Almost three years ago

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We visited a pub in September 2017 called the bleeding wolf which is on the A34 pub just North of Stoke on Trent in Rode Heath.

This is something I’ve missed doing in lockdown, just going out and visiting places outside the city. Enjoying the countryside. The feeling of freedom.

But even now I’m luckier than many people. I do have a home and food and water. I can afford to pay for things I need. I keep reflecting on how things could be so much worse here. I hope you are all safe and well.

 

Dorothy Clive Garden.

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This was my drawing of the Dorothy Clive Garden on 6.5.18. It’s recently reopened but with a booking system so you have to book morning or afternoon slots to visit. There is a self service system at the cafe. I hope we can go one day next week if the weather improves, after a month or more of sunshine we have been having rain for the last few days. Good for all gardens including the Dorothy Clive.

It will be lovely to see different landscapes, beautiful flowers, and peaceful water features.

When you draw a place you are interpreting the world in a different way to simple photographs. That’s why I enjoy it. Trying to tame nature and describe it.

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My friends talk on Egypt

It’s not often that you can go to a talk about a visit to a country these days. Usually everything is on YouTube or Facebook. But my friend just gave a fascinating talk about his visit to Egypt a few months ago. He travelled from the coast in the south of Egypt, west to the Valley of the Queens and the King’s, then by train up to Cairo, Alexandria, and returning south to the airport. All in eight days!

The impression he had was of a friendly and helpful country. He nly had one encounter with a taxi driver who was a bit pushy, but everyone else was fine, he was invited for meals and shown interesting places and restaurants. He was able to visit the Pyramids and the Sphynx. Also an amphitheatre in Alexandria which was recently discovered and was Roman.

The life of the country was shown in detail, making for a really interesting evening.

Hill and fence

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Driving through Wales last Year. My sister took us out into Snowdonia, past lakes and mountains. Along streams. Through wooded valleys, over mountain passes. Seeing the scree tumbling down. Sheep climbing jumbled piles of broken slate. Then down steep hills back to the coast, alongĀ  tunnels bored through the mountains, back to the flatter lands of North Wales (flatter not flat, its not Cheshire!)

The beauty of the country of Wales is amazing. I’ve only really explored the North of the principality, I would love to visit Cardiff for instance, which is in the very South of the country.

Anderton Boat Lift

_20200115_003550The Anderton Boat lift is somewhere I would like to visit. Its near the village of Anderton, in Cheshire, England. It is fifty foot high and joins the Trent and Mersey canal to the river Weaver. Boats go from theĀ  canal or river into a lift filled with water and the boat and water is either lowered or raised to the other one. It’s called a two caisson lift lock, although I’m not sure why it’s called that.

The lift is a scheduled monument, and was built in 1875. It was closed in 1983 because of corrosion, but luckily it was restored in 2001and reopened in 2002. We intend to visit later in the year, there is a visitor centre run by the Canal and River Trust. I’ve checked and it is open at the weekend.

The lake

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A view of late summer. Riding on the Rudyard lake light railway train, along the length of the lake. I saw this sailing boat over the other side. Too far away and slightly misty to get a clear view. I love the romance of the scene. Its a long, thin lake. Sheltered by hills on either side. Actually a reservoir for the canal system. I don’t think it ever gets stormy on there. No tides, no rise and fall of water, unless there is a period of drought. A lovely, if busy, place to visit.

It’s out in the hills on a little side road, we have cycled there down steep gradients when I was a lot younger. One road to it is very narrow, with passing places. The other is on the far side of the town of Leek and means an extra twenty to thirty minutes travelling to get there.

One day I will take paints and a canvas to capture the views.

Room at the Inn

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So, that’s two adults?

There is a donkey parking space.

Breakfast in the Nativity Restaurant.

Double bed, en-suite.

No smoking or vaping,

No visitors from afar allowed.

No ‘angelic hosts’ parties allowed.

Visur or Masterboard?

What do you mean ‘a child will be born’?

No we don’t do Frankincense or Myhrr facials.

Gold, well yes as an exception we will accept it.

You want how many towels, and hot water?

I’m sorry but your wife looks unwell.

We are not a maternity unit.

Sorry, we reserve the right to cancel your reservation.

The hospital is that way.

Merry Christmas.

Bodnant Gardens, Wales

 

The weather is changing, getting colder, wet and windy and the leaves are starting to change on the trees. DSC_2419

The Acers are the ones that turn deep red and orange, at the same time the seed pods also turn bright red.

All of thus beauty can be found at Bodnant Gardens in the Conwy Estuary, near Llandudno in Wales. Travel along the A55 and turn off at Llandudno junction and take the A70. Up and down some hills you will see a National Trust sign on your left hand side. Follow the long drive up to the car park up a hill on the left. There is a green pavilion at the bottom of the carpark by the drive and you walk down and past it into a landscaped spiral ramp down to a tunnel under the road and into the garden centre, shops, and entrance into the gardens.

There are tall trees, pines, redwoods, Acers and oaks. Autumn flowers and mountains in the distance. Formal and informal gardens surround the Bodnant Hall with an old conservatory or greenhouse attached to it. There is no entrance to the hall but there is plenty to see anyway.

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Dust Rising 19

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Dust rising (or Dust 19) is a group show by artists being held at Spode alongside the British ceramic biennial which is currently on till mid October.

This is me with one of the plates that have been created out of transfer prints. (if you look over my left shoulder the green patterns on the window are where the image comes from).

It’s amazing what’s going on here. We might be a bit down in the dumps but Stoke-on-Trent is so full of creativity. There is still a full time Fine Art course at Staffordshire University which is quite unusual in the current economic climate.

Stoke-on-Trent is situated in the middle of beautiful countryside. You can’t complain if you want places to visit.

So I guess what I’m saying is come visit!