Friday, 31 October 2014

Draw nearer ...

It must be the time of year. But for me the changing colours, abundance of mists, smell of woodsmoke and 'nip in the air' go hand in hand with the telling of tales. 

As I've already mentioned my post last year correlated almost exactly with the one this year in which  spooky tales abound. 
And when I threw down the gauntlet to the rest of you I wasn't sure what to expect. 
But as ever my fears were unfounded as you have provided me with so much to 'consider'!

So now it's time. 

Draw up a chair. 

Turn off your phone. 

And read ...

The first comment to my post had the hairs on my neck standing on end. It came from Angel  Jem.

Lacock Abbey. And a cold hand on the shoulder .....

Others agreed. It's not somewhere I know, but in those few words Angel Jem has summoned up a terrifying atmosphere.

Irene hints at strange goings on with this comment.

I have had a few spooky/weird things going shortly after my Father died. Clocks chiming, blinds going up and down and strange sensations in the house. Thankfully all is quiet now.

How many of you can empathise with that?

Pam tells us of a strange everyday experience that she had.

My husband went upstairs to use the bathroom while tea was cooking. I was in the dining room. I felt someone go past the dining room door so I went into the kitchen to ask hubby if tea was ready. But he wasn't there. So who went past the door?

Say no more.

Melody relates a story she shared with her mother.

Happened many years ago. My Mum and I were at her Aunt's big, old house cleaning (Aunt was in the Hospital) ~ we were the only ones there. The house had two set of stairs, the main stairs ~ and the back stairs that lead from what would have been the "maid's quarters" in times gone by, directly to the kitchen. I was in the kitchen, on hands and knees cleaning the stove. I heard Mum walk down the entire wooden stair case, and then stop at the closed door. So I got up, figuring she must have had her hands full, to open the door. I did, but she wasn't there. I was confused, so I went up the stairs to find her?? She was in the bathroom, cleaning the tub on her hands and knees.. with the water running. Yup, true story. ~ and my only personal encounter with restless spirits. 

Mum spend a lot of time in the house growing up... and always heard people walking around, stairs creaking from feet, and closing doors. It seems who ever lived there before just couldn't bear to leave?

Linnet in Oriel provides us with a tale that has become family legend.

My Granny used to tell me a story that her Granny used to tell. Great Great Granny Margaret had a little son named Hughie. One day she noticed that something was up with the little fella and asked what was wrong. Oh dear, he said, but I am going away, some where far and very cold. Poor Hughie died within the year and they said that when his mother was nearing death she swore that young Hugh never left the end of her bed....

For more detailed stories you wont be disappointed if you visit Wendy over at September Violets. Her story is not only fascinating but features the most wonderful photography - with an unexpected twist at the end!

Mrs Black also thrills us with an experience that she stumbled over after taking a different turn in the road. Just be careful when driving in the rain!

Frances over in New York shows us just how Hallowe'en is celebrated over in the Big Apple with fantastic pictures from her neighbourhood.

So what about you?

Does this time of year make you look sideways - instead of straight ahead? 

If nothing else this goes to show that the age old tradition of story telling is alive and well. 

And maybe closer than you think.


Thursday, 30 October 2014

Calling all story tellers!

Last shout for any more spooky stories that I can put together for Hallowe'eeeeeeeeeen! 

It doesn't have to be a novel - one of the shortest comments had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck! 

So come on - you can either leave it as a comment or a link to your blog and we'll see if we can get spooky!

See my post here for further details. 

Looking forward to hearing from yooooooooooooohoooooooooooowoooooooooo.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Looking closer

As the clocks went back this weekend we were all treated to that precious extra hour in bed. But the flip side is that the nights are with us far sooner now, and being able to enjoy those dwindling hours of daylight is becoming more of a luxury. Long gone are the carefree days whereby we could just decide to go for a walk and not pay any heed to the time. Now we have to consider where we might be when it gets dark, will we need a torch, are we sure of the direction?

When some dear friends came to visit at the weekend Mr K and I wanted to show them our new favourite walk - the Aston to Burston loop. 

By the time we set off along the canal we were already losing the light.

Looking to the left over to the marina.

And to the right over the fields.

I loved this seat - I wonder who made it?

And the back of this grand house with it's walled garden.

Up to the stile.

Then looking back across the bridge to that glorious red tree  - I can't remember the name, can you?

Over the fields now toward the river.

Looking down through the last of the brightly coloured leaves.

 The sun sinking behind the treeline.

And the birds gathering across the lake.

Stark silhouettes.

Last time we were here the hay bales were waiting for collection.

Now the earth is resting until the spring.

The hedges have been pleached.

But by now the light had almost gone and it was almost impossible to keep taking pictures.

One final treat though as we headed home was this pond. I'd never noticed it before - perhaps lush summer growth had obscured the view - but now it seemed calm and magical.

Although the colours have all but faded this was a wonderful walk. Perhaps we appreciate the colours that are left all the more. We have to look a little more closely but the appreciation is ten fold.

By the time we returned home it was pitch black. We lit the fire and tucked in to our home made apple cake and fresh coffee. We were pretty tired by then but were left with ruddy cheeks, muddy boots and lovely memories.


P.S. I've had some great responses to my request for spooky stories but would love to hear more in time for Hallowe'en. If you think you could contribute take a look at my post here - I'll look forward to hearing from yoooooooooou...........

Monday, 20 October 2014

Do you want to tell a story....?

As we all know up here in the Northern hemisphere it's that time of year. Memories of sunny days are just that. The magical colours and textures of Autumn are fleeing by and we are in that brief lull that this change of season brings - allowing us to readjust before the madness of the Christmas season takes hold. Cardigans are out of hibernation and snuggly blankets beckon us toward the sofa. Various of us have extolled the virtues of lighting candles and open fires, yet what better to accompany them than a storm whipping up outside, lashing rain against the windows and wind howling through the keyholes. The perfect setting, one might say, for a ghostie tale....

I've posted some of my ghostly experiences before here, and looking back the date made me smile. This urge that I have to hear more at this time of year seems as regular as wanting to plant the first seeds in Spring, or collect that first posy of flowers from the garden. I'm not a fan of those shows that claim to contact spirits for the sake of the cameras, but have found that over the years most people have a tale to tell. Often it might seem insignificant to others, but the impact it has on the bearer can be profound.

So this is what I thought we could do. For the next couple of weeks - leading up to Halloween - I thought we could share some stories. Preferably those of our own but may be passing on tales from others. No need for a mass outpouring of urban legends - often the slightest tale can be the most evocative. Perhaps somewhere you have been has just created a particular feeling. Our house is over one hundred years old and yet I have never felt at all spooked here. In fact as soon as we first walked through the door it felt welcoming - yet some places certainly do not. 

An example of this is the infamous Winter's Gibbet in Northumberland. I remember visiting the area as a child and our usually inquisitive dog, Prince, refusing to get out of the car. He shivered and whined until we left.

 Find out more about Winter's Gibbet here.

My contribution is tricky as I relayed most of my experiences here but I do have another. Mr K is the world's biggest cynic when it comes to the supernatural. And yet something happened to him many years ago that he still can't explain. As a teenager he set about cycling around the Lake District with an old school friend of his. One night as they were returning to their camp site from the local pub they heard an almighty rush of - well something - nearing them from behind. As the noise got louder it sounded like hooves and it was enough to make them pedal like the clappers to get out of there. Next morning they mentioned their experience to the owner of the campsite, enquiring as to what sort of animals there might be nearby who would be capable of making such a row. The owner blanched as he told them the name of that particular stretch of road - Devil's Gallop. 

Sorry - this was the only picture I could find of the area - from 1952!

If you want to join in you could leave a link to your post here in the comments section, and link back to this blog using the title 'Ghostie Post'. I'm not sure if this will work or not but I for one will look forward to having a selection of tales to be passed on to others on that most spooky night of all - Halloweeeeeeeeeeeeen.

And now I've completely spooked myself I'm going to put all the lights on and make a cup of tea!

Come on - share your tales .............!


P.S. Well done for those fruit detectives amongst you - the yellow fruit was indeed a quince. Brownie points all round!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Fruity Madness

When all around seems dull and grey

Pile up some fruit and shout WAYHAY!

All  produce kindly donated by friends and neighbours with the seasonal generosity that Autumn brings.


P.S. Brownie points for anyone who can guess the yellow fruit!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Brightening Up

I remember when Mr K and I got our first flat. It was on the ground floor which afforded us the most fantastic gift - a back yard. Now when I say 'yard' I don't mean the glorious American translation of a large well tended garden. Nope. This was a few paving slabs and very little natural light. So what did I do? I took up a row of slabs and planted some bulbs. We stayed in that flat for a couple of years and the sight of those red and yellow tulips each Spring lifted my heart.


Nothing as prolific as this - sadly way before the age of digital photography
Our next flat had a slightly bigger yard - a nice 'square'one. For what seemed like forever we would visit the neighbouring waste ground and return with old bricks and buckets of soil to make raised beds. This time I had more space, more chance to experiment, and so began my love for anything 'herb'.

A nearby allotment came up and together we made it our own, complete with a little rose garden. I remember our most prolific crop was 'mouli' - a white Japanese radish that we neither knew what to do with or could give away. Another move said goodbye to that one and by now we were cultivating a different type of crop - our gorgeous girls!

We tried and failed to keep another allotment going, sharing with other families to try and make it more manageable - but the girls being so young and the busy nature of family life prevented us from any long term commitment.

 Our small back garden became packed to the rafters with all kinds of everything. I've absolutely loved every minute of the last eighteen years seeing it develop into my own little oasis. But both of us knew it wasn't quite enough. We had been bitten by the growing bug many years before and never quite shaken it off. So when a nice lady from the council rang a couple of weeks ago to ask if we were still interested in taking on an allotment I almost cried!

We had almost forgotten that seven years before we had put our names on the council waiting list. There had been an opportunity to join a site on the other side of town some time ago, but we knew that if we had to make a special journey by car to get there that the novelty would soon wear off. 

We hung on. 

And it paid off. 

The allotment is about five minutes walk away, maybe ten if we take the 'scenic' route along the canal. Unlike our previous plots the soil is a dream to behold - it's been cared for over the last eighteen years and is packed with worms (at this point I realise I might be starting to sound a little delirious). All the ideas that I have nurtured are now becoming possibilities and I'm doing no end of little scribbles and list making.

Not that it's going to be easy.

My idea of a dream shed is this sort of thing.

A quiet spot surrounded by herbs with the scent of sweet peas wafting toward me as I recline on my Cath Kidston cushions to survey the land.

What I've got so far is this.

Perhaps a greenhouse dripping with vines and bursting with the possibility of exotic fruits.

Once we've got it on it's base and it actually has some glass in it.

I imagine serenely wandering through the bug free, organic produce - Alys Fowler style.

You can see we have a way to go.

But it's here.

And it's ours.

For now.

And this time instead of taking slabs up I'm putting them down.

Oh for the joy of a path ...

So that's what's been keeping me preoccupied of late. At a time when there has been a fair amount of uncertainty and upheaval it's been good to feel that some things haven't changed. And the future is looking a little brighter.

Much love to all of you out there - and a huge welcome to my new followers.


And hello from Oscar - our allotment neighbour.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Thank you

Another short post. 

Thank you for all your lovely comments regarding Jessie dog. She's still with us - in fact she seems to rally back to puphood on occasion - but it's very much a one step forward, two step back time for her. Her sight has now gone completely so there's a fair amount of bumping into things, and her hearing has almost disappeared, but it's her back legs which are making things difficult. Mind you she soon regains her spark when she knows it's dinnertime (much like myself!) So for now we are just enjoying being with her and making her as comfortable and as loved as we can.

Mum has also had a bit of a rough time of it. Different complications following her surgery have resulted in a worrying round of hospital appointments, scans, blood tests etc. Things still aren't 'fixed' yet but hopefully heading that way.

So in one way we haven't done much but in another we seem to have been non stop. In between all this we've had a new bathroom put in (two weeks with workmen, an intermittent water supply and a slightly incontinent dog has been badly timed in more ways than one!) Now that's almost done we can breathe a sigh of relief and actually bathe in our own home again!

But Autumn is here. And I know I'm not alone in loving this time of year. The boots are out and the cardigans are on. We've enjoyed a couple of open fires so far and need to go candle shopping to replenish our stocks. Nights are drawing in but the future is looking brighter that it has done for a little while.

I do hope that you are all safe and well and able to appreciate the change of the seasons.

Back soon with 'proper' news.