Friday, November 22, 2019

Five from the last few days

The last week seems to have gone by so quickly. The weather has been damp and gloomy for the most part with the odd sun graced morning or late afternoon.  In the garden leaves have been gathered up and small areas of the grass cut, other parts are too wet. It's 'stir-up' Sunday this weekend and ingredients have been bought for making a Christmas pudding. 

Whilst out and about we've seen many signs of the coming festive season so I've included some here.

Monday - a lovely walk around Biddulph Grange Gardens where it was still showing stunning Autumnal colour.
Tuesday - a trip to the nearest Waitrose which had lovely decorations hanging in the cafe where we were offered free cup cakes with our coffee.  We didn't actually eat them but brought them home as a treat for our housebound neighbours.  The bakery department kindly gave us a box to transport them in.

Wednesday - a short visit to World of Wedgwood where all was looking very festive.

Last weekend a walk at RSPB Consall Woods.  The edges of the towpaths along the Caldon Canal had been damaged in places by the heavy rains of last week.

Finally a bit of silliness at the local garden centre - singing reindeer.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

A Morning Visit

Yesterday morning we visited the town of Buxton in Derbyshire.  It's a place we visit quite often and I've written about it quite a few times over the years on here but I never tire of its streets and buildings. 

We just had a wander around popping into one or two charity shops to seek out Christmas cards.  We stopped for a coffee and toasted teacake and then visited the Museum to look at a couple of exhibitions and the local book shop where one present was purchased. 

There are five floors of books in here, three floors a basement and an attic.

 We'd looked in vain around the town for plain brown paper to use for wrapping presents this year but the one shop, close to the bookshop, that stocked it was closed on Wednesdays.

I love quiet mornings like these, a gentle stroll, lovely things to see and best of all no rain.  It was sad to see many of the units in the little shopping centre closed the biggest was where M&S used to be, next door Waitrose is still, for the moment, open.

 The Museum and Art Gallery

 One of the exhibition galleries
Scrivener's Book Shop
The Pavilion
View from the Pavilion Gardens

 Autumnal Colour
 The Old Hall Hotel

A view through the trees on The Slopes of The Crescent which is at the moment being refurbished.
At the top of The Slopes and a view out over the Derbyshire countryside.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Five for Remembrance

The City of Stoke-on-Trent was created in 1910 to include six well known pottery towns.  Last year each town had a steel sculpture to commemorate the end of WW1.  I managed to take photos of five of them, Hanley, which is now the city centre, is missing. Each of these sculptures tells the story of a local man or woman in their own words or from letters home.

 Longton - remembers the million and more horses and mules taken to the front by the army over 400,000 of them died in battle, many more from exhaustion or illness.

 Fenton - remembers the men and boys who lied about their age so they could serve in the war and fight for their country not wanting to be told they were too young or too old.

Stoke - celebrates the return home of the soldiers and particularly those who had been prisoners of war.

 Burslem - remembers the story told of Christmas Day 1914 when troops from both sides climbed out of their trenches and met in no man's land to shake hands and for a while forget the war.

 Tunstall - commemorates the nurses who served in makeshift hospitals close to the front lines in France assisting doctors and bringing kind words and comfort to those in distress.

These photos I took last year and I don't know if all the sculptures are still in situ.  I know the Longton one is as I pass it often.  I hope the others are still on display too.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

November Days

What does November hold?  Wet breezy days,  falling leaves, darker evenings, misty mornings, frosty cobwebs and the first fogs,  occasionally the first snow too.  
Wet gardens covered in fallen leaves from the now skeletal trees. The bang of fireworks on most nights but especially on the fifth brings back memories of childhood bonfires, of warmth from the fire, hats scarves and gloves, sparklers and baked potatoes from the fire.  Making the Christmas pudding on Stir-up Sunday and in between that and Bonfire Night the solemnity of Remembrance. 

 Towards the end of the month festive  lights will be switched on across cities, towns and villages and households vie to see who will have their Christmas lights up first.

I love the curlews on the November page of the calendar.  It's time to turn to

Warming soups with homemade bread.  Above cauliflower, cheddar and kale soup.

and good books to read.  The latest novel in the Simon Serrailer series by Susan Hill and the latest Mephisto and Stephens novel from Elly Griffiths one of them starts with a funeral the other ends with one. Also on the small pile is 'Hidden Lives' by Cathryn Walton.  It's about the women members of Leek Embroiderers Society which was founded in 1872.

The Tulip Tree in the garden has gradually taken on a different hue over the last week.

in the last few days it has turned  from the gentle colour above to the more vibrant colour below.

 It's the colour of orange marmalade and

it has looked wonderful in the different light of both the early mornings and at dusk.   The colours of Autumn have been outstanding this year.

Fallen leaves have been raked into piles and within minutes have been replaced by others swirling in the breeze and drifting across the gardens like falling snowflakes.

The Squirrels have been busy burying, bustling and chasing each other across the garden.

They look very plump and healthy 
The garden is covered in fallen leaves

We've also had feline visitors to the garden

Pip lives across the road.

This is a new cat who chases those chasing squirrels high up into the Tulip Tree.

Peanut who visits our garden every day lives across the road with Pip and a tortoiseshell cat called Pumpkin.

It must be getting colder as the town pigeons (rock doves) visited in a gang to pinch the breadcrumbs we had put down for the wood pigeons and collard doves.  They seemed to enjoy the homemade bread.