On Thursday (26 th) the weather turned hot again after a few days of cooler times. I had arisen at two o’clock in the morning after what had been a really good night’s sleep. The previous night had not been so good as far as getting off to sleep was concerned. It was a sort of knock-on effect, not sleeping well the night before left me tired and going to bed even earlier than I have been going lately. By eight o’clock I was fast asleep and because five hours is around the time I need I woke at two. Sensible folk would have stayed in bed I suppose but that is something I very rarely do once I am awake. So what does one do at that hour? Watering the garden was one thing I got out-of-the-way. Washing clothes another, watching catch-up tv another and soon it was dawn. I’d eaten breakfast of course and although a walk could have been taken I was set to do the weekly shopping at eight o’clock instead. Yes I could have done the shopping later but I have found it much easier to shop when the store has far less other shoppers milling about. By the afternoon however the sun had turned the day into a scorcher and going for a walk didn’t seem inviting. I usually take my walks early in the day whilst it is still relatively cool. However by the afternoon I had become restless and decided a short walk down to the shore would help and the cooler sea breeze would help to cool me down too. Against my better judgement therefore I went for a short walk which stretched further and further until in total I had walked four and a half miles! Sure enough it was cool along the seafront but by the time I had gotten home I was as red as a strawberry and perspiring profusely. It took me ages to cool down and it reminded me that, as the saying goes, ‘[only] Mad dogs and Englishmen (and presumably English women too) go out in the midday sun’.
Due to all the fine and very hot weather we’ve been enjoying, though not me I don’t like it to be so oppressive, I have not done much in the way of going for a walk. I have been taking walks but they have been far fewer. For some reason this past week (I write on 6th), I have been feeling rather strange. Perhaps it has been the heat or the fact that I have cut back my food intake or both. I have also been far more choosy in what I have been eating too though I was already eating the right stuff, that is healthily. Whatever the reason it kept me indoors and reluctant to do anything but this morning was different. I awoke early as I have been doing for some time, early to bed means I automatically wake early, and I thought I would take that walk. Perhaps I should have eaten first because by the time I returned I felt awful. I felt as weak as a kitten. Anyway once back indoors and after eating my breakfast I began to feel stronger. I had walked one of my more shortened walks along The Promenade, of course I had to get there first, and then returning along the seafront I reached The Pier. There were no people on foot and only saw a couple of bike riders as I walked along. It was like a deserted town. Some vehicles passed by though they were also few. There was a reason for the absence of people aside from the fact that it was a normal working day, it was the first day of the three for the Annual Southport Air Show and traffic had been re-routed. As I reached the pier there were vehicles of all types, generating stations, overhead sound systems and lighting, mobile food vendors and temporary metal fencing everywhere, even on the beach. Every effort had been made to ensure anyone within shouting distance of the beach event would have to pay. As for the aircraft, well you only have to be within a mile radius to see most of them as they fly past. I never visit these events now though when the children were growing up I used to take them along to watch. Even then we were able to get close enough to see most of the event without having to pay. Well it is expensive raising children!
For some weeks now we have been enjoying dry and warm weather and I have been able to go for walks wearing the lightest of clothing. This morning (13 th) I was up and out of the house at seven doing just that. I arrived back home two hours later and was able to sit at the table with E for breakfast. She had only just gotten up as I entered the front door. Anyway I sat out on the patio after breakfast relaxing with a cup of coffee for a short time but I knew I had things to do so that didn’t last. The first thing I wanted to do was to erect some sort of temporary barrier to block a gap in the Laurel bushes to stem the wind so that the space could fill naturally with new leaf growth. New growth is already there but shielding it from the wind will encourage it to grow quicker….
I used some of the fire-clay floor tiles which I had removed from the gym room when I dug the pit a couple of months ago and propped them up with bricks though they were capable of standing unsupported. That little job didn’t take long and I went on to do the next which took far longer. The rear door frame of the garage in which I keep my van had become rotten on one side at the bottom. We suspected a mouse had recently been trying to gnaw its way though the rotting timber of the frame because there were a lot of .wood chippings around. I had to remove the door, which is very heavy, in order to saw off the rotted timber. I made the cut at an angle and manufactured a replacement section to match. This was to prevent the ingress of rain. A level cut would have allowed water to seep between the joint. This is the finished work before it was painted the following day. I had treated the timbers with preserver before fitting it.
I re-hung the door but left off the automatic closer to prevent the door closing by itself as it once did. Sometimes ‘auto-closers’ can be a nuisance. It was twelve-thirty and E made me a cup of coffee which I again sat and drank on the patio before returning indoors within the hour for lunch. The afternoon was mine to do as I pleased, which was almost nothing! I did take a walk around the garden though and took some photos as I went. In front of the large greenhouse…
To the woods, to the woods
I’ll tell the vicar
I AM the vicar.
The vicars wife wouldn’t like it
The vicars wife’s not getting it!
Well enough of that bit of humour. As was my want I went to bed early on Thursday evening but for two reasons, one, I was tired (best excuse yet!) and two, I wanted to go for a long early morning walk before it got too warm. After a little something for breakfast I began my walk, this time heading south. This time I took the main road as it led me directly to my destination, the little township of Formby or rather the northern part of it called Freshfield. We lived in Freshfield from ’76 till ’88 before moving to Birkdale where we are now. The main route through from Birkdale to Formby took me first of all through Hillside and Ainsdale before continuing down the Formby by-pass where I turned off into Freshfield. Once in Freshfield I headed along the main route (Victoria Road) which took me into the Red Squirrel reserve, all now maintained by The National Trust.https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/formby/features/red-squirrels-at-formbyThey look after all the woodland along the coast hereabouts. It is somewhere I am completely familiar with having spent much time either walking through the woods or running through them. I particularly enjoyed running through the woods in the hours before dawn when it was just about light enough to see where I was going. I often came across a fox or two and almost always a few rabbits. The owls I could hear but couldn’t see. The woods are special places at dawn. I usually saw the squirrels when out walking but only if one or two where at ground level would I see them when out running. I am guessing the distance to be around six or seven miles by the time I had reached the reserve. I stopped for a short rest at a picnic area where I could sit down before then walking through to the beach a further half-mile away. I stayed on the beach for only a short time but walked northward for a quarter-mile before climbing up a steep sand dune to return to the woods. Two steps forward and one step back was the order of the day climbing that sandy slope! I was exhausted by the time I had reached the top but soon recovered as I made my way into the trees and onto a small path heading north. I walked what seemed an awfully long way until I reached a little sign indicating that it was a mile and a half to the place I had just been, Victoria Road or the squirrel reserve. I walked along not coming across any other people at all, just me and the sound of nature. In fact it was totally quiet and a little eerie most of the time. Suddenly I appeared at the end of the track and was standing on the main track which circles the area. That part of the track runs alongside the rail tracks running between Southport and Liverpool. Every twenty minutes a train or two passes by. I was feeling a little tired once more so I made my way to another picnic area for a snack and a drink. I gave myself twenty minutes before I was off again and heading for the coastal road which would take me back home to Birkdale about four miles away. I hadn’t been walking exceptionally fast getting to the woods and walking through them but along the coastal road I picked up the pace and walked the four miles briskly. It was around twelve-fifteen as I went in the house feeling a little tired and hot. I recovered after a drink and prepared lunch with E. After lunch we spent some time doing garden maintenance and I watered the rear garden again. If the woods were closer to home I would most probably spend more time there. In some ways I regret having moved away all those years ago but that’s life.
Touching on yesterday’s post regarding the subject of wisdom I am glad I had been wise to follow an exercise regime when I was younger. It has been beneficial to me in keeping me fit and active over the years. Of course having an occupation which was manually orientated helped a lot too. Even so I still get tired after exercising if I push myself too hard. If I didn’t get tired at all it would mean I am not benefiting from the exercise as I should. At my age I am limited to how much exercise my body can sustain but being used to exercising I know I can do more than I could otherwise do. I love going for walks and for many years loved and enjoyed running. Some people my age still go running, I know, I see them when out walking. I have to say though that the running is more often than not like a trot. Still they are out actively enjoying themselves. I hadn’t been for a longish walk for some time so on Saturday (2nd) I made it my business to arise early and go for a longer walk than I normally take. I decided to walk down the coast to the district where I lived before I moved to my present location. I estimate the distance to be around six to six and a half miles or twelve to thirteen miles for the round trip. So with bag containing my water bottle and a couple of other items should they be needed across my shoulder I set off. My destination was the pine woods (shown above) north of my old house and I walked the coast road to get there. My return journey would take me along the beach and then through the sand dunes nearer home. As I walked northward along the beach there was but one figure in the distance ahead of me, a lady walking her dog. She was walking toward me when her dog dashed off toward the sea a couple of hundred metres away. The beaches along this part of the coast are very wide when the tide is out. The dog seemed to disappear but had in fact walked into a dip in the otherwise flat sand. The lady shouted to me that he always does this and soon enough he was back with her. We stopped and chatted for a few minutes and I discovered she lived locally. She asked where I lived so I told her adding that I too lived where she now does. She asked exactly where so I told her the name of the road then she asked which number so again I told her. ‘That’s my house’ she said, ‘I live there now’. What a co-incidence that we should meet out on a walk. She described the house as it is now and I described what it was like when we lived there and what work we had done in it. It appeared that the people to whom we sold the house in 1988 sold it on a couple of years later to this lady’s sister who then sold it on to her in 1994. She mentioned that I would know ‘Sylvia’ her neighbour and ours when we lived there to which I replied that I did but doubted she would remember me since much water has passed under the bridge since then. We parted company and I continued homeward. It is a fact that the effects of exercising or doing strenuous work don’t come upon us until long after we have ceased what we were doing. It was a short five minutes after I had arrived home that I felt worn out even so but I was soon back to normal later.
Despite the weather forecasts promise of heavy rain coupled with thunder and lightning throughout Friday (25) it didn’t quite happen that way. I had decided to take an early morning walk and with that promise in mind I wore my rainproof jacket. It wasn’t however raining though the sky was darkened with clouds. The coat acted more as a warm covering than protection from the rain for it remained dry until long after my return home. I had to remove the coat half-way through the walk and tie it as we girls do, around the waist by the sleeves. It was a really pleasant walk, just the right temperature (even before I removed the coat) and hardly any wind. As I went onto the beach I saw a guy stand up as if he had been lying down on the grass that partly covers it. His dog began to bark as I got closer but after a word from him it stopped. He was busy rolling up what I presumed was his portable bed, a straw mat and sleeping bag. He also had a guitar case with presumably a guitar inside. I supposed he was a busker and also it appeared a drifter too. I bade him good morning and he replied in kind as I continued on my way. I didn’t do much before lunch and if I am honest after lunch too! I did however finish off sawing down a neighbour’s tree growing too close and overhanging our garden. A couple of years ago E had spoken with the guy regarding our pruning back his trees and he told her he didn’t care what we did with the trees. He meant of course keeping them in check. The area behind the brick wall separating our gardens and on his side is a veritable jungle of undergrowth, weeds, brambles, ivy and out of control bamboo. The rest of my neighbour’s garden is in reasonable condition but he has let this part get out of hand and it appears he isn’t going to change that in the near future. All we can do is to prevent his mess climbing over the wall into our garden. I may buy him a chain saw and machete and see if he takes the hint! I ended up watering the long flowerbed despite the rain having started to fall. It wasn’t as heavy as forecast and being as it was from the east that part of the garden sometimes can remain dry beneath the tree cover.
It had been at least a week since I last went for a walk and it was all due to my having too much to do in the house, specifically the cellar storage room. As I write this on Tuesday afternoon on the first day of May the room only requires that the floor be painted but as yet we haven’t received the paint. This morning I was able to go for a walk and that was mainly because E had told me that today I was to take a break and rest from my labours. Had I not listened I guess I would have started work in filling in the holes in the floor of the gym/boiler room in readiness for that floor to be painted also. My plan was to prepare the sand and grit mixture today and on Wednesday use some of it mixed with the cement and begin filling in the holes. I am glad I didn’t do anything and went for a walk instead. My walk took me three and a half miles south of town along the coastal road.
It was one of those mornings with bright sunshine and clouds but with a stiff breeze too. It wasn’t that warm but got warmer as I began my journey back home and the clouds disappeared too, though they returned after lunch. The afternoon was much cooler as the clouds rolled back and filled the sky but it didn’t matter, I was back indoors. My return journey took me through the dunes where it was much warmer being as it was sheltered from the wind but there were many insects flying about making a nuisance of themselves. I had skipped breakfast but had taken a banana and some sultanas to nibble at along the way, and of course a bottle of water. The beach was almost deserted but there were a few people doing the same as myself, walking through the dunes. If you like sandy beaches you would like Ainsdale, Freshfield and Formby for there is plenty of sand along that part of the coast. Birkdale, where I now live, has more grass and mud to overcome before the sand can be reached. I used to live in Freshfield and often went running along the beach there. Still it is only an hour and a half walk or so away from where I now live. Who is ‘M’? What is the name of my blog?
You might think that for someone who is very tired sleep comes easy but unfortunately that isn’t always the case for me. Although I had been very busy on Thursday and was tired when I went to bed getting to sleep eluded me. I tossed and turned throughout the night and felt awful when I got up in the morning. After having something for breakfast I felt so much better though I did remain a little sleepy. I spent some time on the project (see yesterday’ post) and by the afternoon I was ready to go to bed but of course I didn’t, not at that time. Later however when I did go to bed sleep came very easy and I was out for the count in minutes! I had a really good night’s sleep and should have been ready to do some more work but I decided to take a break from it and have the next two days off, Saturday and Sunday. I decided a walk was on the cards so before breakfast, which incidentally I missed altogether, I dressed to go for the walk. It wasn’t that warm on Saturday morning as I left the house but it wasn’t cold either. About half-way through the walk things changed, the clouds rolled away and it became warm in the bright sunshine. By the time I had returned home my coat was beginning to make me feel uncomfortable wearing it. I was ready to eat something so had a slightly early lunch, though it was by then approaching one o’clock. E had been busy at the top of the house and didn’t have lunch until two. I in the meantime went onto the patio to sit in the now warmer sunshine. E joined me not long after but neither of us sat there too long as we began digging out a few sycamore seedlings and weeds. We did return to the patio however to make the most of the fine weather while it lasted. Sunday looked gloomy as plenty of rain had been forecast but during the week ahead we had been promised high temperatures and bright sunshine. When we returned indoors we sat and watched the Grand National horse race, the only horse race we do watch throughout the year.
Today as I write it is Good Friday. I am reminded as always each day that Jesus died and suffered on a cross for me. This day celebrates that event. It is both a sad and a happy day, sad because what Jesus did was necessary for us all, happy because if we believe we too will be raised up to everlasting life. However, that isn’t the subject of this post. Many folk will be taking a break from their usual routine either going on a short holiday or relaxing at home. Two of my neighbours have taken short breaks away from home but for E and myself staying at home is fine though if we did take a break away from home it would most likely be out of the country. Personally I can’t see why going to a different country just to relax is necessary unless it is for the benefit of guaranteed warm sunshine. I have to say that dull and cold weather can be depressing if it stays that way too long. At the moment we are experiencing a dip in temperature after a short spell of warm and sunny weather. That is the nature of this land, it can be unpredictable sometimes. This morning I took a walk northwards on the edge of town and then turned toward the seafront. I was glad I had taken gloves with me and in fact at this time of year they will remain in the bag I carry until I know they will not be needed. It was quite a cold morning though that was more due to the south-easterly wind than the temperature which hovered around seven degrees. I was happy to return to the comfort and warmth of home later. In the meantime I did enjoy the walk, I always do.
Last week I wrote about baking ‘Sugar and Spice Rings’ on Sunday. This Sunday I did a little more baking but this time it was ‘Tea Scones’, a very basic recipe which I am sure most will know. I had taken an early morning walk before breakfast, just four miles as I hadn’t been out for a walk for about two weeks and didn’t want to overdo things. To be honest I was feeling quite tired by the time I had returned home. The day looked promising in the morning sunshine but it wasn’t that particularly warm because of the cold slight breeze. When I went into the kitchen for breakfast E was sitting there having just eaten hers. After eating mine I sat on the patio with a coffee then spent some time digging out a few bluebells. Returning indoors I decided to do a little baking whilst E went upstairs to change. By the time she had come downstairs again I had the scones baked.
1 lb self-raising flour
1/4 tsp baking powder (optional)
1/2 level tsp salt
4 oz butter or margarine
6 oz caster sugar
6 oz sultanas or currants (optional)
1/2 pint milk
Place flour with salt in bowl and rub in the butter or margarine until the mixture is crumbly. Add sugar and fruit if used and mix. Add the milk (advise half of it at first) and thoroughly mix with ingredients until it becomes a firm but not sticky dough. Spread some flour onto a board or flat surface and place dough on it and knead for a couple of minutes then using a rolling-pin spread the dough till it is about 1/2 inch thick. Using a small circular pastry cutter, cut the dough and place each piece on a buttered metal tray. Brush each with milk and place in a hot oven (215 deg C) for ten to fifteen minutes.
Easy and tasty. The mixture will make about sixteen scones.
I did very little else on Sunday as on Monday I would be busy working again.