Archives for category: travel

Easter Monday and the sun shone as if to reassure after the rain-drenched Sunday, that sunshine follows rain, joy after despair, laughter after tears…

Catching the sight of the yellow daisies beneath the still bare trees, they just appealed for closer inspection…

Interspersed with bluebells, wild garlic, dog mercury, small comfrey and the fading daffodils; I couldn’t help but stand mesmerised , watching the flowers sway in the morning breeze. We love visiting Culzean, and this was really my first foray into the world for several weeks (apart from hospital visits – they don’t count!) ūüôā

Overhead, the birds sang in a loud cacophony of song. The sweet, musty smell of the damp woodland, soft earth underfoot; we can walk wordlessly among the trees, every sense alive. A flutter of bird wing, a flash of colour, a scent on the air, the sound of the sea, a rustle of leaf litter. Simple treasures, simply available, simply wondrous!

Thanks for stopping by today Р may you find pleasure in simple treasure today


Each moment given,¬†a precious gift…

Every sunset a beautiful ending.


Thanks for stopping by today, sorry I haven’t been very active recently. Thank you for your kind words, and thank you to everyone who has recently followed, that’s 501 today!

Life just now is about recovery from surgery and beginning the next arduous treatments. Have some photos for some wordless posts, brain rather addled just now! ūüôā

Don’t waste the sunsets – each is a perfect gift!

Sunshine on the Firth

Sunshine & showers over Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde, also known as Paddy’s Mile stone as it marks the halfway-point between Belfast and Glasgow. The name may mean ‘Faerie Rock’ in old language (? Gaelic). Over the year it marks the Winter Solstice, the furthermost point the winter sun sets, gradually heading north until July sunsets are over Goatfell. A steadfast little rock, sanctuary to seabirds and still mined for granite for curling stones….

Thanks for keeping company today, I’ll be away from my blog for sometime, with a scheduled post tomorrow.

Take care of yourself.

I’ll be back!



Wind Surfing - Lake Garda

The pessimist complains about the wind;

The optimist expects it to change;

The realist adjusts his sails.

William Arthur Ward


Kite Surfing  - Lake Garda

When the wind blows up around Torbole, Lake Garda, those in the know trim their sails and exploit the wind!

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away…
William Shakespeare (1564‚Äď1616)
Sonnet 73

We may be surrounded by trees, but nothing gives greater pleasure than a walk at Culzean (pronounced Cullane) Country Park. It was busy with many visitors causing my OH to remark that in the past we could have walked around the park and met very few people. Many of the great beeches that lined the roads have been felled to make way for new plantings as the estate continues to make improvement. We always head off into the woods, hoping to stumble upon the ‘Cat Gates’ and the beech avenue. We found them devoid of ivy and looking every bit as regal as usual, the scrubby undergrowth cleared from the surroundings but somehow losing something of their charm also.

October, flutters away with the falling leaves as November carpets the ground in a riot of autumn colours; the fungi wreath decaying branches. Fairy rings inscribed in the mossy ground. Curious Goldfinch settle on the nearby tree to observe the humans encroaching on their territory. Blackbird startles, the coal tits and chaffinch forage at the leaf axils for insects. A whistle calls a roving dog to heel and from the woods peels of laughter ring through the trees; a family enjoying the woodlands. Seems everyone is out enjoying a walk in the woods, watching the colours change and fall before winter consumes all…

Thanks for stopping by today – enjoy the changing season and a new month!

Our friend had a birthday, a round birthday and being young at heart (and fit), invited a convivial group of people for a gentle hike around¬†Loch Trool .¬†Last time we visited the area was to celebrate his wife’s round birthday, also in October. As we neared the park a light rain began to fall, having driven down in sunshine that seemed just a little unreasonable. But the grey, gun-metal skies were brightened by the fattest, most colourful rainbow I have ever seen.

Gathering in the car park the sun reappeared as we set off in high spirits. October has been dry so the going was good. Birch leaves golden in the afternoon sun, berried bushes shone like jewels. Blackberries asking to be eaten, fat and heavy on the twisted canes. Gradually the groups dispersed as those who like to get round as quickly as the could rushed ahead. For the rest we strolled, taking in the scenery, conversing, stooping to look at bright orange fungi, lush green mosses, stands of pine and mighty oaks. Battles were fought here, (Outlander probably filmed here), countless feet have passed this way. And you really do have to pause to drink in the scenery as the loch stretches in front.

Not a taxing walk, (“my mum could do it” quips my friend), yes, until you get to that last hill before the car park; when the promise of food is so near and yet that hill is so steep – even if it is tarmac by this time! ūüôā “What took you so long?” queries my walking companion’s husband. We look stunned, when did he pass us? Last seen entering the bushes – yes, they are all of that age… So while we had walked and waited and worried, he had passed us miles back. “Men” we both mutter under our breath.¬†Every one back, boots changed and off to the¬†House O Hill¬† for a birthday feast. What a feast – ¬†Happy Birthday Ian!

How do you like to celebrate significant birthdays?



Splendid in the evening sun

Not far away a rugged castle hugs the land; home to pigeons and sparrows while swallows and martins duck and dive beneath the craggy cliff. Home of the Kennedy’s, descendants of Robert the Bruce, rooted in Scotland’s bloody history…

As we had a visitor, we headed out to the fishing village of Dunure, beloved by photographers and artists. (Charles Rennie Macintosh used to frequent the shores and village). ¬†A rather quiet evening weather wise but when the sou’westerly blows in, the coast line is wild. If you love geology, then this is the place, the shore is littered with all manner of stones. I can recognise quartz and granite but there are many beautifully coloured pebbles. If you enjoy bird watching, then the rocks are covered in Cormorants, Shag, Oyster catchers and several types of gulls. I could watch the sea for hours as the waves wash over the ancient stones, leading to quiet meditation. In spite of exposure to the elements there are still plenty of wild flowers and grasses clinging on to the steep rocks. The dainty Harebell, in palest blue caught my eye in the setting sun.

Sadly, even in the wildest places, humans leave their waste behind, drinks cans, plastic bottles, balloons, plastic bags, glass, disposable barbeque grills. Why do we do this,? Who do we think will clean up after us? So  we set off back along the beach we each gathered up the rubbish, taking it back to the bins in the car park. No phone with me to Instagram the haul but so glad that beach lovers all over the world gather up the detritus with  2 Minute beach clean 

If you are visiting Scotland don’t neglect the west coast, Glasgow and Edinburgh have plenty to offer but if you like to slow down and enjoy walking and exploring then¬†Dunure¬†and the surrounding area have plenty to offer…

Thanks for stopping by today

Cruising down the Clyde


Balconies and roof gardens filled with flowers - Limone

Limone may sit nestled at the foot of the mountain, the houses carved into rock but wherever there is space, no matter how small; ¬†there is a garden. Balconies festooned with vines and brightly flowering geraniums, roofs burgeoning under a forest a planters and pots.¬†Geraniums overflow from pots perched on balconies, steps and window boxes, adding colour to the old traditional buildings. Even in the narrow alleyways the street gives way to a gathering of pots of palms¬†and¬†citrus accentuated by lilies or other bright flowered plants.¬†The tiniest gardens are filled with fragrant herbs and fruit trees, pomegranates, grape vines and flowers. As we climbed the steps toward the Church of St Rocco a tiny garden supports fragrant culinary herbs. It was lovely to see Lemon verbena ( syn.¬†Aloysia citriodora,¬†Lippia citriodora) in flower. Mine is puny in contrast! Over the craggy rock wall a large Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) drapes itself. Once you accustom your eyes to look; there are plants and gardens everywhere – you just need to remember to look up…


Lemon Verbena Tea

A few freshly picked, Lemon verbena leaves added to a pot of boiled water, cover and infuse for 3 Р5 minutes, strain and serve, for a refreshing but relaxing drink. Or allow to cool and add ice  for a long cool drink.

The leaves can be picked any time or dried, they hold their fragrance for a long time and can be added to pot pourri or be used to deter moths. Enjoy ūüôā

Lemon verbena

 Rain soaked Rose

As you climb the path to the ticket office, be surprised by a little garden hut brightly decorated and warm welcome – even the tickets are a work of art! A map lists the trees and sculptures, even now I’m astonished at how much there is to be enjoyed in the garden – and that’s before you consider the planting ūüėÄ

Under leaden skies and drizzle; the orchids were a burst of colour, most were at eye level so they could be really appreciated. There were several varieties scattered around the site. Many different countries are represented throughout the garden including¬†Bougainvillea which abounded in our African gardens. The plant list was useful when coming across something unusual…

Hidden in the gardens are a wealth of stunning art works including ‘Mostri Sputani‘ (Spitting monsters) created by Andre Heller; ¬†or ¬†‘Homo Horribilis‘ quietly eating himself. There are plenty of well known artist’s work to be discovered as you traverse the garden.

Don’t rush through the garden or you may miss a few effects, mist suddenly covering the pond, causing the sculpture to become more malevolent! Mosaic creatures lead the way into the garden as you start to climb the hill but there is just too much to see, you do need to go around at least twice. Look up also, sometimes the sculpture is above head height…

Rest room Art

And when you need a rest stop? Even the loo has art to admire…

Crane sculpture

Among the Acers, a crane spreads her wings as if about to take flight.There are several different ponds or Lago including Lago Monet, Lago Koi, Lago dei Poeti beside the Cactus house. An Ivy tunnel, Rose garden, African Savannah, rocky areas and small ‘mountains’ to climb, from where you can survey the garden and realise you’ve missed half of it out!

Above are huge Purple Amethyst from Uruguay, truly impressive. We spent a few minutes walking around them to convince ourselves that they were real. ‘Ivy’s tunnel‘ ends (or starts) with a large wooden heart, there is so much whimsy and love in this garden. ¬†Linger in the rose garden and inhale the delicious sweet fragrance. It was good to visit early in the season before it becomes too hot. We returned full of ideas for our own garden…

Rose garden

Hope you feel inspired today too Рthanks for stopping by!