Rode Hall snowdrop walk

Rode Hall snowdrop walk is lovely at this time of year. The snowdrops are in full bloom and other spring plants like Heli ores, Cyclamen and Daffodils are also in flower or coming into flower.

Rode Hall is off the A34 in Staffordshire, near Rode Heath village. They charge £6 per adult to walk round the grounds on the snowdrop walk. There is a lake and a wooded area. The hall sits in beautiful grounds with a walled kitchen garden next to it. They have a monthly market which is next due on the 4th of March 2023.


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.

Riot outside Leopard Hotel…

Still proud of this mural that I painted in the Leopard Hotel in Burslem in about 2006 or 2007. The hotel burnt down earlier this year ans all my murals were destroyed. Someone asked if the murals had been removed from the building? No they were painted directly onto the wall with emulsion paint. These were some of my favourite works and I was devastated when they went up in smoke. The root crowd included local people and staff of the Leopard Hotel plus my hubby. A lady called Margaret Moxom used an image of it for her book. The riot was in 1842 and a man was shit dead during it.

Art for sale

I have four new paintings up for sale at Etruria Industrial Museum cafe. This is Etruria, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire. This Saturday and Sunday there is a steaming weekend at the Flint mill when the Steam engine that was used to provide power to grind bone and flint to be added to clay to make fine bone china. Come along and see the working steam engine and maybe stop for a cup of tea in the café if you happen to be near Stoke on Trent.

Another idea

I might do a painting based on this photo that I have added texture to in the Photodirector app. The wildflowers were all in bloom at Westport Lake today. I could not identify many of them but they did make a lovely show. I managed to get a few thousand steps in for a change, I haven’t been doing enough walking recently. It is the season for bees and butterflies. We actually saw a few today.

My city

Should it be steamrollered?

I just wrote this reply to a local Councillor who has explained that a court case against the owner of a listed building in the city has been postponed again. The sections in brackets have been added later to explain the situation.

“Having seen the report on Midlands today (a local TV programme) about zero tolerance to owners that are letting the cities heritage deteriorate (including buildings being set on fire) I find this very disappointing. I’m also concerned about the councils proposal for Spode. (to partly demolish it and build a large amount of apartments on the site). I’ve put in an objection. The idea that places should be partly demolished goes against the cities heritage. Surely there could be sympathetic restoration like along the canal between Shelton and Etruria (two bottle ovens have been restored and incorporated into a housing scheme) or let places be rebuilt like at the black country museum? (a large industrial heritage museum in Dudley, West Midlands) Instead we get the headline of a twelve million pounds black hole in the city finances and the prospect of more cuts. Is this levelling up or just levelling the city? (levelling up is a bidding system where cities try and get funding for specific work granted by central government). I came here over forty years ago and the place just gets worse!”

It seems that industrial heritage is not wanted in thus country. We should use funds to restore buildings, but making sure they are carbon neutral, instead we seem obsessed with ‘growth’ despite the damage that can do in a world of dwindling resources.

Three counties open

I’m very pleased to say I have had my painting ‘coast’ accepted in the three counties open exhibition in Burslem School of art later this year.

Burslem School of Art is famous for teaching artists their skills in the early twentieth century. I think Clarice Cliff was one of their students. I know the artist Arthur Berry studied there before becoming famous as the potteries ‘Lowry’.

It’s great that a physical exhibition will actually be held this year. I hope many people will be able to come and see it.


View of the organ and some of the exposed brickwork where the plasterwork has either fallen off or has been removed. In places brickwork is missing. The main doors at the front of the building are barred on the inside with planks of wood, to prevent unauthorised access to the old Chapel. It looks tired and dilapidated but when I think back to how it was a few years ago there has been considerable improvement, slowly but surely it is coming back to life. It was a privilege and pleasure to hear the organ being played yesterday and to perform there in such amazing surroundings.

Bluebell walk

We visited Betley Court and walked around the bluebell woods. It’s a private property so it only opens twelve times a year so we were really lucky to get in today. We will go back! It’s on the road from Keele in Newcastle under Lyme towards Nantwich I think. Its in Staffordshire I think (but its really near Cheshire). Its a lovely place. I really love this Spring abundance.

Sculpture /planter

A metal squirrel climbs up and birds perch on this sculpture at Trentham whilst plants including tulips grow in the planter. 15 minute sketch while we were at Pieminister at the retail Village. I could also see butterflies and a spider. I decided this is an example of art nouveau or that sort of style. It’s made up of four sections bolted together.