Friday, August 25, 2023


Sunflowers at Barlow, Derbyshire.  

On Wednesday we drove through Derbyshire to visit a friend who lives in Holmesfield and spent a lovely hour wandering around the sunflower fields in the nearby village of Barlow.

The bright colour of the flowers contrasted with the dull grey skies above.  Amongst the flowers, which at times towered over us, we felt a protective warmth and peacefulness.  The heat and scent was amazing. The bees were buzzing around the flowers but we didn't see many butterflies.  Although later, after lunch, we saw quite a few as we walked around the woods in Holmesfield.

The farmer was busy in an adjacent field bailing hay.
(Paul's photo of the wild flowers)

The wild flower field was still looking lovely although by this time of year not at its best.  It must have looked wonderful a few weeks ago.
(Paul's photo)

All for now.  Take care and have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

A History Day

Yesterday's weather was perfect.  Friends came to visit and after a lunch of home made vegetable lasagne and raspberry cheesecake we set off to Ford Green Hall.  

The hall was hosting an open day for the Old Nortonian Society, a local history society which promotes the interest of local and family history in the village and parish of Norton-in-the-Moors.  

The society's wonderful collection of  photographs were on display throughout the hall and there were some fascinating images as well as information about them and also interesting recollections to be overheard as we wandered around.


After a good look around the house and garden we had a leisurely walk around the lake at the nature reserve which is close by.

The hall, as always was a pleasure to walk around and there were lots of fascinating items to see.  Photos below of the things that caught my eye.   I took photos of quiet corners and smaller objects as there were quite a few people looking at the photo displays and I didn't want to intrude on them.


Ford Green Hall was built in 1624 for yeoman dairy farmer Hugh Ford, owner of 36 acres of land in the area.  The  family lived at the hall for over 200 years.  After the Ford family left the Hall it was divided into three and later four cottages.  The building was purchased by Stoke City Council in 1946 and opened as a museum in 1952.  Following budget cutbacks in 2011 the hall was faced with closure but in 2014 its management was passed to Ford Green Hall Ltd a charitable organisation led by volunteers.  

Saturday, August 05, 2023

In and around the garden

Although the plants need rain some of them also need sun, especially the tomatoes and plums.  We've had a few tomatoes from the greenhouse but they still need to ripen more.  The 'spares' which have been left outside are still green.

There are three varieties of tomatoes above - Santa Mama, Gardener's Delight and Roma.  There was also a small crop of French beans.

The plum tree has lots of plums this year and one or two look as if they are going to ripen, perhaps next week we will have a little more sun to help them.

Potatoes haven't done as well as hoped the crop below are a variety called Acoustic

Lots of flowers in the garden at the moment although they are being battered by the wind and rain.

There were a few sunnier late afternoons and evenings this week and bees and butterflies appeared later in the day.

One afternoon I was visited by a Comma butterfly.   It settled on my back.

It flew away after a short while but then it returned and settled on my shoulder.  Perhaps it  liked the colour of my blouse or perhaps I was standing in the sun and it wanted to be where it was warm.  Perhaps I was a handy stop along its flight path.
On a recent walk I spotted a dragonfly on the ground in front of me. Luckily I had my camera ready so I was able to take a photo before it flew further down the path and then skimmed back over the lake.
Is it a Black-tailed skimmer?  I know one or two of you are more knowlegable about wildlife than I am so please let me know if I am wrong. I got the ID from a Wildlife Trust site.
All for now.

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Matisse and Crocosmia

Another small break was needed away from all the work so we visited nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme and popped into the museum on the Brampton for a coffee and a look at the new exhibition.

Drawing with Scissors is a touring exhibition exhibition from the Hayward Gallery at the South Bank Centre.  It features thirty five prints by Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954) which the artist produced in the last four years of his life.

Almost bedridden and no longer able to paint or draw Matisse used coloured paper and scissors to create his works.

Meanwhile out in the grounds and gardens there was a riot of Crocosmia.  So bright and cheering on a grey day.

There were also many other plants and flowers blooming and lots of bees and butterflies were enjoying them.

All for now.