Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Cromford again

A dry-ish day with the promise of some sunshine tempted us out for a walk at Cromford. It's a place we visit regularly, so there's probably not much new to say about it.

This time though we walked a little further along the canal, past Aqueduct Cottage, where the canal crosses the river, to the far end of Leawood Tunnel, where the trains come rushing back out of the hill - I've seen them enter at the Cromford end but none emerged this day.

The sun did appear though as we ambled our back back to the car at Cromford Wharf

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Shipley - daffodils and more

A sunny day last week tempted us out to Shipley to check on how the daffodils were progressing.

The return of colder weather has slowed their appearance for now, and there's still only a small number out

Some more warm sunshine though will see this area transformed into a sea of yellow

There were plenty of other 'signs of Spring' to be seen on our walk though - daisies, sloe blossoms and lots of late snowdrops still flowering on the north-facing hillside.

We also had a brief wander round the remains of Shipley Hall at the top of the hill - I'm not sure these are true ruins but the stones mark the footprint of the hall, and a notice board tells more about it.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Sean McGowan and Brand New Friend at Bodega

Bouncing between one problem and another, nights out have become increasingly rare, but we thought we'd mark the end of February, and hopefully a return to 'normal', by going to the Nottingham stop of Sean McGowan's current tour. Apart from a couple of emotional songs, it was an upbeat, noisy, bouncing night - just what I needed.

I've known Sean for several years, since the days when my youngest daughter promoted gigs, and, although he was never one of those guys who slept on my floor, I'm really excited by the success he's having. I've seen him at small independent venues in Nottingham - Chameleon Arts Cafe, JT Soar - and since then he's signed with Xtra Mile Recordings, brought out an album, toured as support for famous names like Billy Bragg and Will Varley, and as headliner.

I missed one tour of his, on account of feeling too old, but since then I think I've caught him every time he's back up here. This time the crowd had quite a few older faces in it - this is good, because it stops anyone querying if I'm the mother/grandmother of anyone playing, but also I think shows that the acts have a wider appeal spreading outside their own age group.

For this tour he was supported by Brand New Friend from Northern Ireland - a new band for me, and one I'd go see again. Along with the merch from Sean (t-shirt and sweatshirt as we're up to date with CDs) we picked up their CD, so I'll certainly be gearing more of them :)

All in all, a good night out, and a break from the current sad circumstances of my day to day life

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Elvaston Castle and Country Park

I'm in a sort of emotional limbo at the moment but it was impossible to stay at home with such glorious (bizarre) weather outside the window this last week.

I fancied going somewhere a little different to our normal ambling places, so we settled on Elvaston Castle - although it's nearby, it isn't somewhere we often go (in fact, I can't find a visit recorded in this blog)

It's an old country house, rather than castle, situated on the outskirts of Derby, now owned by the council and, although the building itself isn't open, the grounds are open to the public.

There's a lake to walk round, with ducks, geese and swans to feed, some gothic fake ruins to explore, a tree-lined avenue  leading up to the house with wilder areas either side, a walled garden which probably once grew vegetables but is now a sheltered flower garden, and a cafe in the old courtyard where it was warm enough to sit in the sun and eat ice cream, rather than the advertised hot soup which might usually be more fitting for February.

Dylan investigating something strange

grade II listed knot garden

Italian topiary garden 

a sheltered spot in the walled garden

an early-flowering clematis

the estate church from the Knot Garden

another early-flowering surprise - rhododendron

We has a lovely afternoon, obviously helped by the glorious weather, and hopefully it won't be so long before we return.