Still calm

It seems almost impossible that it’s a week ago that I last chatted with you and this was the view with my morning brew.

A white mug of tea and a rainbow-striped partly knitted sock are balanced on a stone wall. Behind them, the view is across green fields and trees to a lake and a mountain. The water is still and reflects the sky and the mountain

Yes, I have slopped my tea down the side of my mug – it’s a bit of a walk from the house to the garden chairs where you can sit and take in this wonderful view and listen to the birds but it’s worth it! 🙂

A closer view across the grass and lake to the mountain behind. The sky is blue and the water is very still, reflecting the mountain and trees

Oh, I just couldn’t get enough of it!  I loved the stillness of the lake and how it reflected the trees and the mountains …

A view across the grass and lake to the mountain behind. The sky is blue and the water is very still, reflecting the mountain and trees

and I loved how the mountain changed colour as the light changed.

A more distant view across the grass and lake to the mountain behind. The sky is grey and the water is very still, reflecting the mountain and trees

This is where we were staying for big daughter’s yoga retreat – she ran her first one last year and it went so well that she decided to run another one this year, and now I think that her intention is to come back to this beautiful place every year if she can.  The view is across Coniston Lake in the Lake District, and it’s a stunning part of the world.  There is certainly magic in the air in this peaceful place, and even though big daughter’s boyfriend and I were there for behind-the-scenes help and didn’t get a great deal of time off at all, we both felt the benefit of being here.

A view across a lake to a village of white houses. The sky is blue with clouds, there is a large lawn in the foreground

This is the yoga space; isn’t it lovely?

A view across a yoga studio laid out ready for a class. There are mats, bolsters, blankets and tennis ball accessories on the floor. The back wall is blue.

There were classes throughout the day with time off in between to relax in the lovely old house we were staying in.  Some people chose to go for a walk, others read books or just sat and enjoyed the view, and others took advantage of the quiet time for a snooze – on a weekend where the aim is to rest and recharge, afternoon snoozing in the sunshine is very definitely allowed!

A view out of a bow window onto gardens and the mountains beyond. The sun is streaming through the window onto the cushions of the seat built into the window space

There was also a late night yoga class which you could take in your pyjamas if you wanted to go straight to bed afterwards – the joy of being away to do yoga with no other commitments is that there’s no drive home after the class!  If this sounds like something that would suit you too, you can find out more about next year’s retreat here.

For me, one of the highlights were the housemartins nesting high up in the eaves of the house.  We were here earlier last year and they hadn’t built their nests at the time.  This year, nesting was in full flow and there were dozens of housemartins swooping and diving around the nests high up in the house eaves.

Housemartin nests built into the eaves of a white-rendered house. The sky above is blue with white clouds

If you look closely, you can see a white shape against the dark of the nest – that’s a housemartin inside the nest, and even in the nests they didn’t stop chattering to each other!  It was constant, such a cheerful sound!

A close up of a housemartin nest built into the eaves of a house. The white head of the bird is poking out of the nest

I also realised that for years, I’ve thought the birds that gather near to our house were housemartins but actually, I think they’re swallows.  I didn’t think that swallows stayed still long enough for you to be able to recognise them but apparently they are quite happy to sit on telegraph wires and chat, very much like housemartins do.  You can tell the difference by the length of their tail feathers and in this photo, you can see the housemartin at the very top has a shorter tail …

Housemartins wheel in the sky above the house where their nests are built into the eaves

whereas the swallows have longer tails and that’s what the birds near our house have too.  Well!  We’ve been here nearly 20  years and I’ve just discovered I’ve been calling them by the wrong name!

Another highlight was the fire pit.  I do love a fire and it was warm enough to light one and sit outside every night whilst it went dark, watching the birds and the bats, and lights coming on in the houses across the lake.  It was dark too, so the stars were very bright and plentiful, far more than we see here where we’re too close to the M6 motorway for it ever to be very dark.

A close up of an ornamental fire pit against a dark sky. There is a fire inside the fire pit and it shows off the ornamental design

After the retreat ended and we were back home, I wasn’t keen to give up the deep calm I’d been feeling all weekend so on Tuesday, I took myself off to RHS Bridgewater again.  I do love to be in my own garden but there are always jobs to be done whereas I can enjoy someone else’s work at Bridgewater without feeling that I should be doing it myself!  The gardens have changed quite considerably since I was last there – surprising since it’s only been a few weeks, but at the same time not so surprising given how my garden has grown.  Last time, the borders were filled with tulips and this time, the alliums were out – beautiful purple heads on tall stems, and glorious en masse!

A long garden border between gravel paths, full of purple alliums

The borders by the Welcome Centre which last time had looked pretty bare, have filled out and look completely different …

A view across well-stocked garden borders to a wood-clad building

and the flowers by the Chinese streamside garden were just beautiful.  These are varieties of primula which originated in China (a great many of the garden flowers that we have now originated in China, brought over by plant collectors in the Victorian era) – Primula vialii which, I think, is my favourite primula …

Tall purple flowers with red tips grow next to a stream

and this mass of colour are Primula bulleyana and Primula florinadae.  They were just beautiful, and the bees thought so too!

A view down a stream-side garden showing lots of tall pink flowers in bloom. There are people in the background working in the garden and walking on the path that curves around the stream

Nothing quite so exotic is flowering in my garden right now, but something that the bees have loved just as much …

A large clump of white flowers with yellow centres growing in grass

Daisies!  Such cheery little faces, don’t you think?


And with that, I’m off.  Time for another brew and then if you need to find me, I’ll be in the garden 🙂  Exciting sock news next week – at last there’s something I can tell you about!  Have a lovely (UK Bank Holiday) weekend and I’ll see you soon! xx



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26 Responses

  1. Lindsay says:

    It sounds very blissful, it’s a pity that I’m about as flexible as a iron post or I would be so tempted.
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have those views all year round……

  2. Cathy says:

    I just felt a sense of calm reading this post! Wonderful way to wake up and read this morning.

  3. Michelle says:

    Sounds amazing! Glad the retreat was a success! And what a beautiful place inside and out!

    Always happy to hear about your week! Have fun in the garden:)

  4. Jacqueline Leibfried says:

    Beautiful post

  5. Jenny says:

    I have so much to thank you for! I learned all my sock skills from your tutorials, and I love your emails and new patterns. But best of all your video of “two at a time” socks set me up for a challenge doing a mystery KAL from Susanna Winter where the socks are a mirror image. Your video was so great where you kept saying that your stitches are perfectly safe on the needles. It was very reassuring.
    I also tried the Fish Lips Kiss Heel you mentioned. I will use this method again, so thanks for that tip too.
    I always smile when I read about you dog and the ponds. We had a Labrador who used to swim in the depth of winter.
    So a big thank you for all that!

  6. Sue says:

    Your lovely post reminded me of growing up in the Lake District. Our closest lake was Wastwater and the reflections there are very dramatic. I remember taking my fiancé at the time to meet my parents and he just stood by the car because it was so dark he couldn’t see where to walk 😂

  7. Caz Abbinett says:

    I’m totally inflexible so I couldn’t do the yoga…I’d just lie there and snooze 😀
    It looks a wonderful place, great for a chill out weekend – lucky you 🙂

  8. Barbara Kippax says:

    fish lips kiss heel where will I find this?

    • winwickmum says:

      It’s a paid-for pattern on Ravelry – it’s a form of short row heel, not one I’ve used before but I think it’s probably time to give it a try 🙂 xx

  9. Ruth Howard says:

    Thanks again for your update – pleased you enjoyed your stay-in the lakes – & you4 photos- always good to have a change of scene and jobs to do!! – refreshes one’s outlook – have a lovely weekend in the garden x

  10. Kathy Augustine says:

    Such lovely pictures for a Saturday morning! Thank you for sharing Christine!

  11. Audrey says:

    The lakes are a beautiful place to stay. the lakes and scenery are beautiful .Pleased you enjoyed going there. Our village will be in full swing next weekend .as it’s gala for the young ones .it’s been running for over 108 years only stopped when it was lockdown. So looking forward to see the young ones enjoying themselves

  12. Helen says:

    Ooh sock news. Have a good weekend.

  13. Jill muir says:

    Love the yoga holiday, what a lovely place. At first I thought it was your own garden where you were enjoying the mountain view and I envied you the view.
    Could you please subscribe me to yr blog Christine. I was too quick fingered and it lay over the text i was reading. Flipping it away it must have deleted. Thanks

    • winwickmum says:

      I would be very happy if this was my garden! 🙂 It certainly was a lovely place but I guess you appreciate it more if you know you’re only there for a short time. I think you must mean the pop up for the newsletter that’s disappeared – I can’t add you to the list (data protection rules) but there’s another subscription block in the left hand side bar so you can sign up there if you’d like to 🙂 xx

  14. Debra Cole says:

    Lovely relaxing post to read. I think I’m ready for Guide camp tomorrow, don’t be koi knitting is packed for that spot of quiet time. look forward to sock news next week. Debra x

  15. Annette Edwards says:

    Thank you for another lovely post, I feel relaxed just looking at the pictures

  16. Sandra Dain says:

    I’ve been staying with my daughter in Manchester. Yesterday we went to RHS Bridgewater. It was wonderful. Sadly, I go back to New Zealand on Monday.

    • winwickmum says:

      I hope you had a safe journey back, Sandra, as I think you’ll be back in NZ by now. I’m glad you got to see Bridgewater before you went, it’s certainly blooming well at the moment, and I hope you’ve had a wonderful visit with your daughter xx

  17. Susan Rayner says:

    The yoga retreat sounds and looks wonderful. I do miss my classes – sadly our teacher discovered Zoom during the pandemic and has not given hands on classes since. I do love the Lake District – but so far away. Bridgewater is looking lovely too.

    • winwickmum says:

      It’s a shame you don’t have a local teacher, and online isn’t always the same, is it? I’d be surprised if a new yoga teacher doesn’t fill the gap, though; it’s such a popular activity these days and very good for people too! xx

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