Friday, April 17, 2015

Five on Friday

Joining in this week with  Amy at Love Made my Home and Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

Five different things spotted
yesterday at our local gardens and garden centre

1. Weird and wonderful play houses for the garden that look as if they have stepped out of a fairy tale or nursery rhyme

2.  Gorgeous, frothy pink and white blossoms dancing in the sunshine

3. Bright, sharp, citrus greens and yellows

4. Unusual decorative statues and other items for the garden

5. Signs of Spring from around the gardens, couldn't resist including my favourite geese and ducks.

We have a busy week ahead today I'm meeting a relative I never knew I had in Belper, Derbyshire.  Sunday we have friends coming to lunch, next week I'm meeting a long lost 2nd cousin in Leek and next weekend we'll be meeting up with my brother in law and his family for a historic re-enactment weekend.  So I'm  sorry, I'm a bit short on words this week but I hope you enjoy the photos.

I hope to get around to reading all your Five on Friday posts this evening.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Fortified Manor House

Stokesay Castle which stands just a mile outside Craven Arms in Shropshire isn't really a castle but a rather wonderful fortified manor house. 

The property was purchased in 1281 by a wealthy wool merchant called Lawrence of Ludlow by this time the Anglo-Welsh wars had ended and it was safe to built a manor house, even though fortified, so close to the Welsh borders.

The entrance to the castle is through the 17th century gatehouse, built in 1641, just before the start of the English Civil War in what is known as the Marches style.  In 1645 during the Civil War Stokesay Castle surrendered to the Parliamentarian forces without any serious fighting.

The timber framed roof in the great hall is dated around 1291

Little has been altered since then

The timbers in the roof are magnificent

and the lofty, shuttered windows let in lots of light

Above the hall is the North Tower, the view from the windows show the nearby church

above is the tower from down in the moat - you can see how it was constructed

On the opposite side of the great hall is the solar block and in the main room are the fine 17th century carvings and wood panels added at the same time as the gatehouse.

The tower has several floors and being open to the elements was full of twittering sparrows and swooping swallows - the first we had seen this year.  Apparently bats live here too.  Above a scene of the courtyard taken from the top of the tower and below are the rooftops of the solar and great hall with the church behind.

Back down in the courtyard a better view of the lovely and distinctive  gatehouse with the little tea shop next door

There is a walk around the moat and down there it was warm and sheltered in the sun and full of spring flowers and buzzing bees.

After visiting the castle we went into the church

The church of St John the Baptist was founded in the 12th century but was rebuilt in the 17th century because, unlike the castle it did see some fighting during the Civil war.

In 1646 a party of Royalists and their horses took refuge inside but were driven out by the Parliamentarians who had taken the nearby castle.  The south side of the nave was destroyed completely by canon shot.

The church was rebuilt around 1654.  The gallery at the west end was where the church musicians would assemble, there is an organ there now.  The boxed and canopied pews date from around 1665.

Thank you for all your comments on my Five on Friday post.  I've visited most of you in return I hope and left a comment on your posts but there are a couple of you that I can't leave a comment with as I'm requested to join 'google plus' and I don't want to do that so apologies if you haven't had a comment from me.  I have visited, read and appreciated your lovely posts.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Five on Friday

Joining in this week with  Amy and Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

On the edge of the lovely, historic little town of Much Wenlock in Shropshire stand the beautiful ruins of Wenlock Priory. 

Founded by the Normans as a priory of Cluniac Monks 

The Priory stands on the site of an earlier Anglo Saxon monastery founded in 680 by King Merewalh of Mercia whose abbess daughter Milburge was hailed as a saint, her relics were found here in 1101 and the priory became a place of pilgrimage.

I could describe to you the beauty and tranquillity of the grounds as we wandered amongst the ruins in the bright warm early afternoon sunshine. 

I could tell you of the banks of primroses around the ruins and the delicate spring flowers growing on the soft grey stone

  but for my Five on Friday I want to show you something else that can be found here,  come with me........

for in the cloisters near the monks' refectory and lavatorium or bath house are some very well known and admired topiary animals and birds

some of the figures were hard to identify but I think I've found five that I can possibly put a name to, so,  what do you think?

Bear? It looks like a cuddly teddy bear.

Definitely a Squirrel

Mouse or Hedgehog?


got to be a Cat

I have one more to show you......

When I first saw this one I thought it was a baby bird but now I'm thinking it's a mole with its big snout and huge paws?  Am I right?

More Five on Friday posts here -

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Thoughts on Thursday

Just  a few, simple things that have made me smile this week

  A surprise visitor to the garden
 Monsieur Reynard or Mr Fox visited our garden this week, not unusual in one sense as we know that foxes visit the garden - they leave behind the evidence- but we rarely see them.  This one visited around lunch time in the bright light (well grey, drizzly light) of the day.  He sat for ages on the grass behind the greenhouse and I was able to rush upstairs (well rush as much as I can nowadays with my knees) and grab my camera and photograph him from the landing window.  He sat for ages scratching, and then began  stretching his legs. front then back,  before he wandered off to the top of the garden where there is a way in and out through a small gap in the holly hedge behind the shed.

 A Rainy Walk at Ilam
On Wednesday morning we set out to walk at Ilam it was quite rainy when we arrived and we sat in the car in the car park for a while before we decided to risk a walk.  I'm so glad we did as the rain stopped shortly after we set off and only started again as we neared the end of the walk.  We had the place almost to ourselves just a couple of school parties who were way ahead of us and a few people staying at the Youth Hostel who stopped to chat on their way along the riverside.

We went inside the church too.  I know I've taken you here in several posts and told the tale of St Bertram whose tomb is in the chapel built especially to house it.  The font is Saxon as is the cross, one of two to be found in the churchyard.  The pictures around the walls of the nave depict the history of the village of Ilam through the centuries.

Back in the Garden
Things are livening up a bit, the winds and rain over the last few days have flooded the area around the pond again, but around the garden and in the raised beds the signs of spring are there.  The little tete a tete are raising their heads and the muscari and puschkinia are in flower.  The rosemary has little blue flowers and the rhubarb and wild garlic are looking lush and green.

  Easter Decorations 

Just a few bits and pieces out for Easter.  I've yet to find a suitable twig for hanging decorated eggs on. It has also been very hard this year to find any chocolate eggs without palm oil but the ones in the bowl from MandS seem to be free of it.   I don't know about the cute chocolate bunny, it was given me by my neighbours for looking after their cat for a couple of days whilst they opened up their caravan in Wales for the season.  We are making our own hot cross buns, in fact they are being made as I type by the bread maker of the house and the smell of mixed spice is wafting in my direction.  I will make some Easter buns or fairy cakes on Saturday. 

Hope you all have a lovely, peaceful Easter weekend.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Photo Scavenger Hunt - March

It's the end of March already and so I'm joining in again with the Photo Scavenger Hunt kindly organised by greenthumb at Made with Love  just click on the link for other participants.


A mill stone at Rowsley Mill near Bakewell, Derbyshire.

I was delving into my postcard album to chose a card.  I have lots I've collected over the years from places we've visited.  I finally chose the one of The Pilgrim Rabbit carved about 1325 for St Mary's Church, Beverley in Yorkshire.  It is thought to be the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland and as on 1st March we always say 'White Rabbits' I thought I'd include it.


A window in a building in Bakewell in Derbyshire


One of the upstairs art galleries in the Harley Gallery near Worksop in Nottinghamshire


A skyline across the rooftops taken at Castleton in Derbyshire

A favourite word
I've been fascinated over the last week by the partial eclipse and by events in Leicester and the re internment of King Richard III.  I was particularly moved by the reading of Dame Carol Ann Duffy's poem 'Richard' but also the sermon given by the Bishop of Leicester and one phrase stood out for me when he spoke about how the events over the last few years of finding, identifying and re interring the remains of the last Plantagenet king had joined us all together into a 'we' society rather than a 'me' society. I rather liked that.


A skateboarding dinosaur!  Well, it was on wheels and was being moved into place for a new 'Dinogolf'' crazy golf course at Bridgemere Garden World.


The queue for the 'bathroom' at the top of our garden


A rather long car or stretch limo parked in Hanley market place.


A plate used for reminiscence quotations in the bottle oven room at the Middleport Factory, Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent.  There were lots of plates with people's memories written on them.

Something you made

Homemade lunch - carrot and parsnip soup and a roll

Whatever you want

A few months ago I was contacted by e-mail by a lady who had seen my genealogy pages on-line and had a photo dated 1906 that she wanted help in identifying.  I tried to help as much as I could but we were rather confused by the family connections- her family member was the bride.  She thought that my granny should be on this photo but I couldn't recognise her as I only knew her in her late 70s/early 80s and she died when I was 12 years old.  This last weekend I've had more information about the photo from the lady who had found someone not only descended from the little boy bottom right of the photo but could remember my granny and my father.  Not only is granny on the photo but some of her brothers and sisters and my great grandmother as well.  Granny is at the back with a black hat and a black ribbon at her neck, next to the man in the suit who may be my grandfather. Great grandmother is at the front dressed in black.  I've also now been contacted by the lady who has identified the people in the photo for us and a meeting is in the offing as she doesn't live that far away.  What an incredible week it has been.