Thursday, September 29, 2011

Photo Scavenger Hunt - September 2011

It's Photo Scavenger Hunt time again. 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.

As you can see I managed to get quite a few of this month's photos whilst we were on holiday.  Here are my offerings in no particular order.....

A public telephone box
In the main street, Gunnislake, Devon.  On the seat a statue of a Cornish copper miner.  We stopped here on our way to Morwellham Quay.

Back to School
Way back to school at Morwellham Quay, Devon.  There was a school party in there practicing handwriting earlier in the day.

In the orchard at Cotehele, Devon a really atmospheric house with wonderful tapestries on the walls but I loved the Quay on the River Tamar and the Mill even more than the house.  It is just down from Morwellham on the opposite side of the river.

In the outdoor biome allotments, Eden Project, Cornwall - a harvest of marrows

A pile of things
Rocks on Ness Beach, Shaldon, Devon

A road sign
A sign to warn vehicles they are approaching Blackcat junction, near Dulverton, Somerset.  A very tricky junction it was too!

A view from above
From the viewing platform in the rainforest biome, Eden Project, Cornwall.  It was quite scary up there (the biome is 165 feet tall) as it moved slightly and its was so hot (36 degrees centigrade was mentioned) but we went up in stages in small groups so it was well organised.

Cats have mastered the art of relaxation - well ours have anyway!  When they curl up on your lap they make you relax;  add a glass of wine and 'Downton Abbey', 'The Killing' or 'Who do you think you Are' on TV or a good book to read - relaxation complete!

Your desk/workspace
is just an old washstand in the corner of a bedroom.

 Start of the football season

Britannia Stadium, Stoke City ground. The figure is Stoke footballing legend Sir Stanley Matthews; the whole is covered with ceramic tiles decorated with images of fans' season tickets.  There are hundreds of local faces on there plus a few cats and dogs.

 Something taller than you
Crich Memorial Tower, Crich, Derbyshire.  Memorial for the Sherwood Forresters Regiment (now the Mercian Regiment)
When I was small my step-dad always used to say 'when the Duke of Devonshire stands at the top of Crich Stand he can say all I see I own'.   I wonder if that was true?  I do remember it was always called 'Crich Stand.'   I did go to the top and see trams on the track near the quarry at the nearby Tramway Museum.

What's in your bag?
Not quite the kitchen sink but nearly!  So purse, mobile phone, keys - most important!  Sun glasses, especially in the car and for winter sun as I struggle to see in bright light, also an umbrella in case it rains.  Notebook and pen so I can jot down notes and thoughts about things I see and also to carry info - Scavenger Hunt list for example.  Camera - if I don't take it I'm bound to see something wonderful to snap!  Little fold up shopping bag - extremely useful!  Tissues, hand cream, lip salve and a little tin of solid perfume which matches the one I use, paracetamol - if I carry them I don't get a headache if I leave them behind I'm guaranteed to get one.  I can't travel any distance without a book - I have a fear of being stranded somewhere with nothing to read.  I've missed out the little bottle of hand gel I take in case I can't wash my hands wherever I am!  That's all!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Wanderer Returns

We are back home after a wonderful holiday in which I have overdosed on Cornish harbours and fishing villages



Port Isaac

Travelled back in time.......

Morwellham Quay, Devon

.....and into the future

Eden Project, Cornwall

Been 100ft up above a rainforest

Rainforest Biome - Eden Project

two miles underground.....
George and Charlotte Copper Mine, Morwellham Quay

and relived some childhood memories

Teignmouth to Shaldon Ferry, Devon
Ness Beach, Shaldon, Devon

  I'll be back with more tales of those and other places in further posts.  In the meantime there is washing and ironing to be done, lawns to be cut, kind neighbours to thank and disgruntled cats to cuddle; loads of e-mails to read and a pile of post to open plus all your blogs and posts to catch up with.  We also have a problem with the car which started to make a funny noise on the way home.  Hope it will be ok as it is nine years old this year and we've had it from brand new.  Better get cracking - I may be gone some time!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Haughmond Abbey

Yet another post about our trip into Shropshire over the bank holiday weekend at the end of August.  I'm conscious that I also promised posts about Wroxetter Roman City and Attingham Park but things are catching up with me and I probably won't get around to them now.  We couldn't take photos inside Attingham but it was great to see inside again last Monday on BBC 4 during Lucy Worsley's new series on 'The Age of  the  Regency' which I'm really enjoying.  Anyway back to earlier times and the ruins of a medieval monastery.

The ruins of this former Augustinian abbey are quite substantial,  including the remains of the abbot's quarters, refectory and cloisters as well as the chapter house.

Haughmond, which was founded in 1135 by William Fitzalan, is just north east of Shrewsbury and nestles beautifully on the slope of Haughmond Hill.

On the hill is an area known locally as 'Douglas's Leap' because it was from here that the Earl of Douglas in flight from the Battle of Shrewsbury fell from his horse and was captured by Henry IV's men.  The battle between Lancastrian King Henry and rebels led by Henry 'Hotspur' Percy,  one of the bloodiest of the Wars of the Roses, was fought, in 1403, about two miles from the abbey.

The abbey was finally dissolved in 1539 during the mass dissolution of monasteries ordered by Henry VIII at this time there were ten canons  and an abbot in residence.

The Chapter House has a wooden roof of about 1500 and houses an octagonal font and several stone tombstones which may have been placed there when the abbey church was dismantled.  The Chapter House is where the canons would meet to discuss the day to day running of the abbey.

The abbey passed into private hands, namely those of Sir Edward Littlejohn and later Sir Rowland Hill (not the postal reformer) and the Barker family.  Much of the land was used for farming.

The ruins are surrounded by fields and we were watched carefully by the local sheep as we wandered around.

The ruins were taken over in the 1930s by the Secretary of State and later by English Heritage who administer and care for the site today

I'm going to be away from home and my computer for a while so I'll catch up with you all when I return.
'bye for now.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September Garden

We've been busy in the garden clearing things away.  Lots of the plants growing in pots have now found a place in the garden or been disposed of.   The hanging baskets have been emptied and put away until next year.  Many of the pots were full of grass or weeds and the original plants had disappeared.  Some things have done really well this year others have struggled.   One of the lavenders I bought earlier in the year is really struggling the other is doing well.   The Echinacias didn't flower properly each flower having only a few petals on one side and some never turning pink.  I've no idea what caused that!

The table, chairs and parasol are packed away in the shed along with the gazebo which came down a few weeks ago.  I had  a stroll around the garden this morning and took a few photos of the plants that are doing well.   We do have pumpkins!  Not as many as last year though.  The plants have spread their tendrils quite a distance and I found pumpkins nestling in quite a few hidden places.

This one is resting on the pea gravel in front of the raised bed they are growing in.

and this one is resting on the wall of the raised bed!

The one above is hiding amongst the daisies on the other side of the raised bed.

Also lingering in the garden are the Sedum and Crocosmia - still attracting the occasional butterfly!

The Japanese Anemones are still flowering like mad too; we have pink ones but the whites are my favourites.

Outside the wind is getting stronger, the flowers are dancing on their stems, the trees are swaying and the leaves are blowing across the grass.  Although the air is quite warm it really feels as if Autumn  is on the way!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Heritage Open Days


For those of you who live in England don't forget Heritage Open Days this weekend!  There are lots of interesting things to do and lots of buildings open all over the country free of charge,  many of them not normally open to the public.  Click on the logo above to take you to the official web-site where you can find out what is going on in your area.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

At the Cantlop Bridge

The Cantlop bridge is on the way back towards Shrewsbury from Acton Burnell (see my last post).  Built in 1813 it was one of a network of bridges constructed to improve both communication and trade in Shropshire.

We pulled in to the off road parking area to take a look at the bridge.  It is a single span bridge built to an innovative design approved by Scottish engineer Thomas Telford.  The structure was strong enough to support the flat deck without a central pier which could have hindered navigation of the Cound brook.

It is built from cast iron and is the only Telford approved cast iron bridge left in Shropshire.  Although cast iron is very durable it is weak in tension and no longer considered suitable for today's heavy road traffic.  It stopped being used in the 1970s when the present road bridge was built.  This is a rather smaller bridge than the one by Telford and Jessop that I wrote about  here!

As we walked over the bridge and back I spotted hops growing in the hedgerows.  Although to me it was an unusual sight it is, apparently, quite common to see wild hops growing in hedgerows in several areas of the country especially where there has been, or still is commercial hop growing taking place.

The hops stretched quite a way down the road across the hedgerow separating the road from the field beyond.

As we headed home we stopped at a farm shop and cafe to have a cup of late afternoon peppermint tea.

For the Gloucester Old Spot pigs  it was tea time too!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Down narrow lanes

Down narrow lanes, through fragrant woodlands and yew walks , hidden away behind the trees we found it.......

....not even sure we were heading in the right direction we finally came upon the gateway beckoning us in.  What would we find?

The board gave us little idea of what was waiting for us nestling perfectly in its place in the surrounding countryside.

The ruins of Acton Burnell castle appeared across sweeping grass.under the branches of the Cedar tree

The soft red sandstone of the building looked warm against the cool green of the grass and trees. Followers of the late 18th and early 19th century aesthetic movement of the Picturesque would certainly have loved this place. I'm sure it would have appealed to their romantic sensibilities.

So too would the readers of  early Gothic novels - especially in the rather eerily overwrought cemetery and churchyard just over the wall.  I was thinking of the parodic Northanger Abbey or the proper Gothic Dracula or Frankenstein.

The semi-fortified castle was built between 1284 and 1293 by Bishop Robert Burnell,  Edward I's Lord Chancellor. It is said that King visited on more than one occasion and held a parliament here during one of his visits.

Although the building has a licence to call itself a castle it is more a fortified manor house although by the time of its building. fortification, probably against incursions from over the Welsh borders, wasn't much of an issue.

The building was once three stories high and would have had within it a great hall, solar, bedrooms and chapel. In the early19th century the manor house became a folly in the garden and parkland of the new Acton Burnell Hall built in 1814 by the Smythe family.

The 19th century hall is now one of the campus buildings of a private educational college for 13 to 19 year olds from across the world.

Just outside the village we found another historic gem.

Langley chapel is a 17th century Anglican church which still retains all its original furniture on the inside.  A huge old key had been left in the lock so visitors could let themselves in.  I was so busy turning the key and wondering what I would find inside - too many thoughts of Gothic novels or parodies thereof  - that I forgot to take a photo of it!

 Inside it was starkly puritanical and devoid of any ornament.  There was no alter but a communion table with benches around for people to sit during the communion ceremony.  There were also two pulpits....

...a series of box pews and a desk at the back for the church musicians. The quiet setting of this chapel and the musician's desk took my mind away from the Gothic to the Rural and Hardy's 'Under the Greenwood Tree'.  I know I should have been thinking of a local author and not one from Dorset but I can't for the life of me remember if Mary Webb wrote about church musicians in any of her novels about life in rural Shropshire.

As I left I took a photo of the Shropshire countryside outside and as I added the photo below I've just realised that if you look closely you can see the key in the door after all!

I turned it firmly as we left otherwise no doubt the chapel would be full of swallows, rabbits and little field mice - now that sounds more like Beatrix Potter!