Friday, May 25, 2018

Scavenger Photo Hunt - May

Joining in once again with the Scavenger Photo Hunt organised by
by Kate at 'I live, I love, I craft, I am me' blog. The word prompts for May are

Cool, Disaster, Movement, Fence/Fencing, Spiky/Prickly, My Own Choice

Cool - Cooling strawberries and ice cream in the garden on Royal Wedding weekend.

Disaster - in the nearby World of Wedgwood Museum are lots of the pottery designs of ceramic designer, painter, book illustrator and wood engraver Eric Ravilious (1903 -42) who was a designer for Wedgwood from 1936 until 1940.  At the outbreak of war he was made an official war artist but in 1942 disaster struck when he was lost during an air-sea rescue over Iceland.  You have to wonder what further work we would have seen from him had he not perished that day.

Movement - we were lucky to spot this carriage and horses as it passed by the church in the village of Breadsall in Derbyshire.  They were making their way quite briskly down the village street.

Fence/Fencing - not one but two sets of wire fencing guard the herd of deer behind them.

Spiky/Prickly -  cat claws!  Not our cat but one from across the road who decided he was going to sit on my lap in the garden, drool all over me and then knead with those spiky claws!  I took the photo with the camera under my chin pointing downwards.

Your own choice - on a recent visit to Trentham Gardens I was taken with the plants above and wondered what they were.  A couple of weeks ago we watched 'Gardener's World' and Monty Don had them in his garden.   I hoped he would mention them and eventually he did and so I found out that they were called Cammassia.  I'm going to look out for bulbs to plant later this year so I can have some of these lovely blue/mauve flowers in my garden too.

Follow the link below to find other bloggers taking part this month.

Thursday, May 17, 2018



 We've made Wild Garlic and Cashew Nut Pesto with wild garlic from the garden.  The aroma in the kitchen was wonderful.

It was very tasty on tagliatelle for an evening meal with a glass of red grape juice.

Spotted a family of Greylag Geese by the lake at Trentham - there were in fact two families with eight goslings each, I hope they all survive.  Greylags are my favourite geese.

Also at Trentham the wisteria on the old sculpture gallery is in bloom.  It looks wonderful against the flaking paint on the old building. 

Yesterday we met with friends, one of whom was celebrating a birthday, at the Blubell Dairy Ice Cream Farm at Spondon near Derby. The drive over to Spondon was wonderful.  The road sides and verges were full of Joie de Vivre with Cow Parsley and Hawthorn both in frothy, white bloom whilst lilacs blossomed over garden fences and Wisteria dangled lazily over gates and door fronts swaying gently in the breeze.  Even though chilly first thing the light and colour en route was glorious.

We had a lovely lunch - mine was Cheese and Onion Quiche and Salad.  After a walk around the farm and a look at the animals we returned to the cafe for an ice cream. Two scoops each and I chose Pear and Elderflower sorbet and Rhubarb Ripple ice cream - both delicious. The rhubarb ripple was creamy and fruity and the sorbet had a delicate flavour which would be so refreshing on a red hot summer's day.
We then made our way to the nearby village of Dale Abbey where we discovered more joys in a meadow of buttercups.
 We all agreed it was idyllic

 Below are what remains of St Mary's Abbey - the imposing arch of the East window.

 A priory was originally founded here c 1150 by the Augustinian Canons from Calke Abbey. Around 1200 Premonstratensian cannons from an order founded by St Norbert in Premontre in  France took over and the Abbey flourished until the Dissolution c1538.  Stone from the Abbey ruins can be found in many buildings in and around the village.

 A view of the arch from the nearby churchyard.
 The church of All Saints is accessed through private land and is only the part of the building seen to the left in the photo above,  the gabled part on the right is now a private house.  As we arrived the owner was leaving in her car and informed us that the key to the church was held in the next village so unfortunately we didn't see the interior.  Inside the church is tiny around 25ft by 26ft.
 Parts of the church date from c 1150.  According to the village information board pre 1754 couples could be married quickly here without banns.  Apparently the Abbey infirmary was built onto the church and people on stretchers were able to see the altar from the upstairs gallery.  This infirmary later became the Bluebell Inn and the connecting door was said to lead from 'salvation to damnation'  it is now the private house next to the little church.
All too soon it was time to go our separate ways and make our way home.  We had a lovely afternoon with dear friends and thoughts of friendship, ice cream and buttercups are still fresh in my mind.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

In the Garden

I thought I'd keep a photographic record of things appearing in and around the garden over the last few days.

 Bright orange/yellow tulips, we bought and planted the bulbs in autumn last year.  

 The cat from across the road.  He knew he looked good posing near the Forget-me-nots which exactly matched the colour of his collar.

A swarm of bees!  They were heard coming up the street such a loud noise!  Running inside,  doors were shut and windows closed.  I took this photo through the landing window they stayed a while around next door and then moved away.  I've no idea where they came from or where they went toThere are some allotments not too far away perhaps someone has hives on one of those?

The morning after the bees had visited I heard a loud hissing noise and was just in time to see a balloon drop behind the trees at the top of the garden.  I grabbed my camera to capture it as it came up again but it stayed where it was and then moved away.  I never saw it  up over the trees again.  Perhaps it went the same way as the bees?

Foxy is a regular visitor to the garden.  She appears early morning and early evening when she seems to take a break from caring for her cubs.  I guess her cubs must be getting larger as she is looking a little careworn and dishevelled at the moment.

Next door's cat is also a regular visitor to the garden.  She would dearly love to catch up with a wood pigeon but even though they aren't very smart birds they have the measure of her.

The Clematis Montana is absolutely covered in buds and some are just beginning to open.  It's going to look wonderful this year.

The wild garlic is in flower next to the pathway near the shed.  The aroma as you pass by to the compost bins behind the shed is wonderful.  Each year we say we will try making soup or pesto from the leaves, perhaps we might manage it this year.

Rhododendron 'Dreamland' at the top of the garden.

The Aquilegia plants have spread so much this year and seem to have taken over various parts of the garden. You can see some London Pride growing by the Aquilegia another plant that spreads quite a bit.  I remember my grandmother's garden borders were full of it.

We may have to lose a few to stop them strangling the other plants but for the moment they remain.  I love their little bonnet shaped flowers.

Geums too are spreading and probably need splitting at some point.  Geums, Aquilegia and Hardy Geraniums seem to have taken over most of the beds at the moment.

The peony looks ready to burst forth in colour any time now.

The Pieris we moved from the back garden, where is was being overtaken by hardy geraniums, to the front garden is picking up and seems to be doing well in  its new home.

Wallflowers have seeded themselves against the wall of the house.  Below the Azalea we bought last year is in full colour after the warm bank holiday weekend.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

To Lichfield

On Thursday we decided to visit the city of Lichfield. It's only about thirty miles away and we hadn't been for a while. The sun was shining and there was an exhibition we wanted to see.  What better excuse for a little excursion?

We walked up to the Garrick Theatre for coffee first, passing the birthplace of Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) on the way.  This building, which stands at the top of the Market Place,  is now a museum and book shop.  In the market square there of statues of both Dr Johnson and his friend and biographer James Boswell.  I did take photos of both but they weren't so good against such a bright background.

 We had a look around a few of the market stalls mostly tasty looking artisan foods, herbs and garden plants and then had a mooch around a few antique shops.
 Then we wandered up to the Cathedral

The three spires can be seen from quite a distance.

A view of the front of the Cathedral from the Cathedral Close.

Inside it was quiet and peaceful.

This was the exhibition we wanted to see.  It is an exhibition which, according to the 'blurb', explores the themes of war and peace through art and history.

It is a very interesting and moving exhibition which reflects on the consequences and effects of WWI on both a national and local level.  It covers the immediate aftermath of the conflict and the subsequent but not always achieved quest for  peace over the hundred years from 1918 until this year as we mark the ending of the war.

In the Chapter House are works by well known post war artists, including Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Jacob Epstein and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska as well as new pieces by Peter Walker the Cathedral's artist in residence.

I didn't take any photos in the art exhibition as I wasn't sure of copyright and also it seemed intrusive at this point of the exhibition. 

The exhibit above is by Peter Walker and is called Yarn Front.  The suspended red wool and knitting needles represents the  consequences of war on domestic life.

Another section of the exhibition was the 1918 sitting room where people were invited to sit and write a letter real or imaginary to a loved one at the front or in a war zone or to knit a square with which to 'make do and mend'.

By the time we'd finished reading the information panels and looked at the whole of the exhibition there were quite a few more people visiting the Cathedral so most of the photos I took are of the upper regions of the building.
A view of the east window

A view of the nave

A view of the Cathedral from a window of Erasmus Darwin's house looking out of an upstairs window at the back across the herb garden.  I'll write more on this in a later post. 

Here are more details about the exhibition which continues until 24th June 2018

Monday, April 30, 2018

Monday Miscellany

 The bad weather predicted for today didn't materialise (well it hasn't yet) although it has been very windy the bonus of which is sheets quickly drying outside and the downside of which is the blossom petals blowing off the trees almost before I'd registered it was there.  We wait for ages for that lovely time of year, that blowsy, blossomy pink and white time of year and with a few gusts of wind at the wrong time it's gone before it's begun.

Anyway, it seems that things mostly garden related have been making me me smile this week
The pair of long tailed tits that have been nesting somewhere in the garden have been regular visitors to the fat balls.  They have been taking it in turns to feed, one at a time.   We can tell the difference between the two as one of them, I suspect the one who spends most time on the nest, has a slightly bent and dishevelled tail.  They visit morning and afternoon and then in the early evening they arrive together for a last feed before dark.  Imagine my surprise though this morning when not one, or two but three long tailed tits arrived at the feeder at the same time.  Have the parents reared one fledgling I wonder?

In the garden it's a case of almost there!   Peony buds showing red, Lily of the Valley, Bluebells and Tulips showing buds just waiting to unfurl.

I'd don't buy many magazines but this one caught my eye this morning.  Not only do you get  a lovely magazine full of colour and good advice but also a card which allows two for one entry to many gardens, quite a few of them local or not far away, a pair of gardening gloves and five packs of seeds for herbs and cut flowers. I had to slip it in my basket.

The rhubarb is still doing well and I picked a few stems for a crumble for tea, we have rhubarb yohurt to serve it with.

On Saturday we popped along to the Dorothy Clive Garden where Rohododendrons, Magnolia and Camelias are coming into flower. 

As are the vibrant spring flowers.