Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Spotted in the Last Few Days

Just thought I'd share a few photos taken over the last few days.  It has been too warm to go very far so we've spent quite a bit of time in the garden in the late afternoon and evenings with just a couple of early morning walks or shopping trips making sure we are home by noon.  

Here are a few things I've spotted whilst out and about or in the garden.

 Water Lily on the pond at Consall Nature Park

 Beautiful white horse at the gate of a field on one of our walks

Common Orchid in the Wildflower Meadow at Westport Lake

 Damsel Fly and Yellow Rattle in the wildflower meadow at Westport Lake

 Young Coot at Westport Lake

Barley growing on the bridge over the Trent and Mersey Canal near Westport Lake probably grown from bird seed placed on the bridge.

Seeds from what we think might be Poplar tree draped along the side of the Trent and Mersey Canal near the Wedgwood Factory at Barlaston.  If anyone knows what tree it is please leave a comment to let me know.

Brimstone Moth in the garden on the side of the greenhouse.

Mrs Fox and one of her three cubs late one evening in our garden.

The new bronze sculpture of Stoke-on Trent's most well known Author, Playwright and Essayist Arnold Bennett in front of the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery.  It was commissioned by the Arnold Bennett Society, funded by the Denise Coates Foundation and gifted to the city.  The sculptors were Michael Talbot and Carl Payne.

His most famous works are probably The Card, the Clayhanger Series of Novels and Anna of the Five Towns, there has been a production of Anna of the Five Towns at the New Vic Theatre and an exhibition on Bennett's life and works including his paintings in the Museum.  All to celebrate 150 years since his birth.  He is also well known for Omlette Arnold Bennett which is made with Smoked Haddock, Eggs and Parmesan Cheese.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Five on Friday - Five from the Garden

I haven't joined in with Five on Friday for a couple of weeks so I thought I'd just quickly participate this week and show you five flowers from the garden.

As you can see from the photos it's looking very blue and orange at the moment.

 1.  French Marigold

 2.  Hardy Geranium
 3.  California (n?) Poppies

 4.  Blue Borage

5.  Clematis 

Joining in with Tricky and Carly at FAST blog click on the link below to find more bloggers joining in this week.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Yesterday morning in the stumpery on the lakeside walk at the Trentham Estate


As far as the eye could see

My camera couldn't do justice to how beautiful they were

I stood taking in their beauty but quite a few people just passed by, jogging, walking, talking, heads down gazing at their phones.  They were missing such a treat.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Poppies, Photos, Peregrines and Princes

On Friday we drove over to Derby to see the Weeping Window poppies which are at present adorning the tower of the Silk Mill at the side of the River Derwent.  

 The tour of the ceramic poppies is organised by '14-18 Now' the UK's art programme for the centenary of the First World War.

The poppies were the concept of and designed by Paul Cummins and the installation was designed  by Tom Piper.  These poppies are some of those from the original installation 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' which were first seen at the Tower of London in 2014.

They looked wonderful in the bright sunshine.

I like the Silk Mill building anyway so it was great to see it draped with poppies.

As we stood and looked at the poppies we could here the mewling up above from one of the peregrine falcons which nest every year on the nearby Cathedral.  My camera was stretched to its limits but I did get a mediocre photo of the bird.  Here is a link to the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project's Blog.

I like this little area of Derby with its individual shops and cafes and a small independent department store called Bennetts.  The bunting was out blowing in the breeze which added a quite festive feel to the street, it was good to feel the warmth of the sun too.

The statue above is of Charles Edward Stuart usually referred to as 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' or 'The Young Pretender.' On 4h December 1745 at the height of the Jacobite Rebellion he marched with around six thousand men from Ashbourne towards Derby intending to ride towards London.   Two days later he was beating a retreat northwards and back to Scotland.  Four months later, on 6th April 1746 he was defeated at the Battle of Culloden.  Here is more information

We met him again in the Museum and Art Gallery.  We had popped into the museum to see a photographic exhibition before it closes this weekend.

The exhibition is called People Place and Things and explores early studio photography from 1854 onwards by using a collection of photos taken over the years by local photographers W.W. Winter which is, apparently one of the oldest running studios in the world.

There were lots of visitors enjoying the photographs and several finding people and places they knew.  There was a small group of people who were delighted to find their grandfather and uncles on a wonderful photo of Walter Tickner's butchers shop.  Below is a photo of the WW Winter photographic studio in the early 20th century.

Paul was thrilled to find a photo of a trainee pilot in a flight simulator at Derby Airport c. 1938.  So, as an early birthday treat for him, we bought the book which accompanies the exhibition.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Plas Mawr

In a previous post I promised to write about our visit to Plas Mawr so I thought it was about time I got round to showing you some photos from that very sunny day in May.

Plas Mawr, in translation it means great hall, has been described as the finest Elizabethan town house in Britain. 

 Plas Mawr stands on the High Street in the historic walled town of Conwy in North Wales.  It's entrance is straight off the road through a gatehouse and a courtyard before you go up the steps to the front door of the house.

It was built by Robert Wynn who was the third son of local landowners.  He travelled widely in Europe and built up a great fortune through shrewd business activities. He bought the land for the new house in Conwy in 1570.

The house was very fashionable at the time and has influences from both his visits to London and to Europe.   He also used local Welsh plasterers to embellish the house with his initials and emblems and those of his family.  This plaster work has recently been restored at great cost and some of it has been painted in the vibrant colours it would have had originally.

Above The Great Chamber was the ceremonial centre of the late 16th century house.  The colours of the plaster work are as they would have been then but the room is furnished as it would have been according to an inventory of 1665 which was made after the death of Robert Wynn's grandson also called Robert.  In the 18th century the house came, through marriage, into the hands of the Mostyn family who were well known landowners in the area around Conwy and Llandudno.   Later during the 19th century the house was subdivided and rented out for many different uses.  It was at one time a school but also businesses run from there included saddlers and cabinet makers.  In the late 19th century the Royal Cambrian Academy of Arts became concerned about the state of the building and members gradually took out added ceilings and dividing walls and returned the building to how it was in earlier times.  They used the house as an art gallery but by the 1940s the building was becoming harder and more costly to maintain.  In 1993 it was placed in the hands of the state and CADW the Welsh equivalent of English Heritage who have undertaken most of the restoration you can see now when you visit.

More photos below of the inside of the house.



 Inner courtyard above and below

On the top floor a room has been set out as it might have been when the building was subdivided into living and working areas.

There was also quite a large exhibition on water, health and hygiene in Tudor and Stuart Britain and a lot of information about healing herbs.

Plas Mawr is an absolutely delightful place to visit, I found it enchanting and could have spent ages in every room.

Apologies for the photo overload and also the quality of some of them as the sun was very bright through some of the windows and other areas were quite dark.

Monday, June 05, 2017

This and That

I've been trying to focus on small things whilst all around me a world I no longer recognise or understand seems to be in turmoil.  I find that it's hard to find anything worthy to say here when there is so much uncertainty and suffering  everywhere. I could rant about my frustrations with politics but this isn't and has never been a political blog so therefore, to quote the wonderful Alan Bennett, I'm just going to 'keep on keeping on'  and try and record the things that I have been doing and seeing around here and elsewhere over the last few weeks and hope that is okay with everyone. 

The Wednesday before the Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK we travelled  to meet friends for lunch at Wightwick Manor near Wolverhampton. We all wanted to see the new gallery which is now a permanent home for the De Morgan Collection.  No photographs of the exhibition but it is a wonderful collection of the ceramics of William De Morgan and paintings by his wife Evelyn De Morgan. 

The collection was founded by Evelyn's sister Wilhelmina Stirling.  After her death in 1965 the De Morgan Foundation was established.  Below are a couple of links to follow to find out more

Guardian Article/National Trust Page   

Scenes from Wightwick Manor

On the Saturday of Bank Holiday weekend we visited Little Moreton Hall to see a new exhibition on the history of sleep in Tudor times

The exhibition showed how people approached sleep in those times.  Their beliefs, fears, ways of sleeping and what they ate and drank particularly before bedtime and also remedies to combat sleeplessness.

There was also a wonderful exhibition of replica Tudor ceramics

 Our garden has also been the focus of attention recently and I've been constantly pulling out grass and trying to keep the wood avens and buttercups at bay, they seem to have taken over this year.  The Chive flowers, Geums, Valerian and Hardy Geraniums have been covered in bees, I've never seen so many at one time.  We've had a wonderful array of birds feeding at the feeders including Gold Finch, Robins, Green Finch, Blue tits, Bull finch and loads of starlings and sparrows.  Mrs Fox visits every evening looking for scraps and one night, just as dusk was falling,  she honoured us with bringing her three little cubs to visit, it was lovely to see them.

Last Wednesday we headed out to Matlock Bath to visit the little Chapel I featured in my last post.  We also walked along the River Derwent into Matlock through the park and back along the main road taking in a mooch around the antique centre on the way back to the car.  We stopped at the newly refurbished National Stone Centre on the way back for a late lunch at their new cafe which is called Gastro Pod.  The food was delicious, quite pricey but the portions were huge so we shared a Veggie Club Sandwich which was quite sufficient for us.   I'd left my camera in the car so can't share a photo with you.

Scenes around Matlock.