Thursday, February 28, 2019

Scavenger Photo Hunt - February

 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

own choice

All my photos are from my archives as I haven't been out and about very much this month to collect some new ones.

Sound/Hearing - this photograph was taken at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire in October 2012. The sculpture was one for four from an exhibition entitled 'Hear, Here' they were all to do with hearing the sounds of and connecting with the wildlife around the estate.  The one above was for hearing the sounds of insects buzzing in the air.

Smell/Scent - the photo above was taken in May 2017 at Little Moreton Hall in Cheshire.  The display was part of an exhibition about the use of herbs and flowers both for medicinal purposes, to induce calm and sleep and also for keeping illness and germs at bay.  Sweet herbs were strewn on the floors and bowls of potpourri and nosegays used to good effect.

Feel/Touch - the feel of the sand on my bare feet the warmth of the shells as I lift them up and place them on the sand.  Photo taken last July on Morfa Bychan beach just along the coastal path from Borth-y-Gest, Porthmadog, Wales.

Taste - all the wonderful tastes of  produce from the summer garden.  Tomatoes, potatoes, courgettes and plums.  Basil, parsley, sage and lavender.  I include lavender in taste as it is delicious in cakes or scones.  Photo from a couple of summers ago.

See/Sight - from the turret window of Plas Mawr you can see the roof tops of the town and the castle in the distance and what a wonderful sight it was.  Photo taken at Conwy, North Wales in May 2017.

My own choice - my first though was that this photograph could be used in the smell/scent category as the smell or scent of bluebells in the woods is so wonderful.  It could also have been used for see/sight as the sight of carpets of bluebells is one of the wonders of Spring.  It won't be too long before we see them again.  This photo was taken last April in Hem Heath Woods, Stoke-0n-Trent.

Click on the link below to find other bloggers who are joining in this month.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Snowdrops, Lapwings and other things

Earlier this week we decided to visit and walk by the waterside at Tittesworth Reservoir.  It was a beautiful, Spring like day.

Tittesworth Reservoir is run by Severn Trent Water and is close to the beautiful Roaches and the village of Meerbrook.  Apparently some of the village cottages and a mill disappeared when the reservoir was built. 

 We wandered across the road to the bird hides spotting cormorants on the way.

 On the island we saw a few lapwings 

 After a while we went further along the road and found the second hide. 

 This gave a different angle on the island and the lapwings. Sorry not great photos of the birds because of a combination of the sun and my eyesight.

Reed Bunting

Willow Tit

Reed Bunting and Sparrow

From the hides we walked down into the village of Meerbrook in search of snowdrops.  I thought we might find them in the churchyard.  We wandered past The Lazy Trout Inn

and by the old cottages towards the church.

The parish church is dedicated to St Matthew and was built in the 1870s.  There are records of an earlier church in the village which is in the parish of Leekfrith and also of a nearby abbey called Dieulacres in the south of the parish.  More information here - link.

There were snowdrops lining the path towards the entrance of the church which unfortunately was locked so we couldn't peep inside.

There were many interesting grave stones and lots of local family names
A view of the Roaches from the churchyard.  What  a wonderful view that cottage must have.  How lovely to wake up to that every morning.

There were many Spring flowers in the hedgerows, near the walls and amongst the grave stones.

Snowdrops - so beautiful.

Are these colchicums rather than crocus?  Perhaps someone can help identify them.

Winter Aconite a lovely burst of colour and contrast with the delicate snowdrops.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A Recent Visit

Our nearest National Trust property is Biddulph Grange Gardens. We try to visit once if not more in each season and we recently made our first visit of the year.  Much work is being done on a new drainage system so parts of the garden were closed off.  

Also the day we visited the contents of the shop were being moved down to what was the reception area, the intention being to create a new tea room where the shop was within the building overlooking the gardens.  It will be interesting to go back when this work is completed.

When we arrived we saw that a special trail had been organised to celebrate the Chinese New Year. 

We followed the red paper lanterns around the paths and tried to find the information for each year.

  I think we spotted them all. We found our birth years which are Tiger and Horse.  This year is the year of the Pig.

 The lanterns led us up through the larger trees like the Giant Redwoods

 and the monkey puzzle trees

Towards the Chinese garden.

 The ideal place for many more lanterns.

 They all looked so pretty hanging in the trees and dancing in the sunshine and they added extra colour and warmth to the garden.

 We enjoyed our walk even though it wasn't as long as we had expected because of the closures of both the Wellingtonia Walk and the Woodand Walk.

 It was so quiet we had the garden almost to ourselves.

As we left volunteers and were scurrying backwards and forwards with boxes of stock and bits of display equipment for the new shop.  We looked at all the plants for sale and I bought a big pot of snowdrops for just £2. I'm keeping my fingers crossed they will survive as we don't have a great track record for keeping snowdrops in our heavy clay soil but this time they will be planted in a tub rather than in the ground.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

This and That

What strange weather it has been. Prolonged heavy rain, sharp showers, bright but harsh winter sun and cold, cold winds. All in the last few days.  It has been a week of staying at home and just popping out on short outings like shopping, the library, and a quick walk around the lake.  Nothing more.

At home I've been entranced by these lovely tulips bought from a local greengrocer's shop.

Two bunches £1 each of the same purple colour one plain, one variegated.  Together they look wonderful and so bright and cheerful on these grey, blustery days.

In the windowsill, next to the tulips the hyacinths I bought over a week ago have suddenly burst into flower, well two of them have, the third is getting there.  They are such a pale, delicate pink, I haven't noticed a scent from them yet but I'm sure I will soon as the chair where I sit in the evenings to read or watch television is right next to them.

On our walk around the lake at  Trentham Gardens we spotted a Little Egret hiding in the rushes under the overhanging trees at the side of the water.

It's soft white feathers were glistening in the sun.  They looked like a gentle cascade of soft, powdery snow.

I've been reading quite a lot but have to take a break after a while as my eyes get blurry and tired.  I enjoyed the latest and last of the Shetland series by Ann Cleeves.  It had a satisfying ending.  Once I start one of her books I can't put them down as she writes so well.  I also enjoyed the James Oswald Inspector Tony McLean book set in and around Edinburgh, it didn't seem as 'other worldly' as the first of his novels I read. I've just started the Louise Penny novel, the second of the Armand Gamache series I've read but it's an earlier one. That means I'm not reading them in sequence as I usually like to do with an author's series but I'm enjoying them all the same.

I've also been reading a book written by a blogging friend.  She's a Yorkshire girl who now lives in Canada and this is her story about the year she and her husband moved from Ontario to Prince Edward Island.  She starts with her account of their actual move and the miles they travelled over several days hauling their belongings with them and their settling into their new community.  The main story starts in September and takes us through their first year of getting used to and integrating with their new neighbourhood, through all the worst weather that could have been experienced in one year making even the most normal everyday things become problematic.  I learnt many things about the culture, history and natural history of Prince Edward Island and it was fascinating.   Here are links to her blog Candytuft Corner and her Goodreads page.

Lastly, when we were walking around the lake I saw loads of Hellebores growing under the trees.

They are so pretty, I'd love to have some in our garden. That's something to think about for the future. We have bought several packets of vegetable seeds, mainly lettuce, tomato and spinach plus three varieties of seed potatoes too ready for sowing or planting when the weather gets warmer.

Friday, February 01, 2019

A Frosty Walk

It has been cold here this week with flurries of snow, some of it settling but not as much as we thought there might be.  We managed a couple of short walks during the week both around the local lakes. 

Above and below a few scenes from yesterday's cold and frosty walk around the lake at Trentham Gardens.

Brrr....... we have an early appointment this morning and various things to do so I'm up and about before we have to dash out of the house, thank goodness no more snow fell over night.  Tea and toast for breakfast, cat fed and watered, lit tray changed, bird feeders topped up and bird bath de-iced, recycling bins emptied, breakfast pots washed, dried and put away.  Time to go!

Whatever the weather wherever you are, stay safe and warm, or stay cool if hot weather is affecting you at the moment, either way have a good weekend.