Take a break

Thursdays #bandofsketchers prompt was ‘take a break’ so I chose to draw this image from the front of the 2021 National Trust Guidebook. It’d just drawn in coloured pencil, charcoal pencil and fine liner black ink pen.

I need a break! So I would take it at Bodnant garden near Llandudno in Wales. It’s a National Trust garden. A beautiful place which drops into a wooded valley and is surrounded by the Welsh hills and mountains. We are missing the laburnum walk that will be in flower now. I hope to go there soon.

Horse

When we were out yesterday we saw this lovely horse in a field. There wasn’t much grass so we pulled some up from our side of the fence and the horse came over and tugged it out of my hand… It soon wandered off in search of some more. I think the colour was Bay, its coat was very shiny and well groomed. It was good to see a different living creature. We usually only see cats, dogs and people.

If we go back we might take an apple, although I’m not sure if you can get in trouble for feeding it?

Pool at Dorothy Clive Garden.

The one thing that did disappoint me today was the pool, usually there are mounds and shapes of lots of different plants, but with the cold wet May we had things haven’t grown yet. Hopefully on our next visit it will be burgeoning with flowers and foliage.

Still we think we saw a couple of newts in the pond, together with goldfish and dark carp. The waterlilies are growing up and starting to spread. All in all it was a lovely early Summer day out.

Blue sky

warm water

goldfish swim lazily

mayfly dart across the surface

waterlilies open pale petals slowly

the world is calm

clouds float in an azure sky

contemplate

and relax.

Otter sculpture

We are thinking of getting a tree stump carved in our garden. We had to get it cut down to about seven foot high as it was over growing a part of the garden and making it shady.

This sculpture was in Trentham gardens today. There were quite a few other ones but this was my favourite, especially since it is next to the river Trent which has got a lot cleaner over recent years.

It was a short but tiring walk. Trentham gardens is worth a visit for a day. There is also a retail village and a monkey forest on the site. But do check what is open before you visit.

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Statue/monument

Today’s #bandofsketchers prompt was statue or monument. I’m not sure if Mow Cop, which stands on a ridge above Cheshire is a monument, but its still interesting. It was built as a folly in 1754? and apparently used as a summerhouse. Its owned now by the National Trust. Its open to the public but is accessible by uneven rocky paths. If you are interested it’s worth a visit. The road to it up Mow Cop hill is quite windy and narrow and ascends through the village of Mow Cop, Staffordshire.

Llangollen

There are of course beautiful places in the UK. This was the view of the river at Llangollen last year. Sometimes you can see people canoeing down through the rocks. On a sunny day that must be wonderful.

Llangollen is also the place to ride on steam trains that run on the preserved railway from the town along the valley. One day we might get there early enough to take a ride on it. There is also the Llangollen canal where you can take horse drawn barge rides across the canal viaduct.

The Welsh hills and mountains may be smaller than Nepal, but they are still beautiful.

Rail bus at Bury

This was a German railbus last year at Bury Station. This was on the East Lancashire Preserved railway that runs up to Ramsbottom and Rawtenstall. The line is run by volunteers. This was part of a line that extended up to the Keighthly and Worth Valley railway. But a section was lost when Dr Beeching cut many of the railways in the early 1960’s when masses of steam trains were scrapped. Some of this was done when passenger use was light (eg school holidays). Lines were shortened and diesel trains were bought in (which sometimes proved unreliable). Info from my hubby.

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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

DSC_2731

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!