#Wanderessence

Jo’s Monday walk : Sete Cidades

I was going to save this walk till the end of my Azores saga, but it feels right to include it now.  You could say that the entire purpose of coming to these islands was to see the lakes at Sete Cidades with my own eyes.  Could they really be as beautiful as they appeared in the photographs?

They’re back on the main island, Sáo Miguel, a short flight from Faial.  Standing on the runway at Horta airport, looking across the water at Pico, I had to wonder if this second week was going to be an anticlimax.  I needn’t have worried.  Very little about the Azores disappoints.  A smiling taxi driver had whisked us from Ponta Delgada airport to our luxury hotel and thermal spa at Furnas (more about that later) and from there to the north west of the island.  The unfailing good humour and willingness to help of the taxi drivers never ceased to amaze.  En route, Maciel stopped to let us look at Lagoa do Fogo, whetting our appetite for the main event.

As so often, I got it right, but I got it wrong first!  The area is full of smaller lakes and, thinking to save our legs, the amiable driver paused briefly at Lagoa do Canario on the way up the mountain.  A quick, sunny look, and back in the car.  I had read that the viewing point Vista do Rei (King’s View) was a must see, and asked him to drop us off there.  It was growing increasingly cloudy and I was in dread of a repetition of our visit to the Caldeira on Faial, when we didn’t see a thing.  The clouds wafted around and I waited for that golden moment when the sun hits the water.  Almost in vain!  It was time to start walking, back in the direction we had come from.  Gradually the clouds melted, leaving us to hike a warm 3km along the switchback of a roadside.   The one saving grace was that it afforded us views we otherwise would have missed.

Sete Cidades from Vista do Rei

Mountain weather is predictably erratic and I had my fingers firmly crossed when we finally reached the beginning of the trail, PR4.  It makes an 11km circuit of the two main lakes, Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde, after a bit of a steep climb.  Understatement!

I hadn’t known that there was rather a delightful surprise waiting for us.  A wonderful old, moss-covered aqueduct, Muro das Nove Janelas.

I gawped at it from every angle, before beginning the upward slog, gentle at first but soon arriving at a semi-vertical, narrow paved section, which led up, and up!  A couple of farmers climbed effortlessly ahead of us, turning off the path part way to herd the cattle to different pastures.

What a reward for effort!  As we climbed higher more of the lakes became visible, despite the lurking clouds.  At the top we heaved a sigh of satisfaction.  There before us spread four of the lakes, including Lagoa do Canario, our starting point.

Now all we needed to do was follow the rim of the volcano.  The trail upped and downed a little, and at one point we simply sat on a rock and gazed.  I can’t be sure but there may even have been a chocolate biscuit involved.  The view was too stunning to care.

Looking back the cloud still lingered but, as we made our way around the rim, more and more of Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde were revealed.  The light danced across the water, tracing patterns and changing colours on a whim.  On the horizon, the wild Atlantic, becalmed.

Wild flowers created beautiful borders for me, until finally I found what I had been hoping for- a wonderful spread of hydrangeas.

Gradually we came back down.  I had run out of superlatives and my feet were weary.  It seemed to take an inordinate time to reach the lakeside- we’d been walking about 4 hours- and as we did the cloud rolled back in.

How did the area come to be called Sete Cidades or Seven Cities?  It’s a historical reference, explained fully in the link, with explanations of the volcanic activity which gave rise to the lakes.  For us the big question was how to get to our next destination.  The only taxi in the village was busy, but the lady in the TI assured us he would come in half an hour.  He was late, but smiling, and singing to himself as he drove us back down the mountain, into the sunshine.

walking logo

The year is flying by, and one of the reasons I’ve chosen this walk is that it’s likely to be my last for a few weeks.  Next Monday I will be in England with a lively 6 year old to entertain.  Great fun but not conducive to lengthy posts.  I’d like to finish my Azores series this week, but there still seems so much to show you.  I’ll be away for 3 weeks so Jo’s Monday walk will be temporarily suspended.  Please do enjoy the following :

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

All this lies on Lynn’s doorstep.  And orchids too!  What a privilege :

Local Walks: Kukutali Preserve

Carol has been walking with difficulty lately, but she can still contribute a wonderful browse around a market :

Let’s Go Shopping!

Drake honours the departed, 75 years on :

Remembrance of partnership

The island of Maui, seen through Irene’s eyes :

Just a Glance

While Alice has found us the prettiest little lighthouse :

Rear Range Lighthouse 1879

Beautiful views, with Janet, whichever direction you look :

Monday walk… Look out!

Anne tells an interesting tale of quarries and disaster :

Coombe Down and the story of Bath Stone

While Candy is exploring the green spaces of Deptford :

Margaret McMillan Park in Deptford

And from one Margaret to another…  🙂

Tabariane: New Light on the Dark Ages revisited

Golden light streaming from this one of Cathy’s :

(Camino day 26) Calzadilla de la Cuenza to San Nicolás del Real Camino

I don’t know that this totally fits the bill, but I think Ann-Christine would agree that these are Dreamy landscapes.  Certainly I dreamed of seeing them for a long time.  And Cathy has an ongoing Photography Invitation you might like to join?  Have a great week!

A scoot up a hill!

After a suitable rest, I couldn’t stop myself from scooting up the hill to look down on Velas.  Solo, of course!  I’d been looking out on Morro Grande and the tiny chapel of Livramento since our arrival, and was determined to tackle the hill.

Lizards scuttled on the chapel wall in the late evening sun as I crossed the stile and began my climb.  My legs felt stronger than expected.  Probably the pure exhilaration of being up there, alone, the views pulling me ever higher.  Turning a corner, the ruined moinho was in sight.  And then, Pico, the light on the water, and the whole glorious expanse of coastline.

I couldn’t stop smiling as I made my way back down, with beautiful, blue dragonflies darting ahead.  🙂  I’m linking this to Cathy’s Photography Invitation.  If you haven’t seen it, do take a look.

 

A Call to place : the Azores

I can’t remember where it was that I first read about the Azores, but it goes back many years.  Açores, they say, here in Portugal, a softer sound; with a kind of reverence, and a far away look in their eyes.  A chain of nine islands, adrift on the North Atlantic, and just loosely tethered to the mainland, their volcanic origins creating dramatic scenery, soothed by the Gulf Stream.  That’s enough to stir the imagination, isn’t it?

I was born on an island, and have always loved the sea.  That azure colour, glinting in the sunlight, sits permanently in the back of my mind, though many’s the time I’ve seen it leaden grey.  I loved Portuguese Madeira and the volcanic aspects of the Spanish Canary Islands.  I felt impelled to know more.  Where exactly were they, and how could I get there?

850 miles west of mainland Portugal, and over a thousand miles south east of Newfoundland, Canada.  An autonomous part of Portugal, they are divided, for convenience, into 3 groups : Grupo Oriental, to the east, with the largest of the islands, São Miguel, and much smaller, Santa Maria; Grupo Central comprises the ‘happy’ island of Terceira, Graciosa,  São Jorge, Pico, with its volcanic cone- the highest mountain in Portugal, and Faial, with its port Horta, known for Peter’s Sport Cafe, the sailing capital of the Azores; and the most mysterious and far away, Grupo Ocidental, to the west, Flores and tiny Corvo.  It was obvious, from the very beginning, that visiting all of the islands would be expensive, and time consuming.  So, which ones, and when?

Whenever I read of the islands there would be reference to volcanic lakes, surrounded by hedges of hortensia, or Hydrangeas, as I know them.  A ‘Granny’ plant, I always thought of them, filling the front gardens of old ladies’ houses.  But the pictorial evidence showed lakes of blue and green, in Spring and Summer wrapped around with foaming, creamy blue mopheads, like nothing Granny had ever imagined.  For years I brooded on these.  Not given to extravagant holidays, whenever I caught sight of an offer I would avidly read the small print, wondering if this might be the one.  But the timing was never right.  Finally I suggested to my husband that it would make a brilliant 70th birthday present, but could ignite little interest from him.  He was focused completely on our intended move to the Algarve.  I knew that I could fly directly to the islands from Lisbon, so it made sense to be patient.

Meanwhile, I talked to everybody I could who might know anything of these islands.  One of our Algarve walking friends had made a solo visit one winter, and been so enchanted with São Jorge that he planned to organise a group visit.  It never happened.  I joined the Seniors Club in Tavira, only to find that the 5 day Azores trip they were offering clashed with my son’s visit.  I enthused so much that 2 other of our walking friends organised a celebratory visit to São Miguel for their daughter’s graduation present.  Despite mixed weather in February, they loved it.  Still others remembered swimming in thermal pools there, more than 15 years ago.  Was I the only person never to have been?  Whenever the subject was mentioned, eyes would light up, and memories be triggered.

I turned to the world of blogging and to Instagram to broaden my knowledge of where to go, and what there was to see.  I was considering an organised walking holiday with Inntravel, or a cruise with Artisan, but I couldn’t quite get the balance right (or the price!)  In the end I booked it all myself, using SATA, the Azores airline.  Roughly following the Inntravel itinerary, I booked ferries and chose hotels with much deliberation.  13 nights, 4 islands, 6 flights, 2 ferries and 6 hotels.  The date was chosen to coincide with the flowers being at their peak.  It never even entered my head that I would be missing the French Open, and an amazing 12th title at Roland Garros for Rafa Nadal.

All a little daunting, I was desperate for it to come together seamlessly.  Or with a minimum of hiccups.  🙂   Much information on the islands and their history is available on Wikipedia.  For me, this is the beginning of a memorable journey.  Thanks to Cathy at Wander.essence for the opportunity to share it.  Read of the determination that took her to a Call to place: the Sultanate of Oman.

Anticipation…

Hard to know exactly when the dream began.  Sometimes it feels like it was always with me.  Bored with my job, which nevertheless paid the bills, I watched season after season of ‘A Place in the Sun’, each week convinced that this was the place for me.  Perhaps not Benidorm, and never, ever a do-er upper, but almost anything else was fair game.  There was so much world to choose from!

Early on, I discounted Florida.  Too far from family, I rejected the notion of becoming a snowbird and, silly as it sounds, I hate alligators.  I am thoroughly European and, though I might want to wander further, my natural habitat was always going to be on our continent.  Italy was a front runner.  With all those delicious miles of coastline and inspiring culture, how could ‘La Dolce Vita’ be wrong?  There was the allure of Croatia and its island jewels.  Greece with its ancient history and azure seas.  France seemed logical.  I had A level GCE in the language, and that whole unknown country, almost on my doorstep.  The Canary Islands, a contender too.  A nomadic life between islands and an agreeable climate would always appeal.  One place I didn’t consider was Poland, though in retrospect it could have been an interesting choice.

Portugal was quite low on the radar.  I’d never been, and knew little of it.  A week’s holiday swiftly changed that, and I came home the joint owner of a house.  Fortunately my husband loved it too.  The adventure of furnishing our home began.  Our first visit, 4 frantic days, was spent buying beds, a boiler and light fittings, and arranging for the fitment of a fireplace.  Two bright yellow, folding chairs doubled as indoor and outdoor seating.  The bare essentials of life.  We gazed in wonder at our ‘place in the sun’.  Tavira filled us with pleasure each and every time we ventured out.

The years ticked by, and holidays came and went.  The love affair didn’t wane, and we began to hope for the day when we could make the Algarve our permanent home.  Dad died, and there were no longer any serious impediments.  The youngsters would be able to visit us whenever they chose.  Time to put the English house on the market.  Much scrubbing in corners (having first emptied those corners!) ensued.  No doubt about it- the house needed decorating.  Should we strip everything for that blank canvas look?  Or go out and enjoy a ravishing English summer, potentially our last.  I bet you know the answer!

Silly question, wasn’t it?  As summer wanes, we now have some choices to make.  With a few viewings but no serious offers at the moment, at the end of September we will fly out to Faro.  No point yet in emptying the house and driving down, with as many memories stowed in the car as we can manage.  We will need to come back, for at least a week or two, to keep an eye on the house, our old friend of 29 years.  The family are already booked to join us to celebrate another significant birthday in early November.  It would be rude of us not to be there, wouldn’t it?  Until then, we’ll keep on anticipating… and preparing.

All set to see Cathy off on her next great adventure, ours has yet to begin, but it’s getting closer.  Join her at Wander.essence for Anticipation & Preparation.  I hope you will love the path she has chosen as much as I do.  Wishing you safe and happy travels, Cathy!

Jo’s Monday walk : Sunrise on the Salt Pans

I sometimes do daft things!  When I saw a sunrise walk featured in Tavira, in Todos a Caminhar, I just knew I had to do it.  I’ve always wanted to live beside a beach, so that I could slip outside into that beguiling early morning light.  My reality is far from that, but a 20 minute stroll will bring me to the riverside, and beyond, a world of salt marshes and oyster catchers.

Trying not to disturb a certain person, I tiptoed down the stairs at 5.45, gulped a few mouthfuls of coffee, and out into the mild, morning air.  I thought I had made good time down to the Praca, but when I got there the place was deserted.  I hadn’t been sure how many other enthusiasts to expect, but the streets of Tavira were Sunday morning sleepy.  Just as I was deciding what to do, a lady in joggers sprinted into the square, threw off her jacket and made off at speed.  It was 6.18am!   I had missed the start by three minutes.  And sure enough, the sun was just starting to rise.

I had no intention of hot footing it after them.  I had all this to myself!  In lazy pursuit, I ambled out along the river.  The soft light pearled the water, the stillness unbroken.  Even the birds were enjoying a Sunday snooze.

As I reached the edge of the salt pans I smiled to myself.  There in the distance, lycra clad figures sped towards me.  All of this seemed wasted on them.  I continued to stroll and snap.  As they straggled past me, in twos and threes, I smiled ‘Bom dia!’ but most were focused on home.

Across the salt pans there was just enough light to reflect Tavira in the water.  Ahead, the small marina and boatyard of Quatro Aguas.  It’s a place that I love, but I had never seen it in such opalescent light.

Enjoying the early morning mellow.  Gently I retraced my steps, in the ever increasing light.  Mauve crept into the heather and bronze lit the sandbanks.  I played at being a birder for a while, an obliging chap posing for me.  The wrecked mill drew closer.

And then I was back in town, and crossing the flyover.  A fisherman, releasing his boat to catch the tide.  Passing the common, a strange sight caught my eye.  An inverted Minnie Mouse, remnant of last night’s festival revelry, perhaps?

An elderly gentleman with a nice smile had also observed the balloon.  As I stopped to take the shot, an agitated shrieking filled the air.  Body taut and wings beating rapidly, it flew overhead again and again.  I supposed it must have had young close by.  Feeling like an intruder, I wearily returned home, where all was still silent.  Time to put the kettle on and start the day.

I hope you enjoyed watching the sun rise with me.  I’d like to add it to Cathy’s Photographic challenge at Wander.essence.  She’s doing some fine work over there.  I tried to bring the salt marshes alive for you.  I’m half-tempted to add this to Tina’s Soft too.  I hope she won’t mind.  The light on the water was so very soft that morning.  Are you following the Lens Artists?

Many thanks to all of you who accompany me each week.  My wanderings would be nothing without you.  Join me here any time.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

Let’s start with Lady Lee and an outing to the park :

Skywatch – our day out

Alice invites you to ‘smell the flowers’.  It’s that time of year, isn’t it?

Delaware Park- Buffalo NY

Some people say I have too many of these, but Jackie’s a lady who knows all about food :

Tea Break

A world far removed from my experience.  Let Janet take you there :

Monday walk…. sites and sights of Sheridan

Nothing I like better than going adventuring with Drake :

Bay of Kiel

Geoff rediscovers the delights of the Kent coast :

Thanet, a Walk on the Not so Wild Side #walking#kent

And Eunice shares some local history and a pleasant walk :

A local walk to Hall i’ th’ Wood

The heat has been getting to them in Norfolk, I think, but Janaline makes the most of this garden tour :

A walk through West Acre Garden in Norfolk

Fancy walking a race circuit?  Let Jaspa take you to Monaco!

Walking the Epic Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix Racetrack

I always love Aarti’s style :

Walk in a Monasterio

A very different monastery experience from Banactee, dipping back into memory :

Climbing on Mt. Sinai

And finally, another enthralling outing with Cathy.  The scenery is superb!

Strolling along Park Avenue at Arches

That’s all folks!  Wishing you a wonderful week.  Hope you can get out and about a bit.  See you next week!

On Journey : Inflight blues

‘Excuse me… why are you polishing the window?’  The young man was tall and pale, squashed into his seat beside me on our Ryanair flight from Faro to Leeds.  That was how our conversation began.  I’ve had many on board exchanges over time, but this young man and his troubles really touched me.  I was at the back of the aircraft and my husband far away at the front, because we are too mean to pay the extra to sit together.  We can cope with separation for a couple of hours, and on this occasion I had the compensation of a window seat.  Which is how I came to be polishing my smeary window.

Glancing at him, I replied ‘Because I like to take photos’.  Fair haired and blue-eyed, he nodded.  ‘That makes sense’.  He seemed eager to chat and we exchanged a few details till he sat back, with a sigh.  I thought maybe he was an anxious flier.  We hadn’t yet taken off when he reached beneath the seat and pulled out a full sized wine bottle.  Glugging at it greedily, the flight crew still about to start the safety demonstration.  Time for some friendly advice!  ‘You’re not allowed to drink your own alcohol on board’, I said, feeling a bit hypocritical because, for the first time ever, I had purchased a small rosé in the Duty Free, intending to drink it with my sandwich.  He looked at me.  ‘I need it!’  In a polite, conversational way he explained to me that he has an addictive personality, currently using alcohol, and that he has an appointment with the family doctor in Leeds tomorrow to check him into rehab.

A moment later he was on his phone, to a friend.  I assumed it was a friend.  In close proximity it’s impossible not to overhear someone’s conversation.  I looked out of the window as we began to taxi along the runaway.  He was talking urgently to Tom.  ‘You are going to meet me?  You promised!  My Dad will give you a lift to the airport’.  Almost pleading.  He was near to tears when he switched off the phone.  Out poured the story.  He was gay, and it was hard to trust anybody.  His boyfriend was supposed to bring drugs to the airport to help him till he could see his GP, but he hadn’t got them.  He was desperate to give up alcohol because it was ruining his life.  He had been terrified they wouldn’t let him on the plane home if he was drunk, but his friends had helped him board.  He had spoiled their holiday because he had no self control.

The plane was now in the air, so all he had to do was appear sober a little while longer.  He was waiting anxiously for trolley service to begin, and we talked.  I felt so sorry for him.  25 years old!  I wondered how I could bear it if my own son was in his situation.  He said that he had a good family, and that they would help, if only he could get home.  The middle child, his siblings were successful.  He had managed to work sometimes, but had spent most of his life addicted to drugs, whatever he could get his hands on.  He’d tried to ‘give up’ numerous times.  This time it had to work because his life was completely out of control.

The lakes beside the River Guadiana

He’d been to the Algarve several times before and liked the place and the people.  He was interested in the landscape unfolding below us, and was amazed at the vast area of lakes along the border.  When the trolley pulled alongside he ordered 2 beers and a wine.  I asked if he should have something to eat but he said it was better this way.  He had to drink himself into oblivion and he would sleep.  He downed one can in seconds and slumped back.  Beads of sweat had broken out on his face.  ‘Are you alright, sir?’ asked the air hostess.  He struggled to answer, and she gently informed him that she wouldn’t be able to sell him any more alcohol.  I smiled, despite myself.  After a while he drank the small bottle of wine, and soon his eyes had rolled.  Unless it’s cloudy I’m usually glued to my window throughout a flight, but I couldn’t settle.  I kept watch as he slept, hoping he could make it through the flight.

He jerked half awake, and groped for the remaining can, spilling much of it in his haste.  A male crew member went past and gave him a disgusted look.  I felt defensive for him and wanted to explain that he couldn’t help it.  The stupor overtook him again, mercifully.  With 20 minutes to go, he woke.  The captain had just announced our descent and, with relief, he reached beneath the seat for the last of his wine.  The crew man was just passing back through the cabin, reached over and took it from his hands.  ‘I must have it!’, he protested, to no avail.

We talked some more.  I asked if he would need assistance to get off the plane and he agreed.  He gave me the name of one of his party, a girl, sitting much further down the plane and said he thought she would help.  When we landed, I climbed past him and went to seek the help of the crew man.  Though sceptical, he noted the details.  I went back to say my goodbyes, to wish him luck and to hope that he could get his life back in order   ‘You’re a really nice lady’, he said.  I so hope that his family have been able to help him.  He seemed a really nice boy.

I would probably have kept this sad story to myself if it hadn’t been for Cathy.  I thought it might work for her On Journey invitation, over at Wander.essence.  She has the makings of a novel over there, and much else besides.

Jo’s Monday walk : A Tall Ships Treat

A visit from the Tall Ships is always a special occasion, but when it coincides with a significant birthday there is an opportunity to make it very special indeed.  When Thursday dawned cool and grey, I thought I might’ve made a mistake with my husband’s birthday surprise.  But, the tickets were bought, and I’d even purchased train tickets to Sunderland.  He could drink without driving, and not worry over parking.  The pattern of the week had been overcast skies till about 3pm, when magically the clouds rolled back.  Here’s hoping!

To host the start of a Tall Ships Race is a great coup, and Sunderland has made the most of the opportunity.  Leaving the station it’s only about 10 minutes walk to the riverside, and from there you have a choice whether or not to cross over the River Wear.  The ships were berthed on both sides of the river and are nothing short of majestic.  As ticket holders we stayed on the near shore and followed the trickle of people heading down to the quay.  The East End of Sunderland is still undergoing changes to bring this historic area into the 21st century.

The Tall Ships will race over a thousand nautical miles in 3 weeks.  The first leg races from Sunderland to Esbjerg in Denmark, then to Stavanger in Norway, and finally to Harlingen in the Netherlands.  You can see the full line up of over 50 ships on the Tall Ships website.

Despite grey skies they were an awesome sight as we made our way along the quayside.  Various entertainments were on offer, and we paused for a few minutes to observe Martin Lewis of the ‘Money Show’, taking questions from the audience.  On the far shore, next to the National Glass Centre, a full scale fairground was in progress, and some of the ships had entertainment on board.

No time to linger at this stage.  We had a destination.  Unbeknownst to my husband I had booked a 2 hour sail on a Tall Ship.  Until we checked in I did not know which.  Enjoying a drink at the bar, we waited for our number to be called.  Half an hour later we were boarding the beautiful  Wylde Swan from the Netherlands.  The largest two-mast topsail schooner in the world, she was built for speed.  The story of our voyage was the subject of this week’s Six Word Saturday so I’ll simply say that it was magnificent.  The crew demonstrated their proficiency, hauling on ropes and tying sails, yet still finding time to engage with their passengers.  The camaraderie as they worked together was a joy to see.  As we returned to port the sun, which had been hovering behind the clouds, finally broke free and we were bathed in golden sunlight.

It was a long walk down the quayside and I had spotted a pub with a bird’s eye view of the festivities.  Naturally this involved a number of steps, but the sun terrace of the Boar’s Head was worth it.  Built in 1724, beside Youlls Passage where press gangs were reputed to work, the pub was later frequented by Laurel and Hardy.  Peggy Potts, a local brandy smuggler, lived just 50 metres away, and her family are said still to be patrons. We basked in warm sunshine and friendly chatter with the locals.

More strolling was required after our lunch, and there was plenty still to see.  Entertainers were either resting or setting up for a performance, and many of the crews were at ease.  Further along the quay the ships grow smaller, the industry of the port an interesting backdrop.

Our feet were tiring by this stage and there was still the walk back to the station.  A convenient icecream van was just what we needed.  The event was rounded off with fireworks each evening, and on Saturday a Parade of Sail, as the ships left harbour to begin the race.  If they didn’t manage to find a Cooling breeze or two, I don’t know who would! (do join Leya for this week’s brilliant Lens-Artists Photo Challenge).  And how could I forget Cathy?  I love what she’s doing over at Wander.essence!

The walks I share are all so very different in style and content.  Please find time to visit as many as you can, especially if it’s a blogger you don’t know.  Many thanks to all of you for sharing and for your wonderful company.  Kettle on?  We’re good to go, here at Jo’s Monday walk!

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Self-realisation is a wonderful thing, especially if you can share it with Elaine :

A quiet walk

When I said to Drake that I always wanted to visit Annecy, he came up with the goods!

Pure idyllic transitions

South Carolina!  There’s another dream for you!  Salt marsh, I’m familiar with from the Algarve :

A walk on the wildlife side

I can’t resist Meg, and her close scrutiny :

Sunday bushwalk

Lichens, fungi, grass, tree bark and herbal cures… you’ll find them all at Meg’s :

Weekend strolls

I’m not a great cook, but Lady Lee could tempt me with her chicken and cashews :

Food, glorious food!

But if all else fails, Jackie has a good idea :

Picnic

Who doesn’t sing along when the Bee Gees are on?  And maybe strut your stuff?  With Carol, of course!

Born to Sing

Or you could try a bit of gold digging?

Gold Fever

Meet Melanie and say hello to Captain Cook, while we’re Down Under :

Melbourne- It’s a Walk in the Park

This sounds a bit like a radio programme, but take a turn with Anabel.  You’ll love it!

Ambles from Ambleside

I don’t know anyone who writes better garden posts.  Another beauty from Jude!

Garden View: Bonython Manor Gardens

Seeing the title I thought Amanda might have a ship or two.  Far from it, but this is a wonderfully lyrical post :

Walking Around in Whitby

And finally, Cathy surprises me with a lovely swathe of bluebells :

Riverbend to Great Falls : the Bluebell Path

That’s it for another sweltering week.  Hope it’s fine where you are, but if you need a drop of rain then I hope it lands.  Take care till next time!