Monday, November 12, 2018

Scenes from recent walks

We haven't been very far from home lately but last week we did manage three local walks.  One misty but mild, another chilly and blustery and the third in bright sunshine.

Last Monday morning we walked around the lake at Trentham Gardens.

As we walked down to the bottom of the lake it was quite misty.

Crow on the Wave sculpture.

A Heron almost invisible across the lake on the Heronry island 

By the time we walked back on the opposite side of the lake some of the mist had lifted.

These Beech trees are my favourites on this side of the lake.

On Friday we walked at Westport Lake

We had coffee and toasted teacakes in the Visitor Centre before we walked.

It was definitely a gloves and scarf day, quite chilly and blustery and very autumnal with leaves blowing in the air then fluttering down to the ground.  All the birds looked cold and eager for food.  As soon as the group of toddlers and mums in front of us strewed seed and grain they were up out of the water and down from the trees in a great excited cacophony of sound and a jostling and fluttering of wings.

Even the normally shy moorhens were coming close to passers by in their eagerness for food.

It was good to see most people feeding seed and grain to the birds and avoiding giving breadcrumbs.

These Muscovy ducks came out of the water to see if we had anything for them.  Unfortunately we didn't but there were plenty of young ones happy to oblige.

Yesterday afternoon we walked close to home on Berryhill Fields.  

We walked to the top of the hill where the stone circle is.  The sun, so low in the sky, was almost blinding in its intensity.

The city centre lay before us glowing in the bright sunlight.

It was good to get outdoors, get some exercise and breath in some fresh air.

Have you taken any interesting walks lately?

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

A Sudden Appearance

Beautiful red poppies have appeared recently on a wall of the Old Phoenix Works just off the main road on King Street, Longton, not far from the station

The site of the old Phoenix works has, over the last few years, undergone renovation work and some areas have been turned into shops and offices.

The factory was built around 1879 - 1881 by Thomas Forester and Sons pottery manufacturers who specialised in producing Earthenware and Majolica.  In 1881 Thomas Forester is said to have received the largest order for the very popular Majolica Wares ever received by a Staffordshire Pottery.
Above The Glost House Cafe Bar

Above The Portmeirion Pottery Factory Shop and the Period Property Store.

Anyway, back to the poppies.  This work was commissioned for the centenary of the end of WWI and was produced by the  Entrepreneurs Network over a few days last week.  I wish I'd have seen them working on it.

It's rather beautiful.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

The Joy of Windfall Apples

When we visited our friends in Beeston recently we came home with the gift of a box of windfall apples from trees in their garden.  They were a mixture of  Bramley cooking apples and an unknown desert apple variety.

When we got them home they were sorted into those that needed dealing with at once and those that could wait a day or two.  The first batch were peeled, chopped, bagged and frozen.

The next day we found some 'wonky' plums in a nearby supermarket.  They didn't look in the least 'wonky' to me but luckily they had also been reduced in price.   They were chopped and quartered and the rest of the apples prepared for making jam.

Today the last few apples have been chopped and cooked and made into a crumble.

Some of the frozen apple pieces may sometime in the future be turned into chutney or perhaps more crumbles.  

Two pots of jam will be taken back to Beeston as a thank you. Sharing - just one of the joys of windfall apples. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Scenes from the last few days

Last Sunday we walked in Consall Nature Park.

It was sunny but quite cool. It was also a day for spotting fungi.

Earlier in the week we had walked around the lake at Trentham Gardens.

The Great Crested Grebes seem to have had a second brood of chicks. I think they are beautiful birds.

The pair of black swans are nesting in the reeds near the jetty owned by the rowing club.  I hope they manage to rear some young ones.  Of course, being native Australian birds, they nest in the Autumn completely opposite to the white swans.

Lots of fungi here too!

Wednesday was such a lovely sunny day and although there is still such a lot of gardening to do after the removal of three Leylandii trees we needed a day away from it so we drove over to Buxton.

 It is an elegant spa town its skyline dotted with beautiful domes and spires.

 People were out in the Pavilion Gardens having picnics, walking dogs, pushing little ones in buggies all delighted to see the ducks and geese by the lake. Many were still sporting tee shirts and shorts obviously loving the return of warm weather just for one more day.

We walked around the town and looked in the shops and at some of the town's landmarks.

Above is the Grade II listed Victorian post box opposite the Opera House.  It is dated 1866 and is of the Penfold design.

St Anne's Well thermal spring.  There has been a well on this site for centuries.  The edifice above is Grade II listed and was built in 1940.

Our main reason for visiting Buxton was to see two exhibitions.  I couldn't resist taking a photo of the mechanical dragonfly which is in the foyer and shop.

We saw two very poignant and thought provoking exhibitions.  'Lullaby of Larks' which is two artists' thoughts on the findings of the massacre of women and children at nearby Fin Cop over two thousand years ago. I hope to report back on this exhibition but I need to think more about it as it was such a dreadful event - hard to understand and even harder to write about.  Here is a link to the Museum's web page for more information.

The second exhibition is also very poignant as it is of watercolours, sketches and drawings by amateur artist Lieutenant Douglas Marshall Rigby (1891 - 1918).  Again here is a link to the Museum's web pages so you can see some of the artist's work and read about his life.

The strong wind and sleeting rain of today is such a contrast to the warm weather a couple of days ago - a day to linger indoors, to read, write, bake bread and make warming soup for lunch.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

At Home

In the garden the trees and shrubs are taking on their autumnal hue.
 The Tulip Tree (Liriodendron)  has gone from bright green to yellow in one week.

 The Amelanchier has reached its final colouration for the year.  Snowy white flowers in Spring were replaced by bright ruby coloured berries in Summer and now its leaves have turned russet and are gently falling of the branches.  It is a favourite with all the small birds especially blue tits, sparrows and robins as they use it to perch in before they swoop to snatch buggy nibbles from the window feeder.  Only the robin takes the time to look through the window at us.
 The Hydrangea has travelled from bright blue to light blue to lilac to pink before reaching green again.

 The sedums which are so popular with butterflies have darkened.

A Red Admiral visited in the afternoon sunshine.

The Japanese Anemones are holding out as long as they can.

Meanwhile in the kitchen new recipes have been tried and tested

Chickpea Fritters delicious on a bed of Wild Rocket. Recipe by Jamie Oliver from the September Food Magazine from Waitrose.
Fox shaped biscuit with a little cutter I received as part of a birthday present near the end of August.  It was the first chance I had of using it.

The recipe used was from the BeRo book for gingerbread men. 
I've been reading the latest Stephen Booth 'Cooper and Fry' novel.  I love these books as they are set in around the Peak District and actually other parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire too. Many places I know and love have been used in these novels. This story is set around Hayfield and Kinder Scout with references to the Mass Trespass which took place there in 1932 and which finally led to the creation of the first National Park.

Most of my ancestors come from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire with a few from Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.  Plus one from Fife in Scotland who moved to live in Loughborough, Leicestershire in the 1820s.

I've been sorting through some old family photographs.  Most are of family on my mother's side, some came to me from my mother's cousin who lived in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She was one of the little twin girls you can see in the bottom photo. The family left Nottinghamshire for Canada in 1913.
 The girls were called Violet and Olive.  Violet lived into this century and she is the one who sent me many photos. I met her twice when she came back to England for visits.  Unfortunately she lost her twin sister during an outbreak of diphtheria just a few years after they arrived in Canada.

The formidable lady above is my great great grandmother Martha who was born in the village of Welby near Grantham in Lincolnshire.  When she married she moved to Long Clawson near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire.  

The lady above with the little girl is Martha's daughter and my grandmother Florence Mary who was born in Long Clawson, the little girl is my mother's older sister Gladys Emily.

Above my grandfather Alexander Joseph with my mother's brother William Edward.  Another sad tale of infant mortality I'm afraid.  Meningitis took him in 1911.

I can spend hours looking through old photos often wondering who some of the people are as many aren't labelled in any way.