Feels like Summer – and a Cemetery

It’s been a glorious day here in Sheffield, UK. Most unusual for a bank holiday weekend. Yet only two days ago it was cold enough for gloves. Such is our changeable climate. This afternoon I took Harry and Dixie out for a good 3-hour ramble, from their house down to the river and woods at Rivelin and back.

This is one of my favourite walks because it’s so varied and interesting. There are so many footpaths to choose from that the walk is different every time. Starting off in suburbia, it then covers parkland, woodland, fields, rocks, and allotments. There are sheep, horses, fishermen, a cafe, ice-cream, and lots of other dogs. A cool river to paddle in, and once you’ve climbed back up the hill, a simply stunning view.

My route today took in Walkley Cemetery. I find cemeteries fascinating. They are so full of history and hidden life stories. I find them mysterious and atmospheric. This particular cemetery is all the more interesting because it isn’t neat, tidy and well-attended. It is neglected and dilapidated. In a wood on a steep hill, it is overgrown with ivy and creepers. There are clearings, footpaths, and stone walls which have fallen down. The ancient trees provide lots of shade, so it’s like wandering through a rambling old house, from room to room, full of antiques in various stages of decay. Some of the headstones are spectacularly ornate, with stone statues of angels and draped urns.

Entrance to Walkley Cemetery

Entrance to Walkley Cemetery

Harry and Dixie leading the way

Harry and Dixie leading the way

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A little further on, we were treated to a lovely display of bluebells.

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We weren’t far from the river and I could already hear the happy sounds of children larking about. Down at the cafe and kids’ play area it was crowded with families having picnics and barbecues, and playing in the river. I put the boys on their lead as they are terrible scroungers when there’s food about. Further up the river it was much quieter so I let them off again. Someone had dropped a packet of crisps in the path and Harry was onto it: opened and devoured in two minutes, cheesy wotsit crumbs all over his chops.

Yum yum

Yum yum!

At the big pond we usually have a rest because it’s a good place to paddle in the river and get a drink before we leave the valley floor and climb back up the hill. I let the boys have a good mooch round. They went and made friends with (i.e., scrounged food off) all the other people there. After a while I couldn’t see Harry anywhere. Then I noticed he was up on the footpath around the pond, talking to a fisherman. Uh-oh! I hadn’t noticed the fishermen there. I always put them on the lead around fishermen because in general they don’t like to be disturbed and they certainly don’t want dogs trying to eat their bait. So I grabbed Dixie and ran round to get Harry, full of apologies. But fortunately the man was laughing. ‘I have to tell you, love, that your dog’s just eaten some raw bacon’. Well I wasn’t too bothered, as I raw feed my cats and I think dogs should be raw fed too, ideally. The man then offered Dixie his last rasher, and it vanished without touching the sides. Well pleased with their pickings, the boys had one last dip in the river and we headed up the footpath, through the fields to the allotments at the top.

Footpath through the horses' field

Footpath through the horses’ field

The view is well worth the climb. We had a rest in the meadow which was full of lush long grasses and  buttercups. The lads rolled around in the cool grass and had lots of belly-rubs.

Wild flowers in the meadow

Wild flowers in the meadow

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Back home, Harry and Dixie flopped onto the kitchen floor and nodded off whilst I related our adventures to Ken.

I would never have found these places and pieced this walk together if I wasn’t a regular dog-walker. All thanks to the Cinnamon Trust.

Where shall we go next Sunday?

Till next time,

L x

 

 

Garden Planting

Now that the weather is warmer, I thought it was high time to put some flowers in my garden. Usually I would do this around Easter, but this year Spring has come late. I went to a garden centre towards the end of April and there was almost nothing there: a few sad herbs and no bedding plants at all. So my garden has been looking quite empty.

Amazingly, this little primrose survived the big freeze and is giving me a perfect splash of colour.

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I bought a cat mint plant, and to give it the best chance of survival, I planted it in my hanging basket.

"Cats adore this plant"

“Cats adore this plant”

My garden is surrounded by tall trees so it doesn’t get much light. I love it because it’s cool and shady and private, but some plants struggle to flower here.  Last year there were no flowers at all on my rhododendron. But this year, wow! I have just one, single, perfect bloom.

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On my Sunday dog-walks I have been checking out the many local footpaths which lead from suburbia into the allotments, woods, fields, and down to the river valley at Rivelin. Last week I noticed that there was going to be a plant sale at the allotment society HQ. That was surely the place to go for stocking my garden: locally-raised plants at good prices. I went along yesterday and did really well. They had a good range including herbs, fruit and veg. I was in the market for nasturtiums: they apparently thrive on poor soil (check) and grow like weeds (check) and give plenty of colour and ground cover (check, and check). Well, there were loads of them for sale at only 50p. I also got some petunia, nicotiana, and some geraniums with this glorious variegated red leaf.

Already pretty, even before the flowers come.

Already pretty, even before the flowers come.

I bought a nice little plant with delicate white flowers called Woodruff. They said it was a perennial so I thought I would buy it and see if it manages to survive for more than one season. Well, as luck would have it, a quick check on Wiki tells me it could hardly be more perfect for my shady plot. ‘Prefers partial to full shade’, ‘ideal as ground cover in woody gardens’, ‘strongly scented’. It is also known as ‘sweet woodruff”, ‘wild baby’s breath’, or ‘master of the woods’. I have high hopes for this one!

Larry has taken over the plant box

Larry has taken over the plant box

As always, Larry and Monty were on hand to observe the planting and to give their advice.

Monty is supervising

Monty is supervising

Till next time,

L x

Baskets Galore

Fair bit of progress this week as I’ve knitted 4 complete baskets.  I’ve also had a total re-think about the construction which has given me the best result so far – with a nice flat bottom!

Extreme Knitting baskets

Extreme Knitting baskets

Monty is a big fan of the woollen cat basket and I knew he would hop in before long.  I wondered which one he would go for. Spread himself out in the big one, or fold himself up into one of the smaller ones?

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Ah, he went for the big one.

Then he changed his mind.

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I tidied up, and discovered that 3 of the baskets make a nice little ‘basket nest’.

Seems Monty approves of this too.

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Herbie likes a woollen baskets to snooze in.  He squeezed himself into the smallest one so far, before I’d even fastened it off.

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Now for a radical departure: I’m going rectangular.

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Let’s see if I can finish this off before making a start on dinner.

Oh, wait…

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It’s not looking likely.

Till next time,

L x

Extreme Knitting Delivery

Larry supervises the unpacking

Larry supervises the unpacking

After a month of procrastination, I finally spurred myself into action this week and ordered some giant wool.

The cats said ‘Wow, this is the biggest box ever!’

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When the box was emptied, I stood it on its end so that it became a luxury cat den with double doors.

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Little Herbie spent most of the day asleep inside.

It is not a very sturdy box, so when they sit on top of it, it wobbles. Already the top level is sinking lower and lower.  Health and Safety should be informed!

Now to get on with some knitting…

Till next time,

L x