Category Archives: Paradise

My final final blog from paradise…..

As you’re reading this I’m now back home safe and snug again after a horrible journey of 8 hours 🙈…but hey ho, I’m back in my own little paradise of my village. But I wrote this yesterday just before I left…

Ok, so I wasn’t going out for my early morning walk due to travelling early, but as the minutes ticked by, 04.30….04.41…..I couldn’t resist the pull of the morning.

Farewells are always hard, but ‘see you again soon’, make them more bearable. And so it was that I found myself saying good morning to the blackbird that had been the constant on my trip, each morning on the same sign, singing away, not disturbed by my presence

It was bitterly cold and I could see the frost creating a white haze on the grass.
Silent as ever of humans apart from myself, the birds tuning up for their final farewell overture…

A mystical haze hovered over the lake in the distance as I stopped by the boats, the water a mirror glass once more

As I reached Friars Crag I was surprised to find two men, cameras all set up, tripods taking up all the room…..I said hello and how I didn’t usually have company at this time in a morning, but they weren’t for chatting, so I went round them and took my own snaps

The mist was rising and flowing around almost like a cloak being swung by a matador…..but the air was still and the mist a movement of its own

The thickest haze to my left one minute

Then swirling around to Cats Bell the next..

I was obviously in the way so said goodbye to my bench in a silent whisper

….and went down to the bay

The mist appeared thicker once down at lake level and thicker over the fell

I stopped to watch the geese, all marching down from the frost covered field to the waters edge….another time I wished I’d had my phone to video🙄…..

Then silently gliding in the water; the process, their morning routine; their very own constant

Up onto the grass, I could sense there would be no dramatic skies, but still..

More geese still to make their way down to the water…

Back down to the bay and Cats Bell almost shrouded in mist, as though preparing for an unveiling to new visitors

The bench where I’d sat each morning in the field, silhouetted against the clear early morning sky

Time to get back, my fingers numb inside my gloves, stopping in each clearing to soak up the memory

The final photo of my walk had to be one of the theme running through my stay here this time…

As I reached the warmth of my room for the last time, I pulled back the curtains and a different sunny world appeared for one last photo of paradise

…until the next time…

My final blog from paradise…….

I realise you’ve had an awful lot of blogs this week – blog overload 😂 – but remember, all these blogs serve as my memory as well as being there for you to read..otherwise all the wonderful moments I’ve had in paradise would be lost to me forever……

And so to my final blog….my last day here and I decided to do Casterigg stones. I couldn’t do a long long walk as I’d promised to speak healthcare professionals from Sheffield, including Gp’s, Consultants, Care Home staff and many more, so it was one I didn’t want to say ‘no’ to simply because I was away. It wasn’t until 12.30, but I needed to be back by 12 to get myself sorted.

So three hours…..I’ve been to the stones many many times but as I was about to leave my room, it occurred to me that I’d forgotten the way 😳🙈….I couldn’t picture the start in my head. I rummaged around in my suitcase and luckily there were some of my yellow maps waiting for me and even more fortunate that one of them was Castlerigg

“With your back to Moot Hall….” And I was off…..it was taking me the same way as for Walla Crag 😳….which didn’t feel right. I’m sure I didn’t go that way the last time I did it 🤔, but I did as I was told and am glad I did as some Highland cattle were in the farm field – don’t remember them being there when I did Walla the other day…

As is my wont, I got carried away with piccies of them…but I refrain from showing you more than 3 🤣

I just love their long fringes – it makes them look so cute despite their massive horns 😂

Up passed the farm and into the wood

A sign came into view, and I don’t remember seeing this one either on the way to Walla 🙄 or maybe I just wasn’t needing to find it until now …

Then I realised where it was taking me. I followed the Walla trail until coming across the farm track, then turned right instead of left.
I met a lovely young couple who’d stopped to chat and they went off towards Walla whereas I went left through the field.There were sheep galore again….

And with sheep come the lambs….🥰

A bird kindly perched on a post

……didn’t recognise it and wish I’d caught the front of it to see more….a lovely soft colour..

The couple suddenly caught me up……

Wrong way”, she said….”thought I’d remember it without a map, but obviously not” she laughed….

They were heading to the same stones as me , just much faster….

Walking alongside the campsite, I could hear voices from over the stone wall…looking to the other side and the countryside stretched out for miles

It wasn’t a sunny day today,but it was dry so a pleasant trundle…

‘Cross two more fields’ – the map said…and in the middle of one I was thinking, is this the first or the second? 🤭…..but I was heading for a main road to cross so it would be obvious enough….

Sure enough, the gate appeared and the sound of cars, but once across, I was in a quiet country lane

…and more sheep…..

And sooo many lambs

Their little black faces making them look really odd to my quirky eyes as though a hole was where their face should be…

Eventually after about a mile, I reached the slate steps in the wall to climb over and see the stone circle, the light not good for taking the best photo 🙄

I had it all to myself until the young couple arrived from the opposite direction when I was on my way out😳……

“We missed the slate steps” they laughed 🤭

“Oh well, you still got here”….I smiled as they headed in and I headed out…taking a piccie of the woman walking through the stones

Now for some reason I didn’t look at the map again to take me home, I automatically turned right and headed towards Threkeld. It then dawned on me that that was the way I’d come before, taking the old railway track from Keswick.

I headed down the road, accompanied by a ????, mmm forgotten what they’re called now 🤔

It hoped and skipped in front of me for a fair few yards before flying off….

Fields and fields of sheep

….and lambs….😂

And the cutest twins

Eventually I reached the shortcut that takes me under the dual carriageway instead of having to cross it further round..

Onto the old railway track

…..and I suddenly remembered the talk I was giving 😳…..I looked at my watch…11am…🙄…..I’d better get a wiggle on

I don’t particularly like this part of the walk. For some reason it reminds me of motorway driving – that laborious straight road – this is straight and seems to go on forever, but old tunnels

…and bridges over the water make for more of an interesting walk…

I suddenly came across the young couple again 🤔…how on earth did they get in front of me when I left Castlerigg way before them 😳…..they were chatting to another couple so I didn’t ask, but they had an equally puzzling look on their face….

I was wobbling back for England when the final bridge came over the River Greta

My legs ached from the speed – as though someone had wound me up, let me go and now I needed winding up again…😂…..

Out alongside the park, where the carved wooden eagle lives

Some gloriously unusual Helibores

Before I realised I shouldn’t be taking photos but getting a wiggle on again as I still needed to collect my supper…I managed to get my jacket potato today, so I was happy as I eventually collapsed on my bed…..12.05 blinked my watch…..just enough time for a cuppa before I log on……

The talk appeared to go really well and they were very generous in their comments. I noticed some scribbling notes as I spoke, always a good sign. A Gp and a hospital Consultant asked a question which showed they were willing to learn and change….but I was glad when it was over.

I decided that my final walk would be a gentler affair down to the bay and Friars Crag. I have to catch an earlier bus back to the station so won’t have time for an early morning walk as I need to leave by 08.30, so Catherine agreed to do me an early breakfast so I’m not rushed.

But Friars Crag was heaving when I got there, so I whispered goodbye and headed round to the bay where the geese were accumulating on the grass

Children were having sailing lessons

,,,,and the sun was finally shining…..two geese taking off into the sky

…then an almighty sound of squawking filled the air as the geese from the grass decided all at once to fly back to the water

They filled the air and it was a wonderful sight for the few seconds it took them all to land in the water and them bob about as if nothing had happened

…the sun sprinkling the water with glitter….satisfied my time was over, I headed back to my room and in Hope Park, as I ambled through, spotting some really unusual flowers alongside another couple who were also wondering what they were….neither of us knew…they sort of had a delicate orchid look to them

my final farewell came from…..a Robin

An early evening walk……and a brief early morning…

The weather forecast has been so wrong while I’ve been in paradise. I don’t know why I bother looking at my app, I should just wait and look out of the window 🙄

I usually finish trundling by 4pm, but on Wednesday I hadn’t been able to get my normal jacket potato for my supper as they’d sold out, so instead had bought a sandwich. However that didn’t feel like enough with all the walking I’d done that day, so I decided to add chips. So instead of snuggling at 4pm, I went out for another final trundle and on my way back would go to the chippie…..

I didn’t have a purpose, I thought I’d just walk and see where my legs take me and what I might see. There’s so much colour around Keswick at the moment. Hope park is full of spring colour in their formal flower beds

The sun also provided lots of interesting shadows too

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of white bluebells. I don’t remember seeing any at home but they’re here in equal numbers with the blue ones

You’re probably fed up of seeing lambs but there are sooo many here and I couldn’t resist this little chappie

The lake always sparkles in the early evening as the sun ignites the sparkle

This launch was heading home for the evening. There’s always one that goes away from the bay, not sure why 🤷‍♀️…maybe it just takes the boatmen home to their side of the lake 🤔

Does anyone remember the cycle ice cream man from their youth? I do…I remember being intrigued as a child wondering why the ice cream didn’t melt as the box wasn’t plugged in 🤣

The geese were taking flight and heading to their bedding area for the night. Several fields are full of them in the evening as they settle down

I wasn’t sure which of the Tit family this ged to until I got back to my room but think it’s a Coal Tit which I don’t remember seeing before

It wold have been rude not to visit Friars Crag since I was passing 🤪….there were several people there but no one on the bench ,,,,

….maybe they knew it was mine 🤣

I ambled round to the bay

More geese taking flight every few minutes

They seemed to be heading for the field where I go in a morning and where I took the photo of their silhouette

I love this simple tree that sits in the bay.

I was as fascinated by the geese as I was with the lambs in the morning and kept trying to take the perfect photo, but most got deleted, so the ones I was pleased that a few actually came out

I started grinding to a halt, I’m just not used to being out this time of day. So I started to head back. I’ve not managed to get a photo of a Robin yet this time. I’ve seen lots but been too busy smiling at them and by the time I’ve thought to click, they’ve become camera shy. But not this one. My last photo. It was on the path going away from Friars Crag and simply hopped onto the path in front of me. It stopped and I stopped and it allowed me to slowly lift my camera and click

Before the moment was broken as a man and his dog ran by….ah well, time for supper…..

It was almost as if I knew something would go wrong the next morning….the reason for writing the early evening walk…..

Well the next day I opened my eyes and my watch said 05.05am….I’d been awake on and off all night but as the time came nearer to getting up I must have dozed off…🙄…..

I got dressed as quietly as I could as I knew other guests were in the house and I needed to be quiet. Down the stairs, always missing the last step for some unknown reason 🙄 and trying to take a silent stumble 🤪….unlock the door and I can immediately feel it was cooler.

I heard the blackbird singing before I saw it, but, looking back to yesterdays blog, it was on the same sign singing away too busy to notice me right next to him..

I could tell there would be no glorious light up of the skies as a bank of cloud covered the east even though the west was clear.

I went down to the lakeside and the water was mirror still once more

Then I caught sight of something colourful – a mandarin duck just as we have in the village. Maybe it had followed me for a holiday 🤣….I took several photos, but looking at it made me feel incredibly homesick. I wanted to be home…..only….when I got back to my room, loaded my photos, there were none of the mandarin 😳…..but it was so real at the time. Dementia playing a cruel trick. I would have sworn I’d taken photos but of course, the camera never lies. there were photos, just a blank space where my eyes saw the mandarin 😢

Only I didn’t know that at the time, as I headed towards Friars Crag…Stopping off in the bay to take the morning mirror photo of Cats Bell

The bench was empty as it had been each morning. The American girl, who I met here on my last visit each morning, still emails me her progress and is actually coming back here once more in May such was the pull of paradise.

This morning, there was a beautiful mist hovering over the water

If I didn’t zoom in, it looked like a white line around the edge

The water was so still as thought trapped in a time bubble, the pink tinge of clouds above reflected on the surface

The mist to my left was starting to roll towards me. I stood watching the ghostly effect emerge, rising, the mist forming a thicker illusion in the water

it was then the dreaded whurrr of the camera happened and the sign in my lens appeared once more….

Battery exhausted”

🙈

I must have got in a pickle charging and changing them the night before….but anyway, this blog would have been far too long if I’d continued 😂…..so time to go back for my shower, cuppa, then breakfast and I decide what I’m doing for my last day……but not before my phone came out

Part 2 of Day 2……

My weather app had said cloud all day 🙄…..so I decided on a walk around the 9mile lake was in order…so happily breakfasted and met 2 new guests, I had a final cuppa in my room before heading out.

I was really taken by some flowers in the next doors garden. They had a look of magnolia about them, but I’ve never seen any as showy as this before

I decided to go anti clockwise, so that if I got stuck on the last side, I could stop and wait for the open top bus….😇

From the back of the rugby club and between the goal posts you get the perfect view of the path up Cats Bell. Not many climbers first thing but someone had got to the top….

Then came the lambs on my way to Portiscale….I went over board with cuteness clicks

Mums with just one lamb

Then twins fascinated by a branch that had strayed into the field and each time I clicked, they’d look up from what they were doing 😂🥰

As if all that wasn’t enough, as I reached the bottom of the long path there was a whole crèche of lambs

Then some went to play around a tree

I must have taken 100 photos as they were so entertaining. I really should have just videod them 🙄😂 They’d hop down then clamber back up again seeing who could get the highest

Then two just stopped and lovingly nudged heads together 😍

Goodness knows how long I was there but to only show you these few photos is very restrained of me and a fraction of what I took…

Passing the café at Portiscale, people already outside having a morning cuppa…following the path to Nicole End and just before the turning a black pheasant appeared in my path looking quite lost……

I encouraged him back into the hedge as the alternative was crossing the road….

The café at Nicole End appeared to be closed or maybe it simply hasn’t opened for the season yet. It always looked a little gold mine in previous years 🤔

Following a few other morning walkers I eventually reached the Alpacas. Some grazing…..

One wishing the tasty green leaves were a tad lower

Two appearing to be having a conversation as they were staring at the white one above😂

I finally reached my first planned destination …

this is where we scattered Sylvias ashes and I wanted to say hello and tell her we were missing her….if they ever remove this tree I’d be lost as to the exact spot, but thankfully it’s still there

The next tree along had tried hard to stay anchored to the ground, but storms and high rainfall must have uprooted it. such an amazing sight though..

I met a group of youngsters who were about to head out for their first sailing lesson. They told me of their excitement and how wet they were going to get from falling in 😂….before heading our in a dinghy with their boats following behind. They all waved for one photo, but I wasn’t ready for them and it came out blurred 🙈…and then they were caught up chatting when I finally did click🙄

You can always tell seasoned walkers by their greeting. Nearly everyone says hello so it’s strange when some don’t. I always say good morning, even to the sheep who trotted by me

I then spied a wonderful diving bird I hadn’t seen before. Don’t know what type it is but it looked very unusual

Once again, this is a walk I do every time I’m here but I never tire of the views round each corner that appear out of nowhere

Now at the broad walk as I call it – a wooden path built on stilts to allow you to walk across the boggy marshes at the top end of the lake. The sun was suddenly noticeable

A group of men probably in their 50’s/60’s were very vocal in the distance. Some had binoculars so I thought they might be bird watchers. As I approached them they said hello and that they’d passed me earlier when I was engrossed in taking a piccie of something. They said they were ‘new to this lark’ 😂 and asked me what the bird was I was so engrossed in…..I wracked my brain, trying to think back and eventually said: “Oooo I’ve seen lots today, maybe a bullfinch” I hazarded a guess as it felt like they weren’t going to let me go until I remembered 🤣…. Then they saw the ducklings

Apparently they were tuning into ‘their feminine side” and quite liked it…..but they’d still be going for a pint later 🤣…..they were very funny and very happy in their new found state….

Over the Pooh bear and Christopher Robin bridge and I was now on the final side, so if I wanted, I could get the bus…but I didn’t want and carried on walking passed Lodore and into the short section of woodland which I love. All the rocks and covered in moss and I expect them to come rolling alive at any moment just like in the frozen film

Ashness landing stage appeared and a launch was just about to drop off some passengers

Another of my favourite views looking straight down the lake towards Keswick

Then a sight I really don’t think I’ve seen before…..I’ve seen the odd fisherman in a boat fishing but don’t associate the lake with having fish….until I saw this man holding one up 😳

Problem was, he didn’t have the look or paraphernalia of a fisherman

I almost asked but then heard them speaking Eastern European so thought it might get tricky

Now walking along the shoreline, Keswick having had a dry April as well as home by the looks of the lake and 2 more of the lovely ducks appeared

On the homeward stretch and it suddenly dawned on me that dementia hadn’t played tricks on me as it had the day before, no momentary hazes thankfully. I concentrated on looking where my feet were going as well as the cold wind stung my face and I remembered the fall. So many hazardous tree roots along this walk and I’m sure I’ve probably fallen a few times round the lake 🙄…

A patch of violets stop me in my tracks – that was my mums name, so I always stop to take a photo when I see them

Despite the weather forecast, the sun was really warming things up and made everything so much more brighter and lighter, glistening on the lake making it much friendlier

Almost at Milenium corner, the sky breaking up revealing the blue beneath

Many were sat having picnics by the shore, others just sat chatting

As I took this photo of the bullfinch, I had that dreaded sign in my camera “Battery exhausted” 🙈

Needless to say it was the end of my snapping but half an hour later as I reached Hope park I must have forgotten, opened my camera and snapped these Soloman’s seal which I love because of their dainty cream hanging pods

Before once more, the camera shut down and announced “Battery exhausted”…..oh well, time for a rest and a cuppa then…..

Weathermen totally wrong again, as I got back to my room and changed the battery…..another gloriously sunny day out of my window…really don’t know why I just don’t wait and see instead of looking at my apps 🤣

Day two in paradise ….part one….

Hope you didn’t mind the two blogs yesterday? Thought I’d do the same again today. It’s much easier for me if I split the early morning from my long walk and hope it’s easier for you to read?

I slept much better last night and woke properly at 04.30….I lay there for a while waiting for the minutes to change to 05.00, but 04.57 and I could wait no longer 😂…..cleaning my teeth, I suddenly heard my alarm start playing it’s morning tune, getting louder each note 🙈…I rushed out fumbling around in the dark for my phone, said in a loud whisper, “Alexa switch my light on please”….then realised I wasn’t at home…🙄…hopefully I didn’t wake the other guest 🤭

Out into the cold air, and it felt much colder this morning….and the sky was clear in one direction and cloudy in the opposite side

A blackbird was so intent on singing it’s morning song that it didn’t take flight at my appearance and carried on regardless

Walking round into Hope park, the place to myself once more. At home I know where to look when I hear a bird, here it’s more difficult. I can hear the sound but aren’t familiar with the branches it sits on for its morning song. But today I could see the outline as I scanned the trees…..the song thrush appeared

The reflections of the bank of trees in the water looked like a painting…..

I reached Friars Crag, once more deserted.

The bench invitingly telling me to take a seat

Too early for Robins and definitely too early for Sylvia to appear 😂….they’re often the last ones to join in the chorus and often have their own when every other bird has finished…

As I sat there, once again, I thought how I’d love to see the sun rise from up there and thoughts entered my head of asking Sarah if she fancied it when we’re here next month 🤔
I zoomed in and could see a couple heading for the top

They had about 10 minutes to get there…..although they’d have a lovely view from where they were already, but they seemed to be stomping with a purpose to reach the top….

After a few moments the sky to my left was starting to colour so I left the Crag and made my way to a bench I found yesterday which was more open to the sun rise sky….the edges of the clouds were tinted orangey red

I suddenly heard geese and realised they must be on the ground in front of me, I just hadn’t noticed. I went down the slope and captured them in silhouette against the morning sky

Then zoomed in and got just the two

Something as simple as that gives me so much pleasure….as I zoomed out again as the sky deepened. The outline of radio tower, which I would have passed yesterday on my climb to Walla, also in view

I knew now the sun would be spot lighting Cats Bell, so headed back to the shore of the lake. From here it looks as though the morning sun just wants to highlight the beauty of this one fell, singling it out for admiration

I zoomed in and yes, the couple had made it and were standing at the top. I could feel their sense of pride and relief through the lens of my camera

As I headed back along the lakeside, the sun was turning the other side of the lake a golden morning yellow

I couldn’t stop snapping, each step I took, another fabulous view

Heading through the gate, two sheep looked as though they’d been admiring the view too

I headed up the slope of grass and looked in the direction of the sunrise. Shadows forming against the sky

Looking back I could see the whole side, from Cats Bell down to Portiscale, lit up and shining bright

My early morning walk finally over, I headed back through Hope Park, turning round one last time and seeing mum give child a morning kiss

By the time I reached my room, the sky had clouded over and for those just opening their curtains they might think it’s a dull day……but look what they missed……

Some people may think one morning is the same as another…..well, for me, it’s only similar in that it follows the night before…..

First day in paradise….part 2….

After a peaceful relaxed breakfast, when Catherine and her adorabubble granddaughter came to say hello, I decided to head out. I couldn’t decide whether to do Walla Crag or round the lake……..🤔

White bluebells adorned a garden as I walked by trying to decide…it was 9am…

My weather app said sunshine only until 11am so I decided on Walla

Aquilegias, which I love, were in every garden and one reached for the sky. I just love their slender stalk and their blooms coming off at tangents…

It’s the start of the Azalea and Rhododendron season and their showy blooms lined the gardens, the last of the soft cream magnolias contrasting perfectly….

Almost to the farm and a small bird had the outline of the sun around it stopping me in my tracks….

The weekend tourists gone, it felt quieter, more manageable to cope. Up through the woods

….I suddenly realised I hadn’t brought my map and began to doubt my judgement of direction. It was now I needed someone to pass so I could follow them, but then a comforting sign appeared instead…

Relaxed again, I slowly made it up the steep climb. Once a simply climb, now more of a shuffle, stop, shuffle stop….but I was in no hurry. Where once me and Sylvia would do one long walk in the morning and another in the afternoon, I now make do with just the one and maybe a little walk to finish off the day.

The stone walls, built by hand, a craft in itself, lined the field and Derwentwater lay beyond

I looked up from the ground and was disorientated, not recognising the path I should follow…dementia playing tricks with me…..I saw a woman admiring the view ahead and decided to follow her, hoping the haze would clear before she went out of view…

Luckily she had a deep pinky purple fleece on, so easy to see in the distance and the climb became harder; counting my steps to 50 then resting and as it got steeper, to 30 then resting and turning round to soak up the view and try and distract myself from the disorientating tricks dementia was playing on me…

As I reached the kissing gate, for the final climb, the haze thankfully lifted – yes, Walla Crag in the distance, someone already there

As I reached the top, the sun was shiny down on paradise below

I stood, just breathing in the air, thankful that the haze had lifted before I reached the top. Suddenly a voice came from behind:

“I never tire of this view” said a man having just joined me.

Me neither”, I smiled.

We chatted about the times we’d come here, compared cameras, said how we’d probably taken the same photos a thousand times, but each time there was something different; a blue sky or a mottled sky; a breeze blowing the trees, or still and calm like today. The same photo taken a thousand times but each time you could play ‘spot the difference’. We chatted a while longer before I asked him to take a photo of me to add to my many others…

Before I left to make the downward descent and left him sitting on the rock, just looking.

I love the views from the descent. I see them each month, but they always surprise me, always thrill me at their beauty

I could see a woman ahead looking at the view and as I reached her, I repeated what the man had said to me:

“I never tire of the view

Me neither”, she smiled…”Each time I come, I concentrate on how many miles I’ve done, but this time, I decided to stop and actually look around me”

She went on to tell me how she’d desperately wanted to retire to paradise, but when the time came, she couldn’t even afford a room, never mind a house…..and a sadness and tears began to fill her eyes…..

“Yes but then you wouldn’t have the thrill of visiting each time. That’s how I look at it. I have the best of both worlds; I love where I live and I love visiting paradise”

She looked at me with thoughtful eyes. A light bulb moment for her as she suddenly smiled and said:

Well, bless…I never thought of it that way. I do love where I live and I do love visiting. I’ll always think of it that way now and stop feeling sorry for myself”

I left her admiring the view…..

Soon the man caught me up and we laughed, me saying, everyone always catches me up 😂…and the woman also passed me by as I was engrossed in another photo

Suddenly I lost my balance; I could feel me falling and thoughts raced through my mind of “my camera” then “my left wrist” 😳….my brain has lost that instinctive speed to stop a fall. I know it’s happening and can do nothing about it. Staggering this way and that, my feet getting in a tangle. Trying to save my wrist and my camera, I landed on the left hand side of my face 🙄 but luckily for me, the ground was soft and spongy and I’d avoided the sharp stones just centremeters away 🥵…..I dabbed my face with a tissue, no blood so no evidence 🤣. I dusted myself down and carried on towards the gate that says you’ve almost made it to the bottom….

Through the gate and who should be chatting but the man and woman I’d met earlier. Now they’d met each other. More hellos, more laughter as I left them to chat….and headed down towards Ashness bridge, where I stumbled again, but this time fell into the fence instead of a heap on the floor 🙄 It’s probably worse when I’m getting tired as my thoughts are slower, my thinking more sluggish…..

Once there, I climbed across the rocks to take a better piccie of the water and the bridge

Someone had rolled up their trousers, taken boots and socks off and was soaking their feet in the cool clear fresh water – must have felt divine…

I looked at the sign, deciding whether to turn left and climb some more towards Surprise View, or turn left and head down towards the lake….🤔

The lake won and I headed back down the steep hill…as I reached the water, I could see that the lakeside walk was possible as I think they’d also had a dry April, like us in the East

Once more the haze came down on me, disorientating me from my location. I reasoned with myself, that if I kept the lake on my left, I would surely be ok and heading in the right direction..😔

No more photos until the fog must have lifted as I took a photo of the coin log and my head cleared as I remember thinking, I know this log….

Strange the tricks dementia plays on you but I always try not to panic. If you panic everything seems worse….

I often wonder how the trees are still standing by the lake; their roots clearly on display clinging to the shoreline

But I suppose there must be even more buried beneath, anchoring its existence as they all look healthy..

I reached another favourite spot where the lake appears at its widest, with a small stream of water from the shore running into it. A young woman was sat on the ground, her back against the tree taking in the same view

The Milenium stones appeared, looking as if they were one rock that had simply split open

More people seemed to be around now, or maybe I hadn’t noticed their company as I walked through the haze in my head…

Finally through the gate that leads to the bay and the old tree trunk lay on the ground where its laid for as many years as I’ve been coming here

Instead of following the crowds towards Friars Crag, I head to the right and take the short cut back to the launches…I preserved the memory of the crag that I saw this morning when I had it all to myself as I knew it would be busy now.

More cute lambs to distract me from the task in hand…

…and finally through the gates to take me through Hope Park. The spring blossom floating on the surface of the stream…

Up by the lambs at the foot of the lake. I’d been surprised by the number of baa baa black sheep this year, at home as well as here

My eyes really have trouble focusing on them because of their colour, but they are still very cute

The path snaking up Cats Bell clearly visible in the sunshine

As I turn around towards the lake for the final time today I watch the launch taking its happy tourists for a ride around the lake

I decide to head into town before I have my cuppa. It’s now 2 pm, gone 5 hours and my legs were telling me if I laid down with a cuppa, I might not get up again to go out and fetch my supper 🙄….

I looked longingly at the window of my room at the top of Appletrees in the distance

…..and carried on walking towards town, having decided on a jacket potato and savoury tuna for supper…..but before I left the park, one sheep stared at me, as if saying,

Well aren’t you going to take my photo?”

How could I resist with a view like that behind it….

My first day in paradise……part one…

The night before I’d arrived in paradise later than normal due to coming a different route and not wanting to miss Minds and voices. But I never feel in my second home until I’ve been to Friars Crag. I did just that even though it would put me all out of sync with my tea and routine….I was surprised how much milder it was in Keswick – no biting east wind over these sheltered western parts

Now I felt as though I could really relax for the evening and to top it all, on the way back, I saw my first Keswick lamb of the season

I’d already made my mind up to get up early. I never sleep on my first night and I was so pleased when the clock finally said 05.00….I wanted to hear the dawn chorus Keswick style. It starts about half an hour before sunrise….as I stepped outside into the cold air, I could feel the silence around me

And slowly but surely, as I made my way through the deserted Hope Park towards the lake, the chorus began…..I felt in my pocket for my phone to record…..empty……must have left it behind 🙄….ah well, will simply have to listen today. An owl hooting from the island in the lake, followed by the elusive woodpecker nearby – one day I WILL see a woodpecker – blackbirds, thrushes all sounding in tune together as it got louder and louder. Many bird songs I didn’t recognise but they were a lovely addition to the morning orchestra …..

No cold wind this morning, ultra still as I passed by the boats shackled for the night still

I reached Friars Crag and was alone with my bench, the sound of geese the only company this end…I could feel it slowly getting light

I simply sat …..and stared…..and clicked

No one at the top of Cats Bells this morning as I zoomed in. The Easter holidays now over and children back at school, it’s a nice lull of a period before the season starts proper.

The sky was starting to light up to my left, but I could tell the sun must be further round

So I eventually left and headed through the gate to the bank to have a better view of morning sky

I think the sun would be rising behind the fell, so out of my view. I needed to have climbed Friars Crag for a sunrise view me thinks….🤔…but I was happy down here as the clouds started to take on that speckled tinged look of morning

Heading back I turned into the bay to see the reflection of Cats Bell in the water..the sun spot lighting the top half

Passing by the boat and up the slope, I turned into the gate to have a better view of the lambs waking….one nudging the other to get up and play…but he was having none of it..

and the sun had finally reached the top of the fell

On the brow of the hill, a lamb and it’s mum cast silhouettes against the morning sky as I headed back to my room for a shower and a cuppa before breakfast …..and it’s not even 7am…….

Since I havn’t even had breakfast yet me thinks it wise to do my day in two blogs otherwise it would be tooooo long so expect the final part later…….

A Farewell to Elaine then onto paradise..

Yesterday was a double whammy day as it was my monthly fix of Minds and Voices and then I was heading off to paradise. Originally I was going Tuesday to Saturday, but my usual rail company, Transpennine, had decided to strike each weekend until June 😳…but luckily Catherine at Appletrees was able to move me back a day..🙄

I didn’t want to miss seeing my playmates so I booked my tickets to travel from York instead. It also meant I wouldn’t miss saying our farewells to Elaine who sadly died a week or so ago.This was our first get together since her death.

Elaine had been going to Minds and Voices since the very first meeting. Back then she’d been beaten down by dementia and was as quiet as a mouse. But, as she said the group gave her back her life and she’d never stopped talking since 🤣. Damian had told me that her hubby Eric would be there so I didn’t want to miss seeing him either. I’d framed the photo I’d be carrying up into the skies with me in June so wanted to give him that too.

The night before had been a tad 🤯 as I tried to make sure I had everything for Minds and Voices and everything for Keswick 🥴…so goodness knows if I had everything 🙄

The morning arrived and I’d woken as if for my early morning walk at 5am. My taxi wasn’t until 07.25, so I got up anyway. I sat on my bed playing my usual wake up games and had to fight hard not to go for a trundle as the sun was shiny and who knows what I would have seen 🥰….but I declined the urge, knowing full well I’d get carried away and miss my taxi…..😂

Everything came on time, taxi first, then the bus to York and Damian appeared in the car to pick me up along with Monica and we settled ourselves down near the radiator to wait for everyone to arrive….Monica was intrigued by my ipad, so I showed her how it took photos…she was amazed….and said, ”I didn’t know when to smile’….bless…

We were going to show photos of Elaine, but the projector wasn’t working 🙈…..so we put a photo on the wall of her instead

People started to arrive, the usual laughter, then sadness, then more laughter and chatter……

Eric arrived and was surrounded by love and hugs and welcomed to talk as long as he wanted before we started……

I’d teased Damian about his ’unkempt look’ 🤣…they were having their bathroom redone so shaving was a luxury 😂

When the chatting seemed to be over, Damian started by paying tribute to our lovely playmate.

I’d written a poem in memory of Elaine and read it out to the group….

When I first met Elaine
She was sat with her head bowed
No eye contact, no smiling
She murmured not a sound

Dementia had taken her
To the depths of despair
People had said to her
“You ought to be in care”

Then bit by bit she realised
She had a voice to share
She had her opinions
Her thoughts and her cares

One day we needed a name for our group
We all thought hard and stared
Then this quiet little mouse in the corner
Lifted her head, opened her mouth

and said
“Well we’ve all got minds
and we’ve all got voices”
So our name was right there

From that time on her voice grew louder.
her face found her smile once more
We blinged up her zimmer, put a bell on her purse
No more would that mouse be silent, no longer unheard.

“Here come trouble”
Shouted Eddy every time
“What do you mean…? Was her response
“I’m as quiet as a mouse”

Her confidence soared
That little mouse roared
The only problem facing us now
Was shutting that mouth

So now dear Elaine
Loved by so many, & never down trodden
You may have left this earth right now
But you’ll never be forgotten

………it was a lovely moment.

The moment was broken by 2 girls coming from York St John Uni doing a taster session of keep fit to music……

Some joined in and looked to be enjoying themselves, but I sat and chatted with Eric and he told me the story of the last few weeks before it became noisy and Anna suggested the rest of us moved to a quieter room as the music was very loud and, even though I liked the music, I can’t talk and have music on at the same time 🙄, but those that joined in had fun and we enjoyed continuing to chat…..we had two new people join us – more that will benefit from peer support….just as Elaine did….

Although today, Minds and Voices felt disjointed, it felt strange. when Monica asked me what I was typing, I said, ‘all about why we’re here and what we’ve been doing’. Her response was: ”well we havn’t done anything, we’ve just been sat around a table” and I suddenly felt sad. is that what it feels like each month for Monica, not being able to hear well?

Must find out if they have a hearing loop or whatever it is in this building so Monica can hear better 😔 Although, would it then appear chaotic and noisy after being in her quiet world? A difficult one….But today maybe I agree with her…..something just didn’t feel right. Maybe it was the sadness of Elaine, or maybe we just didn’t get today quite right 🤔 For once, I wanted to join Monica in her quiet world – maybe it was all due to the last few difficult days I”d had 🤔 Who knows……😔

And so it was time for me to leave for my train to paradise. It had been an emotional but lovely strange morning despite everything…

And now, it’s 7pm as I finish this off, and I’m sat in my chair in my room with my paradise view……and relax….

My final morning in paradise….

I don’t usually write a blog re the final morning, but the early morning of my journey was so wonderful, I couldn’t resist

The moon was shining bright as I left Appletrees. Not full and round anymore….looking as if mice had been nibbling it round the edges

Turning and looking the other way, the huge Monkey tree silhouetted against the increasingly pink tinged sky

My favourite time of day, the only sound around…. the birds waking. The launch bay, silent for now

My American friend would be in London now, far away from the peace of paradise and hopefully enjoying a different experience in her travels. So I expected to be alone at Friars Crag. Walking along the path, the lake to my right and the moonlight casting silver shimmers on the water

The reflection of Catsbell at Catherines swimming bay, was heaven

There was a gentle mist on the water this cold morning, my fingers already starting to go numb

I was surprised to see a shadow as I turned the corner for the Crag. It certainly wasn’t my American friend, too tall and fidgety…..it turned out to be a young Chinese guy. He’d come to film the sunrise on his phone; and he showed me how he’d propped it up by the tree on the left where the sky was colouring.

Have you see it here before?” I asked him, a tad puzzled as I don’t remember seeing a stunning sunrise here, too many fells in the way….🤔

“Oh no, but I’m sure it’ll happen”…was his certain response.

He was obviously wanting to chat with someone who also loved the early morning and nature. None of his travelling mates had wanted to come out with him.

“They spend all their time drinking and I don’t drink”….he said, sadly. “I want to convince them to climb up there” – he said pointing towards Catsbell. “ But I think my chances are very slim”

I zoomed into the summit and saw 2 people this morning and told him so

He immediately wanted to know, how long it took, where was the start, how does he get down, what about the fell opposite, what’s that called, is that closer…….firing enthusiastic rapid questions at me which threw my head in a spin.

I’d just get a map from Moot Hall, it’ll tell you everything you need to know” trying to calm him down but not wanting to stop his enthusiasm. 😳

I sat on my bench and just admired my morning view

Look at the moon setting’ I said to my companion, not realising that wasn’t a good suggestion.

Turns out, he never looks at the moon, especially when it’s just been a full moon, very bad luck. I hadn’t noticed his back was always turned to my left…he seemed uneasy when I went to the right to take photos of the reflection of Catsbell but I told him, it was ok, the moon had set now and was nowhere in sight

I saw another man taking photos in the bay below…enjoying the mistiness

Before one final photo before saying goodbye..

I didn’t have the heart to tell the young man that further down, just by the gate would be the perfect place to set his phone. I was just lucky this morning…because as I went passed there was the sun starting to rise

It rose so quickly I wouldn’t have had time to go back and get him

And the sun will eventually shine of Friars Crag…..🤐

So, after breakfast and all packed ready to leave for another month, I said goodbye to Catherine and her sister along with more hugs. The taxi man, the book festival had arranged, had already popped in for my case and was waiting for me outside…

As we drove along we chatted about the festival and who he’d picked up and then he asked me what my book was about. So I told him….and a whole new conversation erupted as he told me the story of his mum, his impatient sister and himself. By the end of the 30 minute journey it had all floated out of my head, but he wrote down the titles of both books and said he was heading back into Keswick to buy them both – I suggested letting his sister read one first 😂….

Now this really should be the end of the final blog of Keswick…..but…..two more episodes followed…..firstly I might have mentioned in my first blog, how I now listen to a book on the journey as it makes it calmer….what I hadn’t realised was how much data that used 😳…I did get a message from my supplier saying I was almost out, but didn’t associate it with listening to my book….so I carried on…🙄….and within a few minutes, my phone went dead….🙈….I tried to find a way to let Sarah know but none of them worked 🙈….My ipad doesn’t like train WiFi except Hull trains for some reason, but that station was another 2 hours away…so I had no option

I then realised I couldn’t contact my taxi to pick me up at the other end 😳….nothing I could do so no point in panicking….🤷‍♀️

When I finally arrived in Beverley some hours later. I asked the taxi office if they could pick me up in 20 minutes behind Marks and Spencer….went to do my shopping to save me going out the following day….taxi arrived, he put my bags in the boot…….then suddenly I had a dreadful thought 😳😳😳😳…

Did you put a suitcase in the boot as well?” I said…his look told me….”Could we turn round please”……..

I wobbled my way around M&S, going to all the points I usually go and there eventually was my suitcase, by the flowers 🥵

By the time I got home my head was spinning….but at least I was home….until next month……

Photo by Kenzie…

P.s luckily Sarah hadn’t been worrying as she’d been asleep …because sadly, she’s tested positive for Covid for the third time…🙄

My final day in paradise…..Sunday….

I kept telling myself, I must be organised today….I was meeting author Kathryn Mannix for a cuppa at 3pm and mustn’t get carried away trundling……

I must have told myself this so much the night before that sleep evaded me once more, so when I saw the 4 change to 5am on my watch, I was up. I knew the full moon would be later setting today, 7.20 so would be higher in the sky, whereas the sun would rise at 06.19, so another treat in store for early risers…..

Creeping quietly downstairs once more, I clicked the latch on the front door and the moon was waiting for me

I breathed in the cold air, filled my lungs with the glorious morning chill. Turning left out of the gate and the sky was already the colour of morning

Morning silhouettes are always so clean and clear cut

On one side morning starting to appear, on the other, night time yet to leave

Through the park, the moon keeping me company, then along passed the theatre, all closed up and yet to come to life

The launches laying idle, tied up for the night and yet to meet their hoardes of travellers

And the moon came and went as the morning clouds slipped across

The beam of light is cast on the water, like stepping stones to walk across

And to the left, the brightening sky once more

The trees looked majestic, standing proud as I approached Friars Crag

As I approached my bench, I saw a shadow already there. It was my young American friend, there before me today, already soaking up the scene unfolding.

It was her last day today, but she wanted one more morning to savour this hug before us

We chatted about her plans, that she hopes to come back in the summer; how different it was today than yesterday, with clouds to add to the morning colour

Then moments of silence, each in our own world as we soaked up every inch of the early morning. My young friend had watched people climb Catbells with head torches, and that’s what she’d do on her next visit. Her young eyes could count the people at the summit waiting for the sun to appear, but I had to zoom in

The pink candyfloss clouds reflected in the water

Then I noticed the moon starting to make its descent as daylight began to appear

Slowly before visibly surely, she began to lower herself

…behind the lightening fells she slowly started to disappear

And the next time I looked she’d gone….

We both sat on the bench together just looking and listening

Then finally the sun lit a spotlight on the top of Catsbell

So beautiful as the fell began to be the centre of attention

Then suddenly out of nowhere, as if a young magician, my friend produced a painting, all neatly wrapped in bubble wrap – it was a present for me, of our bench. I was overwhelmed with her kindness and hugged her so tight. I didn’t know what to say, lost at the idea that this young girl would even think of such kindness, after all, we only met the day before. But it felt like we’d met here every day for weeks. We had an instant affinity, an instant common denominator…..this beautiful Crag. We’d shared time in the peace watching the sun rise, chatting and sitting in companiable silence.

It was time for me to go. One last hug goodbye and a promise she would be back. we hadn’t shared our lives…just shared a moment in them…

Have a wonderful life” were my parting words as I left her to enjoy her last moments in paradise

As I walked away, I could feel my eyes leaking…..but in the blur I saw something land in front of me, my Robin……..’it’s ok, I’m still here’

Time for breakfast…….another long blog I’m afraid…🙄

After breakfast, I decided to walk around the lake. I decided to go anti clockwise for a change as that’s the quieter way, especially at the weekend. It would also give my brain a work out as going the opposite way round can be discombobulating 🙄 I’d see people coming towards me instead of everyone overtaking me 😂 In my head I decided to stop and wait for the open top bus once I got to Lodore and then I’d have plenty of time to, buy supper and meet Kathryn for a cuppa at 3….

I’ve been so lucky with the weather again, another day forecast to be wall to wall sunshine….

As I walked through town then first across the river Greta

Along the dirt track towards Portiscale where you get a wonderful view of people starting their trek up Catsbell

There was a poor sheep on its back valiantly trying to get itself righted with no luck…thankfully a woman jumped the fence and as though it was light as a feather, lifted it and put it back on all fours, much to the delight of other walkers like myself, who clapped and cheered her. She gave an embarrassed curtsey before carrying on with her walk…

Two other sheep were watching her, following her every move…

Both probably thankful it wasn’t them 🤣

Back to me taking photos of climbers on Catsbell and at first I thought there were helicopters flying over the top, but then on closer inspection, they were geese 😂

Across the wobbly bridge to Portiscale and onto Nicole End. The café closed, not yet open for the season, but still boats in the marina

Then along the track through the wooded are

Before meeting the alpacas or are they llamas 🤔…forget now….

One was even lying down having a snooze

The others grazing in their field

Back into the wood again, and I could hear a roaring sound in the distance. It didn’t make any sense as we weren’t near the road….until I came out into the open and saw quad bikes crossing in front of me

Then silence again as I walked across the field. I came to Hawes End sooner than I thought. Here I would say hello to Sylvia. I was just by the sign leading down to Hawes when I saw a flash of red

She stared at me as I said, “I knew you’d come to meet me”. and she came closer, still looking at me…

I reached in my pocket for some food, sat on the wall, but then sadly a couple came along and decided to sit with me and in that moment the Robin disappeared….😔

I sat, hoping they’d disappear, but sadly not, so I got to my feet a tad deflated and carried on. I whispered that I’d be back next month….
An old tyre had been hung from a tree …

The paths here are long and wind this way and that, revealing a gem of a view around every corner

The wooden hand was missing, hopefully being renovated, just the plaque in view now

Most bays were silent and deserted, others had families playing on the shoreline or in the water

Yellow gorse was in full flower

But still round every corner of the bend was a beautiful view….my camera couldn’t stop clicking

I seemed to come to places sooner than I expected – probably because I was going the other way round. But soon I was at the wooden path, built high enough to forge a path through the marsh land

Soon I’d be at the Pooh Bear bridge and then Lodore…..in places the wind was strong, and yet, around the corner and it would be still, the reflection in the water of the fells and trees

At Pooh Bear bridge, there were people lazing on the grass having a picnic and even swimming in the clear cool water

I reached Lodore, looked at my watch 11.50…..looked at the bus timetable and there wasn’t one due until 12.05…🤔 It was much earlier than I thought, I must have wobbled my way round at a good pace. I don’t like waiting for a bus when I could be walking so I continued….through the mossy wood; a wood where everything is covered in a green coat

Ashness Bridge launch was deserted; a boat had not long dropped its passengers off and they’d dispersed out of sight, leaving the landing stage a prime target for a piccie

It wasn’t until I reached Milenium cove that I remembered the bus 😳…it had vanished out of my mind and I’d just carried on walking.

I got home in plenty of time to get my supper and even have a cuppa or two before it was time to meet Kathryn. I’m sure it must have taken me less time to walk anti clockwise than it usually does the normal way round 😳….

Eventually I trundled down to the theatre and within minutes Kathryn appeared. We went upstairs to an authors area for a cuppa and chatted intensely for about an hour. Such a lovely lady. What we spoke of, goodness knows as its floated into the air and got left behind as I left her. But I know I had a wonderful time talking to her and I’m sure we’ll speak again

I even have the delight of attending her talk at 5pm about her new book, Listen…….

Again, what a marvellous day. Sad that its my last, but I feel ready to go home now and immensely pleased with my all I’ve done in stay here …. so tomorrow I’ll make my way home to my lovely village……until next month…..

P.S the young Texan girl emailed me….her name is Kenzie….☺️