Sunday 31 January 2010

Sunny Sunday in Barnsley

With not a lot of time to spare today, and even less money, we decided to take ourselves off for a walk around the park at Cannon Hall near Barnsley.

Cannon Hall is situated in the picturesque village of Cawthorne, and the house itself is a pretty little museum - however it wasn't open today. My favourite part of the house, is its Victorian Kitchens, but these were not open either. I think that it opens around Easter time. It is set in acres of beautiful parkland. We parked behind the hall - in the car park used for the family farm (which is excellent if you have small children). It cost us £2.50 to park, but then found £3.01 on the floor near our car!! So we were 51p up on the day - until we visited one of the many superb cafe's in the site (sooooo many to choose from and all great). I can highly recommend the "Pavillion" tea room in the main car park - they even provide you with blankets if you want to sit outside! The Raspberry and Rhubarb frangipan cake was to die for.
This is where the Spencer - Stanhope family used to grow their famous Pineapples - you didn't know Barnsley was famous for its Pineapple growing did you! Apparently, they were in such demand at dinner parties, that they used to hire them out! I wonder if they used to come back with chunks missing out of them?

They always have a very colourful display in the greenhouse.

I could only peep through the garden gate into the walled garden - again, this is open around Easter I think. The museum and gardens are free of charge usually.

We strolled around the gardens,

and walked alongside the river which was teeming with birds - mainly Geese and Gulls all having a Sunday nap.

The site features ample parking, plenty of choices for places to eat, a farm, play area's for kids, museum, garden centre, farm shop, gardens, lots of places to roam - its a perfect day out actually. The village boasts a lovely pub and a restaurant too. Another fantastic tourist spot on my doorstep.
The only fault we could find with this wonderful walk was the smell of the Roast Beef and Yorkshire puddings wafting from the farm cafe - made us so hungry!
We have decided to put the cash that we found in a jar, and we are all going to keep our eyes peeled throughout the year, and see how much we can find. Anybody fancy a competition?

Saturday 30 January 2010

Stroll with me.........

around Clumber Park. This morning was a perfect cold but very crisp morning, so the young man and I took off for a stroll.

We walked all way around the lake. Last year, the lake had sprung a leak caused by mining subsidence. How do you find a leak in a lake? and how do you start to repair it?
There was still much evidence of frost in places where the sun hadn't reached.
I love all the beautiful estate houses in the park. The sky was a perfect blue, but there was a very very cold wind blowing. The young man wondered how cold it had to get before it froze your eyeballs!

The birds on the lake were making a real racket!! I don't know what got them so excited.

We stopped and watched the dancing water in the cascade.

The dead trees make spectacular statues.
Whilst the still living trees make music with the wind blowing through them.

A few people asked me what the shrub in my previous post was. It is called Christmas Box or Sweet Box. It has the most amazing fragrance which is really unusual for plants this time of the year.
And finally - I have another claim to fame. For anyone who has just finished watching Celebrity Big Brother - I was once kicked by Vinnie Jones! It was in "Josephines " nightclub in Sheffield in the early 90's and he was dancing behind me in a very exuberant manner! There was I, minding my own business, dancing round my handbag, when I felt a very quick kick to the shin!! He never apologised either.

Monday 25 January 2010

Family life

Like most families with teenage kids, we find ourselves enjoy different hobbies and interests. And whilst we all still very much enjoy each others company, there are times when we indulge in our different interests. Hubby and the young man are nuts about sport, but the dancing queen and I are not so keen. So on Saturday, whilst DQ was working at her Saturday job, Hubby and the young man took themselves off to watch their team win 2-1 - a rarity this season!

whilst I looked for my own green shoots of recovery in the garden. The garden needed a lot of tidying up and cutting back and I had a great time - although my hands and arms look as if I "self harm" now!!
These 2 beauties are from what I grandly call my "winter border"

Then on Sunday, whilst the dancing Queen danced all day, and the young man enjoyed a preview weekend of a sports channel on Freeview TV, hubby and I squeezed in a little walk around the garden centre.
The best bit for me though, was when we all met up at 4pm at the "all you can eat" Chinese Buffett, before we headed out to watch the Sheffield Steelers Ice Hockey team (who unfortunately lost 5-2 to Hull), because we were all back together again, listening to the kids laughing and chattering away to each other. I like us to all do our own thing, but I do love it when we are all together.

I hope you enjoyed your weekend.

Monday 18 January 2010

There's no such thing as a free lunch!

So on Saturday night, hubby suggested that on Sunday, we ought to go out for Sunday lunch. Did I fancy it? Well yes, if someone else is going to do the cooking, count me in! So, do we do what normal people do and don our Sunday best and drive out to a nice country pub? Not quite. Instead, we put on our walking gear and park 3 miles away from the pub and trudge over moors, finding the only snow left in South Yorkshire!
We walked from the Norfolk Arms at Ringinglow, to the Fox House at Longshaw. A walk with superb views and a decent pub at each end. We left Sheffield bathing in sunlight in the valley below.

Nearly every one of the pines at the edge of the forest had been broken by the weight of the snow.
It really is spectacular but very bleak across this moor. It was hard walking as the snow was really deep in parts, and where it had melted and then froze again, the ice was like a Glacier!!!

After 3 hard miles, Roast Beef and all the trimmings and a couple of halves of "Black Sheep" went down a treat! However, all I wanted to do after that was curl up in front of the roaring log fire and snooze, so the 3 mile back to the car was even harder going!!

I felt marvellous and full of fresh air afterwards though. Well worth the trudge.
So what did I make on Saturday afternoon then? (Serious crafters please look away now!!)
I save all the cards that we receive over the year. I hate to just throw them away as some of them are really lovely and cards cost a fortune in the shops these days. I wait until a dreary day in January, then set about cutting, glueing and sticking, and make all the cards I am going to need for this year.
As you can see I am a messy worker!
I use 3d sticky pads and a few other embellishments. Ive now made all my Christmas cards for this year - and all the tags too! (Its the Virgo in me!)

And Ive also made lots of birthday cards for the coming year too.

Well it stops me from getting bored. xx

Saturday 16 January 2010

Clifton Park Museum

I have confessed before to being guilty of not visiting "attractions " that are on my doorstep, and one thing that bad weather makes you do is stick around home a bit more. Between Christmas and New Year, Hubby, the young man and myself found ourselves with a couple of hours spare, and not wanting to hit the shops, decided to visit Clifton Park Museum in Rotherham. Rotherham does not have a lot going for it at the moment which is a great shame as it has a very pretty little town centre, but the building of 2 huge shopping malls/out of town retails parks very close by has resulted in the town centre being left for dead. The museum had always looked a bit uninspiring, but we decided to give it a try and I was very pleasantly surprised.

Firstly, I loved the house and the history surrounding it. It was built in 1783 for the Walker family who were industrialists - iron and steel. When they built the house and landscaped the surrounding parkland, it was well away from the town centre, but the town centre rapidly grew - leaving the house and park like a goldfish bowl.

I am currently finding "The Industrial Revolution" is one of my favorite bits in history. I think it is amazing to see and read about the grandeur that these industrialists lived in, whilst the working classes who made them their wealth struggled to survive.
As well as the story of the house and the history of the town, there are lots of interesting relics to see. I think Mr Bear is loved by visiting kids.

There are also lots of pieces from the very famous Rockingham Pottery. The kiln at the pottery in nearby Swinton still exists - I'll have to have a walk and take some photos for you. This is called "The Rhinoceros Vase". The only other one is in the V& A in London - I was quite amazed by this!

More gorgeous Rockingham Pottery
If you are local, I would say that Clifton Park Museum is well worth a visit of a wet weekend afternoon - and it is also very child friendly.
I am still continuing with my walking "from" work - I'm not going to walk to work until the mornings get a bit lighter. I managed twice again this week - in very unfavourable conditions and still enjoyed it! I think I will love it once the weather is nicer and conditions under foot improve.
Ive had a morning at "Hobby Craft", so I am off to create now - I'll show you what Ive been getting up to later.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Not a snow flake in sight!

I was tagged by HenHouse and also by Joanne to show you my favourite photo. So I had a flick through my last years photos, and I stopped when I got to this one. The photo quality is not brilliant, but its the emotion that it evokes for me (and possibly for Claire I bet too!). The view is of Porthmeor beach in St Ives Cornwall, as taken from outside of my tent, just as the sun starts to set and illuminate the town. If I am not actually on Porthmeor beach, saluting the sunset, then I am to be found sat outside of my tent, after a hard day on the beach, with a glass of vino collapso in hand, contemplating on just how good life is.

Penny also asked us to list 10 things we like that are FREE. Off the top of my head these are currently:

1. Mornings where I don't have to use the alarm clock to get up!
2. Family film night in - getting rarer these days as they both have busy social lives, and following on from this,
3. Laughing at my kids when they laugh uncontrollably at something they find funny on tv or in a film (usually a rude word in the case of the Young Man!)
4. A long walk somewhere beautiful or interesting.
5. A snog with my hubby - best kisser in the world
6. Days when it is so hot I never move out of my back garden
7. Spotting shapes in the clouds
8. Flicking through a pile of gardening magazines that my lovely neighbour thought I might like as she was throwing them out! (Remember the pile I liberated from her recycling pile? Well she just passes them all on to me now!)
9. Looking back through old photos - especially of when the kids were little - time flys so fast!
10. Blogging and reading all your blogs.

Feel free to pick up either of these tags as I don't want to burden anyone, but would love to know more about you.

Saturday 9 January 2010

Busy Fingers.

Just after Christmas, I received a parcel from Bumble Bee cottage in Guernsey. Gillian had struggled to get willing participants for her Pay It Forward gifts, so she asked if I would be a willing recipient. She sent me a box of gorgeous Guernsey toffee's and some sweet Christmas cards that I shall be sending to special people next year. Thank you Gillian - I had forgotten that I had volunteered and it came as a lovely surprise!. I wont be asking for volunteers to carry the PIF on again, as I have done this already, but I will be sending gifts to 3 unsuspecting people - but if you receive one, you are not expected to continue the PIF. I have already sent a parcel to Michela - you can read all about this here (as I didn't photograph it before I sent it!!)

I have been busy knitting a neck warmer (appropriately!!). I loved the colour of this wool. It reminds me of the colour of the sea at Porthcurno in Cornwall. One of my bloggy friends will find this landing on her doormat hopefully this week. I'm not going to say who as it will spoil the surprise. I have one more gift to make and send now.
Ive also been busy crocheting a push chair blanket. I see some lovely colour combinations for crochet on your blogs, but I seem to be stuck in a nautical colour themed rut. I need to be more experimental.

My conservatory floral display is keeping a smile on my face. I planted the paperwhites early November. They grew this tall in about 3 weeks which was encouraging, but they seem to have stopped growing altogether now! Can't wait for the Hyacinths to bloom.
Ive discovered another hazard to walking home in the snow. I walked on the edge of a small town last night as it was dark and I thought it would be safer (although longer) I had to walk on the pavement as it was fairly busy with traffic. I looked up to see the most dangerous looking icicles hanging from the guttering of the houses! Scarey!

Thursday 7 January 2010

As cold as Bastogne

My hubby loves anything to do with World War 2, and one of his favorite programs is the excellent "Band of Brothers". My title refers to the episode in which "Easy Company" are in Bastogne in Belgium mid battle, in foxholes in the forest in freezing cold temperatures with little or no medical supplies and totally inadequate clothing. At the end of the episode, one of the American soldiers who actually fought in the battle explains that whenever it is really really cold, he says to his wife that it is " As cold as Bastogne". It is one of the most tense pieces of television that I have ever seen. This morning, in South Yorkshire, it was as cold as Bastogne.

My New Years Resolution for 2010 (as every year) is to lose 2 stone, except this year, I really am setting goals in order to achieve this. One thing I plan on doing, is walking home from work (about a 2 hour walk - it takes 15 mins in the car!!) as often as possible. In order to do this, I have to get a lift there in the morning (but I think in Summer, I may walk both ways.). The main problem is that all the routes are either on a very busy dual carriageway (with no pavement - suicide!!) or through very lonely lanes and woods - so I have to do this when hubby can walk to meet me (it only takes him 1 hour 5 mins - he has very long legs and mine are very short).
On Monday, before the huge snowfall, we did the walk. Come along with me.

As you can see it was a great afternoon. One walk takes me past this church.

With its lovely Lych Gate. The Church is in a very remote spot. I suppose it wasn't always so. Several of my very ancient relatives are buried here (according to my mother) but they have no headstones as they were a very poor bunch. I'll have to get to have a look at the records one day.
As we neared home, the sky was a very striking shade of pink.

I thought this photo of the lane that we walked down illustrates how deceptive blogland can be. Who wouldn't want to live in this gorgeous little cottage with its smoking chimney and delightful garden? Well me, I wouldn't live here if you paid me. Why? I couldn't get a decent picture to illustrate this, but the M1 runs straight through its back garden! About 50 yards from the house. Whilst it may look idyllic, the noise is incredible.

One thing I am making the most of, is my precious slow cooker. On Monday, I left a piece of rolled Brisket cooking away all day. Today it was Chilli. Great for me, as I am at work slaving over a hot computer all day, but torturous for anyone left in the house with the delicious smells wafting around.

I did also walk home yesterday - a different way, but no photos as I was concentrating on staying upright - the snow was up to my knees!! I am really enjoying not using the car.

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Bus Stop Grafitti

I think that this is one of the best pieces of "art" that I have ever seen. These 2 large snowballs were in the bus stop in my village 1st thing this morning as I travelled to work (yep, I had to go in today!)

How utterley fabulous are they!

Tuesday 5 January 2010

The Full Monty

The film location featured in the previous post (for Michela's benefit as I presume most of you Brit Bloggers have seen it) was of course "The Full Monty" one of the funniest yet saddest films of our time and filmed entirely on location in Sheffield. It was the location of the "car in the canal" scene. Did you get it?

I am having problems leaving some of you bloggers messages - currently Sarah Jane Down the Lane is causing me trouble!!! Ive found in the past its when you add too many bits of "stuff"/ add ons on your blogs.

We are having a HUGE snowfall currently which has trapped the Heart Shaped family in the house - I did attempt to walk to work, but my boss called me and told me to turn back!

Sunday 3 January 2010

A City Walk

Hubby and I discovered this walk a few years ago when we dropped the kids off at the cinema and decided to walk from Attercliffe (a suburb of Sheffield ) into the city centre itself, along the canal towpath. Now this walk is littered along the way with hazards - litter being one of them ironically!! and its certainly not pretty for most of the way, but I think it is a really interesting walk. Tell me what you think.
The Sheffield and Tinsley Canal was opened in 1814 to carry boats to the city centre from the navigable bit of the river Don. Its only about 7 miles long and in its hey day, before the railway came along. It has several industrial looking, but pretty bridges along the towpath.

It also features a very famous film set. Can anybody guess which film this stretch of the canal featured in? If you need a further clue, try here.
The canal was totally frozen over from start to finish. Once in the city centre, the canal turns into a huge basin called Victoria Quays. I don't know what this building used to be, I'll have to do some digging.

The basin is home to lots of houseboats that are actually lived in, a couple of houseboat hotels and a couple of pleasure boats that are for private hire. The whole area fell into decay and disrepair in the 1970's, but it got a fabulous makeover in the early 1990's. They have turned some of the buildings into apartments, but they have left many of the original features in place. It really is a fantastic site, and I think they should really do more with it.

This is "The Straddle" - a warehouse that straddled the canal.

This is part of the "Grain Store" - if you peep in, you can see the massive hoppers that held the grain. Grain was brought to Sheffield as we had big bakeries and also several really large Breweries - sadly all gone. I say sadly, but when I was little. I hated this part of Sheffield because of the smell - it used to smell like "school dinner carrots"!!! It was the hops from the nearby brewery.

This is "Merchants Crescent" and was for the Coal Merchants - this pretty row is now used as offices.
I loved the old clock.
Once in Sheffield, you can cross the road and walk beck up to Attercliffe via the "5 Weirs walk" along the industrial river Don - obviously not navigable at this stage, because of the weirs. Modern bridges have been built so that you can walk alongside - and even over the river at this point. Can you see what is hanging over the bridge, under the railway arch?

A huge stainless steel spider. There were 3 of these.

A bit further up river is an area called "Salmon Pastures". Before the river was heavily polluted by the Steel Works, salmon were very common apparently. These days, there is no heavy industry alongside the river, and fish are now returning here. I don't think any salmon have been spotted yet though. I remember on a tour of the Steel Works museum being told that they pumped hundreds of gallons of Arsenic into the Don in the early days. There was an old saying that if you fell into the Don, you would be killed by pollution before you drowned!
At Salmon Pastures, the old Stone plaque from the school remains.

One of the weirs is Sanderson Weir. It was constructed in 1580 by the Earl of Shrewsbury who was the husband of Bess of Hardwick. He constructed it to power the production of Iron products (I think).

I looked back down the river as the sun was setting, a bit prematurely because of the snow cloud that was approaching.

You can't beat a walk immersed in industrial history on a cold but clear winters day.