25 Feb 2014

A little touch of blue sky!

It has been uplifting to see some sunshine and blue skies in the last few days so off we went to the nearby Damflask Reservoir for a short walk at the Loxley Valley end where the water outlet flows into a stream and then the river.

snowdrops beside the water

the overflow outlet and the old watch towers

Across the other side of the bridge the water flows into a channel that drops down the hill into the River Loxley.

From a lane in Loxley Valley you can see the sharp drop of the stepped water channel.

 Daffodils were in full bloom on this sheltered bank - the bright yellow could be seen from several viewing points across the fields.

Back over the bridge we walked up the hill passing two farmsteads before returning to the main road. (Across the road is one of our local nursery/garden centres).

Thank goodness the weather is a lot better for the city school holiday this week.  Our Berkshire daughter had hers last week, but unlike other break-times she didn't come up to Yorkshire as planned, partly because of the flood situation in her area which has made local travel conditions difficult and also the reluctance to drive a long distance in stormy weather.
Our local daughter will be taking her holiday next and I'm going to take another blogging break although I wanted to drop by this week and say 'hello' and share this walk with you.
Also still thinking of those still caught up in the flooding situation and extreme weather conditions.

A happy St. David's Day to all my friends from Wales and those with Welsh connections!

16 Feb 2014

A gift of flowers

I received a lovely gift of flowers last week and I'm testing out a new digital camera ready for the half term school holiday break and the Spring season!
Happy Sunday!

11 Feb 2014

Looking forward to Springtime

The snowdrops are always a welcome sight.  I had hoped to return to 'the church in the woods' at Babworth Church in Nottinghamshire last weekend (where my great grandfather Charles is buried) as there are usually masses of them flowering in the woodlands at this time of year and there's a special 'snowdrop weekend' organised, but it was so cold we didn't venture out there. Instead we were pleased to get to our own church on Sunday where there were beautiful clumps of the little flowers nodding their heads in the wind all along the path up to the church door and under the trees.  The snowdrops that had been planted in the form of a cross were also blooming. We also have snowdrops in our garden and other bulbs are now shooting up. The vines will soon be budding in Italy.
Parts of the pergola that holds up the vines may need attention. Bushes always need trimming and the grass has to be kept short. We won't mention the slope to the land at one side of the house!

Hopefully there will be some sunshine and the fruit and other ornamental trees will be in blossom everywhere.  


Views of the mountains to the south and our neighbourhood farmland.
We'll go into our local hill towns to shop and browse around the weekly markets.

It'll be chilly in the evenings so we'll sit by the fire if we're not visiting family using our store of wood which fuels the wood burning stove and central heating. I have plenty of books to read and usually keep some piece of cross stitch work in my sewing basket to do.  I can only manage simple embroidery and large cross stitch or tapestry work these days which I usually buy from specialist shops or from the market when we're over in Italy.  


7 Feb 2014

A visit to York

I'm going back into my photo archives of a visit last winter to York.  The weather was just as changeable from hour to hour as it is at the moment.  The river level was high and some of the paths alongside were under water and I expect it has been the same this year because of the continual rain.

There's so much of interest in York that a day's visit is not enough.  I spent most of my time in York Minster and then walked in the Museum Garden by the river as I wanted to see some of the remains of some early medieval buildings in that area.

As the information plaque says St. Leonard's was the largest medieval hospital in the north of England and cared for the ill and infirm.  The poor came to be fed and St Leonard's also provided meals for the prisoners in York Castle.

Also in the Museum Garden is the ruined St. Mary's Abbey, first built in 1088.  It was one of the most important Benedictine monasteries in England.  The abbey estate occupied all the land that is now the Museum Garden and the abbot was one of the most powerful clergyman of his day.

The gateway on Marygate was the main entrance into the abbey.  It was here that the poor could come and claim alms.  The building known as St. Mary's Lodge is now the headquarters of York Museums Trust. The stone walls that surrounded the abbey were built in the 1290s and remain the most complete set of abbey walls in the country.  At the time they were built to defend the abbey when the city and the abbey were in dispute over taxes and land.

St. Olave's Church next to Marygate entrance

Another medieval building in the gardens is the timber and stone Hospitium which would have been a guest house or barn for the monastery.  The first floor was rebuilt in the 20th century to accommodate some of the museum's archaeology collection. Now it's used as a conference centre and venue for weddings.

In the 1530s Henry VIII began his campaign against the monasteries.  The monks at St. Mary's were pensioned off and the abbot's residence was converted into a palace for the King and base for his Northern Council.  Gradually the church fell into ruin and the other monastery buildings were used for agricultural purposes. 

As I've mentioned in my last post I've read most of the books in the series of historical novels written by C.J. Sansom set in Tudor times. Much of the plot of Sovereign is set in York in the Autumn of 1541 before returning to London and the Tower of London. St. Mary's Abbey by that date is no longer a monastery. The church is being used as stabling and pavilions are being set up in the grounds for the King's visit to attend an extravagant public display of submission by his rebellious subjects in York.
Already in the city are lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak.  As well as legal work processing local petitions to the King, Shardlake has reluctantly undertaken a special mission for Archbishop Cranmer - to ensure the welfare of an important but dangerous conspirator who is to be returned to London for interrogation. But the murder of a York glazier involves Shardlake in deeper mysteries, connected not only to the prisoner in York Castle, but to the royal family itself. 
It was certainly interesting to see for myself this area of York that's mentioned in this novel.  The Museum Garden is full of historical and botanical interest and has been used as a backdrop for many events and the famous York Mystery Plays.

                                                                 The Fern Garden

                                              The Roman Fortress and Multiangular Tower