Thursday, 10 March 2016

March miscellany

I'm using a bit of Joe's preschool time to post here. Despite the repeated resolutions to slow down, do less etc I'm still chasing my tail. Which means the usual: a weekly dose of photographs with a few observations thrown in.

But I do like to keep this blog, at the very least, to document our comings and goings. And this past week that includes a ride on the train. Which broke down on the return journey, so Joe got the added thrill of his first ever ride on the top deck of a bus.

The days are getting longer. And, occasionally, sunnier. Which means light creeping in here and there. The late afternoon and evening are particularly golden; our bedroom gets much of it which is good because the small windows and vaulted ceiling mean it's often quite a cavernous, shadowy space.

The hills behind the house are illuminated on sunny afternoons too. Which always looks spectacular against a dark grey sky.

The lambs are still not here. But the sheep look weary and weighted down. I keep peering out to see if there's any progress.

On the home front, I'm currently collecting vintage things to add to my artwork for the vintage and handmade markets. Mainly items which fall within a general theme of nature/collecting/outdoors. So I'll be hitting the flea markets and car boot sales over the coming weeks.

My own things are strictly that. Not for sale. Like these silks I found in my mum's old sewing box at the weekend. The packaging is rather appealing, isn't it? No shrink-wrapped plastic back then.

On Mother's Day we went and put daffodils on my mum's grave. It's the second year we've done that and again, the sun shone brightly. We went for a walk afterwards, to Astley Hall and Park. I know my mum would have liked the idea of us getting out and enjoying time as a family.

My favourite part is the walled garden. Raised beds, rhubarb forcers and neat gravel paths. And this year there's a Gruffalo trail.

It was a cold day but lovely to get out and look at the emerging shoots and leaves. Although I do need to go back in a week or two as they have a huge magnolia tree and I've only ever seen it in bud...

I'm a little bit in love with these urns.

We actually went inside Astley Hall for the first time. It's free for visitors and was very impressive. The ceilings were incredible.

And I'm a fan of stained, wavy glass too.

And gilding.

And look at that view - I doubt I'd get much work done if that was my desk. Although it would be very inspiring. Imagine watching the changing seasons through those huge windows...

Oliver Cromwell once stayed at the Hall. It was rumoured he left his boots there but it turns out they weren't his.

I was rather taken with the tapestries on the beds, but if ever a place felt haunted... I don't think I could spend a night there. It's all sealed-off doorways and strange little staircases, and there are tiny cell-like rooms with no windows.

Outside again we had a wander around the grounds and admired the fountains and snowdrops (the ground was carpeted with them).

My mum always used to tell me about the snowdrops in Astley Park. I wish she'd have been able to join us. Sometimes it's comforting to visit places she enjoyed. Other times it's very difficult. But this time it was nice, walking in the sun and watching spring slowly emerge.

This coming weekend we're hoping to get out in the garden. We - horror of horrors - don't yet have a washing line (or the posts to hold one). We also want to plant some seeds, and tidy up the 'beds'. Or at least, what will become the beds. Last week I scrubbed the trunk of the birch tree a bit but I was using a scouring sponge and the fibres kept catching and it was annoying. So I'll have to get a scrubbing brush.

Maybe a visit to the hardware shop. We have a great one in Ramsbottom. Joe loves going there.

Anyway, thank you for continuing to visit. And I really appreciate all your lovely comments, even if I can't get around to replying. They all get read.

Wishing you a happy end-of-week and weekend.


  1. I just love the images you create Sarah, you have such an eye for detail. Double decker bus, my girls rarely go on the bus what delights they are missing out on! :) xxx

  2. it looks like a beautiful place to visit, I'm so glad you had a lovely day there in memory of your mum xxx

  3. Those photos of your train journey are wonderful. I do love steam trains, there is something quite mesmerising about them. I'm also a fan of stained glass, especially when the light catches them and their colour is splayed across the room.
    I'm sure your Mum would have been so pleased to see you spending time somewhere that she loved, and glad that you were able to see the snow drops she had told you about, they are quite a sight and something I am yet to see myself, but must get out to see before it's too late for another year (that is if it isn't too late already) x x x

  4. Lovely pictures and I do enjoy your writing. I know what you mean about sometimes finding comfort when you visit places your Mum enjoyed and other times it being difficult. Spring is finally showing itself here in eastern Pennsylvania...rhubarb has poked its way up through the garden soil and we found two spinach plants that wintered over and have green leaves!

  5. The Hall is gorgeous, I love stained glass as well. And what amazing plasterwork. It sounds as if you have some very lovely memories with your mum. CJ xx

  6. Beautiful! Always lovely to catch up with your news. Good luck with your vintage hunting, enjoy it! I am sure that your Mum would love your family time and the time to remember and appreciate you taking the time. xx

  7. I love the walled garden, day dreams of what I'd do with it if it were mine; and isn't the ceiling in the main hall totally over the top - they always remind me of a wedding cake for some reason.

  8. I love your beautiful, evocative light and shade photos. I'm glad Joe enjoyed his train journey and bus! And lovely photos of your day out :)


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