About

Name:VintagePretty
Location:United Kingdom

An avid tea-drinker who likes nutmeg in her coffee and warm lavender-scented quilts. She knits, crochets and partakes in random acts of craftiness (and kindness). She likes obscure works of literature, philosophy and the idea that her mind exists separately from her body. She enjoys moving furniture around, literary criticism and baking bread. She writes haiku about nettles, would like to swim with seals and become completely self-sufficient. She writes as if her life depends on it, listens to beautiful music, and loves her darling husband Mr. VP.

Find out more.

Gallery

recent | random

Archives

 

Search


Articles


Saturday 11 March 2017

Amongst the trees and the birds in winter

Weekends are so short these days. They fly by in the blink of an eye, so, so quickly. What’s different? We’re busy with little Baby VP who is definitely not a baby any more! But weekends… they disappear. So we try to make sure that we go out and do Interesting Things together as a family.

So a couple of weekends ago we donned warm coats, Baby VP wore her thick all-in-one bunny coat, and we headed out for a decent countryside walk. I must admit that since having a baby, our walks are not as long as they used to be, and certainly shorter now that we don’t use a pram any more. But we make sure that we stop to enjoy all that nature has to offer and now that spring is so tantalisingly close.

We find that getting out early is best as we not only avoid the crowds but we make the most of the pre-nap energy. I also think that getting out and about early is best to see wildlife and we were lucky, seeing a treecreeper, lots of blue tits, coal tits, great tits and chaffinches as well as a pheasant, robin and moorhen. It was the first time that Baby VP had been into a bird hide for quite a while, and this time it was magical because she was so open to seeing the birds. We made sure we pointed each one out.  We’re not ‘twitchers’ by any means, but there is a lot I appreciate about seeing birds come and go and spotting new ones I haven’t seen before. They really are beautiful things, birds.

I think about the things I want to pass on to Baby VP, the things she’ll remember forever, and one of the greatest things I can think of is a love of the outdoors. An abiding love and deep appreciation for the wonder and beauty of nature; the awe-inspiring brilliance of the world’s living body. I think of how much information there is to teach; how much I am learning alongside her and I feel so humbled by it all. The weight of this duty is immense. What a wonderful job to have.

By the time we were finished walking and bird-watching we were ready for a sit down and a coffee, complete with a toasted teacake shared between us three.

Sunday 5 March 2017

A Sunday morning walk along the beach

Have you noticed that we’re now exiting the deepest, darkest bits of winter? Like a plant deprived of the sun, I am desperately craning myself to find some its rays again. So when the weather gets above 10C and the wind is not blowing a gale and the sun is shining? I make like a cat and luxuriate, nay revel, in its appearance. Hoo-boy, Sun, you have been away far too long!

All of the above necessary conditions were met the other day and so I set off with Mr VP and Baby VP, the Archers omnibus on in the car (to my absolute flummoxing, I’ve discovered that Mr VP is not only a closet fan of the Archers but if I miss an episode it turns out I can rely on his almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the goings on in Ambridge to set me straight! *insert wide-eyed surprise-face here*).

And so we walked. Away from others, though as it was pretty early (for a Sunday), there weren’t many takers for a brisk walk. Just myself, my girl and Mr VP. Blue skies, white clouds, oystercatchers, a huge stretch of golden sand to explore and beachcomb on and the deep blue North Sea.

On the way back we saw a couple of unfamiliar birds flitting back and forth in the hedgerow. It turns out that they were stonechats. A new one on us!

Wednesday 27 May 2015

The May in May

True to its name, the May is out in abundance both in the countryside and at the bottom of our garden. Each time we open the back door, our noses are met with the powdery, sweet smell of the early May blossom, before it starts to take on that slightly foetid odour that attracts the flies to it.  Whilst different to the apple, plum and sloe blossom of April, this blossom is totally unique and yet no less splendid as it fills roadsides and hedgerows up and down this green and pleasant land of ours.

Even though we had a slightly reluctant walker with us, we had such a nice potter through the countryside.  You might be able to tell that I’m so happy that the light, bright, spring greens are back again.  No more – for a few months at least – will we see the dull, drab greens of autumn and winter.  These bright greens are everywhere, from stinging nettles to ramsons to the Queen Anne’s lace and even on the pines and larches whose new needles are vivid and soft.  We paused to admire the red campion outshining its green and white neighbours, enjoyed the pungent tang of the ramsons on the air (yes, that sea of white is all garlic!) and stopped to gaze at the vast expanse of the Tyne river.  It really was a splendid day to get out of the house and enjoy the gloriousness of spring.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Sandwich Terns

Wheeling, diving, plunging and shaking – all on the wing.  It is so nice to hear their sharp little barking calls to each other.  I am always awed at how far these little birds travel each year from their wintering grounds in Africa, just to breed on our shores.

Friday 22 May 2015

A Trip Away to Melrose

For Mr VP’s birthday, we opted to go on a short holiday.  Things are quite busy here at Chez VP at the moment, so a full week away wasn’t really feasible.  To save us spending most of our short break on the road, we opted to stay reasonably local and visit the Borders; a region of Scotland that we hadn’t explored.  I’m so glad that we did, as we had such a nice – if brief – time there.  Our first (and main) port of call was a little town just north of Jedburgh called Melrose.  I had heard that it was a nice place to visit and had connections with St Cuthbert as he began his monastic life in the town.  Nowadays, it forms part of the famous St Cuthbert’s Way, a walk of just over 62 miles that traces his journey from Melrose to Holy Island, where he ended his days.

It seemed apt, then, that we began our trip with a little look around the mighty red sandstone abbey that is really Melrose’s centrepiece.  Whilst not on quite on the same scale as Fountains Abbey, it is quite a sight to behold, and I must admit I was awed by how well it has been preserved.  Vaulted ceilings remain intact, cornicings and intricate carvings, gargoyles and window tracery are all present and quite beautiful.

I found it easy to imagine how wonderful it would have been to walk through the huge aisles, coming across the monks at their daily prayers and ecclesiastical business.

Some ruined abbeys have quite a dark feeling about them.  Perhaps it is a leftover remnant of the dissolution and destruction of the monasteries and abbeys.  Perhaps it’s just the centuries of not being loved or used for their intended purposes.  However I didn’t get any bad feelings from Melrose.  It is a very pleasant place to walk around.

If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Cross over the road and continue into the other part of what would have been the monastery and you can find the remnants of Medieval engineering – the great drain.  This would have provided water and flushings for the whole site.  Isn’t it impressively constructed?

A little further on and you will come across a Medieval canal, still in (some) use today.  On the day we visited it was full of cherry blossoms (it was quite windy) – even better!

My favourite photo of 2015?  I think so!

Walking on the grass was like walking on the softest Wilton carpet with a delicious pattern.  I wonder what this would look like as a carpet?  Hmmm…

Flippin’ heck – it doesn’t get any better!  Squee!  The best bit about travelling northwards at this time of year is that you can enjoy a second blossom season!  Love.

Melrose is all old, high brick walls covered in lichen and blossom.

It has its share of gardens to walk around, too.  This is the Harmony House garden, which is National Trust.

Obviously, I gravitated towards anything that was blossom-based.  It is so fleeting, after all, that one has to get one’s fill where and when one can!  We had such a nice time together and really enjoyed our time away.  Life has been quite busy of late, so having the chance to reconnect and enjoy one-another’s company is so important…  And where better to do it than somewhere beautiful, eh?

Peeping at the abbey from under a huge Cypress tree in the Harmony garden…

Melrose town is quite a looker, too.  Full of old industrial-age buildings, it is quite pretty and filled with nice shops to look around (particularly the book shop – love it!).  It is also full of good places to eat – we recommend Burt’s Hotel.  That big hill is one of two called the Eildon hills and the gap in the middle is where you walk if you follow St Cuthbert’s Way.

Another place worth a visit is the Priorwood garden which would once have been the abbey’s walled kitchen garden.  To this day it has ancient apple trees and houses Scotland’s only dedicated dried flower garden.  There is an exhibit and shop where you can see the drying room and buy some of the flowers.  It’s very interesting, but not half as interesting as the apple trees!

I don’t think it is possible to have visited at a better time!  Blossom.  Everywhere.  As well as a lot of lichen – no wonder it felt wonderful to breathe the air!

Apples from (almost) long-lost varieties as well as a few more modern standards.  Cider apples.  Donated apple trees.  I can imagine that come autumn it must be gloriously brimming with apples.

This is the Leaderfoot viaduct and provided too good a view not to stop and take a photo.  The river is the Tweed, apparently a very good place to go salmon fishing (though speaking to some fishermen it wasn’t a good time for it!) especially if you can find a knowledgeable Gillie to show you the best spots!  The bridge is now sadly disused.

On the way home, we had to stop at the border and take a photo looking back towards Scotland.  The drive was absolutely beautiful if a little windy (and windy!) and took virtually no time at all, so we have vowed that we must return for a longer break when we get the chance.

Bye Scotland!

Thursday 30 April 2015

April: Short but Sweet





April has been one of my favourite months in a long while.  Maybe because this month the weather has been glorious, the flowers have blossomed and the greenery has taken on a fresh new-life green hue that I’ve missed.  It is the month that I’ve revelled in sunshine on my skin and the return of a whole swathe of wildlife to our shores.  Unfortunately, the month has also gone quicker than I think I can remember any month going ever, even when I was working 40-hour weeks or revising for exams!  I would like to press pause and just savour these last moments of April before May’s arrival, when it undoubtedly takes on a more summery hue.

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Horses At Work











A couple of weekends ago, we were at a loss for what to do and so opted to spend it going round one of our new favourite museums: Beamish. We were quite lucky as it was a ‘special’ month where each weekend the museum focused on a different form of transport that played a role in life of both the pre- and post-industrial revolution North East.  The weekend we went they were focusing on horses and knowing how much we all love horses, it seemed just the right time to go.

From pit ponies to shire horses, our past both pre- and post-industrial could not have achieved what it did without the help of our maned companions.  We saw the WWI war horses used to pull field artillery; the heavy horses used on the farm for ploughing, harrowing and moving logs; the horses used to pull seaside charabancs and the pit ponies, the equine symbol of the North East’s mining heritage.  It was really interesting to see these horses being bridled up and encouraged to ‘work’.

We noticed what a difference it was there from the last time we visited, when it was freezing cold and much quieter (and still celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas!).  We didn’t manage to see the farm the last time we visited, so we made sure to do so this time.  A barn full of new-born lambs, some silkie chickens, a gorgeous pig and a lot of nesting jackdaws and sparrows filled the old farm-yard.  I can’t wait to see what other events they hold this year and will enjoy getting lots of use out of our tickets (once you pay for a ticket, it gives you unlimited access for a year!).

Next Page »