Our garden year. The story of our garden in 2010.

Click on the small pictures to see a larger version

22nd January - We attended a Mindfulness Reunion and Michael was invited to take part in the current course just starting because they had a few spaces vacant, which he is looking forward to

28th February - I’ve been feeling the cold, more so than usual recently, so I decide not to go up to the sailing club over the weekend as I had originally intended.  This morning, Sunday, Sue said we’re going out for a walk somewhere so I picked Blackpool to walk along the prom, Sue struggles on hills and the prom is flat.  I nearly decided on the Club but thought we’d have a change and I used to like Blackpool in the winter.  Well I planned to go to the car park at South Shore next to Blackpool Light Craft Club but it is now a building site and the tram tracks are being ripped up!  We ended up in the car park across from the Pleasure Beach.  I talked to a friendly dog-walker and he told us that they were building a new tram depot and museum, so that sounds good.  It seems they are upgrading the tram tracks too.

Well we got going and soon our progress was halted by another industrial site – Fleetwood Sewerage Improvement.  We got round that but then there was another site hiding the new RNLI building.  We got to Central Pier, decided that was far enough, and turned back.  Very disappointing but Sue said she’d enjoyed the walk. 

We had sandwiches in the car and then drove on to Fleetwood, just for a change and to see the sculpture, which we think, is very emotional, so expressive of how it must have been for the families. 


Do you think the flowers detract from the sculpture. I do. There's a memorial to people lost at see a few yards away:

I wonder why the flowers aren't there?

For several years we used to have a week’s holiday in Fleetwood when I was Jaja’s age – used to watch all the trawlers, dredgers, hoppers and Isle of Man boats coming in and going out on every tide.

1st March - On Monday we went to Mere Sands Wood, a Lancashire Wildlife Trust's nature reserve near Rufford.  It was cold again but we thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon out.  In one of the hides we were privileged to watch a kingfisher perched on the reeds and hovering over the water fishing for several minutes.  

This was the view from the first hide we visited.

This is a one of the great crested grebes.  There were lots of ducks around too.

This tree, on the southern edge of the site, intrigued me because of the initials carved high up.
By the time we'd got to the kingfisher I'd abandoned photography because the birds were too far away for our basic equipment.

9th March - Oh dear

Poor Suzie.  She was leaving a car park into a stream of traffic. An approaching car was signaling to turn into the road opposite her.  It didn't turn.  Technically as she was joining a main road she is judged to be at fault but that's not what I think!  Fortunately no one was hurt and the car's still driveable. It goes into the garage on the 23rd.

David's still not gone back to college. He's causing everyone distress.  He will have missed the entire Easter term!  Is he going to be bipolar too?

17th April - Damian had come up from London on Thursday and he decided to spend today with us.  We went up to the sailing club and took part in the racing.

This photo was taken by Mick Bull on his Leisure 17.  Here we are in the Lune estuary waiting for the start of the first race, I'm on the right with my back to us.  We took part in two races and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

19th April - Damian came for another day and we decided to go to Bowness for the day, it was a cold but a lovely day.

We arrived at Bowness and parked near the toilets and the pitch and put course.  We had lunch, which Suzie had prepared. Enjoying the sunshine, it was bitter cold, we walked along the lake side to the ferry to Hawkshead.  Feeling adventurous we got on the ferry and proceeded to walk northwards along the shore of the lake.  It was lovely and peaceful and we seemed to be sheltered from the wind.

Boats moored at Hawkshead.  We walked for quite a way.  First along a road beside the lake and then a track which became a wide path.  We were pleasantly surprised and said we must come again.  We ambled back, got on the ferry and walked back to the car moments before our parking fee ran out.  
We had driven straight to Bowness but we came home going south along the road alongside the lake to Newby Bridge and delivered Damian back to Wigan.

30th April - David started back at college.  Lets hope he can settle down now

30th April to 7th May -Racing round the Isle of Man again

8th May -Things overtook us and we didn't get round to painting again this year.  Michael's attempts this year - Sue's

13th May - We decided to have a day off so we went to Southport:

By chance we got to Southport around high tide and the water was up to the sea wall!  It was only an 8.5 metre tide so we must get there when it's a 10 metre tide to see the waves crashing on the wall.

Looking the other way

we could just make out Blackpool. It actually got clearer as the day went on.

It was nearing lunchtime so we thought we'd walk along the pier - out to sea! and have lunch.  It was a lovely day but when we arrived at the cafe they didn't do suitable food, just cakes.  

We had a cup of tea and a cake and set off back, walking further along the sea wall into town towards Pippins restaurant.

You can just see our car, red, parked on the sea front with the Marine lake and sailing club behind us.

We had lunch at Pippins and then went into Marks and Spencers, next door, to buy a few clothes.

We sauntered back to the car, the sea had by now disappeared, and rested a while before starting home.  It had been a nice break from everything - this was our second day out - hope it's not the only holiday we'll get together.

19th May - After working hard in the garden yesterday we decided to treat ourselves to another day out.  This time an NT property.  Michael had thought of Chatsworth House but it was 75 miles and the sun wasn't shining so we decided to go somewhere nearer.  Sizergh Castle seemed not too far so we set off around 1030 hours.

We arrived just before noon but the house wasn't open so we had lunch before strolling round the gardens.  The daffodils had finished but there were other flowers out.  They seemed to have a lot of acers:

red acer

green acer

There is a 'natural' rock garden, limestone.  The local stone is limestone.  Suzie liked these wall plants:

wall flowers

In the pond at the front of the house, back if you come as a visitor, were thousands of tadpoles:

tad poles

This is the entrance to the 'castle', where the horse coaches would have arrived many centuries ago, and where we were admitted.  You can see it wasn't a very bright day.  The house layout is interesting and we were led on a twisting tour through the the rooms.

It has been the home of the Strickland family since 1239!  Of course it has developed over the centuries into what it is today, the last major additions being made in 1897-8.

After going round the house we wandered along the South Loop walk around part of the Sizergh Estate, about 3 kilometres.  We walked through fields that are organically controlled and are full of wild flowers. This is one of them, a wild orchid:

Other flowers visible were dandelions, buttercups, daisies, clover, lady's smock (cuckoo flower), plantains and many we couldn't identify.  

This walk afforded a view of Morecambe Bay, Arnside Knott and the Kent estuary:

morecambe bay

There were also good views of the Lake District hills but these were mostly obscured by the low cloud.

suzie reading
Suzie studying our route.

We ended the afternoon with a cream tea at the Low Sizergh Barn, part of an organic dairy farm.  The barn has tea room, craft gallery and a farm produce shop.

We got home at around 1800 hours.  I put the green bins out while Suzie went to cut Steven's hair.

22nd May - Boat trailer due to be sandblasted but found there was too much rust. A rethink necessary.

When the rust was removed this angle had holes in the horizontal part.  You can see how it has been badly neglected.

30th May - Cleaned out Suzi on Saturday and on Sunday I scrubbed the deck while Suzie washed down most of the interior.

1st June - On Monday Trudie, Jo, Jaja, Ethan & Jordan came up to the sailing Club. Jaja in the Mirror and I with the twins in the GP14. On Tuesday, my birthday, 72 now, Jaja went out on the Topper and the twins in the Mirror with Michael watching over them in the Patrol Boat.

Taking the boats down the slipway - left to right: Michael, Ethan, Jaja, Jo & Jordan

Here they are leaning onJaja's Mirror.


The start.  The wind did freshen as we sailed

3rd June - Jaja and the twins went river dipping with CVP education officer.
river dipping

7th June - On Frdiay, 4th June, we drove down to Richard & Julie's. Burnt out lorry - five hours. Satuday was Julies 50th birthday party - Soprano Bella and a swing band.  The Sopranos were a fantastic act, pretended to be some of the the staff - entertainments manager, chef and waiter then they broke into song with the most beautiful operatic voices.
The soprano above got me up to dance, really broke the ice for me, I was just retreating into my shell. It was also unusual in that they came on after the main course, which added to the deception I suppose. This is the waiter can't find a CV for the 'entertainments manager'.
Sunday - Julie's actual birthday, we were entertained by Snake Davis, saxaphone player and Richard and Lauren's tutor.
Monday - we visited Babs, Auntie Kath and Pam & John in Oakley.

Thursday 17th June - we helped Anne with the Breathe Easy stand at Morrisons


Friday 25th June - Decided to sort out Suzi's trailer and started work in earnest.  Steph, Ian Hall's friend had offered to restore the trailer but the steel was going to cost £300, which was alarming.  I had gradually got round to thinking I could tackle the job myself.  Today Michael Gill and his Grandad Dave joined the project in earnest with young Michael doing the welding.  I tacked bits in place and he welded them properly.
I can't be sure when this was taken but you can see the old front and rear crossmembers.  I cut away the rear one but Dave cut away the front one  
strailer 1

Tuesday 29th June
trailer 3
Michael hard at work. We'd worked on the trailer on Monday and would do tomorrow Wednesday

Friday 2nd July
This was where we were up to first thing today.  By the end of the day Dave had turned the trailer over and Michael had finished off most of the welding.  On Thursday I'd had a day off made a plate at home to take the two indispension units to act as jockey wheels.

Thursday 8th July - Frank's funeral, we left home at 1000 hours with Michael driving.  we arrived at Frankley services having only been delayed slightly from Hilton Park to junction 8, the M5 start- we lost about 10 minutes.  Michael had a butter pie, left over from Wednesday, and Sue had a sandwich, on the car park.  We then had a clear run to Taunton Dean services where we only stopped to change drivers.  We pulled off the A30 on Bodmin Moor to visit our friends from the sailing club, Diane and Derek Wells, Chapel Bank Farm, arriving at 1600 hours approximately. They are farming 20 acres of land with a new barn and living in two caravans, one of which is a former travelers' van, modernish, distinguished by its ornate cut glass mirrors.  They graciously gave us soup and bread for tea and saw us off on the rest of our journey around 1845 hours.  We put 20 litres of fuel in the car at the services near Indian Queens.  We reached the Premier Inn at Carnon Downs just after 2000 hours and booked in, transferred our luggage to the room and settled down for the night.

Friday 9th July - the day of the funeral.  After a reasonable night's sleep we got to Daphne's around 1045 hours, she wanted us to follow the hearse.  Frank was in an unusual basket work coffin. The church was packed with Frank's family and friends from far and wide.  It was agreed that it was a lovely service, the vicar John has a wry sense of humour, after which we followed Frank and the family to the Penmount crematorium at Truro. From there we went on to the Green Lawns Hotel, via the Green Bank Hotel, Michael had got it wrong, Sue knew where it was all along but I was too pigheaded to listen. The food was good and we met some of Daphne's school friends - Julia and Peggy, their friends from the walking club - Eric, John, Eileen and a few whose names I couldn't remember - Judith's friend Bella, who we remembered from many years ago, plus all the family.  Judith and family left for Todmorden straight from the hotel. Charlotte was taken back to Newquay where she was on holiday and we went back to Daphne's and moved in.  Howard, Rachel and Joe stayed on overnight, Howard and Rachel in a tent!
The remaining family mourners walked to the New Inn in Mabe for our evening meal. most of us had ham, egg and chips because that's what Frank would have ordered.  I had my first pint of bitter, Doom Bar, not bad.  Helen and Colin retired to the Premier Inn, where they were staying, leaving for home, Bedford, at 0730 hours on Saturday morning.

Saturday 10th July - Howard and family left for home, London, before lunch.  We shopped at ASDA, just down the hill, and relaxed for the rest of the day doing puzzles and reading.

Sunday 11th July - Daphne, Sue and I, the remaining residents attended church at 0930 hours, Sue taking communion but I sat with Daphne who still refuses to go up for a blessing or communion.  She hasn't been confirmed but says when she's ready she will get confirmed before she goes up for communion - Frank wanted her to get confirmed - Frank's concern when he was dying was that Daphne did not forget to take the 'envelopes' - regular agreed offertory.  After the service we had coffee and biscuits and talked to the church 'elders'.  I asked them why three bells during the service as it was just like the three bells in mindfulness, Buddhist procedure.  No one present knew the answer, vicar John had gone on to his other parish.  In the afternoon we watched the somewhat brutal World Cup Final, Spain 1 - Netherlands 0 after extra time. We felt the most deserving team won - Daphne doesn't usually watch football.

Monday 12th July - Daphne saw her financial adviser in the morning.  We weren't enjoying the best of weather but it dried up in the afternoon and we rode down to Falmouth to do a little shopping, Sue bought some M&S trousers, where we had tea and cakes.  We then drove round Castle Drive, pausing to look over the docks, and on to Little Dennis Head for the usual ice cream.  Before we came down Daphne had said she didn't want to be alone after the funeral and when we said we would stay with her over that first period she said "Oh good.  We can go to all the places we all went with Frank."
Whilst we were in the M&S tea room we saw various sailing dinghies sailing up and down.  We found out later that the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall we visiting the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club, next to the Green Bank Hotel, and the yachtspersons were potential olympic sailors demonstrating their talents for them.

One of the sailors, think he's got out of formation?

Tuesday 13th July - Daphne had an appointment with her solicitor in St, Agnes at 1130 hours so she drove us there, parked her car and left us to wander round the village until she came out - going to cost her £180 per hour plus VAT - now 20%!  We strayed a bit beyond our brief and ended up at the sea front at Trevaunance Cove.  
Again not a very nice day
Panic - we had arranged to ring Daphne when we thought she would have come out of the solicitors but Sue didn't have Daphne's mobile number in her mobile!  The RNLI ladies came to the rescue.  Sue asked them if they had a directory and did they know the solicitor - fortunately it turned out that there was only one solicitor in St. Agnes.  The didn't have a directory but ringing round they found out the solicitor's number and let Sue use their phone - there was no mobile signal down in the cove!  Eventually Daphne got the message and WALKED down to the cove.  She was supposed to bring the car down because Michael's knee was bad.  
Waiting for our meal, my Doom Bar in the foreground, Daphne's is a Guinness.
After lunch at the Driftwood Spars pub/restaurant, fish, chips and peas!  I had my second pint of Doom Bar.  Super toilets.  We walked back to the car via Stippy Stappy, a picturesque passageway, very steep!  I got to the car park first and thought the car had been pinched but I'd got the car's colour and number wrong!  
Daphne drove us round to Chapel Porth beach for a 'hedgehog' ice cream - Cornish ice cream with a coating of clotted cream covered in nuts!
My first paddle this year - my mobile, poor photo, camera in car at Penvean!
We watched a flock of little birds on the beach, well on the stones in the little stream which ran over the beach.  The National Trust man said they were rock pippets.
We had pate butties, greens, fruit salad and yoghurt for tea.  After tea we discussed 'assets', I worked out roughly what ours were.  We did crosswords and puzzles.

Wednesday 14th July - Daphne went off for a blood test early and I was washed and dressed for 0930 hours!  It was a little sunny but with heavy showers.  Eventually we got round to digging up a dead azalea for Daphne. Poor Suzie was plagued with stomach pains, which were to ruin the rest of her break somewhat.

Thursday 15th July - It had been a wild night with strong winds and heavy rain.  Daphne arranged for Suzie to go to her doctors, which we duly did.  She was given an examination and further medicine to help free her up.  It had been a nice but blustery morning but the rain set in after lunch.  Reading, Michael was reading books by Stieg Larsson, The Millennium Trilogy - un-put-downable, which Daphne found for him.

Friday 16th July - more rain.  We stayed in, rain, Daphne ironing, which she seemed to do every day.  It wasn't a particular nice day, which didn't matter because we stayed in waiting for Daphne's friends, Doreen and Mike, who had promised to call.  More reading and puzzles.

Saturday 17th July - Suzie still poorly but improving.  Daphne had to go into Truro so we made it just in time for lunch at Fodders in Tinkers Court off Lemon Quay.  On the way back we turned into Devoran.
Boats!  Anywhere with boats and Michael is happy



Sunday 18th July - Daphne went alone to church, Suzie not 'well' enough to go.  Later we put up a new clothes line, not as strong as the one that had broken during the week but it was all we could get in Truro the day before.  After lunch we drove down to Helford Passage where we were diverted into a field for parking.  It must have been a special 'gig racing day.

The place was crowded so we operated plan B and took the ferry across to Helford Village, Daphne's plan.  The ferryman and 'friend' returning to Helford Passage after dropping us off.

We had cream tea and cakes at the cafe just up the hill from the shore.



On our way back on the ferry.  We delivered two people back to their boat and picked one up from another boat.

On our way back to the car.  Frenchman's Creek is on the left in the distance.

We motored home via Mannacan, Trenarth Bridge and Porth Navas




Monday 19th July - Daphne took us to Tevaskiss Farm, on Cannon Downs, for lunch and also to get some venison.  Afterwards she took us on to Godrevy lighthouse, National Trust grounds.
Dodging between the showers we walked a ;itt;e way round the headland.
On the way home we went via Hayle and drove along King George V's walk.

Tuesday 20th July - Heavy rain!  Michael started on the final book in the trilogy - The Girl Who kicked a Hornet's Nest.  Daphne found some old photos:
A young lady, photographed by a friend, an amateur photographer.

A lovely young couple on their wedding day. Dear Frank, he is being sorely missed by many people.

July 25th - Our fourth Farmers Market at Cuerden Valley Park. A couple of years or so ago we joined the Friends of Cuerden Valley Park.  There was an appeal for committee members to allow the organisation to continue so we succumbed.  Michael then became Treasurer of the Friends and recently he has become a Trustee of the Cuerden Valley Park Trust.  We man the Friends stall and appeal for people to join us - the more we have the more money we can raise for the trust and the more weight we carry when the trust applies for grants.

August 11th   - finally got going again today on Suzi's trailer, didn't actually do any work but decided to tidy up so that we could get round the trailer safely.  My knee is still restricting me but time is marching on and the season's almost over.

This photo was taken today but the trailer is as we left it on the 2nd of July but here it is upside down, we'd turned it over, Dave, Michael & I.
Sue came with me and we found out from Dave that it was Michael's birthday and he wouldn't be coming up.

August 12th  - Did more preparation work but as young Michael was due to arrive home from work it wasn't safe to weld:

the heavens open with a spectacular storm - Photo by David Booth

After the storm.  I've never seen so much water flowing from this drain on the sea wall above the apron !

August 13th  - We finished the welding on the underside today and with Dave's help we turned the trailer back the right way up a the end of the day. I'd spent the previous two days knocking, grinding and wir ebrushing the underside.  It's knowing how far to go that's the problem.  We decide that we wouldn't change the axle fixing arrangement but leave that for later.  I've crystalised my ideas and I've now got some ideas how to resolve the problem.

still upside down here, start of the day.

August 16th to 20th  - We spent a few days at Glasson Sailing Club with Trudie, Jaja, Jo, Ethan & Jordan - report to come

August 21st to 22nd - Niece Caz, Rob, Louis & Jordan came up from Hemel Hempstead to stay with us for a few days.

Click on photos to see a bigger one.

arrivThey arrived on Friday night and on Saturday we all went to Worden park with Trudie, Lloyd and Jaja.

woods wfallsFirst of all we walked through the woods at the south of the park

lunch2 lunch then we had lunch in the park cafe.

fball tscore htime ftime Later we played football, well all except me.  Trudie scores!  Half time.  Full time

cframe Still the boys were full of energy!

rest resting while thug Trudie and the boys hug an old tree

steven In the evening we all went to Steven's with two other friends, Paul and Joanne, joining us.

The nest day, Sunday, Caz was determined to go to Alton Towers on the way home so they left mid-morning after breakfast.

August 28th to 30th  - Glasson sailing Club Regatta.  I sailed with Stephen Tomkinson in his Anderson 22, Misty.

We're on the left. Jetwind, the overall winner, is the two masted ketch. - photo John Wood

we're on the right - photo Ann Johnson

Me helming - photo John Wood

These photos wer taken on the Saturday, the first day. I helmed on both days because my knee was/is painful.  Stephen was so keen to race his boat that he did all the other work.

The conditions were quite hairy on both days.  22 knots of wind recorded on the Saturday - Force 6, Sunday was even wilder, Force 7.

We came second out of nine boats on Saturday and third on Sunday. We had the same points as the overall winner, Jetwind, but we came second as Jetwind had performed better than us in the second race.

September 2nd  - Jaja's first day at Balshaws

jajabalsh louis
photo Trudie - and at the other end of the country second cousin Louis starts at his new school too.

September 3rd  - We finished phase one of restoring the trailer today!


September 5th - We spent the day at Coniston with Damian who had come up from London for the weekend




September 27th - Today we started to attend a Mindfulness Meditation Group at Penwortham Library.  We will meet every Wednesday evening from now on.

October 18th - the car had its annual service and MOT - £520

October 25th - In the afternoon we went for a walk in Cuerden Valley Park. It was a lovely day and the trees were beautiful.

cvp4 cvp3 cvp2 cvp1
click on the pictures to see a larger version

Cuerden Valley Park Trust AGM. Earlier this year 'The Friends of Cuerden Valley Park' nominated me to be a Trustee/Director/Member of the Trust.  This was around May when I was co-opted on to the Trust.  Today I was formally elected at the AGM.  John Ashcroft became the new Chairman, a quiet revolution. Ian Dibben, the chairman for many years and stalwart of the trust is still a very valuable member of the board, he has given remarkable service to the Trust and we hope he will continue to do so..

October 28th - The first Health Walk in Cuerden Valley Park.   Nici, Lauren and Josh arrived for a few days

October 28th/29th - Niece Nici and children came up from Silverstone to spend a few days with us

nici01s nici02s nici03s nici04s
Here we are walking alongside the river Lostock to the Post Office. Trudie and Nici in the second photo,  Josh, Lauren and Jaja in the third. The end photo is in a fish and chip restaurant in Cleveleys after our aborted attempt to drive through the Blackpool Illuminations.

November 2nd - The Friends of Cuerden Valley Park Committee Meeting.  Tonight I became the new Membership Secretary to the Friends.  We joined the Friends in May 2007.  In spring of 2008 a desperate request was made for people to come onto the Committee.  I volunteered providing it was just to make the Committee legal as I was tied up with Glasson Sailing Club.  Well as you can imagine I gradually got involved, have been the 'nominal' treasurer for eighteen months, but today it became serious.  The membership is growing and we needed to take ownership, for several years the Trust's Manager and Company Secretary had been doing the work.

November 9th - I took part in the second Health Walk organised by Cuerden Valley Park.

November 10th - Today I started for real as the Friends of CVP Membership Secretary.

November 19th - Today, Friday, we attended Dorie Flockharts funeral at Bolton Crematorium and afterwards at the Pack Horse Inn, Affetside.  It was Balshaw's Teacher Training Day so Jaja was with us and came to the funeral, everyone thought he was such a good boy.  He loved the attention and enjoyed the day as we all did.

November 24th - Wednesday, we had the Breathe Easy Group end of year lunch today


November 25th - I took part in the third Health Walk organised by Cuerden Valley Park.

November 26th -At last we set out to try to get Suzie a good pair of walking boots/shoes. I'd read some time ago that there was a shop in Whalley that gave a good service so we journeyed to Whalley, not too far, and found the shop - Warm & Dry Outdoor Clothing Equipment. The service was fantastic! We both thoroughly recommend you to visit if you want any equipment, especially footwear.
At long last we've got Suzie a pair of walking boots!

November 27th - Not been keeping up-to-date, a month since I last wrote but I've added a few entries from the last month.

December 14th - Took part in a Health Walk in Cuerden Valley Park

December 19th - On the night of 18/19th December we had a heavy snowfall, over 200 mm.  We struggled through the snow to help with the Farmers' Market at Cuerden Valley Park

December 22nd - Been slack again, actually I've been working on a 'Mindfulness' web site and 'Friends of Cuerden Vallely Park' web site.

December 23rd - Took part in a Health Walk in Cuerden Valley Park

December 24th - Damian, up from London and staying with his mum, came for the day and we walked through Cuerden valley Park after lunch.

damian04s damian03s damian02 damian01s

December 25th

windows  blackbirdsxtrees

These photos were taken on Christmas Day, the birds had been struggling for food and water for over a week now. At one time we had twelve blackbirds in the back garden.

The first thing Suzie did on Christmas Day was to put up our tree.  What with the weather and everything things had been hectic.

trud2s  trud1s
We went to Trudie & Lloyd's for Christmas Dinner

December 31st - A year that has just flown by with many highs and lows.