Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Things that catch your eye

A few weeks ago we visited Calke Abbey, a National Trust property which is in the village of Ticknall in Derbyshire.

  I think this was probably our third visit since it first opened to the public and I'm sure I've taken you here before in posts on this blog so this time I'm going to highlight some of the things that caught my eye during our visit.

 I'm always drawn to simple flower displays which can be found throughout the house - the one above was in the ladies' loos - pretty wild flowers in a jam jar looked lovely against the dusty red brick of the window.

 One side of the stables had been made into an education/learning room for children and grown ups too.  We had a lovely chat with the lady who runs the enterprise and were able to handle some of the exhibits she had on display there.  I loved the dress above.

 Across the passageway in the other stables the iron work decorations caught my eye.

 As did the lead pipes on the outside of the main building.

 Above is a hatchment from the church in the grounds.

 Inside the hall, which as you know has in many places been left just as it was found by the NT when they took it over in the 1980s.  Above a simple bowl of delphiniums.

 I loved the little owl - there were two of them on a mantelpiece

 Also the character above - not sure if he is a policeman or a fireman but I loved the plump, dumpling cheeks on his face.

 I also loved this pig covered in clover or shamrock leaves in a windowsill at the top of the staircase.

 Many of the upper rooms are just a vast jumble of things laid out to catch the eye.  Here I was captivated by the little pink house with people outside.

The kitchens were full of things to catch the eye.  Many items left just as they were found.  It was hard to decide which photos to use.

We actually went into the hall after we had visited the gardens and church.  There was a special display in the gardens. 

The walled kitchen garden had been transformed into a Garden of Imagination

 There were lots of knitted, crocheted and pom-pom characters, mainly birds and insects amongst the branches of trees and in the greenhouses.

 Another little owl!

 Caterpillars galore

 Biggins Bug Bothy

 Not sure if this was a bee, wasp or hornet!  I prefer bees to wasps or hornets.

 There were also loads of scarecrows attending what looked like a union meeting

Plus plenty of deck chairs to sit in and enjoy the heat of the day.

Which way to go?

The gardener's tunnel was fun

and the church was cool and inviting under the trees.

but then my eye was attracted to these beautiful creatures grazing in the meadow next to the gardenWe spent ages watching them.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Over the last few days 

I've been making jam

Enjoying the fruits of the season

Making summer pudding

enjoying the flowers in the garden

and in the house

and also enjoying the produce from the greenhouse.

 I love to wander, exploring places old and new but sometimes it is just good to be at home.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Scenes from a Few Days Away

We are just back home after a few days away in Wales.  Well, I say just back, in fact we've been home for a couple of days now but I've been busy catching up on the usual round of washing and ironing not to mention working in the garden  which seems to have run rampant whilst we have been away.  Thank you for all your kind comments left on my last post whilst I was away and I think I've caught up on all your posts now although I haven't commented on them all yet so forgive me if I seem to have missed visiting you for a while.

Although we have had quite a restful holiday we did manage to visit a few well loved and familiar places, many of which I've blogged about on here over the years.  This visit we sat on the beach at Llanbedrog where I buried my feet in the dry sand, I loved the Dragon seat at Craflwyn.  We also somehow managed to get to the top of one of the mountains between Beddgelert and Sygun.  The views were stunning - so was the fact that I got up there and got down again!

Below are some more photos of the places we have visited.

The beaches at Borth-y-gest and Criccieth where we walked and walked especially at Criccieth.

The beach huts at Llanbedrog, featured here many times before.  A blue tit at the RSPB reserve at Lake Vyrnwy, Llyn Dinas near the Sygun Copper Mine and that place with a long name on Anglesey.

The magical gardens of Plas Newydd (above) and Plas Brodanw (below)

It's not everyday you find a sculpture of a fairy cake in a fish pond!

Ok, it's time to go back to the garden!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Where is it?

 Oh, dear!

 It's so hot - now where is that pond?

I need a little help - not sure about those cats.

Ah!  At last thank you.........

I'm away from computers and internet for a while - see you soon. 
Take care everyone:)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Four Little Things

I'm missing the incentive of writing posts like the '52 Weeks of Happy' blog challenge  that some of us joined in with last year so I've decided that occasionally I will write a post about four little things that have made me smile over the last week.

This week we have been staying close to home as I'm looking after my neighbour's cat.  She's an elderly cat who has to have medication at 6p.m. every day. My popping next door two or three times a day usually disconcerts our cats who think I should just be caring for them but this week in all the heat non of the cats care very much about anything except keeping cool.  We have also been clearing out the shed of years of collected items that may 'one day be useful' - they are now sitting in a skip on the front drive awaiting collection.  Hurrah!  We can now walk into the shed instead of opening the door and everything falling out.

Anyway, here are four things that have made me smile this week:-

We went for a walk at Froghall Wharf on Monday morning and when we got back to the car we sat at a picnic table and opened our flask of coffee we were joined by two little bunnies - so cute!

We walked into the woods and over the ancient pack horse bridge. 

 I love the old, moss covered stones of the bridge which if only it could talk would have tales to tell of all those who have walked over it over hundreds of years.  It was cool and dark down under the bridge and very atmospheric.

Meanwhile, back home in the garden we have water lillies on the pond.  There have been lillies in the pond since we first moved here 17 years ago but I can count on one hand the number of times they have actually flowered - this must be a good year for them.

Flitting over the pond and landing on the garden plants we also have dragonflies - this one stayed around for ages letting me take its photo.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I'm Still Here

Still here and hopefully getting back to normal after feeling under the weather for the last couple of weeks.  I've also had some sort of allergic reaction to something which caused my eyes and cheeks to swell up and the skin to discolour making it look as if someone had socked me in the eyes.  I don't normally suffer from hay fever and I didn't seem to have the same symptoms as that so I'm not sure what it was all about but as the saying goes  'all things must pass' and eventually it did. Consequently, I haven't felt much like sorting photos or writing posts although I have tried to keep up with commenting on some if not all of your blog posts so huge apologies if I have missed anyone and hopefully I'll be back to normal soon. 

 It seems ages since we were in Scotland but there are still one or two posts I want to write about our visit - first up our 'stop off' visit in Cumbria on the outward journey.

 Just a couple of miles from  the motorway we found the ruins of Shap Abbey.

 We parked the car and walked over the bridge

 It was so quiet and peaceful after the noise and speed of the M6
 The ruins stand next to a working farm but is administered by English Heritage and free to walk around.
 There are still enough foundations left to get a good idea of the layout of the abbey and plenty of interpretation boards to help.

The Abbey was founded c.1200 when monks from a Premonstratension order of white canons, so called because of the white habits they wore, came to Shap.  

The monks of this order chose remote places in which to build their abbeys and apart from the farmhouse and a couple of other buildings on the way down the valley and over the River Lowther to the ruins the area still retained that feeling of remoteness.

  The chickens from the farm had free entry too!

I guess some people do try to climb the walls but some of them looked very fragile and quite dangerous.

Not far away, across the fields in the pretty little village of Keld is another religious building, the very tiny Keld Chapel. 

  We were searching for this chapel when we found Shap Abbey and there is supposed to be a connection between the two buildings.

It was one of those lovely places where trust is high on the agenda as they key to the chapel was on a peg next to the door of the people below.  We collected the key.......

and turned it in the lock....

To discover what was inside.

It was a charming little place and we sat for a while savouring the quiet and the cool darkness inside.  The chapel seems to have quite an interesting history and for most of its life hasn't been a chapel at all.

From about 1698 it was used as a home and through the next couple of centuries passed through many hands, escaped demolition at the hands of  Lord Lonsdale as he said it was in the way of his shooting carriages getting out onto the moors and ended up in the hands of the National Trust who still care for the building.

Some local historians think that it was built as a chantry chapel for Shap Abbey other say that it wasn't.  Apparently there are no records surviving to prove either way as there is no mention of it up to the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries.  It is thought though, that the building was built of stone from the nearby Abbey.

After returning the key to its hook and a little stroll to the end of the village it was time to leave the peacefully grazing sheep behind

and move on to discover what lies behind this door......