Friday, June 24, 2016

Five on Friday

It's Friday so once again I'm joining in with  Amy at Love Made my Home for this week's Five on Friday. 


When, earlier this week, I popped up into the city centre to get my hair cut  I also had a look at The Big Birdhouse Tour which is on display in the intu Potteries shopping centre.  



The exhibition has been organised by the RSPB for their 'Give Nature a Home' campaign.  They asked a group of well known people to decorate their own birdhouse with very different and interesting results. 

  There are fifteen bird houses spread across the three floors of the centre.

I thought I'd share my five favourites with you.
 
1. 'The Loyal British Avian Society's Self Instruction Simple Recognition Playing Cards Bird Box' by Graham Swift who took his inspiration  from the aircraft identification playing cards used during the second world war for both amusement and visual reminders.  

2.  Pool by Becky Adlington, the theme was chosen as it was somewhere she felt at home after her years of training up to Olympic championship standard.

3.  A Bird's Eye View by Alex Jones.  Presenter of the One Show Alex's birdhouse was inspired by Snowdonia.


4.  Surf Chick Beach by Naomi Wilkinson whose designs combines two of her favourite pastimes, surfing and birdwatching.


5.  Beach by Miranda Krestovnikoff, TV Wildlife presenter and president of the RSPB.

This one was my favourite and I loved its drift wood, salt windy, weather beaten look.

Below is a collage of the other bird houses we saw.






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 I hope, wherever you are, you have a lovely weekend.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Midsummer Magic

This morning we visited the wonderful Little Moreton Hall in Cheshire where they had events and activities to celebrate Midsummer in the way of the Tudors.


It was lovely to get out and about after a couple of days at home clearing up the garden after the flash flood.


Although it wasn't very sunny it wasn't cold and the light was perfect for photos.  I had expected it might be crowded on a Sunday but it wasn't. 


I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

 as I've taken you here so many times before.

 There were lots of activities on offer.  The children were making hobby horses and there were lots of guided tours.

The volunteers here are very knowlegeable and enthusiastic.




Inside the tent the Dragon awaits his big moment in the parade. 


 
Not too many photos of the parade as there were many children with their hobby horses.

 I loved the summery bunting in the trees

 The knot garden was looking lovely too

 Below a collage of some of the things we spotted inside.

There was plenty of wildlife around in the garden and by the moat and I'll feature some over on 30 Days Wild.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Rain it Raineth Every Day

Yesterday our garden was inundated with water after a storm of heavy rain, thunder and lightening.




 All we could do was watch it through the windows as it gushed down from under the hedge which backs onto school grounds, ran across the garden and out onto the street.

 Taking with it the contents of the pond and all the gravel which is now spread across the grass.
 



 The step ladders were popped into the greenhouse when the rain started to keep them dry!  They were being used to cut one of the tall hedges.  The bags full of leaves which wouldn't fit in the garden wheelie bin were floating near the new fence.

  There is a lot of clearing up to do today. 

Two newts from the pond which were rescued and put back there.

Sorry no Five on Friday post today after the events both local and national yesterday but I'll give you a link to one of my favourite parts of one of my favourite films.  I'm not sure how to put this on here so follow the link to see Sir Ben Kingsley singing The Wind and the Rain from Trevor Nunn's adaptation of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Flower Wednesday

Just a few flower photos from recent walks around the smaller show gardens at the Trentham Estate, Stoke-on-Trent and the Museum Gardens at The Brampton, Newcastle-under Lyme.

 Magnolia

 Clematis

 Lily

 White Foxglove

 Water Lily

Rose
 
Joining in with Riitta for her Flower Wednesday.  Do follow the link and visit Riitta and see who else is joining in this week.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

'I sat for an hour in a tree shadowed walk'

'I had been over to Newcastle-under-Lyme to visit the family dentist and afterwards I sat for an hour in a tree shadowed walk called The Brampton and meditated on the war.  It was one of those shimmering Autumn days when every leaf and flower seemed to scintillate with light and I found it very hard to believe that not far away men were being slain ruthlessley.  It is impossible, I concluded, to find any satisfaction in the destruction of men whether they be English, French, German or anything else, seems a crime to the whole march of civilisation.'
Vera Brittain 1914
from Testament of Youth pub 1933

The words above, from Vera Brittain's book Testament of Youth, were the inspiration for the statue, by local artist Andrew Edwards, which sits on a bench on The Brampton in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

 The statue although influenced by Vera Brittain's words isn't actually of the writer herself but more of a depiction of women of that time.

 In her hand she clutches a letter, her head slightly bent, as she reads the words

'The King commands me to assure you of the true sympathy of His Majesty and The Queen in your sorrow'
 Secretary of State for War

 The statue, which is slightly larger than life size, is meant to depict everywoman, all those mothers, daughters, wives and lovers left at home and who suffered loss during not only this war but others too.

The bench and the statue, which was unveiled on 11th November 2014, were placed close to a copper beech tree that had been planted a few years before by Vera Brittain's daughter Baroness Williams of Crosby who will always be remembered as Shirley Williams MP.

Vera Brittain was born just a short distance from The Brampton on a leafy, tree lined street.

Her father was an industrialist who owned paper mills in Hanley, now the city centre of Stoke on Trent,  and in Cheddleton, a village between Stoke-on-Trent and Leek.
The family eventally moved away from Newcastle-under-Lyme living first in Macclesfield in Cheshire and then Buxton in Derbyshire.

Vera Brittain lost her fiancee, Roland Leighton, her brother Edward and  two close friends Victor Richardson and Geoffrey Thurlow to the war and as a consequence became a feminist and pacifist as well as a writer.  Testament of Youth is probably her best known work.  She also wrote Testament of Friendship about her friendship with the novelist Winifred Holtby whom she met at Somerville College, Oxford, plus other works including a couple of novels. 

Here is more about the life of  Vera Brittain

Friday, June 10, 2016

Five on Friday

It's Friday so once again I'm joining in with  Amy at Love Made my Home for this week's Five on Friday. 

On Tuesday we needed to visit nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme.  It is a small market town just four miles from the city centre of Stoke-on-Trent and is quite a lively town because of its close proximity to Keele University.

After a wander aroud the  centre we went up to The Brampton which is in a lovely area of the town.


  There are some beautiful old trees along the roadside and in the park and of course the Borough of Newcastle Museum and Art Gallery. 


 There is a garden, pond and aviary in the grounds too. 
 

Below are five things I spotted whilst strolling around

 1.  The Universal Woman - of WW1,  based on a passage from Vera Brittain's autobiographical book Testament of Youth in which she describes a moment in time when she sat on a bench on The Brampton and pondered about how peaceful it was and hard to believe that men were fighting and being killed just over the channel.  I'm going to write more about this sculpture by Andrew Edwards and the Vera Brittain connection in my next post.

 2. Tom Brown Tivey (1892 - 1966)

He served with the 5th North Staffordshire Regiment and was awarded a Military Cross for bravery after he was wounded in 1917.  He did return from the war and worked as a lecturer at the North Staffordshire College of Building. He was also a novelist writing several 'who-done-it' books. The statue was carved from what remained of an old Horse Chestnut tree by local sculptor Anthony Hammond as a tribute to all those from the area who fought in WW1.

 3. The Russian Cannon
The cannon dates from 1840 and was captured at the end of the Crimean War c.1856.  It was presented by Samuel Christy MP to the Borough of Newcastle.
 
 4.  The Market Cross (part of)
 First erected in 1820 in front of the Guildhall in the town centre the column was moved to its present position in 1984 after repair work had been carried out

5.  Ceramic Mosaic 
Made by the children of the local Chesterton Primary school to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the second World War. 

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Have a lovely weekend everyone.