Sunday, May 28, 2023

Tissington Well Dressings

I've taken you to Tissington several times over the years I've been writing this blog but never at Well Dressing time.  I wanted to visit the village during the well dressing festival as I have happy memories of school trips there.   My mum always used to say that Spring turned to Summer the day we children boarded the bus to take us the thirty five miles from school in Scarcliffe to Tissington.  

There were about thirty children at our school and I'm not sure if all of the three classes - known to us as baby class, middle class and top class - went along. I guess it would probably have been the older children.  My overwhelming memory is of the heat of the day, coats and cardigans soon abandoned, smelly sandwiches in greaseproof paper bags - usually fish paste or egg and bottles of pop.  I remember the cattle grid at the gated entrance to the village - it's still there.

Of course life is much busier now and there is a special entrance and parking at the top end of the village and a one way system to exit.  

According to the booklet, given to us as we paid to park, the origins of Well Dressing may well have had their roots in pagan times but later given Christian meaning.  One theory is that the custom began just after the plague or black death of 1348-49 to give thanks for the purity of the water from the wells which they thought was the reason that the village population all survived.

Another theory is that the tradition recalls that during the severe drought of 1615 the five wells of Tissington kept flowing freely and the surrounding district were grateful for the supply of water from the village.  A thanksgiving service was held and the wells were decorated each year after.

The boards on which the images are to be made are soaked in the village pond and then plastered with local clay which has been mixed with salt and trodden to reach the right consistency.  The design is then traced onto the boards and marked out with coffee beans before the task of applying the petals begins.  Here is some more information about the process.  Everyone in the village contributes in some way in dressing the wells, digging clay, gathering flowers and assembling the dressings ready for the start of the festival.

There are six wells now in the village which we wandered around.  There were also several bric-a-brac stalls, an art exhibition and a craft exhibition in the village hall.  Coffee from Herbert's Tea Room halfway round was most welcome as we sat and people watched for a while.  There were lots of dogs too and a special ice cream van just for them.  I also met four lovely cats along the way.  It's a very cat friendly village.

Here are the Well Dressings.

 Hands Well

 Children's Well

 Hall Well

 Yew Tree Well

Town Well

 Coffin Well
Above a few close up details from the well dressings.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Here and There

 We've been away for a few days.  We haven't ventured too far from home but as we wanted to visit a dear friend in Nottingham who has been very poorly and in and out of hospital and also visit our nephew and his mum we decided to stay over a couple of days and make the most of the visit.

On the way to Nottingham we stopped of to look at the Well Dressings in the village of Tissington.  The next day on our way to relatives we visited Creswell Crags, the Harley Gallery and the Portland Museum - it was so hot that day.  On our way back home the next day we visited Crich Tramway Museum.

I'll be writing more about all of the places but for now here are just a few photos.

Well Dressings at Hall Well

and Coffin Well.

Creswell Crags Museum

The Gorge and Caves

The Harley Gallery - outside

and inside.

The Portland Museum

There is an Art Trail walk between Creswell Crags and the Harley Gallery.

Most of the walk was under the shade of trees but there is a busy road to cross along the way.

As you pay for your entry to the Tramway Museum, which is valid for a year so you can make a return visit,  you receive an old penny to pay for your first ride.  You can have as many rides as you want.

We rode on the top deck of the one below.

All for now, I'll be back again soon.


Friday, May 19, 2023

Friday Five

It seems a while since I produced a five on Friday post so here goes.  Five this time from the Dorothy Clive Garden.  The garden was started by Colonel Harry Clive c. 1940 for his wife, Dorothy.  In 1958 he set up the Willoughbridge Garden Trust to preserve the garden as a memorial to his wife and for the 'rest and recreation' of the local inhabitants.

1. The Laburnum Arch

2. The Waterfall

The Waterfall was created by head gardener George Lovatt in 1989 for the golden jubilee of the garden in 1990.  The water is pumped from the lower pool to the foot of the bronze stag.

The bronze stag by Ben Pantang at the top of the waterfall  was commissioned by the Willoughbridge Trust in 2000 and lifted into place in 2001.

 The waterfall can be found in the centre of the Quarry Garden.

3. The Quarry Garden

The garden was created in the 1940s in an old  quarry which provided gravel for local farm tracks and drives.  Colonel Clive thought it would be a good, sheltered place for his wife, who suffered from ill health, to walk with her dog.  The planting of Azalea and Rhododendron trees was begun in the 1940s.


 4. The Sculptures and Carvings in the art trail


I loved the badger.  Such a sweet face.

 Owls were popular too

The owls Artemis above and Scimitar below were carved by Angel Maltby.

The Woodpecker Tree

5. The Colours

There are, of course other areas of the garden including the Azalea Walk, the Winter woodland, the edible Woodand, herbacious borders, loads of unusual trees, a pond and a botanic glasshouse.  Also a cafe, shop and plant sales.  Well worth a visit in all seasons but especially at this time of year.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Spotted out and about

 Last Wednesday we popped into Trentham Gardens for a walk around the lake.  It was a lovely morning although rain and thunder storms were threatened we managed the walk and also a quick look around the garden centre before it started to rain.  

I took a few photos as we walked around, stopping halfway for a coffee at the lakeside cafe.

I've never seen so many Camassias.

Like bluebells it is hard to capture the vividness of the blue.

Below a soft yellow tree Peony

Such a pretty tree

 Looks like I managed to photograph an insect on the  flower.

This black swan was quite inquisitive and it came right up to me.  I said I was sorry to have no seeds for him/her. It liked the look of my camera.

 Proud Greylag parents

I'm sure there were six goslings but I seem only to have captured five of them.

 Below a curious squirrel

Cow Parsley frothing at the side of the lake. One of my favourites at this time of year.

At the start of the walk is a chalk board with bird, mammal and insect sightings around the lake.  Mammals spotted include Beaver, Water Vole, Field Vole and Shrew. Didn't see any of those.  I'd love to see a Beaver and a Water Vole.  We only managed to spot the ubiquitous Grey Squirrel.


Meanwhile on our early Sunday morning walk across the fields nearby the Hawthorne blossom was looking lovely in the gentle sunshine.

The bright blues and yellows in the hedgerows are being overtaken by a profusion of white.  Hawthorn, cow parsley and wild garlic.

We spotted a fox making its way across the field.  It appeared on the path in front of us, became aware that we were there and scooted off into the bushes.  Not sure if it was male or female but I guess there will be cubs somewhere.  Skylarks were singing and crows cawing.

We saw a few butterflies a small tortoiseshell, orange tips both male and female and a couple of little brown ones dancing around each other and staying in front of us as we walked.  Across the meadows were those black flies with long dangling legs. I think they are called St Mark's flies.  At one point the air seemed full of them.

 All for now.