Sunday, 25 April 2010

Forest Walks

Macclesfield Forest now covers land to the east of Macclesfield, and stretches into the Peak District National Park. Originally the Forest was part of Royal Hunting lands, which was not all trees, but included heath and moorland. There are numerous walks throughout the forest, which are way-marked, and suitable for families or the serious walker.

On Saturday as it was a beautiful day, we went to the main car park and took a very gentle walk, to see how much I coiuld manage (after hurting my knee!)

We started along a short walk from where you can see the Heronry in trees on the banks of Trentabank Reservoir. There is a useful notice which tells you all about it, and we did manage to see, in the far distance, a heron on a nest!

The Rangers are very wildlife orientated and there are lots of nest boxes for Tits and also Pied Flycatchers.

Trentabank Reservoir was built in the 1920's to supply Macclesfield with water, but yesterday it was as low as I have ever seen it, which doesn't augur well for the coming summer!

However, the sandy-coloured banks and the new green of the trees made a good photo!

In the woods the white flowers of Wood Sorrel carpeted the ground....

Plus Celandines,

The trees were just coming into leaf.

All the paths are waymarked

Though why they have made such curious "stiles" out of two strong metal plates leaning inwards, I don't know. Perhaps they don't want fat people to walk in the Forest?

The path back to the car park is wide, and easy, unlike most of the real Forest walks, which are very much up and down steep hills! (Too much for me now!)

In the car park there are toilets, information racks, and at weekends, a handy refreshment place.

I really enjoyed that very short walk in the Forest, and just wish I had photographs of other walks we have taken in the past! It really is a beautiful place.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Colour Blue

I'm not sure why the colour blue is associated with feeling miserable! Personally, when I am down, its more a dark grey! But when I took the dog out this morning, the sky was a beautiful blue, white clouds racing across, and I came across so many lovely blue things. Not in the least miserable making!

The Park gardeners have planted some beds with a gorgeous deep blue hyacinth. Not the common pale blue, but a truly deep blue. Alternate beds have cream hyacinths in.

With colourful primulas between the hyacinths, including these lovely blue ones with a yellow centre.

Back at home, we have a lot of grape hyacinths, muscari along the little trough running the length of the patio. They are a zinging colour at this time of the year!

There is also a little sedum, whose "flowers" are the palest blue.

We have a big clump of lungwort, pulmonaria, down by the pond. Trying to photograph the whole doesn 't really work.....

....but a close up helps show them of!

Indoors, I love the deep blue of one of our sofa cusions....

...a a favourite little jug.

And lastly, a much-loved and much worn velvet scarf!

All very cheerful blues!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Indoor Market

When I borrowed a mobility scooter the other day, I took my camera into the Indoor Market. This is one of the entrances, and that counter always makes my mouth water! Lots of different meats and cheeses, bowls of olives, and also local delights - oatcakes (nothing like Scottish oatcakes!) and parkin in November (for Bonfire Night - 5th November)

I love these baskets, and behind in the shop there are jars and jars of different jams and chutneys, plus all sorts of biscuits (cookies). Really scrumptious!

You'd be exceptionally picky if you couldn't find a bag to suit you here. It is owned by a lovely Pakistani man, and nothing is too much trouble for him, he will unhook the very last bag on a hook for you or hunt out a purse that is just the right size.

There is also a big stall selling artificial flowers - sprays, chains, whatever you want. The dog isn't real! They are definitely not allowed inside the market!

The last two photographs are from two stalls that sell bits and pieces. I have no idea what those long coloured chains are, but that stall usually sells all sorts of wools for knitting. The other stall sells childrens' clothing, but I think they have a lot of frilly petticoats hanging there, or what I call Ra-Ra skirts!

Our market is really good, but I can only get there on a scooter, as its rather far to walk from the car parking. There is a good greengrocery stall, two butchers stalls, plus asssorted others. A second-hand bookstall, an electronic place, and one that sells all the bags and bits for vacuum cleaners. A vital place to know! There is also a newsagent, and a woman who will shorten hems, and do other alterations.

When you are tired out, there is a little tea-bar!


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Goodbye Winter

Carmi's Thematic Challenge is Goodbye Winter. I'm very glad to see the back of it, but did love the 'hats' on my patio pots!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Sun, shadows and Contre-jour

The early sun shining through the tiny new leaves of this bush caught my eye at breakfast time! They looked such a gorgeous red. So when I took the dog out, I took my camera with me. Which can get a bit awkward as I find I haven't enough hands!

The daffodils on our patio looked lovely - they are a very early miniature variety and look great in the blue trough, which I don't think you can see properly.

In the park, the shadows on the roots of the beech tree by the stream looked wonderful and contrasty!

The light on the water through the railings attracted me, as did....

A very smart mallard drake. The ducks have nearly all paired up now, and waddle around the park looking for good nest sites. One came into our garden yesterday, but didn't stay. I'm rather glad, actually, as I don't think any eggs would have stood a chance with cats, squirrels, magpies and crows around!

On the way back, I saw that the ornamental cherry tree buds were swelling up. It won't be long before we have some glorious blossom again!

And when I got home the sun was still streaming in through the windows. This lovely glass jug looks fantastic when the light shines through it. I don't think I have done it justice! I am rather fond of it, as it was presented to me when I left work for another job, ooh, must have been nearly 40 years ago!

And lastly, the sun through our glass ball, which I have 'blogged' before, but always deserves another outing!

I enjoyed that trip with my camera, the early light is always much more interesting to me than the midday sun, high in the sky, and making for a flat photo! And at this time of the year I don't have to get up horribly early for it, either!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Trees, well, the lower half anyway!

Carmi's Thematic Challenge this week is TREES.

These two photos are in fact the same tree in our local park. It has been chopped down by the Council who say it was diseased. This "stump" has been left, they say, to attract wild life.

The roots still look as interesting, however, and remind me of my childhood, when we used to hide things in the little nooks and crannies.