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Three children (17, 15, 12)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

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Mistletoe

Mistletoe. I love spotting mistletoe in trees. There is one particular tree that we pass, which is almost more mistletoe than tree. Especially now the leaves have fallen. The bundles of mistletoe look like baubles, strung up on a rather sad looking tree. High up and out of reach.

I still get excited when I see mistletoe.

Yesterday, as we took a family walk, a sprig had fallen. Half had been crushed by a passing car, but the rest was good.

It really is a spindly, but elegant plant. The berries are a perfect off white. I can see why it is wrapped up in folklore and tradition. Over the years, I’ve knitted mistletoe. Producing a cartoon yarn version of the leaves and berries, rather than anything more accurate.

Nature really does do it best.

The real mistletoe will dry and curl before long. Unlikely to last until the festive season. To give it more life, I’m going to add the berries to our trees to see if we can grow our own, which would be fun. I’ve tried so many times, so who knows, maybe this time it will work. I’m planning to get out my felting needles and see if I can make something that looks a little more realistic than my knitted versions, to hang inside, above the door.

My children have grown so used to me educating them about plants that we pass. They walk passed, pointing at the tree now, confirming identification, then they continue talking to each other. Oh well. I guess my job is done, then.

For the love of the sea

When I look back to my childhood, among my happiest and strongest memories are time on the beach. Most importantly, in the sea. Long after everyone else had got out and headed home, hungry for their fish and chip dinners, I’d still be there. Every time. Playing. Jumping waves. The sun heading into the horizon. My increasingly despairing parents, holding towels by the water’s edge, pleading for me to come out and dry. Yes, I was that child.

I was lucky, my grandparents lived by the sea. When we stayed with them, I could enjoy the sea morning, noon and night. Walking the dogs first thing on the beach is something I still love doing. I love the emptiness and room to think. Sometimes dodging the tractor dragging the sand back into place. Before the beach towels and bucket-n-spade invasion.

I like the alone time.

We moved house a lot. I can only remember one house, where we lived close to the sea. I was a teen by then. I still loved it. I could swim for hours, given half a chance. We had a pool, too. I learnt to dive there. Later I discovered the fun of surfing  and windsurfing. First time I’d encountered wet suits, which stretched my swimming year out by a few more precious months. Then when boards made room for children, in the car, I fell back to hunting fossils and sea glass. Paddling or body surfing. Never one to sit and sunbathe.

The sea is my happy place. In particular, where the sea meets land.

I really want the children to have fond memories of the sea, with us.This holiday, we found a couple of beaches which were perfect. Coves all to ourselves. I could feel my body slipping back into the familiar. Being by the sea again. I forgot my swimming costume. It didn’t matter. I could paddle and walk through the waves. I’d soon dry. Hero followed us into the water. Unphased, for the most, by the waves. Less forgiving of being submerging every now and again.

The children loved it.

I’m working on them to try surf lessons. Next time, I’m sure they’ll let me book them in.

In the meantime, they enjoyed the welsh coastline.

Oh, and I got a taste of my own medicine. I have my very own “that child” now. I’m sure my parents would chuckle. Calling in Youngest when it was time to go. A deaf ear. Slipping back to the water, just as his towel was wet and he was dry. One last splash, or sea-surrounded rock to climb.

I don’t mind. I understand. There is mer-people blood in our veins. This time was inevitable.

Summer 2019 – Solva

Blue sky. Blue sea. Two of my favourite things. Every year, when we’re weighing up where to go on holiday, I’m always the one dancing around, with my hand in the air, suggesting the sea. Again. It is my happy place. Sometimes I win. Sometimes we go somewhere equally nice. Usually the mountains. My husband’s favourite.

This summer has been an odd one. Work has meant that we couldn’t plan ahead. I’ll admit, at one point, I thought we’d never get away. I took the plunge and booked last minute. Just two days before. By the seat of my pants, as they say.

I found a fisherman’s cottage in Pembrokeshire, Wales, overlooking Solva Harbour. If you imagine Wales, Solva is on the part that is almost the furthest South West you can go. The part that juts out furthest into the sea. It’s been ten years since we last stayed in the area. It ticked all the boxes. My sea dreams would be a reality, this year. Queue music. Happy dance commence.

It was a rush on the day we left. I worked right up to the last minute. Only had time to close my laptop, throw a few things in a bag and go. Forgot my swimming costume, which was a real oversight, but that’s how it goes.

(pointing again)

The coastal path ran along the bottom of the cottage’s garden. Bliss. Hero loved watching people and dogs go by. Not far to walk to the harbour or into the village, either. Once in Solva, we didn’t drive far, making it a relaxing time. Lots of walks and a choice of places to eat, without loading everyone back into the car. Oh, and the views.

Despite the last minute booking, I had done my homework. There were a few places I wanted to go. Top of my list, and thinking of my tummy, was to a particular takeaway, but not your usual kind of fast food. If you are imagining a fish and chip shop, it is not. No. Not to be found on the high street.

I’d read fabulous reviews about Mrs Will the Fish, so I knew I had to order ahead. We decided to pop in, after lunch, ready for supper that night. Narrow lane, so I jumped out, while Mr TTC  drove on to find a place to turn the car around.

Tucked away, along a residential lane, I followed the signs to a bungalow. Reminded me of the road my grandparents used to live in. For a moment, I was unsure if it was the right place. Walking through a gate, I was greeted by a friendly lady, who took me inside. Opening her fridge, she brought out a couple of example platters, for me to choose. I ordered and was told that mine would be ready before between 3:30 and 6, when they closed.

Believe me, I was going to be clock watching. No way was I going to miss the deadline. I’d seen it now.

(pointing, in my photos, became a bit of a running joke, this holiday)

We headed off to a beach and had a couple of hours fun, then on to pick up wine and baguettes (and something for Mr TTC who hates seafood)

After my description of ordering, my two girls were intrigued by the different style takeaway, so they came in with me. I picked up two platters of crab, prawns and crevettes. All ready to eat. Oh goodness. They certainly did not disappoint. A real gourmet meal. Best takeaway we have ever had.

Second treat, was a boat trip to see seals. The boat did take dogs, but we thought Hero would find it difficult, so I stayed in the cottage with him, while the others went. Photos are by Middle Teen.

They came back buzzing. It had been an adventure. They’d seen seals, with their pups, and gone into caves. The guide had worked on life boats. (Don’t know about you, but there is something slightly comforting in that knowledge.) He had stories to share about the area and my family loved the trip. When they arrived back at the cottage, they took turns to tell me all about it.

The boat took them within metres of the seals, who were unphased. Possibly because they had grown used to so many boats each day. The children were thrilled.

They were also intrigued by the cow winch. The rusting metal object in the photo above. According to the guide, cows were lowered down, by the winch, into the water, where they swam over to a nearby island. They grazed the island, before returning to the mainland. I’m guessing several months later. Also presuming that the winch lifted them back up. The island is now owned by the RSPB, so no more swimming cows, and the winch has been left to rust.

For the record, and in case I forget to say it, there was not a drop of rain the whole holiday. Now I think of it, I don’t think it rained 10 years ago when we were here last. Blue sky, with one overcast day. Not bad. I’m usually talked out of going to Wales because of the weather. Has a reputation for rain. I love Wales. So just want to put it down here. For the record. Blue skies. In the photos, we could be somewhere considered more exotic, don’t you think? Wait for the beach photos, next. Definitely could be somewhere else.

Right enough for now. Next up, beaches and mills, but part two can wait for another post.

Photos

There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

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