Two old codgers

Hubby and I, helping in the local allotment. We are helping a community project clear a couple of old allotments of weeds so they can be used for growing produce. It is slow going to get rid of so many weeds. We are trying to take out the cooch grass and convolvulus (bind weed). However we are leaving some flowers like poppies in situ. I wasn’t feeling well today so I only managed a bit of work. Its going to take a while to get on top of it. Hopefully by next spring it will be planted up and ready for a good summer of growth. One thing that is already there are apple trees with masses of apples on them. We were allowed to take a few home with us.

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.

My own flowers

Last year, painting of morning glory flowers and some poppies. I haven’t grown much from seeds this year. We do have some lettuce plants, but they have probably been drowned by the amount of torrential rain we’ve been having over the past few days. Some places have had a months rain in a day! That compared with six weeks of sunshine in April and May. As usual our weather is topsy-turvy. Basically because of where the United Kingdom is positioned. We get weather from every direction, the Atlantic, the Arctic, Siberia, even dust dragged up from the Sahara. We are a weather magnet!

I want to go and get some seeds and see if I can grow some nasturtiums for late summer bedding, and the butterfly caterpillars love them. They are a nice, spicy, bitter and peppery orange flavour when added to salads and cold soups.

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Poppies

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One of my favourite plants is a poppy, the red of them is beautiful and I painted these to try and express their beauty. They are on a long thin canvas. Painted in acrylics and made to look a bit like pottery tiles. I showed this here a while ago but saw it on Facebook so thought I would share again.

Red is a colour that not many mammals can see. Apparently we see it because it’s the colour of some sorts of ripe fruit. Humans were attracted to it so red became a special colour. Red lipstick, red racing cars, red fruit, so many things that are visible only to a few animals in the world.

Memory

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If you can’t read the writing it says (bit truncated) weeping window, 31. 8.18, middleport pottery.

The drawing is of thousands of ceramic poppies which were displayed on the bottle oven at Middleport pottery, middleport, Stoke-on-Trent in August last year. These poppies had travelled round the country to commemorate the men who had fallen in the first World War.

At one stage the poppies were not going to come to Stoke-on-Trent despite thousands of them being made here. I for one am glad they came.

Poppies

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I realise why poppies don’t flower in our garden. It’s too shady. I’ve been out and looking at people’s gardens and the ones in full sun are resplendent with poppies, ours are short weedy things. I’m going to have to have some of the overgrowth cut back a bit. I do not want to make it tidy or remove stuff for the birds but I’m growing a wood or forest in the garden. Bearing in mind it’s the area where two terraced houses were and their yards we have three cherry trees two apple trees, a walnut, two or three Ash trees, two baby oak trees, a sycamore, an acer, a mountain Ash tree, a pear tree, a eucalyptus, a willow tree, a laurel Bush a couple of Holly bushes and elderberry that are taking on tree like proportions. The walnut is raided by a squirrel which plants them so we have baby walnuts growing. Plus there is a lot if ground cover ivy and geraniums. It’s a jungle out there. I feel very lucky to have the land but I think I will contact our local wildlife Trust to see if they can help.

Weeping Window

 

We visited Middleport pottery in Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent today to see “weeping window” a memorial made of 11,000 ceramic poppies placed on a bottle oven in the pottery. The poppies are some of the ones that were on display previously at the Tower of London and have been travelling around the country for the last couple of years. You are supposed to book a visit but as the number of people going to see the display has reduced we were allowed in without booking. We had to park on a designated car park as the local streets have parking restrictions at the moment and you could get fined.

The poppies commemorate the worth anniversary of the 1st world war,”the war to end all wars” which sadly did not stop humans fighting over and over again as they have since our ancestors first fought many thousands of years ago. Many if the poppies were made in Stoke-on-Trent so its good to see them come home although there was a fight to get them.

The display of poppies cascade down the oven, spreading out on the ground, representing blood and the fallen soldiers that were killed in the war.

I drew the scene but had to slightly shorten the bottle kiln to fit it on the page. I also struggled to represent so many poppies. We then visited the rest of the pottery, including the steam engine although it was not working today. There was quite a crowd so I only sketched it briefly.

On our return to the car park there was a large poster with the poem by John McCrae written in 1915. I decided to draw my own version of a poppy to go along with it.

Middleport pottery is very interesting, there is a museum on site, plus artists and ceramicists with their own studios. The tea shop was very busy but we managed to get a table. There was also a display by students from clay college who are doing a two year full time course to learn the skills of pottery making before they are forgotten.

Although the weeping window display ends in mid September the pottery is well worth a visit. It’s surprising how much goes on round here!