Friday, June 30, 2017

Five on Friday

I wasn't sure if  I'd be able to join in with this week's Five on Friday as we have been away for a few days and there has been lots of catching up to do since we got home yesterday.  As you can imagine I had lots of photos to download but I've found a few and will write a longer post about some of the visits in later posts.

Below are five random photos taken at places we have visited over the last few days. 

1.  Selly Manor Museum in Bournville - we spent a happy afternoon wandering around both village and museum.  More in a later post.

2.  Henry the Cat who seemed to follow us around as we visited both the ruins of Bordesley Abbey and the Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch.  There are little black and white cat toys called Henry in the shop as he is such a popular part of the visit.

 3.  Geological Bear - one of the 100 plus bears that can be found around the Birmingham area as part of the Big Sleuth Trail and painted by school children who are members of the Little Bears Detective Club whilst fund raising for the Birmingham Children's Hospital.  This bear was in the foyer of the Lapworth Museum on the Birmingham University Campus.

4.  Pitcher Plants in the Gilbert Orchid House at Winterbourne House and Gardens at the opposite side of the Birmingham University campus to the Lapworth Museum.  With the wonderful Barber Institute in between.

5.  Tired legs and feet after walking from the station to the Lapworth Museum, across the campus to the Barber Institute and then a little further to Winterbourne House and gardens and of course, walking around each place as well.  More about all the places we visited in further posts.

Joining in with Tricky and Carly from the FAST blog for this week's Five on Friday. Click on the link below to see others taking part.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Spotted in the Last Few Days

Just thought I'd share a few photos taken over the last few days.  It has been too warm to go very far so we've spent quite a bit of time in the garden in the late afternoon and evenings with just a couple of early morning walks or shopping trips making sure we are home by noon.  

Here are a few things I've spotted whilst out and about or in the garden.

 Water Lily on the pond at Consall Nature Park

 Beautiful white horse at the gate of a field on one of our walks

Common Orchid in the Wildflower Meadow at Westport Lake

 Damsel Fly and Yellow Rattle in the wildflower meadow at Westport Lake

 Young Coot at Westport Lake

Barley growing on the bridge over the Trent and Mersey Canal near Westport Lake probably grown from bird seed placed on the bridge.

Seeds from what we think might be Poplar tree draped along the side of the Trent and Mersey Canal near the Wedgwood Factory at Barlaston.  If anyone knows what tree it is please leave a comment to let me know.

Brimstone Moth in the garden on the side of the greenhouse.

Mrs Fox and one of her three cubs late one evening in our garden.

The new bronze sculpture of Stoke-on Trent's most well known Author, Playwright and Essayist Arnold Bennett in front of the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery.  It was commissioned by the Arnold Bennett Society, funded by the Denise Coates Foundation and gifted to the city.  The sculptors were Michael Talbot and Carl Payne.

His most famous works are probably The Card, the Clayhanger Series of Novels and Anna of the Five Towns, there has been a production of Anna of the Five Towns at the New Vic Theatre and an exhibition on Bennett's life and works including his paintings in the Museum.  All to celebrate 150 years since his birth.  He is also well known for Omlette Arnold Bennett which is made with Smoked Haddock, Eggs and Parmesan Cheese.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Five on Friday - Five from the Garden

I haven't joined in with Five on Friday for a couple of weeks so I thought I'd just quickly participate this week and show you five flowers from the garden.

As you can see from the photos it's looking very blue and orange at the moment.

 1.  French Marigold

 2.  Hardy Geranium
 3.  California (n?) Poppies

 4.  Blue Borage

5.  Clematis 

Joining in with Tricky and Carly at FAST blog click on the link below to find more bloggers joining in this week.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Yesterday morning in the stumpery on the lakeside walk at the Trentham Estate


As far as the eye could see

My camera couldn't do justice to how beautiful they were

I stood taking in their beauty but quite a few people just passed by, jogging, walking, talking, heads down gazing at their phones.  They were missing such a treat.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Poppies, Photos, Peregrines and Princes

On Friday we drove over to Derby to see the Weeping Window poppies which are at present adorning the tower of the Silk Mill at the side of the River Derwent.  

 The tour of the ceramic poppies is organised by '14-18 Now' the UK's art programme for the centenary of the First World War.

The poppies were the concept of and designed by Paul Cummins and the installation was designed  by Tom Piper.  These poppies are some of those from the original installation 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' which were first seen at the Tower of London in 2014.

They looked wonderful in the bright sunshine.

I like the Silk Mill building anyway so it was great to see it draped with poppies.

As we stood and looked at the poppies we could here the mewling up above from one of the peregrine falcons which nest every year on the nearby Cathedral.  My camera was stretched to its limits but I did get a mediocre photo of the bird.  Here is a link to the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project's Blog.

I like this little area of Derby with its individual shops and cafes and a small independent department store called Bennetts.  The bunting was out blowing in the breeze which added a quite festive feel to the street, it was good to feel the warmth of the sun too.

The statue above is of Charles Edward Stuart usually referred to as 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' or 'The Young Pretender.' On 4h December 1745 at the height of the Jacobite Rebellion he marched with around six thousand men from Ashbourne towards Derby intending to ride towards London.   Two days later he was beating a retreat northwards and back to Scotland.  Four months later, on 6th April 1746 he was defeated at the Battle of Culloden.  Here is more information

We met him again in the Museum and Art Gallery.  We had popped into the museum to see a photographic exhibition before it closes this weekend.

The exhibition is called People Place and Things and explores early studio photography from 1854 onwards by using a collection of photos taken over the years by local photographers W.W. Winter which is, apparently one of the oldest running studios in the world.

There were lots of visitors enjoying the photographs and several finding people and places they knew.  There was a small group of people who were delighted to find their grandfather and uncles on a wonderful photo of Walter Tickner's butchers shop.  Below is a photo of the WW Winter photographic studio in the early 20th century.

Paul was thrilled to find a photo of a trainee pilot in a flight simulator at Derby Airport c. 1938.  So, as an early birthday treat for him, we bought the book which accompanies the exhibition.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Plas Mawr

In a previous post I promised to write about our visit to Plas Mawr so I thought it was about time I got round to showing you some photos from that very sunny day in May.

Plas Mawr, in translation it means great hall, has been described as the finest Elizabethan town house in Britain. 

 Plas Mawr stands on the High Street in the historic walled town of Conwy in North Wales.  It's entrance is straight off the road through a gatehouse and a courtyard before you go up the steps to the front door of the house.

It was built by Robert Wynn who was the third son of local landowners.  He travelled widely in Europe and built up a great fortune through shrewd business activities. He bought the land for the new house in Conwy in 1570.

The house was very fashionable at the time and has influences from both his visits to London and to Europe.   He also used local Welsh plasterers to embellish the house with his initials and emblems and those of his family.  This plaster work has recently been restored at great cost and some of it has been painted in the vibrant colours it would have had originally.

Above The Great Chamber was the ceremonial centre of the late 16th century house.  The colours of the plaster work are as they would have been then but the room is furnished as it would have been according to an inventory of 1665 which was made after the death of Robert Wynn's grandson also called Robert.  In the 18th century the house came, through marriage, into the hands of the Mostyn family who were well known landowners in the area around Conwy and Llandudno.   Later during the 19th century the house was subdivided and rented out for many different uses.  It was at one time a school but also businesses run from there included saddlers and cabinet makers.  In the late 19th century the Royal Cambrian Academy of Arts became concerned about the state of the building and members gradually took out added ceilings and dividing walls and returned the building to how it was in earlier times.  They used the house as an art gallery but by the 1940s the building was becoming harder and more costly to maintain.  In 1993 it was placed in the hands of the state and CADW the Welsh equivalent of English Heritage who have undertaken most of the restoration you can see now when you visit.

More photos below of the inside of the house.



 Inner courtyard above and below

On the top floor a room has been set out as it might have been when the building was subdivided into living and working areas.

There was also quite a large exhibition on water, health and hygiene in Tudor and Stuart Britain and a lot of information about healing herbs.

Plas Mawr is an absolutely delightful place to visit, I found it enchanting and could have spent ages in every room.

Apologies for the photo overload and also the quality of some of them as the sun was very bright through some of the windows and other areas were quite dark.