Monday, April 30, 2018

Monday Miscellany

 The bad weather predicted for today didn't materialise (well it hasn't yet) although it has been very windy the bonus of which is sheets quickly drying outside and the downside of which is the blossom petals blowing off the trees almost before I'd registered it was there.  We wait for ages for that lovely time of year, that blowsy, blossomy pink and white time of year and with a few gusts of wind at the wrong time it's gone before it's begun.

Anyway, it seems that things mostly garden related have been making me me smile this week
The pair of long tailed tits that have been nesting somewhere in the garden have been regular visitors to the fat balls.  They have been taking it in turns to feed, one at a time.   We can tell the difference between the two as one of them, I suspect the one who spends most time on the nest, has a slightly bent and dishevelled tail.  They visit morning and afternoon and then in the early evening they arrive together for a last feed before dark.  Imagine my surprise though this morning when not one, or two but three long tailed tits arrived at the feeder at the same time.  Have the parents reared one fledgling I wonder?

In the garden it's a case of almost there!   Peony buds showing red, Lily of the Valley, Bluebells and Tulips showing buds just waiting to unfurl.

I'd don't buy many magazines but this one caught my eye this morning.  Not only do you get  a lovely magazine full of colour and good advice but also a card which allows two for one entry to many gardens, quite a few of them local or not far away, a pair of gardening gloves and five packs of seeds for herbs and cut flowers. I had to slip it in my basket.

The rhubarb is still doing well and I picked a few stems for a crumble for tea, we have rhubarb yohurt to serve it with.

On Saturday we popped along to the Dorothy Clive Garden where Rohododendrons, Magnolia and Camelias are coming into flower. 

As are the vibrant spring flowers.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Scavenger Photo Hunt - April

Joining in once again with the Scavenger Photo Hunt organised by
by Kate at 'I live, I love, I craft, I am me' blog. The word prompts for April are
Swirl, Rock, Wood, Letter, Balance, My Own Choice

Swirl - I love they way Ammonites swirl and whirl and we've had this one for quite a few years now.  It lives on the window sill in the living room. It's about 7 inches across at its widest point.  Not huge but not small either.

Rock - I could just imagine gently rocking in this chair by a fire with soft and sweet music playing in the background whilst getting lost in the pages a good book. 

Wood - In our nearest local wood the bluebells are coming into flower.  Soon there will be a carpet of blue under the trees.

Letter - R for Rosie on my keyring which is sitting on a letter that I received recently from a cousin.  I love having a hand written letter drop through the letter box. It makes my day.

Balance - when I was a child, when it was too wet to play outside or even to visit friends or have them visit me, I would fill the table with little houses made from playing cards. I'd create little villages, or they were in my imagination.  It was all a balancing act which I hadn't tried for years.  I managed two levels on this one but my fingers are not as nimble as they were and it soon collapsed on me.

My Own Choice - at the entrance to our local bluebell wood we saw our first Orange Tip butterfly of the season.  Apparently it is one of the true signs of Spring.  Let's hope so!

To find other bloggers joining in this month click on the link below.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A Visit to Norbury Part Two - St Mary and St Barlok Church

After we left the Knot Garden at the Old Manor (see my last post) we walked down to the Summer House and then down the path towards the River Dove.

It was such a warm and sunny day. Although there isn't a cafe on site the volunteer on duty told us that picnicking was allowed in the grounds.

It was cool in the Summer House and the view out of the door was lovely.  We sat for a short while and then went down the steps to the path.

The banks on the way down were covered in blue bells some of the flowers were just opening and little patches of blue gave some idea of how beautiful the paths would look in the next week or two.

At the river's edge we could see a small hydro-electric station harnessing the power of the water.

It was time to leave the Old Manor and its grounds and head to the nearby church of St Mary and St Barlok. St Barlok was an Irish Bishop and Patron Saint of Cork in the 7th century. John Fitzherbert, 3rd Lord of Norbury returned from Ireland in 1174 and dedicated the new church to the saint.

 As we walked around the Old Manor we'd seen a young violinist having her photograph taken in various parts of the house and garden and when we reached the church she was inside. The photos would have been incredible as the sun shone through the large windows onto her flame red hair as she sat on the chancel steps. It was lovely to hear snatches of music as we walked around.

I didn't take too many photos in the church as there were quite a few visitors, plus the violinist and her photographer and a cleaning lady who was trying to work around us all.  The chancel is 46 feet long and dates from c 1295. The nave is 49 feet long and with the side chapels and tower dates from the 15th century. Below are a few more of the features I noticed, some with explanations from the little guide book I purchased.

The Great East Window - is described as a 'Lantern in Stone' as the light pours through.  The glass isn't original and since 1770 has been restored several times by different people and sometimes not very well. The last restoration was in 1983.

Above and below in the chancel are eight medieval Grissaille glass windows installed in 1306.  These with the great East window create the 'Lantern in Stone' effect described in the guide book and seems more glass than wall.

These windows with the sun streaming through were so wonderful to see.

Above is the effigy of Sir Henry Fitzherbert, 4th or 6th Lord of Norbury  (the guide book says 6th Lord but the little label says 4th) which ever one he is he lies close to the south-west chapel, clad in full chain mail, legs crossed, sword in its sheath in his hand.  This is the Sir Henry whom I mentioned in my  last post as being the builder of 'that part of the medieval manor house which still stands'.  The effigy used to lay in the chancel and was moved in 1892 to its present position during restoration work.

In the chancel are two fine tombs made by 15th century sculptors of Chellaston Alabaster.  They were moved into the chancel in 1836 and were restored in the 1960s and 1970s.

Above is Nicholas Fitzherbert, 11th Lord of Norbury who died in 1473. He is depicted wearing full plate armour, his head resting on his helmet. He wears a collar of suns and roses with a lion pendant which show his allegiance to the Yorkist King Edward IV.

The double tomb  shows Ralph Fitzherbert, 12th Lord of Norbury and his wife Elizabeth Marshall of Upton in Leicestershire.  Apparently because of the depiction of the clothes worn by the couple there is a cast of their figures in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Like his father he wears a collar of suns and roses around his neck but his pendant is a boar, the cognisance of Richard, Duke of Gloucester later Richard III.

It was hard to get a good  photograph of the boar pendant but I think you can just about make out what it is.  Ralph Fitzherbert died in 1483 just two years before Richard III.

 Sir Ralph's feet rest on a lion and next to it sits the little figure of a Bedesman who carries a rosary.

The font dates from the 12th Century

Part of a Saxon Shaft

A double Piscina

Of course there are many other brass and stone memorials to various incumbents and members of the Fitzherbert family. Also of interest is the connection of Norbury Village with Mary Anne Evans who was  of course the writer George Eliot.  Her grandparents George and Mary Evans are buried in the churchyard and her father Robert sang in the choir at the church before moving to Warwickshire.  It is thought that George Eliot based the character of Adam Bede on her father.    

Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Visit to Norbury Part One - The Old Manor

I'm sure we all have those places that we pass through quite often, yet never take the time to stop and look around.  One such place for us is the village of Norbury in Derbyshire which we often pass through as we make our way along the back lanes towards the market town of Ashbourne.  

The bridge over the River Dove on one side of the river you are in Staffordshire on the other side you are in Derbyshire.  Also on one side of the bridge you are in the village of Ellastone on the other in Norbury.

 I've also known for some time that there was an interesting church there next door to a medieval manor house.  Hidden from view behind trees with a rather precarious entrance drive with just a small National Trust sign on the gate to show what treasures lurk beyond.

In the photo above the The Old Manor to the left and the church of St Mary and Barlok

For quite some time we've thought about visiting but the opening times and visiting arrangements for the hall in particular were always difficult to work around as owners still lived in the later of the two houses on site.  Now this property is let as a holiday residence and very lovely it looks too. 

Above the later 17th century farmhouse, built in front of the medieval hall is now let as a holiday cottage

 The older Manor House is still only open for four hours a week, two hours on a Friday and two hours on a Saturday for the last three or four Fridays we've been thinking of visiting but things have cropped up and stopped us until last Friday when we finally made it up that driveway. 

Shall we look inside?

 The door into the ground floor or under croft of the Old Manor which is a rare survivor of an unusual building type.  It was altered in the 17th century  when bricks and timber were added.

Below the ground floor is the cellar

 The steps down are well trodden and quite tricky.  I bet they could tell a tale or two.

Let's go back upstairs to the first floor.

 This floor would have housed the private appartments of the Fitzherbert family,  Sir Henry Fitzherbert, 5th Lord of Norbury was given permission in 1301 to build a house here.

 Of course much of what we see here dates from later periods.

 The roof is probably 17th century.

 As is the Flemish grisaille glass in the windows.

There were several coats of arms in the windows including the one above  on the marriage of John Fitzherbert 13th Lord of Norbury and Benedicta, daughter of John Bradbourn and Anne Vernon.

A view of the gardens from the first floor window.
Outside in the courtyard you can see the butresses of the medieval house. Again much has been altered over the centuries.

Dovecote on the end of the garden wall.

The woodland walk with its carpet of celandines

We'll visit the summer house, walk down to the River Dove and look inside the church in part two.