Saturday 24 December 2011


A Happy Christmas to all my Blog friends! I hope all goes well, that the meal is gorgeous, those round the table are gracious, happy and good-humoured, and that a good time is had by all!

We will be going to our daughter for Christmas Day, which will be lovely. She always puts on a beautiful meal, the decorations are fantastic, and the Christmas Tree touches the ceiling!

The picture above is one I took at her house a couple of years ago. I think it looks mysterious, candle-lit and Christmassy!

See you all again in a few days!

Have a great time!

Monday 19 December 2011


We nearly didn't go to the Town's Christmas market, as when we woke up it was snowing and looked very icy. However, the weather improved very slightly, so off we went. The market is held - where else? - in the Market place, and spills out to the side streets. They had kept the various types of stalls together, so the food was nearly all in one street, the crockery and china stalls together, etc.

The Christmas tree lights were on, but didn't show up on my photograph its a big dark because it WAS a bit dark out there!

All the food stalls looked lovely. This scone stall...........

.........offered little nibbles to test them! In fact, all the foodie stalls offered tasters, and we had good time sampling various sausages. I did buy some in the end, though. ~Free range Gloucester Old Spot Pigs, hand-made on the farm. Should be good!

There were some strange things there, though.

But if it was too cold for you, then you could warm up with mulled wine, or spiced cider, all gently steaming away in big tubs.

It was a very successful market, and I enjoyed it enormously.

Thursday 15 December 2011


I'm really pleased to say that the swans who came to the lake in our Park have stayed now for well over a year, maybe longer. I find time flies rather quickly now!

Yesterday the were hanging around where the stream enters the lake. We have had torrential rain lately, and the stream has been at its height, obviously bringing down goodies for ducks and swans!

They are nearly always together, and we are hoping they might be a pair. Young swans do not breed for 3 or 4 years after they become adult, so perhaps these two are just waiting for their really adult years to appear!

We did have a very large numbers of Canada geese on the lake, but they have gone off somewhere else now, and gulls, mostly black headed gulls, sit waiting on the lake now until someone appears with food, and then fly around screeching, and trying to get the bread from under the ducks' beaks!

If it gets colder, with snow, then the geese will come back, the gulls will stay, and the number of mallard ducks increase. Then it will be everyone for themselves when food appears!

Wednesday 7 December 2011


December has turned very cold, and this was the scene that greeted me as I opened the gate from our garden into the Park. I rather hoped I could get the walk with our dog over before those grey clouds reached us.

The promise of a bright interval never materialised over our part of the town, and the wind was icy cold!

Even the ducks didn't look too impressed!

But some very late roses really cheered me up. The glowed against the grey wall, defying the wind and cold.

Hope this is not too boring a blog but I thought I ought to let you know I was still alive!!

Saturday 26 November 2011


I have been trying since Tuesday - 4 days ago - to get a new blog up. But as soon as I think I have got a spare half hour - there's something else to be done.

Its been a busy week - a Committee meeting on Monday, a Members Morning on Thursday, and my Creative Writing Group on Friday. (I'll tell you about Wednesday in a mo!) All of these activities are connected with me being Secretary of the local U3A, which for those who don't know, is the University of the Third Age, a National Organisation for the over 50's, who are retired or not working. Basically, the stored and deep knowledge of its members is given to Groups who are interested. Like learning a language, Photography, Handicrafts, Painting, and where I go, Creative Writing.

Now our CW Group is putting on a performance (?) of the "12 Days of Christmas" at our Christmas Party in a fortnight, and I can tell you, if it all goes right, hopefully it will be very funny. Though I have a feeling if it all goes wrong, it will be even funnier!

Wednesday we went to one of my favourite stores, Lakeland, a wonderful store selling everything domestic. Then we went to Bramhall, where we, as usual, trawled the Charity Shops. Bramhall is a lovely little town, lots of boutique-y shops, and really nice places to have lunch. I must say, being a town in the wealthier end of Cheshire, we did find a very high quality of goods in the charity Shops.

If you are wondering what my collage is all about - its leaves. As all the leaves have mostly come off the trees now, and down onto our lawn, I thought I'd post some leaves that I enjoy looking at!

And the second photo is the lovely sky on Tuesday evening. We haven't got much of a view to the west here, but it was so colourful I had to take a shot of it.

Monday 14 November 2011


Sunday afternoon looked like being sunny, if not very warm, so we drove up to Teggs Nose Country Park. Teggs Nose is the end of an outcrop of rock that has been quarried for years for a very pleasant building stone, used all round here. The quarry is now disused, and is part of a bigger area designated a Country Park.

Unfortunately when we got up there, the cloud was low, and it was a very dull day. Not really good for photography! But I hope you can see that there is a long, rther dull path to get up to where we were going. Mr. G didn't think I would make it.

But I did! However, those steps are wickedly steep, and although the old rickety railing has been replaced with a much sturdier one, I knew I couldn't get up there, so went round the long way round a sort of tump.........

........past an Ash tree, which in better weather has a lovely view to the west.......

........and up to where the old quarries start. Now the spoil heaps and rock are all covered with heather, which looks lovely in the late summer, but is just brown now.

There are great views from where we got to, even though there is much more, higher up. However, it was bitterly cold up there, with a wind so strong I had difficulty in keeping my balance and holding the camera straight and steady, so we turned for home.

Mr. G found it unpleasant, I like a good blow, and it was great to get out, and the dog had a wonderful time!

Back down at the entrance to the car park we are told its is 168 miles to London. The road here is the Old Buxton Road, very narrow and tortuous, so a New Buxton Road was built, wider, but still with bends all the way. It has the sorry title of the most dangerous road in England, as it is used by motorcyclists keen on seeing how fast they can go. There have been far too many fatal accidents over the years, and many more people injured. The Police and the Council have done a lot to make it safer, speed cameras and in the summer holiday season, the Police spotter plane all have a big presence. But there are always some idiots around.

I enjoyed my windy walk, and was delighted I could get to somewhere high enough to have a view. Now, next time its sunny, and clear, and perhaps not so much wind........

Saturday 5 November 2011


As it was my birthday (no, I'm not saying!) this week, my daughter came over and she, Mr. G and I all went to try out the new Cafe at our local Garden Centre. It proved to be very good indeed, the food was lovely, home-cooked, and a great place to have a very pleasant lunch out.

Afterwards we wandered round the indoor part of the Centre. They had all their Christmas things out, decorations and presents galore, and although I think it was too early for such things, I enjoyed it very much! I was very taken with these tartan reindeer, who had a really perky expression on their faces!

Baubles, and all sorts of decorations looked very inviting put in baskets.

By the Gardening section we came across these model hens, which looked so realistic I could have bought them all! They were very expensive, though, and for them to look good you would want a group of them, and then you would have to have the right sort of garden (or estate, even!) There were also model dogs and pigs.

Outside, (but covered over, thankfully, as it had started to rain!) there were bedding plants......

.....and loads of beautiful cyclamen. I loved the really dark ones, but they would have been lost against the wall in our hall, so I bought a pale-coloured one with really pretty leaves!

There was a lovely display of foliage too. All told, it was a really good Birthday Visit!

From our upstairs windows, the park and our garden, are looking quite autumnal. (Sorry about the bit of clothes line at the bottom!)

There are some glowing late roses in the park, where they are sheltered from the north and east...........

........And the beech leaves make a gorgeous carpet. This part of the park will be covered with daffodils and narcissi in the Spring.

I wonder what sort of winter we will have this year?

Friday 28 October 2011


One sunny afternoon this week we headed for Redesmere, which is a large lake,very near us.

There is a sailing club there, and as it was a very breezy day, the little boats soon came out.

But the big attraction there are the water fowl. After a putting up with a dodgy and potholed parking spot, the Council has made it into a very much better spot for spectators, and a great deal safer

Lots of people come with bags of bread to feed the various birds, there is plenty of room for those that feed the birds, the photographers and the children.

There is no doubt at all as to who are the big greedy ones! The swans always push forward, but the gulls are pretty good at catching stuff thrown in the air! Then there is a terrific fight for the bit of food!

Mr. G took our dog Max for a walk, I went part of the way but although I got over the first style, the second one defeated me, so I stayed there and did a bit of nature photography, as I was sitting almost underneath a Sweet Chestnut tree!

Saturday 22 October 2011


Last week I bought some plants from the Garden Centre, plus tulip bulbs, but only found time to plant the bulbs and some wallflowers. Then the rains came!

But today is a lovely sunny day, very windy, but I found a pot for the Heuchera I had bought. I fell in love with it as it was so pretty. Its called something like "Silver coils" - I love heucheras!

I was going to plant the Heuchera in the pot these begonias are using, but I hadn't the heart to pull them up as they were still looking so lovely! So I've left them for a bit. The pansies are in a big trough in front of them, but I had too many for the trough so was hunting a couple of smaller pots to plant the overflow!

Its lovely to see the sun today, a real autumnal day, windy but not too cold. So many leaves have already fallen that I don't think we are going to have a long-lasting autum this year.

To all you kind friends who asked after me, following a spell in Hospital - I am fine, but I am going to see the Consultant at the end of November in his clinic, and maybe we can find the source of the trouble. But I sincerely hope it doesn't happen again, twice in one year is far too many times!

Sunday 16 October 2011


I intended to post a new blog last week, but an unexpected stay in Hospital has thrown all my planning! However, we did manage to get to Leek Flea Market on Saturday.

It was also a Farmers' Market, though it seemed to be all meat, sausages, eggs and things like that. I don't think I would have fancied the meat here, which was is the full sun. (Not that the sun was actually very warm, and there was a very cold wind!)

There was the stall with the usual eclectic array of stuff....

.....but the Baby walker, or whatever it was, looked very uncomfortable for the poor baby! Someone said it was french, which could have accounted for it!!

There was a doll and a teddy - I had a doll just like that when I was a small child.

It was so cold there I had to buy a scarf from Oxfam! I tried to take this photo of me looking in a mirror that was on one of the stalls. I'm wearing the scarf, and was very glad I bought it!

And lastly it was so cold and I was very tired, I took shelter in my favourite cafe to wait for Mr.G who is far hardier than I am! And yes, I did have a piece of the cakes there, plus a good hot cup of coffee!

Thursday 6 October 2011


I was looking through old photos, and came acxross this one - and it started me thinking! I expect we have all got similar photos - this one is the First XII hockey team at my school. You will have to look hard to find me, but I am there!

I thought back to my schooldays - they weren't great, and I must have been a real pain in my early years there. I went when I was 10 rising 11, and it was all so different from the private school I had attended during the Second World War. But eventually I got my head round most subject and did quite well. Not Maths though. I missed a lot of lessons one year, and never caught up. Some things are still a mystery to me.

What were quadratic equations actually for?? Has anyone used them in adult life?

I didn't keep up with my ex-classmates - I moved away, and life changed. But I sometimes envy people who have stayed in the area they were born in, or went to school in, and still know what everyone from their school is doing.

But if I hadn't moved away, I doubt I would have found the opportunities I did find, and I don't suppose I would be the person I am now!

A very philosophical blog! But what about you? Did you move away? Stay in the same area? Do you now wish perhaps you had done things differently?

Friday 30 September 2011


A little while ago we noticed a baby plant growing in a pot of old, used compost which stood by the back door. This door opens into the garden, and there are 8 awkward steps down into the garden, which explains why the pot of used compost was still there!

We left it alone, and it grew and grew, and soon became obvious it was a sunflower. We didn't think it would get to bloom so late in the year, but now look at it!

I grant you it is not one of those giant sunflowers, but it is very pretty. The seed must have been dropped, either by a bird or one of us, as we feed the birds with mixed seed.

Talking of strange plants, in the winter we feed the Siskins and Redpoll on Nyjer seed, and every year we have a fine crop of Nyjer plants, although they never come to anything, as it is too cold here for blooming and setting seed.

But the birds seem to have disappeared this week. I don't know where they have gone, but I imagine there is such a lot of natural food, they don't need ours. It is strange though, last week the sparrows and various sorts of tits were fighting over the peanuts, but this week - zilch!

Sunday 25 September 2011


Today (Sunday) was the monthly Treacle Market in our Market Square and adjoining street. Sadly, the "real" antiques seem to have disappeared, but there are still a lot of stalls to search

there was a lot of pretty crockery on this stall, but I wondered if anyone ever used the traditional wicker hamper for picnics? They must have been terribly heavy - you wouldn't have wanted to carry them too far!

There were a couple of bookstalls, and I was very pleased to find a book illustrated by Charles Tunnicliffe. I love his drawings, painting and all artwork of his, and the black and white illustrations in this book, which is devoted to country matters, are delightful. The book is written by HE Bates, another old favourite of mine. Sadly both Charles Tunnicliffe and HE Bates are dead now.

There was one book I didn't buy - though I did wonder if there were any other sort of slugs other than terrestrial ones!

There was a stall with lovely coloured ribbons.......

........and one that was all sorts of bits and pieces. It actually was a very windy day, but you can't see it from the photographs.

On the next door stall there were some old bears and other animals.......

.........and a stall with all sorts of floaty scarves and things.

The food stalls were all together down a street leading off the Market Square. There were two bread stalls, both were loaded with really yummy-looking bread. I bought a loaf that I was promised was full of seeds and goodness!

There was also a stall selling Fungi. This was a new one for the market, and although there were plenty of "ordinary" mushrooms, there were boxes of mixed fungi, which I really wouldn't have liked to try without positively identifying them first! And then I might err on the side of caution and not eat them!

And lastly, in case you needed a sit down and a cup of tea or coffee, this maiden was there to direct you down the ginnel!