A lot of churches are turning over part of their graveyards to wildlife.

Personally, I think graveyards that are left to grow a little wild are stunning, although I know not everyone thinks the same.

Some prefer the beautifully manicured cemeteries and graveyards. I think there is a place for both.

I went for a walk around the village earlier, and the graveyard at St Peter’s Church in Yateley just reinforced my view that a little wilderness can look amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it looking so lovely.












Hello blogging world, I’m home.

As I said in my last post, my little world has been extremely busy recently.

Within the space of two weeks we moved home (again!!), I took a new job (same company), got a new car (thank you company) and a new camera (well, second hand but YAY), one daughter went on holiday, one celebrated her birthday, we were broadband-less until we could get reconnected (boo) and loads of other things too.

But at the end of that pretty full-on fortnight, Man and I went on holiday to Northumberland … and what a fabulous county England’s most northern is.

Now partly because we packed so much in, partly because I am notoriously snap happy and partly because I have my new camera, I have shot more than 1,000 photos over the last 10 days :)

Don’t worry, I’m not going to subject you to all of them :) (some are rubbish). But there are an awful lot of stories to tell.

Northumberland has very few people, a distinct lack of straight roads and minimal internet connection (at least in the areas we were in) so blogging on the go wasn’t really an option.

We have visited beaches and rolling hills, castles and stately homes, pubs and restaurants, historic towns, memorials to incredible people, huge works of art and – I’m sure this won’t surprise you – a number of churches. And I plan to share a fair few of the pictures and stories on this blog (or my other ones) so be warned.

In fact there is so much to say, I don’t really know where to start.

We have ticked off a number of my Fifty before Fifty challenges. We stayed in our little tent, for example, and discovered that at 6ft 4, Man is very slightly too long for it and we probably need to get a slightly larger one.

We also visited Lindisfarne, which was on the list, and so many other beautiful places.

We took a trip out to the Farne Islands and photographed nesting sea birds and seals, and generally had a very packed and thoroughly enjoyable holiday – even the weather has been kind.

But to start with, I thought I’d show you one of the things that impressed me about Northumberland the most… the wildflowers.

Everywhere we went there were beautiful hedgerows and wildflowers growing out of walls and around fields.

One day, we rounded a corner in the road and were faced with a huge field of poppies and rapeseed that just stopped us in our tracks.

It was a stunning vista with hundreds of red and yellow flowers giving way to the green of the trees and in the back ground the pale sandy beach and blue sea of the Northumberland coastline. Just stunning.

Anyway, here you go. A quick introduction to Northumberland that I am saying with flowers.


Pretty purple flower.

Man was in the dock in court yesterday, charged with arson.

We went to visit the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham. It was an interactive tour of the old court and prison.

Now when we went to visit a similar exhibition at Warwick Castle last year, Man was dragged up to stand in the dock and be charged with being the Well Widdler of Warwick (he was found guilty).

Yesterday he was picked on again and sentenced to death for setting fire to a factory in the 1880s.

He obviously just has that criminal look about him lol.

Our fellow visitors included a young couple who had obviously dressed for the occasion. She was wearing a blouse covered in skulls and he was wearing a t-shirt that said that said ‘Psycho Killer Ward’. Very funny. And our tickets include entry to the caves beneath Nottingham Castle, which we can use any time in the next six months. That should be fun.

We had an interesting day in town. Did some research for our business plan in the tourist information centre and I bought a couple of books to identify the British wildflowers and birds I keep taking photos of.

This is not a moorhen chick, it is a coot chick. I know that now cos I have a book :)

Took some photos but the light wasn’t great. We are often in the city though, so there’s plenty of time to take more.

Oh I bought myself a very lovely pair of shoes too (and threw my old ones straight in the the nearest bin) and had to undress in the carpark when I realised half my clothing was on inside out (note to self: stop getting dressed in the dark!).

And so, on to the things I have learned or achieved this week.

The positives

  • I submitted my first selection of photographs to the stock photo agency.
  • Not all of the photos were rejected.
  • They gave positive feedback on what I should be looking at in my submissions.
  • I have taken several photographs this week that I think might make the grade.

Trent Bridge, Nottingham.

  • Man and I have had several lovely roadtrips and this has generated info for new hubpages.
  • The roadtrips also meant quite a bit of walking – exercise box has been ticked several times.
  • I sold something else on eBay – more money for the pot.
  • Stepdaughter to be has calmed herself. It would appear it wasn’t her who trashed the friend’s house, it was someone she took with her. That doesn’t make it better but the threat of the police being involved seems to have scared her enough to make her think.
  • Stepdaughter to be has applied for a job.
  • I have more followers on here and on Twitter. Thanks for reading my musings, I’m grateful and flattered.
  • I am on holiday for the next two weeks – woo hoo – and we have lots more roadtrips planned.

Mute swans – I thought they were being loving but actually I think he was trying to bite her neck!

The negatives

  • My first submission to the stock photo agency was turned down.
  • I cannot submit another ten photos until July 24. I will have to think very carefully about what I am going to submit before doing that.
  • Man had a huge row with stepdaughter to be about her behaviour. Thankfully at least some of what he said appears to have hit home (finally).
  • No hits on my hubpages but to be fair I haven’t put a lot of work into that yet. Must try harder and post some more articles.
  • EBAy income is slowing down.
  • At least one of our business ideas for Nottingham tourism has already been done. But a couple more haven’t been and we are going to concentrate on them.
  • I had to undress in the car park because I had put my clothes on inside out (again).
  • It’s still raining!

Another good week.

Onwards and upwards :)



A little patch of happiness.

My driving licence is returned to me – YAY.

I can now prove I am who I say I am AND I’m not going to be fined £1,000 for having an out of date photograph on my driving licence.

I am safe for another decade.

Wallace also came to mow the lawn. Well it was about time too, it was looking a bit tatty.

So yesterday I head off to town to do some shopping for daughter number one’s birthday on Wednesday.

I take daughter number two and her boyfriend for advice, inspiration, bag carrying purposes etc etc.

The first thing I learn is don’t go shopping with daughter number two’s boyf. He wants to look at everything!!

Now retail therapy is a bit like torture for me. I hate it. People walk at you, bash you with their bags, are generally rude, and in my way and, worst of all, when you are walking behind someone they have the habit of just stopping dead in their tracks for no reason. Very irritating.

I go shopping when I absolutely have to. Yesterday I had to.

So, on the advice of the learned one (daughter number 2) we head to a jewellers and I purchase something to add to a present number 1 got last year (I know that’s cryptic but there is a very slim chance she might read this).

For an hour I am happy with my purchase, then I get it into my head that I bought her the exact same thing last year.

I know I bought her a laptop last year (it was her 21st), but I convinced myself that I also bought her this. Not something similar but precisely the same thing. You’d think I would remember wouldn’t you, but no, I can’t.

We pick up some more things that I am happy with and drive home and I make number 2 sneak into number one’s bedroom to check. She says I didn’t buy it last year. I’m still not convinced, we will have to wait until Wednesday for definitive proof.

Now all the time we have been shopping (and believe me it took hours) I have wanted to get out with my camera. The weather was chilly but sunny, the clouds were good, the light was great, my camera was back.

As soon as we get home it starts to rain and there is no break in the clouds for the rest of the day.

I went out anyway. I went to the lake where, not only was the light still crap, there were also hoards of kids learning to windsurf.

Children are the biggest pain in the arse when you are trying to take photographs.

You just can’t take pictures of other people’s children these days without parental permission, which is fair enough. But I don’t want to take pictures of them.

What I want is for them to get out of the damn way so I can take pictures of the lake/wildflower/landscape/duck they are obscuring so it doesn’t look like I’m trying to take pictures of them.

Unloved street furniture.

I went for a walk around the lake instead. That’s the exercise box ticked again.

I ran into an old friend that I haven’t seen I think since the day I got married almost 25 years ago.

He doesn’t live in the area anymore, hasn’t done for years. He had just returned to visit his mum and they happened to be out for a walk.

It was great to see him and his mum and brother.

And so after a day of shopping, crowds, grey dull weather and children aggravating me, it was a great end to the afternoon.

And now I have my driving licence back I can submit the relevant paperwork to the stock photo agency to prove who I am and hopefully start submitting pictures to them. Although I didn’t really get anything to be proud of yesterday.

Reeds reflecting.

Yay I’ve got my camera back :)

And the lovely little camera man only charged me £67 instead of £78. He’s a very nice man.

Stanley wouldn’t pose for me this morning so I took myself off to Wyndham’s Pool to see what I could find.

The answer was not a lot. I should have gone back to the lake. There are always lots of birds around to entertain me there.

Daughter number one turns 22 on Wednesday and I have no clue what to buy her.

The font of all knowledge (daughter number 2) also sadly has no idea.

So the two of us are off shopping this morning to try and find some inspiration.

I gave up buying her clothes years ago (unless they came with a recommendation from daughter number 2). Apparently my tastes are not compatible with hers!

I understand that. I don’t want my mother buying me clothes either.

She’s thinking of buying her own house though and, although when you have had a home for a few years you wouldn’t want cutlery for a birthday present, when you are setting up your first home, presents like that can be quite exciting.

No, really, they can (can’t they???).

Oh well, I shall wait for advice from she who knows everything (that isn’t sarcasm … she really does know loads).

More yellow flowers.

What I actually want to do is go out with my camera.

I HATE shopping.


A picture of some pretty pink wildflowers that I don’t know the name of.

Man has gone home.

It’s raining again.

I had raging toothache all day yesterday.

I did nothing yesterday other than work (which was busy and I got stuck there for 13 hours).

Stepdaughter to be has been thrown out of the flat she moved into last week and is now moving back with Man!

I still don’t have my camera or my driving licence.

I’m fed up!!!

Right, that’s got that out of my system :)

I’m off for a dental appointment this morning, that should sort the toothache.

I can facetime Man and I am one day closer to going up to see him (when I actually have two weeks off work woo hoo).

I am also one day closer to getting my camera and my driving licence back.

We did so much of today’s papers yesterday, we should be fine at work today and might even make it out of the office at a sensible time.

Stepdaughter to be is going to have to learn to buckle down and sort her life out.

And as for the rain, I have an umbrella.

That’s called the power of positive thinking.

So let’s look at the pretty pink flowers (I have no clue what they are) and go and get ready for the dentist with a smile on my face.

Happy Thursday.

PS I dropped my iPhone down two flights of stairs at work yesterday and watched it ricochet from metal step to metal step before it landed at the bottom.

It has one tiny tiny small chip at the bottom of the screen but, other than that is working fine.

If I had broken it, I would have cried. My life is contained in that iPhone.

The Surrey Hills.

Now this might look like a pretty scene of English countryside on a summer’s day, but actually it was blowing a gale (well almost).

The upshot is, I no longer have a gazebo.

My protection from the rain in my garden that took us about two hours to put up is now less a gazebo and more a mangled pile of metal poles and ripped plastic!

Man and I had a busy day yesterday. We went and posted my last eBay parcel, went to the railway station to buy his ticket home for Tuesday, and went to a car boot sale where I purchased one book, two pictures (purely because I liked the frames), some balsamic vinegar and some chorizo pate (yum).

Then Man had a great idea. A journey to the Surrey Hills to take some panoramic shots with the new iPhone app we have, It’s a free photo app called DMD, which makes it easy to take panoramic shots. Try it, it’s brilliant.

We then went for a stroll along the North Downs Way to take some more pictures and tick the exercise box for the day.


We walked for a couple of miles and I got a few shots I was pleased with. Man got some great panoramas with the new app.

We visited the Watts Chapel and  saw the amazing ceramic interior that makes the Chapel so special and then adjourned to an English country pub (yes, you have to … especially after a long walk in the countryside).

Then we popped into a local micro brewery to buy some samples of their beer, and to a little craft centre to get some ideas for future projects.

Came out brimming with ideas about what we could do with our talents.

Then we headed home.

Now after our long walk, we had worked up quite a sweat and were describing the howling winds as ‘a pleasant breeze to cool us down’.

By the time we reached home and discovered my beautiful gazebo broken and battered and tangled in the arms of the rotary washing line, we were back to describing is as ‘a howling bloody wind’.

So, my lovely gazebo lasted less than 24 hours and now needs to be taken to the dump. It’s a good job we didn’t pay for it, I would have been mightily upset if we had.

Roots and moss.