Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Miscellany

We have been away for a few days as it was my birthday last Friday and I spent it visiting some lovely buildings in Worcester.  We also managed to pull in a visit to a National Trust property on the way down the day before and an English Heritage property on the way back home on Saturday.

I'll probably write a post about some of these places later but in the meantime here are one or two photos of the places we visited.

First visit was Croome Park where there is of course the house and grounds and also an interesting church, lovely walks and an great RAF Museum.

The house itself is under wraps and surrounded by scaffolding.

 But you can take the steps to the top of the scaffolding

Have a cup of tea or coffee at the Sky Cafe

and enjoy some wonderful views.

In Worcester we loved the old buildings on Friar Street

 Below is Greyfriars House, Garden and tea room it belongs to the National Trust.

We were taken on a very interesting guided tour around the house which has an amazing story about its preservation.

The Cathedral is as beautiful as I remember it from way back in the early 70s when I first visited.

 I did take lots of photos inside but am not allowed to publish any on line.  There was an exhibition about the Magna Carta inside as King John is buried in the cathedral and his tomb stands before the alter.  Other things of interest are Prince Arthur's Chantry, the Beauchamp tomb and the Norman Crypt.

 The Museum and Art Gallery was fascinating, again no photos from inside can be published without permission.
The Commandery which we loved and spent ages wandering around.  There is so much history here.

Of course it being a Bank Holiday coming up re-enactors and stall holders were getting ready for a special weekend of displays.
 Saturday morning at English Heritage's Witley Court was quiet and peaceful after a busy day in the city the day before. 

 You will have seen the fountain and lake in my previous post so here are a few more photos.

The Winter Garden

 The interior of the church - a Baroque Fiesta - I can't show other photos of the inside as there was an art exhibition spread across the whole area and copyright applies to the modern paintings. 

All for now on this wet and miserable Bank Holiday.  I woke up to the sound of rain and it hasn't stopped yet.  I'll be back with Five on Friday.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Photo Scavenger Hunt - August

Once again it's time to join in with the Photo Scavenger Hunt kindly organised by greenthumb at Made with Love  just click on the link  to find other participants.


 Visitors walk over the new Chinese Bridge at Croome Park in Worcestershire.


Horizontal stripes on a Cornish Ware jar at Sharpe's Pottery Museum, Swadlincote, Derbyshire


Square tiles on the floor of a room in The Commandery, Worcester.  Called the Commandery as it was from here that Charles II established his headquarters before the Battle of Worcester in 1651.


 As I looked at this photo I was struck by the diversity of wildlife in and around the lake which is at Witley Court, near Worcester.  Trees, shrubs, plants, flowers, birds, dragonflies, bees, wasps, butterflies and other insects and also all the wildlife living down in the water of the lake too.


The rough texture of the Tufa stone contrasts with the smoother stone of the statue.  Photo taken at Croome Park, Worcestershire.


Bows on an 18th century style dress at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire


The Perseus and Andromeda fountain at Witley Court near Worcester caused much joy to visitors as it was activated at 11.a.m. and reached its full force and height in a few minutes.  Whitley Court is a ruin, after a disastrous fire which started on 7th September 1937.


I spotted the little umbrella hanging on a fence in the small show gardens at Trentham Estate when we were walking around.  I wonder if a child had left it there whilst stopping to do something else and forgotten it or if a passer by had found it and put it there so it would be seen.  Either way it seems to match the fence in colour doesn't it?


As I steer clear of crowds as much as possible I was wondering how on earth I could interpret this particular topic.  We have lots of sparrows in the hedges and bushes that surround our garden and the other day there was quite a lot of them.  Apparently the collective noun term for Sparrows can be one of three words a host, a quarrel or a ubiquity.  They are certainly ubiquitous in our garden but for the purposes of the scavenger hunt they are a crowd of Sparrows.


This plant's seed head was very dry and a pale cream colour against the background of bright summer greens, I enhanced this paleness by making the photo black and white.


 This little friendly robin came to sit near our table outside the Lakeside cafe at Trentham Gardens.  I think he or she was looking for crumbs but we only had coffee.  He stayed quite a while watching us before deciding we didn't have any food to offer him.

Whatever you want 

 A collage of photos I took of the painted room in The Commandery in Worcester.  The paintings date from c1475 when the building was a hospital dedicated to St Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester.  It is thought that this room was the infirmary and the paintings were there to comfort the sick.

As you can see from some of the photos we've been away for a few days in Worcestershire.  I will write a post or two about the places we've visited over the next week or two.  I'll hopefully be catching up with all your posts in the next day or two too.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Miscellany

A few photos I took recently in the kitchen garden at Trentham.  I wish my garden was like this one but the soil here is so rich unlike our hard and heavy clay.  All the gardens look very colourful at this time of year with all the different seasonal flowers but I thought there was some lovely colour in the vegetables too.  

Small apple trees used as an edging to one of the beds

Colourful marigolds

Swiss Chard?

Ruby Chard



Purple runner beans, or are they French beans, or is that the same thing?

Yellow courgettes

Sunflowers and Blue Borage

Yellow Pumpkin


There is such a rich abundance of tempting, colourful produce to be found.
It's a golden time of year in the garden.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Miscellany

I thought I just show you a few photos of things that have interested, amused or delighted me over the last few days so here is my Monday Miscellany.

The lovely dress above was in the National Trust's shop at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire when we visited last week. I think it was made from fabric woven at the mill. 

A complete contrast to the display of clothes worn by the factory girls for the television series The Mill.

The poor little sparrows who live in our hedges were visited by the Sparrowhawk (aka the grim reaper earlier this week, he did fly off empty clawed though so they did live to chirrup for another day.

This is a neighbour's cat who regularly visits our garden and house.  He comes in through the cat flap and steals our cats' food. They rarely challenge him so he gets away with it. I like him though because he is such a lovely cat.

One of several horse statues outside Lichfield Cathedral.

A face in a window at Erasmus Darwin's House in Lichfield

Large artichokes in the kitchen garden at Quarry Bank Mill

Squirrel on the fence between us and next door - he has a large nut between his paws and is dropping bits all over the place as he chews it.

Display of T G Green Cornishware at Sharpe's Pottery Museum, Swadlincote.  I used to love visiting the factory shop at nearby Church Gresley but it closed down a few years ago.  Upstairs in the museum is The Magic Attic full of information for local and family historians.  They have helped me find out a couple of things for my family history research in the area as most of my paternal side of the family come from Swadlincote, Midway, Church Gresley and Newhall.

This little robin came to join us as we sat drinking coffee at the lakeside cafe at Trentham one morning this week.  I think he was hoping in vain for crumbs but he posed for quite a few photos before he flew off. 

 Some of the signs and notices around and about on our visit to Quarry Bank Mill.  There was a trail of paw prints for the children (and adults!) to follow to seek out the cat hidden in the mill.  I did spot it but won't say where it is here just in case someone reading this wants to visit and follow the trail.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

In the Trenches

The Staffordshire Regiment Museum is at Whittington Barracks just outside the centre of Lichfield on the A 51 road to Tamworth.  It is a museum I'd never visited before but they had a WWI exhibition that we wanted to see. 

In the Museum was this wonderful tapestry made with lots of crochet poppies.

There is also a knitted pigeon.  This represents the pigeon known as 'Cher Ami' or 'dear friend' a male name for what was found later to be a female homing pigeon who saved the lives of 194 American soldiers.  Here is a link to the full story.  Cher Ami was the last pigeon to be sent with a request for help in October 1918 from the Lost Brigade at the Battle of Argonne and was awarded the Croix de Guerre for her bravery.  Despite being badly wounded she got her message back to the division headquarters.

The trench is a reconstruction of a hundred metre section of a British trench.  It was built in 2000 but updated and added to for the centenary of the commencement of WW1 last year.  

The trench is named after Lance Corporal William Coltman, VC in memory of him and all the Staffordshire men who served in the war.

There are several re-enactments, educational tours and experiences planned through this year in the trench but when we visited there was just us two.  

 Of course it was lacking the mud

 and the damp and the vermin

 and the smells

 and the danger

 and the fear

It  lacked the cold and bleakness of winter, the autumn fogs, the cool of spring and the searing heat of summer.  It lacked the smell of woodbines, the sound of the voices of the men as they went about their duties or rested before heading for the front but it did have the sound of sniper fire and the constant boom of the heavy guns.  I thought of Private Baldrick's poem in Blackadder 4 - Boom, Boom, Boom ........

 How dreadful it must have been, how brave they all were and how afraid they must have felt - all the time. 

This was quite a splendid reconstruction of how the trenches must have looked when first created but no one could or would want to recreate the appalling conditions experienced as the war progressed.

I did climb up the ladder to look at 'no man's land' and the German front line.  

There is also a Sap or mine adit.  Many miners were recruited to dig tunnels under ground towards the enemy lines.  If you have read Sebastian Faulks' novel 'Birdsong' you will have read about the mines and the tunnels running close to those of the enemy.

In the bright sunshine of an ordinary August afternoon it was sometimes hard to imagine how truly awful it must have been.

For everyone