Category: Life in England

Cows: Life in the Country

You know you live in the country when the first thing you hear in the morning is the loud and aggressive mooing of Theo the bull, who likes to threaten the other bull, somewhere in another field… goodness knows where.  They like to holler to one another, I’m guessing they say a lot of “I’m bigger than you” in cow lingo.  I could be wrong of course, for all you know, cows are also like people, who like to talk about the weather…

I felt really sorry for the cows when were having unusual weather a few months ago.  The appearance of the beast from the East… twice, meant that they were unable to come out and were stuck in their barns.  When the snow finally cleared up and we all thought that Spring was finally on it’s way, it was the rains that came and made the surrounding farm land too wet and soggy for the cows.  When I heard the first moo in the field behind our house, I was really pleased to hear that they were back outside.  Not sure they were pleased to see us, especially our annoying dog Doc who likes to bark at them.

I’ve especially been spying on the mama cows and their calves.  I just find it so endearing the way they’re so protective of their young.  I guess all mothers are the same regardless of species and the thought just really warms my heart.  I can sit for hours just watching them.

At the moment, we have scaffolding all over our house.  We’ve had really bad damp and mould over the winter and we’re hoping the builder will be able to fix this.  When he is gone, I like to go up there and watch the cows.

I saw this mama and her calf a few days ago.  They were really near the back of our house.  This mama was actually standing a few feet away from her calf, but as soon as she saw me she quickly walked towards her young and gave me a bellow as if to say “You come near my baby and I’ll break your bones”.

I just sat there and watched from above.  I don’t think she liked my presence at all.  She stopped threatening me but turned to her young as if to say “Let’s move on.  I don’t trust that woman up there”.  Her baby which I’m guessing was just a day or so old, judging from it’s unsteady steps, just ignored the mum.  I guess the young are also the same regardless of species, they like to ignore their parents.  After more bellowing the calf eventually moved towards its mother.

And as soon as her baby was near her, like all mothers, she jostled her little one to get a move on.

And just like that, they left me watching them.

How was your Bank Holiday weekend?

I heard the rest of the UK were basking in a lovely mini-heatwave.  I wish I could say it was the same for us down here in North Cornwall but it wasn’t.

The weather last Saturday was a good start.  After little T’s ballet we picked up a friend of hers who was going to have a sleep-over at our place, then we headed to Exeter to watch a football match.  It was lovely in Exeter.  It was just the right combination fo not too hot and not chilly.  On our way back home, we could smell people having bbqs at their homes.  It was early evening and my husband had plans to light the fire and just sit till night-fall.  But as we headed arrived in Cornwall, we saw sea-mist in the distance and our hearts sank a little bit.  By the time we turned into our driveway, we knew that our plan of sitting around the fire was gone out the window.

The next day, our house was still surrounded by sea-mist.  We had plans of spending the day in the beach, but it looked like it wasn’t going to happen.  Thankfully though, the mist cleared up towards mid-day and little T and her friend still managed to have some paddling pool fun.

I’m hoping the weather will be better at the end of May when T’s next term-breaks comes, especially since we’re expecting a visit from some family members.  It would be nice to be able to take them to the beach sans the sea-mist and have lovely bbqs in our garden.  Then again, this is Cornwall.  I think the weather down here is more unpredictable than any other place in the UK.  I could be wrong of course 😉

What about you?

How was your bank holiday weekend?

And Spring finally Sprung … I think …

This post has been sitting in my drafts for about a couple of weeks now and I think I’ve just jinxed it.  As I type this I can feel my hands cold, because we’ve switched off our central heating weeks ago.. after all it’s supposed to be Spring and it’s the second day of May for goodness sake!  Who has their heating on in May???

Have I really jinxed this?  All because I’ve left this in my draft for some time now?  Apologies.  Things have been a bit manic in my life lately.  I’m busy trying to tick off a list that has been on for the longest time.  But let me remind you what the weather was like about two weeks ago…

It was absolute bliss.  I even managed to hang some laundry out.  We haven’t done this since last year!  And that to me is a win.

Is it sad that watching my laundry hung out to dry in a warm day like this make me happy?  Does it?  If you say to me “You need to get a life woman”  My reply would be “But this is my life and I’m content and watching my laundry dry in the sun does make me happy. You ought to try it”.  Small joys, you know.

Sitting on lounge chairs, with the sound of wind chimes being blown gently by the wind, watching my laundry dry in the sun and little T, sitting beside me eating her lunch with Doc sniffing around, hoping she’d drop a piece of bread, so he could snatch it, is what I call a perfect day to me.

Occasionally, you’d also hear the mooing of the cow in the nearby field and the distant sound of a tractor and the farmer’s dogs in the distance.  I’m hoping someday little T will remember this day, of how she put on what she called a “show” for her mum while standing on her swing, which was really more like a monologue of what I would call “the ramblings of a seven-year-old” I really should’ve recorded it.

Even Doc seemed happy and content that day.  Oh please bring back the warm days, we really don’t want to switch our heating on again.

What about you?

What’s the weather/temperature like on your side of the world?

Easter Break: Two Little Girls and a Beach

On Monday, T and her friends go back to school.  This Easter break was all about visiting and spending time with family up in the Midlands for us.  We also had a lovely short city-break at Birmingham where we were lucky enough to watch the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain perform at the beautiful Symphony Hall in Birmingham.  T was absolutely enthralled just watching them play, especially the cellos.  We think she was very much inspired by them.

And so we’re back in the sticks, where our life consists mainly of play-dates and impromptu trips to the beach after the husband is done with his work.  It’s lovely now because Spring seems to have sprung out of the depths of wherever it was hiding when Winter overstayed its stay.  Temperature has risen and it’s possible once again to walk on the beach without looking like an Eskimo or a North Pole explorer out for a ride with his wolf-dogs.  And so the husband went out with shorts and sandals …

I must admit.  I wasn’t as brave as him.  I still came out with a coat (although to be fair, a much lighter one), and the kids were also in hoodies and wellies.

And so we found ourselves on our favourite local beach, Sandymouth which I’ve mentioned more than a dozen of times on this blog.  I can’t repeat myself enough, it really is a must-visit beach if ever you find yourself in North Cornwall, especially with kids in tow.

The two girls decided that it was way more fun to walk around in bare feet even on a pebbly beach, so they plonked themselves on a drift-wood and took their wellies off, before deciding to try to climb the many interesting rock formations found on the beach.

Why do kids never listen to you when you tell them not to do something?  I told them not to climb higher, they ignored me.  And so I said, “If you get stuck, you’ll have to spend the night there, because I’m not climbing up there to get you down”.  Thankfully that worked and they slowly made their way down again and joined the husband exploring by the rock pools.  He found them a little crab to play with before setting it free.

We love it here.  It’s perfect for a long walk on the beach, especially when the tide is low. There are lots of rock pools to discover which both my husband and T love.

We ended the day with the two girls, walking back with their beach find of the day …. driftwood.

What about you?

How was your Easter break?

Country Kids
 

The Beast Returns! (A Delayed Post)

Well, they called it the mini-beast-from-the-East.  While it wasn’t as bad as the first one, we still had a lot of snow – pretty snow, everywhere you looked it was covered in white.  It gave the light a weird, eerie but beautiful and unusual glow.  Sometimes, it looked more like silver and not white.  T loved it of course, by Monday though we (not my little girl) were all a bit fed up with this winter wonderland and wanted it to be Spring.

When you’re little though, snow is still fun and magical, especially when it happens so rarely in the place where you live.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, it never really snows here in Cornwall, we usually get blasted by heavy wind, not blizzards, so when it happens, it’s the kids who really enjoy it, not the adults, although admittedly, we did have some fun too, even Doc did!

Snow fights, making snow angels, sledding, or just trying to slide down a snowy hill, is so much fun, if you’re a little child like T, especially if your school announces a free day, what’s not to like?

On the third snowy day though, we were just a little bit fed up with it.  I’m wondering how people manage in colder countries where snow is but the norm?  I guess, you do just get used to it – as for the rest of us, we’re really not equipped for snow, when it happens, everything slows down just a bit which to be fair isn’t really a bad thing.  But really, snow in March? I pity the daffodils that were squashed by the snow, I think they were a bit confused too.  Who wasn’t?

Even Doc seemed fed up with snow too.  Thank goodness, it’s all gone now.  Spring I think is finally here.

***

Incidentally, apologies if you’ve been trying to access this little space of mine. I’ve been offline for a few days due to problems with my domain.  But all is sorted now thanks to good friends of ours who happen to be web developers.  If not for them, I’d be thinking of quitting blogging so if you guys are in need of a good team you can trust, do check them out here.  I owe them big time.

Country Kids
 

Cross country training, the promise of spring & a snowy surprise

While the Beast from the East is but a memory now, you’ll still find traces of his visit in the fields and on the side of the road as you drive along the A39, only they’re looking more like cement, a murky brown, or more like mud actually.  And we wonder if he’ll ever visit again?  We promised T that next time we’d be ready and buy a sled if we see one on sale, although I honestly doubt if this rare occurrence will happen again… but you’ll never know and it’s best to be prepared next time.

T together with some of her friends and other schoolmates will be doing the cross-country run together with other schools this Friday.  We’ve been helping her “train”… I’m using the word “train” really lightly here, because it’s nothing hardcore at all.  The Historian does run with her when he has the time, but since he had a lecture in Exeter last Saturday, T was stuck with her mum who has a weak knee and so I just walked behind her.

We were doing rather well.  She’d run ahead of me and I’d walk briskly behind her.  Admiring the promise of spring – the daffodils were out again. Before the Beast’s visit, lovely Spring flowers were slowly coming out and then they were blanketed with a thick layer of snow.  It’s nice to see them out again.

T ran past the small barn and into our neighbour’s farm.  We’re lucky we have lovely neighbours who let us roam freely around their farm.

We passed the other outbuildings  and still she kept running, occasionally checking whether her poor unexercised mum was still behind her.

And into the small woods, past up the hill and then that’s when she saw it.

I saw her stop on her tracks.  She looked back at me and smiled and went for it.

T giggled as she got stuck in the thick snow.  I was really amazed to find this much snow on the side of the lane.  I’m sure it will melt soon especially since temperature has been slowly rising. I let her play in the snow for a while. After all thick snow is rare on our side of the UK especially in March, before reminding her to go back to running till at least the end of the lane and then she can play in the snow again.

After running around in circles and getting stuck in the snow, T and I decided that it was time to head back home…

… for a lovely treat of Oreo Ice-cream.

Isn’t life just sweet? 😉

Hello Beast From the East

The first day of March is “officially” the first day of Spring here in the UK, but because of the Beast from the East, instead of warmer weather, it was bitingly cold.

It was also supposed to be World Book Day, T got up excitedly, wanting to get into her Tonks (a minor character from Harry Potter) costume.  But then we received a message from her school saying that school was cancelled.  While it was cold, there wasn’t any sign of snow till around 2pm and then it never stopped.  T wanted to go outside as soon as it started, but I told her that we’d go out once the snow has settled.  But the snow just kept falling, and falling, and falling….

As you can see, it took only about a couple of hours for the snow to look like this.  T was absolutely delighted.  It has never snowed in North Cornwall like this before.  We’ve had a few dusting, but never as thick as this.

And since we didn’t have any sled, we had to quickly improvise and found an old Ikea shelf that was light and yet sturdy enough to slide down the very icy and slippery road in front of our house.

At first, T was hesitant to use it so her dad had to show her how. Soon enough she was going up and down that icy road, laughing and having so much fun.

I’m amazed with how much snow the beast from the East managed to dump on us within a few hours.  It was absolutely beautiful though …

Everywhere you looked, it was covered in a soft blanket of snow…

And of course, you absolutely have to build a snowman when there’s that much snow on the ground.

T named her Billy, an artist visiting from the East.  As I type this, I look out my window and can still see a mound of snow where Billy used to be standing.

And yes, we had snow-fights too.

At the end of the day, we were all wet and cold, but T had the biggest smile on her face and the snow just kept falling as T watched from the window.

We had two lovely, magical days of snow.  At night, it was lovely to look out the window and see the snow glistening, it actually gave it an eerie glow and as much as I enjoyed it too, I was actually glad to see it melting by Saturday afternoon.  If I look out my window now, I will see patches of snow in the ground and in the surrounding fields too.

If you live in the UK, did you enjoy the visitor from the East?

Country Kids
 

This Is The Life

Lately I’ve been missing the madness of city living again and if T didn’t love her school and her friends so much, we’d move in a heartbeat.  The yearning comes and goes but on a day like this particular one also reminds me to be thankful of where we live right now especially with a little child in tow and as the ever wise Dr. Seuss once said:

Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky.”

And indeed we are lucky to live where we live.  Beautiful beaches are within a ten-minute drive from our house.  If we wanted to venture out just a bit further, like a thirty-minute drive to our current favourite beach, we’re there soon enough.

Sandymouth beach in North Cornwall is our current fave.  We first discovered it last year.  It’s a lovely beach owned by the National Trust, some may find it a bit rocky, but it has many beautiful features like this lovely waterfalls.  If you’ve been reading this little online space of ours, you might have just read about this slice of heaven in past posts.  It also has a lovely National Trust cafe, so yes, a must-visit if you’re in the area.

It was summer the last time we were here.  Imagine T’s surprise when we came back and found the waterfalls over-brimming with water.  Last time we were here, it was a mere trickle.  Just look at these photos:

i just love the expanse of this beach.  It was nearing high-tide when we arrived, so we couldn’t really venture out further, but there was still enough beach for a lovely stroll.

From where we were walking, you could see people up in the headland enjoying the view.

After walking around, we spread our picnic blanket on top of the rocks and just enjoyed the scenery before us.  This is the life.  This is all you need.  The people whom you love the most and a flask of tea.  What more can you ask for?  Okay, maybe enough money to buy a house in the city 😉

“The beach is not a place to work, to read, write or to think”

  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Poor Doc – we weren’t able to let him off leash since there were a few families around with little kids.  Sadly, he still hasn’t outgrown the “jumping on strangers” with an eager beaver face.

After having our fill of quiet solitude and hot tea, we decided it was time for cake at the cafe.  While demolishing a lovely piece of chocolate cake, we noticed this really brave Blackbird perch itself up a few tables from where we sat outdoors facing the sea.  It didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence at all.

And then it was time to explore that headland, which we’ve never had the chance to explore till now.

That’s the National Trust cafe and parking lot (above photo).

Waterfalls seen from above.

What do you think?

Would you exchange all this for city living?

Country Kids
 

And Just Like That…. Half-term Break is Over

Photo above is what the weather is currently like at the moment.  We are enveloped in a sea of mist that really looks like a set in a movie based in one of Stephen King’s novels.  I’m just really glad that the weather wasn’t like this during the half-term break.  We had a few days of glorious sunshine it almost felt like spring has sprung.

February half-term is only a week and we didn’t really do or go anywhere special but at least we managed to visit the beach a couple of times.

Went to Widemouth, our go-to-beach when we want an easy stroll on the beach.  I’ve mentioned this beach a lot of times on this blog, maybe because it’s such a short drive from where we live.  It has a nice long stretch of beach even when it’s high tide.  Perfect for a lovely stroll to blow off some cobwebs.

Was it cold?  Yes, it was.  But we were dressed for it.  After all, winter isn’t really gone yet.  We stayed till it started to rain before heading back home again.

Do you like going to the beach in the cold?

Country Kids
 

Our Christmas Holiday: Holed In

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and also enjoyed your New Year’s celebrations.  As for us, we spent the whole Christmas break hibernating inside our home.  We were supposed to spend the holidays with my in-laws, but just before little T finished school, she was struck with the nastiest cold and cough she’s ever had.  Before long my husband was down with it too.  On the morning of the 23rd, I realised that it would be best for everyone if we just quarantined ourselves inside our home.  My in-laws are old you see, I’d be horrified if they caught it.  It’s taken T and my husband the whole of the holiday to shake it off, can you imagine what it would be like for a couple in their late 80s?

My poor husband had to go out on the 24th and do an emergency shop since we didn’t have any food at home, after all we were all ready to drive-up country.  The shops ran out turkey, so he had to make do with whatever he found that day.  Thankfully, none of us were in the mood for roast, our diet then consisted mostly of home-made soup, the kind one eats when poorly.

This has been us, holed in, watching movie after movie.  Playing games after another.  I’ve just realised that T and I are really crap with playing charades, but she absolutely loves playing it.

We had plans of doing loads of winter walks, but the only time we’ve ever been out was today, to do some food shopping.  That’s about it.  T seems a lot better, she still has a bit of a cough.  The husband’s cough has also improved, so we’re hoping to do our first and only holiday winter-walk tomorrow.  Weather permitting, it happens.

As you can see, we still have Christmas presents under our tree.  Those are for family up-country.  Luckily, my husband has a meeting there over the weekend, so he’ll be able to drop by to give them their belated Christmas presents.  Lucky for us too, we also get to open ours from them.  Christmas has been extended for us this year.

What about you?

What was your Christmas break like?