Sunday, January 31, 2016

Muddy, Wellie Walk

Yesterday morning we went for a long walk around Greenway Bank Country Park.
I love the two stone arches left over from the gardens that were part of the estate.  There are several other features around from the formal gardens and an orchard too.

There was lots of new growth to see encouraged by the mild weather, although I have to say it was quite nippy out yesterday and hats and gloves were needed.

I spotted a clump or two of snowdrops, bobbing their delicate, snow white heads in the breeze

The pathways were in some places very muddy

Thank goodness we had our wellies on

The folly looked rather mysterious through the bare branches of the trees, it is called the folly but it is infact the Warder's Lodge built as a gamekeeper's cottage in the shape of a castle around 1828.  More info here

Knypersley reservoir looked calm in the low winter sunshine, which did come out for a while whilst we were walking around.

We could hear the sound of the cormorants before we spotted them, sunning themselves in the old, dead tree by the side of the reservoir.

There was lots of unusual fungi along the pathways.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Five on Friday

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

My five are a quick selection of random things that have been happening around the house and quite locally this week as we haven't been very far because of the weather, some decorating and the car going in for its annual service and MOT.  Just little snapshots of the week really.

1.  The Hyacinths I showed you a couple of weeks ago have grown and they are going to be blue,  I was hoping that they would be in flower for this Friday but they aren't quite there yet.  It won't be long now.

2Big Garden Birdwatch - I usually take part in this every year at the end of January and this year will be no exception.  I have registered with the RSPB who organise this event and as we feed the birds all year we haven't had to make any special provision for them, we just give them extra in very cold weather but it has been quite mild over the last few days so they will just get the usual, buggy sprinkles, sunflower hearts and niger seed, plus the fat balls.  I wonder what we will see in our chosen hour this year?

3.  New Wallpaper - the small bedroom which we use as a dressing room needed a bit of sprucing up so we spotted some pretty wallpaper in the sale at BandQ - it is now on the walls and looks very fresh and clean.  It has been a project to do indoors whilst the weather has been so wet.  It is ages since we did any wallpapering as we usually just paint the walls a fairly neutral colour and put the colour and patterns into the soft furnishings and ornaments.

4. A Ramshorn Snail - there were loads of them in the pools at Consall Nature Park when we walked there on Sunday.  I commented that it looked like an ammonite because of its flat spiral shell.

5.  Chloe - just because she is so photogenic and is nearly twenty years old and still trots across the grass like a little pony.  Her brother, is struggling with arthritis in his back legs, high blood pressure and a liver problem, we must cherish him whilst he is still with us.  He eats well, sleeps well and ventures out around his ever decreasing territory occasionally and the cats that visit our garden still respect him as the elder statesman of the cat corner we have here.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Miscellany

I thought I'd start writing the Monday Miscellany posts again as it seems a long time since the last one.

I also thought I'd share some photos of this morning's sunrise with you as it was rather wonderful.

Photos taken in the back garden over half an hour.  It is amazing how quickly it all happened before the grey and dismal day set in again

When we were children we used to say 

 'Red sky at night, shepherd's delight, red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning'

I think we have some stormy weather to come overnight and tomorrow.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Five on Friday

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

Firstly I want to thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post, I am really grateful for them all in what has been a worrying week but no more of that so off we go for my Five on Friday.

We ventured out one morning earlier in the week and walked around the lake at Trentham Gardens.  We stopped halfway round at the Lakeside Cafe for a warm drink of hot chocolate which was much needed to lift the spirits and to warm cold fingers.  Here are five of the photos I took on the way round.

1.  Coot - walking on the ice, it reminds me of the painting by Henry Raeburn of the Skating Minister - details here.  I remember being thrilled to see it in The National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.

2.  View across the lake - the Duke of Sutherland looks down over his lake from up on Monument Hill.

3.  Picnic tables - always used in the spring, summer and autumn but empty at this time of year.

4. Fairy and Dandelion - I've shown you these before but the dandelion sculptures took on a different appearance in the frosty weather.

5. Cygnet - he or she spent ages preening before finally deciding it was tidy enough to be photographed.

Below is a collage of five other photos I took on the same day.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Five on Friday

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

In a week of sad news of one kind and another it is good to focus on the simple things in life that lift the spirits and make you smile.  Sights and sounds that cheer.  Her are five things that have made me smile this week.

1.  Red Tulips in a red jug on a red cloth - so cheerful and bright, they make me smile each time I see them.

2.  Birds of one kind and another always love watching them and we will soon be getting ready to do the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch.  Above Muscovy ducks in the gardens at Buxton.  Below a starling on our bird feeder.  They have such a beautiful sheen on their feathers.

3.  Hyacinths - we forgot to plant up our bulbs this year so I bought a small pot from the local supermarket.  I can't wait for them to flower, I think they will be blue but we'll see.

4.  Food - it is good to get away from the left over seasonal food at last and use up some of the things lurking in the store cupboard.  There were a few dates left so Paul made some date bread, it was so tasty with cheese and salad.  The cheese was lovely and strong and called Snowdonia Little Black Bomber, given to us as part of a gift at Christmas.

5.  Notebooks - all new, still wrapped and just waiting to be used.  One I bought myself and two were Christmas gifts.  It is ages since I did any writing.  I used to go to a couple of writing groups and did a Creative writing course with the OU but I had let it drift over the last few years.  A friend who also writes wonderful short stories has encouraged me to pick up my pen once more and we have started writing around ten characters, each with their own story.  I am enjoying the process of writing again.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Winter Trees

Winter Trees
Black branches against a grey sky

Standing in fields
and at the side of the road
So bare 

and yet so beautiful

Standing against buildings

In parks by the lake
Looking as cold as we feel and yet sheltering us too

whilst enhancing the view.

Photos taken yesterday in the village of Tissington and the town of Buxton in Derbyshire

Friday, January 08, 2016

Five on Friday

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

We recently re - visited the town of Swadlincote in Derbyshire, this time not for family history purposes, although that does come into it, but to find the new sculpture by Ray Lonsdale.  I've shown you his work before in this post about Filey in Yorkshire - here,  and in this post about Gretna in Dumfries and Galloway - here.  Below are five more detailed photos of the sculpture.

This sculpture was commissioned by the South Derbyshire Area of the National Union of Mineworkers to commemorate the miners of South Derbyshire.  Many of my ancestors on my father's side of the family were miners in South Derbyshire starting with my 5x great grandfather who, according to one of his descendants, interviewed for the local paper in the 1960s, came from the Welsh Borders near the Forest of Dean leading a gang of men prospecting for coal.  He opened up what were known as 'bell pits' to find coal seams for the local landowners the Gresleys of nearby Drakelow and Netherseal.   As he was married at Stapenhill in 1789 I'm guessing he would have arrived in South Derbyshire in the mid to late 1780s.  I've never been able to trace exactly where he came from. 

The caption on this sculpture reads 'Don't worry son, it's just a hole in the ground where you'll find your roots.'  I think it represents a father taking his son to work down the pit for the first time.

As with all Ray Lonsdale's work I love the detail.  The miner's lamp.

The work boots

The flat cap and huge moustache.

My 5x great grandfather Thomas Gough died in 1812 and had four children, one boy and three girls.  He married a second time and had one more daughter. His only son Benjamin (my 4x great grandfather)  had nine children, eight of whom were boys.  Of those four were colliers. The other four escaped the pits and were in order of seniority a blacksmith;  a grocer, rate collector and census enumerator; a pottery manufacturer at one point setting up his own works with a partner and the fourth was a dealer in tea.

 The site on which the sculpture stands is now a retail park with a cinema.  It was formerly a pipe works and the tall chimney is from those times and is attached to what is now a Hungry Horse restaurant called, of course, The Tall Chimney.  It is strange to think that where there was once a thriving, noisy, dirty manufacturing industry there is now a rather sterile retail and service industry.  It seems to be the way of the world nowadays. The loss of a lot of manufacturing capabilities and opportunities in this country is a sad thing.  Having said that it is good to see that the old buildings have been incorporated into the new and that the site was still actively in use, albeit with the ubiquitous high street stores and pound shops.  I wonder what our ancestors would think of the sights we are used to seeing now? 

Have a lovely weekend everyone.