Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Plas Tirion - Conwy

History and Welsh houses an ongoing fascination;  this link from LS  with its three videos shows the detail uncovered by the hard work of the owners, the house  Plas Tirion dated 1626 is probably of interest to BoveyBelle, but it is fascinating in its detail. 
So English gentry stamping its mark in the Welsh landscape, I have often wondered why the Welsh  don't revolt against us like the Scottish are doing at the moment....

One of my favourite houses is Tretower Court though this link is more about the castle in the grounds.  Tretower Court is approached through large wooden doors, into the small court with, on the first floor, a veranda. The solar room on the first floor is cosy and there still remains the atmosphere of being lived in.

 Tretower Court;  Creative Commons taken by Andy Dolman

Tretower Court;  Again Creative Commons  taken by  Andy Dolman

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Gold laced polyanthus 
Yesterday the weather was at its best, so we decided to go out, and ended up in a garden centre, at this time of the year the plants with flowers on offer are very limited but primroses and polythanthus deck the stands. My eye is caught by the pale lemon of the wild primrose and a gold laced polythanus, which has the label of a wilding, not too sure about that. But it reminds me of the Barnhaven strains of primrose. I must have planted so many of these plants over the year, the little dark 'Wanda' that interbred with the pale primrose and threw up insipid pink plants. Cowslips I planted round the walnut tree, and of course in the wild they breed with the wild primrose to produce the common oxlip.  The double petalled Barnhaven primroses, lavender coloured for preference are beautiful, but expensive to buy if you lose them.
Rather empty  late afternoon

The leat that always floods in winter, gypsy horses grazing in the background
So we finished the day at the Fox and Raven for a meal, which we did not actually enjoy, but the ambience is pleasant enough, and as dusk came my love spied a heron coming in to land by the old leat to the mill.

Delving further into primroses, brings to mind Gertrude Jekyll, and her description of a "the Primrose garden in season a river of gold and silver flowering through a copse of silver stemmed young birch for a hundred yards or more" 
and to read on.... the primroses were the celebrated Munstead Strain developed by crossing the variety Golden Plover with a very pale, almost white polyanthus found un a cottage garden, see below
Taken from the Gardener's Essential - Gertrude Jekyll

William Robinson in an English Flower Garden writes reams on the subject of these alpine flowers, much treasured in his time,  many polyanthus and the auriculas were cultivated as 'florist' flowers from the 18th C, so a few illustrations from his book will suffice, illustrations seem to have been carved on wood but he makes no mention of the illustrators; the book is a 4th edition brought out in 1895 perhaps that is the reason.

This is Miss Jekyl'ls Munstead White 

Primula vulgaris or the wild primrose, the prettiest of them all, deep notching of the leaves 
Pale pink presumably
Auricula -' Mrs. Moore'

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Spider weaving

Well I have to record this, spinning from the Madagascar golden orb spider, to produce a beautiful fine yellow thread from which was woven a  decorated piece of cloth, the following Youtube shows the process.  There is an exhibition in the V&A Museum at the moment with a golden cape made of the stuff, it takes years to gather the thread and then weave it - true craft.

Of course it is priceless but the workmanship is exquisite.......

Sunday, January 22, 2012

long live Little Chef!

A Little Chef near Doncaster. Courtesy of Wikipedia 

This is a meander into nothing in particular but yesterday I read some news about wind turbines being put up on the Brecon Beacons, but it had been delayed by the finding of some prehistoric stones, and here I am not going to go into the good or bad faults of wind turbines.  The mayor along with many people were against the wind turbines, and he had made mention of 'ley lines' meeting at a local church ( the existence of leylines do not win the argument any day of course) and he also said that this particular area was like the M4 road in prehistory.  Well we will see what comes of the situation, but it reminded me of the journey we take to Whitby part along a motorway and other A roads.

The footprint of most motorways are the stopping places you pull in for coffee, etc, expensive and usually horrible, these bright lit places full of useless goods to tempt you are just one of the horrors you have to go through on long journeys.  But the road up North we travel along has a whole stream of 'Little Chef' a dying emporium at the moment as they close down various restaurants.  Again expensive, (always remember to ask for one pot of tea and two cups) but if you watch your fellow diners, mostly the large breakfast is eaten.  There is something very old fashioned about Little Chef, you have to wait to be shown to your table, always bright red the paintwork but clean and friendly and the tea and coffee is good. The only other road I know with a cluster of Little Chef is the one in the South-West, over Salisbury Plain to Kent, etc.

It would be a pity if the whole chain was to shut as it was innovative in its day, 67 units were closed recently, a couple of years ago they had hired the services of Hestor Blumenthal to upgrade the food but obviously it had not worked.  It is LS's favourite stopping place of course, though we never have the full breakfast, I have also been promised a 'greasy spoon' breakfast one day at a transport cafe near Chelmsford, though the offer has never been fulfilled yet......

Greenery, or how I wish  the world was at the moment!

The link between Little Chef and prehistoric motorways is of course what would the local 'eating place' be like for Neolithic people as they traversed the high dry ridgeways of the country, probably of course the nearest settlements, it was the Romans who had 'stop off' points for refreshments and a change of horses.


And of course long live Wikipedia as well, which has been threatened by legal action this week...

Friday, January 20, 2012

First attempts

My first attempt, this cushion is supposed to match the quilt my granddaughter received this Xmas from her great aunt. I had three pieces of material from Blonay, so a couple more were added from the Whitby shop. Quite pleased with it, but it has a mistake basically because I do not plan ahead....... but the strips idea was taken from the surround of the quilt....

I have been engrossed in some books my daughter sent me, not my type of reading, very rarely read fiction, but this was the trilogy of the Swedish author Stieg Larsson - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  It is an extraordinary tale of complicity and violence, though as my daughter says you can skip those bits.... Once you get used to a couple of dozen characters with Swedish names the twists and turns of the complicated plot lines are fascinating, a step up from Agatha Christie anyway...

Monday, January 16, 2012


The photos of Whitby are coming to an end, so a couple of the partly furnished cottage with patchwork on the beds,the pale turquoise one is from Laura Ashley fabrics at least 30 years old. So that was one of the reasons to take up patchwork again, it is not very good, but there are such a lot of books on the market that perhaps I can do better this time round..... Reading one and it said it's better to start simply with two colours, so I did 3 patchwork squares and decided on the blue one for the main affect, unfortunately the material shop is in Whitby and I realise I need  more of everything to finish it.......

Patchwork squares 
Attic bedroom

Middle bedroom 

The clutter of Whitby tiny back lanes 


Friday, January 13, 2012


This photo by Sutcliffe is of fishing folk in Robin Hoods Bay
Though we did not do any walks by the River Esk, it is so much part of the local geography, as lanes bend and wind down to the valleys where the river runs through, these rather dull photos do capture some of its spirit. The pub we stopped at down by the river had a large stuffed fish in the bar, caught in the 1960's by a young female, cannot remember what sort of fish it was, think it was a trout. There were fisherman in the bar talking about the river and fishing, a timeless occupation. The top photo was taken by Francis Sutcliffe a Victorian photographer and with what must have been very clumsy equipment took many photographs of Whitby. There is a gallery in Flowergate selling reproductions, very beautiful and reminiscent of the old fishing port.
River Esk viewed from the car

Esk is a slightly muddy river 

Pretty little bridge with stepping stones in the background 

Pub but may have been a mill at one stage in its history.

Monday, January 9, 2012

January and summer

Nigella Damascena; courtesey of Commons Wikipedia
This is the time of year when I miss the garden flowers and wildflowers, my mind trails over roses and bluebells and I expect if I was a prisoner the rich hoard of the mind would compensate for the lack of flowers, but no it is winter, albeit a warm one, my geraniums have not even succumbed to the frost yet. Nigella Damascena or love-in-the-mist, favourite words of mine has been going through my head the last two days, it is such a pretty colour the pale blue of the petal surrounded by the green ruff. It came to mind the other day when I noticed that the Bishop of Damascuse had consecrated the Egton Chapel in the 14th century, seemed strange a Bishop coming from an exotic land to the cold North Yorkshire moors.
Margery Blamey says of Nigella -"short, erect branched hairless annual, with soft finely divided feathery leaves, bluish without a ruff of green leaves below" so it is a wild flower of cultivated arable fields but of course strays into gardens, scattering its seeds year after year.

Well last year for my birthday this January I asked for an orchid, I have never been quite at home with exotic indoor flowers but there is always a first time, so I experimented with my camera..... candlelight gives it a lovely warm shade of yellow, the multiple burst is something I had never clicked on before, the white proper flash is the true colour.

Well for the moment blogger is working for me, I have given up on the multi browsers, they sit like little devils at the bottom of my screen waiting to pounce - we'll see.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Lille caught unaware just about to play hearing aids with wine glasses 
Row of Georgian Houses
Cobbled alleyway down to small cottage

West Pier with placid seas 

There are so many shapes on the skyline 

Whitby  early morning 

A belated Matilda birthday party.


The rain in spain stays mainly on the plain hopefully......
Still testing sadly

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas trees at St.Mary's Church, Whitby

This is the church that stands next to the ruined Whitby Abbey, and I do not find it particularly pleasing though Jarmara defends and likes it, its not exactly beautiful or churchlike in its proportions but nevertheless it is striking and very impressive.  It is very unusual in design, this part of old Whitby had been given the name of Prestibi by the Danes and it is said in the handbook that this represented the 200 years between Saxon and Norman times, and its unusual proportion lies in the fact of the earlier church at this particular time  dictated  the layout of the present church  The church itself is aiseless and has been so for its 876 years to date, it was first mentioned by name in 1120 AD, the galleries were put in at a later date to provide more accomodation for seating, and there is a great central iron stove with its iron pipe running right up to the roof in the centre of the church.
The Christomas trees are decorated and donated by local businesses, the high boxed pews and gallery are the show pieces that stand out, barley twist pillars at the beginning of the chancel which is an old part of the church, and I managed to capture another old set of pillars, not easy amongst the decorated trees.

Those two black paddle like things (hearing aid) were for the vicar's wife in the 19th C as she was deaf. Can't actually believe that because they are enormous but that is what is said on the plaque.


Egton Village and St Hilda's mortuary chapel

This will be a ramble through my photos;

I have, since childhood in fact, played the game of where would I like to be buried, my love thinks it is morbid, but as death is our ultimate end I think we should have a say in it, it is a bit like ghost stories and sci-fi, all of which I am interested in. 
So this expeditionary drive took us through some villages outside Whitby, I think we were heading for Guisborough.  Egton village was small and neat, typical for the area, but we turned down a lane following a large hedge cutting machine and then spied on the right along a grassy lane this small mortuary chapel.  Grey and bleak it was, as was the weather, but interesting to note on the notice board that the mortuary had replaced an earlier church.  The gravestones had that weathered mossy look beloved of all graveyard fans;) and it was very peaceful with views over the moors.  It captures times past a place of peace and rest, and no its not on the lists of 'would be', I am not sufficiently acclimatised to Yorkshire. But it also captures for me the grey rugged air of Yorkshire, you see it in the farms you pass on the moors; stout stone walls, small windows huddling away from the prevailing winds, a hard life in the depths of winter but beautiful at times.