Summer

When it’s warm, not hot, when the scent from plants wafts gently in the air. Then it’s time to visit the Dorothy Clive Garden in Staffordshire. It’s on the border of Shropshire and Cheshire. As you look down from the tea rooms you can look down over the three counties. It’s pleasant to sit out on the lawn with sandwiches and a cup of tea or scones and jam and cream. I’m imagining that I’m there now. That the cold chill in our living room is actually a gentle breeze blowing over the hill behind us and cooling me down! I might even indulge in an ice cream from the tea room. We would definitely be buying plants to take back to our garden.

The Dorothy Clive Garden was created in memory of her. It is built mainly on a slope with perennial plants in beds around beautiful and unusual trees. Some of the plant combinations are spectacular. There is also a quarry garden filled with trees and rhododendron bushes in glorious flower in the spring. There is a lovely view of a waterfall in the bowl of the quarry garden. Then an extended area of the gardens with drought resistant planting and a laburnum walk under planted with purple Alliums rings the changes. This year we also visited a hothouse with tropical plants at the lower part of the garden. It’s a good place to visit on a summers day.

Salts Mill

A grey day in Yorkshire. Salts Mill at Saltaire. Looking at this old mill with its huge chimney you wouldn’t think there was an amazing bookshop, a cafe and restaurant and gallery’s there with work by world famous artist David Hockney.

Saltaire is near Bradford and Leeds, it is an old area of Shipley and the mill is surrounded by small stone terraced houses that only have a main room, a kitchen and a small bedroom and bathroom. Saltaire featured in a recently updated version of the classic film the railway children.

The mill sits between the railway on one side and the canal and river on the other side if it lower down the hill. The small houses are a beautiful example of a historic area. Saltaire also holds a food festival in the summer which attracts international visitors.

I wish Stoke on Trent had the courage to create something like this from its own historic buildings. This would be a blueprint we could build on.

Pleasant day

One of the fairy sculptures at Trentham Gardens today. She seems to be throwing leaves into the air in a wild gesture of freedom. She is standing on to of a world or perhaps a seed pod. The creator of the sculptures shows a great deal of variety and not only humour but great expressiveness.

2019 lake

I found this photo from 2019 and was amazed at the deep blue reflected in Rudyard Lake, which lies between Stoke-on-Trent and Leek. You get to it down winding roads. There is (was)? A small lake cruiser and a minature railway up one side of the lake that runs from the car park on the road between Rudyard and the road towards Macclesfield. Then it follows the lake side up towards the top end of the lake (the path finally goes to Rushton Spencer I think). The lake has something to do with Rudyard Kipling, not sure he was named after it? Its another lovely place near Stoke-on-Trent.

Staffordshire landscape

Black lion pub at Consall Forge

I wanted to show you a part of the Staffordshire Moorlands that we visited today. Consall Forge once was an industrial landscape and is part of the industrial archaeology of the area. Sitting in an isolated valley it was connected by a narrow gauge railway between Leek and Froghall Wharf. The Consall Forge was about half way along the valley. We have ridden on the preserved railway several times, but I have never found out about its history before. I have seen old lime kilns there but didn’t know their origins. I think the lime was used in the pottery industry and I think there may be a pottery there?

GOOGLE SAYS: Consall Forge kilns. At Consall Forge against the canalised River Churnet stands a bank of four large limekilns. These date from the early nineteenth century and were linked to the North Stafford Railway, a plateway built between 1815 and 1819, running from the Caldon Canal to north of Caverswall.

The valley continues to Froghall Wharf where there is a station for the railway with a good tea room and station shop. The line passes through the ruins of a copper factory which is possibly going to be developed. This makes Froghall much less picturesque than either Cheddleton, where the Churnet Valley Railway starts and Consall Forge which is where we were. The Cauldon canal was used for transporting coal from Froghall Wharf to Uttoxeter but was closed after losing money because of its rural location. It opened in 1811 and closed in 1849.

There is also a nature reserve at Consall. You can get there along narrow country lanes, along the railway or along the canal or its towpath.

Dog

Met a lady with this beautiful girl today. Its a shitzu crossed with another dog, but I’m afraid I can’t remember what that was. Such a nice natured dog, she was interested, intelligent, listened to her owner. Was friendly. Had no ‘snappiness’ even when the singer who was entertaining us had a crackling microphone which disturbed his own dog. I think she’s really pretty and asked permission to take a photo. This might turn into a painting.

Old boathouse Rode Hall

Rode Hall View. Walking down from the hall to the lake. At the end of the pathway is this old boathouse. I didn’t get a look inside so I don’t know if there is a boat in there or not. There’s a lot of moss growing on the roof, so it might be quite damp in there. At least there is a life saver ring on the back of it, so if anyone fell in they could be rescued.

Dancing at Bishton

Watching my friends dance along to the Boat band. There were lots more people there but they were all behind me! I think they were dancing to a polka. Lovely surroundings and a great place to visit. Now I know where it is (down a little lane off the A51 near Rugeley in Staffordshire) I think we will go back. Even if its only to watch people dancing. It’s also close to the river and the Worsley garden centre and Nature reserve, a pub by the river and an antiques centre, so there is lots to see if you want to visit them. x