Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Photo Scavenger Hunt - August 2011

It's time to show my photos for this month's Photo Scavenger Hunt.  I've struggled with some of the topics this time and  I've taken so many different photos for each topic and have kept changing my mind about them.  Below is the final choice.

 A Boat
The 'Miss Elizabeth' crossing the lake from the Italian Gardens to the Monkey Forest at the Trentham Estate, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent.

A Festival or Funfair
The Steam Carousel in the courtyard at Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire

A Fountain
In the Italian Garden, Trentham Estate, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent.

A Picnic
For a peacock a nice picnic of left-overs at the Blackbrook Zoological Park, nr Leek, Staffordshire

A Sport
Cricket on the village green, Sudbury, Derbyshire.

Selection of Paul's home made bread  (for those interested there is a link to his website on my sidebar)

A maid's white cotton bonnet in the still room, Attingham Park, Shropshire

A Market
A market barrow in the courtyard at Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire

To compensate for there being no mountains hereabouts I went looking for molehills so that I could make them into mountains but I think Mr Mole had closed his building sites down for the summer.  Then, quite by chance, I fond myself near the Shropshire hills so I thought they might be acceptable in lieu of mountains.

Something Ancient
The remains of the forum basilica or exercise hall which was part of the bath house at the Roman town of Wroxeter or Viroconivm cornoviorum in Shropshire. 

Something Bizarre
Bizarre Wares by Clarice Cliff -  an earthenware vase c. 1930 courtesy of the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

Street Food
Oatie Mostons filled Staffordshire oatcakes on sale in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent

Thanks as always to Kathy at Postcards from the P.P. for coming up with the monthly challenges.  Here is a link to some of the other participating blogs.
 Edit 31/8/11 - I see Kathy has the September list available on her latest post if you want to get cracking on some new topics:)

Monday, August 29, 2011

How to handle a Squirrel

When we arrived home late yesterday afternoon we went out into the garden to check things and found the little fellow below under the garden seat.  I'm calling him a 'he' he could of course be a 'she' but who knows.

He wasn't moving except for shuffling his back paws and wafting his tail over his head.  Our cats were watching from a distance but didn't seem too concerned about getting close to him.  He was shuddering slightly and seemed anxious and a bit dazed.

We brought him a little bowl of water and a few peanuts and sunflower hearts and left him alone for a while but  he was still quite distressed so we decided to give him a quick check to make sure he didn't have any injuries, though  I'm not sure what we would have done if he'd had any!

He didn't much like being held in a gardening glove - well would you?  There were no visible injuries so we left him alone again and after a while he started to move about a bit - we were watching for other cats around the garden as at this point ours were being kept inside just in case - eventually he started to hop about then run a little and finally he disappeared.  I think I've seen him around this morning so he seemes to have recovered from whatever trauma had affected him.  Here's hoping anyway!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Scenes from Yesterday

We had a lovely day out in Shropshire yesterday and it is hard to believe in the rain of today what a glorious day it was.  The weather was perfect.  We visited two wonderful places quite close to each other namely Attingham Park and Wroxeter Roman City. I'll do a post about each of them later but here are just a few photos from Attingham Park which, for me, capture the spirit of the day.

Tortoiseshell butterfly on statice flowers in the walled garden

Young swallows waiting to be fed on the bean tunnel in the walled garden.  More photos  here

Display in the old cottages near the glasshouses in the walled garden

A young Jersey calf  in the pastures around the Mansion

Tree- sculpture on the long walk between the courtyard stables and the walled garden

Outside the garden cottages

Apples in the orchard

French climbing beans - Blue Coco from the garden produce shop

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A visit to Tatton Park

We hadn't been to Tatton Park, a National Trust property near Knutsford in Cheshire for ages, so, since we are once again members of the trust we decided, one day last week, to visit.  On our last venture there we just walked in the parkland and had a guided tour around the Tudor Old Hall. This time we went into the Mansion and around the gardens. 

We had wanted to visit the Tudor Old Hall again but it was closed so we made for the gardens and spent ages wandering around until the Mansion was open.  Photography wasn't allowed inside although I have noticed this year that many properties have started to allow photographs to be taken as long as you don't use flash.

There was a wondeful walled kitchen garden and orchard.  All the fruit and vegetables grown here are used in the restaurant and to make produce for the shop.  Some of the freshly picked vegetables were on sale in the garden shop too.

As usual I took far too many photos and it has been difficult choosing which ones to show you but the ones I've chosen are from some of my favourite parts of the garden.

 The gateway to the Tower Garden

Above and below are taken near Golden Brook as you head towards the Japanese garden, which was closed when we passed by. You can only go in on a guided tour.  I loved the bridge and water lillies and the huge gunnera plants by the water.

Another favourite was the Fernery which was so light and airy inside

Ferns are such fascinating plants.

The pale pink fuchsia below was in the show house which was attached to the fernery.  Next door the huge conservatory was being refurbished ready for opening early next year.

There is quite a lot more to see and do here; we didn't get to the farm but there is a little road train to take you there from the main car park.  There was also a steam fairground next to the car park and picnic area as well as a huge carousel in the courtyard.  It does cost £5 to park your car which came as a bit of a shock and our sandwiches and apple juice from the Stables restaurant cost double that and more and I only ate half of mine as the wasps in the outside seating area made me very uneasy - I'd forgotten about it being August and therefore wasp time as we found our table outside. 

After the disappointment of finding the Tudor Old Hall closed even though it said on the website it would be open we wandered around and took some photos of the fallow deer in the park.  They really are such beautiful creatures.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Gentle Stroll

On Sunday morning we had a gentle stroll around grounds of the Wolseley Centre, headquarters of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.  Below are some of the things I spotted as we walked

Glossy red currants

A beautiful Acer tree

A ladybird on a teasel

Ducks on a misty lake

A red eared terrapin (I think!)

Swans snoozing on the River Trent

A badger mosaic - logo of the Wildlife Trusts

Rowan berries

Burdock burrs

 The new boardwalk

I'll be back after the weekend with some photos taken yesterday in the gardens at Tatton Park.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Profusion of Plums

The old tree at the top of the garden is laden with plums

Last year we had about a dozen fruits from it - this year there are too many to count!

We are watching them every day as they ripen and fall so quickly

It is hard to pick them at exactly the right time

We picked a bowl of soft plums this morning to make a plum crumble with.  I expect that over the next few days we will be making jam and chutney which means a trip to the shops for sugar and vinegar and a delve into the box at the back of the garage to find empty jam jars and lids.

We have a profusion of tomatoes too. I think that this week I may be busy in the kitchen!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Donington le Heath Manor House

A few weeks ago we visited one of our favourite places - The Manor House at Donington Le Heath.
I don't know what it is about this place but I love it!

We have visited three or four times over the years and things have changed since our first visit which was, I seem to remember, on a cold, autumn morning.  Things were a little different then;  more open to your own interpretation, with some rooms unfurnished and fewer sign posts and  information boards.

Now the manor house has become more popular as a visitor attraction there is far more to see inside with special events, historical re-enactments and local exhibitions.   There is also a souvenir shop and a couple of computers which offer further information and virtual tours for those unable to get up the stairs.

I love the soft grey stone of the building

It was quite a warm, sunny day when we visited and the herb garden was a riot of colour and glorious scents.

The lavender growing along the base of the walls was buzzing with bees.

On the other side of the window above is the kitchen.  This is one of the favourite rooms with visitors as there is so much of interest in the hearth, on the table and in the deep windowsills.

Through the arch on the left of the photo above are the virtual tour computers.

Upstairs is the great chamber with windows at either end so it is light and airy.

In a small room off the great chamber is a four poster bed.  The legend is that it is the bed on which King Richard III laid down to rest on August 21st 1485 -  the eve of the Battle of Bosworth.  It is said that the bed was brought to the Blue Boar Inn in Leicester for him as it was richly carved as befitted a King.

The bed spent many years at the Blue Boar Inn and was passed from Landlord to Landlord before it came into the hands of the Herrick family of Beaumanor Hall in the village of Old Woodhouse and is now on permanent loan to Leicestershire County Council.  There are other legends attributed to the bed - including hidden treasure and a murder.  You'll have to visit and read the book to find out more!

The herbs in the recreated 17th century garden are all labelled with quotes from Culpeper's  'Complete Herbal' of 1652.

There is a lovely cafe in the barn and we have eaten in there on a couple of occasions, once, a few years ago, on my birthday which was a lovely treat.  This time we had a picnic with us which we ate at our next destination and which I'll write about in a later post.

Parts of the house date back to the late 13th century when it was owned by the De Sees family.  The last family to live in the house were the Hill family who left in 1960 when the hall was sold by the Harley Trust, set up by owner Thomas Harley during the 17th century.  Tenant farmers lived in the house from 1670 until 1960.
It was bought by a local farmer who used it as a pig sty!  In 1965 the house was designated as an ancient monument and was purchased and gradually restored by Leicestershire County Council.

Last but not least it is, amazingly, free to go in and look around and some of the events are free too!