A walking retrospective


You probably think you’re seeing double!  This is the opening photo for my most recent walk, Boxing Day Blues.  It’s hard to select favourites but my criteria is often that a photo takes you back to a moment in time. For me this was a clear, bright, quite unparalleled December day.


Would you believe that this one was taken in August, but how could I leave out such a winning smile? Gargrave in the rain was one of the most joyful moments of my past year.  A wedding anniversary weekend!


By contrast, Autumn this year was a riot of colour, and I can still feel that warm November sun on my back as I stood in the churchyard, surveying the magnificent ruins of Flamboyant Autumn at Easby Abbey.


October was a time of great sadness for me.  I never could have guessed that, as I looked up at this church in Alternative Ayamonte, my Dad had only hours to live.  I was abroad in my beautiful Algarve, but my heart really wasn’t in it.


How could it only have been a couple of weeks before that I was so joyfully walking the Water of Leith, excited to meet for the first time with my lovely friend Jude?  A landmark event!


Can’t help but share a moment of north eastern pride with the celebrated Tall Ships Regatta at Blyth in August.  How proud Dad would have been of the Polish ships taking part.  He was always a patriot.


Which transports me back to July, when I met a lady with a fabulous smile in the City of Birmingham.  It was my first time in the city and I loved it. Thanks, Gilly!  I know I made a friend for life.

It was a water lily Summer.  They were everywhere!  I visited many beautiful gardens, such as Newby Hall, in June.  Funny how so many of you were more interested in the cake than the flowers!


I spent two wonderful weeks in Poland to coincide with the May Bank Holiday.  My cousin Adam is a baker but always manages a few days off that weekend for his birthday.  It was Dad’s favourite time to go, and I was so happy that I got to spend this precious time with him.  Naughtily though, I did manage to escape, into the arms of another friend for life- Meeting Meg!


In that early part of the year I was leading a charmed life.  My visit to Poland was sandwiched with trips to the Algarve and many walking excursions. A day at Mertola in the Alentejo was particularly memorable.



April, always the time for lambs, I threw one little chap into total panic as I held a gate open for him. Lambkins and Bikes– a winning combination?


I was delighted to have my lovely daughter home for Easter, in March.  The highlight of that weekend was the Butterfly Trail in nearby Preston Park. They are incredible creatures, and almost as exotic as my daughter.


February in the Algarve is synonymous with Amendoeira– Almond Blossom.  And, of course, Carnival, but that’s an entirely different story.

IMG_2245 And so we find ourselves in January, and Saltburn in Winter.  It’s a lovely seaside town on the North Yorkshire coast, a place I like to stroll at any time of year.

What a year of highs and lows it’s been.  I have Paula to thank for leading me back through the months. Thursday’s Special this week is Retrospective.  Don’t miss it!











  1. Just found your blog. Love the photos and the stories (although very sorry to hear about the loss of your father) and looking forward to living vicariously from the comfort of my writing chair. At least until the snow melts…

  2. Hi Jo, I’ve had this post bookmarked for ages it seems. Sorry I’ve missed so many of your posts, of everyone’s………. but I wanted to pop in and say hello as I’ve been thinking about you 🙂 What a gorgeous year end post with your beautiful photos and bittersweet musings. Always a sad time, that first Christmas missing our dads. I’m so jealous you got to meet Jude! I would love to meet you both…one of these days. Until then, I look forward to sharing in your walks and adventures as another year unfolds. Much love and super big hugs to you lovely lady 🙂 ❤

    1. Sometimes on my phone and then I hit the wrong key and off the message flies into cyberspace! Thanks for staying in touch hon. I know it’s impossible sometimes. Sending hugs your way. Hope the year has started well for you xx

      1. Ahh…you’re braver than me Jo, I daren’t try WP on my phone, I get in enough of a muddle using it just for FB! Lovely to hear from you, glad you’re enjoying yourself in your beautiful Algarve, and glad we can keep in touch as best we can… xxx

  3. I’m so sorry to read about your Dad, Jo. I lost mine a few years ago and still miss him, especially at Christmas. I loved cooking for him. But he’s smiling at me from a photo on my piano as I type this and I’m sure your Dad is smiling on you too.

    I hope 2017 is a wonderful year for you and yours.

    1. Hi Kathryn 🙂 Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. I’m in the Algarve right now and just discovered it in my spam. So sorry! Wishing you another healthy and happy year.

  4. A fine gathering in of lovely vistas and of fellow-feeling, Jo. Wishing you all the very best for 2017. You will also need to take us on some very strenuous walks to combat the overload of Christmas cake.

    1. Thanks, Tish and Happy New Year to you! I shall be strenuous walking on Tuesday and I’m not entirely looking forward to it. On the other hand, I have one piece of Christmas cake left 🙂

  5. What a great reminder of all your fabulous walks, Jo. I know it was a tough year for you, as you and your dad were so close. I know you will always carry the sadness of his loss with you, along with the happy memories. You also had many wonderful times with Mick and your daughter, and meeting Jude and Gilly. What a great retrospective, and some beautiful pictures. 🙂

  6. Beautiful post, Jo. My friend Carol, the Eternal Traveller talks about you constantly. I’m here visiting with her and thought I’d better give you a visit. 🙂 Have a happy New Year.

  7. great review…I’ve been contempating whether to do a review of 2016 or a two-year review because I’m am just about two years old in my blog!! happy new year!

    1. Aw! You’re just a toddler! I’m a big girl now- I’m 5 🙂 I don’t always enjoy round ups and was very tempted to just ‘let it go’ but here it is anyway. Thanks for the blessing of your company and happy 2017 🙂

      1. I know…such a newbie! Wish I’d have started five years ago. I never thought of doing a review/retro piece, but then read a couple recently, thought it was a cool idea, but then, never got around to it. I’m still pondering…

  8. Sending lots of hugs this New Year . . . and hope your return to the Algarve on Monday doesn’t bring back too many sad memories of your last trip here. Your reflective post is just beautiful, he would be so proud of you and I am just so happy that this year you squeezed in that extra long trip in Poland with him. What happy times xx

    1. I have to admit to a flutter of anxiety over what might happen when I’m away again. James is at a bit of a critical stage career wise and I do think our timing is poor but you can’t second guess everything! In so many ways it was a great year. Thank you for being such a lovely friend. 🙂

  9. It sounds and looks like a really great year, Jo. Although a touch of sadness too, you have enjoyed some momentous experiences and met some wonderful people who enriched your life. May 2017 be filled with everything your heart desires on your journey through life. Love and blessings ♥♥♥

  10. What a wonderful review of the year! The opening photo is absolutely stunning, and I love the sheep and lambs. Wishing you all the best in 2017, and may you dad’s soul rest in peace.

  11. You have taken us on some memorable walks and I thank you as I know that I wouldn’t see them otherwise. Wishing you and your family all the best in the New Year.

  12. I so enjoy this beautiful gallery, Jo! Thank you for taking to many beautiful places.
    Hard to pick my favorite one here, I love all of them. 🙂

  13. Dear Jo, Life has a way of blending the joy, peace and tribulations, but you have shared your year beautifully in photos and prose. I know I have disappeared, but just wanted to say “hello” and a very happy new year to you, full of new discoveries. Hugs, Lynne.

    1. Thank you for joining me, Lynne. It’s much appreciated 🙂 I still miss your lovely posts but I do understand that blogging’s not for everyone. It’s not the real world, is it? Dare I say that? Smiling and sending hugs and very best wishes to you and Ron for 2017 🙂

  14. This is such a good exercise to review the year, even for those of us not blogging about it. Reminders of how much joy and heartache there can be and how blessed we are if it sometimes balances out. Loved the anniversary photo beside the canal in the rain.

    1. It shouldn’t really have been there (the anniversary photo 🙂 ) because I’ve exceeded my 12 photos, but I won’t tell if you don’t 🙂 🙂 Why are you no longer blogging? I have nowhere to go to wish you the joys of the season 🙂

      1. Of course the anniversary photo should have been there – won’t say a word! I don’t blog as often it’s true but occasionally I have things to say, even if they’re not profound, as you just found out;-)

  15. Beautiful selection, jo. A bitter-sweet year, I know, but with plenty of happy memories. Onwards into 2017 for us all! We might not be able to do much ourselves about events on the world stage but I hope you and all my blogging friends have good things coming to you personally. Happy new year!

    1. Thank you, Anabel! The Christmas tree twinkles on for another day or 3. Our son has returned to Leeds so we have a joyous freedom for a little while. Job anxieties loom for him but for us the Algarve beckons. Hoping it all comes out right in the end! Thank you for your loyal company and wishing you joy, good health and more adventures in 2017.

  16. What a terrific collection. I love love the lambs and as well the ones in the Algarve. Such a special region. It is so true that we associate places and photos with emotions and experiences. Music too is especially evocative. Thank you Jo for reading our blog and all your lovely comments. I have so enjoyed reading you in 2016. Here’s to a wonderful 2017!!

  17. It was interesting to see how very many places you have visited Jo and also such sadness for you in the middle of it. I have missed calling on my blogging friends for the last part of 2016, but I am slowly inching my way back into the fold. Hope you have a truly happy and adventurous 2017.

    1. Hi Pauline 🙂 🙂 Greeting you from a chilly UK with a pink morning sky and my tree lights a-twinkling. You’ve been missed, sweetheart. Sending hugs tumbling all that way down to Oz for you and Jack. Health and happiness in 2017!

  18. How on earth did you decide amongst so many magnificent experiences and images? What a delight it was to revisit your year with all its joys and overwhelming sadness. I think my favourite is the light and shadow as Easby Abbey, but then again … Take some hugs from a house in chaos into Saturday midnight (by then I’ll be well asleep!) and 2017

    1. It did take me all day, Meg! 🙂 I was resolved not to do it but it was a ‘hang about’ day, getting James organised for his return to Leeds last night. Once I started it was hard to stop. 🙂 I restricted it to walks so that cut back a tiny bit 🙂 James has a job interview today. New year, new beginnings… who knows? Whatever it brings, I wish you much joy, darlin. You and those 2 squirmy youngsters. Quiet only with a book in their lap 🙂 🙂 Happy 2017 to all of you!

  19. Well that was nice, and what a year you have had! So many beautiful places and all those wonderful friends you met (heehee…). I know it was tinged with sadness towards the end of the year, but there is a whole lot of love going on here. And I can’t wait to join you in your 2017 adventures. Who knows where that will take us. Maybe a girls week/end away??

    1. Who knows, indeed, Jude? 🙂 🙂 You know I’m game! You were up late. Are you driving to Shrewsbury this week, or can you sort long distance? I missed Becky and Carol out, so yes- a lot of love going around. Nice, isn’t it? Sending hugs and happy new year your way 🙂

      1. I’m not driving anywhere until the madness is over! Son #2 had to sit through 3 accidents on the M5 and thick fog on the M1 yesterday. G and family had to detour around a major accident on the A303 – air ambulance, fire brigade, the lot – on Tuesday. Took them over 7 hours to get home! M-i-L still in hospital anyway. We’ll go up once she is home and make sure all is well.

      2. Good plan! We went tootling in the Dales today (James went home last night and had a job interview in Bradford today) and nearly came unstuck coming home. Tailback going south was a nightmare. Phew!

  20. Sorry for your loss Jo 😦
    There’s no antidote for the loss of a parent.
    Apart from that it sounds as though you had a lovely year. Some wonderful photos – my favourites are the opening shot, Easby Abby and Leith.

    1. We did have a terrific year, Alison, and Dad’s death was a bolt from the blue, though maybe it shouldn’t have been. You see the signs when it’s too late sometimes. My very best wishes to you and Don. Long may you enjoy your adventures. 🙂

      1. Yes, I had the same problem trying to sum up the year in 12 photos. It’s interesting to look though and see just how much ground has been covered though – both physically and metaphorically.

  21. That’s a beautiful year overview, Jo. I recognized so many photos, and I applaud your attractive selection of an active year. I am so happy you got to spend that time with your dad in Poland! I wish you a varied and happy 2017 with a healthy combination of relaxation and walks and no misfortunes or losses!!!

    1. I’m worn out with looking, Liesbet! I could hardly believe how many photos I’d taken this year (and there are many more than you see here 🙂 ) Thanks for your kindness and support. Wishing you a joyful and rewarding year ahead.

  22. Enjoyed seeing your retrospective, Jo…fortunately plenty of good times as well as the sad ones. Wishing you all the best for 2017 in advance of the New Year

  23. A fabulous trip through the year of blogging highs and lifes lows. I hadnt seen all your retro posts a combination of the changes to the reader and my schedule but I look forward to readingvyour blog next year a happy new year when it arrives- Scott

  24. Such beautiful photos! England, Poland, and Portugal all have their unique charms. May I ask how you created that “snowy” effect in some of your photos? (I don’t know much about photography other than point and shoot.)

    1. Thank you 🙂 The snow is a feature of WordPress. You can turn it on from 1st December till 6th Jan. I like it 🙂 I understand that Google Photos also have a similar effect (in settings). I’m no expert but I like to play sometimes. 🙂

  25. Oh my darling Jo, I want to give you a massive hug! Such a sad October, but a wonderful year in other ways. So many friends, just as you deserve. And some great photographs to let us all share your year with you. Enjoy your break and I look forward to joining your walks again in the New Year. xx

  26. I love that donkey mural 🙂 I am glad you took the challenge, Jo. It refreshed my memory. I hope that the next year will be much easier on you, and that your walks will take you to some amazing places.

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