Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Stourhead Wildlife

Last night I had difficulty getting to sleep but still got up close to our usual time so I am finding myself quite sleepy tonight.  We are also off for a bit quite early tomorrow so I'm going to take the easy way out tonight and entertain you with some "Wildlife" from Stourhead (which appears to have gotten misplaced in this chronicle - oh well, I'll try to put that to rights next week).

A swan and her cygnets.

These are coots.  The one on the log is a juvenile.

A closer look.

Probably my favorite photo of waterbirds that I've ever taken.  Click on the photo, then look very carefully at the left-hand side - that's the female coot diving for a bit of bread.  Can you see her?  Her feet are near the surface, her body is stretched out all the way down where she has the bread in her beak.

Mallards, ho-hum - they seem rather bored, too.

Sleep well!

Monday, June 23, 2014

England: Hidcote

Today I really mean to show you photos with minimal comment.  Okay, let's see how this goes:

Wisteria engulfing wooden structure.

Rose on a brick wall.

Mahonia?  Hidcote ( a private estate) had no labels so I'm guessing on this one.

Larch offering its cones.

The larch itself.

Steps - wonderful steps!

My only successful (all things being relative) photograph of a blue poppy.

Hmmm . . . could that be another waterfall?

All right.  How many of you have come across the term "ha-ha" in your books?  You know, "They strolled out to the ha-ha to continue their conversation."  You are looking at a "ha-ha".  Where is it, you ask?  Well, that's the whole point, you see.  Or rather you don't see!  Basically the land appears to be level as far as you can see, but it isn't.  

If you were to walk up to where the sheep seem to be, you'd fall over the edge.

There is a retaining wall where you would be standing and a couple of feet down the sheep are grazing.  They can't get up and run all around eating everything in sight, but the lords of the manor have a wonderfully bucolic view to enjoy.  Why the name?  We were told the theory is that one would walk up to the edge, see the wall, and exclaim, "Ha-ha!"   Well, it makes a good story.  And according to www.dictionary.com :


2 [hah-hah] 

1705–15;  < French haha  repetitive compound based on ha!  exclamation of surprise

Columbine and single peony - great color combination.

I have no idea what it is although it looks like a type of Mayapple.  I'll call it "Leopard Leaf".

A bower in the making.

A great alley between London plane trees (a type of sycamore), I believe.

I don't know what it is, but it has a super trunk and suitably weepy branches/foliage.


Pink poppy.

Purple and white wisteria seen through a mossy tree.

Type of fuchsia.  Breathtaking.

Okay, these are simply funny.  I wanted to get a photo of the wall and the building behind it (by the way, the gate is painted "Hidcote blue").  Guess what pictures my brother and sister-in-law were interested in?  I think the three of us must have looked like cartoon characters all pointing their cameras in different directions!

Then I decide to try a close-up . . . great hat, brother mine!  No fear, I did get the photo I wanted.

Love this photo.

And a really puuuurrrrrrple iris (like the paint commercial).

Just a lovely view to end today with.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Towns in the Cotswolds

One of these days all the towns and gardens we visited and when we visited them will get glued into my brain in the proper order with the proper names.  I continue to post photographs in chronological order (at least the photos are dated, thank goodness!), but while I am writing about them, I forget what comes next.  That's the reason I keep promising to write about something specific the next day and then never get around to it.

Today's entry is on two towns in the Cotswolds and Cheltenham is the first.  We were offered a choice of Gloucestershire or Cheltenham.  Although we had had a brief stop there before, this was to be a longer visit, and I knew there was a fabric shop so . . . I caved in to my baser self and went shopping in Cheltenham. 

The English  fabric shops seem to be more crafts shops like JoAnns than our quilt shops (except there was one that sold upholstery material only in town which I passed by).  I bought some fat quarters in the first shop we stopped in, but they didn't have much else that interested me. 

  This one had some fabrics that I did like and of which I bought half-meter (half-yard) pieces.

Here there were lots of notions which I passed up because I saw some pretties farther on in the shop.

Here is D's hand sorting through a bin that caught my eye; he was helping me find specific colors.

Here's my handful of - well, genuine Lucite(?) baubles I purchased for my Dianne Hire quilt.  They were the only things that were actually inexpensive, and I wish I had bought many more!


There were ribbons . . .

and beautiful, but pricey buttons . . .

and still more buttons!

Then there was yarn from which I resolutely stayed away.  But my friend Carol found a super sweater pattern and wool yarn in scrumptious shades of green with hints of brown (I talked her out of a black with slubs of white yarn - very nice but no where near as special as the green).  She started the sweater that day and by the time we left to go home, she had the back finished and was working on the sleeves!  It's another photograph I wish I had taken but did not - Carol on the bus knitting her sweater.

Clearly the owner likes these baubles, too!

As we left the fabric shop with our goodies, we passed this good-looking pub up -

and went to this one, instead.  Sigh.  D really does like to get the local flavor. This one was so local that . .  . 

he had to take me to a tea shop for tea and a muffin to make up for it!

The second town is one whose name I cannot for the life of me remember.  So if any of you who were on the trip are reading this and remember, please clue me in. It is a truly lovely village!  I'll let you enjoy the photos without my constant chatter.

There will be doors . . .

and windows, though.

Brother D and sister-in-law across the street.

Brother D relaxing.

Chimney pots and roofs.

A pub - no, we didn't stop in.  It was too up-scale for my D, and I think it was about 10:00 a.m.

Huge and beautiful larch -

Larches hold their cones up for all to see.

Tomorrow, if I have this right this time, we're off to Hidcote!