These are the things I shall remember from our holiday, the things which will sustain me and inspire me in the months to come.
On the way North my husband and I stopped off at the Tatton Park Flower show. The sight of all those beautiful flowers was the perfect way to put us in a holiday mood.
On the second day we had to pick our daughter up from Carlisle station to we took a detour to Blackwell in the Lake District. This is a stunning Arts and Crafts house overlooking Lake Windermere where, at the end of a dark, oak panelled corridor I entered one of the most beautiful rooms I have ever seen.
It was so light and airy and had bookshelves and little seats either side of the fireplace. I could imagine myself sitting there on a winter's evening.
Then, on the third day, we reached Scotland where we were staying in a little whitewashed forester's cottage not far from Castle Douglas in Dumfries and Galloway. This also had beautiful views - this time of the Solway Firth.
These are some of the things we did while we were there:-
We attended Scottish night at Kirkudbright, eating delicious fish and chips whilst watching dancing and listening to bagpipes in the square. I don't have any Scottish ancestry to my knowledge but the sense of pride and the way it brought the whole community together brought a lump to my throat.
We walked to White Horses beach and, having it totally to ourselves, lay on the sand in the sun before strolling along the shoreline to collect shells.
We watched the birds in our garden, siskins, great tits, two greater spotted woodpeckers who hogged the bird feeder but best of all were the beautiful red squirrels who honoured us with their presence on the fifth day.
We visited Threave Gardens near Castle Douglas which are some of the most stunning gardens I have ever been to. And memories of the cornflowers in the wildflower border will light up the winter months to come.
There was another stop at Tatton Park on the way back, this time for a visit to the house where they had an exhibition of Beatrix Potter's drawings. I have seen some of these before but they never cease to amaze me with their delicacy. They are just sublime!
What made this holiday extra special was the friendliness of everyone we met. If you've never visited Dumfries and Galloway do go. The scenery is stunning with forests and hills, coastline and streams but above all you will meet some of the most welcoming people on the planet. We definitely hope to go back but for now it's back to work and to put some of those resolutions I made into practise.
Thank-you for reading.