After having read the blog post on the Gingerbread Smiles blog about Hillarys list of suggested summer activities, I decided to write about my own exciting summer on my blog. The list created by Hillarys contains over 40 ideas for a fun-filled summer regardless of the weather!

So far, summer has been a special season for me and jam-packed with enjoyable activities. My summer began in the Shetland Islands in Scotland, which are actually closer to Norway than to Scotland, and the Norwegian influence is still evident particularly in the architecture and street names. Shetland is a fantastic place for people who love photography. With long, empty, white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue sea, unique wildlife & historic sites, the islands offer endless photographic opportunities. My first photograph, which fits the theme ‘sunshine and colour’, was taken at St Ninian’s Isle.

St Ninian's Isle, Shetland
St Ninian’s Isle, Shetland

St Ninian’s Isle is a beautiful beach stretching across to a small, uninhabited island. Should you venture across there, you will be rewarded with being able to view the remains of a medieval church and cemetery. Medieval jewellery was found buried here and can now be seen at the Museum of Scotland.

Just a few miles up the road, we stopped by the roadside as we’d spotted an empty beach with seals popping in and out the sea and walking on the sand. We took our photographs from above not wanting to disturb them in their natural habitat.

Enlarge the photo to see seals on the beach in Shetland
Enlarge the photo to see seals on the beach in Shetland

In Shetland, Shetland ponies are everywhere! They tend to be friendly natured horses and make a good riding pony for children. It was wonderful to be able to stop and say hello to them and stroke their long hair which felt as coarse as hay!

Me with some Shetland ponies
Me with some Shetland ponies

Back home, I have been using the summer to catch up on tasks I have neglected throughout the rest of the year. ‘Learning and using a new word every day’ is very relevant to me, due to the 3 month challenge of learning German that I started in May. At the end of the challenge, I was able to spend a few days exploring Berlin, a new destination for me and of course, putting to good use the new German words I had learnt.

My German project for the summer!
My German project for the summer!

After meeting up with friends in Berlin, exploring the famous sites such as the Berlin Wall, Cathedral, Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie, it was time to come home. On the flight home, I was stunned to see such a beautiful sunset which, due to flying west, remained there for the whole flight and I captured so many memorable sunset photographs that I was able to create a new digital photograph album for the sunset pictures as well as for other travel-themed photos and I posted them on Facebook for all my friends to see!

Sunset views from the plane
Sunset views from the plane

Due to the wonderful UK summer weather this year, I have started taking my cat Mario outside for walks for the first time. He’s still nervous, but he has a harness and lead to keep him safe. We have relaxation time in the sunshine while I quench my thirst with a juicy orange ice-lolly and Mario watches the birds flying around the trees! When he spots a bird, like a lot of cats he makes a strange little chattering sound as if he’s trying to mimic their bird calls and attract their attention!

For ideas for creating your own amazing summer, here are some suggestions courtesy of Hillarys :http://www.hillarys.co.uk/inspiration/make-summer-amazing/

Me & Mario out for a summer walk!
Me & Mario out for a summer walk!

All photos are originals by Maureen Millward.

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