Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Amid the boxes!

Our lounge has now somewhat lost the feel of a living space and taken on that of a warehouse. The corner in which boxes were being stacked has now crept up to the ceiling and out across the floor so that it dominates the room. The shelves are bare aside from the forgotten dust that had remained hidden behind books until rudely uncovered, allowing a shocking revelation of just how bad a housewife I would make. At least beavers don't need dusting!

Just three more days and nights to go. I'm excited about the move, but I'll miss so much about Askham: except perhaps this damp little flat.

In celebration of our move to Scotland, and having enjoyed Michelle's new colour scheme at Boulderneigh, I thought I'd go for a nice tartan theme.

As it happens, our first night in Scotland will be Burns night, so hopefully I will bring you photos of piping in the haggis. It is likely though that I will be off line until our broadband connection is installed at the new place, so try not to forget us while we're dealing with "technical problems!"

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Pony Training

Since I'm quietly recovering from last night's leaving party and, ever so sadly, failed to take a camera out with me, I thought I'd share a photo of my friend Ruth training her super little fell pony Briar to harness. Briar is the same age as Fox, 2.5 yrs, and so he is not old enough to be broken to a saddle yet, nor to pull any weight, but Ruth is laying down some basic training now. Briar is learning the aids in a harness and gaining experience of walking in traffic and coping with the exciting and scary things that he will encounter in everyday life when he is older. He's a super little character and I think will be a very good friend and useful companion to Ruth for many years.Briar is a Fell Pony, so very much at home in the Lake District. Fell Ponies are a native breed to Northern England and originate from the area around Hadrian's Wall. They are tough, strong, clever and sure footed. Perfectly capable of living out on the fells and moors of this bleak landscape all year round.These are Fell Ponies that we met on our way up High Cup Nick in the North Pennines. This is a very bleak, cold and windswept spot and these ponies were grazing at 2100 feet above sea level!

I really hope to have my own Fell Pony one day, but it seems rather a hope for the future at the moment.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Puppy Love

I just had to share this photo of Chris and Whisper. Despite the fact that Whisper is supposed to be my serious rufty tufty working sheepdog, her favourite thing in the world is cuddles with dad!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Exploring Knapdale

Chris and I took a trip up to our new home in Knapdale Forest last weekend for a bit of an explore and to secure a house. The area is beautiful and very rural: read "out in the sticks!" It's quite funny because we do live out in a country village now and I've grown up in the Lake District, however, this spot really is quite out of the way. It's about 40 miles to the nearest supermarket, although there is a CoOp in Lochgilphead and Chris and I tend to use farm shops and grow our own anyway.

We've got a place to live right by my office, which has lovely views and is on the edge of the forest. Our landlady will be working with me and is a lovely person. She keeps sheep and highland cows so I'm sure we'll get on just fine!

In front of the house is the Crinan Canal which runs to the sea, just two miles away, so Chris is happy because there're plenty of excellent places to fish.

While we were there we took Fox and Whisper for a walk around part of the beaver release site. There is mile after mile of forest track to explore and they had a fabulous time.

There are fascinating old ruins hidden away in the forest.

And the clean air means that fantastic lichens can grow on the trees.

I think we're all going to like it here :o)

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Pottering in Patterdale

One frosty morning last week, Chris and headed out with the dogs down to Patterdale, at the other end of Ullswater from us, for a good stretch out. We also had a voucher for a meal for two at the local pub, which acted as a carrot as we climbed the steep sides of Arnison Crag. Not that our canine companions, with their four wheel drive found it a problem!

Amazingly Fox and Whisper both behaved impeccably, not running after surprise Herdicks and walking to heal when asked; our pups are finally growing up!

The views down the valley were simply fabulous and the best of it was that we had the whole mountain to ourselves. We could see folk treading the more popular paths down below.

The dogs had an absolute ball, tearing round in the frosty grass, leaping rushes and drinking the icy water from the streams.

While Fox is an expert at negotiating stiles, Whisper still needs a lift!

As we descended in the dying light, we found interesting hollow trees on the lower slopes. The dogs seemed less impressed with these fabulous plants; in fact they seemed convinced that Chris's tree was haunted!

We were all happily tired when we got back to the pub. Even Whisper had a sleep!