Monday, 26 January 2015

Caty's Eighteenth Birthday Party

We were invited to my Great-Niece's 18th Birthday party yesterday and despite a bit of an "ify" start to the week, I was determined to be fit enough to go.

Caty had put the celebration on hold until her exams were out of the way, so yesterday she was able to let her hair down and enjoy the party...

The guests spanned several generations, from Caty's Great Grandma at 93, to these two little chaps who didn't quite know what to make of each other.....

After a first class meal, Caty's mum, Jane, brought in the cake. The design is based on Caty's choice of present..

If you need any help with the cake, Caty, I think Daniel and Holly will be willing to help you out!

And back at their house later, the biggest treat of all came when Caty played several piano pieces for us.. (apologies for the lack of lighting on the video; I was that keen not to miss a note that I forgot to alter the camera setting!)
video

I could have listened all night..

Caty you've grown into a gifted and beautiful young woman! And Holly there, sitting next to you, is certainly following in your footsteps!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

RSPB Birdwatch 2015

Over this weekend we took part in the RSPB Birdwatch for 2015. (For full details, just follow the link.)

We are lucky to have a constant stream of feathered visitors to the garden in England as well as back in Braye. One of  our favourites is the wren. Usually so hard to catch on camera because of its speed, today it was happy to feed just outside the study window. The first photo shows the white of the window-sill, so you can see just how close it was!

It stayed around long enough for us to get a number of close up shots.
 
 

What a delightful little bird it is!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Kitchen update - English Version

Being in England for a little longer than usual has given us chance to catch up on some much needed decorating jobs. First of all we "refreshed" the bathroom and then it was time to tackle the kitchen...

Before..
 After... evening shot
 daytime shot..

Feels like a new kitchen! 

When we said we were starting the New Year with paintbrush in hand, we really meant it!


Sunday, 18 January 2015

Pendle two weeks on..

Visiting Colin's mum in Clitheroe this afternoon, we saw Pendle in different weather conditions to a couple of weeks ago when we went up on a gloriously sunny afternoon...
 

Lovely to look at, but a bit too chilly for me in the icy wind!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Arkwright's in Bloom!

A taste of summer...

We go past this public house on a regular basis when travelling into Preston centre.


These pictures were taken in the snow this morning... The owner has added a few artificial hanging baskets to brighten the place up...

You can't knock 'em for trying!!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

A Weekend with Friends!

What a lovely weekend it has been! We were invited to Gaynor and Tim's along with Jean and Nick and Sally and Chris.

On Saturday afternoon we enjoyed a bright and breezy walk through the Sandon Estate, Staffordshire. The landscape lends itself to photography, especially on a day like this...

Is that Colin I see in the lead? And on a slight incline, too?!

But then a blur flashed by....

and Lulu took the lead...

And coming up on the inside lane... it's Colin again!

The church on the estate was, unfortunately, locked but it made for an impressive picture...

and a different view across the estate..

At last my first chance this year to photograph some of my favourite flowers. (I feel a painting coming on!)

And then, a shadow of our former selves...

we returned to Gaynor and Tim's for the most delicious evening meal, in the company of some super friends - these friendships having been formed on the other side of the Channel, and via our respective blog posts!

So a huge "Thank you" to our brilliant hosts, Gaynor and Tim..

We'll be back next weekend for more of the same! (Only joking!)

Thursday, 8 January 2015

An impossible photograph!

I was looking through some of our old photographs and came across Elizabeth's pictures of our trip to the west coast of Scotland back in April 2009...

It holds special memories for both of us, in that one of the photographs, I have concluded, is the impossible photograph...

We have over the years attempted to recreate it and between us we must have taken hundreds and hundreds of images to no avail.

This is me on the shore of Loch Maree...

This is me on the shore of Loch Maree...

What Elizabeth captured was purely by chance and we had no idea of the content until we looked at it on the computer. Despite photographing water drop after water drop we have not come close...

So to all you photographers out there if you are looking for a challenge!

It has appeared on the blog before back in March 2011 under the heading of Reflections. We are continuing with our droplet quest, watch this space but don't hold your breath...

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Out with the old (again!!)

A blog that was never published from May 2011...

Today we took delivery of a long-awaited and much needed sewing machine to replace the old one Elizabeth has been swearing at since we arrived.

It was considerably cheaper to have one shipped from the UK but this caused other problems...

We have had difficulties with deliveries before. Despite the fact that the house has a name: "La Croix Blanche" and a sign outside announcing this, and it is on a road called "Rue de la Croix Blanche", couriers don't seem to be able to 'find' us!


So we took the matter into our own hands this morning...


It worked!  An hour later the machine arrived.


The Singer machine has given good service in Braye ever since. The old one was returned to the UK and has been continued to be sworn at ever since!! 

BUT... not any more. It has been replaced, this week, by the delightful piece of machinery below... According to Elizabeth it sews like a dream and to me, as an engineer, is really does sound robust when in action.

It performs so well it is going to be swopped for the Singer in Braye, which will then be relegated to use in the UK.

This great machine is from our favourite store, Lidl, and with a price of £69.95 complete with 3 year guarantee it must rank as one of our better purchases...

Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Gate of Doom!

The title was going to read "A Walk up Pendle", but we overheard a little girl, on approaching the first gate with her parents, promptly declare:
"Oh no: the Gate of Doom"

And after that we hadn't the heart to call it anything else!

Pendle and the surrounding villages hold claim to fame as the home of the "Pendle Witches". Twelve people from the area were accused of being witches. One died in custody, one was tried at York and the other ten were tried at Lancaster Assizes in 1612. Only one was found not guilty. The history of the trials unfolded during the reign of James I who, himself, had written "Daemonologie", in which he condemned the practice of witchcraft and called upon his readers to seek out and punish suspected witches.

More on the history can be read here 

The purpose of today's walk wasn't to seek out any witches but to enjoy the hill on a bright, frosty winters day...

But first back to the title. Here is the Gate of Doom.... aptly named by the little girl when you consider the climb ahead...

And so we set off up the "slight incline", taking the 'steps' route up to the summit (557 mtrs)....

Colin couldn't resist a look back to see how far we'd come! (Are we nearly there yet??!)

There had been a heavy frost overnight and the ground underfoot was still frozen in parts, but where the sun had reached there was a fair bit of mud..

And, if you're wondering, yes he did get through all that without incident!

The following shot is in because I love the way the dry stone walling makes such a snaking line across the image, the sunlight throwing its shaded side into relief..

Onwards and upwards and by degrees we reached the summit...

By now it was coats on time as we were out of the hill's shelter from the wind.
Our shadows posed with the trig point in between us...

And then came the descent. Rather than take the steps, we went down a different track which was a little easier on the old knees. It wasn't without its problems, however. There was still a fair bit of ice on the path..

If I'm honest, I guess I was hoping Colin might provide an action shot here but once again, he did it without incident!

Looking back up from the road you can just make out the "steps" running diagonally across the image from left to right...

A fabulous day to do a climb of this hill, so close to both our hearts.

Pendle, we'll be back!!

Friday, 2 January 2015

Don't You Feel a Fool When.....

.....You stand for several minutes photographing a heron, only to decide it's actually a fake one...

Then the minute you turn to go, it flies off, and you miss the best shots of all!!!

Oh how we suffer for our art.....