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Sunday Sevens #133

Breaking the “rules” once again by posting on a Wednesday, here is this week’s Sunday Sevens. If you’re new to the concept, take a look at Nat’s blog, Threads & Bobbins, where you can find out all about it and how to join in.

1. Although I am no longer officially a Photographer, I was asked to photograph a friend’s granddaughter’s first birthday “Cake Smash”. Such a little sweetie, she doesn’t like getting her fingers dirty, which defeats the object somewhat – although she did put her whole face in it at one point!

2. At the birthday party afterwards in the local Village Hall, afternoon tea was laid on for about forty guests. Whilst plain white china was the order of the day, my friend presented hubby and I with our own ‘proper’ cups and saucers. I’m not sure what that says about us!!!

3. This was the official birthday cake – how amazing?

4. A rainy day when The Boys had friends around resulted in a good game of the perennial favourite, Monopoly.

5. Another rainy day keeping us inside gave me chance to make some Rhubarb and Ginger jam for the store cupboard.

6. We offered to snake-sit for a month whilst a friend is on holiday.

Look away now if you have Ophidiophobia…

7. A week in, and Flash shed his skin. One for ‘show and tell’ when they go back to school next week.

8. I had to crochet an extension to Fifi’s recently knitted coat. A flap at the rear to stop her licking her wound.

9. I incorporated a hole for her tail and it does the job to a point. We just have to remember to undo the flap when she goes out for a wee!

10. Off on holiday!

Of course, the downside to having less-than-sensible cars is that we need to take both of them when going camping in order to fit everything in.

It’s a compromise I’m happy to make:)

11. Home for the next four days.

12. A typical morning – Mum cooks breakfast whilst The Boys and Dad play cricket in their pyjamas.

13. Cafetière of coffee and tin replica bone china plates – who says you can’t camp in style?

14. The Dogs LOVE camping too.

15. Exmoor means lots of good walking to work up an appetite for those inevitable cream teas.

16. We forgot to take the dog carrier I made a while back but, luckily, there was a bric-a-brac stall in a nearby church that had one for sale for just £3.50.

17. Whenever Fifi started lagging behind, we could just pop her in the carrier for a while – perfect!

Trouble is, it took twice as long to walk anywhere as everyone just wanted to stop and cuddle her…

18. She also curled up on my handbag and stole a quick nap each time we stopped for a tea break.

19. Happily, our recent decision to go gluten-free didn’t impact us much when we ate out. So many more places are allergy aware in recent years that we had no problem finding something on every menu. This lemon drizzle cake was as good as a normal one.

20. And with local clotted cream on, it tasted even better!

21. We had lunch at a National Trust cottage in the middle of nowhere….

22. ….and even they offered GF bread and cakes, so no one missed out.

23. Another National Trust property which, although I’ve passed many a time, I didn’t realise was a shop as well.

24. Full to the brim with Exmoor-crafted goodies – I was in there ages chatting to the chap who leases it from the Trust.

25. Do you want to see what I bought?

This is a high-pitched dog whistle crafted from the antlers of an Exmoor Red Deer.

Fifi is almost totally deaf, but I was hoping that the pitch would be high enough for her to hear, the idea being that I could attract her attention if I needed to. She responds to basic sign language and will follow a finger to wherever it is pointed – if I can get her attention in the first place.

She can’t hear it AT ALL.

Still, it’s a nicely crafted souvenir – maybe I could train The Boys….?

26. Saw this beautiful but deadly Fungus on a woodland walk.

27. We spent our time swimming in the freezing rivers by day…

28. ….and walking on the pebbled beaches in the warm nights.

29. All in all we had a totally wonderful Bank Holiday weekend………..and not a drop of moisture fell from the virtually cloud-free sky the entire time!

Hope your Bank Holiday was as unusually dry, sunny AND warm as ours was:)


Sunday Sevens #99

This week’s Sunday Sevens is a couple of week’s worth as I haven’t had chance to get near a computer before now.

To find out more about Sunday Sevens, visit Nat at Threads & Bobbins.

1. The Boys were desperately in need of a haircut……

2. This was the ‘before’!


3. All No.3’s curls have gone! N0.3 wanted me to cut his hair ‘long’.

4. The Boys are eating the crackling, which I cut off the pork belly before cooking what is possibly the tastiest meal ever.

5. I managed to get around to making a friend’s curtains which she has been waiting for for ages.

6. No.1 Son also wanted a haircut before we all went camping. I did the ‘Mad Woman Let Loose With A Pair Of Scissors’ impression.

7. I whipped up some simple bunting for the tents using some scraps out of my ‘less than 4″ square scrap bag’. Come on, I know I’m not the only one who can’t bear to throw away even the tiniest piece of fabric.

8. Talking of camping, No.1 Son went a day earlier and took both the tents as there wouldn’t be enough room in my little car (Mr H-L’s big car was in the garage). At the last minute, the garage rang to say they’d fixed the Merc. Bonus!

9. Camping with all three sons and N0.1’s girlfriend.

10. Everyone needs a bit of bunting on their tents. And homemade picnic rug and crocheted blankets.

11. Standard camping breakfast – sausages!

12. Family selfie at Hurlstone Point overlooking Porlock Bay.

Camping selfie

13.  The Boys chose their own fabric for their sewing lesson projects.

14. Hanson’s fabric warehouse in Sturminster Newton was in the midst of putting up all manner of things outside their shop for Yarnbombing Day.

15. The nearby open spaces were also duly adorned with knitted and crocheted works of art. The Boys couldn’t resist touching everything.

16. I’m still working steadily on the knitted baby shawl. At this point I think I was two thirds of the way in with 60 hours under my belt and over 70,000 stitches to date.

17. The Boys went back to school, everyone went back to work and I went to the café all on my own for a bit of peace and quiet and well earned coffee and cake.



Bank Holiday Camping Trip

We do it every year, on the August Bank Holiday weekend – go camping in Sparkhayes Campsite, Porlock.

This year, because of the damp Summer, we decided to buy a larger tent at the last minute so that any enforced time inside would be more comfortable. I’m talking two hours before we went camping!

Putting up a tent in the dark is never a great idea, but when it’s a new one and it’s the first time you’ve erected it…..well, thank goodness for friendly campers who put their car headlights on for us to see by.


This campsite is the same one that I’ve been coming to for over forty years and, I’m happy to say, little has changed in that time. It’s a very basic site which now has showers (!) and a covered outdoor area for checking your map in the rain before embarking on one of the numerous walks in this stunning part of Somerset.

This is the view from our tent which shows remarkably few tents considering it was August Bank Holiday.


I think the changeable weather forecast had a lot to do with that, but we weren’t complaining. It meant more room for The Boys to play cricket. Tess looks decidedly put out at not being allowed to join in.


To put the campsite location in perspective, this is a view from a nearby walk to Hurlstone Point.


The coastguard lookout shelter at Hurlstone Point marks the boundary between Porlock Bay and Blue Anchor Bay. The Boys were keen to climb even higher whilst I rested and got my breath back.


The whole area is in the Exmoor National Park which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is the reason it is my favourite destination in the entire world.

Yes, really, although Venice and Bali are close runners up:)

Every single time we do the walk from the campsite to Hurlstone Point, (a round trip of 4 miles) we have a cream tea in the gorgeous gardens at Kitnor’s tearoom in Bossington, leased out by The National Trust.


We walk A LOT when we go camping, whatever the weather.

A good breakfast is essential, so we started every day with a Full English in the Whortleberry Tearoom in Porlock.


It was sunny the day we walked Tucker’s Path to Webber’s Post….


….until we climbed into the clouds.



A glass of wine or two (who’s counting – no one’s driving) are well earned after a walk into the clouds and back!


There’s nothing quite like the relief felt after removing boots after a long walk and they make pretty good makeshift wine glass holders too.

Well, you can’t drink wine out of an enamel camping mug, can you?


The Boys sleep well at the best of times, but when we’re camping they’re out like a light as soon as the sun goes down!


Another day, another walk, this time from Robber’s Bridge to The Culbone Inn.

The Boys played Poohsticks at Robber’s Bridge, just like we did as children.


Poor Tess thought all her Christmases had come at once with all the game birds that were around and hated being on the lead whilst Fifi walked sensibly off the lead, ignoring them completely.


Our destination is finally in sight, just half a mile to go.


A welcome break from the rain in the pub before starting on the return journey.


It might be wet, but Exmoor is still stunningly beautiful – just look at those heathers.


Back to Robber’s Bridge again for another game of Poohsticks before going back to the tent to dry out.


Two exhausted boys, fast asleep in the back of the car on the drive back to the campsite.


We certainly appreciated the bigger living space in the new tent when rain stopped play and we played games inside.


Anyone remember Beetle Drive?


A quick drive took us to Malmsmead in the Doone Valley, where you can drive over the ancient packhorse bridge, but why would you when you can go through the ford?

Here we are in the middle of it.


After another cream tea, we popped into the Lorna Doone farm shop next door which had a black lab on sentry duty.


Mr. H-L came out with his wallet over a hundred pounds lighter after buying these two cushions for me:)

Hand painted designs in watercolour are then printed onto velvet and linen – simply stunning and I couldn’t resist them!


They are handmade in Britain using only the best natural fibres and I looked up their website as soon as I got home (sorry, Mr. H-L!).

As a craft person myself, I appreciate skill like this and am happy to pay for it.


On the drive back we spotted a group of stags on top of Exmoor. This was the best photo I could get and made me wonder why we didn’t bring a camera on holiday with us, as those taken on a mobile are sometimes totally crap!


Our final day saw us nipping down the road to West Lynch Farm in Allerford, home to the Exmoor Owl and Hawk Centre. Built in 1456, it is typical of the architecture of the region and also offers B&B and horse riding.


Unfortunately, only one horse was available so The Boys had to take turns.


This also meant that I couldn’t join them, which was probably a good thing considering my still-not-completely-healed broken ribs from horse riding in Spain!

No.2 Son rode out first, over the bridge at Bossington and up through the woods.


No.3 Son took to the saddle on the return trip.



Back at the farm, a couple of pretty bantams guarded the door to the stable.


Another trip to Kitnor’s tearoom for yet another cream tea, only this time inside because it was raining again. Even though the wood burner wasn’t lit, it still felt warm and cosy and was the perfect end to our holiday.


So that was our Bank Holiday weekend – what did you do?