Monday, August 26, 2019

Monday Miscellany

Time for another Monday Miscellany as it seems ages since my last post.  Today is Bank Holiday Monday in England ,Wales and Northern Ireland and for once the weather for most of the weekend has been warm - a little too warm last night - and sunny. 

  As we try not to venture very far on holiday weekends I've been able to take bedroom curtains down and take the loose covers off a chair and wash them so that they can dry outside.  As we took the bedroom curtains down many of the curtain hooks had gone brittle and snapped so new ones were needed.  

We did have to pop out yesterday on an errand for a neighbour who is housebound so we popped into a local DIY shop to get curtain hooks to replace the broken ones, not one of the best places to be on a Bank Holiday Sunday.

This morning we were up early and went for a short walk.  The cloud was low and it was slightly misty and cool enough to feel comfortable. As we returned home the sun was just peering through the mist ready to appear fully to warm up the day.  

 Below are a mixture of photos taken over the last week on walks and in the garden.

 Under the trees at RSPB Coombes Valley Nature Reserve.  There were signs of the coming season here and there.


Crab Apples


There were also loads of Peacock butterflies, I've seen more of these than any other butterflies this year.

 Young bullocks grazing at Coombes Valley

There is something attractive about open gates.

Young Cormorant at Wesport Lake Nature Reserve. 

We walked around both lakes, went into the visitor centre for a coffee and walked around the larger lake again and the cormorant was still basking in the sunshine quite happy to sit and pose for photos.

From the garden

Both plum trees have produced fruit this year, the yellow plums are very sweet and the Victoria plums very rich and juicy.  The yellow ones have been eaten raw.  A plum crumble was made with the others.  Not enough to make jam this year as many were wasp eaten.

 Loads of tomatoes for salads, pizza toppings, ratatouille and pasta sauces.

 We have courgettes growing outside in the raised beds too.

Painted Lady butterfly on Valerian flowers. 

I was sitting close by in the cool of the evening waiting for Poldark and then Sanditon to start and trying to distract the black cat who lives over the road from trying to get into the house through the open doors.   I went to fetch my camera thinking that the butterfly would be gone by the time I got back but it stayed around for ages flitting from flower to flower and then resting on the warm, south facing brick wall of the house.  This morning I thought the Painted Lady had returned to the Valerian but it was a Tortoishell.

Foxes and badgers have been visiting the garden over the last few evenings now dusk is earlier it is harder to see them. We can spot the white tips of the fox tails and the white markings on the badgers' faces. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Monday Miscellany

A late Monday miscellany on a Tuesday with a few bits and bobs from the last few days.

The sunflowers in the kitchen windowsill are beginning to look a bit sorry for themselves.  Just a little tired, bedraggled and brown around the edges.  I've had them for a couple of weeks and they have been wonderful.

Actually I quite like them like this.  Just as in Spring when tulips become open and overblown and make sculptural shapes in their vase, so these wilting sunflowers have an opulent beauty of their own

 We've been members of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust for quite a few years now and often walk at some of their nature reserves, others we have never visited.  A new list of all the reserves has arrived in the post this morning and we are already thinking about travelling just a little further afield to discover new ones.

Meanwhile the garden has taken on a pink hue

but some of the flowers have been spoilt by the wind and rain over the last few days.

On a sunny morning last week we visited Sugnall Walled Garden near Eccleshall. Although it is still August there was a slight autumnal feel in the air.  Coffee and cherry scones were lovely indoors away from the wasps.  Outdoors a group of cyclists were enjoying coffee with slices of rhubarb and ginger cake.

 Reading - borrowed e-book from the library  'The Diary of a Bookseller' by Shaun Bythell.  

To be read - 'Big Sky' by Kate Atkinson which I've had reserved at the local library since the middle of June and 'Deadly Dance' by Hilary Bonner a new author to me but I spotted it on the library shelves when I popped in to collect 'Big Sky' and thought I give it a go.

Lastly back to the garden, yesterday just after 8p.m. so photographed in fairly low light through the window, one of the fox cubs in the garden he looks as if he had been snoozing in the raised bed.   His brother was with him but shot off before I could take a photo of them together.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

A Visit to Lyme Park - Part Two

The Garden which surrounds the house at Lyme was constructed in the 19th century and is around seventeen acres in size.

The house and gardens are in turn surrounded by a one thousand three hundred and fifty nine acre deer park. 

After lunch we wandered into the garden past the lake and down into the formal garden.

We passed some lovely features and plants along the gentle slope down into the garden.

Apparently Lyme is the second highest garden owned and maintained by the National Trust.

We crossed the little bridge and made our way down the slope.

This was just part of a long Hebe hedge buzzing with insects enjoying the warm sunshine.

A view of the house from the formal Italian garden.

Looking down on the garden from the slope back up to the house.

The air was filled with the beautiful scent of orange as we walked by one of my favourite plants the Philadelphus or Mock Orange.

We didn't see Mr Darcy but Miss Bennet was strolling gently through the garden.

We strolled around the lake taking in the grandeur of the house and enjoying the reflections in the water.

Above and below the Edwardian rose garden.

Over here the scent of roses.  I've a feeling that this was part of the garden that suffered in the recent floods along with the formal garden and some of the woodland walks.  More information about the damage - here.

 We visited the Orangery which is at the side of the house

Inside the Orangery 

There were many unusual plants growing inside

And lovely seating areas not many people were inside on such a warm day.

More from the Orangery

'Willows whisper as the breeze blows through their branches.  Listen carefully, what can you hear? Can you whisper through the willow and share a secret with someone on the other side?'

One of the words from the Lost Words exhibition inspired by the book by Robert McFarlane and Jackie Morris. 

Monday, August 05, 2019

A Visit to Lyme Park - Part One

Early in July we visited Lyme Park in Cheshire.  We'd first visited in the 1990s and it felt like time to  return. We  made the journey just a few weeks before the recent flooding caused so much damage. According to the National Trust website the property will remain closed until August 9th at the earliest. We also passed through the village of Whaley Bridge on the way which is at present threatened by the collapse of part of the dam wall which contains the water in the Toddbrook reservoir which was built in 1838 to feed the Peak Forest Canal. The village has been evacuated. It's awful to think of what might happen if the dam bursts and I hope that something can be done soon to make it secure and allow people to return to their homes. 

It was warm and sunny when we arrived but we decided to go into the house first whilst it was still fairly early and have lunch before venturing into the garden.The present house dates from the 16th century with many alterations done in both the 18th and 19th centuries.  It is the largest stately home in Cheshire.

I'd forgotten what most of the rooms looked like so it was interesting to see them all again.  The house was owned and occupied by the Legh family until it was passed to the National Trust in 1946.


 Dining Room

 I loved the way the table was set for a sumptuous banquet.

 Everything placed with precision.

The guide in the drawing room told us that the stained glass was taken in the 19th century by the then owner of Lyme Park Thomas Legh from the church in the nearby village of Disley.

More of the medieval stained glass in the drawing room window.

The State bedroom, also known as the yellow bedroom, was created for the visit of King James II. The Legh family were later supporters of his grandson Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite cause.

The small settee above is covered in French embroidered wool and is dated c1690.

One of the many passages in the upstairs rooms.

Above and below a couple of the intricate wood carvings in the Salon which have been attributed to Grinling Gibbons but some experts think they were done by a carver in the style of Gibbons.

The two I photographed show artists materials and musical instruments.

Also in the Salon was an exhibition about the Sarum Missal.  It was printed by William Caxton in Paris in 1487.  It was owned by the Legh family from 1508 when it was purchased by Sir Piers Legh. It stayed with the family when they left in 1946 until it was bought by the National Trust in 2008 and returned to the house. Apparently the book had been on display in the library but this year it the centrepiece of a new exhibition.

The Nursery

The Long Gallery

The Knight's Bedroom - the guide told us that this room was supposed to be haunted.

but I can't remember now whom it was supposed to be haunted by!  If I remember or can find out elsewhere I'll add it here.

Two more sections of stained glass which were in a window at the bottom of a staircase just by the exit.

It was time to make our way to the cafe for lunch before we went outside to look at the garden.