my garden, I had to take a photo of it.
People have often commented on how green it is and I must admit that I’ve always taken it completely for granted but after having been surrounded by a grey Baltic and even greyer North Sea for two weeks – and what was worse – absolute flat calm all the time, I now appreciate my garden even more than I did before.
I love a good rough sea but Neptune seems to go to sleep as soon as I get on board a ship!
We’ll be leaving soon for our Baltic cities cruise, and wifi on those ships is dismal so I’ll be offline for a fortnight. I was just having a look around the garden today and noting how many plants are just about to come into flower, including several clematis and roses. Remind me never to go on holiday at this time of the year again! The clematis alpina above has been flowering for a few weeks already, this is the best it has ever been.
The acers/Japanese maples are all at different stages of growth.
Golden elder, euphorbia Fireglow and amelanchier are good and colourful in the photo below.
Yet more Fireglow is beside the dwarf apple tree, that apple tree was the only plant that was in this garden when we moved here – unless you count loads of grass as a plant.
The Rosemary below is in bloom and a spirea has become entwined with it, but the spirea will flower much later.
The heathers will have finished flowering by the time I get back so one of my first gardening tasks will be to cut it back.
I’m going to miss pottering about here, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy visiting – Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Taillin, Warnemunde, St Petersburg and Aalborg. I think I’ll need another holiday to get over this one coming!
It has been very quiet here over the past week – for a good reason as I’ve been too busy preparing for our eldest son Duncan’s wedding to the lovely Alex. The venue was The Cowshed in Crail – I know it doesn’t sound too romantic but it turned out to be a great place to have a wedding and the Humanist ceremony was perfect. I haven’t even looked at our photos yet – apart from the one I took on my phone, but I’ve nicked one that has appeared on the internet elsewhere, is that allowed?
Sparklers featured in the photo.
Happy New Year! I hope that 2019 will be a good one for you, wherever you are.
I live in hope that 2019 won’t be quite as bad here in the UK as I fear it will be. We do have one lovely thing to look forward to in February as our eldest son will be getting married. I think we’ll be making the most of that celebration – before the disaster coming at the end March.
Merry Christmas. I hope you all have a lovely time, whatever you’re doing.
Today was/is of course the Winter Solstice – should that have capitals? I’m not sure, but I feel it should as for me it’s one of the most important days of the year. The thought of the days getting longer and the nights lighter doesn’t half cheer me up.
I am busy with Christmas stuff – like most people at the moment, or should I say most women however, spare a thought for me as I’m also busy with a certain husband’s birthday meal on Christmas Eve. In an ideal world there would be a law against that!
During our fairly recent trip down to England we stopped off in Bakewell, Derbyshire for lunch and to stretch our legs. A walk along the very scenic River Wye is a must, especially on a lovely sunny day.
We walked from the car park over this stylish and very ancient gothic arched stone bridge which dates from the 14th century, and if you’re interested there’s a decent second-hand bookshop right at the end of the bridge – or the beginning depending on which way you’re walking – all profits going to local worthy causes.
Weirs always add interest to waterways and I noticed that this one doesn’t quite go all the way across the width of the river, one edge has been kept clear so that fish are able to navigate easily up or downstream.
Which is just as well because …
it’s absolutely full of fish – trout and grey mullet I think. They’re big too, most of them being around 18 inches long or thereabouts. The last time we were in Bakewell there were even more fish though and it seemed quite spooky to me as they were all grey and ghostly looking.
As it was such a dry summer the Wye was very low, there wasn’t much depth for the fish to swim in and they were navigating around the legs of the ducks and swans. I’ve never seen anyone fishing here so I suspect it isn’t allowed which is just as well really as there are so many it wouldn’t seem very sporting – like shooting fish in a barrel.
If you’re interested our lunch was of the clotted cream scones variety – delicious.
You can see more images of Bakewell here.
It was good to get away from home for a wee while, just five days, but I’m so glad to be back home and to be sleeping in my own bed again. I enjoy seeing new places but I do so wish I could snap my fingers at the end of the day and be wheeched back to my own bedroom.
On our travels we visited Grasmere and Coniston in the Lake District. At Grasmere we had an interesting look around Dove Cottage, the tiny house that William Wordsworth lived in with his large and extended family. There will be a blogpost about that soon.
Coniston is a beautiful location and John Ruskin’s house is perfectly positioned high above the lake, I took lots of photos so that’ll be another blogpost. After spending one night at Grasemere we drove on to Buxton, mainly to visit the secondhand bookshop there. I bought three books – more about those later. I think I did better the last time we visited the shop, but I could stay in that place the entire day although for older books, the ones that I’m mainly interested it in, it is pricey.
Our next stopover was in Peterborough, a place we had never been before, but we had a notion to visit the big antiques fair that was going on. It turned pout to be absolutely enormous, over 2,000 stalls and we think we managed to get around them all, but it took us from 9.30 am to 4 pm – and by then we were exhausted, but we enjoyed having a good rake around and we bought some more ‘stuff’ that we definitely don’t need, actually a few Christmas presents were bought. Sorry about that mention of the ‘C’ word!
Anyway, I ended up coming home with eleven new to me books. Jack bought eight – I always seem to snap up more than he does, even when I’m picky. Tomorrow I’ll let you know exactly what I bought.
I’m going off on a bit of a roadtrip for the rest of this week, but I’m scheduling a few blogposts, I just might not be able to reply to comments quickly as I have no idea what the internet access will be like.
Let’s pretend that we’re going on a wee walk through the local woodlands in Fife. I took these photos on May 20th just when we were grabbing every good day – just in case it was the last of the summer.
It was such a late spring that a week or so before these photos were taken there was hardly any sign of green at all, but suddenly everything just exploded when our seemingly never ending winter lost its grip. There’s a wee wooden bridge in the distance – it’s perfect for playing Poohsticks, but I usually just hang over it nowadays looking for fish, and sometimes I see one or two.
The burn is fairly silent until it reaches a tumble of stones and old displaced cobbles, evidence of what had been a ford until the rushing water took its toll.
Here and there there are groves of these ferns, so elegant looking as they unfurl, I think they might be Shuttlecock ferns but there are so many different kinds, I’m not sure. I’ve just noticed that there are hogweeds beginning to grow on the edges, I hope they don’t eventually crowd the ferns out.
This woodland was part of a Victorian private estate but is now freely open to the public.
It’s not all green!
We’ve now reached the rhododendrons, these ones were obviously planted here because they’re directly opposite the front windows of the ‘big hoose’ which is now a hotel. I just noticed a couple of days ago that those posts with wire fencing on them to the far right of the photo below have small padlocks attached to them, so that fad which started in Paris must still be ongoing, crazy, but no doubt the padlock manufacturers are happy about it. I think the ‘fence’ looks completely out of place though.
I hope that that stretched your legs a bit and maybe cooled you down if you’re still stuck in intense heat. The rain arrived here today, I’m not complaining about it as it’s badly needed, I just wish that we could arrange for it just to rain overnight!