Sunday, December 10, 2017

Snow Days

Days at home due to the snow concentrate the mind into doing the festive 'need to do' jobs you've been putting off, like writing Christmas Cards.

We now have a pile of them to post and hopefully tomorrow we can don our hats, warm coats and wellies and walk down to the post office to send them on their way.

 Whilst I was sitting at the kitchen table writing the last few cards, held back to put letters or notes inside, Paul made Welsh Cakes and they were delicious with afternoon tea whilst watching a silly but entertaining Christmas film.

 This morning we woke to another fall of snow.   Paths were cleared to the bird feeders which needed topping up ready for the cold weather ahead.

 The garden looks wonderful in the snow and it's so quiet and peaceful too under its fluffy white blanket.

No animal or human footprints as yet.

First bird at the ground feeder is old Mr Blackbird with his white feathery neck markings, he's been in and around our garden for a few years now and entertains us with his melodies in Spring.  I hope he makes it into next year.

Next to the feeder is the fearless one legged Robin.  He or she does have a second leg which hangs loosely under their body.  It often comes close to the kitchen window and stares in as if to say 'come on! you are late with those breakfast buggy nibbles this morning.'   Perhaps he/she would like a side order of meal worms too.

When the Goldfiches come in every perch on the feeders is taken and the one in the middle starts to form an orderly queue for a perch to get at the sunflower hearts which the finches around here seem to prefer to niger seed.

The next visitors were a pair of Greenfinches.

and a Chaffinch, it's definitely a Finch day today.

 Of course there are also Starlings. 

Who fight to get to the window feeder

 Another Robin peering to see what is left after the Starlings have visited.  Most of these photos were taken through the conservatory windows which had steamed up slightly due to me ironing......

..........and Paul making cheese scones for lunch.  We've had homemade soup for lunch for the last couple of days carrot yesterday and celery on Friday and I've really enjoyed those and cooking and baking certainly keeps the kitchen warm.

Later this afternoon I'll sit with a good festive book, I can't say what it is as I've bought a copy (mine is from the library) as a present and I know the person who is to receive it reads this blog.  In complete contrast I also have a book on my Kindle called 'One Summer in Tuscany' by Domenica De Rosa who as Elly Griffiths writes the wonderful murder mysteries set in Norfolk featuring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway and the equally entertaining Stephens and Mephisto novels set in 1950s Brighton. 

This novel is a departure from those mentioned above and is more romance/humour in the vein of Judy Astley and Trisha Ashley but it is an escape to sunnier climes which compensates for the snow outside and it is about a creative writing course held in a castle near Sienna. 

Staying in on snow days isn't so bad but I will be glad if we can get out and about again tomorrow.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

A Wintry Walk

Our Friday walk saw us at Tittesworth Reservoir in the Staffordshire Moorlands. It is close to the village of Meerbrook, near Leek and The Roaches.

It was 1st December and the weather had turned decidedly wintry.  By the end of the walk my fingers and toes were tingling with cold.

The winter sun was bright in the sky and glistened on the water.  There seemed to be very few water birds around, just a few gulls bobbing up and down seemingly immune to the cold.

There was a crunchy frost underfoot as we made our way down the path towards the boardwalk.

It was too cold to sit on the stone sofa provided for those wishing to relax and gaze over the lake.

The boardwalk path was very slippy, down in this area we could hear and see the birds flitting in the trees, birds like Siskins and Long Tailed Tits too quick for me to capture with my camera.  Paul has written a post about the other birds we saw - here

Only the robins were prepared to pose for a photo or two.

There was still lots of intersting fungi to be spotted.

Further along the water on the reservoir was white and fozen over.

Time to return to the visitor centre  for a bowl of tasty Carrot and Parsnip soup.

It was delicious and warming after such a cold walk.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Photo Scavenger Hunt - November

It's the end of November so I'm joining in with Hawthorn at I live, I love, I craft, I am me blog for this month's Photo Scavenger Hunt.

November's Word prompts are
Blue, Me, Starts with a 'W', Rainbow, Arch, Toy, Swirl, Brush, Nail, My own Choice

Blue - the blue bridge at Shugborough Hall and Estate, Milton, Stafford which takes you over the river onto the woodland area known as the island Arboretum.

Me - from about one to four years old.  I had great fun getting out the box of old family photos and searching through them.  Top left I look as if I'm wearing gloves too large for my hands and top right I have wrinkly 'Nora Batty' socks and what look like very heavy winter shoes with a summer dress. I vaguely remember having that photo taken in one of the parks in London.  Hence perhaps the walking shoes?  We had gone to visit my Mum's best friend, whom I knew as Auntie Dot, and her family in Edgware and I also remember catching the train into the centre of London and being taken to see a stature of Peter Pan.  I still have the teddy bear I'm holding bottom right.

Starts with a 'W'.  I love this weather vane at Shugborough Hall, Staffordshire.  We visited recently and walked from the car park through the grounds and over the the island arboretum.  I spotted the weather vane on the way back.

Rainbow - having twice missed the chance to photograph a Rainbow bus in Kimberley, near Eastwood in Nottingham when we were visiting the well known Swedish store there a couple of weeks ago my mind drifted to the writer D H Lawrence as he was born in Eastwood.  I knew he'd written a book called The Rainbow.  Did I have it on the book shelves at home?  No we had Women in Love the book which followed The Rainbow and also Sons and Lovers so a trip to the library was in order to find a copy.

Arch - the arches in the roof of the Winter Gardens, Sheffield.  We visited the city to see the Raviious & Co: A Pattern of Friendship exhibition at the Millennium Gallery.

 Toy - A soft toy white tiger in the well known Swedish Store.  He was sitting on top of a large Christmas bag.  It brought back memories of when I was a child and presents were placed in a pillow case at the bottom of the bed and one year there was a blue and white panda at the top of the bag, I still have the panda although he's grey and grey now. 

Swirl - swirls of chocolate on top of a brownie at the Emma Bridgewater cafe at the factory and factory shop which isn't very far from where we live.  We can walk there in 40 minutes but more often we drive as the walk takes us down the very busy and noisy main road which leads to the city centre.

Brush - I suddenly thought of 'Basil Brush' and remembered the photos I had taken of the fox family in the garden during the summer.  This is one of the cubs, they still visit the garden but we rarely see them now the dark evenings are here.

Nail - I asked my husband if we had any nails.  He said yes, there is a bag of nails in the shed with enough nails in it to spell out the word nail.  So that is what I did.

My Own Choice - I realised that I had mentioned in two places that I still had both my teddy bear and panda so I thought I'd better prove it by showing you a photos of both very threadbare creatures each one well over sixty years old now.

Click on the link below to find other bloggers who are joining in this month.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


What a difference a day makes! Yesterday we walked in bright winter sunshine at Dovedale, today we woke up to a light covering of snow. 

We hadn't been to Dovedale for ages as it being a 'honeypot' in the Peak District it is always very busy but yesterday apart from one large walking group, a couple of dog walkers and a couple of fly fishermen it was reasonably quiet.

The sun was so bright as we walked along it was casting a gold shadow over the water of the River Dove.

The water in the river was quite high and had burst over the edges of the bank in some places.

The water was flowing along quite swiftly too.

The well known stepping stones which I used to love jumping across as a child.  Yesterday I found them quite challenging.
I did make it across with a supporting hand from my fellow walker.  I find age brings with it some challenges and uncertainties.  Not feeling as sure footed as I used too, not hearing people or bikes coming up behind me and finding walking towards the winter sun quite challenging.

We walked on along the path, the stark leafless trees looked wonderful against the bright blue sky.

Birds swooped overhead and landed on the bushes up on the slopes.  We also saw a dipper on the river and there were plenty of wrens and robins about.

We weren't sure if the birds we saw landing on the bushes were fieldfares or redwings

I only managed a very poor photo and can't tell what it is although we did see fieldfares as we drove down the lanes on the way to Ilam and Dovedale.

We also saw two male pheasants having a scrap.

and lots of fungus on a tree by the river.

It was quite chilly even in the sun and my fingers were getting cold.

It was time to head back to Ilam for coffee and scones at the National Trust cafe before we returned home.  It was so good to get out into the fresh air.