Thursday, July 27, 2023

A Little Oasis

Just a short post with a few photos.  Work is progressing at home.  The living room ceiling was finished over a week ago and has dried out and been painted.  The two old radiators under the windows have been removed and a new one installed on a side wall.  Plastering has been done under the windows and is gradually drying out. The walls can now be painted and wallpaper put on the the fireplace wall. The next job is new flooring.  It all takes time but the two builders and plasterers John and Greg have been very efficient, as has Brad the plumber.  We are pleased with all the work so far.

At the end of last week we decided to take a quick break away from the chaos at home.

 We popped up to the Emma Bridgewater factory and shop.  It's always a treat to have coffee and toasted teacakes there and also a peep in the little walled garden behind the factory shop.  This time our coffee was served in 'God save the King' mugs.

The garden is a little oasis close to the city centre.  

 Photos were taken by Paul as I didn't think to take a camera.

There is a lovely book about the making of the garden. Written by Arthur Parkinson with a foreward by Emma Bridgewater, it is a delightful account of how the author was inspired to become a gardener and how he created the garden at the Bridgewater factory.  There are some lovely photographs in the book.  The gardens looked slightly more colourful and dramatic during his time there but they are still very pretty and a joy to visit.

All for now.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Wildflowers, Posies and a Partridge

 Just a few photos of the wildflowers at Trentham where we walked one day last week as a break away from moving everything from the living room for the work to be done.  The most tiring was boxing up books, CDs and DVDs and dismantling the bookshelves.  Blinds had to be taken down as well as light fittings.

Back to Trentham. The flowers are all along the pathways by the lake.

and looking so beautiful.

 and very photogenic, my photos don't do them justice.

I wish I could identify them all.

Below scented posies from the garden

Roses and sweet peas on the kitchen table

Pinks and Dill on the fossil cabinet in the conservatory.
It's all go here this morning, the men are in, the living room ceiling is coming down.  They have sealed themselves in and will dispose of the artex containing asbestos today and clean up the dust.  The new boards will go in tomorrow and then skimmed, three times, on Wednesday.  They are singing along to their radio.  Shouting out answers to the pop quiz.
Meanwhile in the garden this morning another new and unusual visitor to the garden.
We've had a pair of Mallards, a Heron and a ring-necked Parakeet so far this year, now we've had a red legged Partridge.
He stayed for ages pecking around with both Wood Pigeons and Collard Doves.  
There will be lots of cleaning and decorating to do once the work is completed so I may disappear for a while.
All for now.

Tuesday, July 04, 2023

Boscobel House and the Royal Oak


Carrying on from my last post.

When we reached Boscobel House it was time for a late lunch before we explored the house and grounds.  We had sandwiches served with a small side salad in the barn before moving on to the garden.  As rain was forecast we decided to visit the outside areas first.

Boscobel House is a farmhouse, at one time turned hunting lodge, with a connection to national history and turbulent times.  It was from here in 1651 that Charles II escaped to France after being defeated by Cromwell's troops at the battle of Worcester.  He found safety for a while in the house which was owned by the Giffard family from nearby Whiteladies Priory.  The house was lived in and cared for by the Penderel brothers.  The first night of his stay, disguised as a countryman, he and his companion Major William Careless hid in an oak tree to escape being captured by Parliamentarian soldiers.  The second night he hid in the priest's hole until the Penderel brothers could move him to nearby Moseley Old Hall, from there disguised as the servant of a local gentlewoman called Jane Lane he managed to get to Shoreham on Sea and from there to France.  Here is a -link- to more information.

The gardens were lovely.  Set out in a 17th century parterre design with plants typical of the era.

This photo was taken through an upstairs window.

From the garden we wandered into the meadow to walk to the Oak Tree, it's not the original tree that sheltered a king as parliamentarian troops scoured the woods below but  a descendant of the original.  

The person who greeted us at the reception told us that the  larger one was struck by lightening a few years ago so another smaller one now grows at its side 'just in case'.

A willow tunnel for children to explore.  There are lots of interactive displays and play areas to keep them occupied and inspired.

The site is now presented as a Victorian farm with animals and chickens.  Above one of the Ryland sheep.

A contented Tamworth pig - I'm sure it was smiling.

Time to go inside.

From 1812 until 1888 the house and estate, including nearby Whiteladies - now a ruin and not visited this time - was owned by the Evans sisters.  Their main home was Darley Abbey House near Derby but they did visit Boscobel for a month each year and being fascinated with the house's history, encouraged tourists to visit the house and the Royal Oak.  Inside the house is now presented as a Victorian residence with a romanticised view of the 17th century.

The first thing you do on entry is to pick up a candlestick.  In each room is a pile of books, if you place the candle on top of the books an animated figure appears.  

Figures appear from the 17th century in a 19th century setting.

Quite ghostly at times.

The downstairs living area was very dark so photographs were impossible. It's kept so dark to protect some of the objects in the room and in particular a very special contemporary account of the escape. Upstairs there are two open bedrooms and an attic area.  Also the priest's hole where Charles II may have hidden.  More photos below.

The way out is through the dairy, where cheese and butter were made and meat was salted.  Across in one of the barns was an area for brewing cider.

The Dairy
Butter Making
Below the salting area
Below cider making 
Below a collage of a few more random photos.  

Apologies for the photo overload.   I have bedding hanging outside to dry so I'm keeping an eye out for rain, it has gone a bit dull so I must go and check.
All for now.