February walk

The year is passing, the last time I went for a proper walk was back in February. We’d started doing weekly walks, just a mile or so. But it made me feel fitter. Then March came and the sudden lockdown. Oh I’ve been shopping, and done a few visits in the car. But I’m bothered about going to where we used to walk as it’s very popular. My health isn’t good and I really, really can’t afford to get ill. I know this will have a detrimental effect on my strength, but what else can I do? Luckily I have the garden, I can cut things back and tidy things up. I can do housework…… But I miss my walks..

Yard sale at cherished chimneys.

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Cherished Chimneys at Longport, Stoke-on-Trent is a reclamation shop which specialises in chimney pots and tea pots. They were selling cups and teapots, chimneys and books, plants and beautiful ceramic decorations for roofs.

We bought a chimney stack and a zinc bucket for planting up. I want to plant the delphiniums we got in one of them. I also bought a lavender plant and a pelagonium. When I’ve tidied up the yard I will post photos, but I need to cut back the neighbours bramble / blackberry bushes that are growing through our side of the fence. I don’t mind the ones with flowers on as I can pick the fruit later in the year.

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Short walk along the canal and Westport lake.

Long title…

We went for a walk along the Trent and Mersey canal, from the road up to Trubshaw Cross at Longport, Stoke-on-Trent, along the towpath, to the lakes at Westport. I was not at my best so we only walked round the small lake, then back along to our starting point.

The day was blustery, but I could feel some warmth from the sun. The old bottle oven round the back of Price and Kensington (facade allowed to crumble so much the council had to demolish part of it). It was sad to see all the rubbish and wood stacked up on the yard waiting to be burnt. The owners regularly light fires, not small ones, and cause a nuisance with smoke. I worry that the buildings may be irreversibly damaged by this behaviour. As you walk along the canal towpath the image improves, although there are places that are derelict and that made me wonder what would happen if the facade of a building were to fall into the canal.

We found the entry to Westport lake easily enough. We popped into the cafe to get some duck food, than a nice stroll round the lake. Stopping to chat with a photographer who had a really long lens to take pictures of the birds on the lake.

I need more exercise and this helped!

Jug photo

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I was visiting the Waiting room gallery today to take in my two new paintings. I saw this jug (is it sprig molded?)

It looked classical, it might end up being a pottery painting. The dark green really brings out the colour of the jug, while the shadows help give it a three dimensionality. The shelf it is on is white painted wood which gives it a nice texture. It’s owned by my friend Alison. I think she said it might be a Portmeirion piece although there is no backstamp or other marks on its base.

Taken in natural light from the gallery window on my mobile phone.

Westport today

A cold sunny day until the breeze blew clouds across the landscape. Ducks, geese, pigeons, moorhens and swans looking out for food, so we got two bags full to grain to feed them. I thought we would just go round the small lake which is a quarter of a mile, but instead we did the mile walk round the large lake. We’ll it was more of a slow dawdle. My hip is not right yet after pulling a muscle, but we did extend the walk into the maze that Staffordshire wildlife Trust have made on the area of hedging at the far end of the lake. The paths were muddy and difficult to get out of when we tried to regain the main path.

When the sun went behind the clouds it made a fantastic and dramatic picture. I took numerous pictures of the birds and trees and landscape around the lake. I feel much better for the walk, though I was very chilly when we finished. I need to be able to walk much further than this, but it’s a start.

July at Westport lake.

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It’s good to look back at old drawings as the days grow colder and shorter. Remembering warmth and colour, the view from the cafe there, then a gentle walk round the lake. Watching the place mature over the years, the trees have grown up so tall. Now Staffordshire wildlife have taken over running the site there has been a programme instigated to improve the area and make it more wildlife friendly. I saw four cormorants perched on a man made island there a couple of months ago. I thought these birds were costal, but maybe they are coming inland like gulls.

Must visit again in the near future, maybe if it snows…. Then I can re draw this scene…

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Sketches at Cherished Chimneys.

This is a shop just over the road from the waiting room gallery. They sell ancient and modern chimneys, teapots, pottery and other collectables. Today they had a craft fair and they had a lot more stalls than us. Including lovely jewellery, art, fabric, illustrations and mulled wine and minced pies..! They also had santa Claus. I’m amazed that anyone came over and bought from us.

Urban Sketchers, Stoke-on-Trent had a get together and drew pictures of what was happening and what the place looked like. Unfortunately my photos had a reddish shade to them. I’ve tried to correct it on photo editor but it didn’t really work. I want to post better photos but I ve lost my sketchbook

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Fire

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One thing that did happen was that there were great clouds of smoke drifting across the road just up from the waiting room gallery. I went to look what was happening, fire was burning in a big pile of rubbish and palettes just across the canal from me. This was at the rear of the Price and Kensington pottery factory in Longport next to the bottle kiln there.

The fire was burning rapidly so I rang the fire brigade. They said they had already had a call and were on the way…

A funny thing, I posted this to Facebook and had a strange response, apparently there are fires there all the time, they are just burning rubbish. Why had I bothered to call? My answer. The fire was quite big, the smoke drifting across the road was as thick as gig. I drive up there quite a lot now at weekends and I’ve never seen this. Finally it was burning next to a caravan and a car.. It needed reporting.

Today was fun

Long day again, but it was good to see new people, a lot of the purchases of my tiny paintings were children asking their parents to buy them pictures of angels and snowmen that I’d done.

There were printing, stamp designs for Christmas paper, and Christmas ornament making workshops at the waiting room gallery. Everyone seemed to have fun.

There was also Walnut cake, Lemon drizzle cake and scones to delight the customers.

Yes, all in all, a good weekend.

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Forgot my phone

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What a long day, and when I got to the Waiting room gallery for the craft fair today, I realised I’d left my phone at home.

Not good when you like to blog. There were beautiful frosty images of hoar frost on leaves, I could not photograph. Lots of ornaments and cards made by people visiting the free print and crafting workshops. These were very successful and a lot of people enjoyed the experience.

I just tried to blog about it, but I’m so tired I’m falling asleep as I type. I would write more but can’t keep my eyes open.

I typed two or three paragraphs that have disappeared because I just hit the delete key…. Argh!