Yes, it’s a mini gingerbread man. A treat with a cup of tea. Nice and spicy with a good snap. Dunked in to his knees first, then waist, and body, finally his head. Sorry gingerbread man, but you were very tasty. I might find room for another!
I know that far more elaborate ginger biscuits used to be made, for some reason I remember them being mediaeval? Maybe made in the Netherlands? Someone please let me know. I do know they are made in Market Drayton, in Shropshire. I can’t tell you more….
This was taken about this time last year. We had driven out to visit the beautiful garden on the border of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire.
The garden is in a steep slope with colourful flower borders filling the air with scents of summer. But before the summer show I am drawn to the quarry garden at the top of the site. This is filled with flowering rhododendrons, under planted with spring flowers such as bluebells. At its centre is a little dell where a waterfall cascades down into a tranquil pool. You can follow paths up to the top of the waterfall where you will find a full sized bronze stag sculpture looking out magestically over the quarry garden.
Other pleasures include a magnolia walk at the back of the garden, this is behind the quarry at the top of the slope. Here you can see the surrounding countryside.
There is another dry garden, with a laburnum walk arching over the path.
When lockdown ends I think this will be one of the first places I visit.
Just had an email from the Dorothy Clive Garden, explaining that they are closing due to government advice.
It’s a lovely place on the border with Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire. It is a magical garden on a steep slope. If you get a chance when things have calmed down do go.
This is what I wrote back to them…
We visit to come and see the wonderful rhododendrons in the quarry garden every year, and have been enjoying watching the ecology section being created. Then the rest of it is just wonderful when it’s in full bloom. I love sitting outside the cafe and drawing the view, or walking down the steep slope towards the pond. Watching goldfish as they quietly go about their lives under the surface.
Ive been visiting over several years. When I was fit I used to cycle over with my husband.
I have a very overgrown small garden with lots of trees, but we have some amazing geraniums that have spread everywhere. We got them from you a few years ago.
Hoping for a speedy resolution to the current situation.
We are living through a bad patch of weather. A couple of named storms, then more rain. Now the forecast is for snow and ice or hail. Watching the news tonight there are towns on the river Severn which are flooded. The flood defences that were put in to protect properties next to the river in one in a hundred years storms have been used many times in the last few years. At the moment the county of Shropshire is affected. Shrewsbury is badly flooded in places. Bewdley and now Ironbridge (heart of the industrial revolution) are in danger. In two places Red, danger of death, warnings have been issued. The defences are being overtopped. That means people who have refused to move out are in danger.
Our society makes things worse by building on flood plains, laying concrete and brick ‘features’ and parking spaces in our gardens, not maintaining the countryside and removing trees and hedges. Even in the light of all the floods we still want HS2 (a train line whichmeans people will be able to get from Manchester or Leeds to London about 20 minutes more quickly. In the plans for the train line ancient forests will be dug up and villages demolished or cut off. All for the massive cost of over £100 billion! Maybe we should spend that on greening the environment instead.
Now I’m waiting to see if it snows. Whatever happens I hope for respite for the flooded areas.
Today I went singing with a choir I am in called Loud Mouth Women. We were at a place called Audlem which is in Shropshire or Cheshire I think. We managed to avoid a couple of heavy showers and stayed dry. We sang twice. Once on the canal towpath and then outside a pub called the shroppie fly.
We sang a mixture of songs, from Polynesian to Zulu with a smattering of Latin and Hindi. We learn songs by repetition and also sang a Spanish song called ‘DeColores’. I do like our groups multinational ethos. We also sang ‘Nana was a Suffragette’ and ‘Do it now’ which is a green song about doing something about the Climate Emergency.
A very enjoyable day out at Audlem annual music festival.
If you ever drive on the A34 between Stoke-on-Trent and Congleton, look to your left as you are driving North, just past little Moreton Hall. You might catch a glimpse of Mow Cop on top of the hill…
Mow Cop is a folly, built to look like a castle, and it stands above the village of Mow Cop, giving views of the Cheshire plain and Shropshire and the Welsh hills.
We decided to visit today as a group I am in- Stoke USK, (urban sketchers group) is due to visit on Saturday but I can’t make it.
I did some brief sketches of the castle and the view, clouds were quite low over the plain and rain was threatening. I irritated myself because I started the castle drawing too far over the page so had to start again.
While we were there we saw a carved stone with lettering on it. I could just make out the words. “To the Glory of God
A camp meeting near this spot on May 31st 1807 began the Religious Revival led by Hugh Bourne and William Clowes known as Primitive Methodism (unveiled?) By the president of the Methodist Conference 13th May 1948”
I knew that the Methodists had started in the area; Bethesda chapel in Hanley , the city centre of Stoke on Trent, is currently being restored. I imagined people gathering at Mow Cop, listening to the Victorian preachers, in rain, wind and hail. A romantic view I know. But the place is very atmospheric.
We finally tried to walk up to the castle, but the steep steps defeated me so I only got half way up. Richard managed a bit further.
Want to visit? The castle is a bit difficult to find. Once you are on the hill you can’t see it as well. However there is a good sized car park when you get there. You will see a National Trust notice board and it gives the opening times. Roads approach from the A34 and a road from Tunstall in Stoke-on-Trent.
Leaves unfurl and block the view, the sky is shaded out, green and orange, and yellow too, they cast their shade about.
Atop a hill, those huge trees grew, their roots spread wide no doubt, and round their branches… true delight I see the fields sprout.
Now came old autumn, when leaves flew, they were madly strewn about, the world is seen as if anew, and “slumber trees!” I shout.
I’m not good at rhyming. I prefer blank verse, but I thought I would have a go at making a more traditional poem.
“View” and “Out” are such simple words…you can probably think of far more rhymes for them than I can. The poem is based on a visit to the Dorothy Clive Garden today. The leaves are starting to fill in the gaps between the branches and twigs, and some views will disappear until the leaves fall again in October or November, when the world beyond them will be revealed again. I think you can see three counties, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire can be seen from the top of the quarry garden there.
It’s a beautiful place if you feel like visiting it.