Fadding in the time of Corona

Fadding in the time of Corona

Back in January, I wrote my first (and thus far only) post of the year, chatting about the last decade and waxing lyrical about controlling the narrative of our personal stories by charging into the 2020s with the same energy as the upthrust from a SpaceX rocket launch.

Hmm… didn’t really go to plan, did it?

Whilst I had knowledge at the time of the situation unfolding in Wuhan, and years of watching apocalyptic movies did send my panicked brain to worst case scenarios on more than one occasion, I certainly didn’t, at that point, envisage we’d be where we are now.

But this post isn’t about the doom-heavy world picture being painted by a viral artist, or about the thousands of uplifting acts of hope and strength from humans around the globe, as we’re already acutely aware of the devastating impact on people’s lives. Plus, there are much better reporters saturating all outlets with both ends of the scale, without me getting involved!

I have to say though, there may have been a myriad of changes to the human race as a whole in the last few weeks (I STILL don’t understand the toilet roll thing) but I’m mindful that personally, it could be much worse. I might not like having to disinfect the weekly shop, or feeling I have to be battle-ready on the few occasions we leave the house, but as fairly introverted folk, we’ve not had to adjust as much as others. The slower pace and peace outside has been a welcome positive and we live in a house just big enough to prevent us from wanting to kill each other!

Side note: I’m not sure if I’m expecting a passing truck to sneeze on me but has anyone else found themselves socially distancing from other cars when driving? Probably just me…

Anyway, I digress.

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Wednesday Lensday: Grandeur Abandoned

Wednesday Lensday: Grandeur Abandoned

Burton Constable Hall is a large country house, approximately 10 minutes drive from where I grew up. The Grade I listed, Elizabethan property that stands today, began its construction in the 1560s and is surrounded by 300 acres of parkland designed by Capability Brown.

If you were to visit the hall, you’d likely learn that it has been the seat of the Constable family for over 400 years. You’d probably marvel at the interiors decorated in original furniture and features from the 18th century and you may even discover that parts of the building date back much further to Medieval times.

It’s several years since I’ve wandered in its peaceful grounds and the last time I explored the rooms, everything was distinctly larger and taller, so it was lovely to return over the Easter holidays with my mum.

Yet, as elaborate and intricate as the ceilings, bedrooms and even the radiators were, the rooms ‘dressed’ in their original splendour were not the most interesting to me. All a little too ostentatious and gilded.

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Alphabet of Travel Snaps: D is for…

Alphabet of Travel Snaps: D is for…

…the delightful country of our recent trip, DENMARK, specifically the wonderful city of COPENHAGEN!

Having a love of all things Scandi, scrumptious food and beautiful photo opportunities, the capital seemed like a great location for a short school holiday getaway. I’d heard nothing but good things about Copenhagen and was excited to experience some of the healthy, Hygge lifestyle.

And we were certainly not disappointed. Firstly, the Danish are just soooo polite and friendly. Copenhagen never had the feel of a capital city, being very relaxed, super clean and orderly – the road might be empty but don’t go thinking you can just saunter across unless the green man says yes!

Even nearer the central station, around the red light district, I would have happily walked around alone and although we did see large numbers of police vans heading out towards the waterfront on a couple of days*, I don’t believe they actually have crime. More likely the police were bored (as everyone is so considerate of each other) and simply needed to give the vans a run out. Even the sirens came on in small blasts, as if to apologise to the masses for the disruption they were causing!

Every interaction we had was friendly and happy – except, perhaps, for the bus driver, who wasn’t exactly grumpy, he just didn’t lay on a special taxi service to the connecting bus (that we weren’t aware we needed) when his route ended, instead telling us that we had to get off. How disgraceful… 😉

The whole atmosphere and mindset of getting outside, spending time with friends and family and striving for positive mental health certainly oozed through every area we visited. There’s no wonder they are the happiest nation on the planet.

So, here’s my run-down on all the highlights and why you definitely should try to spend a few days in Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen!

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Alphabet of Travel Snaps: L is for…

Alphabet of Travel Snaps: L is for…

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs

I feel it should be a band. Maybe a folk ensemble, one with some jaunty chap on a fiddle and another, beardy bloke banging on a bodhran.

Then again, I’m possibly being swayed by some Celtic vibe, as it’s actually an area of Scotland!

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Not quite the true Highlands, it is still wild, craggy, and undeniably stunning. Winding roads lead through quaint stone villages, overshadowed by atmospheric mountains, unspoiled forests and surrounded by a multitude of lochs.

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Although Loch Ness (plus a few others) may be longer and/or deeper (and have resident monsters!), Loch Lomond is the largest expanse of fresh water in Britain and part of the Trossachs National Park.

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Being only an hour away from both Edinburgh and Glasgow, it’s a perfect base for exploring and revisiting history (Rob Roy’s grave was up the road and Stirling, with the Wallace Monument, is 20 minutes away). But you could easily spend longer and never leave the area.

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We stayed in a cabin* on the shores of neighbouring Lake of Menteith – the only area of water labelled ‘lake’ in Scotland.

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We’re quite lucky to live in a part of the UK that is also not far from rural retreats and green spaces, but the silence when you are truly deep in the countryside is something else.

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Had it not been for the (apparently wild) mallards that literally tapped on the window each day to let us know they had arrived, we could have easily just spent the week sleeping blissfully undisturbed!

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But then we would have missed out on seeing our first ever red squirrel, spectacular scenery and bracing walks. Oh and bracing they were… and extremely wet. But hey, at least we didn’t get bitten by midges!

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*We stayed at Lochend Chalets – see their website here: http://www.lochend-chalets.com


Image Credits: All mine (or taken by Sam), so please be sweet and ask before sharing. 🙂

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Wednesday Lensday: CLOTH CAT

Wednesday Lensday: CLOTH CAT

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Wednesday Lensday so thought it was a good time to share some images I took from an exhibition of Children’s TV and toys last month, in honour of the TV shows’ creator, Peter Firmin, who sadly passed away last weekend, aged 89.

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Known for his artwork and puppetry that complemented the imaginative writing of his partner, Oliver Postgate, the pair were responsible for British Children’s TV classics, such as Ivor the Engine, The Clangers (Mum’s favourite, below) and Basil Brush.

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But by far my favourite (although Basil came close), was the saggy old, baggy old cloth cat, known as Bagpuss. His adventures with Professor Yaffle, Madeleine the Ragdoll, Gabriel the Toad and the organ mice, were a delight and are still a pleasure to watch.

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Firmin’s daughter Emily appeared in the opening credits, visiting the lost and found store where the characters lived…and I wanted to BE her! So, it was no surprise that I gave a little squeal at the exhibition in our local art gallery, when I saw not only the original Bagpuss but also her dress from the intro!

The exhibit centred on the creative duo’s work but also included some key toys from the 50s through to the 90s. Seeing your childhood toys in a museum is a sure way to feel incredibly old!

Taking the main image I took of Bagpuss (first photo), I’ve tried to recreate the look of the opening credits, which were always in sepia / black and white, with no colour added until after the toys awoke. Fun fact: Bagpuss was meant to be a ginger cat but the material came back dyed the wrong colour and so the pink, stripey legend was born!

It may have been a small display but was well worth a visit, for the nostalgic memories alone. Thanks Mr. Firmin and and Mr. Postgate for a magical childhood. I’m just sorry that arguably Firmin’s loudest character – Mr. Basil Brush – didn’t put in an appearance. BOOM, BOOM! 😉

P.S. Didn’t even realise the date until I hit schedule but Happy Independence Day to all my US readers! Hope you’re having a blast, however you’re celebrating.


IMAGE CREDITS: My own and YouTube.

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