Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Away for a bit

No inspiration, no joy, bad time at the moment.

I'll be back soon, when I feel a bit better. And I'll still be reading your blogs.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Around the Park

I spend quite a lot of time walking around our park

Usually attached to the other end of our dog's lead! He is a little monkey, and runs away from me if I let him off the lead, but is as good as gold with Mr. G!

We have a bandstand, in a rather dilapidated condition, and rather nice flower beds around, with lawns and seats.

The white doves like sitting on top of the bandstand roof, though!

There are more formal bits of the park, and tennis courts, also rather tatty, but due to be renovated this winter in time for next Spring.

There is a little stream, which has been culverted. I have a friend who has lived here all her married life, and she remembers taking her children when small, down to the stream, which had ordinary earth banks, and the children could paddle.

We also have a lovely lake, with lots of ducks and Canada Geese, and sometimes one or two more exotic (for us!) species, like Gooseanders (Loons?) The lake is always interesting to look at, whatever the weather, and in icy weather the ducks look rather forlorn as they slip around on the ice!

The beech trees are lovely in the autumn, and on a fine day the Park is just beautiful.

We also have a largish pitch and put Golf course here, which is well used on summer weekends, but otherwise tends to attract young boys who just bash golf balls around in a wild manner. We have a fine collection of balls

as our garden opens directly onto the Third Tee! In the summer it is advisable to take a quick peek out before sallying forther with an excited dog!

There is a lot more Park, though I don't get to the further reaches now. Mr. G takes the dog round there, and keeps me informed of anything going on! There is a circus once a year, also a fair. And if there is any snow the sledges come out and zip down the hillside. We used to take our grandsons there when they were small, they hadn't brought their sledges, so they borrowed my very large flat meat tins and used those!! They had a whale of a time too!

Its a good place to live. And we are very lucky. I try to remember this when I am feeling down.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Odds and ends in the garden

The sunflowers have come out at last. They are a very late bloomer, and very thuggish. They have taken over the whole border, ansd will have to come out in the autumn. I don't think we will ever get rid of them, as the tiniest bit of root springs up enthusiastically!

Buried in the sunflowers is one brave helenium. We couldn't get it out when the sunflowers began to take over, but it refuses to die. Hopefully I will be able to rescue it. It deserves better!

A couple of late roses are blooming on the patio. They are a very pretty pink, but the winds get at them at this time of the year.

We have a lot of ferns down the end of the garden, as it is, or rather was, very shady. When we raised the canopy of the sycamore tree it let in a lot more sunlight, but they don't seem to mind! I love the way the spores fit on the underside of the ferns.

It is definitely autumn now, it even smells autumnal! I like this time of the year, but the days are getting shorter now, which is not so nice. We have had some lovely sunny days, so I hope they will return. Judging from the weather maps, I think it will be a while before that happens! Depressions are fast approaching across the Atlantic!

Still, the rain makes the country green, and the reservoirs need filling, as they are very low. The Garden Centres are full of bulbs, so I must go and indulge myself and plant some cheerfulness for next spring.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

A quick trip

A quick trip round our local Garden Centre - looking for garden furniture being sold off cheap! - made me get my camera out when I saw all these gardening gloves hanging up. I thought they looked like happy hands!

Outside, there were rows and rows of luscious looking plants, but I was told we didn't need any of those! But I found these lovely pots, they'd look fantastic on our patio, but they were excruciatingly expensive, and weren't frost proof, which meant a lot of carting in and out each autumn. Just when it might be rather nice to look out at shiney pots!

The bigger ones were tremendously heavy, we couldn't even lift them. Imagine what they would be like full of compost!

A quick trip, but colourful, even if I couldn't buy any flowers!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Goyt Valley and Errwood Hall

Saturday morning saw the sun shining, and the promise of a gorgeous day, so we set off towards the Goyt Valley, in Derbyshire, where there are two reservoirs, and walks over hill and dale, as they say! The road to the Goyt from our side of the hills is tortuous, very windy roads, though wonderful views. It is stone wall country up here, with few trees and no hedges. Farms have the sense to huddle in the shelter of a hillside, and keep low rooftops. Unfortunately, it was too hazy to take a photo of the distant moors. But they did look lovely!

From where we parked we walked up into woods; from the entrance there is a view of the reservoir, and a few sailing boats.

The woods were beautifully cool. The path we were on was the old carriage way to the Hall, but there were steps and other paths for the adventurous.

Streams chattered below us, and tributaries added their voice. The dog took a long paddle!

We were aiming for Errwood Hall, now in ruins, but once a great house.

The two old photos show the hall in all its glory in about the 1920's.
Errwood Hall was built in the 1830’s by Samuel Grimshawe, a wealthy Manchester businessman, and was occupied by the Grimshawe family for the next hundred years. The hall was the centre of a thriving estate of over 2,000 acres (8.1 km2), consisting of several farms, a school, a private coal mine and the hamlet of Goyt's Bridge. The family planted many specimen trees including an abundance of azaleas and rhododendrons.
Samuel’s grandchildren were the last members of the family to live in the hall, which was then used as a youth hostel for a few years until it was demolished in connection with the construction of the Fernilee reservoir in 1934. (from Wikipedia)

Before the reservoir was built, there was a thriving village, coal mines, and further down the valley, a gunpowder factory! That probably dated from the 16th century and reputedly provided the ammunition for Sir Francis Drake to fight the Spanish Armada. The factory was active during the first World War, but was closed soon after.

The hall is now in ruins, but the arches of what was probably the drawing room remain.

Plus traces of the grand entrance.

Even the holes remain in the stone pillar where the locks were.

The paved terraces are still there. Its not hard to imagine tea parties being held outside on a fine day!

The wall bordering what was the carriageway still stands. There were a couple of late foxgloves at the foot.

Once back at the car park, we drove along the road up the valley. The reservoir was very low, though not low enough for some of the ruins of the drowned village to appear.

There were also active quarries during the valleys life before the reservoirs came. Now they look beautiful with heather and rowan trees growing out of the crevices in the rocks.

Little streams can be cooling to the feet!

The heather is lovely at this time of the year, coveirng the moors around here.

The packhorse bridge, previously in the village, was relocated, and is now a favourite spot for picnics. Children and dogs enjoy splashing around there.

There are much longer walks from around here, and the Peak District Park provides maps of circular tours. Through the rhododendrons of Errwood Hall and up to Cat's Tor, along the ridge to Pym's Chair and down again is a favourite one, though, alas, beyond me! There are wonderful views from up there, and you feel on top of the world! I might add that you can drive to Pym's Chair car park and feel on top of the world without too much exertion!

But it was a lovely, lovely morning. We had hoped to finish off with lunch at our favourite tea rooms but they were packed solid with cyclists, walkers and hungry people. So we went home!

The photographs of the old hall are copyright 'gerald hancock errwood hall'

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

One man's meat.........

It always amazes me at flea markets what odd things there are for sale! Of course, there are plenty of items for the colletors to pore over - World War II memorabilia, horse brasses, jewellery, old tools, whatever takes your fancy.

But there are some really odd bits and bobns around! Who would want an old galvanised bath with a bottom so rusty it would fall straight out? Though I suppose you could plant flowers in it. Or old oil cans? Plant pots and a whole lot of slatted boxes? Or a big box full of old, rusty mincers? And that is just for starters!

I suspect most of this sort of thing comes from house clearances. When you have to clear a house out completely, especially if it was the home of an elderly relative, it is just amazing what people will keep in case it comes in useful! Having done this three times I now try to clear out my "odds and ends" drawers and not leave a whole lot of stuff for my daughjter to have to get rid of!

But even so, there are some things that I feel sure WILL come in useful. One day.

I think the saddest thing for sale there was the "Little Pony" rocking horse. Surely much loved once, but discarded when the girls (it must have been two or more girls, no boy would be seen dead on a pink ponly!) reached the age of clothes, boys and more clothes!

Like the Bible says "And it came to pass....": all things change, or end. We think they never will and perhaps don't pay as much attention as we might do. And then it comes to pass that they simply aren't there any more.

Friday, 4 September 2009

A bit of sun to cheer us rain-drenched bloggers up!

Its cold and its wet, and I miss a bit of sun! So I've made a collage of some of the Greek landscapes we came across on our holidays.

Sometimes we hired bicycles and careered over little tracks, up and down steeproads, and discovered lots of little corners untouched by tourism, or even the 20th century! (We haven't been to Greece in thr 21st century, unhappily :( )

Other odd corners we came across in towns, or villages. Everywhere plants in pots,m or if pots not available, old olive oil cans, anything! Bouganvillia (hope I've spelled that right!) tumbled over houses and balconies. Swallows and martins swooped up under the eaves, and the times we went in the early spring, there were flowers covering the hillsides.

Ah, I feel warmer just thinking about it! Enjoy the photos!