Sunday, January 31, 2010

At Greenway Bank

Yesterday we took a walk at Greenway Bank Country Park. The weather was cold and crisp and - what a treat - the sun was shining on us!

We saw the first snow drops peeping through the ground welcoming the sun's rays to help them unfurl their leaves and petals.

The lake was still frozen over but the wildlife were ecstatic in the warming sunshine. Robins and blue tits twittered and sang to us and jays were calling as they flew amongst the trees around us - normally they are such secretive birds.

Ducks were cackling and gulls were screeching as we walked by their territory. Curious squirrels scampered around and peered at us from behind tree trunks.

It seemed like we had all come out to enjoy the glorious sunshine.

I was thinking that this weekend was the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch and how many species I'd seen whilst walking around the park. I think the one below is a Dunnock.

This morning we woke up to a world of white again. On our bird feeding station Mr Robin was waiting for his breakfast. So I went out to dust the snow off the feeders and fill them up before I had my own breakfast. It was worth the effort as we were treated to a visit from a Bullfinch - we've never seen one in our garden before.

Paul managed to get a photo of it - not a great one I'm afraid as it was taken through the landing window - but you can see what it is and that we have snow again.

Whilst you are on-line why not pop over to Lyn's blog - Everyday Life - she has a wonderful give-away at the moment for her first year of blogging anniversary!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mist over the Severn

What a day we chose to travel into Shropshire to visit one of our favourite places. The rain was persistent and the mist hung heavily over the River Severn giving an almost ethereal quality to both the light and the views.

This is the river Severn at Ironbridge - yes the famous iron bridge is there, honestly!

The bridge was the idea of an architect from Shrewsbury called Thomas Farnolls Prichard who suggested an iron bridge to local iron master John Wilkinson. Pritchard designed the bridge but died a month after the building started so never saw it in situ. It was built by Abraham Darby III.

When we visit we always like to walk over the bridge to the toll house which now houses the tourist information centre and a display about the building of the bridge. Above is the view back towards the town across the bridge.

We walked back into the town. Not surprisingly it was very quiet. The pavements were shiny and slippy with rain, the river was high and swollen but there were no flood barriers in evidence.

The bears in the Bears on the Square shop window were taking it all in their stride, safely tucked up and warm inside the shop.

We set off towards the Coalport China Museum and drove past the Ladywood bridge over the river on the way there. The bridge is also known locally as the Gateway to Broseley, the town famous for clay pipe manufacture.

The old china works stands between the River Severn and the Shropshire Canal. China was made here from 1796 until 1926 when manufacture moved to Stoke-on-Trent firstly to the Cauldon Potteries in Shelton, then to the Crescent Works in Stoke around 1955, later it moved to the Foley and Minerva works at Fenton before becoming a part of Wedgwood at Barlaston. The Coalport site became one of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums in 1976.

Inside it was very similar to the Gladstone Pottery Museum - which is not far from from where we live - but there were many differences too especially in the way the bottle ovens or kilns were built.

It was good to get into the warmth of the museum and out of the rain for a while. Below are more scenes from in and around the Museum.

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's Bake a Cake Day

I'm joining Simone at Linden Grove with her 'Bake a Cake Friday' project. Such a good idea! It's so nice to have homemade cake to cut into and eat with cups of warming tea when we get back from one of our weekend walks.

The cake above is just a normal '4,4,4,2' sponge cake recipe except I replaced one ounce of flour with cocoa powder. Here is the basic recipe-

4oz margarine or butter
4oz caster sugar
4oz self raising flour
2 eggs

Beat the sugar and margarine together then add the beaten eggs and mix them in. Fold in the flour until mixture is ready to place in the tin. I use a round tin with a cake tin liner.

For the topping I sometimes use a glace icing - I mix icing sugar and cocoa powder with a little warm water until it is firm but spreadable - or in this case a butter icing - cream the icing sugar, margarine and cocoa powder together - again until it is just right for spreading. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings from a bar of chocolate. I can't give exact amounts because I mix the icings by eye until they look right. Of course you could split the cake in two and put butter icing in between and glace icing on top for a special occasion.

Monday, January 18, 2010


What fragile beauty you display
to guide us on our wintry way.
Your petals white and oh, so pure
bring hope and light to reassure
that just as night turns into day,
then spring will follow, come what may.

Copyright - Rosie@Corners of My Mind

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

From the Bedroom Window

I took these photographs of our back garden earlier today from our bedroom window; with Max's help, of course!

Sorry, I know - more snow pictures but I couldn't resist as I wanted to take a photo of the bird under the willow tree - I think it may be a female blackbird. I've just walked into town and back in the wet snow; two pair of socks, wellies, two pairs of gloves, scarf and hat as well as a heavy coat, of course, helped to keep me warm and dry it just took me twice as long as normal.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ten Things

I've been tagged by Kathy at Postcards from the P.P. to list ten things that make me happy so here goes..........

My Cats

Morning Coffee either at home around eleven sitting in the conservatory and watching the birds in the garden - or out and about in town sitting and reflecting and watching the world go by.

Being by the Sea

Flowers - in gardens, in meadows, at the road side, in jugs on my windowsill, in tubs outside florist shops in fact, anywhere!

Walking in the Peak District; in fact, just being in the Peak District!

Doing Family History

(My lovely Mum sitting, her sister leaning on her shoulder)

Curling up with a good book

Soaking in a hot bath with lots of nice smelly things from my favourite place (link below)

Going to the theatre

Waking up on 'free' days - no plans, nothing specific to do - just a blank canvas to fill with whatever I want.

I'm supposed to tag ten other bloggers but, as usual, I going to say if you want to do it take it with you and enjoy thinking about what makes you happy!

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Just a few of the things I've been observing today.

Chloe guarding the remains of the Christmas pomanders. I took the coloured ribbons off but was loath to throw them away as they still have a lovely smell - I thought cats weren't supposed to like a citrus smell!

Hyacinths - I bought and planted them in October but as I bought them loose and put them in the plain bag provided by the garden centre I couldn't remember what colour they were - it looks like they will be pink.

Our new bird feeding station bought in the sales for under £10 with some money we were given for Christmas. Hope the giver approves! The birds seem to like it and it is a lot easier to keep clean than the old wooden bird table.

The pond is well and truly frozen and covered with snow - there are animal footprints going across it as well as round it.

We took the Christmas wreath off the front door and left it on the garden seat - it is now covered in snow.

Some of the soft snow is disappearing now but it is very cold and icy - time for some warm tomato and basil soup for lunch.

This afternoon I went for a walk with a friend across the fields nearby known as Sammy's Pool. Needless to say the pool was frozen over. As we walked the sun was low in the sky and the light was so beautiful.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

A Little Bit of Colour

I've been very conscious that my last few posts have been quite cold and grey mainly because of the weather and the places we have been walking, so I made my mind up that my next post was going to contain some colour. It was quite hard to find on the grey days that we have had lately but here are a few photos taken where I was able to find that elusive element.

I found these lovely cyclamens today at the garden centre.

A few days ago I found this pretty fabric - just right for covering a small cushion that I've had for ages. I've decided to leave the red tablecloth bought for Christmas on the kitchen table as it adds warmth and colour whilst it is still cold and grey outside.

This handsome chap was wandering around the bird feeders at Consall Country Park where we went for a walk yesterday- he came quite close to us to see if we had anything he could eat - we hadn't, but the warden came out at that moment with a shovel full of grain which the pheasant had to share with about twenty hungry ducks.

We woke up yesterday to the most beautiful red sky. Well, it was a warning as by lunchtime it was snowing.

Ah, well - back to the white stuff again!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Welcome 2010

I've never been a great lover of New Year or New Year Celebrations. I'd rather just curl up with a good book and a glass of wine and let the witching hour pass me by. As I enter 2010 I'm very conscious that it will be a landmark year for me on a personal level but I'm trying not to think too hard about what that means and the changes it will entail.

As far as this blog is concerned I will have two things to celebrate in 2010 - my 500th post and believe it or not my 5th year of blogging - I wrote my first post and pressed the publish button with great trepidation on 14th March 2005. I wonder if I could manage to get to my 500th post on 14th March this year - I'm going to try and I'm going to do something special on that day too - so I'm going to make that one of my New Year's resolutions along with the usual lose weight and get more exercise ones; unlike the others I hope it will be one that I am able to keep.

I want to thank everyone who visits here; those of you who just stop by to read occasionally, those who kindly follow my blog and those who take the time to leave such wonderful comments - it means a great deal to me and I appreciate it so much. I hope you all have a Happy and Healthy New Year and good fortune throughout 2010.