Thursday, 31 March 2011

Scavenger Hunt for March


I actually managed to find everything for the March Scavenger Hunt as set by Kathy of Postcards from the PP

I'm not posting the photos on Flickr though. They will just remain here.

First of all, a lion - and not just any lion; the lion on the Royal Coat of Arms! In this instance, it is keeping a watchful eye over the entrance to the Crown Court in Derby.

Number two is a rainbow, seen in the spray of the fountain in the lake in Vicki Park in the London Borough of Hackney.

Number three shows something green and is in Wales. Dolgoch is one of the steam engines hauling the trains on the Tal y Llyn railway, which runs between Tywyn and Nant Gwernol; a Great Little Train of Wales! In fact, the Tal y Llyn was the first railway to be saved by a Preservation Society and opened to the public. Run almost entirely by volunteers, it is a good day out! Why not take a ride, disembark at Dolgoch station (after which the engine was named) and walk up to admire the falls?

Number four takes us to Yorkshire and the RHS gardens at Harlow Carr, where we find our empty chair. If I remember rightly, it is from the Edwardian garden. (Sacristan may correct me if I am wrong.)

For number five I have a brace of bracelets, which fulfills two criteria. The larger silver bracelet belonged to my mum. I saw her wear it on many a special occasion and will always picture it on her wrist. It definitely has sentimental value!

The smaller bracelet was bought for me when I was a baby. It is as old as I am.

Out into my back garden for photo number six (item number seven), which is the peeling paint. This old bench is waiting for me to have the time and inclination to dismantle it! If ever I sit on it, I do so very gingerly. The wood is not so strong as it once was :)

Continuing through the list, we have a collection of medals...

...and a ring; part of the latching mechanism on the gate above Errwood Reservoir, on the way up to Shining Tor. Here, you are only just within the boundary of Derbyshire. Beware! Stray too far and you could have an encounter with the Cheshire Cat!

Almost there!

The fancy gate (which also happens to feature two lions - just as a second dose) is in the grounds of Forbidden Corner, in Coverdale; Yorkshire. I would say more, but it's Forbidden!

The shadow is of Mark and I on top of Black Rocks last week. It's probably the nearest you will ever get to seeing a photo of me on here!!! (By the way - He's not quite THAT much taller than me. I was standing slightly further back! - And to prove it, you can see the end of his shoe near the bottom of the photo.)

And finally... two lambs! All together... Ahhhhhh!

This has been fun, even if not altogether easy! I was still scratting around for those elusive final photos last weekend.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Black Rocks - up the Derwent Valley

More views from the top of Black Rocks.

In the second photo, we are looking down into the Derwent Valley. Below us is Cromford, Matlock is in the distance and before it, the winding gorge of the spa town of Matlock Bath. Up on the left is Clifford's Tower, part of the Heights of Abraham attraction. If you look very carefully, you can just make out a line of three cable cars. There is a clearer view in the bottom photo; top left corner.

The limestone cliffs along this gorge are popular with climbers and Matlock Bath holds annual 'illuminations' along the line of the Derwent.

Moving closer in, the two buildings of note are Masson Mill and Willersley Castle.

Masson Mill (chimney to the left), was Sir Richard Arkwright's third and biggest mill. Built in 1783, it used the power of the river Derwent to drive the machinery to spin cotton.

Towards the right is the distinctive structure of Willersley Castle, a grade 2 listed building comissioned by Sir Richard and constructed on the slopes of Wild Cat Tor. Unfortunately, he died before its completion and the house was occupied by his son, Richard Arkwright junior. Arkwrights continued to live here until 1922 after which it was bought by the Methodist Christian Guild as a holiday centre. As a youngster of around 16ish, I stayed here with my local church youth club.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Black Rock graffiti

The downside of the back of Black Rocks being easily accessible, is that it is well visited; and sometimes not by those who would take the best care of it. As a result, there is a fair amount of graffiti. Thankfully, it is not the spray paint kind of graffiti, but the 'name carved in rock' kind. Looking around, some of it appears to date back quite a while.

One wonders whether Messrs Bircumshaw, Eyre, Kew and Abbott were a quartet of local lads hanging around up here in 1910. If they were young men at the time, it would not be long before they were living in a world embroiled in war.

At some point, a more artistic chiseller has etched out this horses head. It's certainly more recognisable than anything I could have drawn, even on paper!

The last one is undisputably modern. Console gaming meets outdoor adventure.

What do you think? Artistic expression or criminal damage?

Monday, 28 March 2011

Happy birthday

Today it is someones birthday; someone who has not been blogging for very long, but has wowed us all with her posts of the beauties of South Africa. So, today, I want to join with many of her friends and followers to say...

Happy Birthday Desiree! :)

(Normal service will be resumed tomorrow  )

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Black Rocks

Black Rocks is an outcrop of gritstone high above the Derbyshire village of Cromford. Easily accessible from the High Peak Trail, it is very popular with climbers, having a number of routes, many of which are in the 'E' (Extreme) grade; the most difficult category.

Between around 1615 and 1850, this site was mined for lead. Cromford Moor Mine was a large undertaking with shafts up to 128 metres deep. In the 1920s the mine was re-opened briefly as a source of white calcite. The scree slope leading up to the Rocks is a by-product of the industrial past and is an ideal place to search for rocks and minerals. It also supports a variety of lead tolerant plants.

For those of us unable to tackle an 'E' grade climb, the scree slope gives access to an easy way up from the back (but no pub up here either, sorry Alan!). From the top, the views are quite impressive.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

The ABCs of H

I have just read Pondside's contribution to this fun ABC meme. After I had read it, I pulled my just-published post for today and decided to join in with this instead. Black Rocks will wait until tomorrow :)

An A-Z about H

A: Age - As my Dad says, I'm 'As old as my tongue and a little bit older than my teeth".

B: Bed size - Double. Even when I'm camping, I prefer a double airbed.

C: Chore I hate - Ironing. There always seems to be some to do!

D: Dogs - not any more because my work commitments wouldn't be fair on a dog. On the days I work, I'm out of the house for around 10 hours. When I was young, we had a Jack Russell. If I were to choose a dog now, I would look for some sort of border collie sheep dog, but I would search in places like RSPCA centres and animal welfare homes.

E: Essential start to your day - a cup of fresh ground coffee and a bit of time to think

F: Favourite colour - This is hard because it depends on my mood. It has to be somewhere in the blue/green/purple range. A strong colour; not too dark, but rich!

G: Gold or silver - Silver every time (unless it's a medal, in which case...)

H: Height - about 5' 4", and now officially the shortest in my household.

I: Instruments that you can play - Guitar and flute

J: Job title -  School teacher; which means that everyone automatically thinks they know exactly what I do.

K: Kids - Two sons, great lads, both taller than me :)

L: Live - Derby UK

M: Mum's name - Sheila

N: Nicknames - H :)

O: Overnight hospital stays - Childbirth by Cesarean section (twice)

P: Pet peeve - Able bodied drivers who park in disabled spaces. Grrrrrr! Don't get me started! x-(

Q: Quote from a movie - 'If you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth'. Gandhi

R: Righty or lefty - Right, but my mum was left

S: Sibling - Nada

T: Time you wake up - This really does depend on the day. On work days, the alarm is set for 06.10, on college days 06.45, weekends...

U: Underwear - oh yes!

V: Vegetables you dislike - celery. The smell is enough to turn my stomach! Apart from that, I like all vegetables.

W: What makes you run late? - not much because I hate to be late. Of course it's a lot easier to be on time when you are travelling solo than when accompanied!

X: X-rays - many years ago, I was burgled. When I discovered that they had taken a silver bracelet which was a present from my parents, I kicked the wall in fury. I was wearing trainer boots and I believe that, sub-consciously, I didn't think it would hurt. Ooops! No breaks, but a very interesting range of colours!

Y: Yummy food you make - parsnip soup, Mars bar cake

Z: Zoo favourite animal - I prefer wild animal parks. I love British wildlife like pole cats and pine martens, but I do also love meerkats!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Window box

My aunt spotted this delightful window box in Hulland Ward on Wednesday, and I immediately grabbed my camera.

Thursday, 24 March 2011


Last week, Rosie from Corners of my Mind wrote a post called It's Murder on the Pond Side!

As soon as I read the title, I had a good guess as to the subject of her post, because it's happening here too!

The pond is full of this...

Many, many croaking, copulating frogs have endeavoured to produce, and produce they have. The writhing, boiling, churning waters are now filled with huge slimy blobs of egg filled transparent jelly, looking very much like a large vat of anaemic kiwi and lime jam.

The only problem is that, while the frogs are busy copulating, they tend to be somewhat preoccupied and unaware of lurking danger. This failure to take sensible precautions makes them easy prey.

And these guys know it!

Every spring!

They turn up like a pair of hooded Nazgul, settle like silent shadows and watch... and wait... and kill!

Last spring, I found a number of picked-at carcasses lying around the pond and on the path. Twice I saw wriggling frogs being carried away in sharp, clutching claws and twice more saw dead bodies being ripped to shreds by long vicious beaks.

I suppose I'll have to buy a roll of netting!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


It has been positively spring-like here over the past week or so. The sun has made an appearance and it is starting to feel warm. I'm even managing to get washing completely dry on my clothes line; as opposed to just a bit less damp.

The garden is also responding to the change in temperature, with the flowers and blossom basking in the warmth, while the brambles are growing like wildfire. In fact, thinking about it, wildfire is probably what it would take to deal with the brambles effectively. Yesterday, I spent about half an hour battling with an unwanted bramble. In the end of course, I won, but not before it had inflicted the usual damage. I estimate that I must have chopped about 30 metres of the stuff into little pieces to make it fit into my now bulging garden waste bin!

But away from the brambles and onto the flowers, where the theme seems to be predominantly yellow and blue.

Primroses on the edge of the patio.

Daffs near the pond.

These pretty purply blue things near the fence. (Name please anyone???)

Miniature daffs overlooking the tag end of the snowflakes.

And this hyacinth smells so beautiful!

I just need another few days of uninterrupted work time to make it look even vaguely loved! I do love my garden, but I'm not what you would really class as an educated, dedicated gardener! It grows so much faster than I can keep up with!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Reflections on the Reservoir

Finally, for Foremark, I wanted to share some of the many photos I took of the light on the water. I love to watch the way the light dances, changes and reflects with the rippling of the waves, breaking into a myriad starlike sparkles.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Recreation on the Reservoir

Whenever a new reservoir is constructed, provision is made for those who wish to use it for recreation. Foremark attracts people for a variety of reasons. When the boys were smaller, we used to come here to walk one of the short trails followed by them enjoying a session on the playground.

Other people come here for the angling...

...or for the sailing.

The building behind the yachts is the base of the Burton Sailing Club.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Foremark Reservoir

The reservoir at Foremark was constructed in the 1970's to provide drinking water for the East Midlands. Today, it mainly supplies the water treatment works at the nearby town of Melbourne.

It is owned by Severn Trent Water, whose area of responsibility is outlined on the map below. Foremark is marked towards the left centre, just below the Derby ram.

The Reservoir covers an area of 230 acres and, when it is full, holds around 2,900 million gallons of water!

The dam wall stretches for a mile and reaches a height of 60.93 metres.

The inflow of water comes from the River Dove via a 3 1/2 mile long pipeline from Eggington, while the outflow is piped from the dam wall to Melbourne.

The area surrounding Foremark Reservoir is mainly woodland and farmland. The woodland is actively managed, with work including thinning, coppicing and the planting of an understorey of native shrubs. In the 1990s, the area to the south of the reservoir was planted with 4ha of new woodland to expand the area of the National Forest.

The reservoir supports such fish as trout, chub, roach and perch and a team of rangers work to encourage wildlife in the area, including a successful project to attract owls.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

A much needed outing

Last Saturday, my dad and I made an unexpected trip to Cumbria to pick up an ailing Mark. He has suspected glandular fever. According to our family GP, he is presenting with text book symptoms.What that means for Mark is that he is more ill than he has ever really been before; not life threateningly ill (thank goodness), but certainly 'life' stoppingly ill, which, for an active chap, is proving a real strain! 

So, after a week in which his only trips out of the house have been to the doctor and the hospital (blood test), an outing today was a must! 

Foremark Reservoir is only 15 minutes down the road and we were lucky enough to find a front row car parking spot overlooking the water. Mark was able to wind down the windows and sit in comfort watching the yachts racing, while I hopped out to snap a few photos.

A brief stop at the local marina for a hot chocolate rounded off a much needed change of scenery.

Friday, 18 March 2011


This gorgeous sunset was an unexpected treat at the end of a very short stroll. Good to have a stretch and lovely to be rewarded with this!

Sometimes, even pylons and cables can be made attractive by nature. (Just sometimes!)

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Evening moorings

I love the tranquility of this scene...

with the stove smoke drifting languidly across the stillness of the water; a single V cut by a paddling coot.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Rhyme nor reason

A stroll round the marina close to home, turned up some very curious names for boats.

Interesting to speculate about the reasons behind the name choices. Any suggestions?