Festival of leaves

I have a real fondness for leaf shadows

I have a real fondness for leaf shadows

And vivid colours

And vivid sunshine colours

But when it rains the choices are fewer

But on a misty rainy day, the berries look better

In the fog

Gleaming in the fog

Verena at Festival of Leaves has some glowing colours this week.  We’re clinging on to ours for dear life!


Jo’s Monday walk : Following mountain goats!


Now don’t be too alarmed!  It’s not as bad as it seems, and if you really don’t have a head for heights- well, you can tak’ the low road, and I’ll tak’ the high road.  To be completely truthful, I was out of my comfort zone for a short while, but we can blame the partner for that (and he’s not here to defend himself).

The area along the River Guadiana is wonderfully peaceful at most times of the year.  In places the road stays quite close to the river, making for a lovely scenic drive.  But, of course, you have to get out of the car to admire the scenery properly.  You never know quite what you’ll find.  Parking alongside the tiny village of Laranjeiras, our first discovery was the ruins of a Roman villa.  Not a lot to see, but the remains appear to date back to the 7th century.

Strolling into the village, life seemed to centre around a little riverside cafe, from which you could watch the occasional boat mooring at the jetty.  A couple of youngsters indulged in that age old pastime of skimming stones.  Entertainment for me presented itself in the form of a boatman, with a delivery of tarpaulin for the little boatyard.  His antics, trying to find a convenient space to offload his cargo in the minute space, kept me happy.

The moorings at Laranjeiras

The moorings at Laranjeiras

Never content to sit for too long, I had a mooch about while Michael consulted the map.  A path seemed to lead up the hillside and run parallel to the river before dipping back down at the next village, Guerreiros do Rio.  Gamely, we set off.

But not before I had admired this 'Maypole' in the village

But not before I had admired this sign of celebration in the village

And soon we're out of the village looking down

And then we climbed out of the village, and looked down

There wasn’t much sign of the path and it was a bit of a scramble.  Stopping to catch breath, we heard a tinkling sound, and suddenly two dogs burst out of the scrub.  They darted to and fro, rustling between them a magnificent herd of goats.  Sighting us, the creatures pressed on, with nervous sidewards glances.  The goatherd gave us a nod, a third dog rounded up the stragglers, and the pack headed for home.  Happy to have found a proper path, we followed them.

Keep moving boys- they're watching us!

Keep moving boys- they’re watching us!

The trail rolled off across the hills, but we were quite happy to take a branch that led back down to the riverside.  Enough of adventure!

All was calm down on the riverbank

All was calm, down by the river

It looks dry, doesn’t it?  It had been a long, hot Summer and was still very warm in early September.  Just around the bend we reached the next village, Guerreiro do Rios.  Time for a drink!  As usual, I left Michael sitting in the shade, while I went off to explore the back streets.

When I returned, one of those village cats had attached itself to Michael and was greedily begging the ham from his toastie.  Good job he didn’t have the tuna kebabs he’d been fancying!  Strangely, the cat was not at all interested in my glass of delicious white.  I didn’t have time to hang about because I had discovered that the Museu do Rio was open! (the link is in Portuguese but you can translate it if you like)

We had passed the sign before, but never gone into this small museum, tucked away from the road.  Here was my opportunity!

And interactive displays too

There were interactive displays

Telling the history of life on the river

Telling the history of life on the river

A lot has been achieved in the space available.  I chatted to the nice young lady at the till, who sold me a ticket for 1.50 euro.  This was also valid for admission to the castle at Alcoutim, a few miles up the road.  A bargain, I thought!  The museum is open daily except Mondays.

For us it was time to amble back along the riverbank, occasionally stopping to admire passing craft.

Back to our start point

Back at our start point

The tiny harbour at Laranjeiras

The tiny harbour at Laranjeiras

I hope you enjoyed our little Algarve adventure.  It’s quite easy to just walk along the road and back between the two villages, if you don’t want to go following goats.  It’s not a busy road.  The riverside junction leading south from Alcoutim is the easiest way to find the villages.

Don’t let anybody tell you that the Algarve is just a strip of boring beaches, will you?  Not in my experience, anyway.

walking logo

And now it’s time to turn our attention to other people’s walks.  Thank you so much to all my contributors.  You take me to places I might never reach on my own.  Anyone is welcome to join in, and it’s very straightforward.   My Jo’s Monday walk page has all the details.  Just click on the logo above.   Let’s put the kettle on and settle in for a good read, shall we?


Benches actually have several uses in Anabel’s world.  Highly useful on a walk!

Balloch benches

Fancy taking the train?  Let’s go to Montreux with Drake!  No regrets, I promise :

Heaven for everyone

I gather there has been lots of rain in Texas, but Amy’s found some sunshine :

Monday Walk : Texas Countryside (Part 2)

A lady I’d never heard of next, but an interesting post from Jackie, in Canada :

Laura Secord

Demonstrating her versatility, Violet Sky finds us some very scenic caves!

Seeing the caves

So many lovely things to discover in Tasmania, thanks to Ruth :

Taroona Coastal Path

I need to pull my socks up!  I haven’t even made it to Amsterdam yet, and here’s Rotterdam looking so beautiful!

Rotterdam in a Day (part 1)

We’re joined this week by Fifi and Hop- isn’t that a great name?  Please go and say ‘hi’ to Corey!

Walkway over the Hudson : World’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge

Indra at Trav Trails certainly covers some ground.  Can you keep up?

Four Cities and an Island

Geoff’s Dog has had a poorly paw, so we might have to slow down a bit on this one :

The Capital Ring- Highgate to Stoke Newington

‘Do you want this walk’, asked Meg?  You HAVE to be joking!  Wait till you see it!

Eurobodalla beaches : Bingie Beach North

Come and sing some Bruce Springfield with me?  I love this song!  Thanks, Kaz :

Travel Album : Philadelphia 

Nearer home, I don’t think I’ve been to Anglesey!  Have you?  Looking good!

Flashback Walks : Holyhead Mountain

And it’s simply impossible not to enjoy one of Tish’s posts!  Look and learn!

It’s a wonderful world

As Jaspa demonstrates, on his trip to South America :

Cartagena, Columbia : UNESCO World Heritage Site

But you don’t have to go past Worcestershire for beauty- or pretty much anywhere on Jude’s blog!

Garden Portrait : Arley Arboretum

Aren’t they a fantastic selection?  Thank you very much everybody!  I’m off to the Lake District on Thursday, celebrating another birthday, so hopefully I’ll have an English walk for you next week.  Have a great time till then!  Monday Escapes is on again this week if you’d like to join in.

Six word Saturday


Are you ready to be frightened?



Maybe not so scary?

Maybe not so scary?

NOT a good advertisement for this cafe!

NOT a good advertisement for this cafe!

But this one's definitely hungry

But this one’s definitely hungry- sugar mouse, anyone?

I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween but I hate to be a killjoy.  You have to enjoy the ingenuity and enthusiasm on display.  The cafe in our local park has put the Christmas tree up, but decorated it Halloween style.  Just a few adjustments and they’ll be good to go for another festive season. Help!!!  It’s barely November…

Have a great Saturday, however you spend it!  Cate was very late last weekend so I missed many of you with my duck tales.  Hope it was a good one. Don’t forget to share your six words, if you can.


A cup of coffee and a rose or two


It’s a damp old morning in my corner of the UK, so what better thing to do than move on to my second coffee (ok- third!) of the day and wander through some roses with you?  A few weeks back, just before the colours started to turn, I made a Sunday afternoon visit to The Gardens at Wynyard Hall. In the profusion of colour that this Autumn has been, I almost forgot all about it.

Sir John Hall bought Wynyard Hall Estate in 1987 and has turned it into a truly sumptuous venue. I was lucky enough to attend a wedding there a few years ago and the stained glass panels high in the beautifully imperious house remain a warm memory.  Many years in the planning, Sir John says that even as a boy he dreamed of owning his own rose garden. He has enlisted RHS award winning landscape architect Alistair Baldwin and rose expert Michael Marriott from David Austin Roses to help make his dream come true.

I think he probably succeeded

I think he probably succeeded


The setting is a nicely weathered wall garden, and the planting is lush.  Newly opened this year, it was designed to be a rose garden for the 21st century.  It takes inspiration from the geometric order of Persian grids and the Moorish influence of a bubbling rill, crowned by the raised beds of the traditional English kitchen garden.

Of course, there are tea rooms

Of course, there are tea rooms

And a South Border to attract the butterflies

And a South Border to attract the butterflies

An old bell set high in the wall

An old bell set high in the wall

Wonderful Cosmos

Wonderful Cosmos

You can wander through to the gardens of the Grand Marquee, if there is not an event in progress.  The view sweeps down to the lake and there is still more planting to be admired.  A little old, and something new.

Not much beats an old urn

Not much beats an old urn

Delicately blushing Cosmos

Delicately blushing anemone

And thistle delight!

And thistle delight!

Set beside glorious old walls

Set beside glorious old walls

But inevitably the stars of the show are the roses.  The visitor guide lists 135 species but I am not going to attempt to name them all for you. (huge sighs of relief!)  We’ll just share a small gallery together.  I hope you enjoy them!


Jo’s Monday walk : Thorp Perrow

The magical colours of Autumn

The magical colours of Autumn

It lasts for such a short time!  Already the Virginia Creeper, whose rosy hue adorns my wall in Autumn, is strewn across our drive and whistling off down the road.  So I’m glad that I made it to Thorp Perrow Arboretum when I did.  100 acres of woodland are surely enough in which to worship Autumn colour.  And you can take your eyes off that tearoom!  That’s for much later,

Let's get delicious with the daisies first!

Let’s get delicious with the daisies first!

Over a little stream and the colour is already beckoning

Over a little stream and the colour is already beckoning

But close at hand there are jewels to distract

But close at hand, there are jewels aplenty

As always, I hand the map to the other half, and set off to follow my nose.  Or, in this case, a lovely little stream which wends its way through the woods.  Signs promise ‘Henry’s Island’ and ‘Kate’s Island’.  Will I be allowed?

A plopping sound stops me suddenly.  From overhead something lands in the water, sending concentric rings dancing to shore.  High in the canopy, a mischievous squirrel is dispensing acorns for our entertainment.

Sunlight dances in the woods

Sunlight dances in the woods

And radiates from the leaves

Beaming from bronzed leaves

And then the lake, in all it's glory

And then the lake, in all it’s glory

It's a 'hold your breath' moment

It’s a ‘hold your breath’ moment

Just the lake and the leaves

Just the lake, and the leaves

The history of Thorp Perrow can be traced back to the Domesday Book, where it was listed as ‘Torp’ manor house.  The trees came much later. Planting began in the 16th and 17th centuries, and in the 1840’s the Milbank Pinetum was planted with seed brought over from America.  There are now 5 National Collections of trees (Juglans-Walnuts, Tilia-Limes, Fraxinus-Ash, Cotinus and Laburnum) and 66 Champion Trees (the largest of their kind in Britain).

But it’s not at all a stuffy place!  A sense of humour manifests itself in many forms.

See the shark's fin in the water?

See the shark’s fin in the water?

Throughout this month the children have been treated (or tricked!) with a collection of spectres and ghouls lurking in the woods. Eek!!!

Just hanging about

Just hanging about

Or sitting patiently on a bench, for Jude

Or sitting patiently on a bench, waiting for Jude

There is also a growing Wildlife Park, where you can ‘meet the meerkat’, watch bizarrely plumed fowl strutting their stuff, and gasp at the exploits of the birds of prey.  The flying displays are one of the park’s most popular features, and are well worth seeing.  I’ll let you discover them for yourself. For me the park is mostly about the landscape.

Trees and topiary

Trees and topiary

And gasps of acer colour

And gasps of Acer colour

Beautifully weathered statues loiter wistfully amongst the trees.  They mingle with newer wood sculptures, showing no apparent resentment.

Walks spiral off in all directions from the mighty Jubilee Oak, and another named for Catherine Parr.  You don’t have to follow a specific route but simply wander to wherever your eye finds most pleasing.  It doesn’t really matter.  It’s all lovely!

Despite it being a glorious day, the park is quite peaceful.  Strangers nod to each other, wearing beatific smiles in the unaccustomed October warmth.  Only when we reach the Autumn bays is there a sense of urgency.  Bathed in rosy colour, we gaze upwards.

This is what Autumn is all about

Autumn in all its splendour

I'm more taken with the Sycamore wings

I’m more taken with the Sycamore wings

I can sense you beginning to tire.  There’s only so much beauty the eyes can take in, and we’re not far from the promised tea rooms.  If Meg were here she’d be fingering the bark on so many of the trees.  But you’ve earned your bowl of soup, and some of that yummy cake.  Which one to choose, I wonder?  There’s a full menu on the website, all very reasonably priced.  (Dare I admit to having the pensioner’s special?)

The Arboretum is just beyond the lovely market town of Bedale, in North Yorkshire, and details of how to get there are also shown on the website.

walking logo

I’m feeling quite tired myself after all that exercise.  I’ll just say my thank you’s and get that kettle on, I think.  You’ve certainly brought variety this week.  Thank you so much to all of you who keep following me down this path.  I really value your company.  Anyone wanting to join in will be made very welcome.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo.


Scotland has some of the most beautiful gardens, and in wonderful locations too.  Thanks, Anabel!

Inverewe and around

And I can’t argue with this description from Violet, either :

The prettiest town

A little fog gives a nice air of mystery, don’t you think?

Monday Walk : Texas Countryside

A comprehensive guide- see the sights with Jackie!

Day 2- Berlin

Richard doesn’t mind being a beach bum.  With beaches like this, who would?

Cornwall’s Seven Bays in pictures

A ‘kick of happiness’ is what you’ll get if you join Drake this week!

A lake, peaks and a queen

Ever tried Australian salmon?  Ruth explains why you might not have :

Salmon Ponds

Not so taxing as last week’s walk, but still you might prefer just to gaze in admiration :

Rain, Rivers and Waterfalls : The Steall Falls

Next up, a nice relaxing stroll around Central Park (or a ride in a horse drawn carriage if you’re feeling flush)

Travel Album: New York City (2)

Tobias is showing us a very different kind of beauty.  Come and see!

A Short Walk in Saint-Saturnin-de-Lucian

I hope you enjoyed the walks this week.  I certainly did!  Where to take you next week?  I haven’t made my mind up yet.  I shall just wish you all a Happy Halloween week and hope the weather stays fine.  Bye for now!

Six word Saturday


Oh no! Not a duck decoy!

Hello ducky!

Hello ducky!

His friends are looking worried!

His friends are looking worried!

But this guy's not going anywhere

But this guy just refuses to move

It's ok- there's plenty of food

It’s ok- there’s plenty of food

Yes- but there could be a storm approaching

Yes- but there could be a storm brewing

It's fine- look, I've found a shelter

It’s fine!  Look, I’ve found a shelter

And it's big enough for all of us

And it’s big enough for all of us

No!!!!! Can't you read! It's a decoy!

No!!!!!  Can’t you read?  It’s a decoy!

Well, thank goodness we spotted that in time!

Well, thank goodness we spotted that in time!

Strolling in the country park at Sedgefield last week, I spotted the duck decoy sign.  I’d never noticed it before but it gave rise to my little Saturday story. (if you magnify the sign, you will see that it was a method of trapping ducks for the table at the ‘big house’)   Hope it gave you a smile.

And while I’m in the park, here are two photos I took on the boardwalk, just perfect for Verena’s Festival of Leaves.  It’s a lovely autumnal challenge you might like to visit.  But don’t forget to pop in on Cate, will you?  Happy Saturday everybody!


Thoughts on benches

A little meaningful conversation?

A little meaningful conversation?

Some posts seem to just glide effortlessly onto the page.  Others don’t!  They kick and bite and scratch.  You can’t find just that photo that you wanted, lost in the annals of untidy folders.  Too many thoughts collide in your head, often at silly times like 5 in the morning. And then there are those that miss the deadline by a smidgeon.  Just enough to be annoying.  I’ll leave you to work out which this is.


Rustle and tussle

A backlit ballerina

Twirling in the wind

And whilst I have been known to cheat occasionally, in the interests of a beautiful azulejo or two- can you spot these people sitting on benches?

I’m off out to kick a few leaves now.  You never know- I might spot somebody loitering on a bench.  If I do I may even share it with Jude.