Sunday, 12 August 2018

Making plans for late summer/autumn - local festivals

A drop in temperatures, a shower or two of rain, and it's staring to feel like summer is over already (and I still haven't been on holiday). I'm not ready to get out winter woollies and start Christmas shopping yet, though. September and October can have glorious weather, and festival season hasn't quite come to an end yet. With that in mind, I've been looking around, both locally and further afield, at what's happening in the next few months ...

Originally this was going to be one post but I've decided to split it into two - home and away. Firstly because of the number of exciting things I've found going on (far too many for one post), and secondly because 'at home' I don't need to worry about events being dog-friendly (he can stay home alone for a few hours with no worries), whereas for a weekend away I'd rather take him along.
So lets begin with festivals happening round about Derby ... links will take you off to the individual festivals' sites.

First off is Wirksworth Festival which runs from 7th to 23rd September. It opens with a weekend in which the whole town becomes a festival site. An art and architecture trail leads to displays of art in unconventional settings; you can meet the maker, buy original art, and get a glimpse behind doors which are normally closed to the public. On the streets and in the market place there'll be music, food, family activities, and street theatre.

Over the following couple of weeks the festival continues with music, theatre and performance poetry taking place in the Town Hall, and, like any self-respecting festival, there's a wide-ranging series of  'fringe' events running alongside. It's a festival I've always intended visiting but coming just at 'back to school' time, I never have.

metal sculpture
 David Turner

Unfortunately this clashes with another festival - as for two days, 15th and 16th September, the quiet town of Melbourne (Derbyshire, not Australia) becomes host to its own Art and Architecture Trail, with houses, shops, and businesses opening their doors to the public, hosting artists and their works. You'll find paintings, ceramics, jewellery, photography and more. All for sale, and in most cases you can meet the artist, chat or perhaps catch a demonstration. The buildings that are opened are of historical interest in themselves, hence the 'architecture' part of the trail. Buy a badge and a leaflet of the trail and off you go!

Each year the festival has a theme or special project - and this year hand sewn and knitted poppies will be decorating the town commemorating lives lost in WW1.

abstract expressionism
Heidi Best

Alongside this there'll be a teddy bears' picnic for younger visitors, live music in three marquees, pop-up cafes, and a classic car rally. Something for everyone!
You can find more on their website here, and I'd highly recommend checking the Gallery page for details of artists exhibiting over the weekend, meanwhile here are a couple of examples from Heidi Best and David Turner.

Elvaston Hall
photo credit - Derbyshire County Council
Once you start to look, there's more taking place than you might realise, for the weekend 22-23rd September sees another clash - this time with Derbyshire Woodland Festival, held at Elvaston Country Park.

photo credit
Derbyshire County Council

As you might guess from the name, it will be focusing on woodland-related activities, with a wide range of crafts on display - wood carving and turning, furniture, bushcraft, willow weaving and sculpture - plus children's activities, wide variety of food stalls, birds of prey and shire horses. Also, there'll be an appearance by the Vikings of Middle England with a living history encampment, and Arbor, the 18ft part-tree, part-man!

photo credit, Derbyshire County Council

Photo credit
Derbyshire county Council

Circa Tsuica
The next weekend there's even more happening in Derby!

For over ten years Derby Feste has been brightening up the city centre in late September with a weekend of entertainment. This year it runs 27th to 29th September and will be celebrating 250 years of circus. From Thursday, Circa Tsuica will be pitched on Bass' Recreation Ground with several performances each day. On Friday evening there'll be 50s style sideshows and a Virtual Reality Playground in the Marketplace.

Compagnie Quidams FierS a Cheval

Saturday starts with a circus procession through town, followed by free events taking place throughout the day, and a parade of super-sized illuminated horses through the city's Cathedral Quarter in the evening, followed by a light show in the Marketplace to celebrate ten years of the Quad film and arts centre.

4-7th October is Folk Festival time for Derby, with musical events taking place at the Guildhall, the Cathedral, and City Marquee. Alongside these there'll be an arts and crafts fair on the Market Place, fringe events at the old Bell Hotel  - and a flashmob ceilidh, free for anyone to join in.

Over to Nottingham to round things off, with Hockley Hustle, held on Sunday, 28th October in Nottingham.

Nottingham cellist
Sheku Kanneh-Mason

It's an arts and community event, working with local promoters and creative groups, and raising money for local charities. There'll be music, art, food, and street performances, with over 300 acts performing at more than 30 venues - the organisers suggest you book the Monday off work! I can't get to Edinburgh Fringe this year, but it looks like someone brought it to me :)

Children aren't forgotten as there are special events and classes for 'Young Hustlers' - ranging from a silent disco to learning how to beatbox or DJ, and even how to improve your graffiti skills!

Hackney Colliery Band
 playing in the Spiegeltent

It's the furthest off of these events (over two months), and it's a little early for everything to be organised and ready to announce, so I'll be watching their FB page in the coming months for further details.

Harleighblu and Liam Bailey
with The UFO Orchestra

If I get to half these events I'll have had the busiest autumn ever! And then it WILL be time for warm sweaters, winter boots and Christmas shopping :)

Thursday, 9 August 2018

A day out at Wayne Manor aka Wollaton Hall

Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan mansion on the outskirts of Nottingham, but if you've seen The Dark Knight Rises it might be more familiar to you as Wayne Manor. What better place to hold a Super Heroes Fun Day?

OK. it isn't normally the sort of event we'd go along to (I'm not remotely a fan of super heroes films) but as eldest daughter wanted to take my grandson, we tagged along too. Grandson even had a special outfit for the occasion, a baby Incredibles suit.

There were a lot of games and activities taking place for slightly older children, and plenty of opportunities to get a photo with your hero.

We met Chewbacca, a storm trooper, Robin Hood, Deadpool and Batman, and spotted other super heroes at a distance - though some were definitely dads dressed up along with their kids, which is lovely.

A we even saw Batman appearing on the roof of Wayne Manor! He really should have had a villain along to fight, or at least the Bat symbol projecting into the sky (maybe not too easy in day-time, thoug)

It's odd after such a while to be back doing child-related things but it's part of the fun of being a granny!

I haven't been to Wollaton for years, so it was nice to leave the Superheroes behind after a while, and wander round the quieter areas of the grounds - to see the Orangery and formal gardens, and admire the Hall from various angles.

No day out is complete without cake (earl grey and lemon in this case), and I was very pleased to see the dogs-welcome sign in the cafe. Next time Dylan can come too :)

Monday, 6 August 2018

Carsington on a cool(ish) evening

"I've been waiting for cooler weather" isn't really what you expect to hear in an English summer, but this year's heat has been too much for me, so, yes, I've been waiting for a drop in temperatures before thinking about going out walking anywhere. Saturday wasn't stiflingly hot, plus there was a nice breeze, so in the evening we headed out to Carsington.

We parked at the Millfilds car park and wandered for a mile or so along the path heading up the eastern side of the reservoir. Some sections are open to the water, others pass through woodland though the water can generally still be glimpsed through the trees, especially when the sunlight glints off it.

 This isn't a section of path that we walk very often so I was surprised to come across this little stone 'cottage' with an interior carved entirely from wood - chairs, table, grandfather clock, piano, even an old-style radio and the 'painting' above the fireplace were made of wood. Fascinating for adults and, not being far from the car park, a great place to encourage children to walk to.

A little further on we came across another carving - this stack of books, with the top one lying open to be read. Perhaps both of these were part of the "Hob's trail" we saw on our last visit but I haven't been able to find anything out about it on-line; obviously we need to visit when the visitor centre is open and enquire there.

Dylan isn't impressed by art, or by posing for the camera, but he does seem to enjoy visiting somewhere new, especially if it doesn't involve too much strenuous walking.

Despite the blue sky, and heat, the shrubs and bushes seemed to be turning towards autumn, with rowan berries, rose hips and blackberries ripening.

We ambled rather than walked, and stopped a lot to look at things so only went a couple of miles, but it was good to get out if only for a short while.

On the way home we stopped to catch the stunning sunset. A lovely end to the day