Friday, September 24, 2021

Five Since the Last Time

Somehow two weeks have gone by since my last post   Time is passing so quickly and I'm trying to hold on to the last shreds of Summer even though it is now definitely Autumn.

If I hadn't taken photos I'd have difficulty remembering which days I've done things on as all the days seem to be melding together.

Last week on Monday we took a few bags of things to donate to the local Wildlife Trust charity shop. We went in first to check that they wanted what we had before fetching the bags from the car and placing them in the little changing room at the back of the shop where they would stay for a while before being sorted.  Afterwards we had a wander around the town.  Leek has some lovely independent shops and also successful indoor, outdoor and artisan markets.  All well publicised by their 'Totally Locally' campaign.

On the Wednesday we met with friends at the village of Bonsall which is near Cromford in Derbyshire and visited the Cascades  gardens.  The garden is set in a quarry and is a meditation garden and bonsai nursery as well as offering Zen retreats in the old mill house.  

We spent quite a while in the garden before finding lunch at the nearby Fountains Tea Rooms.

Our garden has needed quite a bit of attention over the last week.  Areas of grass we had allowed to grow long have now been mown and the seat moved to the top of the garden where the old shed used to be.  
The red cabbages have done well this year.
As have beetroot and courgettes but tomatoes have been less successful.

Some of the flowers are still doing well too.


The first Comma butterfly I've seen in the garden this year.

The Sunflower has had about twelve blooms on it.

I was able to collect two of the three books I had reserved from the library.  Luckily they both became available at the same time.

The third book I'd reserved came up as available to borrow from the e-book library so I had it from there and cancelled my reservation at the library as I was still quite a way down in the queue.

So far I've read the Ann Cleeves book and the Kate Ellis one and thoroughly enjoyed both of them.  I'm now looking forward to reading '1979.'
This week we ventured up to the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery to see the newly  opened Spitfire Gallery.  Whilst the museum has been closed through the last eighteen months lots of work has been done and some galleries were closed as refurbishment is still taking place.  

There was much razzamatazz over the last weekend with a fly over from a Spitfire and many living history events.  We decided to wait until it was quieter to visit.

Reginald Mitchell, the designer of the plane, was born locally.

The plane has been refurbished and is now in a lot better condition than it was.

We sat and had coffee overlooking the downstairs bit of the gallery and then went to see the other exhibition 'Curiouser and Curiouser' which uses the museums own objects within the displays of 'Alice's Adventures in a Museum Wonderland.'

All for now.  Take care.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Friday Five

We'd booked tickets to visit the Peak Wildlife Park on Wednesday.  It was warm, very warm, possibly too warm but we ventured out, takng a small picnic with us.  The ducks around the picnic tables were ever hopeful of treats, nibbling at our feet and gently tapping our legs with their beaks.  Butterflies and dragonflies flittered over the nearby ponds and thankfully there were no wasps to worry about whilst we ate our food.
Not sure what either of these dragoflies are.  They were very lazy in the heat.

Of course, the birds and animals were either sheltering or making the most of the sunshine.  Below are photos of some of those we saw.
1. Meerkats

Some doing sentinel duties

others being

 very laid back.

2. Ring-tailed Lemurs, native only to the island of Madagascar,

Enjoying the sunshine, watching the feet go by.

3.  This Tapir had the right idea on how to keep cool.
We didn't hear it whistle.

4. The Red Squirrels were busy

with lots of food to cache

Even though it was hot

one found a shady spot.

5. Super cool Otters
There were nine of them altogether.

They had just been provided with new bedding material.

All for now.  Take care.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Plums, Books and Butterflies

All the plums have been harvested from both trees.  The larger Victoria plum tree and the smaller one which produces yellow plums that have a beautiful fragrance but don't taste as sweet and sharp as the red ones.

We've had more fruits than we expected so some have had to be prepared and frozen.  Others will make jam and crumbles.

Two more punnets over the weekend were definitely the last.

We have plenty of empty jars for jam making.

Above four books I've enjoyed reading recently.  All very different.  I loved The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain which was recommended by a friend.  It's a short, sweet and satisfying read which I needed as I was getting bogged down by a few of the books I'd chosen and couldn't finish reading some of them.  I loved all the characters and the setting in Acts and Omissions by Catherine Fox and will read the other two books in the trilogy later this year.  I also enjoyed Two Women in Rome by Elizabeth Buchan.  It certainly isn't as 'happy' as the other two but the mystery is intriguing.  Rewild your Garden by Frances Tophill is an interesting and useful book you can go back to and dip into many times. The illustrations are lovely too.

At present I'm reading the book above and according to my Kindle I'm 20% of the way through it.  It's a very long book but I'm determined to work my way to the end especially as I also have three books reserved at the library all newly or about to be published.

1979 by Val McDermid - I'm number seven in the queue
The Heron's Cry by Ann Cleeves - number ten in the queue and The Stone Chamber by Kate Ellis - number three in the queue

I hope they don't all come at once, I expect it depends on how quickly people read them from when they first become available.

The warmer, sunnier weather last week brought the larger butterflies into the garden.  Also two dragonflies which flew around a bit but didn't settle.  Just glimpses as they wizzed by showed one had a green body and one a red body.  It seems ages since we've seen dragonflies which have settled for long enough to be identified let alone photographed.

The Echinacias have been popular with both butterflies and bees.

Although one of the Red Admirals preferred the Hydrangeas.

Whilst one of the Tortoiseshells liked the Zinnias.