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Relaxation- Woodland walks.

I think I prefer to sit by the sea but also enjoy a good walk in the woods.

Kiltonga

For some reason Smudge is not too keen if too many trees to the point it becomes dark otherwise she likes to wander at her own pace and pick up some scents

Scrabo tower
A little stone in memory of Winston, Smudge’s friend who visited for a year from Canada

Lock down relaxing

Whilst lock down is relaxing I have not felt comfortable to meet indoors and still more than happy to be out and about in my own company and small group of friends. With this and the strict regulations for dogs travelling to the mainland and South of Ireland it is just as well as looks like I may be trapped on this part of the island forever. Despite no rabies in Ireland for 100 years the government has decided to move out of N.Ireland your pet needs a rabies vaccine which I will not put my precious baby through unnecessarily so a sacrifice I am willing to make.

Barr’s Bay

We love living between the Lough and the sea and even at the same areas there is always something different to see with the tidal and weather changes.

Groomsport

It’s starting to warm up a little so nice to get out of the boots and into the flip flops. having Monty also means we have our own food on board and do not have to deal with the reduced menus in restaurants and the restrictions still surrounding Covid 19

Monty

Duke of Edinburgh- reflection

When I was a 13 yr old I found it very dull were I lived in Co Armagh and I am very thankful to 1st N.Ireland Girls Brigade for the interests they nurtured in my life. It was through this organisation I became involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award through the amazing support of Mr Roy Woolsey who encouraged my love for the mountains. I started working toward my Duke of Edinburgh award that involved so many elements.

I spent many weekends camping in the Mourne mountains and achieved my Duke of Edinburgh bronze and silver awards with a group of girls. However by the time I was ready to complete my gold award which involved a five day expedition we had covered the majority of the Mourne mountains so not acceptable to walk there as too familiar. Our group had also diminished to 3 which was not a safe number so we had to join with three guys from the Boys Brigade and we headed off to Dunfries and Galloway.

The weather was not for us and at some point we had to alter our route and come down to lower ground as rain was heavy with thunder and lightning. All in all an incredible experience.

I was also chosen to represent N.Ireland for the Duke of Edinburgh Award in Operation Kangaroo in Australia but unfortunately had to decline as the nursing college would not release me for that time.

One of the skills I started to study through the award was hand embroidery which I continued in later years and completed qualifications through the school of stitched textiles. I also took part in completing the hand embroidery on the Game of thrones tapestry.

I met the Duke of Edinburgh at St James Palace when he presented me with my gold award. I was part of a group from N.Ireland in the throne room. He spoke with us as a group and then spoke individually. I was dressed in a suit and he wanted to know why I was not wearing my Girls Brigade uniform. When I told him I had left the Brigade as unable to manage with my role as a student nurse which caused me to leave home, with a twinkle in his eye he commented “ so, you run around now with a bed pan under your arm instead of climbing mountains” I was taken a back not expecting such a comment from a Royal figure and being young and unaware of his humour so I stated that there really was a lot more to nursing than that. Reading and listening to many of the comments people have made about his humour this week after his passing I can see this now as not so much a comment from a grumpy man but part of who he was and how he expressed humour. I imagine this is what his family will miss a lot at gatherings.

I gained so much from the Duke of Edinburgh award that I feel set me up for my adult life, helping me deal with everything that crossed my path, just another mountain to climb, and for that I am deeply grateful to him. In the last week since his parting I am amazed at how much more he was involved in but if each person gained even part of what I gained from the award it is a tribute to him.

Spring already

It has been so long since I have written hard to believe we are in another season and have more or less been in some form of lock down for a year. A lot has happened in this year. We lost my father in law right at the beginning of the first lock down thankfully not due to Covid. I have lost a few older relatives to Covid and had to deal with it in our own household. Fortunately I recovered fairly quickly and was able to continue to work from home. Lots of projects and reading in my spare time and of course out and about in the security of Monty our trusted camper. Smudge has thoroughly enjoyed having us around every moment of the day and became even more of a madam.


no holidays as such but lots of day trips locally to either the beach or the Lough. We are fortunate that both are around five miles for us. We have mild days and absolutely freezing days and although it is Spring we have just had snow to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.

Smudge got a new puffer coat at her favourite shop Murphy and Bailey https://www.facebook.com/MurphyandBailey/ and has had a few visits for treats. One of our favourite places to walk is island hill but you need to make sure you check the tides because if you hit high tide the path is under water.https://walkni.com/walks/island-hill-north-strangford-nature-reserve/

A lot of my crochet has been for gifts such as the natures walk blanket that travelled over to USA and Lollo bear for a very special little girls first birthday coming up. Lots more blankets planned as so many people I want to gift and some for myself as well.

I am presently doing a picnic by the beach cal by Eleonora of https://coastalcrochet.com/ she is such a fun designer and we have so much in common with a nursing background as well. Loving the excitement every other month when I receive my little box of crochet and so far staying up to date with completing projects. I will be starting another cal picnic by the river designed by Eleonora as well but hosted by https://www.littleboxofcrochet.co.uk/. I also plan to start a mosaic for my bed by Maud https://www.instagram.com/maud__akkermans/?hl=en-gb it’s a patchwork cal and I will be choosing different colours.

I have two wonderful sets of neighbours. On one side I have a couple recently moved from Isle of Man who gave me the beautiful tulips above for Easter and a lovely Lithuanian family whose children made us the little jelly desserts below.

As I mentioned in prior blogs Covid has not really impacted our little world too much as I walk in the waves, crochet to classic fm and give Smudge as many cuddles as ever.

November days out and preparing for Christmas

Having Monty has been such a blessing getting out and about, with a little kitchen and toilet on board which is extremely useful during a pandemic. unfortunately the government do not seem to understand the benefits. However for us we are keeping safe and away from everyone whilst enjoying the fresh air and boosting our mental health. we can be seen in Groomsport or Millisle mostly,

The decorations usually go up around the 1st of December. It is quite an event as much decor comes down to make room for them and they all have their place. We have the Christmas music on and Smudge loves the fuss as she wears her Christmas scarf Lucy bought her many years ago.

Cranberry flap jacks and short bread made as well as organising the Xmas day menu. Parsnip, bacon and roast parsnip soup followed by raspberry sorbet and melon. A little break before the turkey dinner with all the trimmings of Brussels sprouts with lardons and cocktail sausages cooked with cranberries, roast carrots, parsnips and potatoes. Cream potatoes and gravy. A glass of Prosecco and profiteroles for dessert. We always eat at 5 so we can go out in the morning to the beach.