Thursday, 26 March 2015

Sizergh Castle and Lancaster Canal

Last Saturday morning William and I drove up the motorway heading for Bay View and our first weekend stay of the 2015 season in the caravan.  It was a beautiful spring day with clear blue skies but for all that come bedtime in a tin box it we knew it was going to be a wee bit chilly.  Our plan was to leave the heating on overnight and that’s what we did thus avoiding frostbite!  


Having done the necessary jobs of unpacking and hooking the caravan up to water and electricity a walk down by the salt marshes was in order.  It was plain for all to see that Bay View has been having more than its fair share of precipitation.  The path to Archer’s Cafe was impassable.


It didn’t matter to us though as we had decided to take a circular walk back to base…


… via the canal.


There’s some very pretty scenery along the route.


Not a hint of a breeze in the air meant still waters and lots of eye catching reflections to photograph.


By late afternoon we had worked up a thirst.  A short drive away from Bay View is Arnside and that’s where we found a pub to sit outside with a drink and watch the sun go down. 


Sunday a visit to Sizergh Castle was planned.  Sizergh is an impressive property parts of which date back to the14th century and is now in the hands of the National Trust and so our NT Membership came in useful again.


The gardens are a treat to walk though. 


This limestone rockery at the rear of the house is a little gem.  I’m looking forward to going back throughout the year and seeing the changes each season will bring.


Our tour of the castle over brought us nicely to lunchtime.  I had packed a picnic and happily it was a perfect day for picnicking.   Perfect day all round really.


Our last port of call was Sizergh Barn which is just down the lane from the castle.  It was just before milking time and we saw the cows jostling for places at the feeding trough.  Look how nicely they looked at the camera for me!


Especially this young lady.  I do like cows.

Until next time,


Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Manchester Police Museum

Well, time has gotten away from me again and here I am a couple of weeks after the event with this post.


During the recent half term holidays Victoria suggested a trip to the Police Museum which is located in Manchester’s historic Northern Quarter.


A place we’ve known about for some time but just never visited.


A gallery line up of unsavoury looking characters in one of the cells.  We spent a little bit of time looking for familiar names and faces.  Happily we didn’t find any.


In the dock and guilty as charged!


Two sweet little faces.  Definitely not guilty!


This police office, dressed in Victorian uniform, retired from the force over forty years ago but is still doing regular volunteer shifts.  I reckon he’s seen a few changes to policing over the years.


Here William is chatting to the retired officer about the Lest We Forget board which lists all those officer killed in the line of duty in the Manchester force.  The first name is dated 1819.  78 names in total but we noticed that there were two missing.  The names of the two young female officers, Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, horribly murdered in 2012 have not yet been added.


Wooden beds and pillows.  Ouch!


No visit to a police station would be complete without a sit in a police car.


I’m not too familiar with this corner of Manchester but after a glimpse into some of the side streets I think I’d like to go back some time soon for a better look around.  It seems that many streets have been restored to their former glory.. probably a much cleaner semblance of their former glory.  No more factory chimneys belching forth their grime over the city are there?

DSC_5277b   DSC_5288b

I loved the vibrant wall art.


And finally back at the car park Nicholas got to put his new wellies to good use.  Walking through puddles with your wellies on.  Never gets old does it?   Notice the helmet?  He and Charlie both came away with one of those each. 

It has to be said this was one museum visit we all enjoyed.  It was definitely interesting.  If I went again I’d take a guided tour and get the inside information from those in the know.


Friday, 13 February 2015

A Beautiful Day For a Walk at Dove Stone Reservoir

A week ago today Caroline and I took a bracing walk round the picture perfect in the snow Dove Stone Reservoir.


There was still plenty of snow around on the hills.  Underfoot in places was sheer ice and we had to tread really carefully.


In other places where the sun’s rays had reached the going was much easier. 


This was not a sight we have ever seen before at Dove Stones.  A family camping!  In the snow for heaven’s sake.  Strange.  Very strange.  But true.


The walk is probably around three miles and on such a lovely day was a real treat.  Homeward bound now we made a stop at the Lime Kiln Cafe beside the canal for another treat.  Coffee and cakes.  Let me tell you, that scone was absolutely delicious!


Being such a gorgeous day we sat out on the balcony.  The fleece blankets provided by the establishment came in useful.  It was a gorgeous day but it was also pretty cold!


Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire

Wednesday last week was earmarked for a visit to Tatton Park in Cheshire.  Tatton Hall is a National Trust property and since receiving a National Trust annual membership as a super duper Christmas gift from Caroline and Trev we have been eager to put it to good use.  Hence the visit to Tatton Park on Wednesday.  Really looking forward to the day out, an early start was planned, I made a picnic and off we went.  On the motorway and halfway there I needed to check the membership handbook just to confirm the directions.  At the same time I looked at the opening times.  January and February didn’t have any opening times!  Tatton Hall  is closed during those months for annual cleaning and restoration et cetera.  Oops!

Time to come up with Plan B.

Quarry Bank Mill, Styal is also a National Trust property and was also on our list of places to visit.  Fortunately it wasn’t too far away from where we were at that minute and a quick check in the handbook showed the property was open.  So, Quarry Bank Mill was where we ended up.  Happily as it turned out.

Quarry Bank Mill, a cotton mill, was built in 1784 when cotton was fast becoming king.

Before taking a tour of the mill it was picnic time.  It was a very cold day but it was sunny and beautiful too.  Might not be everybody’s idea of perfect weather for a picnic, actually we were the only ones taking advantage of the picnic area, but I don’t know why.  It felt good to me to be having our first picnic of the year and in such a beautiful place.

Quarry Bank Mill holds a lot of history within its walls and educational visits are a daily occurrence.  There must’ve been at least two or three school groups while we there.

Instructors imparting their knowledge.  The engraving on this end of the machinery shows it was made in Accrington, England.  If new machinery were to be installed today I wonder where that would be manufactured.  Not Accrington I’ll bet!
The bobbins threaded up. 

I had aunts who worked in cotton mills like these.  In fact my mother in law worked in one for a time in the 1950s and ‘60s and William remembers going into the mill to wait for her after school.  He remembers the deafening noise, smell and feel of the old buildings.  Not a place for the weak or fainthearted to toil in every day.

I remember as a little girl playing in the yards of the, by then derelict, old cotton mills in my hometown.  In the run-up to Bonfire Night we would go collecting wood, bonty stocking  we called it, for our bonfire.  In those days gangs of children would scour their neighbourhoods for weeks before Bonfire Night looking for any bits of old wood to take home to burn on bonfires.  The spools in the wooden boxes above look very familiar to me and  I’m sure we collected many of them to burn on our bonfire.  Happy days.

After taking in the mill we walked up the hill to the Apprentice House.  Boys and girls as young as nine years old were brought from workhouses all over the country to Styal to be trained for work in the mill.  We took the guided tour which was really very interesting.  All the historical facts about the mill and Apprentice House can be found on the web here.

The laundry room.  I’m glad I wasn’t around then.  I just know I’d have been one of the laundry maids and not the mistress of the house!

William tried his hand with the posser in the dolly tub.  I don’t think he would’ve liked to have been a laundry maid either or one of the apprentices for that matter.  It wasn’t an easy life for the majority of people in those days was it?

Like I said this was a National Trust property and a short walk away from the mill are these cottages.

Oak Cottages were built by the mill owner for his workers in the 1820s.

I think most if not all are owned by the Trust and like this one are available to rent.

I bet they were quite something in their day.

And indeed still are.
   How cute is this one?

The whole area was very pretty even the mill (pics at the top of page) itself was in a very picturesque setting.

Snowdrops in the Apprentice House gardens.  Always a cheery sight.  A pointer that spring is hovering just around the corner.  Now isn’t that a pleasant thought?


Yep, we enjoyed our day out at Quarry Bank Mill and intend to visit as many National Trust properties as we can this year.

Joining with the wonderful website Communal Global found here.

Until next time,