Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Pumpkins and Toadstools

Firstly welcome to some new followers it's good to see you here and apologies to all those of you whose blogs I can't comment on at the moment.  I have been reading and enjoying all your latest posts.

 Saturday morning dawned bright and dry after non stop rain the day before.  We popped out to the local garden centre to buy sunflower hearts for the bird feeders.  I miss Wilco's for bird food (and many other things too) but we have bought Red Barn sunflowers from the garden centre before.

We decided to drive back through Barlaston and stopped near the Wedgwood factory to look for Fly Agaric toadstools.  I remembered we'd seen them there last year.  First we decided to park and walk down to the factory and museum as part of the access road to the car park was under water.

Deliveries were getting through to the houses nearby.

Around the Museum and factory shops there were seasonal displays.

I've never seen so many pumpkins.  They are everywhere especially at all the tourist attractions ready for half term.

Above, Hedgwood's pumpkin patch guarded by two scarecrows

Back up at the village green there were loads of Fly Agaric toadstools.  Almost a ring of them under one of the trees. 
I've just learned from watching '8 out of 10 Bats' that the toadstools have a symbiotic relationship with the trees they grow under.  They wrap around the roots of the tree and supply them with nutrients from the soil and receive sugars produced by the tree in return.

Some of them had opened up to make flat rather than curved tops.  I expect most of them will quickly disintegrate.

Also under the trees were windfall walnuts.

We picked up a couple and opened one up to see what they were like inside.  They will join the other things on my nature table (see my previous post).

 Meanwhile in the garden both Hardy Begonias and Hardy Fuchsias  are doing well and the Hydrangeas have turned a lovely delicate colour.

Unfortunately the old plum tree at the top of the garden has had to come down as it was diseased and hollow inside and one push or heavy gust of wind would have broken it.  Insects will love the logs.

Knowing that the tree would have to go this year we planted two new plum trees last year to compensate.

All for now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023


It seems ages since I last wrote a post.  Time seems to have rushed by with medical appointments. eye tests, dental check ups, flu jabs and etc taking up most of the days in one way ot another.   

I'm still having problems leaving comments. The blogs I can't comment on recently are:  A Rich Tapestry, Linden Grove, Our Small Corner and Sal's Snippets. Coastal Ripples and Crimson Kettle I seem to be able to leave an anonymous comment with although sometimes I get an ' error cannot publish' message on those.  I've tried in many different ways including changing browser but no luck so far. 

We popped up to the Peak Wildlife Park a couple of weeks ago to see the Red Squirrels again.  There were three males in the compound this time.

We also had a morning in Leek where we mooched around the shops and market and stopped for very artistic coffees at the 'Live, Love Loaf' bakery and cafe.

I love the small independent shops in Leek.  Especially the one below.

It only opens a few days a week but sells stock that is British made or is Fairtrade and ethically produced.

They concentrate on home and garden but items reflect the owner's love of nature and wildlife.

Meanwhile in Trentham Gardens the shopping village is looking Autumnal.

All the shops have little creatures and pumpkins painted on the windows ready for Halloween.

In the gardens it's fungi time.

There's lots of it too.

At home I've made a small nature table.

The Horse Chestnut tree at the top of nextdoor's garden has been covered and the grey squirrels have been collecting the conkers and burying them all over the garden.  In the lawn and in the plant pots too.  

Meanwhile  part of the holly hedge at the top of the garden is covered in red berries.

Does this herald a cold winter perhaps? Today it is warm and sunny but tomorrow we are to be visited by Storm Babet.  There is so much in the garden still to tidy but it will be too wet for a while.

All for now.

Thursday, October 05, 2023


I'm taking you back to our short break in Suffolk for just one more post.  An afternoon in Aldeburgh.

We followed the signs to the beach rather than the town centre and parked right opposite what we'd come to find.

I don't think we could have been any closer. 


Scallop is a sculpture by Maggi Hambling.  It is fascinating to walk around and study it from each angle.
The sculpture is her tribute to the composer Benjamin Britten who lived in the little town and walked often on this stretch of beach.  She is a fan of Britten's music and the words cut into the sculpture 'I hear those voices that will not be drowned'  are from Britten's opera Peter Grimes.

The view along the beach in the direction of Thorpeness.

The view along the beach towards the town
We walked along the path towards the town as the cobbles of the beach were quite hard going.  I took a few photos along the way.
The Moot Hall which houses the Museum.

Entrance up the stairs.  It was closed as we passed by but open later in the day. 

 The statue of Snooks the dog was erected in 1961 in memory of his owners Drs Nora and Robin Acheson.  Snooks would often accomapany them on their rounds.  The statue stands just beyond the Moot Hall (above) and close to the pebbled beach.  It was stolen in 2003 and returned in 2012.  I think from what I've been reading this one is a replica of the original which, on its return to the town, was placed in the gardens at the local hospital. 
Benjamin Britten's home from 1947 to 1957. 

The South Lookout

Boats that caught my eye

We walked up to the High Street and found a cafe called The Two Magpies for refreshment before wandering back towards the Scallop and car park.
(Paul's photo)
A few more photos below
Fresh Fish Stall

The Moot Hall

All for now.

Sunday, October 01, 2023

Sutton Hoo - Part Two

The walk down to the River Deben viewing point wasn't too hard going although we didn't walk the whole circular route but doubled back after getting as close to the river as the paths would allow.  

We saw butterflies and dragonflies along the walk and I've never seen so many sweet chestnuts on the trees and strewn across the ground.

There was a bench close to this sign and visitors were asked not to use it because bees were nesting in the log.

We stood a little way from the bench and could hear a curlew's plaintive cry, so recognisable and one other bird that we didn't know. 
Bird Nerd told us that it was a Common Redshank.

Let's cross the river to Woodbridge for a while.  We'd stopped there on our way to Sutton Hoo and parked near the Co-op and a fresh fish stall.  It was a short walk to find the Tide Mill and nearby Museum and The Long Shed.

The Museum wasn't open until later that morning but The Long Shed was open.  What a treat.
Inside people were working on the building of a replica of the Sutton Hoo ship.  Three joinery apprentices have spent time working on the project.  More here about how this all came to pass and the organisations involved.

I haven't yet mentioned the exhibition in the High Hall at Sutton Hoo.  Rendlesham Revealed: The Heart of a Kingdon AD400-800 tells the story of the Anglo Saxon Settlement in the Deben Valley.  It was one of the largest and wealthiest at that time. 

I'm afraid we didn't spend too much time in here, we watched a little film about the gathering together of the grave goods to accompany King Raedwald on his journey. It also spoke of difficult times ahead and changes in both culture and beliefs.  It was warm and very noisy as there was a class or two of schoolchildren inside which made taking any photos almost impossible.  They were having fun, dressing up, making drawings and finding answers for quiz sheets.  It's good to see young ones learning about history.

I did take a couple of quick photos.  The exhibition covers two or three burials from recent excavatons one of a young woman found quite recently and also that of a warrior.  We also meet other characters along the way.

We decided to come back later but that didn't happen as it was still very busy so I didn't get a full appreciation of the exhibits which were a mixture of both original and replica items.  The exhibition runs until the 29th of this month.

All for now.