Saturday, 27 April 2013

Not the Bahamas...but Blackpool

Well Lytham St. Anne's actually, Woody's childhood stamping ground. We've had a lovely afternoon at the fantastic Blackpool Zoo which, although I'm not all that comfortable with zoos to be honest, it is a brilliant place with animals rescued from circuses and projects to save endangered species.
Afterwards we did one of our regular tours of Woody's old haunts and as ever ended up by the sea, eating fish and chips.
We sat with our backs to the breeze while the boys raced around the dunes.
Such a shame most of the old Victorian bits of the pier are few and far between. A lot of uPVC these days but the struts and supports are still a pretty impressive monument to some extraordinary engineering. I loved exploring it but the warning signs kept me well back.
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.
And even if its not the Atlantic coast, the Fylde bit will do x

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Cycling Adventures

Going away for adventures is marvellous but sometimes I think that enjoying where we live can be just as good, if not better.
We live on the very southern edge of the National Park where the gritstone edges rear up from the fields and dominate the skyline above the town and the horizon we see from our garden.
There are miles and miles of it to discover and favourite places we return to time and again for a bracing breath of fresh air, a scramble about or a gentle, soul restoring stroll. Lucky isn't the word.
A little while back on a lovey, chatty night out with smashing friends, the ladies of our little group decided we would get together on two wheels and enjoy our surroundings a little more - and yesterday it came off.
We cycled 17 miles of the lovely Monsal Trail from Buxton to Bakewell through old railway tunnels blackened with soot and over the enormous vaiduct at Monsal Head.  
The Buxton Bikers - Fiona, Jane and Helen
Hassop Station was our half way stop and fortified with bacon sandwiches, tea cakes and good coffee we managed to cycle to homeward leg and be home for lunch. We had a brilliant morning, made even funnier by my friend Helen having brought along her 9 year old son's bike by mistake.
It was a total beast to ride (not many gears and a seat with nowhere enough padding for mummies!) so we all took turns riding it. Blimey it was hard work! On my stretches I couldn't even speak it was so exhausting. We got some priceless looks I can tell you.Very, very funny and totally painful all at the same time!
Mostly I just really enjoyed having the chance to ride with friends and it was such good fun.My rides so far have been solo events. Cycling is really getting into my blood now and I'm amazed at how quickly I'm getting stronger and able to go much further. On the flat I can manage a fair way but I'm still finding the hills a struggle which is a bit of a problem around our way!
I love the distraction of the scenery, spotting wildlife and watching the world roll by as I'm pedalling along. It doesn't feel like exercise at all to be honest. So much so that I've signed up to do a triathlon in July can you believe ?!?  (only a little amateur one).The biking and swimming bit should be ok but I daren't think about the run. Don't think I've done more than a jog since about 1987! Better get out on the trails again I think.
Its a very lovely spot indeed is Hassop, filled with mismatched chairs, battered old Chesterfield sofas and a really good bookshop along with the deliciously brilliant cafe.
We'll be back there rather soon indeed I reckon.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Way Down South

We let the train take the strain this Easter and headed south-east to stay with our fantastic, old friends who we don't get to see nearly enough. It was so good to spend time together, the kids hunting for eggs, eating lovely food and having the time to laugh and catch up.
The south-east of England, outside of London, isn't somewhere I know well at all and our friends were brilliant tour guides taking us to lovely Dickensian Rochester and the moody coast at Whitstable.
Even on a grey, freezing Easter Sunday I thought Whitstable was fabulous. I love the sea but I was just as captured by the textures and colours of the shingle, clapboard buildings and mellow brick as we walked along the shoreline and braced the breeze.
I couldn't be tempted by the famous oysters though and we all settled for some delicious fish and chips we ate on the shingle with the sun finally emerging. Four adults, four children, all relaxed and very happy to be beside the sea.
It seemed even colder inland but small children always seem to have the energy to dash about and keep warm. Hot chocolates in the cosy cathedral tea rooms really helped too I think.
Such a great time. Looking forward to seeing more with our lovely friends soon; especially with some sunshine!