Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Photo Scavenger Hunt - April

April seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye and it's time to join in again with the Photo Scavenger Hunt kindly organised by greenthumb at Made with Love  just click on the link for other participants.

Upside Down

Living, as I do now, in Stoke-on-Trent, I've learnt that where ever you are in the world if you see someone, perhaps in a cafe or restaurant, turning crockery upside down then they are probably from Stoke-on-Trent and checking the origins of the plates or cups they are using.  There is even a club you can join which used to be called 'The turn-over club' now known as the 'Backstamp club'. I was looking through the cupboards recently and came across this tea pot which was the first teapot my mum had as a new bride in 1938, I think bought by my father.  It has the name Sudlow's on it made in one of the six towns of the Potteries, the mother town, Burslem.  Although it is now further south in the city, having travelled through Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire over the years, it has sort of come home.  Apparently Sudlow's operated from the Adelaide Pottery Works from 1886 to 1965.


Clouds over Rufford Country Park for the Grand Historical and Vintage Bazaar


Carved in wood outside the church of The Holy Cross at Ilam, Staffordshire

Something Sweet

On the sweet stall at the Rufford Country Park Grand Historical and Vintage Bazaar


 Twisted unfurling leaves of plants in one of the ponds at Wolesley Nature Reserve, Staffordshire


Stained glass inside the church of The Holy Cross at Ilam, Staffordshire


Inside one of the garden houses at Trentham Garden Centre there was a little balcony with a bed.


There hasn't been a lot of rain this month, April seems to have been quite dry and what rain we have had has been through the night or quick downpours when I haven't had a camera handy.  We have been making our own rain though and watering all the plants in the evening.


A lone painted egg left in a tree at Trentham gardens after the Easter Egg hunt - it was still there last week.


From the garden - rhubarb for a crumble and mint to go with new potatoes


The large feet of a Muscovy Duck

Whatever you want 

A photo given to me by a distant cousin I never knew existed until we met for the first time in Leek last week.  His father was my father's cousin, they were also best friends.  Here they both are in the photo above, my father, Harry Lawrence, centre back and next to him, on his left,  his cousin and friend Tom Edwards.  Taken in the mid 1920s - you may wonder how I come to have a father who was born in 1909 but I was a late child for him born when he was nearly 41 - he died when I was five years old so I have very few memories of him - it was lovely to have this photo of him looking young and healthy.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Grand Historical and Vintage Bazaar

On Saturday we met up with family members and visited Rufford Abbey in Nottinghamshire  which is close to where they live.

The Grand Historical and Vintage Bazaar was a fascinating event and well worth the parking fee as everything else was free including all the arena events.

There were loads of stalls selling vintage clothes, there were re-enactor sales and traders of historical items.

There was also what seemed like a huge village of tents of varying types and colours where the re-enactment groups were positioned and there was so much activity and so many costumes from different periods of history along the rows.

There seemed to be characters from all centuries and eras walking around chatting to each other.  You came across Napoleonic soldiers chatting to second World War land girls.  Saracens strolling around with Roman soldiers and early 19th century street urchins, suitably grubby, chatting to medieval nuns.  The sun shone for most of the day, we sat on the lawns to picnic on home made pizza which we shared with each other and a robin or two.

The whole things was wonderfully bizarre at the Grand Historical Bazaar.  Below are more photos to give you a flavour of the day.

 I think these are fire wardens from the 2nd World War.  They were happy to pose for photographs.

 An American Officer and a British Land Girl

Keeping the seams straight - not sure whether they are painted on with gravy browning though!  These ladies were having a wonderful time chattering in the sunshine.

More second world war costumes and 40s costumes

 Fish wife - her basket was full of fish and other 19th century street traders from the group known as The Ragged Victorians.

 More early 19th century costumes

 Soldiers from 1815

2nd world war soldier taking a break

First world war ladies

The Roman Military Research Society


 Medieval Ladies

 Comitatus - the late-Roman re-enactment group

 The Tudor Group were separate from all the other groups, they had set up camp in the woods amongst the bluebells.

There were also some vintage vehicles on display

Just as we were leaving the heavens opened I hope all those tents were waterproof!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Five on Friday

Joining in this week with  Amy at Love Made my Home and Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

We have a fairly large garden as we are on the end of a row this is the garden from the top near the shed and plum tree to the bottom of the back garden.  You can also see across to what we call the top lawn behind the house.

 The garden is suddenly coming alive with flowers, pond life and birds nesting and waking us each morning with the dawn chorus.  Suddenly Spring really is here so below are five lovely signs of spring from the garden

1.  Blossom on the plum tree I hope we don't have another cold spell it may affect the amount of fruit we have on the tree.

2. Tulips opening up in the heat of the day and then closing again in the cool of the evening

3. Pieris japonica in full bloom - this plant has been in the garden since we first came here and has struggled through many years but this year it looks wonderful.

4.  Clumps of wild violets all over the garden, in cracks between paving stones, in the gravel paths, halfway up steps, around the bottom of gateways and  raised beds.  They look so pretty even in the wrong place.

5.  The Amelanchier or snowy mespilus tree was bare not two weeks ago and look at it now - it glows in the evening light - I took this photo at 8.30p.m. from the bedroom window.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Five on Friday

Joining in this week with  Amy at Love Made my Home and Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

Five different things spotted
yesterday at our local gardens and garden centre

1. Weird and wonderful play houses for the garden that look as if they have stepped out of a fairy tale or nursery rhyme

2.  Gorgeous, frothy pink and white blossoms dancing in the sunshine

3. Bright, sharp, citrus greens and yellows

4. Unusual decorative statues and other items for the garden

5. Signs of Spring from around the gardens, couldn't resist including my favourite geese and ducks.

We have a busy week ahead today I'm meeting a relative I never knew I had in Belper, Derbyshire.  Sunday we have friends coming to lunch, next week I'm meeting a long lost 2nd cousin in Leek and next weekend we'll be meeting up with my brother in law and his family for a historic re-enactment weekend.  So I'm  sorry, I'm a bit short on words this week but I hope you enjoy the photos.

I hope to get around to reading all your Five on Friday posts this evening.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Fortified Manor House

Stokesay Castle which stands just a mile outside Craven Arms in Shropshire isn't really a castle but a rather wonderful fortified manor house. 

The property was purchased in 1281 by a wealthy wool merchant called Lawrence of Ludlow by this time the Anglo-Welsh wars had ended and it was safe to built a manor house, even though fortified, so close to the Welsh borders.

The entrance to the castle is through the 17th century gatehouse, built in 1641, just before the start of the English Civil War in what is known as the Marches style.  In 1645 during the Civil War Stokesay Castle surrendered to the Parliamentarian forces without any serious fighting.

The timber framed roof in the great hall is dated around 1291

Little has been altered since then

The timbers in the roof are magnificent

and the lofty, shuttered windows let in lots of light

Above the hall is the North Tower, the view from the windows show the nearby church

above is the tower from down in the moat - you can see how it was constructed

On the opposite side of the great hall is the solar block and in the main room are the fine 17th century carvings and wood panels added at the same time as the gatehouse.

The tower has several floors and being open to the elements was full of twittering sparrows and swooping swallows - the first we had seen this year.  Apparently bats live here too.  Above a scene of the courtyard taken from the top of the tower and below are the rooftops of the solar and great hall with the church behind.

Back down in the courtyard a better view of the lovely and distinctive  gatehouse with the little tea shop next door

There is a walk around the moat and down there it was warm and sheltered in the sun and full of spring flowers and buzzing bees.

After visiting the castle we went into the church

The church of St John the Baptist was founded in the 12th century but was rebuilt in the 17th century because, unlike the castle it did see some fighting during the Civil war.

In 1646 a party of Royalists and their horses took refuge inside but were driven out by the Parliamentarians who had taken the nearby castle.  The south side of the nave was destroyed completely by canon shot.

The church was rebuilt around 1654.  The gallery at the west end was where the church musicians would assemble, there is an organ there now.  The boxed and canopied pews date from around 1665.

Thank you for all your comments on my Five on Friday post.  I've visited most of you in return I hope and left a comment on your posts but there are a couple of you that I can't leave a comment with as I'm requested to join 'google plus' and I don't want to do that so apologies if you haven't had a comment from me.  I have visited, read and appreciated your lovely posts.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.