Saturday, May 31, 2014

Didn't we have a lovely time?

The day we went to Shugborough!  The lovely Jane from Plain Jane had organised a blog meet at Shugborough and it being in the same county as me and not very far away I couldn't not go.  I hadn't met any of the lovely people who came along before but I needn't have worried we all got along fine and chatted and laughed and enjoyed ourselves as, after a picnic lunch in the walled garden,  we wandered around the house and grounds.

My lovely companions for the afternoon Mel, Gilly, Jane and Jacquie.  Thank you for your friendly welcome and a special thank you to Gilly for her super, tasty homemade biscuits.

The gardens were looking lovely but as usual when I am chattering I forgot to take lots of photos.  So I've just included a few of the views and scenes that caught my eye.

From the inside out

From top to bottom

Delicate images


and intimate spaces............

As I've taken you here in previous posts I haven't enlarged on the history of the place.  

Thanks, to Jane for organising and to all of you for your wonderful company - we did have a lovely time didn't we?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Yesterday's Walk

After staying indoors all day Sunday because of the constant rain,  we were champing at the bit to get out and about on Monday so we were up early and set out to walk at one of our favourite places - Consall Nature Park.

  This time we decided to walk down to the railway bridge and then up into the woods and pick up the Moorlands Walk and follow it as far as we felt like before turning back.  It was a lovely morning, bright and clear, just right for a stroll in the woods and meadows.

We climbed up the steps in Booth's Wood, the last time we were here the Bluebells were in bloom, they had all but gone this time. 

 The wood had changed from blues to whites and we walked up through fronds of Cow Parsley and Hawthorne.

We climbed over the stile

 I love the Lapwing on the way signs.

into the buttercup meadow

which we crossed, following the signs to pick up the path to continue the walk

As we walked we saw two rabbits, a stoat and the lovely fellow below.  It was strange that as we saw the pheasant we could actually hear a peacock calling which must have been in the garden of one of the houses in the distance.

After a while, conscious that we had to repeat the journey in the opposite direction we turned and made our way back along the path and through the woods

As we entered the country park again we went down to the ponds to see if we could spot any damsel flies.  We didn't see any but the yellow flag iris were in flower and everything was looking so lush after the rain.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Scenes fron a Rain Drenched Garden

Gosh, it has been a wet week again hasn't it?  Hard to get out in the garden to do much work and the lawns are soaked and can't be cut yet.  Hedges need trimming too but there are still baby birds around so at the moment it seems that all is on hold until the little ones are fledged and the rain goes away again for a while.

The garden is looking lush and green from the dampness and various colours are taking over.  Aquilegias are predominant right now.  Each year their colour seems to change when we first came here they were pink with darker centres now they are purple and blue.

The Tamarisk tree is looking pretty at the moment with its soft pink foliage.

Don't look too closely at the fence, gate  and bench they are in a bad way and certainly need painting again if nothing else although the bench can't be sat upon except by the cats as the slats in the seat are rotting away.  This is an area which needs sorting including cutting back the clematis and honeysuckle which should be spreading across the fence but have all clumped together at one side of it as if in protest at our neglect and who can blame them?

When it is dry again the umbrella will go out and we can sit outside for elevenses!  

The rhododendrons are looking good at the moment!

 I'm not sure which colour I like best.

The Peonies are drenched with rain and the ones on the front garden have collapsed under the weight of the rain. 

There are going to be lots of strawberries again this year

The herbs are looking quite healthy too!  Rosemary, lavender, chives, sage and thyme.

The Clematis Montana climbs up through the trees at the top of the garden

and out into the plum tree - lots of little plums on the tree this year!  Last year there were only twelve plums on the whole tree.

I love making plum jam later in the year

 As I type this post it is still raining outside of course the rain encourages the slugs and snails which seem to like the chew on my lupins.  I keep them in a pot so that I can move them around and clear out the wretched snails nearly every day.  The lupins have also been sprayed with washing up liquid (Ecover) in water to rid them of little white flies but hard work has been rewarded and the plants have started to flower - at last!

I hope you've enjoyed a little peek at the garden. Don't look too closely though as there is much to do - as soon as the rain stops of course.  It will, won't it?

Just to raise a smile - young starlings!

Happy Weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Filey Fisherman

When I saw this - post  - about Freddie Gilroy on Diane's Heart Shaped blog I knew it 'rang a bell' although I hadn't seen the sculpture featured on her blog it looked and felt familiar.  When we were up on the Yorkshire coast at the end of April we visited the lovely little town of Filey and on the cobble is the sculpture below.

We thought it was wonderful and it was attracting quite a few people.  The detail in the 12ft high steel sculpture is incredible.

I loved the textures in the fisherman's face and the way he was placed firmly in the landscape, looking out to sea.  A fitting tribute to all those brave souls who ventured out every day to provide fish for our tables.  It is also depicts the decline in the area's fishing industry.

I also loved the rat trying to pinch the wrapped fish at the fisherman's feet.

The sculpture is by Ray Lonsdale and called High Tide in Short Wellies and was given to the town of Filey by local resident Maureen Robinson who also gave the statue of Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers by the same artist to the town of Scarborough.

There is a poem and a tribute at the base of the sculpture which were hard to read as they had weathered somewhat and the sun was at the wrong angle but I have done some 'googling' and found the words so I've pasted them below.

‘A high tide in short wellies’
That’s it for me, I’ll see you later.
Gonna wrap this catch in protective paper,
Gonna face the sea with a thousand mile stare
And wish that I was floating there
In its summertime.
Down on the pier I saw a man with a board
It read ‘the end is near, accept your lord.
Then underneath this some fisherman wrote.
‘I can see the end from the back of my boat
‘This is wintertime.

I wish to donate the sculpture to the people of Filey, and to dedicate it to my dear husband Michael, to celebrate his 76th birthday (9 February 2012)

What a lovely tribute and such generosity to give two wonderful sculptures to be enjoyed by the residents and many visitors to both Scarborough and Filey.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Scenes from the Last Week

It has been a strange week somehow!  The events of last week started those of this in that last Wednesday we were due our yearly central heating boiler service.  The boiler was 16 years old and we had been thinking about replacing it perhaps this summer but when the maintenance man arrived he took one look and condemned it! I think he thought it was one of these.

 We got a local firm to look at replacing it but they couldn't come until Monday.  Of course the lack of heat had to coincide with a dip in the temperatures over the last very damp weekend.  However Monday eventually arrived and we now have a new boiler installed just as the weather has turned warmer again.  The gas fitters discovered another problem so the next day we had to have a plumber in before we could reconnect the washing machine but now all is well, the cats are happy and warm again and there is washing blowing on the line in the sunshine. We did manage to get out and about a bit during the week so below are some of the things we have seen and done.

The Tudor Group at Haddon Hall on Saturday 10th May, it was a damp, showery day with far fewer visitors than I remember from last time.  The two ladies in the chapel were practising a song from the period - their voices raised together in complete harmony made the hairs stand on the back of my neck. 

A walk in the bluebell woods in between the showers.  I can never seem to capture the intense blue.  You can just see an orange tip butterfly on one of the flowers bottom right.

Out in the garden on Thursday after what seemed like days of rain.  The lawns were cut some weeding started and the front drive tidied up and the windows cleaned.

Yesterday, Friday, we went to Biddulph Grange for our friend's special birthday.  After lunch at home we spent the afternoon wandering around and enjoyed tea and cake in the cafe.  Such a treat and lovely to spend time with special friends.

I just had to add this photo of some runner ducks in the wet car park at Rowsley where we had stopped on our way to Haddon Hall.  The car park was full of ducks who all went rushing to each new car as it arrived in the hope of food coming their way. 

Hope you have a lovely weekend.