Thursday, November 29, 2018

Scavenger Photo Hunt - November

For some reason I 'm finding it difficult to take decent photos.  I don't know if it is me or the camera I'm using but I've taken quite a few photos over the last few weeks that I've been disappointed with.  As a result all my photos for November are from the archives.  I had great fun searching through to find suitable images.

 The word prompts for this month's Scavenger Photo Hunt which is organised by Kate at 'I Live I Love I Craft' blog are as follows  Post/Mail Box, Decay, Secondhand, Strand, Fold, Own Choice

Post Box - Post Box outside the Post Office, which is also a cafe and gift shop, in the village of Hartington in Derbyshire.  Photo taken in February 2011.

Decay -  windows in an old factory building taken a few weeks ago at Masson Mill, Cromford, Derbyshire.

Second Hand - old books in a back room behind a chemist's shop in Stone, Staffordshire.  Photo taken in February 2014.

Strand - strands of wool around the machine in the museum at Masson Mill , Cromford, Derbyshire. Taken on Wednesday 5th October this year.

Fold - sheepfold at Ashford in the Water, Derbyshire.  This photo was taken on 23rd December 2012, I think we were on our way home from visiting relatives in Derbyshire, the river Wye was very high.

Own Choice - I spotted this photo as I was looking through the archives.  It is one of my favourites taken in June 2014 of The Tudor Group on wash day by the River Wye at Haddon Hall in Derbyshire.

I'm posting this a day early so I'll do the links later.

Click on the link below to find more bloggers who are taking part this month.

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Time of Year

It's a strange time of year. This time when Autumn merges into Winter, when trees fling their newly russet coats to the ground, just a few determined  leaves clinging on before giving up and allowing their branches to take on that bare, dark, skeletal outline that looks so glorious against the golden sunsets of early evening. 

 I feel like one of those leaves clinging firmly on to one season before allowing myself to enter the next.   I don't even think about the festive season ahead, except perhaps buying a few cards, until Halloween, Bonfire Night and Armistice Day are all behind us. 

I like the gentle calmness of the lingering days, the onset of misty or frosty mornings, the tramping through fallen leaves, the smell of woodsmoke in the air, the geese and starlings flying overhead, the early closing of the day when you can draw the blinds against the gathering gloom outside.  

It's like the calm before the storm but when the time comes I will enjoy the inevitable rush and clamour of it all.

Already festive lights have been lit, Christmas Markets have appeared and the shops are full of attractive goods. After the first day of December I will look for presents, buy postage stamps, dig out the address book, write letters, admire the Christmas lights and treat myself to the first mince pie of the festive season, always welcome with a mug of hot chocolate after a winter's walk through the woods, along the canal or by the lake.  I hope to seek out a Christmas tree festival in a local church, visit Little Moreton Hall for Piva's Christmas Music concert and certainly visit friends and family and welcome them here too.  So many little things to look forward to.

But for now I'm biding my time, taking stock, raking leaves, watching the garden birds, taking gentle walks and in the evenings reading and relaxing. 

How do you approach the festive season?

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Doves Return

The Collard Doves are back in the garden.

 Not one

or two

but three!  

They arrive every morning for suet sprinkles and share them with the wood pigeons and starlings whilst the blue tits, great tits, sparrows and goldfinches take the sunflower hearts from the feeders and the robins, dunnocks and blackbirds feed from the ground feeder.

Yesterday was very cold so we had lots of bird visitors. The goldfinches chop each end off a sunflower heart and eat the middle letting the end bits drop to the floor.  I love the way they swing on the feeders every so often glancing over their shoulders to check that all is safe. I ventured out to clean and replenish the  hanging bird feeders and the window feeder.  The bird baths were iced over and fallen leaves had become trapped in the ice so these were cleaned and fresh water added. 

 The birds are rather fond of these berries too.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Scenes from recent walks

We haven't been very far from home lately but last week we did manage three local walks.  One misty but mild, another chilly and blustery and the third in bright sunshine.

Last Monday morning we walked around the lake at Trentham Gardens.

As we walked down to the bottom of the lake it was quite misty.

Crow on the Wave sculpture.

A Heron almost invisible across the lake on the Heronry island 

By the time we walked back on the opposite side of the lake some of the mist had lifted.

These Beech trees are my favourites on this side of the lake.

On Friday we walked at Westport Lake

We had coffee and toasted teacakes in the Visitor Centre before we walked.

It was definitely a gloves and scarf day, quite chilly and blustery and very autumnal with leaves blowing in the air then fluttering down to the ground.  All the birds looked cold and eager for food.  As soon as the group of toddlers and mums in front of us strewed seed and grain they were up out of the water and down from the trees in a great excited cacophony of sound and a jostling and fluttering of wings.

Even the normally shy moorhens were coming close to passers by in their eagerness for food.

It was good to see most people feeding seed and grain to the birds and avoiding giving breadcrumbs.

These Muscovy ducks came out of the water to see if we had anything for them.  Unfortunately we didn't but there were plenty of young ones happy to oblige.

Yesterday afternoon we walked close to home on Berryhill Fields.  

We walked to the top of the hill where the stone circle is.  The sun, so low in the sky, was almost blinding in its intensity.

The city centre lay before us glowing in the bright sunlight.

It was good to get outdoors, get some exercise and breath in some fresh air.

Have you taken any interesting walks lately?

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

A Sudden Appearance

Beautiful red poppies have appeared recently on a wall of the Old Phoenix Works just off the main road on King Street, Longton, not far from the station

The site of the old Phoenix works has, over the last few years, undergone renovation work and some areas have been turned into shops and offices.

The factory was built around 1879 - 1881 by Thomas Forester and Sons pottery manufacturers who specialised in producing Earthenware and Majolica.  In 1881 Thomas Forester is said to have received the largest order for the very popular Majolica Wares ever received by a Staffordshire Pottery.
Above The Glost House Cafe Bar

Above The Portmeirion Pottery Factory Shop and the Period Property Store.

Anyway, back to the poppies.  This work was commissioned for the centenary of the end of WWI and was produced by the  Entrepreneurs Network over a few days last week.  I wish I'd have seen them working on it.

It's rather beautiful.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

The Joy of Windfall Apples

When we visited our friends in Beeston recently we came home with the gift of a box of windfall apples from trees in their garden.  They were a mixture of  Bramley cooking apples and an unknown desert apple variety.

When we got them home they were sorted into those that needed dealing with at once and those that could wait a day or two.  The first batch were peeled, chopped, bagged and frozen.

The next day we found some 'wonky' plums in a nearby supermarket.  They didn't look in the least 'wonky' to me but luckily they had also been reduced in price.   They were chopped and quartered and the rest of the apples prepared for making jam.

Today the last few apples have been chopped and cooked and made into a crumble.

Some of the frozen apple pieces may sometime in the future be turned into chutney or perhaps more crumbles.  

Two pots of jam will be taken back to Beeston as a thank you. Sharing - just one of the joys of windfall apples.