MARTHA-ANN's SparkPeople Blog MARTHA-ANN's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Muston Scarecrow Festival. l really must get back to blogging more but the computer has been playing up, it loses the connectivity to the internet and all my work disappears, l have reported it and they say there's no problem so here goes! <BR> <BR> My good friend, Ruth, and l visited the small village of Muston in North Yorkshire for their annual Scarecrow Festival. <BR> We go every year, they never fail to amaze us. <BR> Every year there are some fantastic scarecrows with brilliant interpretations of themes, make ... Fri, 7 Aug 2015 04:13:36 EST The first of many! l haven't blogged any of our walks for a good long while, we just haven't done much. <BR> lt's my fault, partly due to ill health so l've had to slowly build my walking back up again and l'm gradually getting there. <BR> l've been wandering around the village for a couple of weeks now, gradually getting longer and longer walks in and on Sunday l decided l would attempt my first walk of any length...l managed just over five miles albeit a bit slower than l would have liked but no pain was in... Thu, 21 May 2015 06:21:08 EST Our garden waking up for Springtime. This is especially for my friend Patty who expressed a wish to see our garden. <BR> Here are a few shots of the part l can see from the kitchen windows and conservatory, it's just bursting into it's second growth after the snowdrops, daffodils and crocus have mostly finished flowering. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Part of the rockery where the waterfall flows into the pond. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Tue, 5 May 2015 18:56:36 EST Snowdrop Spectacular Not too far away from where l live is the Estate village of Burton Agnes with it's beautiful Elizabethan Manor House aptly named Burton Agnes Hall. <BR> Built between 1598 and 1610 for Sir Henry Griffith, it is still owned by the same family more than four hundred years later. <BR> <BR> Each year the Hall opens it's woodland to the public so visitors can view their 'Snowdrop Spectacular' when millions of the little white 'Heralds of Spring' flower copiously amid the beech trees. <BR> <BR> ... Mon, 2 Mar 2015 20:00:51 EST Winter sunshine DH had an appointment in town on Friday so l went along for the ride, whilst he was meeting his clients l decided on a stroll along the sea front. <BR> lt was very cold and windy but the sun was shining and l'd come prepared with my good thick coat, hat, scarf and gloves...l really needed them too, even with the sunshine the wind chill factor was minus five. <BR> <BR> There weren't many folk about, just the odd brave souls mainly walking their dogs. The dogs were happy running about whilst t... Sun, 1 Mar 2015 19:44:38 EST Heralds of Spring Spring seems to have arrived. <BR> Not that you'd notice much today, it's very cold, windy, dull, overcast and pouring down! <BR> Still, the flowers don't seem to mind. <BR> <BR> The snowdrop is the herald of spring, a harbinger of what's to come. <BR> These hardy little flowers even poke their heads up through snow and ice, if fact, a common local name for them is the icespear. <BR> Many years ago this truly awesome little blossom spurred me on to write a poem, some of you might have seen i... Mon, 16 Feb 2015 08:13:17 EST Memory Lane Today we took a walk down Memory Lane. <BR> l'm very lucky to live in a beautiful part of England. <BR> lt's so beautiful it's known as 'God's Own Country' and it's blessed with a wealth of small villages which date back thousands of years. Of course they've evolved over the years but they still have a charm and magic all their own. <BR> <BR> One such village is Brompton-by-Sawdon, a very quaint picturesque little place which attracts visitors from far and wide. <BR> When l was a little girl... Sun, 15 Feb 2015 06:42:39 EST High Wood Brow Trail DH wanted to walk Tophill Low Nature Reserve but l fancied Dalby Forest...l won!! <BR> <BR> We were quite late setting off after a morning in the garden. Now most of the snow has disappeared DH wanted to work on his beloved pond so we knew we would only had a couple of hours of walking before darkness set in. <BR> <BR> We decided on the route of a shorter walk on the High Wood Brow Trail looking down to spectacular views of the beautiful valley at Troutsdale. <BR> <BR> The weather was fair... Tue, 10 Feb 2015 19:34:09 EST On top of the wolds Monday was cold, bitterly cold with a strong icy wind but the sky was gorgeous. The clouds were scudding along at a phenomenal rate so the patterns and colours were ever changing. <BR> And there was sunshine! <BR> <BR> We decided a walk was in order. <BR> The 'tops' sounded good, way up on the wolds away from people where the sky seems to go on forever. <BR> <BR> We drove along the little country lanes, stopping every now and then to view the fields, there seems to be an abundance of hares ... Thu, 29 Jan 2015 05:47:38 EST Sunshine, ice, snow and fog! Sunday dawned cold, windy and dry so we decided to walk the Nature Reserve at Watton Carrs. <BR> lt's a lovely little place, we go a lot and always find something of interest whatever the season or the weather. <BR> <BR> We had a sustaining breakfast of bacon, eggs and mushrooms to keep out the cold, made a flask of coffee and packed some fruit for a snack later was actually -2 degrees when we set off. <BR> There wasn't a lot of wind but it was perishingly cold, what my dad would hav... Tue, 20 Jan 2015 19:28:32 EST Happy New Year Just wanted to wish all my Sparkfriends a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New year. <BR> l love coming to Spark, l've made so many friends here it's like family to me. <BR> <BR> l'm not making any resolutions, l'm just knuckling down to more weightloss in whatever way is possible...don't care if it's a little bit or a lot a week, l just want it off. <BR> l've done really well over the past year, a total of 8 stones 10lbs gone and l'm determined it's staying gone! <BR> l've got another 2 stones 2... Fri, 2 Jan 2015 06:19:37 EST There's beauty in everything! It's a while since l've blogged a walk, it's been a bit hectic around here what with one thing and another but now the peace has returned and l thought l'd get back to blogging. <BR> l've never stopped walking, just didn't get much time for sitting at the computer so that's about to change now. <BR> <BR> Sunday dawned not exactly warm and sunny but nice enough after the torrential rain and high, cold winds we had on saturday. <BR> <BR> The garden was a bit soggy but DH decided he'd plant ou... Mon, 10 Nov 2014 08:57:18 EST Not quite 'Miss Slinky' 2014 Do you remember the competition back in August when l was made 'Woman of the Year'?(see my blog 'l can't believe it') <BR> <BR> That was a catalyst for me. <BR> <BR> That was the day l finally realised my true image and not the 'fat' one l had inside my head. <BR> <BR> lt was the beginning of looking in the mirror and finally seeing what was really there! <BR> <BR> lt was also the beginning of my self confidence and self esteem rise which are now at an all time high! <BR> <BR> Well, a ... Wed, 5 Nov 2014 04:41:35 EST Time marches on! lt was officially the first day of autumn yesterday and the weather seems to have changed and dull today! <BR> The weathermen reckon on an indian summer, beginning friday it's supposed to hit 73 degrees and last until october, l hope they're right. <BR> <BR> We've already begun putting the borders to bed for winter, clearing all the dying flowers and foliage, been doing it for a couple of weeks now. <BR> There are a few patches of colour left in the lavateria, wind anemones... Tue, 2 Sep 2014 03:27:42 EST l can't believe it!! l've said l can't believe it and yesterday l couldn' wouldn't quite sink in! <BR> <BR> But this morning it's still true! <BR> <BR> Yesterday l was crowned Slimming World's 'Woman of the Year'! <BR> Little ole me! <BR> 'Woman of the Year' ...who'd have believed, l certainly didn't!! <BR> <BR> l'll start at the beginning...sorry it might be a bit of a long blog!! <BR> <BR> When l decided l needed to lose weight l, in my wisdom, thought l could do it on my own and l did for a while. ... Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:01:52 EST Tuesday fun l had such a great time in the local park and garden with my daughter-in-law, her friends, my grand children and their friends last week that we've decided every Tuesday will be a fun day through the long and, hopefully hot, summer holidays. <BR> <BR> My daughter in law has talked with her closests friends and they've agreed that every Tuesday (her friend is not working on Tuesdays) they'll all meet up for a family fun day and l'm included! <BR> Why three bright, thirty something, young wome... Thu, 31 Jul 2014 05:31:01 EST Memories are made of this... l don't seem to have blogged in a long time, time to get back to it. <BR> <BR> The weather is glorious, wall to wall sunshine! <em>67</em> <BR> And the predicted heatwave is set to stay around for a while at least! <BR> <BR> The schools have just broken up for their six week summer break and six weeks is a long time for littlies so my daughter-in-law is finding ways to keep them entertained. <BR> She said 'Things which are free or cost little are paramount when money is short'. <BR> Thi... Wed, 23 Jul 2014 06:33:45 EST A stitch in time... I hit another milestone on my weightless journey today. <BR> <BR> I'm really happy with the way things are going, I've been clearing out my wardrobe after losing five dress sizes and needed something new to wear which didn't make me look like a 'bag lady''ve donated five big sacks of clothing (there'll be more eventually) to The Yorkshire Air Ambulance Charity, they do a fantastic job and always need funds! <BR> <BR> I've a lot to lose, still have a way to go, so when I began I de... Wed, 2 Apr 2014 04:28:01 EST Quintessential English I didn't manage to get a blog in last week what with one thing and another so this was my walk I should have posted then. <BR> <BR> As some of you already know, my DH is an upholsterer and part of the job entails visiting clients in their own homes so sometimes he takes on a job which is a bit farther away than the radius he usually works in. <BR> If it's a long way off we usually combine it with a walk in the area and that's what happened last week. <BR> A lady who had used DH's services... Mon, 31 Mar 2014 04:01:42 EST A walk in the beech wood Well, yesterday was another morning of sitting watching DH garden whilst I itched to be helping but there's only so much you can do with one frustrating! <BR> <BR> It was a bright day with a clear blue sky, scudding fluffy white clouds and just right for a long walk. The only bugbear being the very strong and very chilly north east wind. <BR> <BR> DH is an upholsterer and part of his job entails three visits to customers in their homes. The first is to see and measure up... Mon, 17 Mar 2014 08:56:09 EST Filey Dams The weathermen forecast that sunday would be the hottest day of the year so far, hard to believe after the wettest on record but they were right! <BR> Sunday dawned with clear blue skies and warm sunshine...officially we were hotter than Greece! <BR> <BR> After a leisurely breakfast in the conservatory, watching the birds on the feeders, DH faffed about in the garden whilst I sat on the bench near the pond, in the sunshine and watched...I usually faff about too but l'm recovering from an all... Wed, 12 Mar 2014 03:50:44 EST I've got a house! I decided when I began my weightloss journey to lose in increments of ten pounds at a time and reward myself after each one. <BR> Well, this week saw my seventh reward arrive. <BR> <BR> I usually pick something that I want but don't really need as a treat. They weren't meant to be expensive things, just little encouragement gifts and over time I've had things as diverse as a new nail polish, a lobster and even a desk lamp. <BR> This time, more by good luck than good management, I've chose... Thu, 6 Mar 2014 10:51:39 EST The walk through the woodland Well, the day started off rainy and windy, so windy it was actually buffeting the side of the house and sounding for all the world like a banshee! <BR> 'Just my luck' I thought when I'd planned to go on a woodland walk with three friends. <BR> We'd arranged to meet up at quarter to eleven so we could go for lunch together afterwards and wonder of wonders by the time it came to set off the wind had dropped, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining..Wahaaay! <BR> <BR> I'd been trying on di... Thu, 20 Feb 2014 12:20:33 EST Fresh air, good company and raring to go... Well, I finally got my long walk and a few photos so here's the promised blog. <BR> <BR> The weather of late has been absolutely diabolical with gale force winds, torrential rain and foggy, freezing conditions. Every path is either mired in mud or deep puddles of sullen dirty water. <BR> The weathermen reckoned there would be a lull and it came yesterday. <BR> It was glorious...warm sunshine, blue skies and a gentle breeze. Proper spring weather. Oh, it was still pretty chilly in the shade b... Mon, 17 Feb 2014 09:43:34 EST Update on me... Just an update on my health...this sounds so precocious as if I'm special and I'm not really! <BR> <BR> Everything seems to be doing fine just now. <BR> <BR> After my last blog I developed a kidney infection which has taken almost four weeks to clear but I had my last appointment on Friday and it's more pain...Yay!! <BR> <BR> The bronchitis is clear too and my skin is feeling so much better with the phototherapy sessions which are on-going. <BR> <BR> My knee is much better too, ... Sun, 16 Feb 2014 04:16:10 EST On the final leg of recovery! Seems ages since I've blogged what with one thing and another...mainly my eleven year old computer which was so slow it was almost at stop and didn't like to upload photos either...very frustrating!! <BR> <BR> Well, Father Christmas brought me a nice new computer and I now hope to get back to Sparking again. <BR> Still no photos or nice descriptive walks for you though as I haven't been getting about much through a combination of a broken knee, arthritis and bronchitis. <BR> Soon, very soon... Thu, 9 Jan 2014 06:11:08 EST it really doesn't matter if it pitter, pitter patters all the day! Well, the idea was a lazy sunday by the fire. <BR> <BR> DH would watch the Grand Prix while I read, sewed or knitted...wrong! <BR> <BR> DH can't just sit! <BR> <BR> It was too wet and windy to garden so he disappeared into the greenhouse but there's not a lot left to do in there so he was soon back wanting a coffee. Then after reading the newspaper he began prowling around looking out of the window...for all the world like a caged lion in a zoo. <BR> <BR> I knew what was coming next... <... Sun, 27 Oct 2013 15:14:56 EST Seasons of mist... We need potatoes, we grow quite a few for 'new' ones but not any keepers so I usually order a sack of them by telephone from a local farm. They deliver them to my door either the same day or the next one. <BR> Very good service! <BR> <BR> This morning I decided a walk would do me good, the idea being to walk up to the farm and order them in person. It's my friend's farm so I knew there'd be a hot drink at the end of it. <BR> <BR> It was quite misty when I came to set off and cold with it s... Fri, 18 Oct 2013 08:54:20 EST storm damage This last week has been horrendous weather. <BR> It started raining last wednesday afternoon and it's hardly stopped since. <BR> The wind has been mostly at gale force and it's so cold we've got the heating on! Friday was a doozy of a storm with no power and trees blown down. <BR> <BR> Sunday we ventured out for a ride, in between the downpours it was quite pleasant at times though still very cold and windy, there were lovely little dry periods which even had a bit of sunshine managing to br... Tue, 15 Oct 2013 03:43:09 EST artificial sweeteners Five weeks ago I was referred to a gastrologist to try and sort out bile duct, liver and kidney problems and various allergies I'd developed. <BR> I also had a low immune system. <BR> <BR> I already knew I was allergic to lettuce, pineapple and latex and though nothing was really proven, they think I'm allergic to artificial sweetener. <BR> The upshot is I'm now off anything containing artificial sweeteners. <BR> <BR> One report showed that artificial sweeteners are more chemically related... Thu, 10 Oct 2013 07:21:30 EST Limping but determined! I haven't blogged in a while as I haven't been walking much. <BR> I've broken a large piece of bone off the front of my patella (I already have arthritis is this knee) which has been very painful, I'm waiting for an MRI scan to see if I've damaged cartilage too but I've been advised to keep walking as it might stiffen up if I don' for the first time in weeks I went for a limp...sorry a walk! <BR> <BR> DH has been getting birding and walk withdrawal was desperate t... Sun, 22 Sep 2013 19:36:00 EST take the rough with the smooth... Well yesterday started off on a good note, at weigh-in I was down another pound..Yay!! <BR> <BR> Then I went downstairs to find Charlie, my chinchilla, was lying in an unusual spot on the wire mesh floor behind his sand bath and not in his warm fleece hammock. <BR> He'd been sleeping a lot the last couple of days and was not his usually bouncy self. <BR> The vet said it was old age, he was almost sixteen which is a very good age for a chinchilla and he had recently developed cataracts in bo... Mon, 12 Aug 2013 05:57:24 EST When the world says 'Give up'...Hope whispers 'Try it one more time'... Things are still going well, I lost another pound this week. <BR> I feel very motivated. <BR> We had a wedding to attend on Saturday and I actually had someone ask me if I'd lost weight which was a real boost even though they hadn't seen me in a while! <BR> I've been trying on clothes too, actually found some I'd folded away in a box as too tight which now fit nicely again...yet another source of motivation! <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> Yesterday was a bit of a challenge as I was at a WI commi... Tue, 25 Jun 2013 02:38:02 EST It's a wonderful life I awoke this morning painfree!! <BR> And believe me that's some acheivement after the last few months!! <BR> <BR> I've had two kidney infections, a urinary tract infection, a nasty virus that knocked me for six making me very lethargic for over a month, a very stubborn abscess under my front bottom teeth which filled up three times and, just lately, two weeks of a very painful arthritis flare-up in my knee. <BR> So to be pain free is almost miraclulous...and to top it off, it's stopped rain... Mon, 17 Jun 2013 05:27:14 EST Ray Foster's pond After many nondescript, dreary days the weather finally perked up a bit. It hasn't lasted long but we enjoyed the blip. <BR> The day dawned to cloudless blue skies and a gentle breeze...too good an opportunity to miss so we set off, without a contingency plan, to see where we'd end up! <BR> <BR> Ray Foster's pond!! <BR> Doesn't sound much but it's actually a private fishing lake off the beaten track and quite a little haven of peace and tranquility. <BR> I'm not quite sure who Ray Foster is ... Thu, 6 Jun 2013 04:42:27 EST wood and moor It seems ages since I've blogged, my computer's been on a bit of a go slow and is very frustrating. It let me type everything in and then seemed to jump and go back to whatever I was doing before and losing everything so I gave hope I manage it this time. <BR> <BR> It's been the May Day Bank Holiday long week-end here and the weather excelled itself, it was glorious which in its self seems highly unusual for a bank holiday, more often than not it rains! And with the weird wea... Thu, 9 May 2013 20:30:10 EST Hailstones and hares! We managed to get in a bit of good walking this week-end, we haven't been far this last couple of weeks with the weather being so bad. <BR> The weather forecast wasn't too good but apart from the strong nithering north wind and squally hailstone showers it wasn't too bad either. <BR> <BR> We drove up into the North Yorkshire National Park and parked up at Old Man's Mouth in Forge Valley to walk the banks of the river Derwent. <BR> There's been an awful lot of snow and rain this past year so... Mon, 25 Feb 2013 09:56:03 EST The ABC of me... I filched this blog from Celloplayer, hopefully she doesn't mind so hope you enjoy it. <BR> <BR> The ABC of me! <BR> <BR> A: Available or married. <BR> Married, we'll celebrate forty one years in march this year. <BR> <BR> B: Book I'm reading <BR> Random Passage by Bernice Morgan, it's a Newfoundland family saga. I've read it before but I'm enjoying it again. <BR> <BR> C: Cake or pie <BR> Both cherry pie if I have to choose! <BR> <BR> D: Drink of choice <BR> Plain old ... Sat, 26 Jan 2013 09:32:53 EST officially... We've certainly had a weird weather pattern over the last year but officially it's beaten any previous record set. <BR> <BR> 2012 was officially the driest on record in the early part of the year with the reservoirs down lower then ever before and the threat of not enough water for the coming year. They were cracked and dry, places of interest to passers by who'd never seen them like it before. <BR> It was reckoned it would have to rain non-stop for the rest of the year to bring the levels ... Tue, 15 Jan 2013 07:42:13 EST a second chance...use it wisely! The last five years have been a bit of a mish-mash for me both health and diet wise but twenty thirteen is going to be my year...I can feel it!! <BR> <BR> I've finally been given the green light from the doctors, officially nothing is now wrong with me...well, except my arthritic knee and ankle and a tendency to piriformis syndrome but I can live with them and their accompanying medications when I need them but officially I've finished all my regular medicines, my stats are good and I feel r... Sun, 6 Jan 2013 07:14:15 EST Christmas at my sons It's been a wonderful Christmas this year if only because I've actually been well, something which hasn't happened in the last five years so this year was even more special. <BR> Everyone was so happy and nothing went wrong.Everyone got what they wanted and a good time was had by all. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Amelia, Leah and Isabella <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The ... Sat, 29 Dec 2012 16:08:24 EST we'll weather the weather... The weather over the last couple of weeks reminds me of that old poem we said as children, you know the one... <BR> <BR> Whether the weather be fine <BR> Or whether the weather be not, <BR> Whether the weather be cold <BR> Or whether the weather be hot, <BR> We'll weather the weather <BR> Whatever the weather <BR> Whether we like it or not. <BR> <BR> Sums it up in a nutshell really, we've had just about the gamut of all the weather can muster this last couple of weeks though the rain has f... Tue, 18 Dec 2012 07:43:47 EST fancy a chuckle... These made me chuckle so I thought I'd share them! <BR> <BR> Only a woman... <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <em>446</em> <em>446</em> <em>446</em> <em>446</em> <em>446</em> <em>446</em> <em>446</em> <em>446</em> <em>446</em> <em>446</em> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> Hope he gets it right this <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Thu, 6 Dec 2012 11:07:22 EST Burton Constable Hall Last Monday afternoon my friend Ruth and I visited a stately home called Burton Constable Hall. <BR> It's been the home of the Constable family since the early sixteenth century and is still a family home today. <BR> <BR> It was open to the public to show off their Christmas decorations. <BR> We try to go to a different stately home each year if we can, though we've done most of them more than once at some time or other and I have been to the this hall before, but Burton Constable hadn't e... Mon, 3 Dec 2012 06:57:44 EST Mother Nature's glory Sunday was what we call bracing here in Yorkshire. <BR> A cold and strong north wind sent leaves skittering from their precarious grip on the branches of the trees and grey white clouds scudding across the overcast sky whilst underfoot Jack Frost had stealthily clothed the ground in sparkling white as he visited during the night while the world slept. <BR> <BR> The grass was blisteringly white, glinting with a myriad of miniature diamonds, crisp and crunchy as we walked but eventually the wi... Tue, 13 Nov 2012 06:10:20 EST frost and fire... Well we didn't get far this Sunday, my arthritic knee's playing me up and I could hardly hobble let alone walk so I contented my self with a few pictures around the garden. <BR> <BR> Saturday was quite frosty but Sunday was even better, everywhere resembled a beautiful Christmas card that had been frosted with glitter. <BR> It was so cold, minus three for a while before the sun finally managed to break through for a short period, ideal for a walk really if I'd been up to it but I wasn't so.... Tue, 6 Nov 2012 10:07:06 EST why does it always rain on a week-end? Sunday dawned dull with blustery showers even though the weathermen said it would be fine but after the strong winds and wintery snow and hailstone showers of previous days it seemed positively balmy! <BR> <BR> We decided to go inland this week and combine the trip with DH's work as he'd a client to see quite a long way from home. <BR> We visited the client first then stopped off in what is known as 'The prettiest village in the East Riding' for a walk around. <BR> <BR> Bishop Burton was o... Wed, 31 Oct 2012 07:26:36 EST good weather, good company! Every now and again, maybe three or four times a year I meet up with two of my cousins for a day out. <BR> They're sisters aged eighty four and seventy nine so I'm a spring chicken compared to them but to tell the truth, I think they're fitter than I am! <BR> <BR> Alma, the seventy nine year old lives in Hertfordshire, around two hundred and fifty miles from me. She uses her free pensioners bus pass to travel on five different buses up to York where her sister Stella lives and then they do a... Fri, 19 Oct 2012 10:20:55 EST power... Yesterday was blustery! <BR> Short sharp showers and strong wind make a good combination to define that word. <BR> We ventured out for our walk dressed up to the nines in warm, wind and waterproof clothing. <BR> <BR> We still seem to be heading for the coast at the moment, the last two week-ends were cliff tops and though we didn't do them this week we stuck to the coast walking around the pretty little seaside resort of Bridlington. <BR> It's past its season now but there were a few people... Mon, 15 Oct 2012 08:03:25 EST Autumn palette Over the last week or so our vistas have begun to change. <BR> <BR> Mother Nature has begun to paint from her Autumn colour palette. <BR> <BR> Gone are the lush greens and cerulean blues which encompass summer. <BR> Coming in are the beautiful rich reds, golden yellows and deep, deep purples of the new season. <BR> <BR> She has a myriad of colours along the theme, all there for our delectation. <BR> Ruby reds, garnets, scarlets, maroons. <BR> Golden yellows, citrus hues. <BR> Deep, deep pu... Mon, 8 Oct 2012 04:34:05 EST