27 Jun 2012

June Roses

I love June when the roses are usually at their best and I never get tired of looking at them and taking photos.  We've had a lot of rain this month and the roses in our English garden are just coming into full bloom, but there has been a wonderful display in the rose garden in front of the library in the park.  It was a joy to see them when I went to the park on our return from our time in Italy.

Here are some photos taken on that morning in the park on a rainy day as well as our own patio bush rose blooms.  The last photo shows the floribunda rose bush we bought at the time of our anniversary last year called 'Joie de Vivre', which is doing well in a pot.

roses in the rose garden in the park
and below roses in our garden


26 Jun 2012

June Celebrations (4)

The London 2012 Olympic torch began its 70 day tour of the British mainland and islands in May. Community celebrations have been taking place as it travels around as it has been coming within 10 miles of almost everyone in Britain.
For the past 10 days the torch has been travelling around Yorkshire and yesterday, on a sunny day, it came through the surrounding villages and suburbs of Sheffield before arriving in the main square in the city centre for the evening event of lighting the city's Olympic cauldron.
All the torchbearers have been nominated by someone they know because they have done something extraordinary in their lives, as well as in the sporting field, and there was a great turnout by local communities to cheer on each man, woman and child who had been given this honour;  the Olympic spirit being one of friendship, unity and peace.  An average of 115 torchbearers a day carry the torch for some 300 yards before passing the flame onto the next runner and the last bearer will light the cauldron in the Olympic stadium in London during the opening ceremony.

We were able to walk down to our local park where there was a large gathering for the event as the late afternoon timing meant that the children were out of school with their families and friends. We enjoyed the sense of history and the anticipation of the arrival of the nominated, local torchbearer and the Olympic torch team escort.  Finally, the Olympic bus carrying the official team came into sight, moving slowly down a narrow road by the park.  Knowing that the torchbearer was going to cross the park, we had been waiting at the entrance gate for quite a while when suddenly there was a flurry of activity and in a matter of seconds the runner had jogged passed and on towards the crowded streets of the city centre. I was able to take some photos (some clearer than others) as a personal record of a very special, one-off occasion in my life-time.

The school children had been learning about the Olympics and  had made torches to hang on the school fence.

24 Jun 2012

June Celebrations (3)

    A wedding in Italy during June!  A much loved niece was married
in the local abbey and we were guests on this special day.

It was certainly a day to remember!

21 Jun 2012

Bakewell Tart or Pudding?

The original Bakewell Pudding Shop

Until I moved to Yorkshire and started to look into the history and traditions of the region and the neighbouring counties I hadn't realised that there were differing opinions as to the question - what constitutes an authentic Bakewell Tart?  I thought that a Bakewell Tart was a small cake with a pastry base, almond and jam filling, a top layer of soft icing and finished off with a glace cherry. This was commercially produced by a certain famous company and sold in packs of six or eight in my local supermarket.
In fact, this version of the recipe is only one type of the tea time treat.  Bakewell claims to be the home of an older version called the Bakewell Pudding which is more like a medium sized jam tart than an individual cake.

The story goes that sometime in the 1860s a Mrs Graves, Mistress of the local inn (now called The Rutland Arms), was asked to provide a strawberry tart by a visiting nobleman.  The inexperienced kitchen assistant produced something different from the original recipe, but it was such a success that another local woman took the opportunity to produce the pudding and set up a business of her own.  The secret recipe was handed down and it eventually fell into the hands of a Mr Bloomer. There's still a shop in Bakewell selling Bloomers Original Bakewell Puddings, but there are several other old establishments that claim to sell the original pudding and the tart.

Needless to say, Bakewell caters for the many visitors who are attracted to the town because of its quintessential Englishness by providing many coffee shops and tea rooms. Naturally, I had to do some 'research' of my own regarding this story and, being fair minded, went to the 'rival' shops selling their tempting-looking products of tarts and puddings and other sweet treats and bought some cakes to take home.

The Bakewell Pudding and other sweet treats
A Celebration sized Bakewell Tart!
The Rutland Arms where the pudding was first produced
Bloomer's Shop

           Tea in the garden.  

A Bakewell Pudding or a Bakewell Tart?  There's also a lemon and coconut one just to confuse the choice!

20 Jun 2012

June celebrations (2)

Yesterday we spent an enjoyable day in Bakewell in the Derbyshire Dales.
The River Wye is one of the waterways that meanders through this area of Derbyshire, so there are pleasant walks along its banks. Bakewell market was established in 1254 and the town developed as a trading centre.  When natural springs were discovered in the area it became something of a spa town and small mills were established in the area.  The water mills have now been restored as eating places and centres for local artisans and there is still a weekly market.  Bakewell is also known worldwide as a place for 'foodies' as it's famous for the place where the Bakewell Pudding/Tart was created; (more about that another time).  Despite the numbers of visitors to the town, it still remains an unspoilt and charming town.

View from the weir bridge

After wandering around the town we had lunch in one of the converted mill complexes where the restaurant had a menu of modern-style Italian/Mediterranean food before driving back home through the varied landscape of the hills and dales in the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District Park and the country lanes of south Yorkshire.

18 Jun 2012

Practising new skills!

I enjoy taking photographs and have been inspired by the images produced by other enthusiasts.  I joined a photography course earlier in the year and had a lot of fun in the workshops.  I learnt some new skills with my small digital camera and was encouraged to look at a subject with an eye for an unusual composition.

I do admire photographers that can sit for hours waiting to take a few shots of an elusive animal and produce some stunning images as a result, so this is my latest challenge! However, plenty of time and patience are important when it comes to taking moving creatures!

Here are some photos of the foxgloves that have multiplied rapidly in the garden that were grown from seed. They were supposed to be mainly white, but it's not surprising that a lot of the ordinary pink ones took over instead.  However, they do create a certain 'cottage garden' look to the border.

15 Jun 2012

New beginnings

A rainbow in the sky always gives me a sense of hope and optimism for the future and this photo was taken some months ago in April. Since then nature has reflected the ups and downs of life as the weather in the UK has been very sunny and then extremely stormy. After a busy period and a new interest in photography I've started a new blog to record everyday life and interests.