Monday, February 29, 2016

Photo Scavenger Hunt - February

February has dashed by so quickly in its haste to get into Spring! It is usually a month I dread but it hasn't been too bad this year, quite kind in fact.  It is time for this month's Photo Scavenger Hunt kindly hosted by greenthumb at Made with Love. I completely missed January's hunt so it is good to be back again. February's topics are......


The grass in the fields was looking fresh and green as we walked around the reservoir at Tittesworth in the Staffordshire Moorlands near Leek.  The sheep were enjoying munching the grass.  The Roaches can be seen in the distance.


Two teasels at the Wolseley Centre, headquarters of the Staffordshire wildlife Trust near Rugeley in Staffordshire.  The teasels were in the garden area near the bird feeders.  This brought back childhood memories for me, a friend and I kept a couple of teasels in a shoe box for ages and pretended they were baby hedgehogs.  It kept us happy for ages - we were only six or seven at the time!


 We had a cool morning walk around the lake at Trentham Gardens, it was definitely scarf, hat and gloves weather.  The lake was frozen in parts and all the puddles were icy.

Somewhere you went

 We visited the Shirehall at Stafford to see an exhibition called, 'Still, still life' it was fascinating but of course no photos allowed of the exhibition.  Also in the building is the old court house and gaol.  I did take photos in there and I'll share them another time, just one I'm including further along here.


The plane was up but coming down to land at Manchester Airport, the planes are taking off and landing at regular intervals  Photo taken from the John Lewis car park at Cheadle Hulme in Cheshire.


The River Trent and water meadows framed in the window of the bird hide at Trentham Gardens. 

From a Low angle

I had to crouch right down to get this photos of a Hellebore flower in the gardens at Trentham after our cool walk around the lake.

On the Shelf

Specimens on a display shelf  in the natural history gallery at Derby Museum and Art Gallery.


 A hand written notice about speciality teas in the Lakeside cafe at Trentham Gardens.


 Inside the holding cell under the court house at the Shire Hall, Stafford.  An art installation by Sophie Symes which shows lichen growing on a body.  It depicts the feeling of being overwhelmed taking over the body and likens it to lichen growing on and overwhelming a tree.


Steam train on the line at Cheddleton Station which is on the Churnet Valley Railway near Leek in Staffordshire


 We were trying to work out from its shape what the new sculpture was at Trentham Gardens.  It is between the lake and the River Trent where you can sometimes see Kingfishers and that is what the sculpture is going to be - a diving Kingfisher.

Click on the link below to find others who are participating

Scavenger Hunt

Friday, February 26, 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 had a wander around the lovely village of Hartington in Derbyshire.  We were on our way to meet friends for lunch in the nearby village of Longnor.  As it was such a bright and sunny morning we set out early and stopped in the village for a while to take some photos for this post.

The centre of the village

The village pump

The Post Office

a lovely Bed and Breakfast house

St Giles Church 
I have written a separate post about this church as we went to have a peek inside. I'll post this in a few days time after February's Scavenger Hunt photos.

Below are five historical facts about the village of Hartington borrowed from the little guide book we bought in the church.

1.  The village, although in Derbyshire, is just over the geographical border from Staffordshire.

2.It is also on a geological border between the limestone of the White Peak of Derbyshire and the sandstone/gritstone of Staffordshire.  

3. The village is said to have been first settled in Anglo Saxon times and its original name is thought to be derived from a 6th century Mercian farmer named Heorta.  In the Domesday Book it is called Hortedun but by the 14th century it was known as Hurtyngton.  By 1541 it had become Hartington.

4.  The present church is dedicated to St Giles and this is through to derive from 1203 when a grant and charter was obtained to hold a market and fair in the village.  This was held over three days in September on the feast of St Giles.  According to records it was the first market in this area of the Peak District.

5. In 1663 the manor of Hartington was bought by the third Earl of Devonshire which is why historically the eldest son of the Dukes of Devonshire always has the title of the Marquis of Hartington.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Five on Friday

It's Friday again!  Where has that week gone?  It is also a very special Friday as it is a celebration of Five on Friday being a year old.  Thank you to the lovely Amy for organising us all, it is always such fun to see what everyone has posted each week.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find other bloggers who are joining in too.

Yesterday we visited the City of Derby just for a couple of hours to photograph a small pterosaur bone in the City Museum and Art Gallery.  Below are some of the other things we saw there and elsewhere in the city centre.

 1. In the Museum - an inventive way to raise funds for the Museum.  Up the staircases were different pictures of birds with the donors' names underneath.  Local company Rolls Royce were there and so was television presenter Michaela Strachan. You can buy a bird from £25 upwards and for the top price of £250 plus you get a Peregrine Falcon. Every year the Peregrines nest on the tower of Derby Cathedral.   Lots of local families seem to have joined in but there is plenty of wall left to fill with birds.

2. Joseph Wright of Derby -  best known for his light filled and interior paintings most famous of which is The Orrery.  These are on the walls in the main gallery where, of course,  I couldn't take photos (you can see the works here) but there was a workshop full of ideas for writing stories and drawing pictures around his painting of a Blacksmith's shop.  Again lots of activity and people joining in.  Although in the next gallery a live giant stick insect seemed to be the most popular exhibit of the day.
 3. Bess of Hardwick (1527 - 1608) - From the Museum to the Cathedral where there was a seminar in progress up by the main altar and also visitors like us wandering around.  We found the memorial to the famous Bess of Hardwick in the Cavendish Chapel and were able to take a few quick photos as this was where refreshments for the seminar were to be served.  You can see the blue clothed table in front of the memorial.  Also in here was a stone slab made for the grave of Joseph Wright of Derby as well as many other brass inscriptions to various members of the Cavendish family including Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (1757 -1806) just over the stairs to the St Katherine's Chapel.  More on Bess of Hardwick here.

4.  Glimpses into the past - lots of little nooks and crannies can be found around the Cathedral Quarter.  Amen Alley runs down the side the building; we also found the Blacksmith's shop at the end of Blacksmith's Alley.  The date over the black door is 1675 and the date on The Old Bell Hotel 1717 both can be found on Sadler Gate

5.  Bonnie Prince Charlie - Charles Edward Stuart (1720 - 1788) also known as the Young Pretender.  In 1745 he and his supporters set out for London to try and claim the throne back for the Stuarts.  He got as far as Swarkstone Bridge and retreated from there via Ashbourne to Derby and thence back to Scotland where he escaped to France after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden.  More history here

Hope you've enjoyed this short visit to Derby.
Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Blue Skies and Magpies

At last we've had a few dry and sometimes sunny days.  Walks are still quite muddy underfoot but it has been great to get out into the countryside.

On Sunday morning we walked at the Consall Nature Park, we walked for over two hours and although cold it was bright and sunny.  The birds were twittering in the bare branches of the trees, the geese and ducks were honking and quacking on the pools, pheasants were calling in the fields and high in the sky buzzards were mewling and thermalling to their hearts content.

Yesterday we popped down to Stafford and again it was sunny and dry and the sky was a deep blue.  

 I'll write more about our visit later on this week.
We noticed over the weekend that the magpies have returned to their nest in the trees just over our hedge at the back of the garden.  We don't normally see the nest and it will be hidden as soon as the new leaves appear on the trees.

Even though it is very cold the bright sunshine must have encouraged the birds to think about repairing and preparing their nest for Spring.  You can see one magpie on top of the nest and the other underneath it.  We have also seen frogs in the pond which is one of the first signs that Spring isn't too far away.


Friday, February 12, 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.

I thought I'd share five of my ancestors with you today

1.  Alexander Joseph Limb (1884 - 1954)
Born in Awsworth, Nottinghamshire he was my grandfather on my mother's side of the family.  He married my grandmother Florence Mary Stubbs in May 1906 at the Baptist chapel in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.  They lived in Shirebrook and grandad worked at the colliery where he looked after the pit ponies.  The child in this photo was my mother's brother William Edward who had been named after my great grandfather William Edward Limb who was killed in a pit cage accident at Shirebrook Colliery in March 1907.  My grandfather had the sad duty of identifying his father and registering his death.  Just a week later he was registering the birth of my mother's sister.  Unfortunately little William Edward died of meningitis in 1910.  Grandad was always known as Joe,  his first name Alexander comes from his mother's side of the family who moved to Loughborough in Leicestershire from Kirkaldy near Fife, Scotland early in the 1820s. My mother used to say that when she was a child there was always a photo of a man with a big white beard who was wearing a kilt on the wall.  She never knew why until many years later, just before she died, I found the Scottish connection.  I wonder what happened to that photograph?  

 2.  Joseph Limb (1837 - 1914)

My great great grandfather Joseph Limb was born in Shipley Wood near Heanor in Derbyshire and was baptised in 1837 at the Shipley Wood Primitive Methodist Chapel.  He married Alice Reeve, who already had a daughter Sarah Ann, in Awsworth in Nottinghamshire on Christmas Day 1860.  The family moved from Awsworth to Staveley and then back to Awsworth before settling in Shirebrook. He died at his daughter's house in Lace Street, Beeston, Nottingham in 1914. I was lucky to be contacted by the  grandaughter of Alice's daughter Sarah.  Alice LaCour lived in Folsom, Pensylvania, USA and was a country and western singer who used the name Lonnie Lynne LaCour.  We exchanged many e-mails, photos and family stories over the years, she was a lovely lady.

 3.  Martha Elizabeth Stubbs (nee Matthews) (1854 - 1915)

Martha my great grandmother on my mother's side of the family was born in Welby, near Grantham in Lincolnshire the daughter of a Saddle maker named Edward Matthews and his wife the wonderfully Dickensian sounding Betsy Charity.  She married my great grandfather William Stubbs at the Weslyan Methodist Chapel in Grantham and they lived in Hose and then Long Clawson in Leicestershire.  On the 1881 census William is listed as a farmer of 63 acres.  When he died Martha married again and moved eventually to Shirebrook in Nottinghamshire.  She is buried in the cemetery there not far from William Edward Limb.  The two little girls were twins Olive and Violet, my mother's cousins.  They emigrated to Canada around the time of WW1.  Little Olive died in a diphtheria epidemic but Violet lived to a ripe old age living and working in Ottawa for the government.  She travelled all over the world and as a child and teenager I loved her Christmas letters full of her adventures.  She visited us a couple of times too so I was lucky to meet her and spend time with her.

4.  Rosa Gough (nee Edwards) (1879 - 1963)

My lovely granny Rose, my father's mother.  I still have the mirror decorated with roses and a blue bird which she left me in her will.  I have happy memories of visiting her house.  She used to make me clothes for my dolls and used to tell me tales of her and her sisters' childhoods.  Her house was highly polished and in the 'best' room she had paintings on the walls and wax flowers under glass domes.  She used to give me a ten shilling note when we visited.  She was so very understanding after my father died and Mum married again.  I always remember her in her flowery 'pinny', hair in a bun making her way down the hallway of her house struggling on bowed legs - something that would be rectified at a young age today.

5.  Sarah Ann Edwards (nee Hodgetts) (1855 - 1939)

Sara Ann was my great grandmother on my father's side of the family.  That is her on the left of the photo in a check shirt and white apron.  She was apparently little and feisty.  She was born in Birmingham in 1855.  On the 1861 Census the Hodgetts family are living in the St Martin's area of Birmingham in 3 House, Court 10, Alleston Street.  Every member of the family had jobs making things at home.  When we visited the National Trust Back to Back houses a few years ago I imagined that she would have lived somewhere like that.  When her mother re-married she and her brother moved with her to Newhall and Midway near Swadlincote in Derbyshire.  Sarah Ann married Thomas Edwards at Newhall Parish Church on 14th February 1875.  Granny Rose (above) was her second daughter. 

I hope you have enjoyed my little look into my family history.

Have a lovely weekend everyone. 

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Out and About

We woke up to a dry morning after yesterday's rain - Hurrah!  Still can't get into the garden though as most of it is sodden and some of it under water.

 There are one or two signs of life in the garden.  The first signs of rhubarb and some catkins on the hazel tree.

We decided that, as the sun was shining and the rain had disappeared, we'd walk around Westport Lake

 A pair of Great Crested Grebes

 Black Swan
 More Grebes - there are two there and they had been displaying but I didn't catch them in time for a photo.

Canada Geese and Rock Doves or 'town hall' pigeons as my neighbour calls them.

We walked around both lakes then had coffee at the visitor centre before walking along the canal.

 This is the Trent and Mersey Canal at Westport. We have walked up this towpath as far as the Harecastle Tunnel at Kidsgrove but today we just ambled along for a shorter walk.

The light and reflections were wonderful 

Back home, it being Shrove Tuesday today, we had a late lunch of pancakes served with orange juice.  Delicious.

Friday, February 05, 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.

Finding joy in small things, here are five random moments that have made me smile this week.

1.  Siskins - we had some different visitors to our feeders this week.  We were visited by a male and two female siskins. The second female was sitting in the hedge nearby.  They aren't seen around here very often.  Now why couldn't they have visited during the Big Garden Bird Watch?  (see my last post for details of what we saw)

2.  Squirrels - there are always three running around the garden looking very plump and very sleek.  One on a stone, one on the back of a bench and the third at the top of the juniper tree.  They all have cream markings behind their ears and I believe that they are males but I'm not sure.  I must try to find out more about whether just the males or both male and female squirrels have cream behind their ears at this time of year.

3.  Spring Flowers - Snowdrops and daffodils at the Wolseley Centre, Headquarters of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and  the hyacinths at home now fully in flower and smelling wonderful.

4.  Seeds - we bought the first seeds for the greenhouse and garden at the Wolseley Garden Centre, which is next door to the Wildlife Trust headquarters,  during the week.  They were on offer 'buy a packet get a packet free', the foxglove seeds were free with a magazine.

5.  Dipping - we had some Spanish Rosemary and Olive crackers left from a selection of goodies given us for Christmas (doesn't it seem so long ago now?) and we decided to buy a creamy stilton cheese dip to dip them into, with a few sweet grapes this was a lovely lunch.

Thank you all for your comments on my last post. 
Have a great weekend everyone.