29 Apr 2015

Scavenger Hunt: April

Here are my Scavenger Hunt photos for April. (Some of them were taken during our recent time in Italy).

Thank you Greenthumb (Jill) of Made with Love Blog for organising the challenge. You can find out more if you click on the coded link for Scavenger Hunt on my side bar.

The list for April: upside down, clouds, chair, something sweet, growth, glass, bedroom, rain,
                         egg, fresh, feet, whatever you want

This dog is a happy dog and belongs to the owner of one of the shops in a local hill town and can often be seen enjoying the sunshine and the company of shoppers.

On some evenings just before sunset the clouds take on a pink tinge as do the distant snow-capped mountains. (A view from our house).

This chair (a replica) called The Plotting Chair can be seen in a cottage in the village of Old Whittington near Chesterfield, Derbyshire called Revolution House. At the time it was a small inn which became a meeting place for three local noblemen disguised as huntsmen.  Here in 1688 they plotted to overthrow King James II, an act that seems shocking except we're reminded that times past were often turbulent ones. The cottage is now a small museum furnished with period items.

This is the traditional Italian cake in the shape of a dove that is eaten at Easter. The original recipe is similar to the Christmas panettone, but there are other varieties that are either vanilla or chocolate sponge-based. We brought the chocolate covered one back from our trip to Italy and our grand daughter made the chocolate muffins for our Easter family teatime gathering.

Do you remember the giant lemon that our daughter was given as a Christmas gift?  We planted the pips in several pots and below is the progress so far. (Since taking the photo the seedlings are twice as big).

The Winter Garden, Sheffield City Centre, seen from a different entrance and piazza.

A detail of a stained glass window in St. Lawrence's Church, Eyam. The window was created by Christopher Webb who signs his work with a drawing of a tiny cobweb in the bottom right hand corner.

An hotel bedroom

On a visit to Rome the day started out sunny, but then we had some light rain.  Mr. P. had a rest whilst I took some photos!

I usually get out my collection of decorated wooden eggs to make an Easter display.  The one (below) is a blown egg that I painted many years ago.  The gold paint has helped to preserve it. The egg cup is of olive wood and I inherited it from my great aunts.

Avenues of orange trees line many of the streets of Rome's historic centre or can be see in public gardens.   I expect this fresh fruit was decorative rather than gathered and eaten. The oranges would certainly have needed a good wash because of the dust and traffic fumes, but did look attractive.

Mr. P. found a hornets' nest when he was working in the roof space in the Italian house.  We've had a bad experience in the past from a hornet which stung one of our children when she was an infant. She had to be taken to hospital for emergency treatment after an allergic reaction. Below is a close-up photo of one. The body is better studied from a photograph as I didn't stay around for long and I'm interpreting the tarsal claw as a foot!


The personal highlight this month has been the Queen's visit to Sheffield and it was an honour for my husband and I (as members of the fellowship of seniors) to be invited to Sheffield Cathedral for the Maundy Thursday service and to see Her Majesty present the Maundy Money to 89 senior citizens (the present age of the Queen) who have made a difference to the welfare of our communities in the city over many years. This ancient royal ceremony takes place in Holy Week as a reminder of the washing of the disciples' feet by Jesus during the Last Supper before he went to the cross. During the Last Supper Jesus said  'And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you so you also must love one another' John 13.34. 
The name Maundy is derived from the Latin word mandatum meaning a commandment.

Due to the strict security procedures photography was not allowed inside the cathedral until after Her Majesty had departed so my record of the day was limited to the ones below and I've included the one taken by a professional photographer (source unknown). I've also included an article from a national newspaper.

26 Apr 2015

Stoney Middleton, Derbyshire: the area around the church

The church of St. Martin is situated in the corner of the village called 'The Nook' which has an open area surrounded by cottages.  The above view of the church was taken from the lane on the north side where the 15th century tower and the 18th century nave can be better seen.
Joan Eyre, heiress of nearby Padley Manor had the stone church built in thanksgiving for the safe return from Agincourt (1415) of her husband, Robert of Highlow Hall.  Local folklore says that they met at 'St. Martin's Well' as the nearby springs of water were called by then. A wooden church was probably already on the site. After a fire destroyed the nave of the 15th century church it was rebuilt by a local stonemason who was also involved in the building of the stables at Chatsworth House. It's unusual because of its octagonal shape which was based on the Palladian 'Rotunda' style of architecture of the period. The vestry and west doorway are 19th century additions.
The box pews in the nave are arranged around the octagonal walls in a semi-circular fashion, which is also unusual. I found the arrangement and the plain, simple interior appealing. This is a place where men and women have worshipped over the centuries and continue to do so and I was very aware of this as I noticed every detail and absorbed the peaceful atmosphere.

Leaving the churchyard and walking through The Nook and along a lane we come to 'The Roman Baths' and the spring, which is called 'St Martin's Well'.

                                                                 The Spring

                                                            'The Roman Baths'

" Although popularly known as the Roman Baths, there is no evidence that the Romans ever built a bath here. Roman coins have been found locally, so possibly offerings were made at the spring,  In the Middle Ages the water was believed to have curative properties and the nearby church is dedicated to St. Martin, the patron saint of cripples. The spring has a constant temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit
In 1734 Dr. Short's Treatise on Mineral Waters claimed that the water could be 'drunk more freely and safely than at Buxton as it is cooler'. "
(Information taken from the above plaque at the site - click on to read more).

23 Apr 2015

Stoney Middleton, Derbyshire

Lately we've been making the most of the good weather. Although we've been happy to stay home and get on with the gardening it has also been good to go out for days and explore more places that we can get to in under an hour.  Derbyshire continues to draw us and the area around the famous 'plague village' of Eyam has been on a wish list for some time. It proved to be a good day, especially as we had a daughter and a grandson with us. I'll be writing about Eyam another time as just the two of us returned there yesterday to see those things we missed on the first visit.

Stoney Middleton is in the White Peak area of the Peak District in the limestone valley of Middleton Dale. Eyam is close by. Drivers pass through quite quickly because it's diffult to park on the main road due to parking restrictions. On the outskirts there's a towering cliff on one side and on the other there are woods and a brook which runs alongside the road. Remembering this from last week's drive we parked in a side street before we got to that point. From there we were able to walk around this very picturesque and interesting village which has close links with Eyam as I found out from reading the moving stories about the people who lived there. The Eyam villagers were in self-quarantine to stop the bubonic plague spreading to the surrounding villages. It had been brought in through some flea-infested cloth that had been transported up from London to the local tailor. As a consequence, from the outbreak in 1665 and for about fourteen months, whole households were stricken with the infection with the loss of over 200 lives. During this time the villagers of Stoney Middleton would leave food at certain spots on the border between the two villages.  

The outskirts of Stoney Middleton - travelling towards Eyam (yesterday) and below travelling in the opposite direction back from Eyam (last Thursday).

I think the men are working to secure the possible fall of loose rocks by attaching nets in some places to the rock face.
In the dale were several quarries and this was once a major source of employment for the village.

A road was blasted through Stoney Middleton in 1830 and in 1840 an octagonal toll house was built.
It's now a fish and chip shop.

The Moon Inn was and probably still is a popular place for walkers, cyclists and rock climbers to take a break. We had spent quite a lot of time in the tea room and a local inn during our visit to Eyam last Thursday so this time I was eager to spend more time walking as we'd started out early in the morning and weren't in need of refreshments.

The buildings towered above my head and I noticed this arch set in one of them and just had to take a peek inside. There was a shrine with icons hanging on the wall and it's at this point I would have loved to have had a villager as guide to explain more. I'm so glad I was curious enough to take a look though.
I believe the bottom icon depicts the resurrection of Jesus and his triumph over Death.  I have a similar one which I bought in Jerusalem many years ago in the 1980s.

A brook runs through the village - you can just see a wooden footbridge over it in the above photo. Wandering at will I missed out on walking on the path near it, but there was more to see as I climbed up the narrow lane to the buildings on a higher level. The fold which must have once been for sheep is now a little garden where anyone can sit and rest particularly walkers following the public footpath out into the countryside beyond the village.  Next to it is the Weslyan Reform Chapel which dates from the early 19th century and is still a place of worship.

Bootmaking was also a major industry in the village. There were buildings that looked as if they had been used for that purpose and interesting cottages and houses, large and small.

I couldn't get a full shot of this house (above) as the lane was narrow and my back was pressed up against the stone wall. Perhaps it was the residence of the owner of the footwear company?
Following the path by the brook I got another shot at a different angle. Here, in an area of the village called The Nook the shadows made it difficult to get good photos.  I have two digital pocket cameras and I find the Samsung takes better photos than the Panasonic, but the Panasonic has more zoom capacity. At least I can swap over if the battery gives out on one of them.

In The Nook are the entrance gates of Middleton Hall with the Parish Church next to it. The church is dedicated to St. Martin as is the nearby spring, which is located up a nearby lane. This needs a post of its own so sit for a while - if only you could hear that babbling brook as I did - and I'll be back soon to continue with the walk around Stoney Middleton.

Looking through the gates of Middleton Hall I caught a glimpse of masses of daffodils and the water of the brook must meander through the gardens.