Saturday, March 30, 2019

Farewell to a Friend

We had to say goodbye today.  The house feels so quiet and empty.

Max aged 22 years.
April 1996 - 30th March 2019

I'm going to take a break from blogging as the last few days have been quite stressful. Please forgive me if I don't visit you all for a while.
I'll be back soon.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Scavenger Photo Hunt - March

It's time for the Scavenger Photo Hunt again and this month's words/prompts are Flat, Wheel, Swing, Ragged, Pot, My own choice

Flat - as a pancake, photo taken on Shrove Tuesday when we had pancakes for lunch.

Wheel - well two on a cycle hanging on the wall of a pub or club in Congleton, Cheshire.

Swing - photo taken in the Nicholson Institute Museum and Library in Leek where there is an exhibition called 'Through the Eyes of a Child' these were fairground toys.

Ragged - I didn't get to see and photograph a Ragged School in Sneinton, Nottingham (now the headquarters of the Nottingham Wildlife Trust)  as I had planned to do but I did find a packet of Ragged Robin seeds at a local garden centre.

Pot - Found on Priesty Fields, Congleton in 1992 and full of coins dating from the reign of Edward VI (1547-1553) through to the reign of Charles II with coins dated as late as 1670. From a display at Congleton Museum.

My Own Choice - Lots of daffodils at Trentham Gardens, Stoke-on-Trent they looked lovely in the sunshine.

Thank you to Kate at I live, I love I Craft blog for organising.  Click on the link below to find others joining in this month.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

A visit to Congleton

I think this post is a 'Friday Five' meets 'Miscellany Monday' as I didn't get my act together to produce it on time for Friday and it's nearly Monday.  I've been feeling a little low with worries about the aged cat and having a crown fitted on one of my teeth the first procedure of which last Wednesday I found quite traumatic for some reason.  I had one fitted last year and that didn't bother me much at all.

On Thursday the sun was shining and we decided to visit the little town of Congleton just over the county border in Cheshire and about half an hour away from home. We had been before, quite a while ago but usually we only get as far as Little Moreton Hall and never drive the few extra miles to the town.  It's also a place we bypass on the way to Quarry Bank Mill at Styal near Wilmslow or Alderley Edge.

Below are five of the delights we found in the town. 

The Town Hall

Quite a spectacular building.  We popped into the Tourist Information Centre to collect a map and find out how far it was to walk from the centre to the canal as there was something special we wanted to see.  After a coffee in the town we set out to visit....

The Museum

Congleton  Museum can be found behind the Town Hall.  It is quite a small building with and entrance hall shop, one room of Museum displays and a temporary exhibition and education room upstairs.

Jiggy Bear in the entrance to the Museum reflects the towns heritage of bear baiting and cock fighting many centuries ago during the town Wakes. 

Exhibitions in the small museum take us through the town's history using four main eras.  Pre-History,  the 17th Century and  Civil War period,  the 19th century and Industrial Revolution and the Second World War.
Established methods of display and information are coupled with new information technology including a wonderful display from the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Plus further information than can be found in the displays on interactive computers especially with reference to the hoards found relating to the unsettled times of the Civil war and the effect it had on the town and its people.  John Bradshaw who lived in Congleton was Attorney General for Cheshire and Flintshire was a supporter of Parliament during the wars and was the first to sign the death warrant of King Charles 1st.

The displays for the 19th century include recordings about life in the mills by both owners and workers.  The main industries in Congleton being ribbon weaving, cotton spinning, fustian and velvet cutting and also cigar making.

During the Second World War Congleton was one of the bases of the Royal Dutch or Princess Irene Brigade and a safe haven for many evacuees.

The Bridge

We walked from the town centre up to High town where we were able to join and walk along the towpath to find bridge No 76 The Morris Bridge on the Macclesfield Canal.

Also known as roving or snake bridges they were built so that a horse could cross from one towpath to  the other side without having to be unhitched from the narrow boat it was pulling.

There are two of these bridges still remaining along this part of the canal. I bet these paths are very slippy in wet or icy weather.

The Church
When you glance up Chapel Street towards St Peter's Church you would be forgiven for thinking that there was an earlier church  hidden behind the houses but you'd be wrong.
It is actually a Grade 1 listed Georgian Church.  The earlier church on this site was a wooden structure covered in wattle and daub. During the 15th century a stone tower and chancel were added to this chapel. In the early 18th century galleries were added but the building was still too small to cope with the influx of people created by the growth of industry in the town.
In 1740 permission was gained to demolish the timber framed chapel and build a new church on the site.  Apart from the medieval tower there is little left of the earlier church.  Renovations did take place in the 20th century but most of what is left is of the Georgian era.  The church was closed when we visited but apparently it opens on a Tuesday and Saturday so we may go back one day to look inside.  It does look rather spectacular - church website
Victoria Mill

The building which dates from c1859 is a former ribbon factory which later also made bias binding and woven garment labels amongst other things.

It now houses four floors of antiques and crafts.
After all the walking my feet were jumping and I needed to sit down.

Time for lunch - well a coffee and a cheese scone in the little cafe on the top floor.  The soups and cakes also looked delicious.

Below a collage of other interesting features spotted on our visit.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Inside and Outside

Five things that have made me smile this week

1. Inside - lovely pinkish mauve tulips on the kitchen table have brought much joy this week whilst we looked after a sick cat - he is thankfully a lot better now although at nearly twenty three quite frail.

2.  Inside - Stuffed peppers for supper one evening this week. Just couscous, chopped mushrooms, peas and melted cheese, they were delicious with salad leaves.

3. Outside - two lovely primroses just £1 each from a local supermarket.  They have been planted into pots.  I love their cheerfulness.  Colour much needed this week in all the wind and rain.

4.  Outside - at the top of the garden the wild garlic makes its appearance.  I was glad to see it as two leylandii trees nearby had been removed last October and the ground had been badly trampled by the tree surgeons.  I think I can safely say that at least some of the plants have recovered and will spread again under the remaining trees.

5.  Outside - 'two rockys and a woody'.  We found an old bag of split peas in the back of the cupboard and decided to try them outside as bird food.  The pigeons love them and both rock doves and wood pigeons are prepared to share.  The collard doves still prefer the suet sprinkles and like the robins, aren't afraid of coming close to the conservatory window to ask if we are late putting them out in the morning. 

Saturday, March 02, 2019

A Walk on the First Day of March

We woke up early, remembered to say 'White Rabbits' and to turn the calender over to a new month, made a flask of coffee and took with us a few Welsh cakes, made the day before ready for St David's Day, cheese rolls and fresh blueberries in a tub.

We set out to drive to the Shugborough Estate near Stafford so we could walk through the grounds across the arboretum and up the hill to Hadrian's Arch before returning to the car for our picnic. 

I took a few photos along the way. 

In the walled kitchen garden

everything was looking tidy

and ready for the new season

 A lovely old garden seat that had seen better days but somehow fitted its surroundings perfectly.

The Head Gardener's House
The Farm House
The Mansion House which was closed the day we visited but we have been inside many times and it wouldn't have been appropriate to go in in walking boots.

 We found what we thought was a picture frame but then realised it was a stage setting for a puppet show obviously still around from half term activities the week before.

 We had to have a little play.
 I always think that the Mansion House looks even more interesting from the back.

The daffodils were just opening along the arboretum walk.  We could hear woodpeckers tapping in the trees.

The boathouse had been given a facelift - last time we saw it it was in quite a bad state.

You can now walk around the end of the lake or cross the blue bridgeWe made our way along the Ladywalk and back towards the farm yard but then diverted to walk up the hill to Hadrian's Arch.

 We made it to the top of the hill, I must admit I was a little out of breath.  The views were lovely.

Over the hill in a slightly misty valley was a herd of deer.  They watched us warily but didn't run away. 

Above a few more photos taken on our walk.