Friday, March 30, 2012

Photo Scavenger Hunt - March 2012

Yet another month gone by so quickly!  It seems strange to be typing 'March 2012' as it has been warm enough this week to be late May or early June.  March it is though and here are my offerings for this month's Photo Scavenger Hunt.   Thanks, as always to Kathy at Postcards from the PP for keeping us on our toes with her choice of topics.  Here is a -  link - to other participants.

A button design spotted on a cushion in Dunelm, Victoria Road, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent

A busy street in the city of Chester, Cheshire.  Photo taken from the city walls on Tuesday 27th March.

I've taken the meaning of fancy as ornate or decorative.  I loved this sign hanging from the balcony in Chester.

Jane Austen style! Fashion plates from November 1813. I bought these postcards many years ago at Jane Austen's House in Chawton, Hampshire.

Half a face
Chloe likes the first tulips of Spring!  The other half is just as cute.

Wartime kitchen in the Museum of Uttoxeter Life, Uttoxeter Staffordshire.  We finally manged to get into the building on our return visit.

The famous and much photographed clock on the city wall in Chester.
A misty morning in early March, taken from our bedroom window.

A square made up of four cubes of marble bought as souvenirs of our visit, along with two others and a small vase, to a Carrara Marble Quarry and workshop in Tuscany, Italy in 1990.  I was going to photograph one of the cubes until it was pointed out to me that a cube isn't a square as it has a back and front! 

Street name
Dig Street in Ashbourne, Derbyshire
Apparently Dig Street was called Loveditch as it was used by young courting couples until under Puritan influence the word 'love' was done away with and Ditch eventually became corrupted into Dig. (Source BBC Radio Derby)

I didn't photograph the actual theatre building in Chester as there was plenty of theatrical entertainment on the streets.  The very tall (presumably standing on a box) animator beckoned me over, shook my hand and gave me a heart shaped lollipop!

'I see you standing there as if on a distant horizon'
Around the island on the lake in Hanley Park, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring in the Village

I was born in a large city in the Midlands but at the age of six, after the death of my father and re-marriage of my mother, we moved to a small Derbyshire village where I stayed, apart from a couple of years living in Nottingham, for over twenty years.  When Mum and I moved to the village I gained a step-father, a step-sister and a new family of uncles, aunts and cousins.

Earlier last week we went over to Chesterfield to visit my sister and she wanted to go to the village, just a few miles away, where she was born and where we both grew up.  We wandered around the old childhood haunts taking photographs.

Visiting the church where we were both married and where our parents (except for my father) are buried.  In my sister's case there are two or three generations of family burials in the churchyard.

We remembered when we could play in the street with hardly any cars to bother us.  We used to walk down this street from top to bottom twice a day to school and back.  Past open fields, market gardens,  farm houses and little stone cottages on our way down past the church, the shop and post office and the pub on our way to school.

The building on the left was the shop and post office, now just a private home.  We children would sometimes call at the shop after school to buy sweets like aniseed balls, gob stoppers, sherbet dabs or penny chews.

The school is twice the size it was when we were there.  It looks as if a couple of extensions have been added and there is a fenced off garden area.  The grass in front is the school field.  We used to play in here on warm summer days,  making daisy chains, testing each other with buttercups under the chin to see if we liked butter.  We played 'cowboys and indians' (apologies if that is now non PC but that is what it was called and I have no other name for it), 'tiggy off the ground', 'tag' and 'tin-can a-lurky' (not sure how to spell that!).  In the playground itself on colder days we had some climbing frames but what the girls liked best was skipping - running in and out of the circling rope and chanting verses which I can't remember but I do remember how we worked out who was 'on' when we played 'tag' or 'tiggy' by standing in a ring holding out both fists and taping them saying 'one potato, two potato' etc or 'ittle, ottle, chocolate bottle, ittle ottle out' The one with a fist left at the end was 'on' and had to run after and touch or tag the others until all were caught.

Both my sister and I remember an idyllic childhood of being allowed to play down the lanes and in the woods, by the brook and near the sheep dip.  Most weeks we would be lined up in twos to attend a church service or to go on a 'nature walk'  after which we'd come back to school and place all our findings on the nature table, usually in jam jars.  We used to sprout beans in jam jars with damp blotting paper in them on the table too.

It was a lovely warm day when we had our wander around so memories of spring in the village came pouring back, the primroses, violets, 'egg and bacon', bluebells and daffodils in the woods.  The fields full of  cowslips with peewits (Lapwings) flying overhead and the call of the cuckoo, heard often in those days and rarely heard now. Is there any wonder I have such happy memories of Spring in the village?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Biddulph Grange Gardens - part two

In my last post I promised more photos of our visit to Biddulph Grange Gardens.  As always I took loads of photos so I've sorted out some of the ones that I hope you will enjoy looking at.

 This is the view you see from the top of the steps when you first arrive.

 The pathway to the Chinese Garden (see my last post) made of old tree roots

I'm not sure what this plant is called, we have one in our garden although the leaves are more red than green at the moment.  Anyone know what it is?

 The garden is full of interesting bits of architecture and hidden nooks and crannies

The other end of the 'tree root' walk

 There is something to surprise and delight around every corner

 Tunnels to wander through

Tall trees to gaze up at

This is the Cheshire Cottage and through here is the 'Egyptian Garden'

As you can see there are lots of areas to this garden I'm on photo overload already and I still haven't shown you the Dahlia Walk - at present full of tulips, the Woodland Walk, the Italian Garden or the Lake.  Mr Bateman's geological gallery which we visited this time last year was closed for refurbishment but the other exhibition area was open.

View of the surrounding countryside from the Wellingtonia Avenue.  We visited the gardens when we first came to live in this area and the trees down the walk were only about three or four feet high - just look at them now.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Quiet Picnic Lunch in China

We had to pop up to the city centre this morning to do things like hairdressers, opticians and etc so after morning coffee at Debenhams followed by a quick trip to the nearest council refuse site with loads of cardboard we decided that instead of going home we would head north out of the city and up towards Biddulph  to make our first visit this year to the Biddulph Grange Gardens.  We stopped to pick up sandwiches on the way.

By one o'clock we were making our way into the Chinese garden which we had almost completely to ourselves.

We made our way by the Great Wall and down towards the temple.  

The reflections in the water were quite beautiful I'm afraid my photos don't do them justice.

We meandered over the bridge

By the sacred water buffalo and the red dragons

To the inside of the temple where we stood for a while gazing down into the pool and tapped the  bells to make them tinkle.
We sat and ate our lunch in the most wonderful peace and tranquillity whilst gazing at the scene through the window below.

Then we set off through the tunnel and out into the rest of the garden.  I've been looking back to find out when we made our first visit to Biddulph last year and I wrote a post about it on 21st March  so we are even earlier in making our first visit this year.  I'll be back with more photos of the garden in another post.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Garden Time

It's time to be out in the garden again. 

 There are so many things happening out there at the moment.  Bees (and cats) buzzing around the heather.

Spring flowers shyly showing their faces in the bright spring sunlight.

Lots of jobs to be done in preparation for later in the year.  Things like sowing seeds and cleaning the greenhouse.  The first mowing of the grass.

Indoors the first seedlings are appearing

At the top of the garden the wild garlic looks fresh and green

Nearby in the pond the frogs are doing what frogs do best at this time of year.

Yesterday Rocky brought two of his pals with him to feed at our table.  Paul named him Rocky as he is a  Rock Dove or 'town hall pigeon' as folk around here call them  We are used to seeing wood pigeons and collard doves feeding but this is something new - these pigeons are coming up from the town centre to find rich pickings in the gardens around here.  I expect the surroundings are much better than sitting under the railway bridge.

The friendly, button eyed robins who follow me to the feeders nearly every morning and sit as close as they can when I put out their food are nesting in a bush quite close to the kitchen window so we've been watching them from the kitchen sink flitting in and out of the branches with bits of grass, twigs and other materials.

There is life in the garden again after so many grey days - time to enjoy it!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

To Ashbourne

After Tuesday's thick early morning mists which lasted well beyond midday and Wednesday's heavy rain and strong winds it was lovely to get out for a longer walk in a little bit of sunshine.  We parked near the old railway tunnel at Ashbourne and walked for about an hour along the Tissington  Trail.

The fields were looking green even though the trees were still in want of  their leaves.  It was cold enough for the horses in this field to be wearing their coats.

After about an hour we turned round and came back again and then walked into the town to pick up some sandwiches for lunch.  There were some lovely old troughs full of spring flowers.  

I love the selection of shops along this street.  Even though Thursday is market day the town seemed very quiet.

I was glad to see this bookshop still open as the other bargain bookshop on the main road had closed down.  What a shame!  There are still lots of books in the Oxfam shop too.

After a quick visit to Waitrose we headed back to the car to eat our sandwiches.   The poster on the newsboard below caught my attention.  Of course I had to look up 'George the Psychic Peasant' when I got home.  Apparently he was infamous amongst locals in the village he lived in and the local postman was more frightened of him that any dog.  He did though, succesfully predict the result of this year's Shrovetide football match  which is held each year in the streets of the town. 

Still on a pheasant theme on our way back from Ashbourne we diverted through the pretty village of Snelston and as we were leaving the village we saw a blue pheasant crossing the road.  Luckily we were moving quite slowly as it was a very narrow lane so it safely reached the other side of the road and ran up the bank.  Of course my camera was in the boot of the car!  I also looked up blue pheasants when I got home and found that they were still quite rare with some sightings in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire reported so far.