Sunday, October 30, 2011

Photo Scavenger Hunt - October 2011

It's Photo Scavenger Hunt time again hasn't this month gone by so quickly? 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.

I feel as if I haven't done very well this time, although I've found and photographed all the topics, I'm not satisfied with some of the results and feel that I could have done better.  Anyway here they are in no particular order......

Crunchy Leaves
and conkers collected on a leaf strewn walk at The Brampton in Newcastle-under-Lyme.  

A lovely Chestnut tree in the pleasure gardens at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire.  The leaves looked so beautifully golden in the afternoon sun.

Candles illuminate some pom pom chrysanthemums in a vase on the table.

Harvested from our garden - we managed four in all two small and two larger ones.  I think we had more last year and they matured a little later than this year.  We used the same seed this year as last so next year we will buy new seed and see if we can grow some darker more orange pumpkins.

Something eerie
At Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, there is a bridge from the churchyard over an open passage way from the shop and cafe to the toilets.  As we walked across I looked over the wall and saw the figure on the ground below.  Was it meant to be there?  Was it in the process of being moved?  Was it real?  Was it a fake/backdrop for some sort of theatrical production or a display?  Why was it upside down?  It reminded me of  Henry Wallis's painting of the death of the tragic 18th century poet Thomas Chatterton  who, aptly for this topic, influenced some of the later Romantic and Gothic writers of the early 19th century. Very odd, very eerie!

A black cat
It's a regular visitor to the garden and despite its stern look is quite friendly.

 A River
The River Bollin as it runs by the side of Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire.  The water from the river was used to power the cotton looms in the mill.
Children learning about their heritage by  re-enacting the past at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire

Graffiti/street art
In an underpass in Newcastle-under-Lyme.  Official and unofficial  street art!

On the A50 near Uttoxeter

Taken from the garden on the evening of 26th October.  What a strange light it was,  a hectic mass of black swirling clouds tinged with deep gold.  It was constantly changing;  the gold seeming to celebrate the two quite lovely days that had gone before and the black forewarning of the next day's heavy rain.

A witch's hat/broomstick
Which one will you choose?  A selection of hats in the clearance sale at TKMax, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.  I like the orange and black one with the little curl on the back - in the middle of the top row.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The One Where.........

........the content of the post bears no relation to the photograph accompanying it! 

Swan on the lake at Trentham Estate taken last Sunday morning
 In a week where everything has been about the glorious weather, (except yesterday but we did need the rain!), woodsmoke in the air,  Halloween pumpkins and pomegranates in the market, ghostly and macabre apparitions in shop windows, children off school on bikes and scooters down the road, Diwali fireworks and a 'penny for the guy' collector we have received our first Christmas card.   I wasn't in the least surprised to receive it so early, knowing from whom it came, but what did surprise me was to receive one for 2012 as well.  Let me explain!

We have a dear elderly friend who, each year sends or gives us a package containing an Easter card, a wedding anniversary card and two birthday cards and I keep them safe and open them as each event comes along.  Our friend is now 86 and is concerned about losing her memory - I have to say when I speak to her each Sunday morning she is as bright as a button and when I can't remember something like a name or place she is quick to fill in the blanks. She also tells me that non of her family have ever lived over the age of 87 and so she has sent us a card for 2012  just in case she  a. loses her memory or b. doesn't get to the end of next year.  Half of me is amused by this but the other half feels quite sad, disturbed, uneasy - what other words can I use to describe the whirligig of emotions?   I expect I will put the card somewhere safe (not too safe or I'll never find it!) and open it  when the time is right and hope I can still 'phone her to say thank you.  

On a brighter note don't forget it is 'Feed the Birds' day tomorrow.  Here is a link to the - RSPB - site.  I shall just carry on as normal as I feed the birds every morning - I love to sit and watch them through the window as I eat my lunch.  Also tomorrow is the end of British Summer Time so the clocks go back an hour.  Remember Spring forward and Fall (Autumn) back. This of course means the evenings getting darker earlier which I don't like very much.

We've got a busy weekend ahead with a first for me of a Saturday funeral - I've never come across that before - so I'm going to schedule my post of photos for the October Scavenger Hunt and hope that blogger works as it should.

Well, whatever you have planned or not as the case maybe,  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend:)

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Long Walk

Yesterday, after spending the whole of Saturday either in the garden mowing lawns and clearing leaves, transporting paving slabs and sand or taking bags of clippings to the council's refuse and recycling site we decided, despite the aching necks and shoulders caused by all that work, to take a day off and walk somewhere we hadn't walked before.

We decided to follow the Long Walk at Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire which isn't too far away.  It was drizzling with rain as we left home but by the time we reached Kedleston it was dry and the sun was beginning to appear from behind the clouds.

The walk passes by the lush, sheep dotted parkland surrounding the house and gardens and winds its way up into the woods.

We passed quite a few badger setts including this one in the middle of the path - the sign reads  'Mr and Mrs Bert Badger live here - please watch out for their front door in the middle of the path' - of course we didn't see them but were careful not to disturb them!

There were some lovely old, gnarled trees.  We thought we could see a face in the one above and then I decided I could see a Chinese dragon - can you spot it?

It was lovely and shady under the trees as we walked with fallen leaves crunching underfoot and birds twittering - mostly great tits - up high in the branches.

There were occasional views of the parkland and then views of the house and church.  We sat opposite the view below whilst we ate our picnic lunch.

At this point we were about halfway along the walk.   We crossed some of the parkland still with plenty of curious sheep around

and farm implements left standing

before entering the woods again.   We saw plenty of fungi (see the collage at the end of the post) as we walked.  

At the end of the woods we found the 'splash pool' as we joined the walk along the water's edge back towards the bridge.

The three arched bridge was  designed by Robert Adam in the mid 18th century and spans the fishing and boating lakes of which there are five in all.

After our walk we went into the pleasure gardens and the church and also had a quick look in the shop before heading towards home.

Edit Tuesday 18th - for more photos of Kedleston pop over to Louise at - Ramblings of a Roachling  - who visited on the day before us.  

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Seaside Memories

Childhood memories seem to fall into two main categories, those that are painful or hard to re-visit and those that leave you filled with a warm nostalgia.

I was never sure if my memories of our holidays when I was a child were seen through rose tinted glasses, although my little NHS regulation glasses worn from the age of seven onwards after a severe bout of measles never had tinted lenses and memories of having to wear them at school are still quite painful, but I think, on the whole memories of seaside holidays have a rosy glow.

Some of my most vivid memories are of holidays in Teignmouth in Devon with Mum and Dad and sometimes accompanied by aunts, uncles and cousins.  We used stay in a bed and breakfast owned by a lovely couple called Mr and Mrs Lofty, he gloried in the first names of Milton Zacharia. Isn't it strange what details you do actually remember? They or their family owned a small shed like beach hut on the riverside of the estuary so my Teignmouth memories are more of this stretch of beach than the bigger beach and pier of the sea front.  I went in search of the beach huts and I have a feeling that the little one may be the one.  We used it as a base all week, we children playing in the sand and running in and out of the sea.  Mum would make tea and sandwiches for lunch in the back of the shed which always smelt of slightly damp, old wood and salty seaweed, sandy wet bathing costumes and damp towels would hang drying  inside.

I remember once my Dad getting me up very early and taking me mackerel fishing. We  brought our catch  back to Mr Lofty to be cooked for breakfast.  I never liked them - too many bones for my fastidious tastes - but I loved going fishing well not the fishing as such but being on the sea.  I don't remember where the bed and breakfast was but I do remember the loud gong which was sounded to summon us to breakfast and evening meal.  I also remember the walk each morning down to our little hut clutching our buckets and spades, sun hats and fishing nets.

There was an ice-cream seller next door or next door but one to our hut so we always had a lovely creamy ice cream in the afternoon but my most vivid memory is of the ferry.  It left from just nearby and we would lock up our hut, catch the ferry and go over to Shaldon.  I remembered them being black and white and they still are. As Galant mentioned in her comment on my last but two post - the basic design hasn't changed much since Elizabethan times!  We loved the ride and then the walk up  by the Ness hotel and past a little thatched cottage with a pond outside it.

That was still there, too!   Then excitement rising we would head for the Smuggler's tunnel for the walk down to the Ness beach. We children used to shout and listen for the echoes as we walked.  It was cool and damp in the tunnel but all too soon you could see the sun again and feel the rising heat as we neared the end. Then it was out into the bright sunshine, dashing down to the sand to stake a place and set up camp for the afternoon buckets and spades at the ready.

I did notice that the tunnel had changed inside as  the original exit had been shut off and another tunnel built alongside with steps inside - I don't remember steps in the original tunnel but maybe there were.  Your mind can play tricks sometimes especially after  50 or so years.
One thing I did feel was that everything seemed smaller and more compact than I remember!  This beach seemed endless to me as did the one on the Teignmouth side of the estuary.  The ferry point seemed a longer distance from the old hut and yet when I saw it recently it was only a few steps away.

It was lovely to revisit these places and see that at least some of my memories were correct and that my mind wasn't playing tricks. 

The photo above is of me and my cousin John,  who was just two weeks older than me and sadly lost to throat cancer at the young age of 54, about to jump off  the wooden stand onto the sand.  It was taken not far from the old beach hut.  We look happy and excited, everyday of the holiday laying down another cherished memory.  I'm so glad I went back to take a peek at a life gone by but never forgotten.

Saturday, October 01, 2011


Twenty five degrees centigrade on the car thermometer

Strawberries in the garden

Cats retreating from the heat

Butterflies still fluttering

Flowers still flowering

Welcome October!