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Nella Last's Christmas blues!

We all put a lot of planning ,thought and expectation into our festive celebrations and sometimes it all goes just perfectly  and other...

Monday, 28 December 2009

Fieldfare and a visit from Jack!

With the ground being so hard after the recent snow and ice I threw down some of the apples I had been storing from our tree since October. That was yesterday and today the fieldfare flew in and spent the day gorging himself on the them. We just about managed a few shots, as he was very shy and the magpies kept bothering him, trying to get to the fruit as well. I wonder is it the same one who came at this time last year?

Jack Frost came too and left us a beautiful vision in ice painting on the gate . I well remember scenes like that from my childhood but then it was on the inside of our bedroom windows at Corton!
It is a very good time for birdwatching , today I saw Goldfinches as well.
Most of our snow has gone but we may not be out of the woods yet as another weather front of snow and low temperatures is on the way.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

A festive greeting from Snowy lancashire

Quite unexpectedly we were in for yet more snow last night from 9pm onwards.
The world took on a different hue and colour and the whiteness made the garden an illuminated magical christmastime winterwonderland.
If it doesn't rain today we may have a White Christmas here after all.
The cats are not at all sure what to make of it  with Tom being the only one to walk or should I say sink ' down the garden in it.
It made a very pretty picture though with him in the snow.
It was nice to see the Mistle Thrush in the garden after the orange berries on the tree , a rare visitor to my garden.
Well the big day is nearly here,I wish One and All the Healthiest New Year and a very Merry Christmas to all my Family Around the World and Friends everywhere.


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Snow, Snow. Snow

We had snow!  Two nights in a row and it is still lying on the ground .... this is the first time in many years that we have had such a fall. As you can see the garden looked lovely, a real winter wonderland.
What a shame that the only ones of us that can enjoy it are those who either play out in it or look at it from a warm home. It has caused chaos!
Bebe made his way up for his food but then quickly disappeared back to the greenhouse and bed .I daresay it will all be gone by Christmas Day.
Still it was nice to get out with the camera and get some snowy shots.

Friday, 11 December 2009

I4 days to go!

Well I have put up the decorations today so this house is now ready for the festive season to get into fullswing. We don't go mad with all the trimmings these days as there are no children around but what we do  have look nice and festive in an arts and crafts kind of way.....  I like finding ornaments like the little brown angels seen here in the picture.
Yesterday and today I made sure to get out for some fresh air and winter sunshine as it has been so lovely to see after all the recent wet weather. A good walk yesterday and today out came the bike.
We are going to go to Haworth this weekend to the Christmas celebrations and I might go around the Bronte Parsonage as it is ages and I just love the atmosphere!
I must go and give the Christmas cake a good glug of brandy again  and will have to get in the ingredients for some mince pies but there is not much Delia Smith stuff going on here ,,, who the heck has time for all that these days!
Lastly I just want to wish my sister [49 today] happy birthday and hope she enjoys her break next week!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The Scent of Christmas

Its beginning to' smell a lot like Christmas' at our house, for as soon as you walk in your senses are awoken by the fragrant scents of cinnamon , cloves and orange and everyone wants to know where that delicious smell is coming from ! Well actually although I would like to say I have been busy baking,it is actually from a lovely bottle of room spray. It does the most wonderful job of making the feel of the Chistmas season come alive . Add to that a few drops of Culpepper winter oil ,pot purri and that is all you need.

When you come home in the evening though feeling a little cold, tired and frazzled, try some of the delicious Mulled wine, warmed up ,its good for you as its full of lovely spices , just the thing to sip in front of the fire!The one seen here is the real thing from Germany and the one served at the winter fairs.

I don't  think we will see a White Christmas this year ,they forecast a wet one instead... although you never know. The two snowy picture here were taken in 1993 and 1996 ,one in mums garden in wigan the other here, We haven't seen that much snow in the last few years.
I have been scrapbooking in the evenings while watching the tv and the one of Ginger here and the 'sewing box are the latest for my album, also have been making scented bags and  have knitting on the go to, so keeping busy.
At least all my gifts are bought and wrapped, glad about that as it was busy in town when I called into the Debenhams sale yesterday... didn't get tempted .. amazing ha!
Thanks to everyone who contacted me about the blog photos over the year and I will be sending calendars with some of the photos on to those who asked as soon as possible!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Kingfishers, and Sunsets



Well we probably had our last long day out on the boat yesterday as the days are drawing in and as you can see from the photos it was sunset by the time we returned to the marina. The day was so calm and quiet, a case of 'the calm before the storm', as today its been blowing a gale and raining all day.
On the way up to Garstang ,our destination, Peter spotted a flash of blue and we were on the lookout in the same place on the return and I spotted the kingfisher in the reeds waiting for a fish and quickly managed a couple of shots
If you know where to look they are not that hard to find!
I found some other people intent on taking the other kind of shots... poor pheasants probably were their target. We had spotted a few ourselves in the fields on the way and we take pleasure in just seeing them !
So its been a lovely year again out on the canal, full of interest and surprises and we still hope to use the boat through the winter on milder days.






Monday, 19 October 2009

Wizzie the Beaver Cub


























We went out for lunch yesterday to Rufford Old hall and had a really delicious Lancashire hot pot ,followed by apple crumble, a winning combination if ever there was one. Then in an effort to perhaps wear off a few of those calories,we walked through the lovely grounds to see the autumn colours on the the plants and trees.
Then we went off for an hour to Martin Mere to see the pink foot geese that have flown in ,in their thousands for the winter. it is an amazing sight and sound with them all calling as they suddenly take to the skies.
While we were there we saw the beaver cub that was injured by his parents or siblings last year and has been nursed back to health by the staff there. He likes to come out in the afternoons for exercise and a play. He is so big and this took me by surprise but a very endearing creature he is and doesn't seem to to mind all the attention. He will not be able to rejoin the others, so they have to decide what next for WIZZIE!

The garden is smothered in autumn leaves, it's always a big job each year to clear them but I bag them up and leave them to rot down a year or two and then have a great soil conditioner at least for all the hard work!


Peter has been really busy and made the cats a lovely cosy area in the greenhouse for the winter, now if they could just remember how to use the cat flap again all would be great!
Bebe the big un does although I half expect him to become lodged in the doorway... oh well!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

October The mellow month!











Well the whole of September passed by without a single blog from me but what with holidays and then returning to normal the days just flew by.
We went to Devon a change from Cornwall and to an area around Dartmouth.
What a lovely part of the country it is and so much there to see and do as we found out. Everyday we were out and about ,so much so that we were tired out upon arriving home.. Ha!

Do you like the witches ? Very much in keeping with the month of Halloween I thought I would show these two. I found then up at the Pendle Heritage centre in Barrowford. Silly really to think that 400 years ago, if you were a single woman living alone with a black cat ,mixing up a few herbs to make healing potions, then you were more than likely to be called a witch with terrible consequences. I for one would not have liked to live then at all.
Well it been blowing a northwesterly all day here.The cats hate it and have been jittery and jumpy. I have just had to practically push Ollie out the front door for 10mins.
I actually like this month though, as usually it's active on the wildlife front . Animals and birds are preparing for winter and you can spot unusual sights, like in my diary off 2003 when on the 4th Oct I spotted a Nuthatch on the roof trying to wedge sunflower seeds under the roof tiles, then he went down to the bird table and did the same again. A secret winter supply!

How we have enjoyed our days out on the canal this year and just before we went on holiday the weather was so lovely we spent yet another lazy afternoon there and the willow tree in the photo just looked so lovely with its colours accentuated by the early autumn sunshine.

I spent a busy day last weekend clearing some borders and then planting some daffodils and Tulips in the hope of a nice Spring display and today got some more, so more work!
If you have any of the lovely Cyclamen that are in the shops right now remember never cut off the dead flowers or leaves but pull the out from the base.


Monday, 31 August 2009

The ones who got away











A Small Tortoiseshell butterfly feeding on a Sedum at Myerscough plant centre yesterday and also there, was a Red Admiral. I have seen a few of these in our garden but much more common to see has been the Peacock butterfly this year. The Tortoiseshell is found in almost all seasons of the year and hibernates in caves , lofts and outbuildings. it can be seen out on the wing from march onwards even in big city parks.

The spider was just about to catch a Bee that had got caught in it's web but maybe I dislodged it as I was about to take the picture , as he luckily flew off and the Spider had to do without lunch. The spiders webs can be easily seen now that dewy mornings are more common, in fact you have to be careful not to walk into one as you venture out in the garden!
I bought some bulbs to plant up a container as you always have a better display if you use fresh stock each year .
On the way back home on the boat it began to rain and by the time we were about to moor up it was lashing down. Just as we got ready to come alongside our mooring , I saw a kingfisher and a swallow sitting together under cover at the side of a swing bridge , clearly they to thought it was just too wet to be out in. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a picture quick enough as he was spooked by our appearance and flew off but the Swallow can be seen if you look carefully on the shot I did get!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Autumn is coming early






















It may still feel like summer down in the South of England but this week I can feel a change to a touch of early Autumn. This morning we had a really heavy dew and the flowers are all going over now quickly. The bees still come to seek out nectar when we have a bit of sun and the last butterflies go to the apples fallen on the grass but it no longer feels like Summer to me.



Last week I cycled down to Longton Brickcroft nature reserve and took the swan pictures .I shared a little bit of my lunch with the swan family but they are well looked after by local people who go there walking their dogs ,or just for a lovely stroll.



At the weekend we went out for a day on the boat up to Garstang , which is where I took the butterfly photo, down on the nettles by the river. There were fewer swallows out on the wing but we did spot a couple of large brown dragonflies while the sun was out.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Another day, Another Place!












We headed to the coast today following the sun but first we followed a trail from a book we picked up a week or two ago, that led us to a farm shop and restaurant nr Burscough where we had a delicious lunch. As we drove up and got out of the car, we were greeted by a cheeky and very friendly Collie who dropped his ball at our feet in the hope we were the kind of People he liked[we were] and that we would take the hint to throw it!
Then a little family of chickens made an appearance .

On the way we came across a stall selling Great big beautiful Sunflowers which I couldn't help but stop and take a photo of. They are grown on the farm there.

Then we were off to our real destination 'Another Place' ,Anthony Gormleys Statues on Blundellsands beach nr Liverpool. It was perfect weather and we had a lovely walk along the sands taking pictures and breathing in fresh air which was what we both needed after a rather horrible week. There are some great places on our doorstep, you just have to go out there and explore a bit!



Friday, 24 July 2009

Wild teasels


After the rain this morning it was so nice to see the sun later this afternoon.A little bit of warmth from it's rays soon has the bees out buzzing over the nectar laden plants and at last today, I saw a few butterflies. One ,a lovely Red Admiral landed on a white plastic bag I was taking down to the summerhouse, much to my surprise and later there were two or more Painted ladies on the Buddleja [ yes I spelt it wrong the other day!] a couple of large bees too. Maybe the answer is to put some white plastic bags all over the garden... they might have a use after all!

The teasel is a real insect attraction, every time I look over it there are bugs and bees, it just looks so fascinating and it has a way of collecting water in the large cups that occur on the stem and in this water drown many insects that attempt to ascend the tall stem and their remains are absorbed by the plant as a food. Clever stuff !
The apples on the tree must be liking all the rain as they are much further along than last year at this time. I am looking forward to some nice crumbles later on.
My Goldfish are doing well and at this time of year they come to the surface as soon as I approach the pond ,for their flakes. I tried the pellets but no, they prefer the flakes! I know the pond does not look great with the cover over it but the local heron would soon have a nice fish supper so it has to stay.

Oh the unusual plant is a Pineapple lily!













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