Reflected water

From ssummer two years ago. A reflection and mirrored image of the canal surface at Middleport. Taken when we went to see the ceramic poppies that were used to decorate the bottle kiln at Middleport pottery. The art work of thousands of ceramic poppies travelled round Britain in 2018, to celebrate the centenary of the end of the First World War in 1918. If I find a photo of the poppies I will share it.

Sketch in courtyard

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This was a quick sketch I did in September 2017. We often visit places and instead of taking photos I sometimes just sit and sketch, it’s relaxing.

This was at Rode Hall in a courtyard by the barns. The main barn has been converted into a cafe and coffee shop, with lovely hot food too. I hope that once the lockdown is over we will be able to visit again. The gardens that surround the hall are beautifully set out. There is a snowdrop walk down to the lake and pathways through wooded areas as well as more classically arranged bedding areas. There is also a walled garden that is full of colourful beds of perrenials.

They also run a farmers market on the first Saturday of the month (not sure when that will be on again).

So, when you finally get to go out why not think about visiting. On the A34 North of Stoke-on-Trent. You turn left in Rode Heath at the sign.

Note limited opening. Check first. There are details on the Internet. Also note that there is a one way system in the grounds so you come out on the same road but further along it when you exit.

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2000 year old yew tree

From a friend’s photo,

At Astbury just off the A34 near Stoke on Trent and Congelton. I can’t remember the church grounds it is in. The trunk is hollow. It goes to show that it is only the outer layers of plants that are really alive. Water and nutrients are drawn up the trunk by transpiration. The trunk is propped up with timbers.

I once saw an experiment on the TV when scientists cut through a mature tree, they placed the trunk into a container full of water. The tree continued to suck up the water despite being cut, this was because of capillary action. There are tiny tubes in plants called phloem and xylem which are there to take up water and also transport sugars and starches from the leaves into the body of the plant. These are the building blocks of the grass, shrub, flowering plant or tree. I don’t know much more about plant biology though. I’m searching round in my mind for facts from biology classes over forty years ago!


 

Anyone seen a dalek?

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A couple of years ago we saw a Dalek on a station (I think it was Froghall) in the Staffordshire moorlands. Memory fades, but I know I had a short video of it perambulating backwards and forwards along the platform. I remember looking for who was running it. The original ones on TV in the sci-fi series Doctor Who, were moved by people inside the Daleks, pedalling them along.

This one was being moved by a remote control I think. I saw a man with a radio controller in his hand. Later we went to look at a model Tardis in the station itself. Tardis stands for Time and relative dimensions in space. Anyone who is a Doctor Who fan would know that.

It’s not often that you bump into an iconic 1960’s TV character in real life.

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Dorothy Clive Garden.

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This was my drawing of the Dorothy Clive Garden on 6.5.18. It’s recently reopened but with a booking system so you have to book morning or afternoon slots to visit. There is a self service system at the cafe. I hope we can go one day next week if the weather improves, after a month or more of sunshine we have been having rain for the last few days. Good for all gardens including the Dorothy Clive.

It will be lovely to see different landscapes, beautiful flowers, and peaceful water features.

When you draw a place you are interpreting the world in a different way to simple photographs. That’s why I enjoy it. Trying to tame nature and describe it.

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Dorothy Clive garden

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Just had an email from the Dorothy Clive Garden, explaining that they are closing due to government advice.

It’s a lovely place on the border with Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire. It is a magical garden on a steep slope. If you get a chance when things have calmed down do go.

This is what I wrote back to them…

We visit to come and see the wonderful rhododendrons in the quarry garden every year, and have been enjoying watching the ecology section being created. Then the rest of it is just wonderful when it’s in full bloom. I love sitting outside the cafe and drawing the view, or walking down the steep slope towards the pond. Watching goldfish as they quietly go about their lives under the surface. 

Ive been visiting over several years. When I was fit I used to cycle over with my husband.

I have a very overgrown small garden with lots of trees, but we have some amazing geraniums that have spread everywhere. We got them from you a few years ago.

Hoping for a speedy resolution to the current situation.
Sincerely

 

Owl

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About nine years ago I had a birthday treat, we went to Gentleshaw Animal sanctuary and I got to hold and fly owls. Its amazing how light they are, they are all fluffy feathers. I think this is a Great Grey owl.

The sanctuary had bad luck a few years ago when a fire severely damaged some of the pens. It was a sad time, but they rebuilt. The staff are some of the Kindest people I’ve ever met. They treat all the animals with great care. They rescue animals from poor circumstances and help rehabilitate them.

Wonderful afternoon out, wonderful people.

Bodnant Gardens, Wales

 

The weather is changing, getting colder, wet and windy and the leaves are starting to change on the trees. DSC_2419

The Acers are the ones that turn deep red and orange, at the same time the seed pods also turn bright red.

All of thus beauty can be found at Bodnant Gardens in the Conwy Estuary, near Llandudno in Wales. Travel along the A55 and turn off at Llandudno junction and take the A70. Up and down some hills you will see a National Trust sign on your left hand side. Follow the long drive up to the car park up a hill on the left. There is a green pavilion at the bottom of the carpark by the drive and you walk down and past it into a landscaped spiral ramp down to a tunnel under the road and into the garden centre, shops, and entrance into the gardens.

There are tall trees, pines, redwoods, Acers and oaks. Autumn flowers and mountains in the distance. Formal and informal gardens surround the Bodnant Hall with an old conservatory or greenhouse attached to it. There is no entrance to the hall but there is plenty to see anyway.

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Metal working tools…

And other images from the Forge at Etruria. I was there today and took a few photos in the beautiful mid September sunshine we had today.

When the sun is bright and low it casts deep shadows and picks out intricate details that you might otherwise miss.

The glow from the flames of the Forge added to the atmosphere, you can almost feel the heat coming off those flames.

The Forge is the domain of Sculpted Steel. You can see demonstrations of the blacksmiths work on open days at Etruria Industrial museum.

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Day out at Rudyard

Rudyard lake, Staffordshire, on a bank holiday Monday afternoon. There is a miniature railway on one side of the lake that takes you up from a little station at Rudyard, which is just next to the railway bridge I’m the way out of the village. It then runs for about a mile and a half. It follows the track bed of the Great Central railway which was removed several decades ago. It heads off to the top end of Rudyard Lake where it ends at a halt and the footpath carries on to another village a few miles away called Rushton Spencer I think?

They had a miniature steam engine and a miniature diesel train pulling the carriages today. We got off at the first stop called the Dam for a lunch at the cafe, then we got back on the train and travelled to the end of the and back to the station.

The only bother was the parking. But someone was leaving so we snuck in a space. Definitely worth a visit and not too expensive.

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