Sunday 28 March 2010

I went to Market and I bought a........

big wooden chicken! I couldn't resist him for £5! He (or should it be she?) has such a friendly expression on his face. He is quite heavy, having been used as a doorstop, and Mr.G nobly offered to take him back to the car, as of course I had bought him early on in our expedition!

We were actually at Leek market, in Staffordshire. It is there every Saturday, and there is the most amazing collection of things for sale! Whatever you want, I am sure you would find it there!

It is held in the Market Square (where else?) and I have to say that whatever wind there is finds its way straight down the Market Place! It gets quite chilly there, but its always worth a good hunt round.

After "doing" the market stalls, we went round the Charity Shops, bought a few books, and then, in the very last one, when I was feeling absolutely exhausted, I found this lovely real Italian leather bag in that deep burgandy shade that leather does so beautifully! I couldn't leave it there for just £3.50! I know I have just bought a bag, but this is rather good looking!

I was too tired to take photos of the Indoor Market in the Butter Market, but there are lots of interesting and colourful things there.

Next time!

Wednesday 24 March 2010

A Sunday Outing

The National Trust were opening many of their properties for free last Sunday. So clutching our vouchers for free entry, which I had taken off the internet, we drove to Dunham Massey, near Altrincham, Greater Manchester. We had arranged to meet our daughter, grandson and great granddaughter there, with the idea of having lunch there, and a pleasant afternoon in the grounds.

The walk from the car park to the entrance was past the medieval moat, with views of the house across the water. There were wooded bits and springs on the other side of the path. All very peaceful!

The entrance was through an arch with a clock tower over, into a cobbled courtyard

There was a Norman Castle on the site very early on, and deer and wild boar were hunted in the lands surrounding it. The Park is first mentioned in 1362.

Over the centuries, trees were planted, and formal gardens made. A mill sat on the River Bollin.

In 1976 Dunham Massey was bequesthed to the National Trust, who have begun a replanting scheme. One of the things they have made is a Winter Garden, which wasz what I wanted to see. It was very new, of course, only having been started in the last year or two, but when everything has got going, it will be a great place.

There was a mill on the River Bollin for centuries, and an old mill still stands, there, built into the side of a small hill, so the millrace can provide a head of water.

You can see inside the mill, where there are things going ujp and down and round and round, but it is all a bit of a muddle and hard to make out what does what!

You can't get right round the house where the moat it, but you can see how grand it must have been -

with a magnificent flight of steps!

We had had plans of having lunch there, and maybe even seeing something of the house, but as it turned out, it was packed solid with visitors, and the queues for any sort of food were enormous. So we made do with what Grandson and Mr. G could get after queueing at a snack bar and then went to see the Winter Garden. I gave up any idea of seeing in the house - maybe I will be able to persuade Mr. G that paying the full entrance fee one quiet day would be a good idea!

It is a beautiful place, with a lot of grounds, a deer sanctuary, and a great Georgian house to visit. Rather a lot of walking around for me, but I did spot electric scooters that could be hired........

Saturday 20 March 2010

Chain saws in the Park!

Just a quick blog to show you what they have been doing in our Park! Just inside the entrance to the car park, and next to the gates leading to the formal part of the park, there used to be a beautiful beech tree. That has been cut down, half way up, and an owl now sits on top of it!

Now as chain saw sculpture goes, it is good. But I think I would rather have the tree! The Council employees told me that the tree was supposed to be diseased and had to come down. Doesn't look diseased to me, and if it was, how come they can leave all the roots in the ground?

As the owl is in the formal bit of the park (tennis courts, flower beds, bowling greens and all that) it looks OK, I suppose. But the kingfisher (you had spotted that, hadn't you?) is next to the lake, and I think very much out of place. Again, why leave half a tree if it had to come down? Its a lovely kingfisher, but not there!

Rumour has it that a frog will appear atop of another tree that has been cut down. I await the chain saw man to see whereabouts he will do his carving!

Saturday 13 March 2010

Water and watery places

There is something about water that attracts all of us, I think. Whether it is a stream, river, sea or more formal water features, it always seems to refresh my soul.

Formal water attractions can be heaven-sent on a hot day! The left hand picture is in Verona, Italy. We had gone there on an excursion from where we were staying on Lake Garda, and it was HOT! I had had enough of walking around looking at this and that, and was exceedingly glad to sit by the fountain in the park. There was a market there too, so when I felt like strolling round there was plenty to look at! The right hand one is in Grange-over-Sands on the Cumbrian side of Morecombe Bay. it certainly wasn't hot that day, but there were so many ducks and waterfowl from all over the world we were fascinated, and the gardens were lovely, too.

This bridge is the Old Dee Bridge across the River Dee at Chester. Chester was founded by the Roman Army in AD75, and there has been some sort of crossing there ever since. The present bridge was built in the reign of Edward I. Just below it is a big weir built in 1093 to provide a head of water for mills along the river. Chester is a really interesting city, lots of remains from Roman times, and Medieval houses, shops and a lovely Cathedral.

Cromer is a typical seaside town on the north Norfolk coast. The Pier has a theatre at the end and hosts a show throughout the season. We always used to go to Cromer for our family holidays after the second World War, until about 1955 or so, although I opted out earlier!

My parents rented a big beach hut just down from the cliff in this photo, and that beach was "ours". The only drawback was the long, long hill back to the top of the cliff at mealtimes and the end of the day! The path went down in a Zig Zag, which you can just see, with little seats at the angle of the zig and zag! It was painful if something was forgotten and an unlucky person had to go back and fetch it!

The Menai Straits go between Wales and the Isle of Anglesey. Although they are narrow, the currents are strong and unpredictable. Always something to watch there, boats going by, and Caernarfon on the opposite shore (from where we were, on the Isle of Anglesey) was very interesting to watch with binoculars!

I love a really good high tide, with waves crashing over the promenade, but I have no photographs of that. They are all tucked away in Mr. G's photo archives, taken before digital photography. He was brought up in Margate on the north Kent coast, and his mother lived there for many years. We often went down there, three or four times a year, but mostly in out-of-season times, so saw plenty of high seas!

But low timde has its own beauty. Both of the photographs above are along the coast from Grange-over-Sands, at a headland called Humphrey's Head. No idea who he was, but it was a beautiful place. On the rocky cliffs there was a Peregrine Falcon's nest, and we were lucky enough to see the male Peregrine. I spent some time down at sea level, there was no one else there, and so quiet and peaceful.

Inland Lakes have their own attractions. The upper one is "my" lake, in the Park, but the other one is Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire. Mr. and Mrs. Kipling spent a holiday there (?their honeymoon) and were so entranced by it that they called their son Rudyard after the lake. There are boats on the lake, and a little train goes down to the end and back again. Great for children!

Lakes and harbours abroad always have a foreignness about them - it might be the mountains, the flowers, or just the architecture. We had a great time in Menorca and then a couple of years later on Lake Garda in Italy.

The sound of trickling water always makes me feel cool. The stream in our park has been culverted, and little steps take it down the slope to the lake. After heavy rainfall, it does its best to immitate Niagara Falls!

Light on water makes me want to get out my camera! I can never quite get what I want. But I keep trying!

And lastly, sometimes there is far too much water where it is not wanted! The Council decided to renovate the childrens' playground and started just before one of the wettest, muddiest winters we have known! They still haven't finished, though it looks "done" and a lot of bigger children are going in by climbing over the fence!
Who am I to stop them??

This coming September we are going on a cruise around the UK, so there will be plenty of water for me to enjoy, photograph and just watch go by. So long as it just goes by, and not up and down too violently!

Sunday 7 March 2010

Oddities and Abstracts

One of the things I like to do with my camera, is find the views others miss Though I have to say I am not as good as my friend here at finding such oddities! But I loved the curves of the legs of this seat.....

...and the old paintwork of the slats. I know they need a new coat of paint, but I love the colours!

Sometimes I play around with my images on Photoshop, though I am very, very far from being expert, but had a good time with the melting snow in this tree...

....and the way the stream entered the frozen lake making fascinating patterns.

This, you might guess, is a close up of a pineapple, or was, till I got at it.

And, as a complete change, Mr. G and I actually went out to eat last week, and this was my dinner - a nice piece of steak, onion rings and chips, and yes, that is a half a mushroom lurking under the onion rings! I rather think US and Canadian friends will be shocked at the small portions!

It was nice going out, I think we should do it more!

And finally, the crocuses round here have suddenly burst into bloom, almost overnight. These gorgeous pale mauve ones were tucked beneath a hedge, and made a perfect round clump. I love the yellow stamens against the pale mauve.

And that's my blog for a few days! what an exciting life I do lead!!