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.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Flying Visit

This is Lucy my youngest grandchild, she's just 3 years old and is over from South Africa with her sister and Mum and Dad for a short visit to attend a conference. Yesterday afternoon Steve brought the girls over and we went to Longshaw to enjoy the sunshine. Sadly Hannah wasn't feeling well so she stayed at her Mum's while we were gallivanting.

Kaitlyn and her Daddy playing on the see saw tree - it's a large fallen tree that acts like a see saw if you rock one end of it:)

Aunty Juliette came along as well and here we all are looking somewhat tousled - I'd have put a comb through my hair if I'd realised what a mess it was:) This was the last photo taken as my camera batteries ran out and my spares had gone into the exciting bubble blowing gun that Aunty Juliette had brought along for the girls! She hadn't realised that it needed batteries in it:)

The visit was arranged at fairly short notice so Grandad missed the first week as he is still in the West Indies and I shall miss the second week as I'm off to Ireland on Saturday morning to meet up with my American friend and her family! I shall be back just in time to say 'Goodbye' to them but they'll be here again in July so not long to wait. This will probably be my last post until I get back from Ireland as Steve & Co will be over twice more this week and I have to somehow get all DH's washing and ironing done when he gets back on Wednesday before packing my own case. I'm just hoping this weather will last through next week!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Springtime Walk

Today is the Spring Equinox and to celebrate B Baggins and I went for a walk with his friend Bertie and my friend P. This is a walk I haven't done before, it crosses farmland and there are ancient hedgerows and ancient woodland along the way. It's a much more sheltered environment than Blackamoor. We saw a lot of pussy willow and it looked lovely in the sunlight. Some of the photos that follow will be clearer if clicked on to enlarge them.

As we dropped into the woodland we were amazed to see that there were already one or two bluebells flowering.

After a steep climb out of the wood the path followed a hedge which was a mix of hawthorn and blackthorn and here and there the blackthorn was beginning to flower.

Mostly it was just odd twigs but every so often there was a small section covered in the snow white blossom. In a week or so it should be a wonderful sight and I shall try and go again and take a photograph of the whole hedgerow.

There were little patches of celandine flowering in the shelter of the hedge - it's a member of the buttercup family and the old country name for lovely bright yellow flowers is spring messenger.

Bertie and B Baggins on one of the very few occasions when they weren't racing about and rough and tumbling with each other!

Another wildflower that I shall be going back to take photos of in both Spring and Autumn is the wild arum - soon the flower spathe will appear but it's in the autumn when it's really fabulous with clusters of red berries. It has lots of country names, I called it Lords and Ladies but P said she knows it as Cuckoo-pint and another common name is Wake Robin.

More green leaves - this time it's wild garlic or ramsons, it's a bit early for the white flowers yet and I know a local wood which has great swathes of it and that will be the place for photos when it does flower.

Eventually we came to this ford where the path crosses the stream, there's also a narrow plank bridge which is how we crossed. At least P and I did - Bertie and B Baggins crossed the ford in the time honoured way through the water:)

The first real patch of wood anenomes that I've seen,the one in my last post was literally a single flower. In this sheltered environment they are more advanced. Not a great photo as they were on the other side of the stream and I only had my little Canon with me so not much in the way of a zoom.

These really took me by surprise - wild strawberry already flowering away on the hedge bank.

Yet more green leaves with promise of things to come - this is my friend Jack By The Hedge otherwise known as Garlic Mustard. Leaves, flowers and seed pods are all edible.

Towards the end of the walk I saw this large swathe of Golden Saxifrage, it's a plant of damp woodland and really pretty when it's in full bloom. This was a really enjoyable walk with lots
of wild flowers to see and of course the warm sunshine and blue skies helped too. We walked about 5 miles altogether and I could have taken lots more photos but I try to restrain myself when I'm walking with other people:)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Coltsfoot Rock and Bread and Cheese

One of the earliest wildflowers to bloom is coltsfoot, it grows in damp places by streams and hedgerows and the leaves and flowers have been used to treat coughs and asthma since ancient times. None of the leaves in the photo have anything to do with the coltsfoot flowers though.

Coltsfoot is easy to spot as the bright yellow flowers appear on leafless stems which are covered with a white down.

It's the shape of the leaves which give the coltsfoot its name.

They don't appear until after the flowers have gone to seed.

Does anyone else remember coltsfoot rock? It was used as a cough sweet when I was a child and it is still made by the same Lancashire firm to the original secret recipe. I haven't tasted it for years but I do remember that I liked it.

The bread and cheese part of the title refers to hawthorn leaves, mum and I always picked some of the fresh young leaves and ate them when we were out walking. I still do:) They have a lovely tangy taste.

My DH is currently in the West Indies with a couple of his friends watching cricket so I'm doing a great deal of dog walking at the moment. A few days ago B Baggins and I walked up this old hollow lane which used to be the main route between Totley and Holmsfield. It's a very ancient track indeed and for most of the year it's also very muddy. Totley was part of the parish of Dronfield until a church was built in the neighbouring village of Dore in the early nineteenth century. Prior to that time this was the coffin route to the parish church in Dronfield which is a good 4 miles!

There was lots of Dog's Mercury around - it was named for the Greek messenger of the gods but the 'Dog' part of its name indicates that it is poisonous.

The hollow lane is very sheltered and so there was quite a lot of lesser celandine in flower.

We walked up past the early 17th century Woodthorpe Hall which our history group will be visiting later this summer, I'm looking forward to seeing the inside of it.

A short way past Woodthorpe Hall the old hollow lane continues up to Holmsfield while the bottom of Fanshawgate Lane goes up to the right. A public footpath goes past the back of Fanshawegate Hall If you click on the link there is a post about this lovely old building. We walked past the duck pond.....

.....past two rather splendid hens anxious to avoid B Baggins............

.....and into the field behind the wonderful medieval Tithe Barn. You will see it more clearly if you click on the photo. It isn't very good as the sun was behind the barn and shining towards me.

You haven't seen anything yet of the other member of the party so here is B Baggins on his way down the field towards Gillfield Wood where I saw....

....the very first wood anenome of the year:)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today would have been my Dad's 100th birthday so I thought I'd do a little post to remember him.He was born on March 4th 1912 the second of nine children. Sadly I have no photos at all of him as a child or young man, this one taken on his wedding day in 1938 is the earliest one that exists as far as I know. He was 28 years old here. The little boy peeping out from the back is my Uncle John, Dad's younger brother and the bridesmaid on the right is Aunty Winnie one of his sisters. All the photos will enlarge if you click on them.

We weren't a family who took photos on the whole, the first camera we ever had was the Brownie box camera that I had as a present for my thirteenth birthday. The very few photos that exist of my dad with me when I was small are so tiny that you can hardly see either of us. This one was taken in the Isle of Man when I was about 3 years old. The chap in the back ground is a total stranger! My dad is the chap bending over me. He was 35 when I was born so he'd be around 38 here in 1949. As always his hair was well Brylcreemed into place - there was always a jar of Brylcreem in the bathroom:)

He worked on the railway as a platelayer and was Ganger to his little team of men. They looked after a lovely country stretch of line at High Lane in Cheshire - long gone now. Sometimes in the summer he'd take me to work with him and I'd walk the length with him as he checked it and then I played house in the little trackside hut while the men did their work. Can you imagine that happening now?! That was where I first saw stoats, weasels and the peewit - that was what my Dad called the lovely black and white birds that we saw so often, I was in my 20s before I discovered that their proper name was Lapwing:) Dad and his gang often won the prize for the best kept length and this photo shows them being presented with a certificate - I would guess that this is late 1950s.

The next two photos were taken at my cousin Sheila's wedding in 1970, here he is with my mum on the left and my Aunty May on the right. May was the wife of my Uncle John and a real favourite of my Dad's:)

In this photo he's with his brother John and his sister May. John and May are still alive, Uncle John will be 82 this year and Aunty May will be 92. And yes, the other Aunty May is still with us as well, she's 79 now.

This is August 1st 1972 and my Dad and I are are arriving at the church on my wedding day.

This is one of the last photos I have of my Dad, it was taken in June 1988 in the back garden, the three ladies are Aunty May, another of my Dad's sisters Aunty Lilian and my Mum. On the left is my Uncle Vic, Aunty May's husband. Dad died on January 25th 1989 at the age of 76.

Happy 100th Birthday Dad!