Sunday, 16 June 2019

Dodging the rain at Biddulph Grange Gardens

Despite the threatened rain I was determined to get out and do a little adventuring last weekend - okay, it wasn't a huge adventure; just a couple of hours exploring Biddulph Grange Gardens.

It's an amazing place, and after the formal aspect of the garden entrance, the designers went wild! 

Labyrinthine paths clamber up rocky slopes and over bridges, and tunnels lead to secret quiet spots. There's a map provided, but try not to use it - it's much more fun to explore randomly.

The garden has numerous follies - a Chinese temple and  tea house, a Cheshire cottage, even an Egyptian tomb - so although we didn't manage to avoid the rain completely there was somewhere to wait out the showers.

For children and teens, especially if they're inclined to dismiss visiting gardens as boring, it's excellent - and if they aren't impressed by a Chinese temple or Egyptian tomb, there's a woodland obstacle course to try (and cake back at the cafe)

Saturday, 15 June 2019

30 Days Wild - week two

Well, week two wasn't as outdoorsy and wild as week one due to the dreadful weather. If I were on holiday, I might make the effort to go out and do things; at home, I mostly stay inside. There were some 'wild' things during the week though ...

Day 8 Heading down into Derby, the swans and geese were out on the river (they don't hide undercover because of some rain), poppies flowering on the roadside, and rainwater gathering on the car park approach.

Later in the day, the rain dropped to light drizzle and we went to Shipley Country park, walking under beech trees, with last year's beech mast still covering the path, and a splash of colour from a rhododendron

 Day 9 - we headed outside, dodging the rain, and walking round Biddulph Grange Gardens.

Not a truly 'wild' place but in the children's adventure area I found an array of fungi.

On the way home that evening an owl flew across a busy road junction and perched on the fence beside us. Sometimes wild things find you without any looking being required.

Later we stopped to watch the sun set.

I'm glad we did, as it was the last clear sky to be seen this week!

Day 10 a wet, rainy, totally-spent-indoors day, though dashing to the dustbins I saw bees still busy buzzing around the geraniums (not a clear photo, but the bee is just below centre)

 Day 11 - wet again, so the wildest thing we did today was check out new camping equipment for when the sun returns. These tents, out in the store's car park, had obviously had enough of the weather too.

 Day 12 - oh, look! Rain again. Prettier dripping off roses than obscuring the windscreen.

Bees were still out and about though.

 Day13 - a major surprise - blue sky! It didn't last long and rain soon returned. I'm getting worried that this may be  30 Days Rain, rather than Wild

Day14 Dry enough at last to potter in the garden briefly. Unfortunately the rain has left a mess behind - my garden paths always have plants hanging over them; now they've taken over. I can't reach the compost bins or the greenhouse without getting soaked!

Under the birch tree I found this mess of twigs - a pigeon's nest shaken loose. Glad to see the pigeons aren't daunted but have rebuilt, hopefully with a better construction technique, and I've spotted one of them sitting on the nest as if hatching eggs.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Tissington Welldressings 2019

 It's that time of year when the villages and towns of Derbyshire (and some just outside the border) 'dress', or decorate, their wells. The reasons why aren't certain - they may be related to a village's water never running dry in an extremely dry summer, or the well water supposedly saving the villagers from disease, but the origins are lost. Some wells are still decorated on religious themes, but not all.

This year Tissington's wells depicted Moses in the Bulrushes, The Ascension, and Jonah and the Whale, commemorated moon landings (by Neil Armstrong, and Wallace and Gromit), and Woodstock Festival, and the children's well showed Pooh Bear and his friends.

Visiting Tissington is like stepping back in time. Most of the year it's a sleepy place - with Hall on one side, and church the other, of the 'main road' - though at well-dressing time it can get busier.

The houses are grey stone, looking like they've been there forever,

the lanes are narrow and lined with frothy cow parsley

the fields covered in buttercups.

 There's even a pond and a village green for the ducks to visit on an evening stroll

Further welldressings - Tissington 2018
                                      Ashford in the Water 2018