Thursday, October 31, 2019

At the End of October

We've been out and about locally this week.  It is also half term and everywhere is very busy. Cars were queueing to get into Trentham Gardens as we left after our walk around the lake yesterday morning. Inside pumpkin carving was underway.  I didn't take any photos of this as there were lots of people around.  

I did take a few photos late last week of some of the pumpkin games that had been set up in the formal gardens.
 Dahlias and Pumpkins

Noughts and Crosses
Giant spider (there were lots of those)  and below Hoopla

Meanwhile in the kitchen garden things were looking lovely and the displays more natural.

 Much more to my taste - in the shed


 In the greenhouse

I loved this delicate display of heuchera and grasses.

In the garden centre a table had been set with displays of pumpkins, squashes and grapes.  Non of them real of course.

They were very pretty but I still preferred the displays in the kitchen garden.
 Up towards the city centre the Emma Bridgewater factory and shop was also decorated with pumpkins.

 We popped in for a coffee and took a peek in both the shops.  One present was purchased.

We haven't bought a pumpkin to carve this year but
sweets have been bought ready to hand out at the door now it is All Hallows' Eve, Hallowe'en or Halloween.  I wonder how many little ghosts, wizards and witches will visit this year?

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Scenes from a very wet garden

On Saturday it rained and rained and didn't stop until early evening when a watery sun appeared for a short while 

Above and below photos taken from the bedroom window on Saturday morning.

There is still a bit of colour in the garden, but it is looking very Autumnal now.

I did venture out later in the morning to take more photos of the garden at the side of the house.

It was wet and squelchy underfoot.

The pond was overflowing

Puddles all along the paths.  We've had to abandon the work of lifting the pebbles and taking out the weeds.  I'm not sure if that will get finished this year.
The grass is covered with leaves and they  will have to stay there until it is dry enough to rake them up.

Sunday was a brighter day and we took next door's little dog for a walk.  Neither of its owners can do that anymore as one is suffering from multiple sclerosis and the other from motor neurone disease.  We took him as his regular walker was away for the weekend.

Yesterday we woke to bright sunshine which was lovely after a very dismal weekend.  I glanced out of the bedroom window and spotted this pair enjoying the sunshine under the trees in the school's little nature reserve just over the hedge. Paul took the photo as I had just taken the batteries out of my camera to charge them.  It was hard to capture them through the glass and at a distance but they stayed there for ages.

Later that day the last of the dahlia flowers were cut for the house and the tubers taken up and placed in the greenhouse to dry ready for next year.

Late last week we had a visit from the badger.  I took the photo below out of the kitchen window at about 8.45p.m, not a good photo but at least you can see what it is.

I seem to have been taking photos of pumpkins over the last couple of days, I'll share those with you on Thursday.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A Morning Walk

It's been a busy few days with both dental and optician appointments for me, just check ups and flu jabs for both of us so it was nice to get some time out in the fresh air.

We took a long stroll around the lakes at Westport Lake Nature Reserve.  It was very quiet around the lakes and in the cafe at the visitor centre where we stopped halfway for coffee and a toasted teacake.  I expect next week will be a lot busier as it is half term for local schools and there are Halloween events planned for the children.

Our first spotting was a heron resting at the side of the smaller lake.

Above a black headed gull in its winter plumage.


There were lots of Cormorants, perhaps they had all convened for a meeting of the cormorant union.

It's quite a bonus to get a photo of a Grebe as they always seem to let me start up the camera and focus and then dive under the water as if to say 'Oh, no you 're not having a photo of me.'

The cormorant meeting was getting animated.

Another heron looked on with a vague interest in the proceedings.

Decisions made, conclusions reached perhaps?  The swan doesn't care and glides by gracefully.

Holly covered in berries.

Fungi - again not identified

A third heron on one of the small pools at the back of the main path where we always walk in the hopes of seeing a kingfisher or a water vole.

Yet another heron - I think that's four - fewer than cormorants - we counted at least six of those.

Lesser Black-Backed Gull and below more black headed gulls and a coot.

When we got home we were sitting in the conservatory with a mug of tea when a little cat we hadn't seen before entered the garden quite hesitantly through the fox run in the hedge at the top of the garden.

How to look both inquisitive and a bit scared at the same time.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Deer, Trees and a Stately Home

This morning's walk along the River Derwent on the Chatsworth Estate was in wet grass, muddy puddles and beautiful dappled sunlight.

We parked at the garden centre, crossed the road and followed the path down to the river.  It seems ages, years even since we'd taken this walk usually choosing to park in the village of Baslow and walking in the opposite way towards Chatsworth House.

 The ruin of Paines Mill which was designed by James Paine c 1761.  It replaced an earlier working mill close to the house.  It was damaged by falling trees during a bad storm in the 1960s but was preserved and made safe so that it could continue to enhance the landscape.

 Across the river, sheep were grazing.

 The unusual curved weir

Fallow  deer on the opposite side of the river

A shy heron

 The first view of Chatsworth House.

 Above the spray from the large fountain in the gardens amongst the trees and in the background the hunting tower designed in 1582  by architect Robert Smythson for Bess of Hardwick.  It was used as a banqueting house or summer house and was also used by the ladies of the house to watch the hounds in the deer park.  It is now available to let for holidays.

 The sun was very bright.

 The trees looked wonderful in their autumnal finery.

 Looking back at the house as we turned to walk back across the grass....

 ....and under the trees.

 In the distance the bridge over the river designed by James Paine.

 The colours of Autumn were all around

 Fallen oak leaves

 In the distance the spire of St Peter's Edensor.  Sir Joseph Paxton is buried in the churchyard.  He lived in lodgings in the village when he was a young gardener working for the sixth Duke of Devonshire. He was a talented gardener and architect and is best known for his design of the Crystal Palace built for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Gosh what a long way we have walked and still the sun is shining.

We made our way back past more deer under the trees, there were many hinds each group protected by a buck or stag and plenty of 'seeing off' of other males in the vicinity with low growls which we could hear from quite a distance away.

We had a complete day out without rain which was wonderful. Drops of rain started to fall about five minutes after we go home. We couldn't have timed it any better.