Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Dartmoor dreaming.

I have lived near Dartmoor National Park nearly all my life.

It is an area that could not fail to inspire, with its beauty and grandeur. Artists have painted it. Wonderful photographers have captured it. Writers such as Emily Bronte wrote of it in Wuthering Heights. Poets have tried to find words to describe it.


Come with me to the Moorland grey and I'll show you the blanketing fog.

Thick and dank it comes rolling in and hides both the cliff and the bog.

On a gentle breeze the moistened air kisses the granite walled pound

Where the animals hide from the soaking cloud that muffles every sound.

Come with me to the Moorland white and I'll show you the ice and the snow.

Deepening drifts on the easterly wind that howls over valleys below.

The farmers are out with their bundles of hay to feed the ewe and the cow

And the red haired fox is hungry and slim, but there's little provender now.

Come with me to the Moorland green and I'll show you the gorse and the heather,

Long soft grass and fire-formed rock that has been there for ever and ever.

I'll show you the streams and the tumbling falls that follow the rainy weather

And the blue dotted sheep that roam the slopes and the crow that has lost a feather.

Come with me to the Moorland gold and I'll show you a haven to lie.

In a scented wood we can touch and kiss yet still see the clouds in the sky.

The sun in the west will set ere long and the stars in their glory shine

And only then, in the evening air, will you really and truly be mine.

Geoff Stuttaford - Oct 99

It is a place that changes with the seasons and can almost have four seasons in a day. Moorland towns hard worn and granite grey speak of hardships and toil.

The tors rise from the moor majestic and proud. Hard as iron above the springy peat bogs and purple gorse strewn hills.

In a few weeks time we have a new little baby due in our family. A Great Grandson to my late father who was a vet all his life. He lived in a small village in the middle of the moor and kept two Dartmoor ponies near his house.When I was a little girl and we would drive on the moor I begged my dad to put one of the ponies in the boot and let me take it home.visitors still love to see them especially in the Spring time when foals abound.

My nephew and his wife love the outdoor life and I think this little baby will spend quite a lot of time visiting wonderful moorland places.
The baby's mummy actually works in a Farm shop on the moor. It is great to see how moorland farmers have diversified and are thriving.

So,when I thought of this new little baby and the blanket I wanted to make it, Dartmoor came to mind. An unusual colour palette for me but just thinking about the green grass,Devonshire red soil and bracken helped my selection.

The blues of sky,clouds and moorland rivers trickling by.

The hues of heathers clinging to the land lighting the shadows with purples and pinks. Juicy wild whortleberries

And all in my favourite Chevron pattern an echo of the hills to the valleys.
The peaks to the gulleys.
Dartmoor dreaming.
I hope the dear little baby swaddled in this blanket will come to know of its inspiration and come to love Dartmoor as much as I do.

It's not finished yet,so a few more rows to go and a bit more dreaming for me.

I hope if ever you are in Devon you will visit Dartmoor and see its beauty for yourself.










Monday, 29 December 2014

Musical love !

Before Christmas I was given a challenge by a friend to name my all time 5 favourite songs or pieces of music. I actually cursed this friend as I was busy with Christmas lists and planning. What foolishness to invite me to escape into a musical heaven. But, I rarely refuse a challenge and I really enjoyed thinking each day for five days about the music I love. The music which means something to me and the music I often turn to.

Of course it was hard,if not impossible to pare a lifetime of music down to 5 pieces but I did,and here they are. .... I have no idea when I first fell in love with this particular song. I am sure Andy thinks it is linked to a previous boyfriend but no. I just love it.

Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Help me Make It Through The Night.


The second day I reflected on an all time favourite of mine by Eric Clapton. Written in memory of his son who fell from an apartment in New York.

Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton.

Day 3 and a change in genre. This piece of music means so much to me. Evocative,serene and blissful.

Panis Angelicus by Andrea Bocelli.

Day 4 found me remembering a musical that has become an all time favourite for us. Les Miserable.

The film was excellent too and this track sung by Fantine amazing.

I Dreamed a Dream.

My music fest could not possibly end without a track from a performer who has been an all time favourite of mine for over 40 years. My children laugh at me, my friends humour me and Andy accompanies me to whichever venue we can get to.

Rid Stewarts latest album called " Time" is, in my opinion one of his best. And, this track a Pure Love dedicated to his children makes me weep every time I listen to it.


Pure Love by Rod Stewart.

Perhaps this will inspire you to think about your favourite music. Maybe like me you will enjoy the journey more that you thought you would. And, of course I could not finish this post without a little tribute to my sweet,funny and enchanting Grandson who filled our house with fun and laughter whilst he was here for Christmas all the way from Dubai. We sang Nursery Rhymes, we sang Winnie the Pooh songs, we sand Nonsense rhymes ... But I think his favourite song was " Happy Birthday" when he blew out his candles ... Just a couple of times !!!



And there were a few renditions of " ohh arrr me hearties !!!"

As Rod puts it so eloquently Pure Love.

It has certainly seemed might quiet here since they left!

I know there are hundreds of songs about " Goodbyes" but I prefer Au Revoir!


Friday, 19 December 2014


Love for our family. Our son,his wife and our gorgeous Grandson came home for Christmas from Dubai today. Made even more special because William was three today! A double celebration for us.

I bought a train Christmas decoration when he was born and every year he hangs it on our tree. The perfect finishing touch.


And he loved his birthday and without any prompting at all he said

"This is the best Birthday ever"

Pure Love.

Special,special love for our daughter and her partner who are in Fort Lauderdale working.

This will be our 5th Christmas without her but their first together.

So that makes it so special.

Young Love!


And love for our eldest daughter,her partner and dear Buster that are not so far flung and we are lucky enough to love often.


And lastly but not least love for my Blog that has come to mean so much to me.

Love to the people who take the time to read my words. Love for the people who take the time to leave kind and supportive comments.

Love to the people who write the blogs I so enjoy. I am so looking forward to a brand new year. New thoughts,new ideas,new trends and inspiration .

I love being a part of life here in Blogland.


So. I am going to take my leave now. I want to dance to attention. I want to join in with imaginative play,I want to sing in a band , I want to read endless stories. I want to be the train driver or a builders mate. I am sure you get the message!

I have 7 sweet,short days to be in love,be loved and be a part of love.

I will sit on the side of a little boys bed each night and watch his steady breathing,eyelid fluttering and fill my heart with such love it makes my heart sing.

So Happy Christmas everyone and I wish you love,peace and happiness for you and your loved ones.




Monday, 15 December 2014

Promotion to head of Artistic Operations.

Now, I know I am lucky. Andy, upon retirement did not follow his Dads example. Dad retired and Mum kept on just as before.... He never thought he should help clean,wash,cook,shop or anything else like that. I am sure it was a generational thing. He proudly boasted he had never,ever changed a nappy. He had many other talents and everyone loved him but domesticated ... NO!

So last week amongst the Christmas list writing,present wrapping,cooking etc Andy looked up and said

" If there is anything you want me to do just ask!"

So this morning I did.

We overlook the churchyard from the back of our house and of course a lot of our family are buried there.




Some,sadly, before their time. I hate putting flowers on the graves at this time of year. They get frosted or rain soaked and brown .And I am not that keen on wreaths.

So, for the last few years I have been gathering greenery and making fresh bouquets.

I asked Andy if he would make them this year and my goodness me he worked so hard outside in the garden. Picking,trimming,arranging and tying. They were absolutely perfect and whilst it was dry we took them over to the graveyard and just sent our love to our wonderful family members who are no longer able to share our Christmas hours with us.

There was even enough left over to pop in a jug for the windowsill.

Well. I am definitely promoting Andy to head of Artistic Operations. It was so lovely to see him creating something for us to give with love. We even remembered to tuck in sprigs of Rosemary for Remembrance.

Thank you for all your lovely comments on Gifts from the Chalky kitchen.

Love Linda







Friday, 12 December 2014

Gifts from my kitchen!

There always seem to be the tiniest magical lull when all the forward planning is done and the fresh goods need to awaited. I have used my notes facility on my phone for the first time this year. And it's helped so much. Whole forests must have been saved by not using endless pieces of paper to make list after list.


Anyway during this magical lulI I like to make presents in the kitchen. And this morning it's been Christmas pot Pourri. Add all the wrapped ingredients to a pan of gently simmering water and the whole house smells lovely. Evocative orange slices,cinnamon,cloves,star anise and cranberries. And it can just be topped up time and time again. I love it and so do the people I give it to every year. It's become such a tradition that I do not even have to write the instructions anymore.


The second gift is a Kilner Jar of home made Granola. It is delicious sprinkled on cereal or fruit topped with yogurt. This Ginham ribbon tops these home made gifts off perfectly.

This recipe is a real favourite.



Lull there might be but ...not too long a pause.

This Delia deliciousness has to be popped in the freezer.


And pate to be made!

Oh! Not forgetting the Mince Pies.

I know you will be doing very similar!

But keepin me calm as ever in the evenings is my hook and yarn.

2 presents for cold January days!

Granny hot water Bottle Covers.


And my favourite colour palette to remind me if warm seas and blue skies.
I am finding the " join as you go method a pain.

I hope you get some lulls,some pauses and some moments doing the things which make you happy.

Love Linda


Thursday, 11 December 2014



Of course life is hectic right now. The battle stations with strange shaped parcels and finding the end of the Sellotape is well underway!

But,this week two lovely friends were thinking of me and took the time to send me snippets that they thought I would love.

And I do... So much.

The first was this beautiful story on You Tube.




And the second was a poem that a friend wrote a long time ago about friendship.

It really does say it all for me.

Special,special friends are like Gold dust precious and special.

And luckily longer lasting than a snowflake if you nurture them and they nurture you. The essence of true friendships.


Lines of retrospect and hope

Friendship often comes like winter’s first snowflake.

We wait so long for it to fall, but

Ere it touches outstretched, eager hands,

It melts and goes.

You awake to icy, fresh November morn,

To fleecy snow arriving overnight.

By evening fall, its gone – lost.

Friendship often seems to come and then depart

Like these first precious snowflakes.

You yearn and hope for the snow to stay,

But all in vain because you know it won’t.

Until – one day there comes at last

One special snowflake that wants to stay.

And will not melt:

And that is the snowflake

That really is – a true friend.

So, my lovely blogger friends I want to share them with you and hope that you are enjoying this Advent. I hope the pace is not too hectic. I hope you are well and happy and I hope that you are doing things which enrich your lives. And,of course I hope that everything is jumping off lists and into their rightful positions. Whether that be in the store cupboard, in the freezer, under the tree or wherever .

Lots of love Linda

PS ,.... Anyone who knows how terribly untechie I am will laugh when they see the post below. It is the result of me trying to upload a video from You Tube for the first time!!!!! So, if you want to listen to Once Upon A Northern Light another dozen times just scroll down. I have no idea how to delete it! And now the tree is calling to be decorated!!!!!!!




So, my lovely blogger friends I want to share them with you and hope that you are enjoying this Advent. I hope the pace is not too hectic. I hope you are well and happy and I hope that you are doing things which enrich your lives. And,of course I hope that everything is jumping off lists and into their rightful positions. Whether that be in the store cupboard, in the freezer, under the tree or wherever .

Lots of love Linda


Friday, 5 December 2014

Generosity,kindness and joy!

Among the pile of Junk Mail and the early Christmas cards came an envelope from France today .



I opened it and got the best surprise ever. Tucked inside was 50 Euros. I am still so surprised when I write 50!,, Not a 5,10 or 20 Euro Note. But 50 Euros!


And the most generous,wonderful lady who sent it asked me to put it towards the fund to help the women in Almeria who are exploited and live in terrible conditions.


Now, I have never actually met this wonderful lady but we consider ourselves cyber sisters. She belongs to the charity knitting thread I love to be a part of.

We have " known" each other for about five years and one day I would like to meet her and give her the biggest hug.

I feel quite overwhelmed by such a generous gesture. Amongst this somewhat materialistic time of the year this lovely lady dipped so generously into her purse and thought of others.

It made my day and filled me with Joy and Hope!

I am going to keep that feeling close to me every day throughout this Christmas Season.

I hope something filled you with joy today !

Love Liinda