Monday, March 30, 2015

Photo Scavenger Hunt - March

It's the end of March already and so I'm joining in again with the Photo Scavenger Hunt kindly organised by greenthumb at Made with Love  just click on the link for other participants.


A mill stone at Rowsley Mill near Bakewell, Derbyshire.

I was delving into my postcard album to chose a card.  I have lots I've collected over the years from places we've visited.  I finally chose the one of The Pilgrim Rabbit carved about 1325 for St Mary's Church, Beverley in Yorkshire.  It is thought to be the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland and as on 1st March we always say 'White Rabbits' I thought I'd include it.


A window in a building in Bakewell in Derbyshire


One of the upstairs art galleries in the Harley Gallery near Worksop in Nottinghamshire


A skyline across the rooftops taken at Castleton in Derbyshire

A favourite word
I've been fascinated over the last week by the partial eclipse and by events in Leicester and the re internment of King Richard III.  I was particularly moved by the reading of Dame Carol Ann Duffy's poem 'Richard' but also the sermon given by the Bishop of Leicester and one phrase stood out for me when he spoke about how the events over the last few years of finding, identifying and re interring the remains of the last Plantagenet king had joined us all together into a 'we' society rather than a 'me' society. I rather liked that.


A skateboarding dinosaur!  Well, it was on wheels and was being moved into place for a new 'Dinogolf'' crazy golf course at Bridgemere Garden World.


The queue for the 'bathroom' at the top of our garden


A rather long car or stretch limo parked in Hanley market place.


A plate used for reminiscence quotations in the bottle oven room at the Middleport Factory, Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent.  There were lots of plates with people's memories written on them.

Something you made

Homemade lunch - carrot and parsnip soup and a roll

Whatever you want

A few months ago I was contacted by e-mail by a lady who had seen my genealogy pages on-line and had a photo dated 1906 that she wanted help in identifying.  I tried to help as much as I could but we were rather confused by the family connections- her family member was the bride.  She thought that my granny should be on this photo but I couldn't recognise her as I only knew her in her late 70s/early 80s and she died when I was 12 years old.  This last weekend I've had more information about the photo from the lady who had found someone not only descended from the little boy bottom right of the photo but could remember my granny and my father.  Not only is granny on the photo but some of her brothers and sisters and my great grandmother as well.  Granny is at the back with a black hat and a black ribbon at her neck, next to the man in the suit who may be my grandfather. Great grandmother is at the front dressed in black.  I've also now been contacted by the lady who has identified the people in the photo for us and a meeting is in the offing as she doesn't live that far away.  What an incredible week it has been.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Scenes from a short walk

On Monday morning we walked around the lake at Trentham.  It was quite early and very quiet and peaceful.

The little robin posed for ages so we could take his photo

Further round the lake the male Mandarin duck was showing off in the water

whilst his lady friend stayed on the jetty, quite unimpressed by his cavorting.

It was so  still with just sprinkling of damp in the air - it was too light to label as rain more like spits and spots.

There were many swans on the lake and also quite a few on the lakeside fluffing up their feathers and performing their early morning ablutions.

The light over the lake was stunning and the water was still

Members of the U3A were out in their rowing boat gliding silently up and down the lake.

There were loads of little birds in the trees, we saw tree creepers, nuthatches and long tailed tits all too quick and agile to photograph easily

Up above we could hear the woodpeckers tapping and calling to each other and we saw two pairs of them flying joyfully over the tree tops and swooping back down to the echo of more loud tapping.  Again they were too quick to spot easily let alone photograph.

In the gardens the signs of spring were appearing with swathes of daffodils across the grassy areas

and more formally each pot along the terrace was planted with their bright flowers

Such a cheering sight

Friday, March 20, 2015

Five on Friday

Joining in this week with  Amy and Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

The village of Creswell and also Creswell Crags are in North East Derbyshire and not very far from the village I grew up in.  Two other nearby attractions close to the village we lived in were Bolsover Castle and Hardwick Hall, and only a little further away was Clumber Park.  Hard to think that all these were on my doorstep for the twenty five or so years that I lived in that part of the country.

Access to the Crags has changed so much in recent years.  When I was a child we used to drive quite close to the caves as the road went through there - it has all been bypassed now and there are many more walks in the area.  Creswell Crags is a Limestone Gorge honeycombed with caves and fissures where evidence of life in the last Ice Age, between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, has been discovered and is interpreted in the Visitor Centre and Museum.  There are about eight caves in all along the gorge some more accesible than others.  As this post is for Five on Friday I'm going to introduce you to five of them.

1.  Robin Hood Cave -  this is the largest cave at Creswell  Crags and there are four main chambers linked together by short passages.  There have been many excavations in this cave in both the 19th and 20th centuries and many tools left there by Neanderthal people from between 60,000 and 40,000 years ago including flint scrapers and hand axes.

2.  The Arch -  Three caves in all make up the Arch or Lion's Mouth and many different animal bones have been found here including a  reindeer bone with cut marks over 42,000 years old suggesting that Neanderthals were using the caves to butcher the animals they had captured.

3. Pin Hole - Neanderthals were the first people to use this cave as a shelter whilst hunting reindeer in the area.  During the first excavation here the teeth of a young woolly mammoth were found.

4. Dog Hole -  was first excavated by Robert Laing, a Newcastle doctor before 1889.  None of the finds from this excavation have ever come to light but in the 1980s in spoil pits outside the cave many items were found.  These included animal bones dating from the last ice age including hyenas, woolly rhinoceros, horse and reindeer.  They also found a few flint tools.  Finds from the nearby Dog Hole fissure caused by a landslide in 1978 have included bones from other animals like lynx, beaver and wild pig.

5.  Mother Grundy's Parlour - has undergone many excavations over the years.  One of the first people to dig in the cave was a local Creswell man whose wife dreamt that there was buried treasure in the cave.  A hippopotamus tooth was found and offered for sale which prompted an excavation in 1878 by the Reverend Magens Mello and Professor W Boyd Dawkins.

Here is a - link - to the Creswell Crags website where you can find out more about each cave, the excavations that have taken place and see some of the artefacts found there.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Thinking of my lovely Mum today

Lots of happy memories and some sad ones too

 April 29th 1916 - 16th May 1999

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago on this day I wrote my first blog post.  I'd been reading one or two blogs on line for a while and wondering - Should I?  Dare I? Can I?  Like the 'little engine that could' I came to the conclusion 'I think I can'  'I know I can' so after a few weeks of pondering and plucking up courage I started this blog.

Corners of My Mind came from the song The Way We Were  and the line 'Memories light the corners of my mind, misty, watercolour memories of the way we were'.  I though at first that this blog would follow those lines and be about things remembered, things learnt along the way of life but as it turned out it has been more about what was happening right then and right now.

So on 14th March 2005 I pressed the publish button for the first time.  Ten days and seven posts later I was excited to receive my first comment.  I think it was from someone who was in the same on-line Creative Writing group as me and I was thrilled to see it.  I've put a link to my first ever post at the end of this one and also a link to my first ever post that received a comment.

In those days I didn't use photos, I didn't have a digital camera then and pre-Picasa I had no idea how to add a photo or photos to my post.  I've learnt so much over the last ten years about what interests readers and what is less likely to.  I've learnt that often brevity and spontaneity inspires more responses than a longer, researched and thought out piece of writing.  Over the last few years it has become more about the photographs sometimes than the words - all made possible by the use of instantaneous, digital photography and the influences and immediacy of other social media.

So today ten years on I want to say an absolutely huge thank you to everyone who visits here.  Those who have visited in the past and those who still visit now.  Thank you to followers old and new, still present and long gone and for all and every one of your wonderful and lovely comments and e-mails.  It means so much to me - the ten years are as much down to you and your loyal encouragement as to my limited abilities in keeping this blog an interesting place to visit.  

Once again - Thank You!

My First Ever Post

My First Post to receive a comment

Friday, March 13, 2015

Five on Friday

Joining in this week with  Amy and Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

Here are five simple things that have made me smile this week

 1.  The hanging teapot lights at Middleport Pottery which we visited when we walked down the canal from Westport lake earlier in the week

 2.  Being in Derbyshire - it was a lovely day on Wednesday, quite warm and just the right day for a lovely walk around Castleton in Derbyshire.

 3.  Geese - on the side of the lake at Westport Lake, not sure what breed of goose these are, they look a little like a cross between the greylags and the white geese that can be seen on the lake.

4. Evening sunsets - just beautiful but you have to be quick to catch them as they change colour and density in seconds.

5.  Frogs - on Wednesday when we got home from Castleton we counted 24 frogs in the pond, the croaking sound could be heard in the house and from next door - are we the only pond around?  I think so!  Anyway we now have some frog spawn too.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Five on Friday

Joining in this week with  Amy and Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

I'm going to tell you about five buildings or places in the town most local to where we live.  Longton is one of the six towns which make up the city of Stoke-on-Trent also known as an area as The Potteries.   The other towns are Fenton, Stoke, Hanley, Burslem and Tunstall. Fenton is the town famously ignored by local author Arnold Bennett when he wrote 'Anna of the Five Towns'.   Hanley is now the city centre home to the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, the Regent Theatre, the Mitchel Memorial Theatre  and the Intu Shopping Centre plus the other usual high street stores. Stoke is where the main station is, where the Minster is (which I told you about in this post here) it's where the City Council offices are (but not for much longer) and the town from which the city takes its name.  Burslem is known as the Mother town home to the early Wedgwood factories, the famous school of art and the Wedgwood Institute (which I told you about in this post here). Tunstall is the northern most and fourth largest town of the Potteries.  

Longton is known locally as the 'neck-end' apparently one of the reasons given is that the layout of the six towns is, on a map, rather like an inverted bottle oven (see the photo of the Gladstone Museum below for bottle ovens) so Longton or Lane End as it used to be called is the neck end of the bottle.  The other story I have read is that Longton and Lane End were separate towns which eventually became one and that the local term for Lane End was neck-end.

 I was trying to think of five buildings in the town that I see, visit or often pass by, not including the doctor's or dentist's surgeries, the vets', post office or supermarket, which are probably the five buildings I visit most often.  Although one of the places below I probably visit more often than all those - I think you can guess which one.

The photographs below weren't taken recently most of them come from the years 2008 and 2009 and were taken at different times of the year.
1. The Town Hall

First building is the Longton Town Hall and the first big building I see as I walk across the road, under the railway bridge and into the town.  It stand on a crossroads know as Times Square where the two thoroughfares of The Strand and Market Street meet.  There are meeting rooms in the town hall and the covered market is behind.  The building we see now was built in 1863 and replaced an earlier building of 1844.  When we first moved here the local people of the town were campaigning to save this building from demolition - as you can see from the photo they succeeded.

2. The Station
Up above the road opposite the town hall is the station.  You can see the railway bridge on the left and the town hall on the right.  There is no longer a station building, just shelters on either platform where the trains run between Derby and Crewe.  I haven't been on a train from here for a year or two now but when we first came to live in the area about 18 years ago the train ran all the way from Skegness to Crewe and once I  travelled all the way to Boston in Lincolnshire on it it was quite a long journey.  The route was then cut to Nottingham to Crewe and now it only goes to Derby.  The station was opened in 1848 by the North Staffordshire Railway Company known locally as 'The Knotty'.

3. The Museum

The Gladstone Pottery Museum is at the opposite end of the town and is known as a Victorian working Museum although there have been potteries on the site since the 18th century owned by the Shelley family and then by William Ward.  The final firing in the pottery works was in 1960 and the site was due for demolition but was saved at the 11th hour when it was purchased by the owner of H & R Johnson tiles and given to the Staffordshire Pottery Industry Preservation Trust to be run as a museum.  It was opened in 1974 by The Duke of Gloucester.  In 1994 the Gladstone Museum became the property of the City Council.  Here is a link to the post I wrote about the Museum in August 2009.

4. The Church

Close to the Museum is the parish church of St James the Less built in 1833/34 to serve the growing populations in the towns of Lane End and Longton.

 5. The Library

Yes, this is the building I visit most often!  The library is housed in what was known as The Sutherland Institute.  The building was completed in 1898 on land given by the Duke of Sutherland who lived nearby in Trentham Hall.  It was a technical school or college which supported workers' education in the local industries of ceramics, coal and steel and a free library.