Mary Poppins arrived 31/3 at Chiverton Farm, my home till November.

This is a little bit of Cornish heaven. I felt rather disorientated as the roads wind around and the tall hedges crowd you till you rise above and get the magic patchwork view of fields often overlooking the ocean.

Im getting used to the parking sensors beeping when one drives around some corners. One car roads with two way traffic doesn’t quite fit, so plenty of reversing practice.

I venture out more and more. Out walking with Flint, the almost blind border collie, who helps me find my way.

He knows which way he usually goes and stands fast if I make a wrong turn! In return he needs support when there is a noise or traffic till he knows he is safe. I’m surprised he manages the stone grids between paddocks as well as he does.

Sometimes the wild Dartmoor ponies are on the moor. Wild ponies that like a pat!

Years ago Mum spoke of Lands End and my childhood subconscious remembers it as the end of the earth! Well that’s not far from the truth. I cautiously walked across to the ocean incase I fell over the edge of the earth! The sign even reads ‘dangerous cliff’ 😳

The site consists of an unappealing building set in a hundred acres of land with an expensive car park.

I’m enrolled at the local GP clinic and soon received a referral to the eye clinic.

Mail piles up now I’m British. They want a Bowel screen test, mammogram and eye injections. 25/4 was my initial assessment and they treated me without hesitation. I’m on the 3 month plan with monthly injections.

My morning routine at Chiverton Farm when Margaret is away is out to feed the horses and muck out their stables. All manure from the paddocks needs collecting too as the paddocks are only small. Then I’ll take Flint for a walk. When Margaret is home she does not expect me to attend to the horses or dog care but I still help most days and we often ride out along the narrow roads and over the moors and through the woods at times. The horses are over 16.2 so need a mounting block to get on!

My new 1963 Boosey & Hawke clarinet is good to play. It seems easier than before though I’m having a lung blowout getting the higher notes to sound.

I get inspiration from a painting of Louis Armstrong I found.

Google found Meetup when I was looking for rambling groups to join. I joined Exploring Cornwall and Intuitive painting. Weather postponed my first ramble but I’ve really enjoyed the painting on Saturday afternoons. We start with a few minutes of meditation then with a theme in mind we paint however the feeling takes you.

It’s interesting to see what types of things materialise and to discover what different inks and crayons others are using. I’m so new to the various painting mediums that I thought it was all about water or oil paint!

One of our themes was water.

Painting the light on the water is not easy and I’ve got lots to learn

The local gym and pool have a good setup and lots of classes. I’m doing a week trial atm and tai chi, yoga, Pilates and body balance are my favourites. The aqua aerobics was not invigorating enough to keep me warm. However it’s a great pool to swim laps in if you dodge the school bookings.

The local Minack outdoor theatre is famed for great shows in a spectacular setting overlooking the sea. It was started by a woman with vision and has been popular from its beginnings in 1932. Initially with Shakespearean plays on the programme it now varies a lot. I wanted to go yesterday but rain and 60 mph winds were forecast. It was titled Brass meets Rock.

So time has passed and Ive been here for over a month.

My Boosey is sounding better with more in the mouth and a higher chin. All notes are now in my repertoire on most days…

Sunday 5th May I walked 11 miles from Zennor to Cape Cornwall. As it was a linear walk we took the local open top double decker bus to Zennor. I don’t know how it managed the narrow road though the power lines dragged over the roof in one village! One could reach out and touch the buildings in many places.

From Zennor we had spectacular cliff walks with cosy little beaches then old tin mines with engine houses towards Cape Cornwall.

The sun charmed us all day though wind chill remained.

Cape Cornwall shone in the late golden sun.

The last mile was hard back to the car but going via the pub motivated us. We just beat the sunset.

Back home Bobby the cat decided it was a good day to visit. It’s hard to take moving cat selfies. I think he is dreaming.


Llanddeusant YHA to Nash Rd. and then Ali & Trevor’s at Orchard Farm.

A very emotional journey. My childhood does not seem that long ago, with the stories mum used to tell us about where she lived as a child still fresh in my mind. Stories about how the gypsies would come in and ask for something they knew was out the back so they could steal food off the counter. Mum was often left to mind the shop while Nana was out. She also had a taxi so was often away.

So that’s why it feels like coming home. I am the child of immigrants. One who lacks the local culture and does not own the parents culture. Does that make me just chocolate coated?

Well I set the GPS to Nash road Newport and found a store nearly on the corner. After speaking to the owners I had the wrong Nash store. This one was not built 92 years ago!

I needed 83 Nash Road!

So I found it.

Nash Store had new owners recently and staff knew little of its history.

The shop attendant said that there is one old man that shops there who has been coming there since he was a child. He knew nothing of his address so that link was truncated. Mum was born in a room upstairs in 1926 and lived there for her childhood years. When mum visited about 30 years ago the owners gave her a tour of the place and she saw the original lemon tree in the back yard.

I took a few photos of the interior of the store.

Looking down Nash Road.

Nash store from Hampshire Avenue.

So my visit was a pilgrimage and it was a special journey.

Onwards I go.

Ali and Trevor are very special friends of Catherine’s. I have met Trevor but not Ali, however I feel like I know her because of the emotional connection Catherine has and the frequent reference she makes to her.

So today I’m heading to their place near Bath. I drive through Bath but no where to stop!

Trevor and Ali have a charming, rambling home on a small holding with children, chicken, sheep and sometimes pigs. The weekend is punctuated by a soccer carnival for the under 11’s. Count me in!

We meet at a pub and enjoy a scrumpy cider at Lock Inn, a canal side pub in Bradford on Avon. Yes it is next to a lock on the canal.

Onto Orchard Farm to have a lovely evening with the whole family.

That’s lots of photos for you Catherine 😘

We rose early to set up the rugby ground. BBQ & rubbish bin placement sorted. Food bought and unloaded for the BBQ’s. This culminated in a hopeful sigh. Have we bought enough?

Home to have a walk with Trevor’s sister and brother in law. Lovely country and chatting while the dogs and kids run loops around us.

A jolly evening as Trevor’s home made scrumpy cider flows.

Next day my journey continues to Sancreed, Cornwall. This is my home for the next 7 months.

The owners, Margaret & Malcolm who chose me from are recently retired and want to be able to go away for a week or a day here and there so need someone to keep the two horses and dog in a manner they require. We enjoyed a few chats over the last few months and have a lot in common. I’m feeling confident that it will soon feel like home.

The A30 gets smaller and smaller. Then I turn onto one lane roads where ones parking sensors alarm on some corners!

The hedges are high on both sides so it’s hard to get ones bearings.

Chiverton Farm is home.

My cottage.

Sancreed is a small village with two churches and a post box. The school closed years ago although attendance had become compulsory to age 12.

Margaret at the postbox and Flint waiting patiently. I feel like family.

And Bob is purring waiting for his next slave to pat him.

Snowdonia in Wales


I set out into the unknown. A little sadness to leave my Yorkshire family behind.

Stella the dog, Solomon the cat and Harvey thé horse. The sheep were a challenge with their anxiety disorder but I enjoyed snatching a pat at times while they buried their nose in the food bucket.

My lovely neighbour Nora was my partner in crime at the Antique Fair. I’m sure we’ll meet again. Ann and John were wonderful people also but as their house sitter we saw less of them.

I direct the GPS to Chester then through Caerwys where Aunty Ann used to live.

Then onto Wales to Llanberis at the base of Snowdonia mountain.

Thé area is famous for high quality slate. This hillside is looking a bit gaunt.

Thé road winds up through rocky fields to the hostel on the edge of the village.

All for £11 a night.

Above shows the view from the hostel. The mountains are inviting.

A lovely hostel. I shared a room with a nurse and a final year vet student pretending to study the diseases of hormone dysfunction.

Did you notice that an ice axe and crampons are necessary gear? I took chocolate instead.

Night two I meet a few people that I met on top of Snowdonia. They obligingly took my photo on the summit. A drink in the pub and discover they are also staying at the hostel.

The windward exposed areas were hard to stand up in. Even the lakes in the valley were whipped by the wind.

I drive the slow road from Llanberis, Snowdonia to Llandeussant YHA Via Caernarfan castle.

It was noted to be remote but I continued to drive through villiages.

However, the last 10 miles wound through farming paddocks on one lane tracks until I saw a church and a big white cottage. YHA. I had arrived.

No answer at the door so I went next door to see the church and graveyard.

My cider was opened under the barb wire on the fence. I thought Patrick would have an opener somewhere but I did not see it. The church door was open!!!

I hope it is ok to drink in the church. No one to complain.

This was a well used church with hymn books in place.

A pottery display was opportunistic in the foyer.

At 1730 a Range Rover approached.

Maybe that is why I had to specify my arrival time! Peter opened the hostel and informed me I would be on my own. He showed me around and gave me a key.

Wow! That took me back many years when I stayed at the remote Eucumbene Portal hut and met Marcus. I made an awesome vegetable soup but overdid the cayennne pepper…

The fire was soon set and crackling throughout the lounge and kitchen.

There was no question about who was going to cook I guess. Me.

My food box revealed pasta, cheese, mixed herbs, whole grain mustard and black pepper. Delicious.

Leftovers for breakfast.

I wanted to share this with my world but “ No service”. So I embrased thé solitude.

Sheep were lambing in the adjacent fields. Lively bouncy bundles!

Fire wood was ready split so one only had to throw another log on he fire.

Ilkley Moor & 12 Apostles

21st March. Ilkley is only a 30 minute drive from Leathley Manor House where I am housesitting.

Special old carvings on rocks attracted me to the Ilkley Moor. I found a face.

Set high above the town there were distant views to moors and farmland.

The ground was dark and springy. Was that peat?

Heather, undergrasses and dry ferns have good cover for grose birds. They are preceded by their clucky call and either stay hiding in the Heather or fly away with whirring wings and a blubbering screech!

Once again the tracks were poorly marked but well formed. I was guided by fellow walkers and my book. I found the 12 Apostles and they formed a special ring on top of the moor.

Then I sniff thé breeze to activate my compass and hope to wander back towards the Cow and Calf pub.

I saw a sturdy stone rest area with a poem letter box. It had a wheel at the side but I forgot to see if I could remove a poem! A red grouse appeared and I was too busy taking photos!!!

Around the corner and down the hill I see the Cow and Calf.

At 1630 I’m still in time for a late lunch and it was delicious.

Spare ribs on a fresh salsa with mango, tomato, beans and more.

A really nice day all around.

Now time to drive home intime to check that the chicken had roosted in their house before the auto door closed on them.

Lunch with Liz, Adam & Reggie. Malham Cove & thé Settle bootmakers

10-20th March.

Time passes. Snow and wind seem like they will never end.

19/3 I drive through a snow storm to a village Oldham, in the Peak District for a big hug and to see old work friends from Redland Hospital. They spent 2 years there and a year travelling home. Now enjoying family life in Glassop and a 8-5 job with NHS.

It was a lovely day. Just like time had not passed!

21/3 I put on nearly all my clothes and off I go to Settle and Malham Cove. There is snow on the peaks and I walk in the raining fog.

I park near the Tarn so have a look there then cross the road and join the Pennie Way to Malham Cove.

Apparently a scene from Harry Potter was filmed on the limestone rocks at the top of the cliff. Rowena says number 7.

The track followed a stream then crossed it. Waterproof boots proved to be waterproof!

Then the tracks Criss crossed and faded. I spoke to the Swaledale sheep and they just laughed!

I think I scrambled down to Gordale Scar.

In the distance i spotted a well formed track so I joined it and found Malham Cove and the cliff top.

This is the Harry Potter 7 stage.

Thé view was breath taking. One felt like fairies and magic eagles might fly one down to the valley below. That’s where quidditch would have been interesting!

Later I found a sign pointing to Gordale where I had been “lost”.

The stream that I walked through earlier disappeared into the ground. Probably into a cave as there are many around in the limestone.

I sat with a couple of locals for a snack. They recently did 500 miles on the Camino de Sandiago in Europe. Much easier walking and well set up with hostels.

They point up and up a steep valley that took me back to my car. The photo is looking back

A warm mulled cider and an open fire made the day glow.

On to Settle to the bootmaker get a few more holes in my belt and to get my gaiters repaired.

He did not have a machine small enough but gave me linen thread and material to splint thé torn join. Homework for me!

My 99p Vinnes Gortex gaiters are proving to be very useful in the wet and boggy tracks.

While in the shop he told me the history of some of the boots. The earliest styles date from the 1400’s. They had a leather shoe for inside and added a wooden clog to go outside.

The hob nail walking boots with special nails were very heavy. They would have have made lots of noise on. Hard floor!

Some of the shoe patterns they copied from remnants dug up in the peat. Apparently that preserves them. Fashion was important. Pointy toes were in here!

Modern walking boots have similar patterns on their sole.

York and local hiking 5-10th March

Wednesday 5/3

Yorkminster here we come!

We drive into the walled city, then a scenic walk through the streets to the cathedral.


Can you see all the different heads carved in the stone?

Then onto the Museum. interesting burial style. Roof tile inspired.

These life sized statues have been found. One was even used as footings on a bridge.

Pop in on a boutique distiller. Amazing bottles. Three that fit into the size of one with recessed places for the necks.

A barley wine at the Dodger Bar.

Saturday 9/3

Patrick heads home to Melbourne. He was great company even if he beat me at canasta a few times.

Wharfedale viaduct was worth a visit. Very graceful in the distance and enormous close up.

Hiking in my local area at Lindley Wood reservoir. Snow and strong winds roared through the tree tops. Tracks everywhere but which way???

Needed google maps to help out a few times. The tracks wind around so one loses ones bearings.

Then I walked around the narrow lanes with the wind pushing me along.

It was great to find the car. Snow on the windscreen! Off to the pub for Sunday roast. Wow it was good!

Hackfall Wood & Pheasant dinner

Harrogate & Hackfall Wood.

Walking boots on and we go driving to Harrogate Bath House and the Yorkshire dales.

Lovely old stone buildings and big hotels at Harrogate. The baths were interesting but underwhelming. We walked up to the park and enjoyed the crocus bulbs on mass.

On the road again we drive to Hackfall Wood hoping to walk among some trees. Perfect. A series of ruins and follies keep us walking up and down dale.


Day at home. Me sneezing and Patrick improving.

But I managed to cook an amazing pheasant breast with raspberry and baked apple sauce. Baked parsnip and pumpkin, caramelised onion and garlic, on a bed of mashed cream potato. Side of sprouts and broccoli.

There was a trick to tender pheasant. Cooked in an oven bag with a punnet of fresh raspberries, oregano and a few crushed juniper berries at 65C for one hour then into a hot butter pan for 60seconds on one side.

Bon appetite!

Leatherly, Nth Yorkshire

Leathley, North Yorkshire. Our first house sit.

Waking to the birds and boards.

Squeaky floor boards announce that Patrick is up.

My door is open. He brings in a big cup that I thought was tea!

Stella’s cup and she wants breakfast! Key required from my pocket.

Solomon and Stella fed.

Then I hear a tune on the ivories. The grand piano is at thé bottom of the stairs so music wafts up.

Now I’m thinking of the bread we bought at the local baker. Time to get up!

Yes breakfast was good.

Now down to the paddock to do the morning chores.

Harvey the horse of 26 years.

6 Hebrides sheep and

5 chicken fed.

A drive to Shipley for an Indian restaurant. Disappointed.

Bathed in lovely stone villages every way you turn. Guess that’s the way it is.

Somehow we end up in a pub. They are really such nice places.

Paperwork issues continue.

Proving I live here is tricky. Need it for car insurance, bank account and driving license. It will happen.

Thinking of pheasant for dinner. We have some in the freezer that we’ve been invited to eat.

Leicester 24 -27/2

Only a few days to visit all the pubs in Leicester.


Bank account done through the back door. Joint account with Patrick for a start. Without further proof I am then able to open my own account!!!

20.6C today. This is highest recorded temp in winter in the area. Locals have been saying the weather is balmy. Maybe I’ve brought a bit of Queensland.

Lucky I say.

Tuesday 27/2

Showers done. Aloe Vera wipes give me an easy option in the cold in a grotte group house.

Exercises done with the elastic Powertube.

Screwfix now. Yes no joking! That’s the name for the local Bunnings.

At Screwfix one stands in an entrance room and looks through a catalogue and orders at the counter. No up close or personal with the tools. They even have ikea style pencils to write down the item number.

Market Harborough signs so off we go. 14miles from Leicester.

Dad was born there in about 1922. We find graves x4 for people named Woods, his birth name.

John born 1874 & Ada 1877

Joseph died 1968 aged 74 and Ivy in 1953 age 55. See above.

John died 1912 aged 70 & Jessie in 1926 aged 73years. See below if you can.

And George who died 1924 at 30yrs

Melton Mowbray is famed for the beginning of pork pies. We wander to the best shop and yes, they are good. Online orders accepted.

I see a stall with Harris tweed jackets, but at £160 it stays there.

Then onto a deer park at Wollaton near Nottingham. Grand old house and stable block converted to tea rooms on a broad acerage on which two deer herds graze. Nice walk around the lake.

A quick pint at the Admiralty Rodney then home.


Thursday 21/2

Arrived at Islay after about 2 hours on the ferry.

Then, walk or bus? We walk.

The community project to make a path complete with rest seats was great. Three distilleries within 5km.

Laphroaig poured us a wee dram then onto Lagavulin. Enjoyed another wee dram then onto Ardberg for lunch and a tasting.

Back down the road to Laphroaig for a 3pm tour. Susan our guide was a reborn school teacher. A great tour and the only brewery that did own peat smoking and sprouting/malting of the barley.

Below the malting is smoking the fire with peat. This is infused into the barley while malting.

Peat cut by hand in clumps is better as it retains its moisture and therefore smokes the barley more.

Back to the Port Ellen ferry. I Find cards and we play canasta on the 2 hour crossing. On to our glamping pod. Harder than you think with no internet or phone connection.

An hour later we accidentally find it then go onto Tarbert for dinner. All closed except a little supermarket. Bit lucky at 2110hrs in a village.

Friday 22/2 & Saturday

On the road again. Up and down lochs on narrow roads. We pass a fuel tanker from Chivas Regal. Guess it was Scottish whisky fuel.

Then we drive 6 hours south to Leathley for a community dinner and introduction weekend with Ann and John at our house sit in North Yorkshire. Lovely people, lovely place.

My room at The Manor house, complete with a rocking horse.

Ann shows us around the closest town of Leathley and later we walk along lanes, across paddocks and burns to a forest. Public footpaths through private farms and onto Riffa wood was nice. Not sure how often we found the designated track!

We drop in at the local church on the way home. The graves date from the 1700’s and the name on the gate is St Oswald’s Leathley.

Later we find ourself at The Black Bull in Leathley.