Sunday, March 19, 2023

Memories on Mothering Sunday

Whilst I was sifting through my mum's old photos and envelopes full of certifcates, newspaper clippings, diaries, recipe note books and other stuff looking for specific photos I came across this one of me and her.  It's old and not too clear but I like it.  I must have been three or even four perhaps? So taken in 1953 or 1954.  I have no idea.  I was always clutching a teddy, I didn't like dolls very much.

It was taken at the back of our house on Napier Street, Leicester.  When my father died in 1955 we moved back to Derbyshire.  The house was demolished sometime in the late 80s or 90s as were the Granby Halls which were more or less at the top of the street and across the road.  The houses in our few streets were demolished to make way for the hospital car park.

What I was actually looking for were photos of my Mum in the outfit she bought to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace.  The year was 1965, the month was May.  My mum was chosen to represent our village W.I.   The garden party was being held to mark the Golden Jubilee of the National Federation of Women's Institutes.  Each village or area had a chosen representative from their W.I. group and they all met locally and travelled on a special bus down to London.

I remember her posing for the photographs in her navy blue and pink outfit which had to fit the specifications laid down in the instructions that came with her invitation.  Size of hat, must have gloves, bag not too big but large enough for a pac-a-mac - just in case.  Umbrella? I can't remember what the weather was like that day but I expect if it had been raining she would have said.

 This was taken on our front lawn near the Lilac tree which was so beautiful in May.  I've always loved Lilac and  the scent of it always brings back memories of this one.

All for now.


Monday, March 13, 2023

The Last Few Days

The snow has gone now and has been replaced by wet and windy weather.  Before the snow finally disappeared we walked across the local fields just a street and a half away from home.  It's good to have so much open space between us and the city centre.

It was a beautiful sunny day even though it was cold.

There are lots of horses in paddocks up on the fields.

Signs of people coming to feed the livestock.

A view to the city centre.

Talking of the city centre we decided, once the snow had gone, to visit the Potteries Museum to look at an exhibition of wildlife photography by local amateur photographers.  There were some stunning photos.  No photos taken because of copyright but also because there were tables in the gallery ready for children to make clay sheep.

We had a cup of coffee and went to look at the Spitfire Gallery as well as the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition and the art gallery.  The two photos above are taken through windows either side of the gallery to the front and rear of the museum.

As we were leaving we spotted two large Herdwick sheep with their lambs in a pram.  They were performers called Flock from the Bread and Butter Theatre Company.  Heidi and Henrietta Herdwick were very popular with visitors.  Here is a - link - to more photos of Flock.

When we got home Mrs Fox came for a visit.  It was a joy to see her peeping through the hedge.  I think there will be fox cubs again this year.

At least whilst it is wet and windy I've had plenty of books to read.

I realised I'd missed a Louise Penny book and had recently read her latest one 'A World of Curiosities' before the one above.  
All for now.  Take care in the dismal weather, let's hope for more Springlike weather soon.

Thursday, March 09, 2023


 It's back for one last flurry, I hope, before Spring finally settles in for a month or two.

Weather warnings are out, gritters are probably out on the main roads but I've no idea as we won't be going anywhere for a while.  Up on our hill we rarely see the gritters now the bus service is no more.  

Tuesday was an exquisite day, sunny, dry and cold but with the promise of Spring.  We walked across the nearby fields and down towards the park where Daffodils and Snowdrops sparkled in the sunlight.  The next day all had changed as is the weather's wont especially on the cusp of seasonal changes.

We shopped on Monday morning and have enough vegetables to make a warming casserole which will last two days.  The left overs from today will be topped with mashed potato and swede and turned into a vegetable 'shepherd's' pie tomorrow.

The bird feeders have been topped up ready for the flurry of birds that will visit mid-morning and early afternoon.

Peanut, the black cat from across the road loves to visit our garden two or three times a day.  This morning he wasn't deterred by the snow but decided to shelter a while under a shrub.

Goldfinches are early visitors to the feeders. 

The male Dunnock showing off his pink legs.

Both Blackbirds and Magpies brave the snow and cold as they seek food.

All photos taken through windows as I haven't been ouside yet.

The sky has lightened slightly but it is still snowing so there is no chance of a walk today.

All for now.

Friday, March 03, 2023

Five from the last few days

Last Thursday we went up to Ford Green Hall and Nature Reserve to see if we could spot the green or ring-necked  parakeets  that have been seen there.  Paul saw one fly across the pool but I missed it as I was taking a photo of a swan on the water.  We may go up there again soon to see if we can see them. 

We'd visited the reserve ages ago (well before Covid) and it has been much improved since then with lots of paths and boardwalks.  I suppose lots of us ask now 'was it before or after the pandemic?' as a judgement of time.

You can walk right around the pool now with many new paths off the main one to explore.

Ford Green Hall is a seventeenth century farmhouse and probably one of the oldest buildings in the city.  It used to be run by Stoke City Council but is now run by a charitable organisation led by volunteers. We'd hoped to go inside as it was a day on wich it was supposed to be open but there were notices up to inform visitors that it was closed for a wedding that day.  We will return soon and hopefully go inside and also see parakeets at the reserve too.

On Sunday we walked at RSPB Consall nature reserve and walked down through the woodlands and over the river to the canal and railway.  The Churnet Valley Railway was working as it was half-term so we saw one of the steam trains pass by. Lots of peole on board enjoying a late breakfast or early lunch.
On Tuesday morning we walked around the lake at Trentham.  It was quite cold but there were lots of delicate Spring flowers to see.


Wood Anemones

Yellow inside and out.  It's good that the £1 bunches of daffodils are back in the shops.  They last such a long time on the kitchen window sill and its something cheerful to look at whilst washing the pots.

Daffodils are opening up outside as well.

The pot was kept in the green house over winter so these daffodils have flowered before the ones in the garden which are just begining to open now.
We spotted a new bird seed feeder at the garden centre marked down to nearly half price.  I thought it was pretty and quite sturdy but the birds seem to prefer the older feeders.  A few brave Goldfinches have tried it out so hopefully it will soon be accepted.
  We have two pairs of Bullfinches visiting at the moment, it's great to see them.
A few more Sparrows too.

Photo taken whilst out and about.

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Along the Cromford Canal - Part Two

After sitting at the side of the canal with a warming mug of coffee watched over by our little friend (see my last post) who was probably hoping in vain for a crumb or two we went to explore the workshop and engine nearby.

Above a brake van or guard's van.  The guard would be on the lookout in case the brakes had to be used.  You can clamber onto the van and see inside.

The buildings have been recorded as the world's oldest surviving railway workshop.

 The workers here looking after the nearby railway since c1830.  The railway was known as the Cromford and High Peak railway and was built to transport minerals between the Cromford Canal and the Peak Forest Canal at Whaley Bridge.

The railway line was finally closed in the 1960s and in 1971 the line was bought by the Peak Park planning board and Derbyshire County Council and turned into the High Peak Trail.


After looking around the railway sheds we wandered back towards the wharf and crossed the road for a quick visit (time was running out on our parking ticket) to Cromford Mill.

We visited the Mill shop and also the craft shop. We had a mooch around one or two of the Antique shops there.

There were guides in costume for those going inside the mill.  No photographs as they were all leading groups of children who were visiting in half term.

I know I've taken you inside the mill before but I can't find the post to link to.  I'll edit this post if I find it.  In the meantime here is a - link - to the Mill's website for more information.
There were lots of fascinating objects both inside and ouside the shops.

I loved all the baskets.  I have three wicker baskets, including a Norfolk potato basket,  which years ago were well used but I never use them now other than for storing things in on top of the wardrobe.  I remember having a basket for Domestic Science at school as we had to take ingredients into school and travel back on the school bus with the finished product.

You hardly ever see baskets used now. In the late 1960s I used to carry a soft basket in stead of a handbag.  Gone are the days of shopping baskets, wicker shopping trolleys and baskets on the front of bicycles.  Now we carry bags for life recycled from milk bottles, tote bags or back packs and yet baskets will last for many years.  A couple of mine must be at least forty years old.  We do take one of them out occasionally for picnics.
I'm always fascinated by old bottles and jars and the details on them.  One of my ancestors was born in Staveley where the family had moved for work.  Some of the family members stayed there others returned to their original home or moved elsewhere.  They seemed to move around quite a bit in a smallish area over the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire borders.

All for now.