Tuesday, 18 March 2014

MARCH WINDS......

Well, actually, it was February winds, and not so much winds, as hurricane force blows!   If you are in the UK reading this, then you will know all about the gales and the torrential rain, and possibly have been affected, in which case, I hope things are improving for you and that not too much damage has been done!   If you are in the States, or anywhere else, you may have read about our gales and resulting floods, but have had your own unprecedented cold spell to cope with, with deep snow and ice!

What we really want is some warm sunshine and settled weather!



We did get a lot of rather wet areas in the Park

  
Which meant you couldn't really walk across the grassy bits!



 However, we did get some better weather for a while, and took the opportunity of going over to a neighbouring town.   Congleton is another mill town, like Macclesfield, but they also wove cotton, as well as silk.    Its a bit smaller than Macclesfield, but has a great market on Saturdays.   We went over and I could have bought pounds and pounds of vegetables, they all looked so fresh and nice!   However, there are only two of us, and we would never eat it all!   We did buy some lovely fresh shrimps (caught in Morecombe Bay!) and some fish cakes.   Next time we go over, I will plan my menu carefully and buy some of their wet fish.


There are some old buildings still standing  - above is the Counting House, now a Bank, and just above here is a very old public house.   It always amazes me how small these old houses look - they are totally dwarfed by  the modern buildings either side, which actually are not particularly large by today's standards.    I imagine the adult people were perhaps smaller on the whole, but that little pub has two stories!

 Back in the Park, feeding the ducks is as popular as ever!   Those ducks seem to thrive on nothing but bread!

Though they do dive for other titbits!     

Now we are getting older, we seem to find it difficult to raise enough enthusiasm for "going out". Eating out is not easy - Mr.G is diabetic, and I am trying to lose a bit more weight, but hopefully with better weather coming, I can persuade him to get out to some of the surrounding towns.   He enjoys looking for odd bits and bobs in the Charity shops, and I just enjoy an y shops, just prowling round, and taking my camera to find the odd shot!

Maybe April's post will be a bit more scintillating and literary!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

FEBRUARY FILL-DYKE ......



February fill dike Be it black or be it white; But if it be white, It's the better to like.

The above is a very old weather proverb, of which we abound here in England.   Our weather being notoriously variable, there are plenty of proverbs telling us what to expect if this or that happens!     The black and white refers to rain or snow, but as either makes the ground wet, it doesn't much matter.   The Meteorological Office tell us that February is normally one of the driest months.   Not this year!   We have suffered storm after storm, with torrential rain, and considerable damage.   I feel so sorry for all those people who have been flooded out of their homes.   It will take ages to get the water, smell and dirt out, and there is always the chance it will happen again.


Luckily we are not threatened in any way up here.  Macclesfield is a hilly town, originally built on what you might call the foothills of the Pennines, and any river that has thoughts of flooding has had its defences strengthened!  

I took my camera found the Park this morning as it was nice and bright, though there was a very strong cold wind.   Good reason to walk briskly.   But you can see from the above picture how muddy it is.   There were daffodils on this bank last year, but I rather think they might have rotted this year!




Looking from the further end of the lake you can see some of the ducks, gulls and two swans we have here in the winter.    We used to get a lot of Canada Geese, but the male swan is very aggressive and chases away anything bigger than a mallard!




Near the Pavilion in the park is a stone which marks the site of St. Anne's well which was established for the residents of the main road where the park entrance is.  It is dated 1844, but the well is no longer there, and we all have mains water now!   Our dog wouldn't get out of the way, but I think actually he adds something to the photo!




The Park workers, of which there is now only one, and he works part-time, try to keep the beds looking as colourful as possible.   These primulas are the ones making the best of the bad weather!



And although it was a bright morning, with some sun, the rain clouds were already gather!   I took this from our gate in to the Park, as the wind was so strong I needed something to lean against to take the shot.

Good day for going back indoors, and writing a new post!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A BIT PAST THE NEW YEAR !

I fully intended to post this soon after January 1st, and wish all my readers (if I have any left by now) a Happy New Year!

However, we are well into January now, so I suppose it is a bit late!   I thought I'd post some of the photographs I took over last year, some good, some not so good.

Last winter, in contrast with this winter, was very cold and we had a lot of ice and snow.   It was very pretty when it had just snowed, but you can have enough of a good thing!




Squirrels and Blue tits amongst a host of other birds, came to feed on the food we put out for them.


But the Park looked very bleak!


Tulips and later


Foxgloves soon made the garden look a bit more cheerful,  and although the wet summer soaked things, autumn brought some spectacular colours 


especially on our Chinese Rowan tree, which I found several years ago as a tiny seedling, and managed to coax it to full adulthood!


It continued to rain


and by December, the shadows were long again over the Park on my morning walks with the dog.

Still, the days are getting longer now, and bulbs are coming up in the garden already.    I have planted a lot of daffodils that were in troughs on the patio so I am hoping that some at least will come up and make themselves felt!

I love tulips, so I have got more planted in big containers on the patio, and have planted the ones that were there last year in the garden.   Unfortunately I didn't make a note of where I put them, so I will have to have a good hunt round in April and May to see if any have survived a second year.

We don't seem to get out much these days, put it down to old age, but I still go to Creative Writing classes.   Well, classes is perhaps a misnomer, we are a very cheerful group of would-be writers and always have a good laugh!   Does you good, laughing.   Its been proved!

Do leave a comment if you read this - its always good to know someone is there!

Happy 2014!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE AGAIN!

Well, its Christmas Eve now, and I hope you are all ready for the occasion, and I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful 2014.

We will be on our own this Christmas, just the two of us, which means it probably won't be much different from any other day!   But I insist on putting up a few decorations, plus all the cards we get, plus my little Nativity scene.   This was made in Peru, and as well as Joseph, Mary and the Baby Jesus,  includes a sheep and a very surprised llama!

The dreadful weather the UK has been experiencing this week has mostly missed us by.   We have had torrential rain, and very high winds, but it is sunny now, even if the wind is perishing cold!   Hopefully the snow, which is forecast for Cumbria and the Pennines will pass us by!

So all I can do is to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year, and I promise to try and publish more blogs in 2014!


Sunrise taken earlier this month from the bedroom window

Thursday, 28 November 2013

DULL DAYS OF NOVEMBER

November days here have been rather dreary.   Two spells in hospital, one involving an operation have meant I am unable to get out much.    I can't even take the dog for a walk, so everything that is going on in the Park has to be relayed to me by a rather tired husband!



When I came back from hospital the first time I was astounded by our Chinese Rowan Tree!   In the week I had been away all the leaves had turned bright orangey red and the berries were scarlet.   It stood out like a beacon and was absolutely amazing.   The photograph doesn't really do it justice, but its hard to show the depth of colour.


After a bit the leaves fell off, but the berries are still there - its looking rather Christmassy now!   The birds are gradually getting interested, I think it will have to get a good deal colder before the blackbirds descend and strip the tree.   Meanwhile, I enjoy looking at the berries!



And just to remind us that Spring will come again, this is a picture of some of the tulips I planted in pots last year.   They were very bright and cheerful, and I saved the bulbs and have planted them again this year.   They probably won't be as good, but a bit of brightness is what we need at all times!

Everything now is geared towards Christmas - all the ads on TV, in papers and magazines and in the shops encourage us to gorge ourselves on chocolates and loads of sweet things.   Recipes for ways of cooking turkey and ideas for other things fill the magazines.   At first I felt quite hungry but now I don't want to see another picture of a huge turkey, brown and steaming, leering at me from the page.   Mr.G and I will be by ourselves this Christmas, so we can enjoy it as we wish!

To my followers - I don't deserve you, but thank you for hanging in there!   

Sunday, 3 November 2013



I feel very guilty at not having posted here for so long - I am surprised if anyone still reads my blog!     I have no real excuse, except that life, in all its rather tricky ways, has got in the way!

The above photograph was taken in the summer, when the early morning sun slanted in the garden in a rather attractive way.   Now alas, the early sun, if there is any, is from the other corner of the garden, and the sun stays low all day!   There are a lot of tallish trees on our right hand side, which belong the the garden next door, which give shade most of the day now, so we don't get much sun.   The house belongs to a very old lady, who, I suspect has no idea what the garden is like now.   Oh well, maybe if her son comes over from Australia again, we can prevail upon him to trim the hedge/trees a bit!

Our holiday seems a long way away now.   We occasionally think about booking another cruise, but we would like to go to the eastern Mediterranean this time, and that means flying to somewhere, like Venice, first.   I've no objection to Venice, but the hassle of flying, or rather, actually getting on the the plane, rather puts me off.   So we have decided, more or less, to wait until much nearer the time, see how we are healthwise, and then get a last minute, cheaper, holiday.

Otherwise our family stays as it was.   We still have the dog, who is as ever fixated on food, my daughter is moving house later this year, and our great granddaughter is now at proper school, being a "Rising 5".   It just doesn't seem possible that time has gone so quickly!

Monday, 23 September 2013

HOLIDAY JOTTINGS - LISBON, OUR LAST PORT OF CALL


My deepest apologies for any readers I have got left.   I don't seem to have had the time to sit down to write a new blog lately, but as I am suffering from a bad cold now and want something simple (?) to do, I have got going at last!

Our last port of call was Lisbon, in Portugal.  Going under the famous bridge was a close run thing for our big ship!



 This is the capital, but not a tremendously enormous city, so we bravely set out on our own to explore.   Actually, we had been to Lisbon before, on our way to the Canary Islands, and enjoyed a coach ride round the city and a boat trip along the waterfront.   When we were there before we found Lisbon to be a bustling, beautiful city, with lovely tiled pavements and squares, with fountains on roundabouts, in parks and all sorts of places.

This time we took the shuttle bus into the city and were taken to a busy square, with buses trams, and a little market.



The young man here was selling cheese - it all seemed to be one sort, but I couldn't discover more about it.   I would have liked to buy some, but thought it might not travel well!

We decided to go to the Castle this time, and took a taxi as it seemed a rather steep walk up there.   The taxi driver was a bit put out, but eventually took us up, through very narrow winding streets - very much the old part of Lisbon.


The Castle gateway had interesting stonework.   Note the beggar on the left - I was rather surprised to see beggars in Lisbon.   (The man on the right in a blue sweater is not a beggar - that's Mr.G!)


As Castles go, this one wasn't tremendously interesting, but the surrounds and gardens were old and rather lovely


As was the guardian cat!



The views, however, were spectacular!   that was the square where the shuttle bus went from, which encouraged us to walk down back.


The square contained some rather tatty apartment buildings, with grass and plants growing in the gutters.

Walking down was quite an experience, but a tremendously helpful and friendly man in a tile making shop drew us an accurate map of where to get an elevator down to the bottom.   We would never have found this on our own.   It was free, unmanned (luckily there was another, Portuguese, passenger with us!) and they were busy building another one alongside.   We definitely saw a different side to Lisbon from last time, and I was glad we had made the effort to go out on our own.

Next stop, Southampton, and the coach home.   We did say that would be our last cruise, but I have noticed Mr.G looking at brochures!