Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Park in Winter

Sorry I haven't been around much over the last couple of weeks.  I have a problem with one of my eyes and the nerves in my head and face which makes it difficult for me to be on the laptop for very long.  I've tried to leave short comments on your blog posts when I could but writing a post myself was taking too long and making my eye sore. Consequently I have lots of draft posts which I started to write but hadn't the heart or energy to complete and publish, perhaps they will be edited and published later.  

This morning before the  wind, hail and snow set in we went down into town to collect a book I'd had reserved at the library.  The sun came out for a while so we had a walk in the park before returning home.

I always have a little camera in my bag so I took a few photos.

 Looking out of the windows at the snowflakes drifting daintily then whirling and dancing in the strong breeze its time to settle down with a warm drink and the book I collected earlier which is the latest Chief Inspector Gamache mystery by Louise Penny.

Tomorrow is the 1st of March, so don't forget to say 'White Rabbits' before you say anything else in the morning. When we were children we used to shout 'White Rabbits' as soon as we woke, even before we got out of bed.  Rabbits always remind me of Spring which I hope is just around the corner.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Between the Storms

All of a sudden it's Friday again.  We've not been very far from home this week.  In fact we hardly left the house between Saturday lunch time and Wednesday morning whilst the storm and then the snow took over. 

On Wednesday morning we drove the few miles up to the town of  Leek to take some books and CDs to the Staffordshire Wildlife Charity shop
We also wandered around the covered market and bought sunflower hearts for the birds and also some plants which have now been placed in a larger pot. I also noticed a lovely stall selling hand made soaps so will probably go back and chose some later as we've gone back to using hand soap to avoid using plastic bottles.

We also bought red berry loose leaf tea from Cafe Apollonia where we stopped for a coffee and toasted tea cake.

We usually have loose leaf fruit teas from Lee Rosy's by post as they don't have a retail outlet now but we prefer to buy locally where possible. We've found one variety of fruit tea at Sainsburys which is also very good.

Towards the end of last year we planted spinach seeds in a pot in the conservatory and this week the leaves were ready to be cut and eaten.

We have a recipe for cheese pie which asks for 'a handful of Spinach leaves' and that was more or less what we had.

The pastry caught a little in the oven but the pie was delicious with salad.

 This morning we walked around the lake at Trentham.  It was very bleak and cold.

 The runner ducks were rather hoping that we'd have seed in our pockets. 

I did spot one of the first Wood Anemones of the year under the trees.  This seems slightly early as they usually flower March to May. 

Now it's time to make sure everything in the garden is safe once again before the next storm appears this weekend.

N.B. For those who asked I've added the recipe for the cheese pie below.

Cheese Pie

500gm puff pastry
Milk or beaten egg for brushing
1 free range egg (2 if additional fillings are added)
110gm strong cheddar cheese
2 handfulls of washed spinach leaves
pinch English mustard
ground black pepper
100g feta cheese (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 220c *.   Roll pastry into two oblongs**  Lay one half of the pastry on baking parchment on a baking tin  and brush edges with the egg or milk.  Mix the egg and grated cheese in a bowl, stir in spinach and mustard.  Season with black pepper.  Spread onto pastry base and crumble in the feta (if required).  Cover with second oblong, sealing well, turn over edges and crimp with fingers.  Brush with egg or milk and mark the top in a lattice design.  Bake for 15 – 20 mins and then, if needed, reduce the temp to 190 degrees and cook for a further 10 minutes until top is puffed and golden brown.  Serve warm.

 * in our oven we heat to 200 c then reduce to 180c after 10 mins  as it gets very warm and can burn the pastry quite quickly.

** we buy the ready rolled sheet and just cut it in half.

Monday, February 10, 2020

On Monday

After the blustry, tree bending winds and torrential rain of yesterday today was rather different.

 We had snow.

In the space of two hours it came down, gently at first then with gathering speed and intensity.  Now the sun is shining, there is blue in the sky amongst the soft grey clouds and the snow is disappearing almost as quickly as it came.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

On Friday

Goodness where did the last week go?  Tuesday the car went in for its service and MOT.  Wednesday the front door wouldn't lock so we had to get someone out to sort it. It had been playing up for a while, we'd changed the locks, then the handle but in the end it was the mechanismin at the bottom of the door which is now mended and all is working well.  Fingers crossed.

Here are a few photos taken over the last couple of weeks.

1.  Bridges and Books in Bakewell

On the last Monday of January we visited the town of Bakewell in Derbyshire.  One of our favourite places. There was a huge market in full swing with stalls selling everything you could imagine. No photos as there were too many people around but I did take a photo of two of the bridges over the river Wye.  Above the 13th century five arched road bridge.

Above is one of the footbridges which lead from the car park into the town centre.  this one has been completely covered in love locks over the last few years. I think there are now concerns about its weight.  I wonder if they will eventually be removed?

Whilst we were browsing we found a new book shop.  Hawkridge Books sells Antiquarian and Fine books.
It specialises in books on Natural History and Ornithology, but also had lots of local books too.

2.  Steps and views in Macclesfield

We visited on Thursday and spent time in the Silk Museum but also had a wander around the town.

The 108 Steps - the sun made it quite difficult for photographs.

We didn't venture down them on this visit but have climbed up them before from the lower part of the town.

3.  Signs of Spring at Trentham Gardens.

 Moorhens usually scuttle away as you pass by but this one decided that it looked rather good amongst the snowdrops.


 Hazel Catkins

 Witch Hazel

4.  Around Home

 Bright golden daffoldils in the kitchen window have been cheering for the last few days.

 Homemade cheese scones for lunch on Wednesday.

We've ditched the tea bags and returned to loose tea. I must admit it does taste better.  The tea bags weren't breaking down very well in the compost.  We have both leaf tea and fruit tea now.

5.  Wildlife film camera

The badger visited at 2.28 am last Wednesday. 

 The temperature was recorded at -4 degrees centigrade.

That's my five for Friday this week. We are now preparing for the weekend's predicted storm.  Anything that can blow away has been weighted down or put in the greenhouse.

Monday, February 03, 2020

Monday Musings

When we received our DNA results courtesy of Ancestry a couple of Christmases ago (it was our present from each other for that year)  I was intrigued to find 2% Scandinavian in the expected mix of England, Wales and Western European and English Midlands in my analysis. Since then things have been refined and it is now 2% Norwegian.  
Baptism record for John Young 21 August 1803

I have one Scottish ancestor on my maternal side in John Young, son of Alexander Young and Anne Brash, who left his birthplace of Kirkcaldy in Fife to move to Loughborough in Leicestershire.  John Young was born 16th August 1803 and baptised on 21st August the same year.  He married Maria Parkinson of Loughborough on 9th April 1826 at All Saint's Church, Loughborough.  Later the whole family were baptised into the Dead Lane Primitive Methodist Church in Loughborough, including my great great grandfather Alexander Young, who moved from Loughborough to Nottingham and then to Ilkeston in Derbyshire.  He was a tailor by profession just like his father and grandfather.  

I'd assumed that the Norwegian heritage came from Scotland but I'm beginning to wonder now as on my father's side I have ancestors, the Edwards family, who came from the South Derbyshire villages of Ingleby and Foremark which are very close to the small historic town of Repton.

Pages from an article written by Roly Smith in the January 2019 issue of  Archaeology and Conservation in Derbyshire and the Peak District.

There have recently been reports and a television programme on more recent findings at Repton and it being the site of a great Viking Army overwintering nearby 873 to 874 AD now CE.  A mass burial site was found in the vicarage garden which seems to prove this theory first mentioned in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles. 

Modern tests on bones found seem to back up this theory dating them to the time mentioned.  It seems that the overwintering site was slightly away from the burial site and evidence of metal working as well as other fragments of Viking habitation have been found.  

It's not beyond the realms of belief that some of the army could have stayed behind when the main army moved on.  Could they have lived and worked alongside the local people and finally settled there?  If so is this where my 2% Norwegian heritage comes from?  Maybe, but Scotland still seems the more obvious answer as probably the Repton Vikings were Danes rather than Norse.

Record of the marriage of John Edwards and Ann Lilley  both of the parish of Ingleby who married at Foremark church 3rd Novmber 1779.

I'll never know but it is intriguing and worth musing over on this dark, wet, windy and dismal day. 

Below some photos of Repton taken in October 2010 when we visited after looking at the villages mentioned above.

Arch from the old Priory with Repton School behind

St Wystan's Church

Repton Cross or Market Cross