A tree… Yes, But not just any tree!!!

It seems time really does fly, listen life can go by in a flash so make the most of it… some lives are sadly cut short and some lives are long, but whatever your thoughts on life my advice is to just take time out, go look at those butterflies that are fluttering amongst the freshly bloomed flowers in the long grassy meadows or within the flower bed so lovingly prepared and nurtured by a fellow human being, listen to the birdsong (even the annoying craws of all the crows!!!), enjoy the spring lambs leaping and playing in the soft grass, watch the birds and the bees enjoying the fresh nectar from the pretty coloured spring and summer flowers, and don’t forget to help and feed the birds in the cold harsh winter time, travel to places outside of your own country if you wish, sometimes take the time to venture outside of your own comfort zone, watch or be part of different cultures and traditions, Love others and try not to get caught up in any hate, make sure you at least take your annual 2 week holiday, enjoy different experiences, go to the coast, swim and let the sunshine wash over and warm your body, enjoy those wide open spaces, watch rabbits from afar before they notice you and hop off, Enjoy the forests and the walks amongst them and if it’s snowy where you are enjoy the snow flakes, experience not only the warm mornings but also the picturesque ice cold and frosty mornings, watch the sunsets and if you get caught in a shower of rain enjoy the raindrops as they fall, and most of all enjoy some cake, after all of that you will have earnt it….

 

It was my birthday this week and I’m old enough not to get too excited over these things anymore, I think Pete and others find it strange that I don’t really have celebration days or days that other people so commonly celebrate anymore… I just don’t whether due to personal issues, insecurities, personal beliefs or just plain being old and boring, I’m still figuring it all out… and boy am I in what I can only describe as a very emotional and sensitive stage of life…

So yeah moving on… my 45th birthday came and went just like any other day, the main exception being I was treated to my favourite meal, my mobile/tablet pinging endlessly with facebook birthday well wishes (many thanks to all who took the time to wish me well) but poor Peter then had a massive dilemma of what gift to give me, his awkward wife… for what he insists is my “special” day… I am not a possessions girl, so I just have basically what I need to survive, when you’re travelling around so much massive amounts of personal possessions become much less important, unnecessary and just take up so much needed weight allowance, so less in a strange way just becomes more!!!

So anyway the dilemma persisted for Pete who insisted I should have some sort of present/treat but whenever he asked my reply was “I just dont need anything but thanks anyway, save your money”… Well what’s a boy to do???  What a complete “Genius” the guy is, let me explain, we took yet another stroll around Arlington Court where he’d seen the ideal present for a girl who doesn’t want anything… “a Tree” planted especially for her… but not just any tree… but her very own Oak Tree!!!

Hey if you think a tree is a strange present… think on, Pete and I have a strange way of trying to outdo each other on the weirdness of pressies it would seem, I remember on our first wedding anniversary (which is supposed to be a paper gift) much to everyone’s amusement on our very first wedding anniversary I purchased Pete a “Big Issue” magazine off of the homeless guy selling them stood on a street corner downtown… Two birds one stone, as they say…!!!  (For those of you not accustomed to what the “big issue” is, it is a magazine that is sold by people who are for whatever reason find themselves down on their luck or homeless etc selling the magazine helps them earn money instead of having to beg)

I must admit when Pete first disclosed my present I was like “oh… ok… but just what type of tree are we talking??” then it was “Please don’t let them plant a birch tree or one of those dreadful monkey puzzle trees they have there in my name”, “please, please, please let it be an Oak tree!!!” Well let me tell you my hopes were not dashed… I now have my own Oak tree planted on the grounds of Arlington Court and we have a map of where abouts it is planted we now plan to walk to the area, its approx 5 miles from the Country house…

I actually can’t think of a better thing to have been gifted, an Oak Tree planted just for me… look it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s something that resonates with me and my enjoyment of the world in which we live, and no I’ve never actually gone around hugging trees before, but hey, never say never, perhaps we should all be thinking about planting a tree and the world could become an even better place, to me it feels like a useful gift, useful not just to me but to all of us and I have hopes it may undo some of the damage my lifetime has unintentionally caused to the earth, imagine if I had had a tree planted for every year of my life that could have been 45 trees that will hopefully thrive, help the environment, clean the air and most likely outlive us all and continue to do good well after I have gone and hopefully for many more future years to come!!!

I may start collecting trees until I have had 1 planted for every yr I have lived, I think that would be awesome… so if any of you folks wish to donate towards that feel free to message for details or perhaps I should start a “go fund me” page (it’s £15 per tree) what do you all think??? I would need to raise approx £645 for 43 more trees to be planted but what an awesome legacy to leave behind for all of us and our world!!!  Anyone questioning my maths… I still have our Christmas tree that Pete insisted we buy, yep Its been with us now for nearly 7 months and yes I am a sucker for not wanting to just ditch it in the bin as many others do after their celebrations are over, after all I know it’s a tree but it’s still a living thing right???  but yeah, it now seriously needs to get planted in the ground somewhere otherwise it will become too stunted in growth so if I get it’s health checked and I am able to legally plant it somewhere I guess it’s one less tree we need to purchase!!!

 

We met up again with Karen and Graham for lunch at the Weir cafe again and took that walk we had discussed last time and yes I would recommend the cafe, the food and the canal walks to everyone of all abilities…  Graham did have to stop and rest while we took a quick look around the bend further down in the canal, he was having continued difficulties with his leg, the damned thing seems to have a mind of its own!!!  I have a lot of time for Karen and Graham they are both such lovely people… Stay strong Gray, next time we’ll take it turns to give you a piggyback when your leg starts to play up!!! Oh and loving the new car Karen!!! Hope you all enjoyed your holidays, the pictures looked great!!!

 

How are my allergies and hay fever I hear you all ask… Yes, allergies still here scratching away like a dog full of fleas(please note: I do not actually have fleas!!!)… and yep… the hay fever too although not so much the sneezing part of it at this time… but my eyes, boy are my eyes stinging!!! in fact they feel like they may have been sandblasted, they are red rimmed, swollen, sore and watering like no ones business… just so we are clear there’s no chance of me wearing eye makeup this season!!! Which I guess on the plus side allows me to continue being lazy on the make up side of things!!! This just leaves me to report that the grass on the site is still almost immaculate even before the mowing commences (apart from a few patches where Toffi has peeped on it!!!), but despite this it is still mowed pretty much almost daily to within a millimetre of its existence… you couldn’t accuse the warden that mows the grass here of being neglectful or lazy that’s for sure!!! the other staff members have just moved the children’s playground here, to be honest I may wait till it’s quiet and go play on it myself, it does looks great!!!

We had a youngish couple pitch their tent on the camp pitch next to our caravan for the last couple of days, this is not a strange occurrence by all means due to it being a campsite, but I mention this only because I just couldn’t help amusingly entertaining  myself, see these campers had insisted on coming back to the campsite at 2am raging drunk and giggling hilariously (which in itself was quite funny… on the first night) but they also made a fair bit of a racket which woke me up 2 nights on a trot at around 2am… so this morning I thought I would treat them instead… Luckily for me but kind of unluckily for their sore hung over heads we were the only campers in the nearby vicinity and the Internet allows us access to all sorts of lovely loud music, which in turn gave me the opportunity of waking them this time at a pretty reasonable 8.30am to the likes of some Black Sabbath, Muse and a little Def Leppard may have come into play at some point, I just wanted them to know how special and privileged it was to have been camped so near to us and for them to experience just how lovely the early mornings are!!! Oh, if you are those campers and are reading this… Yep you’re very welcome!!!

I had planned a girls only hike this week for just me and Toffi to enjoy, I’d carefully filled a flask of sweet coffee for myself and one of ice cold water for Toffi, prepared a lovely picnic of fruit, sandwiches and a packet of crisps for myself and packed some of Toffi’s favourite doggy treats for her, all carefully wrapped and placed into a backpack for us to enjoy on our wander, I had planned a 6+ mile hike which should have taken us a few hours at a leisurely pace…

However it seemed Toffi had other ideas… yes after just 1 mile into this hike she point blank refused to continue and kept insisting on turning around and returning home!!!  (I think she was afraid my bad sense of direction would get us lost!!!) After 10 minutes of arguing (leash pulling both ways!!!) we headed back down the hill and found ourselves a comfy place to sit and drink coffee/water and watch the world go by instead!!!  I must say I was rather disappointed in Toffi’s behaviour, I was hoping she would help with my exercising regime rather than hinder it,  but not one to hold grudges against a furry friend… she still got to enjoy the doggy treats…!!!

 

Now I love walking around lakes with Toffi however lately she has had a taste for the long grass growing right at the water’s edge… Pete and I were only joking about her possibly falling in while pursuing this habit… when “splash” in she went luckily at a shallow point in the lake that she could jump straight back out of… but then a few days later she did it again this time into the deeper end of the lake… I had to run back and quickly grab her by the collar and haul her out of the lake, you see Toffi just cannot swim she’s so heavy that in deeper water she just starts to sink no matter how much she tries to swim!!! however when she was in the water and until she was safe the look on her poor face was hilarious…

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Once on solid ground looking humbled, grateful to have be saved, after doing fast zoomies and shaking the water from her fur and ears… she returned and started checking out the spot she fell into, possibly and hopefully for all our sakes taking note of where not to stand next time!!!  Apologies to the fisherman who was sat quietly trying to fish not only for the disturbance Toffi’s splashing about had caused in the waters, but also for my continued and constant laughter at the whole situation when recalling the poor dogs face while she was in the water, I pretty much looked like some half baked nut job laughing hilariously out loud to myself on the rest of the walk!!!

We got a little bored and I got a little listless so I entered the local charity shop and picked up a couple of jigsaw puzzles for a couple of pound each… we spent a whole afternoon outside in the bright sunshine and there we stayed well into the colder evening air working on this puzzle we actually felt freezing before we’d finished but we were determined to finish that puzzle before we went back inside here’s proof we actually finished the thing!!!

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Well that’s all the writing I can do for now… so until next time…

take care

Donna x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A month in the life of…

 

Yep it’s been a month again since I last updated you all so here goes… Earlier in the month we took a drive hoping to re-find the area on Exmoor we’d previously walked, we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere and anyway after driving down some typically narrow Devonshire lanes, driving past plenty of farms at the bottom of a valley somewhere we came to some extremely narrow hump bridges the last one of which we were actually very lucky to have even gotten over at all, with Pete asking when we were halfway over whether we were clear on the passenger side?, me looking out the window seeing we were but mere millimeters in clearance… shrugging answered “sure we’ve plenty of room Pete” chuckling nervously and adding “just don’t come over any closer to the wall this side as its virtually touching the side of the car”… how we got over that bridge without obtaining any damage to the car I will never know!!!

But it turned out the somewhat risky drive was worth it we ended up finding a walk called “Weir water walk” it was a circular walk and the walk started off very promisingly it even had a wooden platform for easy wheelchair access, but sadly this access soon disappeared after a just few yards and continued onto unlevel moorland grassland but still a pleasant enough walk for any able bodied person to walk, we strolled on admiring the small lambs on the other side of the wired fence with their mothers calling them to safety upon seeing us with the dog approaching, but then we soon realised there was one small lamb who had managed to get on the wrong side of the fence and who was panicking when he realised he just couldn’t return to his mum without a little help back through the hole in the fence from Pete.

As we’d entered the first enclosure Pete was all for letting Toffi off lead even though I had pointed out the signage telling owners they must keep dogs on leads during this walk due to livestock being here, I had to give Pete a rather stern dirty look and a much more stern talking too, at the point of finding that lamb I was glad I had stopped him from letting the dog off, I dread to think what may have happened to that poor little lamb otherwise!!!

We walked further on where we found somewhere to sit and have a small picnic and a sip of coffee from our flasks… then walked on some more when all 3 of us had a rather big shock as we stumbled across and very nearly stood on a mahoosive Stag who had been sat so still we truly hadn’t even seen him there laid camouflaged within the grasses until he had leapt up right in front of us and run off into the wooded area beside us!!!

We continued the rest of the pleasant walk and on our way back to the car we noticed a tree that had engravings on it… we worked out that sadly the person doing the engraving stopped engraving the tree at the grand age of 84 yrs old…

Easter break we enjoyed some knockout good weather so to escape from the UK tourist crowds we took to rambling across the practically deserted Exmoor – Brendon moor where we walked a couple of hours, we’d walked here previously but not as far as we did this day, the last time we were here we’d wanted to see the view from the ridge on the other side of the valley so off we set… the view went on for miles with sights of Exmoor spread out in front of us, on our way back we met an old farmer who passed us on a trike he stopped and warned us his farm dogs may follow after him and possibly try to join us on out trek if they did not to worry about them they are not lost and they knew their way they would catch up with him later… I chuckled as he drove off he clearly had his favourite or eldest farm dog on the back of his trike, I felt sorry for the poor thing it  was clearly struggling not to fall off after every bump the farmer drove over on his trikes journey…

 

We met up with Pete’s lovely sister Karen and her husband Graham at Bude at a place called “The Weir” cafe, here we sat and chatted caught up with each other and enjoyed a lunch each (the food was good, the chips here were actually amazing and tasted like they were triple fried) the cafe is a popular and great meeting place it overlooks a scenic fishing lake, Graham told us of some really nice flat walks from this place that he had wanted to have a look at, so after lunch we took a look at the walks and they are indeed lovely the one we took carried us along the canal, we aim to meet up and do the walk again this week…

We also met up with Pete’s lovely mum and her husband Malcom, It had been Malcoms 73rd birthday recently so all we caught up and had a tasty lunch at a pub called “The White Hart” situated in a quaint small village called Chilsworthy.

On another day we stumbled around Combe Martin trying to find a walk we had been told about but had managed to fail to find it and lost our way and we headed to the pub for a pint instead!!!

 

On our next outing we actually managed to look up and find the walk we’d failed to find and do a few days earlier, we hiked ourselves up to little and then great Hangman (great hangman is the highest cliff edge in Southern England) the majority of this walk it turned out was a very steeply uphill hike, but this however means you are of course rewarded with the stunning views at the top… if only the weather was clearer that day as the views would have been even better, looking out over the coast that day you couldn’t clearly see where the sea ended and the sky began… we stumbled back absolutely exhausted!!!

 

 

We found ourselves back in Ilfracombe once again… I swear every time we have come here it has been freezing cold, luckily Verity the statue doesn’t seem to mind, while here we also walked up to the small chapel of St Nicholas…

 

 

Once we had warmed ourselves back up a couple of days later from our trip to Ilfracombe we were of back to the National Trusts Arlington Court, this time I wandered around the house chatting to the volunteers who told me all about the history of the Chichester family and the neoclassical style country house that is Arlington Court… the history of the family and house are very interesting and I would seriously encourage you to visit even if just to walk the grounds which we of course did again there are many walks and we intend to go back and do as many of them as possible it is such a stunning area to relax, walk and just generally enjoy the environment and surrounding countryside… (While we were there last time we found the National Trust reception had had a tree fall onto it’s building so reception was temporarily moved to nearby to the cafe, luckily the tree fell overnight so nobody was injured)

 

 

 

 

It was such a stunning sunny and clear day we decided to see what the view was like back up at the top of Great Hangman so we walked or should I say practically climbed and breathlessly dragged myself up that ruddy great big hill but in the opposite direction of our first climb to see if it was an easier walk trust me felt more like climbing a mountain… The walk is miles long and at least three quarters up hill… but we conquered little hangman and great hangman once again, this time we were not disappointed with the views it was such a clear blue sky with just the odd fluffy cloud here and there!!!

 

 

The next day we thought it a good idea to take a trip to Bournemouth sightseeing, it had stayed sunny and we then got to enjoy walking along Bournemouth/Poole beach promenades for miles, when I say miles I mean miles, I’d downloaded an accurate pedometer/health/calorie app to aid with my dieting (yep still counting calories, not sure if I have even lost any weight as I am too scared to weigh myself and I still feel fat!!)

Anyway this app tells me how far I have walked each day and we’d managed to walk 7 miles just along the Promenade but it was such a easy great walk on such a fine day the walk was all flat, there was a lot of water taps along the way so Toffi got to have a drink whenever she needed one, then there are also small parts of the beach that are not shut off to the dogs so every now and then along the way Toffi also got to go and have a dip in the sea… I got to admire the lovely coloured beach huts lining the way along the promenade these stretched almost all the way along it, apparently you can hire one for £40 a day…  We really could have walked further had we have had the time, Bournemouth is such a lovely town, there’s a park that pretty much runs all the way through the heart of it and from what we saw it was tended too very well and Pier, what a lovely town we will be sure to visit again!!!

 

 

My allergies have been giving me absolute grief lately, to be fair they don’t usually flare up too often but it would seem they kicked off back in December when I accidently used Bio soap washing tablets on the clothes washing unwittingly, ever since I have had to take antihistamines regularly to stop my skin from breaking out into either massive blistering hives or suffering from massive bouts of contact dermatitis this is even though I’ve since washed my entire wardrobe several times over using non-bio soap to no effect the sensitivity has stayed, it’s like it sent me into a mega sensitive stage, which I am just about keeping control of with antihistamines, luckily I’ve not needed steroids this time for my allergies as yet, so fingers crossed…

But now the fantastic site that the caravan is now sited on until late October… well it would seem they may have become a little OCD in the last fortnight regarding the grass cutting regime and although I understand standards must be upkept (I actually couldn’t even see a blade of grass out of place and I was told it was just Mondays that the grass got cut in this area), it seems they may have changed that to every blasted day we are here, we were speaking to the older male owner here the other day who was seemingly picking fault with the grass cutting even though I assured him several times “I actually couldn’t even see a blade of grass out of place”, honestly the place is immaculately kept, but still he seems to have pulled the warden and told him to cut it back even more and more, it’s now been cut so short (as instructed by the guy in charge)

The grass is now turning from a lovely healthy shade of green to a unhealthy shade of brown in places where it’s been strimmed to within millimetres of its actual being and I’m now finding my eyes feeling constantly sore and gritty, my nose running constantly and my throat feeling like I’ve been a spare actress on Game of Thrones and had a thousand swords put through it and then to make matters just that little bit worse I’m waking to find my breathing feeling restricted, may I add I have never had Asthma or Hay fever type symptoms in my life until now.  They’ve literally been grass cutting from 9am onwards every frigging day that we have spent here in the last 3 weeks not including the days we have spent away from the site!!! So not only am I getting a rough disturbed nights sleep with hayfever symptoms but now I’m not even getting a lay-in to make up for the disturbed sleep… If it carries on I may have to either have words or perhaps dependant on my mood take that strimmer and place it somewhere it won’t cause any allergies!!!

Well enough for now I’m off to pop an antihistamine… yay party time… or maybe not… as I’ll probably be asleep within 30 mins of taking that, so I’ll catch you all up on our adventures next time!!!… If your lucky I’ll also keep a diary of the grass cutting for you all…

Till next time take care of yourselves, and anyone with Hayfever at this time of year may you always have tissues ready for your noses, drops to sooth your eyes and may your sleep be restful…

Donna x