Mountstewart in Summer

There is rarely a week that goes by that we haven’t been to Mountstewart at least once. We love it and Smidge does to, just the motion of the name and she is excited and that last bend as we drive round the coast she can barely contain herself with excitement as she jumps on my knee.
We were delighted that all seven cygnets have survived this time round. We don’t go to close as the parents become very protective and hiss at Smudge.

I enjoy the mid week walks the most when there are. Less people around but you get the odd tourist wanting to meet someone’s almost as if you are part of the attraction, dog included much to Smudges delight.

Hopefully in the next few weeks Smudge and I will get some time to spend a longer period there midweek to craft or sketch.

More walkways are being introduced but Smudge is quite set in her ways and knows the routes she likes.
Then it’s back home to our own little corner with scented flowers and crochet flowers

Catching up on my lily pond crochet along.

Summertime in Old Forge

In N.Ireland it can be hard to tell what the weather will be. In fact if you were to arrive in a time machine you may have no idea what season it is unless you have a garden.

I am not a great gardener but do some weeding and pruning in occasions. The display in the Summer is primarily down to J

We have a front,back and side garden all of which are very small. However because none are actually square or rectangular there seems to be so much more you can do to make it interesting.

We enjoy our walks around Mojntstewart and have purchased many plants there and from their sellers in craft days.

Looking forward to visiting an open garden this weekend and the garden weekends coming up at Mountstewart, not that we have much more space for plants but maybe another pot or two.

We have lots of things disguised by climbers and J is in the process designing something to hide the refuge bins.

Last day in Pisa

Although we had been up the tower and visited the cathedral we were yet to visit the baptistery, composant and museum.
Looking down from the gallery. There were two doors in the building and they were symbolic. The one farthest from the cathedral is where you entered prior to baptism then the other was the exit which brought you to the cathedral a new person in Christ, leaving the old behind.

We had a last look around the cathedral

There are still some fre on the walls of the composant but the majority of the background drawings found during conservation are in the museum.

The museum also gave an interesting history of the ten year conservation of the tower

Our little garden in the hotel gave us some time to relax before our travels

And J paid his favourite shirt shop a last sale on our way to the airport


There are so many places to explore outside of Pisa and yet not too far to take a train to. Livorno is just twenty mins by train fromPisa Centrale at a cost of €5 return. We walked along the river and I don’t think I have ever saw so many boats in my life. They continue out to the sea where we met the cruise liners that had docked. It’s a haven for shoppers too as you would get lost in the streets which are a maze of shops selling clothes and household wares not to mention the many caffes and ristorantes. The food in Italy is certainly something I will miss from the breakfast in the hotel.
To the sandwich, Indian, dessert …
Seafood was wonderful

Firenze and Fiesole

We got the train to Florence today and took the city sightseeing hop on hop off bus which was the best way to see the city. We got off first at this church to see the burial spot of Michelangelo and Galileo,etc.
The church was well worth a visit for just €6.

Our next spot was high in the hills for a view over the city

Fiesole which is 9km outside of Florence is now for the very rich and there we met a little westie.

We stopped here for twenty mins before boarding the bus again and avoiding the thunderstorm that came upon us suddenly.
We had both lunch and dinner in Florence before returning to Pisa