Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Few Weeks Ago

A few weeks ago, before the young man in a woolly hat driving a white estate car on the A38 near Ripley deciding he wanted the exact bit of road we were travelling on caused us to brake hard to avoid him hitting us, which action made us spin round in the road facing the oncoming traffic and skid backwards into the kerbside barrier which left our sturdy, reliable 'little car' so damaged it will probably cost more than it is worth to mend it!   We were going to change it next year as it is ten years old but we didn't want to do it quite yet.  In case you were wondering no, he didn't stop!  He was completely oblivious to what he had done.  A kind man did risk life and limb to stop and make sure we weren't hurt.  We weren't thank goodness, just shaken up a bit.  Anyway, before all this we visited Tideswell and walked a little way along the Monsal Trail near Miller's Dale.

The weather was mild for December and for once it wasn't raining.  We walked for about an hour or so and then drove down into Tideswell.  The church of St John the Baptist, also known as 'The Cathedral of the Peak,'  looked majestic in the sunlight. 

The contrast of the dark spires of the church and branches of the trees against the blue sky was stunning.

We didn't go inside the church this time but just wandered around the village which was very busy with both locals and visitors.

I was attracted by the sunlight streaming through the windows of the nave.

There were crows calling and flitting amongst the branches of the trees.

Tideswell is an interesting village which we have visited quite a few times over the years whilst doing Paul's family history.  In this village's parish records we have found the earliest references to his family name.

Inside the church is the bronze memorial to Bishop Robert Pursglove  1504 - 79 and there are also references in the streets around the church.

Above is Pursglove Lodge which can be found on Pursglove Road.  There is also a Bishop Pursglove School just down the road at the back of the church.

As we were wandering around taking photos a group of people on an historical treasure hunt were also buzzing around looking for clues, all wearing red santa hats and having great fun, their shrieks of laughter and animated chatter accompanying the cawing of the crows.

The afternoon was drawing in, the sun was disappearing and it was getting cool.   

Time to go home!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas Wishes

From me...........

to all of you!  
Thank you for your treasured company this year, for taking the time to visit and to leave such lovely comments.  
Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Few Festive Scenes from Haddon

On Saturday we met up with friends from Nottingham at Haddon Hall.  Lunch was booked for noon and very tasty it was too, turkey and an assortment of seasonal vegetables for our friends and Derbyshire Homity pie with the same vegetables for us veggies.  The plate came piled high!  It's a good job we didn't have a starter and there was no room left for a pudding.  After lunch we had a wander around the Hall to look at the decorations.  The Great Hall was heaving with people watching the Tudor Group show how Christmas would have been celebrated in Tudor times. 

I took quite a lot of photos so I've just selected a few for you to see how wonderfully festive it was.  It was hard to take any long shots as there were so many people so I took mainly close ups of some of the decorations and displays.

Above and below in the chapel

 The next three were taken in some of the smaller rooms

Below are  photos taken in the Long Gallery in which  a winter wonderland had been created with just twigs and hanging baubles with wicker work reindeer sculptures in the windows.

Last but not least, because we probably spent the most time in here, the kitchens

Someone pointed out that in Tudor times the carrots would have probably been purple not orange!  

After we'd spent time in the kitchens we went back through the hall and long gallery to experience it all again. We then  made our to Caudwell's Mill at Rowsley for a cup of tea before heading off home under the darkening skies of a winter's evening and the added pleasure of seeing the festive lights as we passed through Matlock and Ashbourne.

You may remember that last year we visited Haddon Hall on a Tudor Group weekend and met up with some fellow bloggers Diane from Heart Shaped and Rowan from Circle of the Year.
Here is a - link - to my posts from then.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Christmas, 1802

Today we visited Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire.  The morning was cold and frosty as we walked from the car park to the hall.

 The trees look wonderfully stark and sculptural against the sky and the light frost on the grass

Sudbury is a very elegant red brick hall built in the 17th Century

 We walked around the outside first, the lake was frozen over in places

I love this view of the back of the hall

Let's go inside to warm up our fingers and toes.  A Regency Christmas of 1802 was the theme inside.  Now I was wondering about that as I'd always been taught that the Regency period was from 1810 to 1820 when  George, Prince of Wales, later George IV, became Regent during the illness of his father George III, but another school of academic thought would say that it ran from 1790 to 1820 and others that it runs through to 1837.  I've put a link at the end of this post for those who are interested in following this up.  I have to say that when I think of the Prince Regent, which surprisingly isn't that often,  I can't help but see Hugh Laurie in Blackadder III, one of my all time favourite comedy series but I digress so back to 1802!

The lovely white staircase which you may recognise from the BBC TV series of Pride and Prejudice - yes that one!  Some of the interior, including the staircase,  was used for Mr Darcy's home, Pemberley.

It was decorated from top to bottom and looked stunning far better than my photos show as the lighting levels were difficult to work with.

There were seasonal decorations in all the window sills, on staircases and around all the fireplaces  I loved the swags and central display on this one.

The cool and elegant grandeur of the long gallery was lit by sunlight, just the right setting for an early 19th century Christmas with scenes based on the diaries of Georgiana Vernon who lived at Sudbury Hall.

What or who can we see in here? Mr Darcy? Mr Bingley?  Mr Wickham? The Misses Bennet?

No, they were as yet taking shape in Miss Austen's imagination!
Dancing, of course!

When I see dancing like this I remember the books of my teenage years written by Georgette Heyer, where the spring muslin clad heroines danced the Quadrille and the Cottilion at Almacks Assembly Rooms or those at Bath perhaps.

These dancers were very entertaining and energetic and the costumes were lovely.  I've made a couple of photo mosaics below so that you can see more of what was on offer in the hall.

There was also a marquee with crafts and homemade goodies but it was so crowded and the queue to see Father Christmas in the Museum of Childhood was very long, as was the queue for the cafe and the queue of cars waiting for a space in the car park.  It was time to give up our space and move on, back to the 21st century.

Link  to more about the Regency Period

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Just a bit on the damp side

What a morning it's been! 

Wet! Wet! Wet!

 Paths under water

Garden steps broken, I trod on the corner as I went out to feed the birds earlier and hurtled forward but managed to stay upright.   It's not a flood of biblical proportions by any means but it has entered the house, well garage,  which is connected to the rest of the house.

I did have a dental appointment this morning but they rang last evening to cancel so I don't have to go out except to post a birthday card which I can do just round the corner on the next street, when and if it ever stops raining.   In the meantime to cheer up the day I've made a cake, a chocolate cake.  It's not the most attractive cake in the world but it smells wonderful - just hope it tastes as good.

Put the kettle on!  Care to join me for a slice?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

St Chad's, Old and New

Below is the Lady Chapel the only part of the old church of St Chad which remains standing after it collapsed one night in 1788.  By the end of the 18th century the building was falling into disrepair and cracks had appeared in the tower,  the famous engineer Thomas Telford warned that the church would collapse and not long after it did.  

During the time of King Offa of the Mercians (757-96) there was a monastic college on this site whose church was dedicated to St Chad, the first Bishop of Mercia.  In 1148 it was replaced by a much larger church.  Below, open to the elements are the arches of the sedilia.  The remains stand on an incline at the top of Milk Street just off Wyle Cop in the centre of the town.

A site was chosen, on a hill in the loop of the River Severn as it runs through the town, for a new church dedicated to St Chad and the foundation stone was laid on St Chad's day, 2nd March 1790.  Stones from the old church were used in the foundations.

Charles Darwin famous naturalist and  author of 'On the Origin of the Species' was baptised at the church in 1809 and attended services there with his mother, Susanna, daughter of the famous potter Josiah Wedgwood. 

There were some fascinating grave stones in the church yard, I was amused by the name on the one above.
Some of them were very elaborate.

With their classical influences and designs.

Some were very plain, now who is buried here?  Oh?  never!

Ebenezer Scrooge? Bah, humbug!  Well, no not really!  The stone is a prop which was used during the filming of a TV adaptation of Charles Dickens's novel  'A Christmas Carol' in 1984.  Apparently George C Scott was Scrooge and David Warner was Bob Cratchit.   It is in fact a real stone of the correct period which had been so worn away that they were able to inscribe over it.  If you look closely you can see the vague outlines of some writing on the bottom of the stone.  I wonder whose stone it was?