Thursday, 7 June 2018

Don't Forget

don't forget to check my other blog Magic Carpet Travels  for next step of my journey in Asia Saigon and Cu Chi tunnels this week)... last one next week is Hong Kong.  Thanks for visiting.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Weekend Away

Hi Folks, Hubby took me on a lovely weekend away to Somerset.   We had worrisome things on our minds lately, so it was nice to have some quiet time together to rest, heal and think about what we want to do when we're old and doddery.   We were exploring with a view to an eventual house move.  It's cider country, full of apple orchards, wheat fields, beautiful lush green landscapes and has some very pretty beaches too.

near Stoke St Mary

We visited  picturesque villages and found some that ticked all our boxes: a  thriving church community, pub, 'chocolate box' cottages with thatched roof and traditional gardens like this one.  Friendly people (all of them had dogs that were also very friendly), easy distance of the beach.


Wherever we went we were sure to chat with the locals, that was the most fun of all - people who loved their village and were proud of their community, keen to share it with us and encourage us to join them.  We found village halls open to visitors with tea and cake for sale, friendly people inside who were only too happy to answer all our questions about what it's like to live and work in their part of the country.

We stopped, for example. at Watchet, a little seaside town that was having a Sunday produce market.  Below is the tiny police station, right on the quay and in front of the market.  People were selling their cakes, sausages, crafts and garden plants.  

Watchet Police Station

 This 'Playful dog loose' (below) amused us.  We were in Dunster, visiting my granny's grave in the old churchyard.  I was amazed to find that silk cornflowers (originally from my wedding bouquet) which I had left there 25 years ago, were still blue and looking pretty! 

Dunster has an ancient yarn market at its centre and Dunster Castle is, of course, a tourist attraction, but I love it because of happy childhood memories.

Dunster Yarn Market

I found a lady in Dunster who sells her own honey, she invited me into her kitchen (pretty blue painted farmhouse table and chairs, lots of jars being filled with golden honey and a little kitchen garden full of flowers and herbs spilling out over the postage stamp sized lawn.  Her hives were in the field behind the house, along with happy donkeys.

 This is my favourite place, Porlock Weir, I have many childhood snaps of me outside these cottages, looking bored and eating ice cream!

Porlock Weir


I spent a lot of time staying with Granny, who lived on Porlock Hill.  We had many happy school holidays together at her cottage, where we painted and explored the woods, took a bus across Exmoor, read Lorna Doone and listened to The Archers on her radio.   I had not visited these familiar haunts for 25 years so it was both wonderful and emotional at times to see these places again and share them with hubby.

Porlock Weir
My most favourite walk with granny was from her cottage down into Porlock village, through the woods and onwards out over the fields to Porlock Weir, several miles no doubt.... the beach is pebble but quite interesting for a child who liked rock pools, crabs and seaweed.  There is a narrow metal bridge over the Weir to the beach.   The cottages here have not changed in the 50+ years I have known them and the stone wall alongside them is the perfect sunny spot to watch the boats.

Porlock Village

 Near here there are special places:  a very small circle of standing stones and also the smallest church in the UK.  Places to re-find and explore in the future perhaps.

Porlock Village
Over the weekend we found a perfect forever home village not too far from granny's, but I will keep it a secret as it's a just a very small twinkling of an idea at the moment.  We are returning again soon and I will take my fairy wand with me next time to make some wishes, if it's the right place I think we will see fairy dust sparkle from my wand and I will know we have found 'home'.

Today it's good to be back home, our solid home of 25 years, where both our boys were born and belong, next to the woods that we have come to think of as 'ours', a little wildlife surprise now and then (deer, kingfisher, wood pecker, owl, toads) lots of wild flowers in summer, holly and ivy for decorating the kitchen in the Winter.  It will still be home for a while yet, it isn't ready to let us go yet.... but it's good to have hopes and dreams for the future.


Thursday, 31 May 2018


Hello folks, I have been a bit busy over on my other blog, there are some new posts about my trip to Vietnam at Magic Carpet Travels if you fancy a bit of tourism.

Hoi An, Vietnam

Back soon....

Sunday, 13 May 2018

The Trip! New Travel Blog

Back from a fabulous holiday in Vietnam and Hong Kong it has taken the best part of this week to catch up on laundry, housework and of course, real work that pays!  I managed to make a start on downloading some photos from the trip although there are a lot more to do.

I decided to keep my holiday reviews in a separate blog which is *** Magic Carpet Travels ***if you go there and follow you will be able to see all my pictures and posts about this trip as I add them and any future travel as they are lengthy and need their own space.  I am going to post the trip in sections for each place we visited (Hanoi, Hoi An, Sa Pa, Halong Bay, Saigon, Hong Kong)  So please go over to my travel blog if you would like to see more.

cotton open back top - Hoi An market £4

On this trip I took far too much clothing and most of it stayed in the case.  Suitcases are a real nuisance on trains, boats and in general and mine got damaged over the six flights I took so I will have to look for better/lighter luggage on future travels.   Although we slept in trains/boat/hotels, visited cities, rural areas, did a 5km trek in rice paddies and hills and had time at the beach, I found I wore the same few favourites over and over, washing at night so these things will travel again and are more than enough for any occasion. I took too many shoes (a pair of trainers would have covered most occasions).

East top (Ebay)

White shorts
5 cotton suntops
denim shorts
3 bikinis

5 beach kaftans that can also go with crops in the evening
white crops
beige chinos

2 pashminas
1 old favourite x orange stripe cotton maxi dress

Next t-shirt worn about 100 times!
beach kaftan with crops Ebay

1 grey silk dress
1 blue shift dress
cotton lightweight wrap trousers
navy moccasins
yellow suede platform sandals
blue suede slip ons
pink deck/sea shoes (kooshies)

Next time I will invest in good trainers, one day in Hong Kong we walked for the best part of a 12 hour day exploring and my feet were not at their best in moccasins although they survived!

favourite silk dress, East - worn without lining as too hot!

this little dog had pink manicured nails and prompted me to get my own done!
We didn't take many more pics of me and my dresses folks as there was way too much to see and do, but as you can see, I was never under-dressed and there was plenty of bling!

two most useful items, white t shirt/denim shorts

Jaeger silk kaftan, charity shop: wrap trousers, Hoi An market, hat Primark

Thanks for stopping by.  If you don't have time to comment maybe you can leave a pebble ((0)) so I know you passed this way :) 

Friday, 27 April 2018

HOI AN brief

We took the Victoria express train overnight from cai lau to Hanoi and then a six hour wait for our flight to da nang and then by road to Hoi An where we have a week of beach and sun and nightly trips into the ancient town.

The town of Hoi An has Unesco world heritage status.  It is closed to traffic which was pleasant after the mad congestion of Hanoi.

The beach is beautiful,  my tablet has stopped uploading pics though , a sign I should leave this story until my return......., there is  no visible sea polution, golden sand and amazing sunrises.  I will do a lengthy post when back in the UK of the beautiful places we have been to and have yet to see.....

Sunday, 15 April 2018


Spring has sprung!  The first bluebells are just coming out,  the roadside verges are full of celandine and the trees are budding new leaves, the woods are full to the brim with the green shoots of bluebell which should be in flower when I return from holidays in 3 weeks in a lovely fragrant carpet, also wood anemones.

 Everything is growing late this year, not surprising after the two cold setbacks we had in the UK in the last few weeks.  Due to the rain, today was my first opportunity to check bluebell progress and also my last spare moment before we go on holiday.   Wild primrose in the woods was a lovely surprise, they are everywhere.

 Moss and lichen creating a lovely soft velvety carpet in shady areas.

I am packed for Vietnam, I didn't have time to show you what I am taking, but will post some pictures on return.  We were given a whopping 30kg luggage allowance each but have taken less than half that and intend to put our cases in storage when we go on our boat trip in Halong Bay and the overnight trains/visit to Sapa.  We can pick up our cases on the way down to Hoi An where we will be on the beach for a while. 

Back in 3 weeks! 

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Easter Weekend

A walk in the fresh air to see some very large cows grazing, the brown one had surprisingly curly horns.

lots of celandines and scatterings of wild primrose. 

 My nature journal page for March is rather empty, as all we had was snow, rain and cold, I didn't get out much and had to use my imagination .  No sign of toads under my shed yet.....

 we tested the panoramic option on our camera although it was a misty, grey day it captured everything well.

There has been much on the news about plastic waste and how it is impacting on our environment Worldwide.  I wrote to McDonalds a few months back asking if they will look at changing plastic straws for paper and reducing plastic waste, they replied recently to say they are indeed  doing just this, having found a biodegradable paper straw alternative which they will test in some of their restuarants - on the news this week they announced this.  So pleased to see that this influential food chain is responding to the need for change.  Hope many more will follow.

plastic waste, low tide Costa Rica beach 2017

It was the picture above that stayed in my mind when I went along the tideline during my holiday in Costa Rica, I was looking for shells, there were hardly any, but there was a lot of plastic waste, including this toy plastic pig with tiny little shell creatures attached like feeding piglets, twine round it's neck - says it all really.

It's Easter weekend and we are eating hot cross buns and chocolate Easter bunnies and contemplating the religious significance of the day.   Easter bunnies have absolutely nothing to do with Christian Easter, they didn't die for our sins like Jesus, they are apparently of German pagan origin.

 I do like to be out in the woods at Easter, this is an old silk painting I did some years ago.

I am busy now with last minute planning for our holiday in Vietnam next month, as there will be a lot of travelling around (air, rail road and sea) from the cities to the Northern hill tribe villages and back to the city and then to the beach, we need to plan our luggage to be as light as possible!