What's going on at the cottages?     -  The Sunnybank Blog!    2022 

May 29
... and then we both joined her for a photo opportunity!

At Euston we were amazed to see Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. When she realised that Lord and Lady Attenborough were on the station, she graciously agreed to grant us and audience.

Jill stepped up first..

May 29

After a leisurely breakfast, we joined Caroline, Megan and Jessica for the walk into Staines town centre for some shopping. On return, we took photos of the girls - who are still growing!

Jessica on the left and Megan on the right.

However, today it was to be back home after our short visit. On arrival at Euston, we found that three trains toward Glasgow were cancelled, and since could not risk our train (the last of the day) being cancelled, we joined a massive crowd to get on the 1628. There were no seats left so we had to stand until after Milton Keynes when a Liverpool supporter on his way back from Paris offered Jill his seat. She sat next to Colin (another fan) who was the life and soul of the carriage and Jill joined in the fun. When he found out that we had become "Lord and Lady Attenborough of Hougun" there was no stopping him. The half of the carriage who could hear him were in peals of laughter at his comments.

Finally, Richard got a seat at Warrington and from Wigan we were able to sit together!! On arrival at Oxenholme we got into our car, shattered but just glad to have made it home!

Quite an eventful weekend!

May 28 After a quick journey back to Ben and Alison's house for a cup of tea, we took our leave and headed back to Staines and Caroline's house for the night.
May 28
Poppy was in the chorus and is seen here on the front row, extreme left.
The thetare was in a private school and no expense has been spared in its facilities. The programme was also very professional, as was the actual performance. Poppy knew every word and every action and was leading the way for theose around her. There must have been 60+ in the cast.
May 28 Today we travelled by train to London. Poppy was to be in a show called "High School Musical", being put on by the group where she goes to Saturday morning theatre school in Reading. The train trip was not striaghtforward as many trains were being cancelled due to lack of drivers (ahead of the threatened national rail strike). However, we made it and after seeing Caroline and her family, and leaving our bags till later, we set off by train again to Winnersh. We had a quick meal with Ben and family before we all headed off to the Whitty Theatre in Wokingham.
May 19

Here, the drone is over the "donkey field". In the bottom left corner are some of the horse and donkey buildings. Behind the cars is our "secret garden" where we have a shed to store wood till it's cut. Next round the cottages is Keith's No 1 garden with its round table. No 2 garden is the next along followed by our Cobbleholes (No 3) garden with a swing seat under that green cover. Beyond that is our Fellside (No 4) garden where you can see Richard in blue and Jill in a white top. Keith is sitting just in front of the chalet - controlling the drone. Above the chalet you can just see the the old toilet block built against the wall alongside the farm track.

Finally, notice the three tracks in the field in the bottom right corner. They are the horses' and donkey's favourite tracks to where Janet feeds them!

This view is even more dramatic, taken from around 160 feet above! The bright new green hedges show the new leaves for this year.
May 18

Keith has arrived from Scotland and has brought his new drone with him. During the afternoon he flew a series of missions from Fellside garden with the drone filming in high resolution.

This is a view we would not be able to see otherwise!

May 15
Sunny Bank Mill sign gives a web address. Jill checked it out and found that it is just £3000 per week!
What appears to be the original mill alongside the road bridge. Our plot was up that river about a quarter of a mile away.
This is Sunny Bank Mill, which turns out to now be an Air B&B for up to 14 people. The river was obviously the source of power in the old days.
On returning to the road we explored Sunny Bank. This ewe, with its twin lambs called H - according to the mark on their side - gave us a long hard stare!
Looking the other way we can see Coniston Old Man and Dow Crags to its left.
However, the views are stunning with this view looking back down towards Sunny Bank and Coniston Water.
Lord and Lady Attenborough of Hougun pose on our land and a near neighbour's plot!

Before you get too excited, it should be pointed out that the land we own is one square foot, so if Jill sits on it - I am on someone else's land!

The title deed gives us permission to call ourselves Lord and Lady Attenborough of Hougun.

We are contemplating having a coat of arms and flag made for our car !!!

As a change from gardening, today we paid a visit to our piece of land given to us by Ben for our Golden Wedding in 2020. It lies on a track which leads up from the hamlet of Sunny Bank (ironically) on the western side of Coniston Water.

After parking, we walked bck to the gate which gives access and found this sign

The Latin sign translates as "Respected Lord and Guardian of the Manor of Hougun"

May 14
It was so pleasant today that we had our first BBQ of the year and really enjoyed it. Just after 9pm, a very large and bright (almost full) moon appeared over the top of Wansfell.

We have had a busy couple of days in the garden! The troughs which hang on the fence outside the front door have been cleaned out (saving the ivy plants), new liners bought and fitted and filled with new compost.

Today we planted out the new plants (which Richard bought in Kendal and Hayes Garden Centre) with a red white and blue theme to fit in with The Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

As we sat in the garden later, we saw the first swallows of the summer which have flown from Africa to take up residence again in the donkey stable!!

May 10

A few yards further on was the scene of the accident which had brought down the walls on either side of the road.

Our CSI thoughts are that either.....

1. The car came down in the night, spun and brought down the walls and damaged its oil sump and windscreens in the process


2 The wall had already fallen down and the car hit it at speed causing it to go out of control and the sump was split open by the rocks resulting in the oil spill.


The remains of its windscreens are still on the roadside.

By 0930, the road is still closed at the cottages!

Jill later walked up to see what was happening. The road was described as "closed for investigations" after a badly damaged white car was brought back down the road on the recovery truck.

Just above the gate to our water supply, there was "oil spill grit" spread across the road.

Our water tank is above the road so NOT affected by the accident.

Our day started early at 0423 as we were woken by blue flashing lights in the road outside. A police van was blocking the road off as a recovery truck reversed back up the road above the cottages.


Apr 30

Today we delivered the parish magazines around the houses in our valley. Down below the cottages lies "High Barn", a house which we rarely saw in the past. However, in the last few years the new owners have felled a load of trees so that now we can see the house clearly from our cottages.


This is a view which would not have been possible a few years ago. It looks from "High Barn" driveway up the steep fields to Sunny Bank, with one of Janet's miniature British horses grazing happily.

Apr 23
The following morning the family members who had stayed the night went for a walk around Robert's farm/equestrian centre.

Today we travelled to Biddulph to join in the 40th birthday celebrations for James (Richard's nephew) and Charlotte's 30th (James' sister).

During the evening, one of Robert's friends decided to drape herself all over Richard, spilling a glass on gin on him in the process. The bemused look on Richard's face tells it all!

Apr 21

On Thursday 21st, we drove the girls to Lichfield where we met up with Ben and Alison who had driven up from Reading.

When we returned home later, the house was eerily quiet!

Apr 20

For our last evening meal together, we took the girls to The Watermill pub at Ings where we played cards as we waited for the meal.

At the end of the meal, Richard asked the girls how many times they might have to get out of the car on the way home. Both looked puzzled!

Richard's secret plan was to drive along the gated road from near the pub towards Bowness - and of course, the girls had to open each gate as we reached it - with peals of laughter and shrieks as Grandad pretended to drive off and leave them several times! The correct answer was EIGHT times!

After we arrived home the girls admitted that they thought that we were going down that road to buy them a puppy! Dream on girls!!!!

Today we all opted for a relaxing day at home. Poppy and Richard used a shoebox, bits of scrap wood, paint, glue and realistic water gel as well as some spare buildings from Richard's model railway to create a harbour scene inside the shoebox.

Poppy helped paint the card which formed the sea bed with a mixture of green and blue mottled patches and also the road with grey paint. She created a small island (hidden behind the edge of the box in the photo). Later we added a lady sitting on the island with a suitcase. She must have fallen off the edge of the dock whilst waiting for the next bus! Since she could not climb up the harbour wall, she had paddled out to the island to await rescue!

Poppy was delighted with the finished look. We added a few model people and this was the result.

Apr 19

Lunch at Lakeside was an outdoor affair.

At the aquarium gift shop, various gemstones were bought and Poppy bought a model fishing boat.



In cool but sunny weather, Poppy and Daisy enjoyed the trip with our seats on the upper deck near the front giving them a good view!

They enjoyed spotting different dogs on shore and also those that boarded the boat.

Ben, Alison and the girls had joined us for Easter, but as Alison had a medical appointment later that week, Daisy and Poppy stayed on with us for three days.

We decided upon a boat ride from Ambleside to Lakeside and then visit the Lakes Aquarium.

Our boat down the lake was Swan

Apr 11
Our ex-visitors and friends Yves and Caroline from Belgium, along with Simon their son, were staying in Ambleside so we arranged to meet them today for an open-air breakfast at the trout fishery at Esthwaite Water.
Mar 27
As we were due to head north tomorrow, we paid one last visit to see Caroline and family. The twins have shot up in height and here they are, both dwarfing Nana Jill!
The final birthday of "birthday fest" was Daisy's, when she reached 10 years of age. Being mad on Harry Potter, one of her presents was a poster showing all the characters.
Mar 26

Today was Ben's birthday. A friend of Ben has recently bought a lake and a woodland area in Winnersh and Ben was invited up there for a birthday BBQ breakfast!

This picture was taken previously when Ben and Daisy showed us around.

Mar 25

At the end of our break, it was time to head back to Winnersh for two more birthdays. We decided to stop off in Southwold as we had heard so much about its beach huts. After a bracing walk on the beach we found a coffee shop and bought two cups to take to a nearby spot where we parked and had our picnic lunch.

Then it was back to the busy roads as we travelled along the A12, M25 and M4 to reach Ben and Alison's home.

Mar 24

After visiting a model railway exhibition in Wroxham, we headed for Ranworth Broad where we had this mega sharing ploughman's platter at The Maltings pub!


Just across the road was a marina where a number of cabin cruisers were moored.

We watched as a very large cruiser owned by Crispin's (our name for the young man - who was awfully far back!!) daddy but the crew were more concerned about getting off the boat and over to the pub. The result that no-one listened when Crispin said "tell me when i need to stop reversing toward the stone jetty!

Crispin's dad may well have sizeable repair bill after they clouted the jetty at some speed!!!

Mar 23
Today we planned to visit the Norfolk Broads, but first we found the house where Keith was born in Arnold Miller Road in Norwich.
Mar 22
Now it was off to find 3 Hanbury Close, which turned out to only be a stone's throw from the University. It was a post war pre-fab and it still exists today - although "done up" to meet modern standards.
Next stop was Earlham Hall where Jill was born in 1949. Now it is the Law School as part of the University of East Anglia, but back then it was a temporary maternity hospital as the usual maternity hospital had been bombed in the war.
Mar 22
A few minutes later, we found the very house where she had stayed all those years ago. Her room had been the one over the archway. The archway would originally have led to the stables behind the house.
Jill has memories of returning to Norwich aged 11 when she stayed in a very old house in Elm Hill (the oldest part of Norwich) so as we explored the city - we just had to find the street and the house. Here, Jill sits in the sunshine in a small square at one end of the street.
Mar 21 After a hectic weekend of birthday celebrations, today we left Winnersh and headed towards Norwich for a four day break. Jill was born in Norwich and spent her first four years as a girl there. We stayed at The George Hotel just on the edge of town.
Mar 19
Today was the birthday of Megan and Jessica who are now officially teenagers (13 in case you hadn't guessed from the photo!)
The 19th started with Poppy opening her presents with the large balloon as evidence of her age! Later, we headed to Staines to see Caroline and family.
Mar 19

After our second night in a hotel (called Sturdy's Castle which was NOT actually a castle) we continued towards Ben's house - calling at Waddeston Manor. It was a grand house, now owned by the National Trust.


If we explain that it was owned by the Rothschild family, you can understand the reason for the over-indulgent architecture!

On the way back to the car, Richard took a photo of Jill peeking out in the V of two tree branches.
Mar 18

.....Kinver Edge in Staffordshire, where we visited the troglodyte homes in the sandstone cliffs. They were occupied by people until 1939 but are now owned by the National Trust. Two of the homes have been restored and are open to the public, whilst a third one is now a tea room. In the first two, there were log burners alight to keep the place warm - with guides on hand to tell us what conditions were like in the old days.

In those days, if you needed to extend - you simply got out your hammer and chisel and got stuck into the job!

Mar 17

A few days later we set off for our annual "birthday fest" with our children and their families. Family birthdays in March fall on March 6, 7, 8 ,17 ,19 ,19 ,19 ,19, 26, 27 (note the 4 all on March 19th!!!

We decided on a leisurely drive south - so the first night was spent in Bridgnorth (Shropshire) and the hotel JUST HAPPENED to be opposite the steam railway station HONESTLY!

The next morning was Richards' 74th birthday, so we made use of two balloons already in the restaurant to create the atmosphere.

From there we drove on to another hotel near Kidlington outside Oxford. But before we did so we visited.... see above

Mar 6

March 6th was Jill's birthday and here, as her brother Keith looks on, Jill admires her camellia bush delivered as a gift from Caroline.

Keith has spent several months up in Scotland keeping safe from Covid.

Later the same day, we all went to the newly opened Boat Museum at Windermere (actually called the Jetty Museum!).


Richard was amazed to see the old fire station at which his great grandfather was the fire chief in the days of horse drawn fire engines! It was been relocated here as the old location was to be redeveloped.

Richard's great great grandfather (with the bike) on the right outside the old fire station in Brook Road, Windermere in circa 1860.

Notice that the barge boards on the edge of the roof are still the same today.

Feb 16

On February 14th Storm Eunice hit the Lakes. Thousands of trees were uprooted (some already weakened by Storm Arwen in Nov 2021).

We were OK but Richard's railway recreates some of the devastation!!

Feb 15
The girls - Jessica on the left with the plain glass spectacles (she doesn't need glasses but like the look!) and Megan on the right pose in one of the arches at the viewing station.

Whilst Caroline "worked from home" in the chalet, the rest of us went on a visit to the Viewing Station at Claife Heights, looking down on Windermere.

This Victorian tourist attraction, allowed tourists to see the view through different coloured glass panels - each showing how the view might look in different seasons and weather

Feb 14
Caroline, Andrew and the twins (Megan and Jessica) joined us for half term. On this day we treated the girls to a one hour taster session on the Ambleside climbing wall.
Feb 4

After a lot of sanding, treating, painting and varnishing, the old ticket rack now takes pride of place in Richard's train room and houses several hundred old train tickets collected over the years.

The new doors were made and fitted by Stephen Faulkner a friend and superb joiner! Richard added a drawer to take larger tickets which would not fit into the Edmonson ticket rack.

Jan 28
A trip down to Newton-le-Willows today to join in the celebration of Peter Rooke's (check shirt on right) 80th birthday. The group is made up of people Richard did his B.Ed degree with between 1979 and 1982 along with their partners.
Jan 9
Today we had a walk from Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge where we had a warming drink from the take away section of Chester's Cafe. Sitting in the warm sunshine, we were visited by this chap - in search of any crumbs!

Dec 28/9


The train finally departed, and so did we.


The route home was via Bala and the Wirral before heading north on the M6.


We were really impressed with the roads in Wales - not a pothole to be seen!

We collected the rather bashed ticket rack (it cost £25) and watched the narrow gauge train arrive and later depart.


The ticket rack was to be a work in progress as it was planned to restore it to something like its former glory.

We then moved on to Aberdovey where we were to stay overnight in The Dovey Inn, right on the seafront.

Our journey home on Dec 28/29 was a circuitous one! Richard had bought and old railway ticket rack on Ebay from the Talyllyn Railway in Wales.

We spent one night in a hotel in Telford before going on to Wales, Richard had taught at Forest Hill School in London in the 1970's and the school owned an old school in Aberllefenni near Aberdovey. So we called to see the old place on a nostalgia trip!

Xmas 2021
Daisy, Jessica, Megan and Poppy on the settee at Ben and Alison's home near Reading when then came over for the day.
Richard's brother, Robert, had given us knitted characters to act as place name holders for the dinner table.
Making a gingerbread house, tree and sleigh with Poppy (L) and Daisy (R).
Dec 2021

After a long break, our blog is starting to re-appear! With the pandemic, our concerns have been elsewhere but we are pleased to say that we are now quadruple jabbed and so far have stayed clear of the virus.

The blog will begin with a short re-cap of Christmas 2021 and our journey home from Reading.