Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

All's Well

I've been absent from the blogging world for a while but it's simply because I've been so busy. This is just to catch up with one or two things that have been happening over the last few weeks, there has been a great deal of working on my garden which is now looking at least reasonably under control. There's also been a lot of walking with B Baggins when we've had several sightings of deer including this stag who suddenly appeared on the lane in front of us and was trotting away before I could get a good photo.

There have been several outings with both Time Travellers and Totley History Group including a visit to Beauchief Abbey. The church that is there now was originally part of the Abbey church. After the Reformation the Abbey was aquired by Sir Nicholas Strelley and it remained in this family until 1923. It was converted into a private chapel in 1662 and the interior has hardly altered since then.The pulpit, pews and altar table are all the original 17th century fittings. It deserves a post to itself which I'll do at some point when life is less hectic. Clicking on the photo will enlarge it so that you can see more detail.

We also had the once in a life time chance to go behind these gates and explore the 17th century Beauchief Hall which, after decades as a hotel and then offices has now been bought by someone who plans to restore it sympathetically and live in it as a private home again.

This is the front of the Hall with steps leading down from a lovely stone terrace into the garden which doesn't look very inspiring from this angle.....

.....but it's actually a lovely walled garden which has been well maintained.

Just to one side of main entrance is this wonderful stone mounting block.

I loved these curved steps leading down from the terrace, the archway on the left is where carriages would have driven through, the family and their guests would have then have gone up the steps to the main entrance. The doorway to the left led to the kitchens, servants hall etc. It was really great to be able to wander all over the house and explore at our leisure. It required a degree of imagination in many areas which is why there are no interior photos as they wouldn't have been very inspiring.

Then of course there was two days at Bakewell Show in early August, with my friend J (the countrywoman) on Wednesday and then on Thursday L (the shopping queen) came with me. J and I always go and see the cattle first and we are invariably the only people there apart from the farmers. We got a close up of this lovely English Longhorn which is a very ancient breed originating in the north of England.

J and I picked this handsome Hereford bull as a winner as soon as we saw him and here he is with his proud owner.

Diane and her family are at Bakewell every year demonstrating spinning and J and I always go and see them. Hopefully this winter we'll be getting some lessons from Diane - J and I both have our own spinning wheels now. Mine is purely decorative so far!

I always love seeing vintage cars.

This was one of the more unusual exhibits - not quite the vehicle I'd envisaged for my final journey!

I defintely prefer the more dignified Victorian version:)

The heavy horses are always my favourites, this one was in the decorated harness class, in the 19th century the horsemen took great pride in decorating their working horses for special occasions.

There are more entries in the heavy horse classes in recent years, it's good that they are also being used more for logging in woodland areas where they do far less damage than tractors.

For once I actually agreed with the judges - the title of this class was 'Still Life' and I think that this was perfect.

I was in East Anglia over the August Bank Holiday weekend staying with my son and his family. I don't know quite whether to say I was in Suffolk or Norfolk as they literally live on the border of the two counties. On the Sunday we went to Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse where they were having a WW2 'Village at War' weekend.

Another favourite thing - I love these old hay wagons.

George having fun 'milking'.

This was absolutely right down my street, the farmhouse kitchen being used to demostrate wartime cookery. If you enlarge the photo you'll be able to see the remains of the infamous 'Woolton Pie' on the table at the back on the right. The lady in the pink blouse told me that it's really nice and that she often cooks it at home for her family. I plan to have a go at it this autumn.

When we bought our tickets (which were like Identity Cards)the boys were given a 'ration book' so that they could go to the village shop and collect their 'sweet ration'. They are looking rather bemused about the whole thing but it took me back to when I was a little girl - I remember clearly going shopping with my mum and having the ration book with us. Sweets didn't come off the ration until I was 6 1/2 years old. It's worth enlarging this to see the expression on George's face:)

There are three Suffolk horses at Gressenhall and this is one of them working, there was a crop in the field so he may be pulling some sort of hoe? - I wasn't close enough to see and I'm no expert on farm machinery. The Suffolks are my favourite of all the heavy horses.

Gabriel trying out the wheelchair and being 'tended' by the VAD nurse - another of the many re-enactors. We had a really brilliant day here and will be going again.

Ever since Neil and Cesca went to live in Suffolk I've been angling for them to take me to Sutton Hoo. What a disappointment! In true National Trust fashion everything was fenced off and the only way to get near the burial mounds was to join a guided tour at a cost of an extra £2.50 each - I'm a member of the NT but we'd already paid £18-50 for Neil and Ces to get in. In any case the boys are too young for guided tours so we didn't want to do that anyway. There was a complete lack of imagination in evidence and it makes me once again question whether I want to belong to the National Trust - it seems to me that it's an organization that is far too full of its own importance. English Heritage is much better! Anyway we didn't stay very long and the only photos I took were of Gabriel climbing a tree and...

....this rather splendid carved seat.Wish I'd had the sense to include the whole thing in the photo so that you can see properly the it's shaped like a boat.Anyway Sutton Hoo is somewhere that we shan't be visiting again!

I shan't be around now for the next couple of weeks as my eldest son and his family are over from South Africa and he and my two granddaughters are staying with me while Hannah does the two week residential course at the start of the second year of her Masters Degree. They are over at their other grandparents house today hence the chance to do a post. We are off to Wales for a few days next weekend - first time I've been since Steve was a 6 week old baby. Apparently we are going to be climbing Snowdon!


pattypan.2 said...

Glad you are okay Rowan lovely to see you back however briefly. By you have been gallivanting and doing such interesting things too. I love your posts they are always so informative. Have a good holiday and enjoy climbing Snowdon! Enjoy being with the family.

Take care



Louise said...

What an interesting post! Lucky you getting a peek inside Beauchief! We missed the Bakewell show this year (managed to miss the Manifold Show too doh!) but your photos are great!

I agree with you about the National Trust.I prefer English Heritage too and I don't think I will be renewing our NT membership again when it expires in March!

Hope you have a great time in Wales!

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

After your last post I assumed you'd been overtaken with a desire to go to Africa again! I now see that you've been busy in England. I loved reading about your recent outings.

Roy said...

Welcome back Rowan.(D) You have been busy with lots of interesting things. Love the show cattle and the heavy horse and the old wagon. Ration books yes, good job they know nothing of having to use them.
I still have my old brown ID card, but I was very young at the time.{:)

A Heron's View said...

O welcome back Rowan it is so good to see you blogging again, and lovely blog it is too. So full of interesting things great photo's as well, mentioning which - am I the only one to notice a resemblance in features between the Hereford bull and his handler :) ?

WOL said...

You always seem to find the most interesting things to do and wonderful places to go. Hope you don't mind, but I copied two of your photos into my wallpaper program. The gate and the walled garden. I have several of your photos in it. They always make me smile whenever one cycles through. The author and illustrator Jackie Morris lives in Pembrokeshire in Wales. Will you be near there when you visit?

Janet said...

As always, you've been busy. I enjoy seeing all your photos from your travels. Enjoy your visit with your son and his family.

Hollace said...

I think the National Trust would be wise to listen to your remarks. Is there a way to get through to them?

It's great that you are having a chance to be with your grandkids and build in them a sense of history, too. The WWII farm life reminds me of the movie I saw, The Land Girls. A hard time in England.

Thanks for sharing your trips and reviews. You get into places that are inaccessible to many of us and I like to learn about them.

Can you imagine owning and restoring that palace? Who does that?

Mac n' Janet said...

Lovely post, Happy Birthday to you too, having son and family to stay will be a great birthday present. Would love to attend a World War II event, but have never been able to find one when we were there.
Thanks for the info on Sutton Hoo that's been on Mac's list for a long time, and quite frankly we don't do guided tours. Have a good time in Wales.

Jo (Pieceful Afternoon) said...

Good to see you here. That photo of the deer is stupendous!!! Absolutely worth framing!!!

What glorious trips - I enjoyed them all and the wonderful photos. Thanks for taking us along.

Diane said...

So there you are! Having a fab time as per usual - loved everything that you have done Rowan. Totally agree about the NT (although I loved "Greenway" and "Coleton Fishacre" in Devon. xx

Wanda..... said...

Lovely photos of the Beauchief Abbey, Beauchief Hall and the gardens, and of course the very cute grandsons.

MorningAJ said...

Sutton Hoo used to be a lovely, atmospheric place and you could wander around at will. Typical NT that they've messed it up!

Mary said...

Great post Rowan - so glad your absence was due to you having some wonderful days out. I'd would love to have done the WW2 village - what a fab idea, it all looked so interesting. Loved the boys' expressions.

Have a fabulous time with your family during their visit from SA - nice time of the year for a trip to Wales I think. Look forward to seeing a pic of you waving from Mt. Snowdon's peak! Stay safe climbing - and have fun and that beautiful countryside.

Hugs - Mary

Thimbleanna said...

What a great post Rowan! So much to comment on, so I'll curtail it to three:

--I love that you have your camera with you on walks -- what a wonderful stag picture.

--I can't wait to hear your report on your hike at Snowdon.

--It's interesting (and I love it!) to read your posts with the differences in phrasing. I chuckled when I read "down my street" -- we'd say "up my alley". And I'm not quite sure what "restore it sympathetically" means -- that's a phrase I don't think I've heard.

Rosemary UK said...

Gressenhall is a wonderful place to visit,when my husband was alive we would visit regularly.Alas although I live in Norfolk, it is a long way from where I live and I am dependant on someone to take me (I don't drive) so cannot visit very often.The National Trust will soon price itself above most people's pockets,such a shame !

Rosie said...

Good to see you back! Your first photo of the stag is wonderful. I was fed up with the National Trust recently when we visited Tatton Park - we had to pay and extra £5 for parking and lots of other things were extra too like guided walks around the Japanese garden - even for memebers - and the cost of a sandwich and drink was just too much. Oh, I loved Gressenhall Museum when we visited - many years ago - the WW2 event sounds great. Hope you enjoy your visit to Wales:)

Gracie said...

Well, you've been really busy, but I'm glad you're fine and planning more things to do! Thanks for sharing, beautiful photos as always.

George said...

Glad to hear that all is well with you, Rowan, and I found the tour of your life in recent weeks to be inspirational and entertaining. You have, indeed, had a lot to keep you busy. Thanks for the tour.

debbie bailey said...

Please post the Woolton Pie recipe. My bucket list includes making a Bakewell Tart. I've never tasted one, so I wouldn't know if mine was right or not. Last trip to England, we went through Bakewell, but the husband wouldn't stop. We were on our way to see something else. Can't remember what.

I've mastered Victoria Sponge Cake, scones, and Welsh cakes. Now on to Bakewell Tarts!

Leanne said...

wow! you have been busy!
have a good holiday- dont forget to pack your climbing boots- and wet weather gear!!

Leanne x

Morning's Minion said...

I enlarged the photo for a closer look at the Woolton Pie and was astonished to see the hair curlers worn by the woman on the left.
I'm quite sure my Mother had some like that when I was a child!

Campbell Kids said...

What a treat to see all the photos! Glad to see you post again. I especially like the photo of the huge working horse!


Sheila said...

What a busy Summer you have had.
Great photos here of some interesting looking places.
Hope you enjoyed the hike up Snowdon.
Look forward to hearing all about it!