Showing posts with label countryside. Show all posts
Showing posts with label countryside. Show all posts

Enjoying walking the dog by the river Adur

As the spring weather is here, I'm making more of an effort to get out and about, I'm also nagging myself to blog more!

I am still 'iffy' about using my stick when I walk - despite falling an impressive 3 times last week - because I worry it makes me look old. Obviously I don't worry that I'll look a prat if I fall over.

So a plea to other mildly disabled or wobbly folk - and to stick suppliers everywhere - what's a good stick to use that will still look cool? Feel free to let me know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter (links in the sidebar)

Anyway - on with the walk. Mr TS and I decided to take her ladyship Fizz the border terrier for a stroll along the River Adur. We only walked from the airport at Shoreham as far as the first car park but it was a nice meander, the weather was lovely as were the views and Fizz enjoyed herself.

Lancing College
Lancing College

dog walking by a river
Fizz, mistress of all she surveys

dog watching another dog while out on a walk
The mix of excitement and disappointment when a dog you want to play with is separated from you by a deep stream
 Despite the lack of rain and the ground looking parched, Fizz, of course, managed to run through the gloopy silt and mud minutes before getting back to the car.

On the whole though it's a good walk for dogs, minimal livestock on the west side of the river, and good views so that if there are sheep you have plenty of time to get the dog back on a lead. No roads nearby and a river for getting muddy in. Not too many walkers but enough to be friendly and enough dogs that Fizz had a nice play too.

dry parched soil
Dry April

Have you been out walking lately? 

A dog walk along the Rife stream at Ferring in West Sussex

It's rather nice having a dog again and now that Fizz is old enough to come out on a proper walk with the family it makes us all feel quite complete.

We are just back from a lovely walk along a local stream, where there are managed ponds and plenty or wildlife. It's a great place to walk dogs, away from the hustle and bustle of the town and yet not a long drive away. There are no roads really near and the paths are easy to walk.

Despite that I managed to take a tumble 3 times! Prompting Mr TS to demand I take a walking stick next time. I hate walking sticks. Although as I have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (a neuropathy, affecting muscle strength and balance) I guess it's inevitable that a walking stick will be needed soon.

Of course delightful teen daughter found it hilarious when I fell in the mud, I think Fizz just thought I was unleashing my inner dog! And while it was messy I wasn't hurt.

South Downs in the distance
South Downs to the north

The walk has some lovely distant views of the South Downs, and had we walked along to the end of the stream we would have reached the sea, and a pleasant dog friendly cafĂ©, but we turned back at the half way point.

family and dog walking in the countryside
Towards the sea

wheat field
Across toward the farmland

The blossom was out on the blackthorn and we saw several butterflies. The ponds were full of plump tadpoles, which may grow up to be newts as there are newts, frogs and toads in the ponds.

blackthorn blossom
Blackthorn Blossom (sloes in the making!)

river bank

peacock butterfly on nettles
Peacock butterfly sunning itself on the nettles

Fizz spent the time discovering that water (if shallow) is fun.

border terrier on a walk
Fizz relaxing

border terrier in action
Action Shot

border terrier running
Fizz racing about after getting a cold tummy

border terrier leaping in water

border terrier in water
pretending to be an otter

Camping with Children

Camping with kids. You all know that I take DD with me, and though she is now 17 we've been camping as a couple (of crazed fools?) since she was 7. But not only did we start when DD was already old enough to be useful (!) I also only had to cope with one child. Today's guest post is from Amy who blogs over at Eps and Amy who camped with two, and who started with a babe in arms! Here's her experience and advice.

Camping with children, the good, the bad and the ugly!

I have two children, now aged 5 and 8, and we first attempted camping when the eldest was just 9 months old. I bought a special camping travel cot and we get her used to taking naps in it a for a few weeks before we went. Unfortunately, once we got to the campsite trying to get her to go to sleep in daylight (tents are very see-through) and with a lot of noise going on around. In the end we gave up and had to take Bethany home.

Not one to give up, we tried again when Bethany was around 2 years old. That went much better! We had changed to a tent which had a blackout lined, it was "dark" but it was "dark enough" and although she struggled to settle initially we all had a reasonable nights sleep.

We have since taken Bethany camping every year and started taking Jack when he was about 2 years old as well. I love camping with the kids; the fresh air tires them out and they really enjoy running around.

Food has always been a bit of an issue with my children, they are fussy little monkeys. We now take a gas powered kitchen hob with us so we can make pasta and cook some vegetables, we also take little packets of cocktail sausages (apparently freshly cooked ones just are good enough).

Children's safety on the camp site can be a bit tricky, when they are small they can easily wander off and cars don't necessarily stick to roads around a campsite so can surprise children who aren't paying full attention. In order to get around this we position the cars and tents so they form a square around our site and used wind breakers to block off any more gaps. We also ensure we assign one child to each of us, it can be very easy to assume someone else is watching the toddler and for them to wander off.

I love camping with the kids, it is so lovely for them to be out in the wild a bit. But don't be afraid to cheat a little: take ready meals with you, put a potty in the tent for night time toilet visits (even once the kids are older), take iPads with you (great for entertaining the kids for an hour when they are tired) and don't worry if it doesn't work out for you the first time, give it a year and try again.
Camping with children can be hard work, but I think it's worth it! Take the kids back to nature, it's good for their health and good for their education.

You can also follow Amy on Facebook and Twitter

Festival Checklist and some Festivals you may have missed


I'm well into my festival season, I hope you've been to at least one, or are about to! I'm looking forward to reviewing all of the ones I attend but until then, here's a list to keep you busy - maybe you'll find a festival to attend? Or to pencil in for next year.

A stay in a cottage in the Brecon Beacons

For the first time in years we had a family holiday! Mainly as I agreed not to insist on canvas so that my Dear Husband felt able to come with Dear Daughter and I to the Brecon Beacons in Wales, in October.

We rented a cottage from Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages, we have been using the company since before we were married! So probably about 25 years (is that really possible?) and this made us confident that we'd get what we paid for.We started using them because they have a really good selection of dog friendly places, and Wales is excellent for dog walks! (Bring flexi leads though - there are lots of sheep about)

As we hadn't been away as a family for years I splashed out a bit and we rented a lovely 2 bedroom cottage in Talybont on Usk, with wifi, real log fire and all modern conveniences.

We were delighted to find the cottage was better equipped than our own home, with sky TV, two televisions bigger than our home one, a dishwasher (another thing we don't have) and a washing machine and tumble drier. The kitchen had claimed 'well equipped' and in the past I've found this to be an exaggeration unless a potato peeler and a bottle opener are the limits of your desires but in the case of the Malt House Coach House this was no exaggeration, from mixer to electric carving knife, from cafetiere to microwave, from knives to toaster, with pans, cake making stuff, was amazing. (not that I did much more than grill Welsh beefburgers and fry Welsh fillet steak)

The wifi only worked at one end of the house which ended up being a blessing as it forced me to read when curled up on one of the various sofas in front of the log fire. (and all logs were provided) There were whole libraries of books, and DVDs for dark afternoons or wet days. On the last day of the holiday DH and I discovered there were hairdryers in each room too!

The cottage was perfect for lazy walks and pub visits - the nearest pub was across the road - and we spent some restful mornings wandering the canal. There was plenty to occupy us for the week and we were really spoilt. The young lady that welcomed was so helpful and friendly. In the summer the cottage even has use of a swimming pool, so we may well visit again.

We have all always loved the Beacons and this holiday was just lovely. I totally recommend Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages if you are after self catering accommodation in the area. Great for walking both canal side and mountain, for food, pubs and general relaxing.

Edited to add - This cottage in Wales is no longer available to rent for holidays, but you can still find your perfect Welsh Hoilday Cottage (many dog friendly) with Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages.

Waterproof Denim? Interactive maps?

Wrangler has teamed up with renowned, award winning explorer Alastair Humphreys  to launch the Born Ready Adventures campaign, designed to get city dwellers  out and enjoying an adventure within and around the city limits. The campaign aims to celebrate Wrangler's new performance denim collection, which features innovative insulating, water resistant and stretch resistant jeans. 

Alastair has curated interactive online maps which show adventures  within an hour of the city limits (London, Manchester and Edinburgh in the UK plus cities in Germany and Poland). Users can also upload their own adventures.  You can check the maps out here  –

The Wrangler brand launched in 1947 on a platform of innovation: to create the best-possible jeans for cowboys. Today, Wrangler continues to create the best-possible jeans, but for the needs of modern consumers. Looking good, working hard: the guiding principle in every Wrangler design is to make you feel Born ReadyTM – fully prepared for whatever life throws at you. Blending fashion and function, the collection is built on modern fits that you can live in, energised with innovative finishes. Wrangler accelerates the evolution of jeans with groundbreaking initiatives: denim that keeps the rain off or helps you feel warm in the cold.

Wasps. Why do we hate them?

Wasps haven't been as numerous this year as other years and I for one am grateful for that. I know that all creatures have their place in the food chain, and that destroying every wasp on the planet would be bad, but it's pretty hard to love a wasp.

In the spring they are industrious little gits, bringing up the wasp babies and catching and eating many a caterpillar and maggot, helping the gardener (though causing many butterfly tears no doubt as yet another baby is carried off to the paper house of death)

Photo Copyright: viktor2013 / 123RF Stock Photo 

In the summer they potter about looking for fruit and as the year progresses they become the total pain in the arses we all know and hate. Inebriated on fermented apple, and searching for a fight like the angry drunks they are, they waiver about the place indecisively looking for places to land. Drawn as they are to meat (I once watched amazed as one tried and almost succeeded to fly off with a piece of steak twice its own size as I relaxed outside a pub one lunch time) and to alcohol and of course anything sweet and any small child within 100 yards, they are a real annoyance.

I have decided that while it's the sting that worries us, and the fact they seem keener to sting that a bee does, it's their indecisive nature that is the real problem.

"Just drink the coke and leave!" we scream, but no, the wasp bumbles incessantly around the lip of the can, will it go in? will it stay on the lid? will it just fly about forever??

"Just make up your mind wasp! We have loads of food, take some and leave!" but no, of course it will weave about in front of your face, threatening to alight on your fork and then at the last minute heading for your glass...

While we, grown humans, flail about, squealing and shrieking, failing majestically to do anything other than look ridiculous.

And that is why I hate wasps. The stupid wiggly flight path, the inability to decide where to go and what to do next.

And not just because they sting you, though that too. Sometimes if you are really unlucky, they might even kill you. I've been stung once. I have had the dubious joy of a wasps' nest in the loft of my house, and this year I've killed several while camping, using only a spatula...

What are your thoughts on wasps? Love them as a stripey part of nature? or hate the yellow horrors? Do let me know of your wasp experiences.

Elderflower Fields Festival - a first timer's review

So our first festival of the year this year has been and gone (and doesn't time fly when you are having fun!)

DD and I took our new tent to the Elderflower Fields Festival. We arrived on the Friday, straight after school (so about 5pm) thus missing some of the gigs and the film showing of Malificent *sad face*

But after sorting out our wristbands (delayed due to a power cut!) we set off with our stuff to pitch up. We found a spot by a pond, and like all festivals it was busy but friendly. We sorted out pitch in two trips to the car with the festival trolley (steep hills!) and by about 8pm we were all done. We were also tired out! So we ate and then dozed about, sat around and generally did nothing at all until bedtime - lazy campers! (and did I mention they have flushing toilets and FREE showers?)

On the Saturday we woke early and discovered we had no gas for the cooker! How spiffing that Elderflower Fields had realised this would happen and had arranged for the Lewes Outdoor shop to have a shop on site! Gas bought we went into the main festival area and ate some local bacon in a bap.

Wood Fired Pizza
At this point I need to say that a lot of what we did revolved around eating and lazing about - I gained 3 lbs over the weekend.

So, things we did over the Saturday and Sunday, included, walking in the woods, watching people build mud huts, eat wood fired pizza, drink alcohol, dress up, listen to The Kings Parade (excellent live band), drink Turkish delight flavour hot chocolate, eat ice cream, listen to Two Man Ting in the woods, wander the woods and look at the art, take silly photos at the photo booth tree, sleep, meet lovely friendly people and eat delicious local food at the big picnic, watch the Paddington movie (yes I cried in public at a kids film!) listen the Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer (love him, bought a cd too) and probably lots of things I have forgotten too...

So will we be going again next year? Of course we will!!

Find out more about Elderflower Fields at their website 

'Like' Elderflower Fields on Facebook ; Or follow them on twitter

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
Shared as part of the country kids linky

My Favourite Place

There are lots of places I like, there is a country road near my house that follows the sweep of the valley and the view is lovely, proper English countryside, mixed farms, sheep downs, little copses of trees. It's beautiful, but it's not my favourite place.

 I also love California where I've visited a friend twice, gorgeous weather, skies that stretch for miles, water lapping on sandy beaches, but that's not my favourite place either.

My very favourite place, the place where I'm happiest is a moveable one. My happiest place is in my tent.
I have three tents. One is Nylon, it was free and while it's better than no tent, it's not that great. It's just a tent. But my other two are canvas and they are both beautiful. I'd be hard pressed to pick only one.

I like being in a tent for so many reasons, it usually means I'm on holiday and when I camp I can let time pass, I don't check my watch, I eat when I'm hungry and start drinking whenever I feel the urge.  Being only the width of a piece of material away from the outside world is oddly liberating too, I love to hear the sounds of nature, the wild as I jokingly call it. The rustle of mice (and this summer, twice! the sound of voles nibbling holes in the ground sheet! I even managed to photograph one of the little buggers!) the padding of passing foxes, the odd screeches of night birds, the wind and even the rain pattering on the canvas. Peaceful.
My tent has been home to much giggling too, many a drunken evening when I've fallen off of the inflatable mattress, legs in the air, unable to get in or out of my sleeping bag. Waking in a panic in a storm and rushing outside in the lashing rain to tighten guy ropes or pound in tent pegs in my underwear...

The best place for my tent to be is at a festival. Laying in the tent late at night listening to the beat of distant dance music at 3am, hearing the merry revellers staggering back to bed, stumbling and giggling in the dark is a fabulous peaceful time. All seems so happy and I can lay and let time pass.

 I cannot think of a place I'd rather be than in my tent.
My husband doesn't camp, so I'm often only with my daughter, but even my husband feels the benefit as I always return happier and relaxed, more saucy too for the self imposed break *wink wink*
So yes. My favourite place, the best place, is lying in my tent, looking up at the glow of the canvas as the sun comes up.

Wilderness, wild people, wild festival, wild beauty

It's no secret, I love Wilderness festival. It's held in Oxfordshire in Cornbury park and since the first time we went (after winning tickets) I've been a huge fan. I dream about it all year and it's all over way too fast. This year was no exception. It's a festival where music plays second fiddle (see what I did there!?) to all the other amazing things that happen in the beautiful surroundings.

Already it seems so long ago, and already I'm booking tickets for next year.

    From the Shakespeare play in the woods, to the camel rides;
    From the trapeze acts to the cocktails:

    from the naked knitting to the bearded burger chefs:
    from the skinny dipping in the lake to the cinema in the fields;

    from the posting anonymous postcards via the Wilderness postmen and women to the bubble teas,;

    from the roller disco to the gospel music at the shack;

    from the main stage and Sam Smith in the rain to the burning tower and fireworks in the warm evening;

    from the Chap Olympics to the intellectual talks;

    there was nothing, nothing not to love.

    Can I tempt you to join us?

    See all my photos on flicker here (including the tents after the storm on the last night!! We survived OK though)

    Night night, sleep tight - Camping sleep mats review

    For a long time I have searched for the perfect comfy night's sleep when camping. As I'm in my 50s the simple thin foam mat favo...