Friday, 31 March 2017

Five on Friday - Villages Along the Thames


Thanks for calling in, especially as we are linking up with FAST for Five on Friday.
Today, I'm giving you a taster of five towns and villages along the River Thames in Oxfordshire. Here's a map to get us started.  There are plenty of walks around each of these delightful characterful places.

One - Wallingford

Wallingford is the best surviving example of a Saxon fortified town in England.  Its earthworks were built by King Alfred in the 9th Century. William the Conqueror and his army crossed the Thames here in 1066 on his way to London and ordered a castle to be built.  Over the centuries, the castle passed through many royal hands right up to Oliver Cromwell who ordered its demolition in 1652, so only the ruins remain today, set in beautiful gardens.  As an old market town, Wallingford still has a market, independent shops as well as antique shops, has a local history museum and an interesting open space called Kinecroft which has Saxon banks.

The Corn Market is now used as a theatre and has appeared in Midsomer Murders on TV.

Castle Gardens and ruins
View of the town from the Castle

Wallingford Bridge
Two - Cholsey

St Mary's Church in Cholsey was an abbey founded in 986 by Ethelred the Unready and it is probably the last place that you would expect to find Agatha Christie's gravestone but she did live in the area in Winterbrook House.  Her husband, Sir Max Mallowan is also buried there.

Three - Goring and Streatley

These two villages are on opposite banks of the river, fortunately with a bridge in between.  They are located in the gap between the Berkshire Downs and Chilterns with the Ridgeway Path close by. Goring was recently in the news as singer George Michael lived there.

Four - Pangbourne

Between Goring and Pangbourne lies the famous National Trust property Basildon Park, famous to us Five of Fridayers thanks to Amy.

Five - Mapledurham

Next up is the Mapledurham Estate, a 12th Century family house and farming estate, complete with the only working watermill on the Thames still producing flour and a hydro-power Archimedes screw turbine producing sustainable electricity using the river.  The Estate is open to the public on certain days, see website, when you are able to take a boat trip, have a cream tea or attend one of their events.  You may recognise the buildings as they have featured in Midsomer Murders, The Eagle has Landed, Miss Marple, the Big Allotment Challenge and Sharpe.

Many thanks to Tricky and Carly.

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Garden Centre Mosaic


Thanks for popping in.

Some readers are still grappling with snowy weather, so with this in mind, here's a colourful flowery mosaic to cheer you up.  Our local garden centre has plenty of shrubs to tempt us all. In fact I was quite surprised at just how much there was, full of colour and ready to be planted in our gardens.

A feast for the eyes!

A feast for the plants!

Joining in with Riitta at Floral Passions.


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Breaking News


I wasn't going to post anything today but then, how could I resist these newly hatched Egyptian goslings.  I've never seen these particular geese produce babies at the park by the shops before.  Aren't they beauties!

I knew seeing them would make you smile.

Have a great day.


Monday, 27 March 2017

In the Shadows


Thanks for dropping by.

The luxury of a bright sunny, although chilly, chilly day, means another walk.  Which way to go?

Starting off on the Magnolia Trail, it turned swiftly into a Shadow Quest.

Here's a poem - My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson - to help us on our way.

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, 
     And what can be the use of him is more than I can see. 
    He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head; 
         And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed. 

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow— 
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow; 
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball, 
And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all. 

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play, 
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way. 
He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see; 
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me! 

One morning, very early, before the sun was up, 
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup; 
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head, 
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

The clouds started to gather so I had to wait for the sun to peep through to take some of the photos.  Even the daffodils in this pot looked charming with their bold outline.

Back home where a shadowy dog was there wagging his tail in the wind.

That's another 8,000 steps to add to the collection. Now for a shadowy cup of tea.


Friday, 24 March 2017

Five on Friday- Comic Relief


Thanks for visiting.

Tricky and Carly from the FAST blog have taken over from Amy today to host the Five on Friday link-up, do join in using the link at the end of the post.

This Friday coincides with Red Nose Day in the UK, a fundraising telethon, part of Comic Relief set up in 1985, which happens every two years alternating with Sports Relief, where people are invited to "do something funny for money" to help people living tough lives in the UK and Africa, so my five relate to this charity.

One - Red Noses

Since 1988, plastic red noses of different shapes and sizes and other merchandise have gone on sale to raise money and promote the day.  Costing only £1 and available in supermarkets, it's an easy way to support the cause.  Lots more merchandise is available.

This year's selection includes a rare Frankinose, not pictured, something for the collectors!

Here are a few noses from the past, not to be sniffed at!
Two - Fundraising

Quite popular these days are baking sales or coffee mornings.  The website offers all sorts of downloadable ideas and kits to help these go with a bang as well as some stunning recipes using maltesers to get everyone buying.  Have a look at the recipes here.

Three - TV

Friday evening will be given over to a night of comedy sketches, live comedy and music on BBC1 interspersed with films highlighting the deserving causes to encourage everyone to join in the fundraising.  This year a Red Nose sequel to Love Actually is promised.

Four - Grants

Comic Relief's vision is for 


They make grants under four programmes - Investing in children and young people, Empowering women and girls, Improving health and wellbeing, Building stronger communities.  40-50% of the money raised is used in the UK with the rest used mainly in Africa but also in Latin America and Asia and beyond.  See the website for more information.  in 2015, they raised £99,418,831 and over the last 30 years the total has reached over £1 billion.

Five - Donations

If you are interested to read more about the charity or want to donate, please follow this link.

Have a great weekend