Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Two went to Derby

So this is my first proper visit to Derby - the once county town of our beloved Derbyshire.  I read that it is considered the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, as the first ever factory was built here - Lombe's Mill.  It's closed down in recent years as the Derby Industrial Museum but is on the rise again as the Derby Silk Mill - this will definitely require another Derby excursion.

But this, and the rail and Rolls Royce history, goes some way to understanding why there are such magnificent buildings and such a grand cathedral in the centre of town.

So come along with us on a wander from Chapel Street to the Guildhall, by way of blue plaques, clocks, cathedrals, theatres and markets . . .
one of many famous Derby residents
Once the 2nd tallest church tower in the country
Struck by the fabulous play of light as soon as you enter

and fancy, Bess of Hardwick is buried here - wow!
her tomb!!
lovely reflected patterns of the ironwork on the pillars - light dancing around
Stunning rood screen by Robert Bakewell, early 18th Century
All Souls window - the dark struggle
All Saints window - the triumph of light
the fabulous Derby Assembly Rooms
entrance to the Guildhall Theatre and the market behind
the utterly amazing market building with fabulous balcony all the way round
and the unresistable temptation of real Derbyshire pyclets to take home!
So, David, thank you for a brilliant day and if you can host another tour of Derby then it would be much appreciated!!

Bit of an in joke with the title I'm afraid - it's our 3-song 'Ritual' at the Black Bull carolling sessions when we come to 'Six Jolly Miners' and the bit:
"Two came from Derby and two from Derby town,
the others came from Oughtibridge an' they all came tumblin' down . . ."
Always comes to mind when I think of Derby

Sunday, 23 February 2014


Just enjoyed an invigorating walk up into the woods - but none of your blue skies we had back in December.  See Wind in our Hair if you want more sun!
fabulous fungi though in Wheata Woods
especially this cute one like a giant hedgehog peeping over the log!
Grey skies from Frank's seat
Through the muddy Prior Royd Woods but then over this little stile
 and the whole windy ridge of St Helena opens up - Oughtibridge down there in the valley
 We're blown to bits but the photos don't do justice to those bracing gusts!

Dark skies over Sheffield - impending storm
and back down we trudge 
for yummy homemade tomato and lentil soup
That little bit of open land at the top of St Helena, with the city spread out below, almost makes up for the bracing sea air we so love!  Hence how my Twitter slogan "Missing the sea, loving the hills" - just about sums it up!! LOVE these Sheffield hills!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

low tide

There's been loads of damage to the Wirral coast over the past weeks with some terrifying moments recorded on Youtube (see later).

But on Saturday afternoon the sky over Hoylake and Meols turned a deep grey, the sand looked orange in the strange light and the far away tide was a silver line of dancing surf.

Had I been a painter, a watercolour would have captured this perfectly, but by the time I'd stopped and tried to capture the colours on my camera, the moment had passed.  Or as Seamus Heaney put it so eloquently in that wonderful poem, Postcript 
"Useless to think you'll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open"
By Monday there was a transformation and as we wandered along West Kirby front, the marine lake was mirror-still, the Welsh mountains stood calm as ever across the Dee esturary and Hilbre and the Little Eye were accessible over the sands. 
and here we were looking right across to the Welsh coastline we explored on the other side of the river last September - see River Ride
and as we returned to the car, the sun started to dip and the clouds set in and the mirror images were amazing!  Not quite as colourful as those I took back in August - see Ice Cream Castles but gentle in all shades of grey and changing every second.


So here's some of the YouTube coverage of the high tides and storms this past couple of months . . .

West Kirby
and Hoylake
and across the other side of the peninsula, the Mersey is battering Vale Park in New Brighton!
All the reasons why I love the sea so much.  Wild, calm, untamable, unpredictable, ever-changing.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Year of the Horse


Chinese New Year Sheffield Style

Friday 31st saw us at a wonderful Chinese New Year dinner Kiwi style at Tamper Coffee, Sellers Wheel.

Candlelit and romantic and oh, so tasty and colourful
Incredible food and the finale with the chocolate sauce to die for . . .
Our fortune cookie mottos were a bit on the serious side though . . .
In the intervening days, we've cooked Ken Hom's delicious Chow Mein and other favourites from our much loved and be-splattered copy of his 1984 Chinese Cookery.

Then last night it was the Sheffield Chinese New Year Celebrations at the City Hall along with Margaret and Steve.
first it was food and junior entertainment in the ballroom
and learning about how wonderful those born in the Year of the Rabbit are
and modest too ofcourse, as it says!!

Then up to the packed and buzzing Oval Hall for the main show
Dignitaries and dancing, starting off with a sad lonely Dragon
until thankfully a friend sloped up from the audience
and soon they were three!
painters and pandas
Dare devil feats of contorsion and juggling
music and dancing and beautiful glittery costumes
 the grand finale
 and finally a lovely smiling line up to see us out into the wet Sheffield night
and I have to finish with this - just LOVED the motto from the fortune cookie I was given
HaPpY yEaR oF tHe HoRsE eVeRyOnE