Friday, July 31, 2015

Five on Friday

Once again I'm joining in with  Amy at Love Made my Home for Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

This is the last Five on Friday until September so I thought I'd show you some photos I took last Friday on a visit to Wolseley Visitor Centre the headquarters of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. 

As members we visit both here and their other visitor centre at Westport Lake quite often as well as walking around some of their smaller nature reserves too.  The carving below always catches my eye when we visit Wolseley.

It was carved by North Staffordshire artist Anthony Hammond who specialises in using wood, especially 'green' wood in his sculptures.  The piece above, which was unveiled last year by Countryfile presenter John Craven, was carved into the trunk of a Cedar of Lebanon tree on which the branches had become unstable after weather damage.

There are some wonderful, animals, birds, insects and fish carved into the trunk so I thought I would show you five of them.


Assuming this is a water vole but I could be wrong of course.


Dragon Fly?


All for now, have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Photo Scavenger Hunt - July

Once again it's time to join in with the Photo Scavenger Hunt kindly organised by greenthumb at Made with Love  just click on the link  to find other participants.

For some reason I've really struggled with this month's topics, it has taken me ages to find things and even now I'm not quite happy with the photos I've taken.  I think it is because we haven't been out and about as much as we did in June mainly because of the weather being so unseasonal and I haven't been feeling very inspired.  Anyway here goes with my July photos.......

D is for?

Dahlias in pots in the garden.  I was hoping that the larger one behind the little pink one would be in flower by now but the cooler weather and lack of sun is probably holding it back.  I did see a twelve spot ladybird resting on it though.


 A wide expanse of land and sky taken as a panoramic view towards Castleton in Derbyshire from the old road which used to go up to Mam Tor


Guinea Fowl sitting on the edge of a fence at the Peak Wildlife Park, near Leek, Staffordshire 


 A row of old cylindrical oil drums at Aston Marina, near Stone in Staffordshire.


The cafe at Middleport Pottery, Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.  If you are feeling hungry the food here is very tasty


 Don't you always wonder what is behind a closed door or gate?  Door to the secret garden at the Trentham Estate, Staffordshire.


 In the garden thistles like nettles are weeds but out in the countryside they become quite beautiful.  Photo taken from the boardwalk at Jackson's Coppice, near Sugnall, Staffordshire.


 I was seeking out a rubber band in the little box where everything is put when we don't know where else to put them.  Things like old stamps, foreign coins, bells off cat collars, paper clips, bits that have broken off things and may some time in the future be useful - you get the picture - anyway in amongst all this were some little plastic toys and a couple of jokes from Christmas Crackers.


A pile of pottery moulds in a window at Middleport Pottery, Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent.

A model boat on the lake at Westport, near Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent


 The night sky, taken from our front bedroom window.

Whatever you Want 
I thought I'd take you back to the post I did on the wildflowers at Trentham Gardens for my 'whatever you want'  as they were so beautiful.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Castle Acre

In this post I'm taking you back to Norfolk where we spent a few days at the end of June.  There are still a couple of places that I want to record, I've already written a post on Castle Rising and Pensthorpe Waterfowl Gardens so next up is Castle Acre.  It is a lovely village and boasts the ruins of both a Priory and a Castle and we visited both.

It was quite a warm day - seems like a dream after the weather we've been experiencing lately - but warm it was.  We were the first visitors to arrive at the Priory ruins that day so, like we did with Castle Rising, had the place to ourselves for about half an hour which was good for taking photographs without feeling I was in anyone's way.

Both the Castle and the Priory were built by the de Warenne family.  William de Warenne was a Norman Knight who fought at the Battle of Hastings built the castle and his son and other descendants founded the Priory towards the end of the 11th century.  Here is a - link - to more of its history.

The West front of the Priory church which even in ruins is very impressive in length and height.  The monks at Castle Acre Priory were members of the Cluniac order and they were noted for their seven assemblies each day which were very elaborate with processions, masses, songs and prayer, for which this long elegant church must have been an inspirational backdrop.

The outer entrance porch to the right of the photos and the Prior's Lodgings

The Nave of the Priory Church showing part of the 15th century west window.

The steps would have led to the monk's dormitory on the first floor

The latrine block - the infirmary would have been above this

A side view of the Prior's Lodgings

A view of the Priory ruins from the Brew House, the priory had its own kitchens, fishponds, brew house, bakery, water mill and barn and as you wander around you can spot where these would have been.

You can stand on the little balcony above as you go inside the Prior's Lodgings.

Underneath the West range which contains the Prior's Lodgings which include a study and a private chapel.

The Prior's Study

Above some of the smaller architectural details I spotted on the way round the ruins

As you enter the visitor centre and entrance you pass by the herb garden which is tucked away at the side.  It was in a very pretty courtyard with herbs set in four sections for use in the Priory - herbs for strewing, healing, decorative and culinary uses.  There were many herbs and scented geraniums for sale too and I'd meant to go back to have a better look before moving on to the castle, but I changed my mind as I was so tempted to buy plants and we couldn't have looked after them on our travels.

The castle is a fine example of a motte and bailey castle and the inner and outer baileys are clearly still very well defined.  You can walk through the village from the Priory to the Castle or the other way round of course as there is ample parking at both places.  We decided to take the car with us as we wanted to have a picnic lunch at the castle and it seemed easier to take it with us.

The inner bailey on the hill

From the walkway above castle walls you can see where the main entrance to the castle would have been.  Above is what remains of the west gate.

In my next 'return to Norfolk' post I want to tell you about Oxburgh Hall, but there may be another Five on Friday and the July Scavenger Hunt before then.  I still have some photos to get for the scavenger hunt as I'm struggling a bit with it for some reason.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Five on Friday

Once again I'm joining in with  Amy at Love Made my Home for Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

First though I'd like to say thank you for all your comments on my last post I just haven't had the time to reply to each one of them like I usually do so I hope this general thank you will show you how grateful I am for each and every comment.

This week I thought I'd show you five plants and/or flowers from the garden and greenhouse that seem to be doing well even though the weather isn't very good at the moment, it certainly doesn't feel like July in my part of the country anyway.

1.  Sweet Peas - they have been lovely this year and so many different colours too.

2.  Hydrangea - these flowers start as a bright blue, then fade to a paler blue before they turn more lilac in colour.  I love watching the changes each day as they grow right outside the conservatory.

3.  Pumpkins - so far so good - I'd love to have just one for the end of October.

4. Tomatoes - we've had a few tomatoes already - they always taste so good straight off the plant don't they?

 5. Courgettes - we had one or two from these plants too - courgette bake with your own courgettes and tomatoes is lovely.

Have a lovely weekend everyone

Saturday, July 18, 2015


The wildflowers in the gardens at Trentham when we went for a walk around the lake on Friday morning.  They were looking wonderful in the sunshine and attracting many photographers as well as those just taking in the beauty of it all.

I thought I'd share them with you.  Hope you enjoyed seeing them.