Into the Bluebell Woods

Into the woods

Hello, Just here to share some bluebell photos. They aren’t very good I’m afraid. I think I’m using the wrong lens again. I’m on a bit of a downer though and that usually makes me think everything is rubbish. Boo flippin hoo. Maybe tomorrow they’ll look lovely!

Anyway, here is Blackbury Camp in East Devon (not blackberry, thank you). It’s a fabulous place for bluebells and I always time my visits incorrectly. Usually I’m too early and they’re not quite out. To be honest, I don’t think these are at their peak just yet. I could go back in a day or two, it’s only a ten minute drive from me but I bet I won’t.

through holly

This is me trying to be clever. I should work on perfecting the basics of photography before getting artsy fartsy.

White bluebell

I noticed white bluebells (?) dotted about the place. What’s that about?

Sea of bluebells

It wasn’t the best day, weather wise. Mostly grey, turning sunny towards the end of the visit. Twas a Monday afternoon.

Path through the bluebells.

The history of Blackbury Camp is interesting. It’s an old Iron age fort, possibly somewhere I’d head in a zombie apocalypse. It’s a kind of oval shaped bowl with two entrances and a moaty type thing around the outside. Now it’s all mud n trees but it presumably would’ve had wooden ramparts sitting sturdily on the rim of the bowl. These pics don’t really show the shape of it but google does.

Bluebells growing

In previous years we’ve had picnics here among the bluebells in April/May or in the summer when the kids catch grasshoppers and run around playing hide n seek.

Bluebells growing on the slopes of Blackbury Camp.

Because I was unhappy with these pictures, I admit I fiddled with them on Pic Monkey. I’ve had to warm them up somewhat because they looked so dull. Obvs, I blame the weather.

Bluebell woods

This one in particular got the editing treatment. It looks better than it did but no amount of fiddling can improve a truly crud photo… pah, onwards and upwards. I’ve asked for a photography book for my birthday, which is next week. The first anniversary of my very first blog post is coming up soon too. I think I’ll write up a crochet pattern for that one as it feels like it’s been a while.Β  Right then, I’m off to go and cheer myself up.

A quick visit to Stoke Fleming.

Blackpool Sands in a cold April.

Husband grew up here in Stoke Fleming, and his parents still live in the same house they’ve had for over forty years. It’s near the busy town of Dartmouth and the area is always rammed with visitors, especially in the summer. I remember holidaying in Stoke Fleming when I was little, completely unaware that at some point I was probably only a few metres away from future husband. When we first met, that made my mind boggle a bit. Actually, I doubt we were that near each other because I’m fairly sure that locals wouldn’t have mixed with a grockle like me!

lichen

We went and stayed last weekend and the weather was pretty bad. It changed our plans for hanging around outside all the time. We did do things but not as much as we’d hoped.

As usual I have randomly clicked away at stuff I like. I haven’t worked out an order in which to place the pictures but fingers crossed I’ll have a blog post by the end of it!

Walls and stuff. Stoke Fleming.

The rain is good for green, there was lots of green. I like all the old walls with weeds and wayside plants.

Spring flowers on our walk.

The early flowers are here with the promise of bluebells and foxgloves to come. It’s a shame it was such a grey day.

woolly bits and their sheep

Lots of lambs with their mummies. I was tempted to gather all the wool from the barbed wire but that might have been be a step too far. I’ve got enough of a wool stash already.

From Stoke Fleming to Blackpool Sands

One of things we knew the boys would like was a trip to the beach. It’s a nice walk from Grandma and Grandad’s house and not that far either. What I find funny is that you can see the sea on either side of this little lane. These gates are pretty much opposite each other.

A peek at the sea - Copy

I love the walk down to the beach, it’s exciting to catch glimpses of it through the trees. It makes me feel a little bit dizzy though as the drop is quite steep. I don’t do heights.

Sea view. Blackpool Sands - Copy

Because of the dizzy, I rushed taking pictures up here. I’m sure that’s why I’m still getting waves of dizziness right now. I was moaning about being dizzy in the week and I’m starting to wonder if this is what triggered it. I believe it’s an actual thing and I’m not just making it up!

The other end of Blackpool Sands

That’s one end of the beach.

One end of Blackpool Sands - Copy

This is the other end. This is where we explored. Somewhere in the middle of the beach is a cafe and shop. It might sound peculiar but this is where we had our wedding reception a few years ago. It’s called the Venus Cafe and it was lovely. Haven’t been for a while but it’s definitely still going.

The top end of Blackpool Sands

I like this end of the beach, there’s a river. The boys took their shoes and socks off and went for a paddle. I have no idea why, it was blinkin freezing.

river meets sea

I watched the river meet the sea. The shape of it changes all the time.

Watching the waves

I also tried to take photographs of the sea doing its thing. Some worked out alright but I need a different lense if I want to get a better picture. I didn’t fancy taking the camera any closer to the waves. I was too far away to get the full impact of them. I reckon you could make these piddly waves look fairly impressive with the right equipment.

Hedgehog pebble

Grandma found a pebble that looked like a hedgehog! He came home with us. Little eyes and everything!!

chasing blue beetles

This beastie tried to run away from me. He (she?) was beautiful! I only wanted to take a picture.

And then it was home time. The Easter holidays are just about over. Back to school tomorrow. We’ve had lots of adventures and it has been lovely. (One of my highlights was watching cows in a dairy and drinking some proper fresh cow milk. A low point was today; rushing to the train station to go on an adventure to the museum in Exeter. The museum was closed).

We’re ready to get back to normal now please.

Autumn shenanigans in a Devon town.

You are here at your own risk.

There’s a little bit of pagan in the air and I love it. I was especially looking forward to last Thursday for a good old pagan fix. In the morning I popped into town to take photographs of all the signs that were being put up for shenanigans happening later in the day.

Warning Flaming Tar Barrels.

However, before the day could really begin, a poorly toddler threw up in my lap and I knew that the evening, for our family, had been written off. For everyone else, the roads close and at four o’clock Ottery St Mary becomes a land of awesomeness.

The Volly

The first time I went to the Tar Barrels was in the year 2000. I was coaxed onto a coach from Exeter without knowing what I was heading toward. I had the best and scariest night ever. Thousands of people arrive every November 5th to stand too close to burning barrels of hot flaming tar. How great is that?

shutting up shop

All the shops are boarded up to keep them safe from the hoards of visitors. There’s a risk of the glass smashing due to the massive volume of people potentially being squashed against the buildings. Such fun!

crushing crowds

That first time I went I was petrified and spent most of the evening running for my life. Well, not really but that’s how it felt. In subsequent years I’ve found myself running towards the flames, trying to get as close as possible. I flippin love it! I’m not sure you’re supposed to do that. The key is to be respectful and responsible.

Tar barrels in the streets

Sadly, this year, because of a pukey boy I was disappointed. I could hear all the cheers and shouts from home. The smell of bonfire wafted all over town and it felt ridiculously magical. I took eldest boy out for an hour, so I could say we’d given our support.

terrible photo's of tar barrels

These were the only pictures I could get. I had a six year old balanced on my hip and I forgot to turn on my flash. I didn’t want to get too close because the boy gets scared. It’s funny because next year it’ll be his classmates taking part. Kids from Ottery families start “rolling” barrels from the age of seven. There are kid’s, women’s and men’s barrels and they take place all over town.Β  The barrels start small and get bigger thoughout the night culminating with the enormous Midnight barrel. I like the picture on the bottom right. It’s of our walk home but the trees form a circle and the lights reflecting on the road surface look like flames. It’s an upside down barrel! Sort of.

smallish tar barrel from 2011

I took this picture in 2011. I can’t be sure but I reckon this is one of the kids barrels. It isn’t big enough to belong to one of the men. A lit barrel is lifted onto the shoulders and the carrier runs up and down the street, giving a little spin to keep the flames going. Hessian mitts are worn to keep hands from getting crispy and then many layers of what are usually rugby shirts are worn to protect the body. Awesome!

Ottery Bonfire 2011

There is also a huge bonfire, which gets built during preceeding weeks. I love the ritualistic lighting of the fire, it’s amazing to watch. It is seriously the biggest bonfire I have ever seen and the heat that emanates from it is super intense. I always expect it to still be going the next day but it has always burned to the ground.

I seem to have written an awful lot for someone who spent less than an hour there this year.

Any way, 2016 is going to be an amazing year. It’ll be on a Saturday, so the crowds will be huge. This adds to the atmosphere and noise. Great stuff.

A lovely start to the summer holidays

Up on Hound Tor

We spent the day on Dartmoor yesterday. Nice and sunny up on Hound Tor. We kind of had two picnics. First, a lunch and then an afternoon snack (I made courgette cake) after some walking.

Through the heather to Hound Tor

I took this photo from behind some medieval ruins of an old Dartmoor Longhouse. There are a handful of ruins here.

Hound Tor, Dartmoor

It looks so small from a distance but Hound Tor is massive. Also, somewhat radioactive.

We walked up to Hound Tor, past the village and then went down into the valley to throw stones in the river. The boys loved every bit of it. Walking down the steep valley, carrying a two year old was a bit punishing on my knees but he kept falling over so… He also didn’t enjoy walking back up the hill. His legs are only little.

getting ingredients for quiche lorraine

I also made some mini Quiche Lorraine. It was supposed to be a joint effort between me and the boys but they didn’t stay around long. This recipe came from Rachel Allen’s Bake. So did the courgette cake (which is called Zucchini Bread in the book). The recipe is for a big quiche but I thought small ones would be easier to transport for picnics. Just cook them for less time.

mini quiche lorraine

They worked quite well and we took them with us for our Dartmoor picnic and also for a picnic the day before, to Blackbury Camp in East Devon.

Summer time at Blackbury camp.

It’s an English Heritage site, known locally for its bluebells in spring. It’s an iron age hill fort and brilliant for kids to run around in.

A big bit of flint with quartz

My boy found a big lump of flint with quartz inside. He was very happy with it. His index finger just about shows the scar he gained from his exchange with a saw, on our recent camping trip.

Hello little grass hopper!

Grass hoppers were everywhere. This one is sitting on the inside of my arm.

IMG_20150728_161212355_HDR

On Tuesday we went to a birthday party on Exmouth beach. It started out a bit cold and windy but soon after, the sun came out and the boys got slowly braver and a little less clothed. The seaweed did funny things as the tide came in.

IMG_20150728_143215644

There were a few of these Barrel Jellyfish dotted about the place. It wasn’t this blue in real life but it’s a picture taken on my phone, which does funny things without me asking. They looked like aliens. There was much stick poking from many six year olds. Fascinating.

So that kind of rounds up the first week. We did other fun stuff too. Hanging out with friends, trips to the park and such. I don’t think I’m going to do summer holiday updates every week, it’s just that I haven’t done much in the way of crafting. After my wasp sting at the beginning of the week, my hand swelled up and I thought it best not to do any crochet or sewing.