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,


Friday, 6 February 2015

Icy Cold Cragg Vale

Tuesday morning of this week William and I needed to drive over the tops to a furniture store in Mytholmroyd and I suggested we take a walk through Cragg Vale on the way.


It was a wee bit chilly to say the least but sporting appropriate clothing what did that matter?  Not one little bit.  Not one little bit to me anyway.  I love a walk on a cold, crisp day.


And this is how crisp it was.  Icy crisp!


We met four friendly little piggies along the way.  They stared at me and talked, well… snorted really, to me like we were old friends.  For quite some time too.  I found it very amusing.  Billy?  Not so much.


For some reason he’s nervous around animals and he feared for my safety when they started to climb the wall to get a closer look at me!   They just wanted some attention.  I think!


We continued on with our walk up through Cragg Vale to Withens Clough Reservoir.  All very bleak on days like this but worth the effort all the same.  Cragg Vale is a lovely place to go walking and from there you can climb even higher onto the the moors.  Not for us this time though.


Retracing our steps back down through the village now…


… via the church of St. John the Baptist in the Wilderness.

We’d had a good walk and a couple of hours fresh air and had worked up an appetite for lunch so it made sense to head for Hebden Bridge (after the furniture store) and satisfy the need for food.

After lunch we wandered around the streets of Hebden and ended up in one of the antiques shops.


Where this display caught my eye.


In particular this jolly little monk.  I love Hummel figures but it was the little monk who came home with me.  His little well is going to be filled with toothpicks so he’ll be useful as well as pretty.

Until next time,


Thursday, 5 February 2015


This hasn’t happened for quite some time.


One of my little grandsons posing happily for the camera!  In this case it was my littlest treasure, sweet six year old Charlie.


In fact not only was he posing happily but he was also posing  like a little pro.


   The only direction I gave him was “just look happy”. 


I was over the moon excited.


I had almost forgotten how much fun it was to have one of my little treasures let me take photo after photo of him and what’s more I am really pleased with the results.  What Nan wouldn’t be?  I think his Mum likes them too.

Bless your little cotton socks, Charlie! xx


The Last of January and a Thoughtful Son.

January is now behind us and February is already here.  Can somebody enlighten me please as to how that happened so fast?!


A highlight of the last few days of January for me was Afternoon Tea at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester with my lovely cousin, Sylvia.   Of course, Afternoon Tea for Two at The Hilton is a big treat and this treat was a Christmas gift to Sylvia from her ever so thoughtful son, James. 


We had window seats and this was our far reaching view over the city of Manchester as we ate, drank and chatted the afternoon away.  And boy, can we chat – we never get stuck for something to chat about.  Ever!


As dusk sneakily fell lights began to twinkle all over the city but with forecast imminent heavy falls of snow on the horizon we had to call it a day and head for the train.  However, we did make time for a glass of champagne to round off the afternoon.  Very civilized.


A quick visit to the ladies room on the way out raised a smile.  Sylvia took one look at the window graphics and quipped “don’t jump, love” before my mind had even processed what the picture was all about. She’s quick like that.  :-)  

So, what a lovely present Afternoon Tea for Two at The Hilton was!  We had a good time didn’t we, Syl?  Even dashing back through the city streets in the rain dodging the traffic was fun!


Now other bits and bobs now from the last of January.


I finished my patchwork table topper and I’m very happy with it.  It’s sitting on my dining room table and it makes me happy every time I see it.


George has stayed with us again.  I like this Instagram pic of him.  Relaxed and happy looking plugged into his tablet.


Another picture I snapped with my iPhone.  This time during a game of good old-fashioned draughts we played together.  We played a bit of Scrabble too.  That set of draughts is what you might call vintage now.  I’ve had it since well before I got married. 


I habitually peep my head between the curtains to look at the night sky before I get ready for bed.  This particular night the snow had begun to fall and everywhere looked so calm and peaceful I decided to capture the scene for posterity.  And with that I’ll sign off.