Monday, 28 March 2016

Catching Up!

I am not sure where the time keeps disappearing lately but thought I better have a bit of a catch-up on my blog and also read some of my favourite blogs out there - I do apologise that I have been slow to respond with comments but will try and make amends today in an attempt to get back onto an even keel. 

Well, what have I been up to over the last week or so? Mainly working, walking and crocheting but before I get to that I promised that I would keep you up-to-date on whether I managed to lose that vital 1 lb to get that longed for 4.5 stone award. I am pleased to say that I did reach that goal and received by certificate. Onwards and downwards now to get to 5 stone.

As my regular readers will know I am attempting to crochet several charity blankets this year and last week I completed a special one which I am donating to raise money for Ronald McDonald House in Southampton - a home run completely on charity donations where relatives of seriously ill people can stay to be close to the hospital where their loved ones are receiving treatment. This cause is very dear to an old school friend of mine and she is organising a fund raising event for this very worthwhile cause so I hope this blanket will go a small way towards helping her in her aim. 

I did show you a few photos of thatched cottages on my last Five On Friday post from a walk we recently made around the village of Longparish. However I did take several other photos so thought I would show you some now. The walk was a new one for us called the Forton Loop. We were so lucky that we chose to do this walk on a perfect sunny Spring day which greatly added to the pleasure of walking in such a beautiful location. 

The start of the walk takes you through a lychgate before walking through the Churchyard ...

to the second lychgate which was apparently provided to rest coffins from the hamlet of Forton

before glancing back to the pretty Church.

On through the meadow with views of Middleton House in the distance ...

before reaching the pretty hamlet of Forton with its chocolate box thatched cottages and seeing this delightful horse and cart.

This was our least favourite part of the walk, the footpath takes you straight across the middle of a ploughed field, luckily it had been dry but not something I would like to undertake in wetter conditions.

The footpath then leads up onto a common

and along an area known as Cutty Brow.

Couldn't resist taking a photo of this teasel.

We have almost reached the Middleway where a group of beeches are a stunning sight

Now that is what I call a woodpile ....

Walking through the beech trees

before admiring the far-reaching views from the Middleway.

We then turn off the road again ...

and cross the old Sprat and Winkle railway line (long since gone) ...

and follow the Broadney path back to Longparish.

The birds enjoying the 'pickings' from a newly ploughed field.

Spotting a Comma - our first butterfly of the year!

Good Friday dawned another bright sunny and warm day - time for another walk, our first walk of the year where I didn't need to wear a coat. This time we were accompanied by our eldest son and chose an old favourite - the Riverdance Walk - again around the village of Longparish. I have shown you photos from this walk before but this time I have tried to choose some different views for you.

Pointing the way ...

Daffodils growing by the little stream - love the reflections in the water

A stunning oak tree, it won't be long before it greens up.

Another delightful chocolate box cottage.

Lots of people out walking on such a lovely day.

Celandines - Spring is here!

Don't know if sheep sitting down means the same as when you see cows sitting down but next day the weather was horrendous - how can two days be so different?

Longparish House sat in stunning park land.

On this walk you criss-cross the river many times.

Upper Mill

My son crossing one of the many bridges after walking through the water meadows.

Another view of the River Test.

View from Lower Mill towards the weir

Passing the entrance to the trout farm (on the homeward straight now)!

Looked up and spotted these unusual chimneys.

Our last crossing of the Test - love the sunlight reflecting on the water

We are incredibly lucky to have so many lovely places to walk in our part of the world, I am hoping we can keep fit and active so that we can try out many new walks and enjoy our old favourites for a long time to come.

I will try not to leave it so long before posting again, over Easter we have had torrential rain and heavy winds - not really conducive to getting out and about in the countryside so I have been busy working on another charity blanket which I will show you next time.

Friday, 18 March 2016


Time for Five On Friday and once again I am linking with Amy from Love Made My Home blog.

Yesterday we undertook, what was for us, a new walk which is always exciting. We started off in the village of Longparish and the first part of the walk took us through the little hamlet of Forton - what a pretty little place this is full of quaint thatched chocolate box cottages so I thought I would show you five of them today.

inglenook Cottage

Lovely to see the traditional countryside craft of thatching being carried out

Think the thatcher is kept busy around these parts with all the thatched properties

Test View Cottage - a traditional Hampshire brick and flint cottage

Sirrah Cottage

All different but with such character

I have always loved thatched houses and cottages and we are lucky as there are several in the villages close to us although I am not sure I would like to live in one - the cost of re-thatching is extremely expensive as you are paying for a skilled craft and there is unfortunately also quite a fire risk so I am sure the insurance is through the roof. I was lucky enough to stay in my Great Aunt's and Uncle's thatched farmhouse in another village not far from these cottages many times during my childhood and I think that is why I so love to see these pretty cottages. 

Please go and visit Amy's blog where there are links to more Five On Friday posts.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Greatest Loser!

As my regular readers will know I have been on a weight loss journey with Slimming World for almost a year now. It was time for the 'Greatest Loser' award last week (although my Slimming World consultant said it should be renamed 'Greatest Achiever' and I tend to agree with her)! I was lucky enough to win this award having the greatest weight loss of my group over the last year (4 st 6 lbs to date).

My Consultant then asked me to provide a before and after photo. Oh my goodness, I was shocked when I saw the difference. The left hand photo was taken just after my 60th birthday in October 2014 and even I didn't realise until I saw that photo just how much weight I have managed to lose.

However this last half stone has taken me forever and has been a struggle, I reached 4 stone just before Christmas and I still have 1 lb to go to get my next award. Winning the 'greatest loser' award has really spurred me on and I am very determined that I will meet this next target of 4.5 stone this week. To that end and with the aid of my trusty Fitbit I have been working hard to achieve 10,000+ steps a day since last Thursday as I know increasing my walking has really helped in the past. I also know that I haven't been walking as much during the Winter season so it is time to put my best foot forward and get those steps! 

I know that I won't be able to achieve 10,000 steps tomorrow as I am at work all day and my job is fairly sedentary so I am trying to do a bit extra today to make up for it - 14,705 and still counting. Wish me luck on Wednesday evening, I really hope I am going to achieve this next target. I still have a long way to go on my journey but winning the 'greatest loser' has really spurred me on again.

I will leave you with a four photo collages I have made from my walks over the past few days.

St. Mary Bourne 11.3.16

Hannington 12.3.16

Andover 13.3.16 - I didn't get a chance to go anywhere more interesting on Sunday so a walk round my home town had to suffice but although the walk is fairly boring you can still see things that delight the eye.

Longparish 14.3.16 - The Riverdance Walk

I will let you know next time if the increased walking activity has done the trick and helped me gain that longed for 4.5 stone award! Keep your fingers crossed for me.