Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Quiet Walk

We walked along leaf scattered paths

 their dry, crispness crunching under our feet

Alone and yet not with just the sound of the breeze in the branches and the occasional twitter of a robin, unseen but heard.

 We wandered past old stone, lichen encrusted walls

and walls covered in dark green ivy which dangled towards the brown autumnal leaves on the path's floor.

 The sun came out to warm the late morning

 dappling through the trees where leaves still clung stubbornly on,  defying the breeze which was now reaching more of a bluster,  whipping up leaves from the forest floor only to shower them once more to their resting place

 The signs of autumn were everywhere, in the sounds, scents and colours of the day, reds, golds and holly greens, the calls of crows, pheasants and wood pigeons,  woodsmoke and rich earthy smells scenting the air.

 The red berries, of which there were many, glowing in the now warm noonday sun

glorious portents of the colder, harsher winter weather to come.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rainy Rowsley

There was a slight drizzle interspered with heavier rain when we arrived in Rowsley.  We'd come to photograph the church for Paul's one-name study website - yes 'Family Historying' again.  This has lain in abbeyance over the warm summer months whilst there were other things to do but now more photos and research were needed.

The village of Rowsley can be found in the White Peak area of Derbyshire and the busy main A6 road between Bakewell and Matlock cuts through the centre of the village.   It is also the village of two rivers the Derwent and the Wye which meet nearby where the Wye flows into the Derwent.  As you walk through the village you cross the bridge over the Derwent.  We parked in the shopping outlet car park and walked up to the main road past the Grouse and Claret pub which was closed, fenced off and undergoing refurbishment.  The huge 'book early for Christmas' signs would indicate that they expect to be open again by then.

The village has a wonderful old hotel at its centre. The Peacock is owned by Lord Edward Manners owner of nearby Haddon Hall.  Being near both the Derwent and Wye rivers it is famous for its fly fishing where fishermen from all over come to catch rainbow and brown trout.

It is a 17th century house built in 1652 as a manor house by John Stevenson agent of Grace, Lady Manners.  

The Peacock also served as the Dower House for Haddon Hall.

Above the main door is a ceramic Peacock, the emblem of the Manners family and made by Minton in Stoke on Trent.  You can see from the rain spatters on the photo below what a grey day it was.
 On the corner of Church Lane opposite the Peacock is the village well which bears the date of 1841.  This well is used for the famous Derbyshire Well Dressings with a display here in the summer.

Further up church Lane is the village Post Office, some very pretty cottages, a couple of farms and the church.

The village church of St Katherines was built in 1855 and before it was built villagers had to travel to either Bakewell or Beeley for their Sunday worship.

We didn't know if it would be open or not but the outer door was open and when we tried the inner door that was too.

Inside it was warm and clean and tidy - obviously loved and well looked after.

There were some interesting details in amongst the plain simplicity of the interior.

The stained glass in the east window caught my eye

As did the alabaster tomb in the side chapel

It is the memorial to Lady Catherine Manners the first wife of the 7th Duke of Rutland.

I did read something in the church about the bell turrett but I've forgotten what it said and I didn't make a note of it but I'm sure it said that the bell that was up there was originally in the chapel at Haddon Hall and was returned there in 1929.  I can't find anything on line about it so I can't check that this detail is accurate.

We then walked back down into the village and across the A6 and into Caudwell's Mill.  I've taken you to the mill before in several posts as we often stop off here for flour and I can't resist the gift shop as it has some wonderful things for sale - pretty pottery, jewellery, books and greetings cards as well as many other decorative and seasonal items.  We needed four birthday cards as we have several birthdays over the next few weeks amongst family and friends but I also ended up with a lovely mobile of foxes and pumpkins which is just right for decorating the conservatory for this season - I'll show you this in a later post.

Too wet to sit outside for a picnic so we went back to the Peak Shopping Village for coffee and a cheese scone.  They do have a cafe at Caudwell's Mill too and we've had lovely food there on several occasions.

Before we returned to the car we stood on the bridge near the mill and looked at the River Wye as it meandered down to meet the Derwent.  Rowsley is such a pretty village and we are guilty of passing through or just stopping off at the mill for flour or occasionaly at the shopping outlet but this time we had a good explore.  There are probably some corners we still haven't seen but I feel I know the place a little more now than I did before.

It's time to go out in the garden and 'batten down the hatches' ready for the winds and rain that have been forecast.  It is hard to believe that this morning I was out in a tee shirt  (no jacket required!) washing down the car after it got so muddy yesterday - but where we went to get so muddy is also, like the fox mobile, for a future post.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Misty Morning

This morning we woke up to one of those damp, misty starts of the day when there is a slight chill in the air but not enough chill to stop me popping out into the garden with my camera to see what I could find.

There were two blackbirds on top of the tree until I decided to take a photo by the time I'd got my camera switched on one had fluttered away.

At the top of the garden I could see the sun was just beginning to peep through the trees behind the shed.

  I just spotted the silken thread of the spider's web just in time.  It was strung all the way between the plum tree and the tamarisk tree for all the world like a fairy washing line. 

We still have colour in the garden - mostly pinks with the Valerian above bought here and raised from one seedpod taken from a plant at the side of the road in Abersoch on the Llyn Peninsula in Wales.  Paul calls it 'the Welsh weed' but I like it anyway.

We had to cut this clematis back in the spring as it had grown into such a tangle with itself and a honeysuckle but it is now flourishing again and is making up for its bad start this year by flowering more than it ever has done before.

The clematis was bought a few years ago from Hodnet gardens, just over the county border in Shropshire, along with the honeysuckle it had twisted itself around. Unfortunately it looks as if the strangulated honeysuckle isn't going to survive as it looks very bare and woody at the moment and has remained so all summer.  Perhaps it may come back next year?  We'll see.

When we bought the pumpkin plant from a nearby garden centre it looked as if it was going to be more orange in colour than this and larger too.  Maybe it is the lack of rain through the summer that has held it back.  We've lodged it onto the top of an upside down plant pot as it was growing out over the strawberries so we'll see how much bigger it gets before the end of the month.  A few years ago we managed to grow pumpkins to carve for Halloween but I think we'll have to buy one this year.

We still have loads of nasturtiums giving a dab or two of brightness in the corner of the garden

and the yellow rose which is always the first rose to flower in June is also always the last to flower in October.

You can see the rose in the bottom right hand corner of the photo above just below the tulip tree which is shedding its yellow and orange leaves all over the garden.

 The hydrangeas are fading beautifully this year.  I just love the colours and textures of them.  They've been a joy all summer just outside the conservatory window and they still are.

By the time I'd taken the photos and done a spot of ironing the mist had lifted and the sun was sparkling and casting shadows across the garden.

Before lunch we walked down towards Fenton Park looking back in the distance you can see the tower of the church of St James the Less which overlooks to town of Longton.  Beside it the bottle ovens at the Gladstone Pottery Museum.  As an aside the powers that be have decided that the museum should close a couple of days a week to save money.  They decided one of those days should be a Sunday!  Now they wonder why their visitor figures are down by 45%! Here's a  link to an article in local paper. Sunday is surely the one day when whole families can visit the museum or any museum come to that.  Sometimes I despair.  Anyway back to our walk.....

The trees in the park were looking wonderful with crunchy leaves strewn around

There were a few people out and about walking dogs, sitting on benches chatting together in what was now quite warm sunshine.

 There were shouts and cheers from a nearby football match on the pitches at the end of the park

It was time to go home for lunch - cabbage, potato and swede soup - sounds odd but it was quite tasty - with Paul's homemade bread.  The vegetables were left from last week's vegetable box purchase (see my previous post).

Now I've written this I'm going to settle down with a good book.  Enjoy what's left of the weekend.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Four things

Another 'four things that have made me smile' post.  

First smile was the sight of our cat Max looking a lot better than he has done for a few weeks.  We'd spent ages waiting for blood tests and we had to take him back for more blood to be taken and more tests as the Vet was concerned he may have feline hyperthyroidism but thankfully this isn't the case.

  He's had trouble with his eyes for a while and we thought he may be losing his sight.  He is 18 after all, a good age for a cat. His sister has lost most of her hearing although she is more active and agile than her brother.  It turns out that he has very high blood pressure, a heart murmur and a very fast heart rate.  Since he has been taking his little half tablet a day for this problem his pupils have almost returned to their normal appearance.  This isn't all though as he also has to take medication for the arthritis in his back legs.  One lot for 4 days a week and the other for 3 days a week.  It is very complicated and he mustn't take too much of one of them so we've had to draw up a chart of each day for the next month and tick off what we have given him.  All worth it though to see him looking better.

On Wednesday we drove out to Wolesley Gardens the headquarters of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust for a walk around.  I spotted some lovely things that made me smile. I love the willow badger sculpture and was pleased to see that there were still some sweet peas growing up the lovely butterfly sculpture.  The bright yellow of the sunflowers and the quince fruits were stunning in the bright sunlight.

On Friday we drove up to Biddulph Grange Gardens to take advantage of the lovely sunshine we saw a sign for an Artisans and craft market in the town centre so decided to stop and take a look.  There was an outside broadcast by Moorlands Radio taking place in front of the town hall  and quite a few stalls offering hand made goods and local produce.

 We bought a huge box of vegetables for £5 from one of the food stalls and I can see quite a few of next weeks meals in there.  We've already had half the cauliflower and I think there will certainly be a vegetable casserole,  bubble and squeak, carrot and parsnip soup and homity pie to name just a few from the contents of the box.  There was also a turnip, brussels sprouts and onions in the box and all of good quality.

Just a mile or so up the road is Biddulph Grange and we walked for a while before stopping for our cheese sandwich and apple juice lunch.  Mrs Bateman's Dahlia walk was looking splendid. 

As was the Chinese garden - there weren't many visitors there so some areas we had completely to ourselves.  There were also some photography students taking some unusual shots - the whole garden is so photogenic and inspiring in any season.

Hope some of my smiley moments made you smile too.