Monday, December 30, 2013

52 Weeks of Happy - Weeks 51 and 52

My last two weeks of '52 Weeks of Happy' are together in one post as I ran out of time to do week 51 separately.  Here are some of the festive images that have  made me smile over the last couple of weeks

Week 51

1.  Window Shopping - at Bridgemere Garden World, their festive displays were lovely, and having done all our shopping it was nice just to wander and look.


2. Little Moreton Hall - we had a great time as always listening to Piva and wandering around the decorated hall (see my post of 22nd December for more photos)

3 and 4  Just the little things - a reindeer at our local garden centre which we visited with my brother-in-law and nephew when they came to visit the Saturday before Christmas, the thrush visiting our garden every morning again, Christmas cake iced and ready, the colour of clementines - so festive, opening the doors on the advent calendar and Christmas morning breakfast for us and the cats.  Which brings me to.......

Week 52


1. Christmas Day at Home - safe, warm, good food, lovely cards and presents.  I treasure being at home on Christmas Day.

2.  Boxing Day Walk - at a very misty Ilam (see my last post for more photos) as much as I love spending Christmas day at home it is good to get out and walk the day after.

3. Joy - two magpies = 'two for joy' according to the old saying and we had a joyful time visiting friends in South Lincolnshire on Friday and Saturday.  The only thing that caused any problems was the road closure at Kegworth due to a water main bursting so we had to hit the M1 and take the Loughborough ring road to get back on the route we always take via Melton Mowbray.  It was lovely to meet up with old friends and talk and catch up over a very leisurely lunch and afternoon.

4.  Friendliness - on our way back from Lincolnshire we stopped to take some photos of churches in a few Nottinghamshire villages, I think I told you in a previous post that Paul is taking photos of the churches with connections to his family name for his one-name study site?  Well, one of those villages was Epperstone in Nottinghamshire.  It was our first stop of the morning and the village was very pretty but what struck me most was how busy it was people walking, cycling and chatting on corners.  We were greeted by the postman with a jolly 'good morning' and every one we passed smiled and greeted us in the same way.  What a friendly village it seemed to be!  

Well, that's it for '52 weeks of Happy' - I think I missed a couple of weeks when we were on holiday in the summer but I've done most of them and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.  I hope you've enjoyed some of my 'happies' too.

Welcome to my new followers and thank you to all of you, friends old and new, for being with me throughout the last year.  Wishing you all a happy, peaceful and joyous New Year.

For the last time linking up with  Little Birdie  where  '52 weeks of Happy' started. Each week you find just four things that have made you happy to share.

'A multitude of small delights constitute happiness'
Charles Baudelaire 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Blowing the Cobwebs Away....... well as walking off the effects of extra rich festive food!  On Boxing Day we were ready for a walk in the fresh air.  Ilam, near Dovedale, seemed like a good choice for a walk.

 The church was shrouded in mist

 It was quite cold (I forgot my gloves!)  -  the path on the other side of the bridge was closed for safety reasons after the storms earlier in the week.

Someone had been playing 'Pooh Sticks' under the bridge
 The trees were looming out of the mist
I love to see stark, winter trees etched in the grey gloom of a damp wintry mist

They often look as beautiful as they do in the height of Spring and Summer

We went into the church for a short while

Inside it was decorated in simple fashion

 With a nativity scene

and a tree

back outside the village and hills were still shrouded in mist

but at least some cobwebs had been blown away!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

At Last

At last it feel like Christmas!  Nothing puts me in the spirit for Christmas more than our seasonal festive visit to Little Moreton Hall.  I look forward to it every year and we always go when Piva are performing their wonderful music.   I thought you might like to visit too!

A warm wassail cup of spiced apple punch greets you as you enter the courtyard

Where the jester prances and teases with his merry japes

Inside Piva are singing seasonal songs 16th century style and playing a wonderful selection of instruments like crumhorns, hurdy gurdies, viols and shawms.

Their spirited galliards get your feet tapping on the ancient flagstones 

The tables are groaning with seasonal, festive food including maids of honour, marchpane cake and fruits, jumbles and spiced prunes.

This year the whole house was open and decorated for Christmas

A choir were singing carols in the long gallery and there was story telling in the chapel too

 We missed the crowning of the Lord of Misrule but found another little lord causing a stir when we popped back to look at the musical instruments.  He had his eye on those bag pipes!
A perfect end to our visit!

I hope you all have a wonderful, peaceful and joyous Christmas.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

52 Weeks of Happy - Week 50

Well, here we are at week fifty already just two more to go in this year of searching for the small things in life that make us happy and that make us smile.   My four happies from the last week are..........

1.  Birds - (again) - on Sunday we visited the Blackbrook Zoological Park to see how they were getting on since our last visit as there was talk a while ago about them having to close due to lack of funds.  Things had changed quite a bit some for the better and others not but all in all we had a great morning taking photos of some of the super birds in their collections.  At present they are charging just 99p per person for entry and you do see lots for your money.

2.  Meerkats - also at Blackbrook - so cute and always guaranteed to make you smile!

3.  Festive Windows and Lights - three seasonal windows I've seen over the last week.  The one on the left in Getliffe's Yard in Leek, the top right in Ashover, Derbyshire and the bottom one in Shrewsbury.  Below left a huge stag in Shrewsbury town centre, I bet it looks wonderful in the dark and the festive lights at Ashbourne.

4.  Pomanders -  I always enjoy making them - the ones in my photo need finishing off.  I love the seasonal smells of the oranges and cloves, it always seems like Christmas is on the way when I start pressing the cloves into the orange skin and that wonderful scent wafts under my nose and coats my finger tips. 

Linking up with  Little Birdie  where  '52 weeks of Happy' started. Each week you find just four things that have made you happy to share.

Friday, December 13, 2013

History in the Mist

It was a very misty morning when we stopped to take photos in the village of Ashover in Derbyshire.  We were on our way to Chesterfield and Paul wanted a photo of the church for his one-name study website.  He is trying to take photos of the parish churches in each of the towns and villages where he has found records of his family name. 

The village is a very attractive one full of lovely old houses in the centre.  The church of All Saints stands at the top of a hill in the centre of the village and there seem to be two distinct areas either side of it.

The church has features from the 13th and 14th centuries but most of it was built in the 15th century.  The tower and spire were built by the Babbington family of nearby Dethick.  An early member of this family fought, alongside men from Ashover, at the battle of Agincourt and a later one was executed after being involved in a plot against Elizabeth I

The church building is fascinating and there are also some interesting tombstones like the one below.

The tomb stone of Samuel Lee who had been Officer of Excise for the village of Ashover who died in 1784 aged 71.  According to records the village was until the mid 18th century a very self-contained community as roads in and out of the village were just pack horse trails.  Industry in the area was varied including lead and coal mines, lime kilns and smelting works.  There were also lace makers, shoe makers, nail makers, basket makers, frame work knitters and a rope works as well as a flour mill.

Close by the church is the Crispin Inn, presumably named after St Crispin as the Battle of Agincourt was fought on St Crispin's Day.

The return of Thomas Babbington and the men of 'Asher' from the battle is commemorated on a large board over the door of the smaller part of the building which was probably once a separate house.

The board also tells the tale of landlord Job Wall who, in 1646 during the civil wars,  tried to hold back the King's troops from the inn but they turfed him out and drank the place dry.

Whilst looking up details of the church I found a reference to a letter written by the then rector Immanuel Bourne.  In it he described how the parliamentarian troops after attacking nearby Wingfield Manor entered the village and marched to the church.  The Rector apparently followed the troops at a distance and found Scout-Master Smedley in the pulpit.  

The Rector wrote  "but Lord, what stuff and nonsense he did talke, and if he could have murdered the Kyng as easily as he did the Kyng's English, the war would long have been over"

In the church is an alabaster tomb to another Thomas Babbington d. 1518 and his wife Edith d. 1511

The  church and village  suffered attacks from both sides during the civil war and all the stained glass in the church was destroyed in 1646.

The east window, above, was donated by Rector Joseph Nodder and his wife to give thanks for being saved from burglers who in 1857 broke into the rectory.

The community centre, opposite the Crispin Inn, is known as the Bassett Rooms and named after two sisters who lived in the village who were part of the Bassett family famous for creating Liquorice Allsorts.  It is said the first mix of liquorice was made in a small cottage in the village.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

52 Weeks of Happy - Week 49

Here are my four 'happy' moments from the last week - things that have made me smile............

1.  Stone Carvings -  the carvings in the roofless lay brothers' dormitory at Rufford Abbey, Nottinghamshire (see my last post) made me smile

2.  Sunrise - On Friday, the day after the storm, we woke to a most beautiful, calm sunrise

3.  Coffee for two - at the Emma Bridgewater Factory shop. They bring your order to you in a wonderful mix of patterns and styles of pottery.

4. Maypole - I know it is December not May but I love the maypole on the green in the Nottinghamshire village of Wellow.  Photo taken last Wednesday on our way to Rufford Abbey (see my last post)

Linking up with  Little Birdie  where  '52 weeks of Happy' started. Each week you find just four things that have made you happy to share.