What's going on at the cottages?     -  The Sunnybank Blog!    2015         

Dec 31

After a wait of over 12 months since it was first promised, we were finally connected to fibre broadband today. Instead of ambling along at 8-10 meg on the old system, we now enjoy speeds of around 42 meg as the image of Richard's speed test app shows!

At this point we wish all our blog readers a

Happy New Year for 2016 !

Dec 29 The drive back home happened today as Storm Frank was approaching. We made it! On the way we diverted via Darwen to drop off Eunice's presents which would not have got past the liquids check at Heathrow that morning!
Dec 28

Today we went to the Panto in Windsor which starred Basil Brush and Anne Widdicombe.

Megan and Jessica loved the experience - which included lots of "it's behind you's" and cheering when the Ugly Sisters squirted the audience with water pistols during "The 12 days of Christmas" which now apparently incluides "12 gallons of water...."

Dec 26

To get some fresh air, we walked along the Thames for a mile or so towards Laleham (and Central London!)

At one point there is a Christmas Tree which has baubles on it and signs showing the 12 days of Christmas. The girls enjoyed going around the tree looking for the days in order.

The tree is produced by two local residents with some sponsorship by a pub.

Dec 25

Later in the afternoon, we had the Christmas pudding. It was clear that Poppy liked it a lot - or was it just a ploy to get her hands on the melted squirty cream???

For the record - she did not eat all that pudding!

Dec 25
Jill, Daisy, Jess and Meg struggle to build Chase's House from "Paw Patrol". It was easier once they got it the right way up!
Caroline tries to capture Ben's good side as Megan, Jessica and Poppy enjoy lunch on their own table.
Christmas lunch. Jessica, Andrew, Alison and Daisy in discussion - whilst Eunice attempts to eat her lunch with chopsticks!! (It's a long story.....)
Dec 25

Me? I'm cute! Even when I am caught red handed diving into the crisps!

Poppy was caught on this occasion!

Who said fashion sense was dead at Christmas?

Ben arrives wearing a striking Christmas jumper!

What did you get for Christmas girls?

Well amongst other things - personalised jars of Nutella!

Dec 24

Being Christmas Eve, it was the time to make cakes to leave for Father Christmas. Having done some serious icing on the village yesterday, Megan and Jessica really went to town with these cakes. Santa later scoffed the two they chose for him!

Megan (with her new "bobbed" hair-do) arranges them on the cake stand.

Dec 23
Jill and the girls show Grandma Eunice how to play Rummikub in the snug (aka The Club Room) at Caroline and Andrew's house.
Dec 23
Each year, we make a gingerbread house - except this year Richard, Megan and Jessica made a gingerbread village! Jelly babies and dolly mixtures were used for decoration. Notice the queue of jelly parishoners heading to the gingerbread church!

Dec 23

Today was haircut day! Jessica (in pink) wanted to keep her hair long. Megan (in red) wanted her's a bit shorter. Here are the "befores" ans "afters".

Dec 19

At the end of the performance all the children were given a snow globe of the Royal Opera House.
Jill, Caroline, Megan and Jessica wore masks which they had made to wear at the ballet.
Dec 18 Today Jill set off by train ahead of Rich (who followed by car the day after) for Caroline's house. On the 19th - Jill, Caroline, Andrew and the girls were due to go to see The Nutcracker at the special WI performance at Covent Garden.
Nov 22

The Christmas Lights also has a competition for the best dressed shop window. This year there are ten entries and YOU can vote for your favourite via the website. All ten are pictured there and then you can click to do the survey. What's more - if your vote is picked at random from the votes for the winning shop you could win a £20 shopping voucher. Please do give it a try!

To go to the competiton page, follow the link below, then look for and click "get the info here" and then look for the link to the" competition and fundraising page" on the left of that screen! Closing date is 5pm on January 5th 2016.

Here is the link >>>CLICK HERE


At 4.30pm the Lantern Procession was setting off with the reindeer in the lead, followed by Santa's sleigh and then the lantern bearers. The end was brought up by a brass band from Charnock Richard (near Preston).

The procession had at least 192 lanterns on display - possibly more as some children may have had shorter poles which made them less easy to spot!

Here, father Christmas (extreme right) waves as the lantern procession passes him at the end of the parade.

Ben, Alison, Daisy and Poppy were on the morning cruise. Here they pose with Rudolph after the cruise returned.
Next it was off to Waterhead to see the first of two Father Christmas Cruises set off after collecting the special tickets. Both cruises were sell outs!
After setting up stalls on Market Cross shopping area, the next job was to get the two reindeer and their owner, Everly Buckley, set up in Market Place. The two reindeer are called Belle and Blitzen and were in fine condition. They proved highly popular with children and adults alike!
Nov 21

Considering the week's weather, the sight that greeted us this morning was magical. Bright blue skies, clear crisp vews of the high fells and even a covering of snow!

Ideal for the Lights Switch-On Day!

Nov 16

After the weekend's 93mm of rain, this was the scene at Waterhead today. The lake has crossed the road and taken over the car park. The ground is covered in driftwood and the promenade seating is a no go area. Beyond the keep left bollard a tree trunk was floating semi-submerged in the roadway and so the police had closed the road for safety.

The lake level will take 2 or 3 days to fall and then the clean-up can be completed (assuming there is no more rain!!).

Nov 15 The predicted awful weather wasn't quite as bad as expected. Nevertheless we had 40mm yesterday and 53mm today so that's 93mm or almost 4 inches in just over 24 hours..... and there is more to come!
Oct 24
Today we took a walk alongside the River Brathay at Clappersgate. The colours were a rich blend of greens, yellows and reds.
Oct 20

Early morning rain followed by sunshine resulted in a weird effect we have never seen before.

From the tops of the trees just down the field from the cottage there were vertical wisps of cloud spiralling upwards.

Each one lasted a minute or so and as soon as the tree's leaves dried up enough, the vapour columns stopped! Weird!

Oct 14
With our newly positioned gate, new paving down the middle of the chippings and flower troughs on the fence, our "courtyard" area has become a firm favourite for a sunny breakfast or a mid- morning coffee! Not bad for Oct 14th...
Oct 13
A first at Sunnybank! A sparrowhawk sat on the top of the garden gate for over half an hour waiting for an unsuspecting bluetit to get too close! It was not bothered that we were the other side of the window less than 8 feet away! It finally left emptyhanded!
Oct 2

Our day for departing from Berlin. This picture is not "fixed" ! The weather really had been this good every day.

It had been our first visit to Berlin and what struck us was the contrast between old and new as is clearly shown here.

Oct 1

The day in Berlin ended with a visit a restaurant at the foot of the TV Tower, which at night is lit by coloured floodlights.

The tower and one of the points projecting from the base make up this scene.

The viewing platform at 206 metres is the very outside ring visible in this photo.

The final stop of the tour was at Schloss Cecilienhof, the location of the meeting of the superpower leaders -Truman, Churchill (and later Atlee) and Stalin at the end of WW2.

Beyond those ground floor windows, modern history was written when they agreed the division of Germany after the allied victory.

Today we took the train from the city centre to Potsdam where amonst other places we visited San Soucci, a former royal residence.
Sep 30
Outside the demolished church (removed to make sure that people could be seen from the watchtowers!) we posed whilst Brian's local friend Jurgen took a group picture as we stood next to the structure which houses the church bells. A lady came along at 12 noon and chimed one of the bells.
At one point in Bernauer Strasse, a watchtower has been retained and the "dead mans land" kept as it was - barren so that potential escapees could be seen and shot!
Today we came face to face with the remains of the evil which was the Berlin Wall. In Bernauer Strasse we saw the largest remaining section of the wall and one of its infamous watchtowers.
Sep 29
After lunch in the brand new Sony centre in Potsdamer Platz, we stopped at the giant Lego Giraffe, which was tall enough for Rich to stand between its front legs!
Today we took a tour bus to see some of the main sights and we paused here near the Reichstag at one of the new government buildings. From left to right are Brian, Jill, Ray and Jacqui.
Sep 28

After flying to Belin, we walked to the nearby train station to take the metro train to Alexander Platz, where our hotel was located.

Apologies for the selfie (which Richard detests) but it was the best way to get us all in the picture.

The first day of our trip to Berlin with three friends started at Liverpool Airport where we spent the previous night. At 3am Jill and Rich were moon gazing as we watched the blood moon caused by a lunar eclipse of the super moon.

Not the best photo due to the dirt on the hotel windows.

Sep 9

Matt Gentle (one of Ben's friends and work mates at Deloitte) was riding from Lands End to John O'Groats in a mass sponsored ride this week so today we went onto the top of Shap Fell on the A6 to meet him and offer sustinence in the shape of a Freddy Garside sausage roll!

Matt finally arrived at 1642, after a puncture and stopping for chips at Milnthorpe!

By the following Sunday, he and most of the other 1100+ riders had made it to John O'Groats!

Aug 21

Arts and Crafts with Grandad! Having drawn a picture, we then used buttons to decorate it. Buttons in the shape of flowers were used for the garden whilst small red buttons became apples in the trees.

The box of buttons was one of their presents last Christmas and stays here for their visits.

Aug 18

Another new experience! Ten pin bowling at Morecambe Superbowl.

Megan prepares to roll her ball down the frame which helps younger bowlers. Later, the frame was dispensed with and they rolled their own balls with some success.

Aug 17

After yesterday's trip to Haverigg, today was a "stay at home day" and the girls played in Ladybird Cottage with the gazebo put up in front of the steps to provide more shade!

The rock and shell collection can be seen on the table, which is now a shop offering presents at exorbitant prices!

Aug 16

A trip to the seaside but this time NOT Blackpool. The girls love Haverigg Beach, near Millom. Clean sand, no crowds and lots of pebbles and shells to create a shop where, hopefully, Nana and Grandad will "buy" souvenirs!

In the picture is our anniversary present from Caroline and Ben - a fully equipped picnic hamper!

Jessica sprints past on a mission to find crabs. In the end we found about 6 but none were large enough to give you a nip!

Aug 13
Today the girls went to the National Trust property at Grasmere, Allen Bank, with their cousins (Sophie, Emily and Max). In the art room Jessica, Megan and Sophie are painting the view from the window.
Aug 12

A new experience for Jessica and Megan today. We took them to Blackpool to see the ice dance show "Hot Ice" at the Pleasure Beach. (Jill had seen it recently on a WI trip!)

Later we walked around the pleasure beach and posed at the cartoon frame, before the girls and Grandad went on the Log Flume ride!

Grandad got very wet - the girls didn't but they loved it!

Two shots from the log flume video! In the first Grandad can be seen in the white hat with the girls in front.

Two seconds later.... the girls are there somewhere!

Aug 10
The girls enjoy sitting back as Nana and Grandad attempt to make the pedalo go in a straight line! (Not easy!)

Today we drove north with the girls, stopping at Beacon Park in Lichfield where there is a superb park for children.

Here, the girls ponder how to get to the next stone block. We also took a pedalo ride in a pedalo looking like a giant swan!

Aug 8
Ben and Daisy looking summery in the shade of the large trees. Alison had to return home a little earlier as she was due to work during the latter part of the afternoon.

Today was the day of The Party in the Queen's back garden! Well... Windsor Great Park to be precise (a part of the "Royal Landscape"). The party consisted of us two (obviously), Caroline and family, Ben and family, Jill's brother Keith, and Jill and Keith's nephew Oliver and Ellie with Monty their new son. They live in Eire and just happened to be in England at the right time.

The weather was great and everyone enjoyed the feast and the chance to play games together. One game involved killing 24 wasps which came within range of Rich and the twins who were on a mission to protect the rest of the group from stings!

Monty is intrigued by the Hello Kitty foil cat balloon. He has yet to notice there is also a giraffe, two dogs and a duck behind him! Each child had a balloon, which we bought in Staines shopping centre that morning as we waited for the Marks and Spencer feast platters.
Aug 5
Today we took the girls to Worthing where a group of our old college friends were having a reunion. The girls enjoyed the beach and the sea and we even threw a message in a bottle into the sea. Less than 2 hours later we received a text to say it had been found 3 miles away! A week later, we got another text to say it had now been found in Brighton (the opposite direction!). Success!
Aug 4

Once at Ben and Alison's house, the four girls played happily together and enjoyed the trampoline in the garden.

Poppy seems keen to show off her teeth!

The day has finally come when the girls favourite teddies just HAD to have a wash. So after watching them go round in the washing machine, Megan and Jessica helped peg them out on the line at their house before we set off by train to see their cousins Daisy and Poppy at Winnersh.
Aug 2 As the time for our 45th anniversary party in Windsor Great Park drew closer, we headed south to London to stay with Caroline, Andrew and the girls.
Jul 23

Since we found out about the webcam looking at the Osprey chicks at Foulshaw Moss on the edge of Morecambe Bay, we have checked them out daily. They are now close to flying the nest for the first time!

As one rests on the right, the other two are looking for Mum or Dad to bring in their next fish meal.

We have seen at least three sizeable fish being delivered!

Want to see the chicks? CLICK HERE

Jul 5

Two contrasting videos.... Yesterday in the Market Place and a Pathe News film from 1943, in which our good friend Joe Stephenson appears as a ten year old with his circular bearing at 40 seconds from the start!

2015 Click here to view

1943 Click here to view

Jul 4

With Jill still in London until Monday, Richard was on his own to see the Rushbearing Procession in Ambleside today.

Acting as a marshal, he walked with the procession from the church - up Compston Road, past the Bridge House and then up Kirkstone Road, back down North Road and into Market Place where hundreds of visitors and locals watched the procession and then joined in the Rushbearing Hymn.

Then it was on into Lake Road, down Church Street and back to the church where the chidren received a drink and a piece of traditional ginger bread.

The lower picture shows some local children with their bearings of rushes, decorated in the traditional way with flowers.

The top picture shows the moment in the Market Place when all those in the procession are asked to lift their bearings up high.

Jul 3
Child labour is alive and well in Winnersh! Having seen her Daddy power wash the new decking, Poppy decides to do a spot of cleaning herself!
Jul 1

With Jill in charge of Poppy whilst Daisy was at Pre-school, it's "toys in the garden time". Poppy is growing so quickly and she has a very photogenic smile!

Looks like she's been shopping for a car!

Jun 30
Keith has had a new log store built at the bottom of his drive. Local joiner, Steven Faulkner, has built the shed with two pallets as a way of kleeping the logs off the ground. Later a bamboo screen will be added to keep the weather off the logs but allow the air to dry them off.
Jun 27

Meanwhile, 280 miles further North, another garden feast was being prepared! At the end of Richard's year as Rotary President, we had a BBQ for 22 in our gardens. The weather was perfect and we chose today because tomorrow Jill goes down to Reading and Staines for an 8 day visit including some babysitting!

On the menu were 32 hogroast sausages from Freddie Garside's butchers in the town as well as some seriously good steak burgers, pork and apple burgers and kebabs from the famous Cranston's butchers shop in Penrith.

The guests provided salads and puddings and very little was left at the end!

The day after, as Jill left for London, the weather was truly awful with gales and heavy rain. What a difference 24 hours can make!

Jun 27
Picnic time in the garden at Winnersh! Daisy and Poppy (with a particulalrly wide grin on her face!) are about to enjoy an outdoor meal on the table donated by Caroline.
Jun 24
This is the "balance a quoit on your head" relay race! Looks like a Gallic shrug as she prepares to handover!
Today was sports day at the twins new school. Although both in different classes, they are both in the same "house" - yellow as you can see!
Jun 2


Inside the palace grounds there was to be no use of cameras! Well, with 8000 plus ladies out for fun that was never going to happen! Here they pose at the foot of the steps from the palace forecourt to the gardens.

There was no rain but the wind was strong and hats blowing away was the main problem!






Jill and her friends met at Euston, went to one lady's hotel room nearby to change into their "palace outfits" and then had a people carrier taxi to take them to the palace.

Here they pose outside the palace.

After the garden party the same taxi picked them up and headed back to Euston where they collected their luggage from the left luggae office and set off home with lots of great memories of the day!

Today is the day of the Buckingham Palace Garden Party for the WI. 9000 ladies will be there along with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Jun 1

On the way back from Carlisle, I called at Rachel's (Jill's neice) house near Greystoke to see Rachel's brother Oliver, his wife Ellie and new member of the family Monty, who are all over on a quick family visit from Ireland.

Monty had just been fed when I got there but he responded to me blowing raspbaerries before he went off for his nap!

Here, Ellie holds Monty.

Jill should have been there too, but in view of the high winds expected tonight, she has decided to go down to London a day earlier to be sure that she will be able to attend the WI Garden Party at Buckingham Palace tomorrow!

Today I took the Volvo to Carlisle for new front discs. Beyond Thirlmere I encountered "Rush Hour - Lakeland Style!" at 7.10am Sixty cows who had no intention of running to the milking parlour! They certainly weren't mooooovin very fast!!
May 31
It's become something of a tradition to photograph the bluebells outside the kitchen window. Here is this year's view. The recent rain has helped them to swell.
May 30

At 1135, Jubilee Class 45699 "Galatea" creates its own shadow with smoke as it sets off up the main line towards Carlisle. Just to the right is the famous Carnforth Station clock which featured in the film "Brief Encounter".




Exactly ten minutes later, Britannia Class loco 70000 "Britannia" storms through Carnforth with a special train from Bristol to Appleby.

Between me and the hand on the picture was a wooden bench and on it stood a chap with his video camera. Later he uploaded it to Youtube and that is the video referred to below.

May 30

Today I went off shopping at Tesco at Carnforth while Jill stayed at home. There was a reason for this - I had spotted that a special train was due to leave Carnforth at 1123. On arrival at the station, there were lots of people waiting with cameras. It turned out that two steam trains were to pass within 10 minutes of each other. I took a video and lots of pictures but tonight on Youtube, I found this video. It shows the second train. Watch it to see someone you may recognise at the end!

Click HERE to see the video

May 28

Outside our bedroom window, we have a bird feeder except that as we lie in bed only Jill can see it! So... A second one has been installed so that Richard can see one too!

Turns out that the birds like that one more - because they see less movement through the window!

This morning Rich, crept up to the window and using the curtain as cover, took this photo of our visiting Great Spotted Woodpecker "Woody" who was barely two feet away from the camera at the time!


May seems to have been "WI Month"! As the time draws closer for Jill to attend the Buckingham Palace Garden Party to celebrate the centenary of the WI, Jill found a picture of the very first WI in Britain taken in the early 1920's. The picture (above, left) shows the ladies of the Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch WI on Anglesey posing outside their meeting place.

The plan was to get the local WI ladies to borrow period hats and dresses and try to re-create that photo for 2015.

So in the tithe barn in Grasmere, Richard had the task of getting 35 ladies to sit still in the right positions! (It was something akin to trying to herd cats!!)

The photo was then handed over to Jill's brother, Keith, who bagan removing the "2015 ladies" from their photo and dropping them onto the old photo!

The result can be seen to the left in the lower picture. The two images have now gone into the press via Ambleside & District Life and today to the WI in London.

Next week the garden party takes place followed, two days later, by a live link at Fellini's cinema in Ambleside to the Royal Albert Hall for the National AGM in the presence of H.M.The Queen. You'll never guess who had the idea of the live link!!!

Yes Jill of course!

May 2
Today Jill is walking with a group of her WI friends on Scout Scar before they have a meeting at Underbarrow. For such a simple walk of 150 metres from the car park near Kendal, the view is remarkable as can be seen above.
May 1

A thoroughly lazy day including a Tesco delivery and bringing this blog up to date after a lengthy period of no updates (we have been so busy!).

One problem we have is that the cottage gardens are full of baby rabbits - some brown, some black! We will need to halt the population explosion!

Apr 30
Today we went with eight friends from Rotary on a train ride right around the Cumbrian Coast. After catching a train from Oxenholme with our special (bargain priced) ticket at £19.45, we travelled to Lancaster where we waited for the 1022 train which meandered its way via Barrow and Sellafield to Whitehaven where we got off for lunch.
At Whitehaven, we had two hours to wander into the harbour area, have lunch with two of the friends and then pose for pictures before returning to the station for the next train onwards to Carlisle.

Jill poses by one of the variety of knots which are now features on the quayside.

One could possibly say that she got knotted!

In Carlisle we went into the city centre where Margaret visited a craft shop and then it was time for a cup of tea at John Watt's coffee shop in Bank Street. It was like stepping back in time.

After being suitably refreshed, we returned to the station and boarded a London express Pendolino which whisked us back to Oxenholme after a great day out!

Apr 27

Today we took the train to Winnersh to see Daisy leave her pre-school at the end of the day. Once home, Daisy joined Poppy in their new trampoline.

Tomorrow we head back to Ambleside via Virgin Trains.

Whilst Daisy was in school we went out for lunch with Alison and Poppy.

Poppy decided that it was Nana's turn to be fed!

Apr 25

We had gone down to London again to see the girls and meet them from school as a surprise. On the Saturday we met some of Andrew's friends and about 3pm we all went out to a very late lunch. This was the hotel, The Swan Hotel which is idyllically located alongside the Thames.

Towards the end of the meal the hotel owner came along and advised us that the fire alarm might go off soon!
It did and it was not a drill. The extractor fan from the kitchen up through the roof had caught fire. We grabbed our drinks and were evacuated to the Thames tow path.
Within two minutes two fire engines arrived and these firemen went up on the roof and threw down a rope to the tow path for a hose to be tied to it.
This fireman tied the foam delivery hose to the rope and it was hauled up and the foam was squirted down the fans ducting.

After half an hour we decided to take the girls home and after leaving our mobile number so that we could return the next day to pay for our meals, we left.

As we did so two more fire engines arrived including (behind) a 100 foot aerial platform in case the whole roof went up in smoke!

Apr 24

The girls are now happily settled into their new school after the prospect of a different school 3.5 miles away and right next to Heathrow Airport.

In the end, common sense prevailed and the girls are now in a school 400 yds away from home!

Apr 20
It's Day 1 at their new school for Megan and Jessica.
Apr 18

Yesterday we went to Warrington and St.Helens and returned with some seasoned cherry logs from our good friends Moira and Ken Ryder.

We also went to a Saints rugby match but the team were well and truly beaten!

Since the sun was shining this morning, we set about splitting them in the garden.

Meanwhile, 235 miles south, the girls helped build their newly delivered bunks
Apr 10

Megan and Jessica have, for the first time, chosen different hairstyles.

Megan (above), showing before and after.

Jessica (below), also showing the difference!

Apr 4

Ben, Alison, Daisy and Poppy are with us for the Easter weekend.

Daisy and Poppy enjoy the sunshine on the seat at the end of the farm track.

Mar 31

We headed back south with Meg and Jess after their stay with us until schools get sorted out!

Rich decided to sort out the dishwasher for Caroline and at one stage was jammed behind the two machines (dishwasher and washing machine) under the work surface and got bad cramp!

Megan captured the moment in a drawing! Note the look on Grandad's face!

All too soon we headed north again.

Mar 27

Before returning to home in Staines, Jessica and Megan helped Grandad to make a batch of Mars Bar Crispie cakes.

Over 20 were made with mini eggs in each one shaped to be a nest!

Mar 26
In stark contrast to the picture below, today we woke to a valley and Wansfell plastered in snow! It had melted away by mid afternoon but it showed just how the conditions can change around here!
Mar 25

Megan and Jessica are staying with us whilst Caroline and Andrew are working and whilst their local council sort out school places for the twins.

This afternoon we took Megan and Jessica round to Troutbeck and they then climbed their first real mountain - Wansfell.

Here they posed on the summit with Jill before we headed back down and out of the cool wind!

Iggle Piggle is Megan's constant companion and he made a selfie on the summit!
Not to be outdone, Jessica's Upsa Daisy decided to do a selfie too!
Mar 24

At 9.10pm, our window sill bird food was raided once again by the local thief!

Even with the curtains open and Rich standing there pointing a flash camera in his/her face, s/he didn't bat an eyelid!

In 30 seconds all peanuts and seeds had been hoovered up. Here a few seeds stick to the badger's wet node!

Mar 4
We now have a replacement gate sign. The previous one was smashed on Jan 10th when the roof of a neighbouring stable shed was launched across the fron of the cottages and demolished the gate (see Jan 10 entry).
Mar 2

"We apologise for the severe delays on the Sunnybank branch line. This is due to a freight train becoming stranded in deep snow.

A relief train with a snow clearing gang has been sent to assist. We hope to have normal services restored later today."

"Right lad! You dig 'n I'll watch! I'm a driver not a snow shifter!"

Feb 22

This weekend Richard has been on a Rotary leadership course near the NEC in Birmingham. As well as the Rotarians, the hotel was the base for a Power Rangers Fan Club event. About 200 of them were parading round dressed like this. They had, apparently, come from all over Europe to meet the cast but loved dressing as Power Rangers for the two days! The chap in blue was from France and the girl in white was from Scotland.

Takes all sorts!

Feb 19
In recent days we have come downstairs to a filthy mud-streaked lounge window each morning. Now we know the culprit. At 10.35pm today Rich was sitting near the window when he heard a noise. A peep through the curtains and there was a badger, less than two feet away clearing up all the peanuts off the slate birdtable on the window sill. Next he tried (unsuccessfully) to pull the hanging peanut feeder off its wire above him. In failing he fell against the window - so another job for Mr Muscle window cleaner tomorrow! He was quite un-phased by the open curtains or the camera flash!
Feb 3
The recent snows are still on the Langdales and a quick stop in the cycleway layby near waterhead resulted in this early morning shot.
Jan 29

After attending a funeral today, we decided to drive further up the road to see the snow scenes.

The Jimny 4X4 made it easy to drive up there despite the 4-5 inches of snow. Down in Ambleside there had been half an inch if that!

The only person we saw was a girl with a snowboard on her backpack!

Further snow is forecast! As I write this entry, it is snowing hard again and people are out sledging on the lowwr slopes of Wansfell.

Jan 24

Being a vaguely fine day, we decided to finally put right some of the things which happened in the storm of Jan 10th.

The remains of the neighbour's hay shed roof were lowered back over the fence so that the car park would be clear again.

Next, Richard started to remove the bent gate post by drilling the surrounding concrete with a heavy hammer drill and big masonry bit. Then it was bashed with a heavy crowbar until it finally gave way and broke up into pieces.

Rather than try to straighten the post, the bent section was allowed to go at an angle undergound so that the post was, once more, vertical. Two bags of postcrete later and the gate was restored to normality.

Finally we returned three full barrow-loads of gravel to the front path which had been washed to the bottom of Keith's garden.

The lifted tarmac still waits for our attention!

Jan 18

Today (Sunday) was the final day for removing Ambleside's Christmas Lights from the town. Richard and his helpers started work at 7am but by 9am it was snowing hard.

Click here to see what it was like at breakfast time!

Jan 10

After a night of howling gales, Richard left the house at 7am to drive to Carlisle for a meeting before collecting Jill from the station. On going outside he discovered that a complete shed roof from the nearby stables had flown through the air and along the front of the cottages before meeting our gate and its post.

The post is 1.5 inch square steel and this picture showed what it did to it! Rich tried to bend it back but couldn't.... so it just shows the power of the wind and a 10x8 metal clad shed roof!

In addition, large amounts of the gravel at the corner of the cottages had been washed down into Keith's garden (No1 cottage). The sheer volume of water going down the culvert under our drive had lifted our new tarmac drive and scoured out the hardcore below it so that it is now anything but level!!!

Jan 3
During the train journey, Megan decided that she might look good with a pair of fake eyes from her art activity magazine which she had for the journey!
Jan 3

Today we took the girls back to London (Caroline and Andrew had gone back a week earlier to start work). The amount of luggage was considerable!

Here the girls pose at Oxenholme with their new suitcases, backpacks and lunch bags! We also had four bags to carry.

After an easy ride to Euston, where we were met by Caroline and Keith (who took all the luggage in his car), Rich returned North on the next train whilst Jill stayed for a week to help with after school cover for the girls

Jan 1
January 1st is the traditional date for Richard's Rotary Club to have a Crumpet Walk (a walk followed by a serious crumpet eating event!) However, this year due to foul weather we missed out the walk. A total of 19 people assembled in our two lounges for an afternoon of chat and crumpet eating (plus other goodies of course!)

Jessica (left) and Megan (right) were not phased by the mumbers of visitors and acted as mini waitresses! Here, they get in quick for one of Freddie Garside's famous sausage rolls! They both decided to wear their "Frozen" dresses.


A Happy New Year to all our blog readers.