Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Between the Raindrops

Gosh, what a lot of rain we've had.  It hasn't been possible to get out into the garden although yesterday was dry until late afternoon so I was able to nip outside and sweep up leaves that had gathered on the paths and steps and take a few photos.  Everywhere is so wet.

At the top of the garden the Wild Garlic is in leaf and spreading everywhere.  There are several clumps like this.

The rhubarb is doing well.  A few days ago we used the final bag of rhubarb we'd frozen from last year to make a crumble.  There's just one bag of frozen plums from last summer's crop left.  Perhaps that will make a pudding for lunch when friends visit next week.

I seem to remember a song from my childhood about a lonely little Petunia in an onion patch.  Perhaps it used to be played on Uncle Mac's children's favourites along with songs like Tubby the Tuba, Sparky's Magic Piano and The Runaway Train.   We were talking the other day about radio shows from the 1950s and remembering things like Toytown and Larry the Lamb on the wireless and Patience and Prudence Kitten on the television.  Anyway we don't have a lonely Petunia but do have a Crocus amongst the Snowdrops.

The Snowdrops have been in a large tub close to the house for a few years now, I remember buying a couple of plants at Leek Market just before lockdown in 2020 and they have spread and will need splitting this year but there was never a Crocus amongst them until now.  Where did it come from? I hope it isn't lonely.

Also coming along are the Tulips we planted in the Autumn.  I think there are a couple of layers of them so they will flower at different times.

Indoors we have little seedlings of tomatoes
  and sweet peas.  

 Not many of these have germinated so we may have to sow some more seed or buy a few plants later.  I do like to have sweet peas in the garden.
It's windy and raining here today.  I know lots of you here in the UK are experiencing very wet weather and local flooding. How is the weather where you are?  

Friday, February 09, 2024

Five on Friday - Recently

1. LastThursday we went over to Nottingham to have lunch with some friends.  We drove our usual route from here to Ashbourne and then to Belper before driving through Kilburn and Codnor on our way to Beeston.

We stopped in Belper for a coffee and leg stretch on the way and I spotted the wall painting as we walked around. 

2. At Trentham Gardens the circus has arrived in readiness for the half term holidays next week.  I remember being taken to see a circus when I was a small child.  It was in the Blackpool Tower and ended with a water scene when the whole arena filled with water and some of the entertainers were stood like statues on plinths above it.  I don't remember much from the experience except perhaps that I felt sad for the animals and that I wasn't sure about the clowns, they seemed a bit scary. I think one of them was Charlie Cairoli and there was another clown with a painted white face, wide trousers and a pointy hat. I've no idea how old I was, perhaps five or six. Elsewhere in the building I remember a huge organ rising up out of the floor with a tremendous noise and applause from the crowd .  My mother told me later that the organ was a Wurlitzer and the person playing it was called Reginald Dixon.  I also remember feeling so sleepy as we sat on a coach driving through all the lights on the sea front.  I expect it was the illuminations.  Did we go for the day?  Did we stay overnight?  I have no idea.  All these memories from the sight of one big top.

3. I've found another family photo.  Back to 1908 again and the same time and place as the wedding photo I showed you a post or two ago. These are just the Edwards Family rather than the whole wedding party.  My great grandfather Thomas Edwards, my great grandmother Sarah Ann in the middle at the front  and their eleven children, one of them, Rose, is my grandmother.  I know the names of them all and have identified eight of them on the photo.  There are just three sisters on the back row who I'm unsure about.
Back row Thomas, Rose, ?, Ellen, ?, ?, John
front row George, Clara, Edith and Alvin.  The other sisters are Sarah Ann, Elizabeth and Mary.  I'd love to identify them on the photo. I know that two of the daughters, Ellen and Clara, were in service at Catton Hall in Derbyshire.
4. Two books from the library.  I've never read either author before but they were mentioned on various forums by  authors that I have read.  I hope I'll enjoy reading them.

5. We popped up to the City Museum to visit a new exhibition. Carboniferous Monsters.
Fortified by coffee and a shared slice of cake we made our way to the gallery tickets in hand.
What a fabulous exhibition it was.

Creatures from land and sea that pre-dated dinosaurs by 100,000 years.
I was rather taken with the dragonflies.

All for now.  I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. 

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Spring Flowers

 Into February with a bit of colour and cheer from some seasonal flowers. Hellebores at a local garden centre.

Such beautiful colours and so cheerful

I wish they would grow in our garden but they don't like the damp, clay soil.

 In the large tub by the back door the early Spring flowers are blooming.


Small Iris and Winter Aconite.
Indoors the Hyacinths are gently wafting their scent around.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Bug Snugs, Beavers and Snowdrops

 We're at the end of January.  I can't decide whether days have passed quickly or slowly.  Things have got done, appointments kept, walks taken to boost daily steps but somehow without much enthusiasm or solidness about them.  Sort of drifting really.

Last week we walked at Trentham as we do most weeks. We found lots of changes.  Some tree felling had taken place, lots of clearing of shrubs and some new additions.

Bug Snugs
As the label says they have been built to keep insect life warm and to act as shelter for things like frogs and hedgehogs in the winter months.   Birds will use some of their material for nesting in the Spring.  What a good idea.
Elsewhere around the lake there are signs of Beaver Activity.  The little family of Beavers on the island in the middle of the lake has grown to four and they are making their presence felt all around the lake.

There are two or three areas where they have been gnawing at branches.  They are adding to their food cache of juicy green wood which is full of nutrients for them.

Apparently they create food storage areas and eating stations.

There are signs too of them starting to build a canal network in the reed beds.
More about the Beavers  here
There were quite a few Snowdrops along the garden paths.

Bobbing gracefully in the breeze.
Lots of Cyclamen too showing arcs of colour under the trees.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch

 We started the bird watch about 9.30 a.m. on Saturday as there were quite a few birds in the garden.   We'd topped up the feeders around 9a.m. and the birds started to appear.

First in were Starlings and Blackbirds followed by a couple of Magpies, a couple of Rock Doves and a couple of Wood pigeons.   Most prolific visitors were Goldfinches.

There was a distinct lack of Sparrows in our garden this year although we've seen plenty around on our local walks.  About an hour after the count finished 4 Longtailed Tits appeared on the fat ball feeder - too late to be counted.  

Not great photos I'm afraid as they were taken through the conservatory windows.

The full list

4 Starlings, 3 Blackbirds, 2 Woodpigeons, 2 Rock Doves, 9 Goldfinches, 2 Magpies, 3 Dunnocks, 2 Collard Doves, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Blue Tit and 1 Robin.

All for now.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Wintry Days

 After all the wet weather the last few days have been sunny but oh so cold.  We have managed to get out and about for a couple of walks this week. Both yesterday and today the sky has been so blue.

Tuesday we woke up to a light dusting of snow and the car had to go into the garage for it annual service.  Wednesday, after a supermarket shop, we visited the Brampton Musem in Newcastle (under Lyme) for a mug of coffee and a shared slice of banana bread.  I liked the sign on the front of the counter in the tea room cafe.

After coffee we popped into the galleries to look at the latest exhibition.  Art work by the Society of Staffordshire Artists.

Yesterday we took a walk around Trentham Gardens the weather was so different from last week.

The fountain in the shopping area had frozen with some beautiful patterns in the ice.

Lots of blue sky, shadows and reflections.

Even though it was getting towards midday it was still very cold.

On the lake the Coots were marching across the ice, there were quite a few of them all together. Apparently the collective noun for Coots is a cover.

They were joined by two Little Grebes.  The Little Grebes or Dabchicks had found an un-iced over area to keep diving in.



At home Snowdrops are peeping through the frost and snow, there is no sign of the Winter Aconites yet.

I'm looking forward to seeing them both again this year.