Look again

When you visit somewhere it’s always interesting to look at odd little views, like the cupola seen through a broken window of a derelict green house, or mirrors placed under helibores so you can see their open flowers that usually hang down and hide their beauty. Smoke coming out if the little gift shop chimney (the shop had a warm wood fire burning in the hearth) a picture of a small pool. The fountain was not running. A sculpture of a jumping fish, a grey handle on a grey background. Light through the clouds and a curved turf covered roof to some sort of culvert.

Why not look at those odd sights and take a picture, they may not make a perdect composition but they may spark some thought.

Old barn

Interesting architecture at Rode Hall. I didn’t take many photos of the buildings but these are pictures of one of the barns next to the car park.

This building we think was a shipon, a building with animals underneath and hay in hay loft above so the animals could be fed without having to ship it in. The hay also helped to insulate the lower floor.

The walls are brick built with lime rendered walls inside. I didn’t look closely at the bricks but you can tell their age by their size. Small thin ones are tudor. Larger ones are less old but still hand made and then you get machine made ones which usually have the makers name stamped on them in the dent on the top and bottom so they can take more mortar and hold together better.

I like the posh round windows under the eaves of the barn. You an tell someone had some money to build it.

These buildings are used for the farmers market at the hall which I think happens on the first Saturday of the month.

 

Grainy shots of herons

Honestly there are Herons here!

Old Nog, flying on wide wings,

Flapping slowly across the sky.

A flight to a nest

Long legs and neck extending

Squabbling with its mate.

Grey dots in my camera’s lens,

Specks of dust, motes in the air

I see them there.

Herons, like long necked dinosaur birds,

Cawing and squawking.

Flailing legs and beaks.

Life is returning to the lake.

Rode Hall snow drop walk.

Gallanthus, the Latin name for Snowdrops. They are out in force at Rode Hall gardens near Scholar Green, on the North Staffordshire/ Cheshire border. It’s off the A34 between Stoke-on-Trent and Congleton. The snowdrops are in flower right now and you can buy little bags of them (in the green) wjuch means you get bulbs with the leaves and flowers and you plant them directly into the ground under trees so they can spread out. They have many different sorts of the flowers that brighten the grounds of the hall. The snowdrop walks are on till March 3rd? And open till 4pm.

We walked through the grounds and gardens of the hall. Winding paths lead through bushes and trees, up and down little hills and slopes, past pools and woven willow sculptures down to the lake at the end of the longest path. There you can see a wooded island where Herons are starting to nest. I got blurry shots of four herons flying around the tree tops.

Back up past the hall we had a meal and coffee at the cafe and then on to an old barn to see an Exhibition by three local art groups that is on till the start of March.

It’s great to get out into the world and see it changing. The snowdrops were in such great clumps on the ground that it truly did look like they were patches of snow under the bare trees. It’s a great place to explore.

 

Choir practice

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I’m off out to choir practice today. Learning new songs, and old ones to different tunes.

I’m sure my mental health has been better since I began going to a choir over ten years ago. It’s good for things like relaxation and concentration. I would recommend it to anyone who nerds some stress busting.

I can be sitting with the choir with no memory if the words or tune. Then almost miraculously they come to me as we start singing. We sing mainly acappella and my voice is most suited to alto and low parts.

We learnt a version of let your little light shine for the Stoke sings choir festival the weekend before last. With words that were appropriate to the cities history of pottery and mining.

I hope we sing it again tonight. It was fun to sing with 600 other people belting out the various parts. It is on YouTube  somewhere.

Wedgewood artisan market

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It was a fairly bright morning once you dodged the rain showers so we decided to visit wedgewood artisan market (2nd Sunday of each month). It’s at the Wedgewood factory, near Barlaston,, Staffordshire. We had a fine potters full breakfast in the dining room there (with beans and oatcake). Our friend from Yorkshire was visiting so it was good to show him one of the local attractions. Once we had eaten we went round the outdoor and indoor stalls. Charis Jones with her Sculpted Steel was there, together with Pat Myatt and her potteries art work. Other stalls included whisky fudge, crafted wool blankets, various cheeses and cakes, you could even buy your own fairy kit to make a fairy like the ones at Trentham Gardens. My partner bought me a kit and I bought him a wood turned pen. We also went inside the wedgewood visitor centre and I spent a happy hour trying to create a cat design plate. The pens and pencils they had were not very good but hopefully the image on the plate (a lithograph) will be OK.

I took a couple of progress photos but not one if the finished design. It might take 6 weeks for it to be delivered though…

Barn dance coming up..

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Imagine whirling around with a bunch of people… Then imagine some of them looking completely confused, going in the wrong directions and flinging each other about in mad abandon. That’s a barn dance. Add amazing live music. A caller explaining the dance moves to people trying to understand what on earth he’s saying. The fun that can be had getting dizzy, twisting and turning, jumping about….

And a pie and peas supper that has both meat and vegetarian options.

It’s all in aid of the Penkhull Mystery play this July.

If you are in the area perhaps you would like to come along to these February Frolics and then get involved in the mystery play itself where there are openings to act, make props and help paint scenery. You never know you might enjoy it.