Sunday, February 19, 2017

Snowdrops and Lace

I had a few days off this week so I decided to go for a walk amongst the snowdrops.  I headed over to Marks Hall.  First of all I walked by the lake

and along the millennium path where the winter scents are beautiful.

Soon I was at Robin's Grove which is carpeted with snowdrops.

Beautiful, and a sure sign that spring is on the way.

I also wore my newly finished lacy shawl earlier this week - it has tiny beads hooked into it (which are actually more visible in real life as they twinkle slightly).

I can't really wear many hand knitted things for work, but I can get away with nice scarves and shawls - this one will be worn a lot I'm sure.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Winter Colour

Yesterday wasn't a brilliant day weather wise but I decided to risk the forecast rain and head up to Anglesey Abbey for a spot of winter colour.

First of all I walked up to the water mill,

then through into the Winter Garden.  The birches were almost glowing.

Round the corner come the dogwoods - many different species and colours

The snowdrops were just starting to appear

The grass heads work well with the red dogwood stems.

And I just love this hedge of dogwood!

The garden isn't just about colour though, it also champions winter scent.

It's a place that's worth visiting at any time of the year, but especially on a winter day.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Making and Walking

Well here we are, 2017.   I've had a lovely few days off, in the period between Christmas and New Year when no-one knows what day of the week it is.

First of all I build some wooden covers for my wheelie bin.  They used to be hidden behind a screen fixed to a pergola but the pergola was rotting so I decided to take it down before it fell down.

I thought it would be a quick job to put them together but it actually took all day.  They are very sturdy though.

Next I've been making some jewellery.  A few months ago I bought some limo (polymer clay) and yesterday I made beads - it's very therapeutic!

Today I had fun laying the beads out and finding other beads to go with them.

Quite pleased with the finished result - I'm especially pleased with the marbled blue beads.

While I had the beads and bits out I decided to make another necklace with some beads that I'd bought ages ago.

But it's not all been building/making - I've had 2 lovely walks.  One day Celia, her husband and I went to Mersea Island off the Essex coast.  We'd seen a Channel 4 program called Britain at Low Tide a few months ago and they'd shown the earthworks of a tudor blockhouse  which was commissioned by Henry VIII in 1543 to protect the strategically important Colne estuary.

We found it!  The triangular earthworks are all that remain, and eventually, due to the changing coast line here, even these will probably be lost forever.

The other walk I did was on New year's Day, when it was grey and murky but it wasn't raininng so I walked down by the river to the mill on the water meadows.

The reeds were rustling in the wind and I watched a kingfisher darting about for ages.

Finally I walked home through the town, past this little gate, which was open but clearly not used much.

I hope you all have a wonderful 2017!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Autumn Walking

You might have realised that I love walking.  Sadly at this time of year walking opportunities are fewer due to dark evenings but I have had a couple of lovely walks recently.

A few Saturdays ago I went over to one of my favourite places, Marks Hall Arboretum.  I walked up towards the lake,

and then around on the Millennium walk, along the bottom edge of the lake,

up to the memorial site where I'd heard the autumn colour was especially good.

The memorial site is a memorial to the serviceman who were stationed at Marks Hall during the 2nd world war - the colours in the acers were stunning.

This is acer rubrum 'October Glory'.  And it was living up to its name!

Then I walked back through the woods to the walled garden.

From the walled garden the views over the lake were lovely.

Later that same week my cousin and his wife, who now live in America, came to visit.  They wanted to walk on the Sudbury water meadows and we had a glorious day for a 4.5 mile circular route.

We walked along the river Stour, across the meadows the the Salmon Leap (no salmon in the river nowadays as far as I know!),

with time for a quick selfie

before walking back home along the river.  

Two great walks, hopefully to be repeated again very soon!

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Cambridgeshire Feast!

My Dad was born and brought up in a village just north of Cambridge, Cottenham, which is part of the Fen Edge villages.  Every year, on the first Sunday after October 11th, they hold their annual Feast.  On the Sunday there's a parade that starts by the church and processes down the High Street, ending up at the green.  The first parade was held in 1894, so it's been going a while!  When I was little we used to go there every year for it, this is me, my little sister, my Dad and my Grandad in 1969, standing on the front step of my Grandad's house, eagerly waiting for the parade to go past.

Dad hasn't been for years but really wanted to go again, so yesterday we went.  We listened to the brass band play while we waited for the parade.

Then the parade came past - lots of excited children, some of whom had walked a long way, eagerly collecting money for local causes.

Aren't those jellyfish costumes clever!

There were a variety of vehicles towing trailers full of people - Dad was really thrilled to see this one, driven by an old friend of his!

After the parade had passed we all made our way onto the green.  Originally there was a service on the green once the parade arrived and somewhere I have a copy of a very long speech that my Great Grandad made during it sometime in the early 1900s (but I can't locate it at the moment!). There was no Salvation Army band playing like there used to be when I was little, so no hymn singing like we used to do, but lots of people milling about.  

Dad had a long chat with his old mate.

We also managed to find the people who now live in his old house and were thrilled to hear that the small holding behind it, in which my grandparents used to grow fruit for Chiver's and flowers for Covent Garden is still there! Although it's not used as a small holding anymore they still have a productive fruit and veg patch.

We all had a great day out!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Day Out in London

Yesterday I went to London.  I was going to the theatre but I'd also discovered it was Open House London, which is part of Open City, where buildings not normally open to the public open their doors to visitors.  The first one I tried to visit was 201 Bishopsgate.

It's 2 towers, joined by some amazing diagonal stainless steel work with a roof garden.  Sadly there were about 100 people in front of me and they were only letting 20 people in every 1/2 hour and I didn't have that much time (see the people abseiling on the left tower?).

So I went to 10 New Burlington Street instead; a new build behind the facade of both Regent Street and New Burlington Street.  I was lucky enough to join a tour of 10 people led by one of the architects.  No photography was allowed so I've used the images from this website (which also explains more of the detail if you're interested).

Behind the facades (which were either kept in place and propped up during the build, or taken down brick by brick, stored and rebuilt to level the floors up)

is this - 

not what you'd expect to be there at all!

Inside they'd used limited materials - the ceilings are polished plaster and the walls white oak.

There is a large central atrium to bring in light and the handmade porcelain tiles were the only colour.

We went into the listed vaults underneath, which were originally wine cellars and had been sensitively restored with lime mortar and now store bike racks for the people who work there.

It is an absolutely stunning building,  and from Regents Street the only thing you see is this gate - designed to represent the clockmakers who used to be on the site in the past.

After leaving here, a spot of lunch, and a sense of direction failure that had me walking the wrong way up Charing Cross Road for quite a while, I went here.

Kenneth Branagh was fantastic, as were all of the cast.  His daughter was played by Sophie McShera who is known to many of us as Daisy from Downton Abbey.

It's on for another few weeks and it's worth a visit if you're in London.