Monday 31 July 2017

Supporting the Cyclists

Last week our local community attended a charity cream tea. The purpose of these refreshments was to cheer on a group of cyclists. They are in the middle of a cycle ride from Lands End to John O Groats to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer. The ride has been organised in memory of a friend who sadly died about this time last year. Her son, daughter and grandson are amongst the cyclists taking part. They were greeted with cheers as they arrived for a brief stop en route.

After a quick hello and refreshments they were soon ready for the road again.

Gerry was a much loved member of the local community and is greatly missed. This trip was first planned in the later stages of her illness but had to be postponed. One thing is for sure she would be so proud of her family and friends both riders and loyal supporters.
These last three photos are taken from their Facebook support page.

As you can see they are getting on well. Good luck to them all on the last part of their journey and in all their fundraising efforts.

Sunday 30 July 2017

A Book to Read

I have always enjoyed a good read although more recently I tend to listen to a lot of books on audio while I am doing jobs around the house and garden. Despite this and having a kindle app I cannot resist a good book. I also find the temptation of a bookshop difficult to ignore. 
Many National Trust properties now have a second hand book shop and I always like to take a peek. Chastleton House had one in the old stables and I was amused to see these signs. This first one is definitely my favourite.

I think this counts along the same lines of having your more intellectual books in your sitting room and all your trash and chick lit hidden away upstairs!
These made me smile too.

How often are you sad when you finish a book? When you suddenly realise that you now have to say goodbye to the characters and move on? The agony is even more at the end of a saga!

I have several books on the go at the moment but in particular this month's choice for my book club. I am listening to this one on audible.

We chose 'Exposure' by Helen Dunmore because she is a Bristol writer who has sadly recently passed away. We had hoped to read 'Birdcage Walk' her final novel but being relatively new it was too tricky to get library copies for those that wanted them. My only experience of her writing in the past has been her two novels set in Lenningrad 'The Siege' and 'The Betrayal' both of which were compulsive but distressing reads.
Alongside this I have started to join Debbie  and Ruth with their online blogging book club type read of Jane Austen's unfinished novel Sandition. 

I am falling well behind with this July read. I took a while to obtain my second hand copy but am persevering with my read. One plus is that I am enjoying the second hand aroma of the book itself. I am gradually slipping into Jane Austen's world. I will keep you posted!

Saturday 29 July 2017

A Well Known Landmark

Anyone who is familiar with travelling up and down the M32 in and out of Bristol will have seen the big house on the hill. Yesterday I went with my walking group for a walk in bits of Bristol that I had never visited.
The walk took us from Snuff Mills into Stoke Park and then under the motorway. This park are the old grounds of the Dower House perched on the hill.

There has been a house there since the 1550s and was rebuilt in 1760. It became Stoke Park hospital for most of the 20th Century and many patients with learning disabilities lived within its walls.

We stopped to reflect the history of the house as we climbed the hill opposite and two of our party recalled working there during their nurse training. It was still a hospital when I first started work in Bristol in the late 1990's although mainly closed it housed the Burden Neurological Centre. I recall accompanying children there for EEGs. It is now luxury flats which must have a remarkable view over Bristol.
You can see in this next picture the M32 on the right.

After a walk along the top of the hill with views ranging across Bristol we dropped back down to walk through Eastville Park. There is a small fishing pond and I managed to get a photo that I was concerned I would not find for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt. This is No. 14 A Person Fishing.

Friday 28 July 2017

Something Found Underground

I have been collecting various photos for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt while I have been out and about. No. 20 is Something found underground. My thoughts immediately went to the vegetable garden. The summer vegetables are coming on nicely now. So which would qualify for this category?
The onions are ready to use but technically they are only half way under the ground.

We are now regularly having beetroot. 

The beetroot are delicious at this time of year. I honestly don't think they need any additions such as vinegar because the taste is just so delicious. I encourage the farmer to bring them in like this.

I then cut the stems a couple of inches up and pop them in the pot like that. They "bleed" if they are cut too low. I like to roast them too. 

However they also grow only half underground. You make have spotted another root vegetable on the garden table

Carrots truly do grow underground. Don't they just look scrummy? They will be lucky to make it to the pot without me sampling one of them raw. No comparison to supermarket carrots! 
I think they are my best choice so far for the photo hunt.

Thursday 27 July 2017

Take Three Thursday: The Dovecote

On a Thursday I join Mary Lou with choosing 3 of my photos with a theme. This week I have been showing photos of the National Trust property Chastleton House that I visited on Sunday. Today for you I have chosen three photos of a prominent feature namely the Dovecote.
1. The first view you have as you descend across the parkland from the car park is across to the dovecote.

2. Looking back through the gate as you arrive at the house.

3. Looking over the wall as you approach the church.

Wednesday 26 July 2017

The Garden

I am taking you back to Chastleton House again today to show even more of the garden. There are lots of doorways and arches to peep through.


And some doors that are not for opening.

The brightest part of the garden was the kitchen gardens.

With a great display of sweet peas.

Runner beans on an angle.

Plenty of insects on the dahlias 

And cardoons.

A lovely garden to wander round.

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Another Sun Dial.

Yesterday I showed a little about Chastleton House so today I thought I would concentrate on one particular garden set to the North-East of the house. Best Garden as it is known was first laid out in 1833.

It consists of a circular yew hedge with 4 entrances. There are topiary box hedges in rather random circular shapes and then in the centre a rather tall sundial.

Here are a few pictures taken looking through the various entrances and some looking outwards.

Perhaps one of these will be my Summer Photography Scavenger Hunt choice for No. 22 A Dial.

Monday 24 July 2017

Where Time Stood Still

Yesterday we accompanied some friends in visiting a house in the Cotswolds. Chastleton House is situated north of Stow on the Wold in typical Cotswold rolling countryside.

It is a Jacobean house built in the first decade of the 1600s by the son of a wealthy wool merchant called Walter Jones. The house remained in the same family until 1991 when it passed to the National Trust in very poor repair but essentially unchanged since it was built. It has now been preserved in a restored but essentially unchanged state.

The house is approached through an archway into the forecourt garden.

The Cotswold stone exterior has been extensively restored by the National Trust.

The front door is hidden to one side of the steps. I would imagine this would be as a weather protection.

The church although it is adjacent to the house is not owned by the National Trust and is maintained by the local parishioners. 

It is possible to see almost the whole of the interior of the house. The information available in the rooms combined with the room stewards give a pretty full picture of many aspects of the house's history. Notable parts of the house included the secret room where a royalist supporter hid from Cromwell's soldiers. It is said that his wife drugged the soldiers by putting laudanum in their beer allowing him to escape from capture by horse.

Another point of interest was that the last family member to live in the house had 20 cats and a parrot for company. They lived with her in just two rooms of the house.

One family member Walter Jones-Whitmore in the 1860s had croquet lawns made and it was he that made the rules to which croquet is played today. These lawns have been reinstated and are there for all to use. Badminton was also played particularly in the long gallery at the top of the house. Shuttlecocks were found when clearing the house under the flooring. Badminton can also be played on one of the lawns.

In the words of one of the room volunteers "If only the house could talk".
Tomorrow I will show a little of the gardens.