Tag Archives | excursions

Megaliths and castles!

We saw a few old structures while we were in Pembrokeshire. These were the oldest.

These were neolithic (I think) burial sites, and there are several scattered round the coast. Our chief difficulty was finding them, as neither of them were signposted!

ancient stone burial site

This was called Carn Llidi and was along the coast path in quite a lonely, stony area. Anselm provides quite a good guide to the size of the stones.

rocky area

The kids enjoyed climbing on the rocks and attacking one another.

The second was called Carreg Samson and was in the middle of a farmer’s field. Here it is in the drizzle and murk…

megalithic burial site

As you can see, it is bigger than the other one…

megalith with people...

On the last day of our trip, we went to Pembroke Castle. The kids had fun because it is pretty intact for a medieval castle, with lots of steps to towers, narrow corridors leading all over the place and walks around the walls.

medieval castle


All those steps were very tiring!

three houses

I liked these little old houses outside the walls.

Skomer Island

While we were in Pembrokeshire, we went on a small boat to Skomer Island, a nature reserve. It is part of a group of three off that part of the coast. Earlier in the summer it has puffins but they had left for the Bay of Biscay, unfortunately. But we saw lots of gulls and other wildlife, including a pied wagtail from a hide in the middle of the island. It was lovely just to be able to walk around somewhere free of cars. It is quite a small island – it only took us a couple of hours to walk round it.

This is called The Neck, and you can only go there if you are on bona fide research – everyone else has to keep to the very clear paths.

very sheer cliffs on Skomer island
This part apparently was the best place to see seabirds, but most of them must have been out at sea when we were there. Amazing, sheer cliffs …

springy, bumpy vegetation on Skomer island
There were lots of burrows on the island – the manx sheerwater bird apparently makes them, along with the numerous rabbits around. We saw lots of gory bodies of these birds as we walked along – eaten by the gulls in the night.

sun shining over sea from Skomer island
The views were amazing.

Orange lichen-covered cliffs on Skomer island
Look at the orange lichen on the rocks!

more of those funny bumps on Skomer island
I don’t know if these are burrows, plant-covered rocks or strange growing clumps of plants but they looked weird…

seal lying on top of rock on Skomer island
That shape on the top of the rock is a sleeping seal. It blends in quite nicely with the rock itself! It didn’t move for ages…

Seals on beach on Skomer island
There are some more seals on this beach if you look carefully! They drag themselves up at low tide to sun themselves.

More Oxford views

Sorry for the quiet few days. I’ve been helping with the kids’ crafts activities at the holiday club at church all week so I’ve been absolutely shattered by the afternoons. So here are a few more pics of the views from the tower we went up to in Oxford. Maybe in a few days I’ll have something else to talk about!

college quadrangle

This is one of the colleges.

radcliffe camera

This is the Radcliffe Camera, which is a sort of overflow for the Bodlean Library. Apparently the Dangerous Sports Society at the university used to require people to climb up to the top of it as a condition of membership!

colourful houses on high street

I liked the colourfully painted shops on the High Street.


But this is my favourite… looking at people enjoying a cup of coffee down below…

Marlborough (2) – Herbal medicine

The herbal medicine course was great fun. We did it with Sarah Williams, a medical herbalist. She passed round herbs in various forms for us to taste, we made creams and lotions and learnt about the actions performed by various herbs on the body, and all sorts of other information. We also had a herb walk, to help us identify herbs in the wild. There were a couple of trout ponds on site where people were learning fishing and we found quite a few around one of these – St John’s Wort, water mint, meadowsweet and lots of others. I felt sorry for the poor fishermen because just as we were all going on our herb walk, the kids were raftbuilding and there were also some people doing oil paintings of the area! I wonder if they caught any fish that morning!

Here is the general area where we walked:

path through countryside

Here are a few herbs I took pictures of:

This is meadowsweet

plant with white flowers - meadowsweet

And watermint


I don’t know what this is called but I love the halo effect caused by the flash!

umbrella-like seedpod highlighted by flash

More antibiotics…

I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything for nearly a week – we were actually away on holiday the week before last at Marlborough College Summer School and had a wonderful time, but I came back with an infected armpit which needs antibiotics. As they are the third lot of antibiotics since May, due to my dental abscess, I’m going to take great care over the next few months… I also had to have a visit to the out of hours doctor this morning because the antibiotics gave me nasty stomach bloating so I’m now on a different sort. Hopefully these will be better!

When I say ‘we’ were at Marlborough College, I actually mean me and the kids – DH went to an airshow in America. The kids were entertained from 8.30 am till 9 pm and I got to go to two marvellous courses – the Magic of Herbs and Creative Papercraft. I will try and post photos shortly!

To cover it chronologically, however, here are some photos of Avebury, which is 6 miles away, where we stopped and spent a few hours on the way down. (Avebury is supposed to be linked to Stonehenge in some way – the latter is not far away). There is a very impressive stone circle there, with massive earthworks and you can walk all the way round. (We also coincided with a car boot sale and football tournament which pleased the kids!).

row of stones and village beyond

Here is a row of the stones. This is just a few of them. They look quite small from here…

huge stone, with cracks and crevices

… but this is deceptive.


Here are some of the earthworks around it.

house in village

It is a very touristy village (the site is owned by the National Trust) but here is one of the picturesque houses in it.

Ideal herb garden

Of course, this is what my herb garden ought to look like:

herb garden all enclosed by box hedges

I took this photo at the Ecomusee near Mulhouse in eastern France on holiday in 2004. Here is the whole thing. Nice.

larger view of above with lots of neat hedges and things envy envy

I’ve got one clump of box which I bought with a view to making lots of cuttings and making something like this. Huh; so far, about ten years later, I’ve got one cutting from it. All the box plant does at the moment is obscure my view from the kitchen window to the other herbs. Must try a bit of topiary on it sometime! I just looked for a photo of it but can’t find one and it is too dark to take one now. Will take one sometime. I need a gardener….

Sketchbook page

I pasted these pages in from paintings and sketches I did when I was on holiday in France in 2004. We were up in the Vosges mountains, perched halfway up a hillside. After I had put them in this book I found some matching fabrics and stuck those next to the first picture. This is another piece I must develop sometime. Perhaps posting it on here will help me remember! The first one, by the way, is the colours taken from the hillside in appropriate proportions. I think the second one was just me playing around! The one on the right was the view from the gite we were staying in.

page of paint and colour

Here are a couple of photos of the actual view from the windows..

view down a mountain

view down mountain

Over the last few days I have been trying to get myself making stuff again. Since before Christmas I seem to have been a bit in the doldrums with it, apart from knitting, that is! So I’ve got a few things which I have cut wadding and backing fabric for, meaning to use Melody’s pillowcase method to finish them. But I am out of Bondaweb so I will have to go and get some before I can get moving with them. Maybe clearing a few more half-finished objects will get me going!

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