Thursday, 23 December 2010

HAPPY CHRISTMAS! - and my best photos

Carmi's Challenge over the Chriastmas period is "My best Photographs".

My best one has got to be the cosmos I photographed in my sister's garden in Surrey back in the Spring. She is a clever gardener, and grew these from seed, but they looked absolutely beautiful, and were a great attraction for bees and other insects. It also reminds me of a lovely holiday I had with them, and I feel warmer just thinking about it!

These crab apples are in the park, and looked so lovely against the blue sky.

The Horse Chestnuts, or conkers I found in the park, and brought back. I love the dark shiny skins, so smooth to feel in your pocket! When I was a child I used to make little chairs with pins stuck in for legs, and wool woven round pins for the back.

Ah, happoy days!

Have a really good Christmas, all of you!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Eyes are tremendously important, and we can't really afford to play around with them! Unfortunately, mine are still giving trouble, and I am having to bathe them tenderly with various eye drops three times a day.

All will eventually settle down, and then I will have lovely new eyes and can get some lovely new spectacles! I will still need them, as my eyes don't work together very well, and I tend to see double wikthout them. And as my new lenses which the surgeon put in are set for distance, I will still need spectacles for reading, and anything nearer than distance.

In the meantime, I can see very nicely in the distance, but when tired tend to see two of everything. I can't read very well, which is driving me insane, but now have bought a cheap pair of reading glasses, which just magnify really, and they help a lot. But they don't make my eyes work together, so when I'm tired I really can't do much at all!!

Thought I'd just give you an update, in case you thought I'd gone off to a desert island, or something!

Friday, 10 December 2010


Carmi's challenge this week is FAMILY.

My family - my sister and brother-in-law, daughter and son-in-law, two grandsons and one great granddaughter, plus assorted nieces,(two generations) nephews(great) all mean a great deal to me. Plus my husband, of course!

But I am not sure they would like me to display their faces here. So instead I have interpreted "Family" a different way.

Both were taken in the Park, but in different years. The Canada Goose raised the goslings to maturity, despite the intentions of crows and herons, and the young moorhens seem a tough little lot, and the parents have a couple of broods a year. And yes, there are an awful lot of moorhens by the winter!

Sunday, 5 December 2010


Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun! But just to prove I am still around, trudging through the white stuff with the dog, alive and well, though still battling with old glasses and new eyes, I am posting pics of the park in the snow. (Well, that's the only place I've been!)

But thank God for digital photography!

They all look a bit black and white - but that's the way it is! It wasn't a very nice day, so they are not as sparkly as I would like. Maybe tomorrow!


Sunday, 28 November 2010


We haven't, thank goodness, had all the snow here that the eastern half of the British Isles has had. But it is still bitterly cold, everything is frozen solid, and although there is a lot of sun (or there was today!) it is not strong enough to make anything feel warmer.

Late afternoon in the Park looks rather chilly, I thought.

The ducks and gulls on the lake have only a fairly small area which is not frozen. This is where the deepest part of the lake is, and usually, however, cold the winter gets, a bit remains unfrozen.

There seems to be an unusually large number of ducks here, plus the wintering gulls, but the Canada Geese have gone elsewhere. The ducks know that they will be fed with an enormous amount of bread as all the small children come here to feed them. Their little red legs looked so cold on the snow!

It is very early for winter to start here, and I for one am feeling I am too old for all this!!

I know my friends in the US have it much colder, but we are supposed to be a maritime climate, and -9C is not nice. That's 16.2F (I think - maths is not my strong point!)

Saturday, 27 November 2010


Carmi's Thematic Challenge this week is SEPIA. I don't like to let him go unchallenged, so here are my two efforts.

I always associate sepia with old photos. I used to print photos in sepia, as did my Father, using daylight paper. Anyone remember that?!

So I have included one of me and my sister, taken in about 1942, and done in sepia. I'm the big bossy one! I loved that tree, which we called the Swing-y Tree. It was quite a walk for small legs, but we thought nothing of it then!

Ah, happy days!

Sunday, 21 November 2010


I am sure you are tired of looking at boring pictures of the Park, and I am sure tired of taking them!

So I am posting a photo of some strange fungus on the beech tree they cut off 20ft high! There was always a cleft there, in fact, one year a mallard duck nested there! I think this is bracket fungus, but its too high up for me to see properly. This photo was taken with my zoom lens from a bit of a rise in the path, so I was more level with the fungus, but further away! (You have got that, haven't you!)

Still can't see much, and no appointment so far from the Hospital for a follow-up. Can't do anything about new glasses until that happens.

Until then I have to make so with short bursts!

Friday, 12 November 2010


I can't look at the screen for too long, but when I saw Carmi's Thematic Challenge this week was Black and White, I had to have a go, as it is one of my favourite photograhic methods. I dug around in my files (it being too cold to go outside for the moment) and came up with these:

Soapsuds under a running tap

Tulip leaves after the rain

The growing tip of a young Monkey Puzzle tree.

I get cross-eyed trying to do too much on the computer, but I manage to keep reading most your blogs, even if I can't say so!

Its going to drive me nuts not being able to read properly for at least a 6 weeks, maybe even 2 months! A prayer for patience would be appreciated!

Monday, 8 November 2010

ELECTRICITY (and other things)

Carmi's Thematic Challenge this week is "Electricity. I couldn't think of anything more imaginative than this one of a pylon! Nearly fell over backwards taking it one of the sunny days we had this summer!

But I thought I would post another picture of the fir trees on the pitch and putt course in the Park. They are beautiful at the moment, a real orange, and looked so lovely in the early sun one morning.

Alas, nearly all the needles have come off in the wind and rain we had last night and today. Larches are the only deciduous conifer (native to the UK) here, and I love them at all seasons. The first bright green tufts in the Spring, the lovely dark green against a summer sky, and the orange of the autumn.

This might be the last blog for a while as I have eye surgery tomorrow. Its a simple cataract operation, but it does mean that I can't see with my spectacles and I can't see without them!

Hopefully all will be perfect once I can get my new spectacles, but I do crave for a bit of reading ability once my eye has settled down. I can't do without books! I will ha ve to go and investigate the audio book section in the Library!

Monday, 1 November 2010


Macclesfield always used to have flourishing markets, both in the Market Place (where else?) and one down the bottom of the hill, which at one time was a Cattle market. That is, until the Council, in its wisdom moved the market to a rather windswept and off centre car park. Which meant the market wasn't nearly as good.

However, a few months ago, some lively-minded citizens organised a Sunday Market, which they called Treacle Market, as Macclesfield was at one time nick-named "Treacle Town" (don't ask). This market has flourished and on Sunday was packed with everyone enjoying themselves.

We started at the bottom of the hill, in Waters Green, where it was all food, and a flower stall. There was a lovely Greek stall, with home-made hummous, olives, pasta, and other yummy Greek specialities. There were lots of other stalls selling honey, chutneys, all sorts of bread, and other foody things.

I admired the flower stall, and bought a deep red cyclamen. This meant I had to climb up the steep hill to the Market Place, where the flea market and non-food items were, carrying a pot plant, some hummous and a packet of that rice-shaped Greek pasta!

There were some very strange things for sale up there!

And a rather gorgeous mirror, though you would need a Baronial Hall to accommodate it!

There was also a stall with the artist and her work for sale, as etchings and silk-screen printed pictures. I fell in love with one, but it is for my birthday this week, so I can't show it to you, as it has mysteriously disappeared!

There were one or two people who had just turned up in the hopes of selling something. I don't know if this fellow sold any of his old radios!

It was a very successful Sunday morning, and most enjoyable. I am looking forward to the next one, which should be a very Christmassy one!

Saturday, 30 October 2010


Carmi's Thematic Challenge this week is Yellow. Above is the locked gate to the children's playground whilst it was being renovated this summer. Caused many a tear until it opened again!

And this is the stunning colour of the Witch Hazel bush the other side of the Park, photographed this week. I hope the leaves stay on for a bit, as it really is lovely.
There is a lot of yellow and orange on the trees at the moment, but nothing quite as yellow as the Witch Hazel!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

An Autumnal blog

Although we take the dog out every morning at roughly the same time, it is now 'early morning' as far as the sun is concerned! In order for the first rays to reach us, they have to struggle through a big sycamore tree. One very frostly morning, I loved the way the rays struck the leaves and berries on our Rowan tree.

The Park was really frostly, so much so it looked like snow! But it was a beautiful bright morning so nobody minded! Even so, I thought I had it to myself for quite a time until I met another dog walker. (They are the only people in the park at this hour!)

The frost gave a kick-start to the trees, and they have begun to turn colour. The top left is some sort of Hazel, I am convinced it is a Witch hazel, as in the spring it has little stringy flowers in pale yellow. A big beech has turned a bright orange, and a maple of some sort is yellow. the fir trees at the start of the Pitch and Putt Golf course are just beginning to turn yellow. Later they will go bright orange, and I really love them then, just before they drop all their needles. There is also a sort of inedible crab applie tree - the apples look lovely gainst the sky. They don't seem to be eaten by the birds until right at the end of the winter when presumably they get a lot softer!

The frost has gone now, and it is fairly mild again, but no doubt it will get colder. Trouble is, the mild weather brings rain. I prefer it cold, but bright. I can't do brisk walks now, but I get along OK, and always like to go back to a lovely warm house!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Savor/Things I enjoy

Carmi's Thematic challenge this week is "Savor". I have interpreted that as "Things I Enjoy with my Five senses".

I love looking and listening to, moving water. Any sort of waterfall, or like the above, the wake of a ship. This was on our cruise, and the patterns the wake made in the rough water were endlessly fascinating.

I also like cooking, and eating! This is a plum tart I made, which was vaguely successful - the plums could have been a bit tastier! I don't do as much cooking as I used to, so I have made a resolution to try something new every week!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Sunday Outing

It was a beautiful day on Sunday, so we headed out towards the Staffordshire Moorlands. These are really the tail end of the Peak District, which is mostly in Derbyshire, but the Staffordshire Moorlands are, surprise, surprise,in Staffordshire! It is slightly gentler country than the southern Peaks, and entirely different from the harsh, Dark Peak of the northern parts. The Roaches are a well-known wall of rocks, a favourite place for climbers and rough walkers. You can see them in the top left of the collage. The top right picture is the view from the road across to moors. The white blob on the skyline is actually the telescope at Jodrell Bank.

We wanted to go to an Antique Fair at Meereworth first. There were some lovely things there. I bought a couple of necklaces, and then persuaded Mr.G to buy me this gorgeous glass bowl for my birthday next month. The Dealer said it was Mdina glass; it is very heavy, thick and with wonderful coloured swirls in the glass. It is five inches across and three and a half inches tall. I love it!

After the Fair we went on to Tittesworth Reservoir, which is owned by Severn Trent Water, and they welcome the public there, although not IN the water! There are some beautiful walks round the lake, and I was so pleased with myself as we managed to get to my favourite place where the stream leaves the lake through the trees. We had lunch there, in the Visitor Centre, or rather outside, in the sun, where our dog could sit with us.

There were some very interesting things around. One was a giant sofa, made of wood, commpletely realistic. You can see Mr.G and Max, the dog, plus a little girl who came over, sitting on it! There was also a little house with no sides (?a Gazebo) where you could sit and admire the view, and down by the wooded places, where the ground was rougher, there were some fabulous seed heads of some sort of umbellifer plant.

It was altogether a lovely day out, and really did me good! I am determined to get us out more, especially as there probably won't be so many lovely days now winter is coming!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Getting Colder - Thematic Photograph

Carmi's Thematic Challenge this week was "Getting Colder".

I thought about frost, ice etc. and then winter woollies, scarves, and gloves. And all that stuff has to be made, or knitted.

Here, as colourful as I can make it, is the yarn to do all this! Winter is coming (in the northern hemisphere, anyway) so get knitting!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Autumn Trees

Walking in the Park this morning it struck me how many trees are dropping their leaves. In places, the ground is covered. We have a lot of Whitebeams in the park, and in the Spring they were a magnificent sight, covered in blossom, as I have never seen before. Now they are dripping with orange berries, and from afar, they merge like an orange haze.

But their leaves are dropping. Not turniong colour, just shrivelling up and dropping.

The same is true of the sycamores, and the birches. And the Horse Chestnuts look in a very bad way. They have turned a glorious orange, but in patches. Parts of the tree are still greenish. I have never seen anything like it before. I do hope it is not the blight which is affecting Horse Chestnuts in England, as if it is, the Council will have them down - for Health and Safety reasons, of course!

Many of the trees are still sturdily green, like the Oaks, but they always turn colour later. It seems to be the smaller trees, and the ornamental trees that are suffering.

I do wonder what our odd seasons have done to them to make them react in this way. Have we any people here with Arboricultural knowledge, who can let me know?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Branches - thematic Challenge

Some of you might remember The Crows - but the branches are nice. Carmi's thematic Challenge this week is "Branches".

The second photo is a version of our Honeysuckle bush as it twines up an arch. Lovely in the summer, but a bit dead-looking now!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Chestnuts - Horse and Sweet

I would really hate anyone to be poisoned by confusing chestnuts beause of my photo! In the UK, the above are called Horse Chestnuts, I don't know what they are called in the US and Canada, but they are poisonous!

The Sweet Chestnut is what you can eat. The spikes go brown when the nut is mature, and then you can go a-roasting!

The cases are very different, there being lots of spikes, like a hedgehog, and prickly!

Both these photos were taken from web sites, and are probably copyright.

Friday, 8 October 2010


I'm just a kid when it comes to conkers! I don't want to fight with them - heaven forbid!! I just love the smoothness, the shiny brownness, the way they peep from their cases - everything about them!

So I tried to look as though I wasn't actually collecting conkers in the park this afternoon, (it didn't seem the sort of thing very elderly dog-walkers should be doing!)and picked a few up as I came home. There were loads scattered all over the ground. When I was a child they would have disappeared as fast as small boys could stuff them in their pockets!

And then I enjoyed myself taking photographs of their gorgeous brown shininess.

And now I'm sharing them with you, in case there are other conker-lovers around!

Saturday, 2 October 2010


The sun beds were all ready to be used on our cruise ship, but the weather did not induce many people to indulge!

Though I did spend an hour, in the sun, out of the wind, with a book trying to disguise my disappointment at not being able to land at Guernsey!

Thanks to Carmi for getting me to think geometric!

And I've found some more!