30 Jul 2014

Down by the river again

When we lived in Berkshire the Loddon and Thames Rivers were close by and sometimes it was pleasanter walking along by the river bank, through the meadows and playing fields from village to village and into town than using the main roads especially when I was a child. Sitting by the lock is relaxing and fascinating as the various boats wait to go in and out and navigate the waters there. The tea garden on the island between the river channels and the weir where the lock keeper lives is an added attraction before a walk back into the village.

                                          The River Thames from its source to London

                                      (images taken from the information board in Sonning).

Here are some more images of Sonning Lock and village.  Next time I'll be writing about another beautiful area on the west side of Reading in Berkshire - (Pangbourne, Goring and Streatley).

The lock keeper taking a short rest in between manning the lock gates.

Sonning village held the annual scarecrow trail event earlier in the year and this is one of the remaining models on the island.

We saw wild crab apples as we strolled back along the river bank to the village.

We went along the path from the river passed St. Andrew's Church.
The local primary school was having an end of term concert inside so 
it was only possible to take a quick look inside.

We sat and had a drink at The Bull Inn which is next to the church.  I always enjoy seeing the wisteria.

Nearby Reading town was well-known for the three Bs - brick making, bulbs and biscuits.  In fact, Sutton's Seed Company trial grounds (the flower bulb aspect) used to be near where we lived when I was a child. and The Huntley and Palmer biscuit factory was famous all over the world.  Both the Sutton and Palmer families have been benefactors of public facilities in the area so it's not surprising to see that one of the Palmer family gifted a water pump to the village.


26 Jul 2014

Just calling by to say 'Hello'

Hydrangea and English lavender - a corner of the front garden - July

We've just returned from a time in the south of England and when we travel down to Berkshire we usually take a break in south Oxfordshire.

Cookley Green, S. Oxfordshire

This time we stopped at a garden centre in that area which specialises in herbs and local produce. There's also a maze in the grounds which I haven't seen for some time. The beech hedges are now well established and I successfully got to the raised area in the centre.  However, it wasn't so easy to get back through the winding paths to the entrance. They're not straight as the design, based on a Saxon motif, is a complicated one. DH was looking at the plants in the garden centre so it didn't matter that I had been gone for some time before joining him there! After browsing around we bought a Thai basil plant and some pots of special fruit preserves.

The Maze - viewed from the raised centre.  It's difficult to photograph the pathways clearly unless you have a bird's eye view.
The Maze - raised area.

The Orangery Coffee Shop and Tea Garden

How about this for a garden seat if you have the space in your garden?!  I should think it's made from one piece of wood.

Our daughter's garden

10 Jul 2014

Taking a break from blogging

Corners of the back garden in July

  It's time to get out in the sunshine whilst it lasts. With lots going on with family events in the next few weeks I'm taking a break from blogging, although I shall be in touch from time-to-time.



7 Jul 2014

An eventful day

This was my Sunday afternoon in pictures. Enjoy!

Our chosen spot to watch the Tour de France Yorkshire was
 where there was a sharp bend in a lane in the village of Worrall
(which we could walk to and where some friends live)
Here the route descends downhill into Oughtibridge 
before a steep climb into the village of Grenoside.

More decorations to see.  The road was closed so the children
were busy chalking pictures and slogans during the long wait
before the parade and then the cyclists came through.

What did DH and I do during the waiting time?
Well, we had a sandwich and a drink at the village inn
 and then had a walk around the area. The inn garden was empty!
Everyone was sitting in the front by the road. Others were walking
 or cycling down to the next village.

Finally the parade of sponsors, technical and emergency services
drove through before another wait for the moment when
the first cyclists would race past.  The children were given souvenirs
of the event and there were volunteers, the Tour Makers,
manning the barriers and coming around giving practical information
to the spectators.  There was a great atmosphere in the village
as most people lining the road had walked from the local area 
whilst the villagers were enjoying their parties as they watched
from terraced gardens or windows.

The French and English police escorts.

After the parade we walked up the hill to wait for the first cyclists to appear.
Here they would have been able to sprint along a stretch
of country road from High Bradfield, but would have
had to slow down because of the sharp bend and steep incline
into the village high street.  A helicopter overhead and
a loudspeaker announcement gave a clue that the cyclists
were about to arrive any moment.

These cyclists kept up the momentum
through the last stage of the race into Sheffield.
Congratulations to the winner for Stage 2 from York to Sheffield,
the Italian Champion riding for Astana, Vincenzo Nibali.

One commentator on my last post - welcome Mike -
asked me whether the Tour de France Yorkshire had been worth 'all the hype'?
Well, my family has always been interested in bicycle racing,
both track and road racing, so we're fans of the sport anyway
and being able to watch the Tour de France live in our local area
and community on the day was definitely a wonderful experience.