Friday, March 09, 2018

In Coalbrookdale

Today we drove down to the Shropshire village of Coalbrookdale and The Museum of Iron to see the new installation there.

Across the green outside the Museum of Iron are thirty seven silhouette figures of the women who worked in the industries in and around Coalbrookdale and who, on 6th February 1918, became eligible to vote in parliamentary elections for the first time.

Just thirty seven out of the one hundred and sixty women working in the ceramic and iron industries in the region were granted the right to vote.  Of those thirty seven only thirteen had the right to vote in their own right the others were allowed a vote because their husband's status qualified him to vote.

Women could only vote if they were over thirty years old or if they or their husband owned a certain amount of property.  The right of all men and women aged twenty one and over to vote took another ten years and was finally achieved when the Equal Franchise Act of 1928 was passed.

The silhouettes looked wonderful spread out across the green in front of the Museum of Iron.  Each one has the name of a woman worker and their job description.

It was quite sobering to walk amongst them and think about how hard they would have worked.  Some of the job descriptions of the women were many and varied, encaustic tile maker, mosaicist, pipe maker, tobacco pipe packer, gold burnisher and china print transferer to name but a few sound like skilled and repetitive work.  The women's ages ranged from thirty years old to the eldest, Emma Glaze who was 77 and a ground layer at the Coalport factory, this is a part of the decorating process by which an application of one overall colour is added to an object before decoration, it was usually done for the better class of wares.

In 1918 Emma Austin was sixty two years old and a paintress at the Coalport China Factory.  She could vote because of her husband's status and yet painting fine china and ceramics is very skilled work. In 1911 Emma was fifty five and living at 49 High Street, Coalport with her husband Henry a carter at the pottery factory and her daughter Florrie who was an apprentice paintress.  Emma and Henry had eight children four of whom had survived.

Here is a link to more information about the installation and  the thirty seven women who could vote and also about the one hundred and thirty+  who still didn't have the right to a vote. I think I heard mention on the local news that the exhibition is on view until the end of summer.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Into March

The calendar on the kitchen wall tells me it's March but the weather outside seems to think otherwise.  It's not so unusual I suppose, over the years I've known snow in March and April, so I shouldn't be surprised.

I forgot to say 'White Rabbits' on Thursday morning!  As the wind was howling around the house and tossing the trees around I thought that March had certainly come roaring in like the lion so I'm keeping my fingers crossed it will go out like a lamb.

 As I looked out of the upstairs windows on the front and the back it wasn't a day for leaving the house.

  We've been staying indoors, just a couple of walks down into the town for things like milk and a newspaper.  We've also been sitting and watching the visitors to the garden and we've been putting out extra food for them all.

The female fox, one of last year's cubs,

visited during the snow storm.

Chaffinch up to his stomach in snow

Red Wing- a very unusual visitor to the garden, we had a visit from one today.  I wonder if it was the same one?

Squirrel watching his friend

who was tempted by the extra bird food we'd put out for the birds.
A pair of Dunnocks


Mistle Thrush another unusual visitor to the garden we usually just have song thrushes.

On the coldest and windiest day loads of starling settled in the trees nearby.



 All the above photos have been taken through windows at varying times over the last couple of days.  The snow is still with us but is receding in patches around the garden and colour is showing through again.

We have decided to stay indoors today.  I have a basket of ironing to tackle and perhaps a bit of baking.  I have a lovely new magazine to enjoy and two good books.  I've nearly finished reading The Chillbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan and have enjoyed every minute of reading it.  I also have the latest Elly Griffiths Dr Ruth Galloway novel from the library which I will move onto next.

Sometimes it's not so bad staying in after all.  What are you doing this weekend?

Monday, February 26, 2018

Monday Miscellany

Just a few things that have made me smile over the last few days

 Dolly, the cat from next door sitting in the heather just in front of our kitchen window.  A few days before there was a knock at the door and our neighbour came to say that she thought Dolly was stuck up a tree at the top of our garden as she could hear her mewing.  Paul took the car out of the garage, retrieved the ladders from the hooks on the garage wall and took them up to the top of the garden. He clambered up and found Dolly sitting on a flat piece of trunk unable to get down.  She was very grateful to be rescued and let him pick her up and carry her down the ladders.  She's such a pretty cat.  The feather which looks as if it is in her mouth is actually stuck to the heather it has been there for days and it still there this morning I expect it will soon disappear under the expected snow.

We had a walk around the lake at Trentham Gardens early last week and whilst we were there we saw a display of birds of prey.  I was fascinated with the markings and the bright eyes of the eagle owl.  It being half-term here there were children and parents about and they were listening in fascination to the handler explaining about how the owl's head appears to turn all the way round, apparently owls can rotate their necks to around 260 degrees and not tear any tendons or blood vessels.   The owl obligingly demonstrated this technique a couple of times.

 I'm still smiling at the thought of the snowdrops we saw at Hopton Hall in Derbyshire which we visited last Wednesday (see my post before last for more snowdrop photos).

Saturday we went for a very cold walk at RSPB Coombes Valley. By the time we got back to the car my finger ends were tingling and my feet were numb but I felt so much better for having been in the fresh air for a while. We didn't see many birds just a pair of pheasants, a dunnock, one or two robins and one tree creeper.  We also saw a buzzard flying overhead, whirling over the trees. 

 A couple of days ago Paul glanced out of our bedroom window and saw a fox curled up in the undergrowth over the hedge in the area of trees between us and the school grounds he took the photo of it above.  The foxes have been very noisy over the last few days.  He is one of last year's cubs and he spent quite a time there and we saw him there again the following day.  I wondered if the female fox had had her cubs and he had retreated to a quiet spot out of the way?  When I looked up the time cubs were usually born it said March or April but a fox lover I follow on face book has reported that the female fox which visits his garden has had her cubs behind his shed so perhaps it isn't too early.  If there are early cubs I hope they will stay safe during the expected cold spell next week.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Scavenger Photo Hunt - February 2018

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 February's hunt are white, metal/metallic, camouflage, it begins with a J, bud and your own choice.

White - print on a green tee shirt.  Modelled by Paul who knows quite a bit about pterosaurs.  Here is a link to his blog on all things pterosaur.

 Metal/Metalic - wave sculpture at the side of the lake at Trentham Gardens,
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire plus the metal rails from the miniature railway which runs alongside it.  Designed by John Warland The Waves is from the World Vision gardens exhibited at both RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows in 2016.

Camouflage - I think this cat thought it had camouflaged itself under the hedge in the Victoria Park at Stafford.  I said 'hello puss' to it but it stayed rigidly still until we had passed by.

Begins with a 'J' - Jackdaw by the River Derwent at Rowsley near Bakewell in Derbyshire.

 Bud - I think of an Amaryllis in the glass house at Victoria Park, Stafford.

Own Choice - The Kugel Stone in the courtyard at Carsington Water which lies between Ashbourne and Cromford in Derbyshire.  The Kugel is a sphere of granite that revolves on a thin film of water.  The water is pumped into the granite at two different speeds making the Kugel spin on its own.  Kugel is a German word for stone and this stone is honed from natural granite to a precise diameter of 90cm.

Click on the link below to find other bloggers who are joining in this month.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Snowdrops at Hopton Hall

We had a wonderful morning at Hopton Hall Gardens which is in the village of Hopton close to Carsington Water in Derbyshire. It is quite a long time since we last visited and there had been quite a lot of changes and additions.  The walk seemed quite a bit longer and there were some new areas to explore. 

We followed the Snowdrop Walk around the garden.

The snowdrops lay in patches under the trees stretching into the distance like drifts of newly fallen snow.

So magical, so beautiful

A feast for the eyes.

We followed the gold arrows along the well maintained paths.  After an early 'mizzle' in the air, the skies cleared and the sun appeared above the trees.

There was a lot to see. I loved the layout of the garden and the stone walls.

The path gradually wound us round toward the hall.

More snowdrops amongst the papery leaves left from autumn and mossy stones and logs.

Another beautiful stone wall.

Aconites amongst Heuchera

Statue opposite the hall entrance with a lovely view behind it.

Pretty, delicate Hellebore flowers.

Inside the walled garden which has lovely curved red brick walls between the edge of the garden and the road outside.

A view of the Hall parts of which date back to c. 1414.  For 600 years it was the  seat of the Gell family.  The estate used to have about 3,700 acres to its name.  some of this is now where Carsington Water reservoir lies.  Over the years the hall is said to have housed Mary Queen of Scots, Oliver Cromwell and Queen Caroline within its walls.  John Gell was created a baronet in recognition of his efforts on behalf of Oliver Cromwell. Sir William Gell, who was a classical archaeologist, was also Chamberlain to Caroline, queen consort of George II.

Daffodils down by the lakes.  It won't be long before they are in bloom.

There were lovely reflections on the larger of the lakes but it was quite cold in the sunshine.

An Eagle Statue.

Above are more views of the garden which opens again for the roses in July and August.