24 May 2010

Castles and Halls

Last Saturday David and I were out and about again, trolling off down the M1 to Hardwick Hall, near Chesterfied, Derbyshire.  This was once the home of Bess of Hardwick, quite a character in Elizabethan times.  She was married 4 times, had 8 children, though 6 survived and amassed quite a wealth.  She had one Hall built but it was too small, then had another built near the first one just 3 years later.  Over the years the old hall was dismantled so only the remains are standing, but it does make the building more interesting.  We then went and explored the new hall and there was quite a bit to see.

We think that she saw herself a bit like royalty as the Great Hall has two throne like chairs at the end so she could receive visitors!  There are numerous woven tapestries that are in need of renovation, some of which were a collection which she purchased from the son of a gentleman that died to pay his debts.  When she found it had his coat of arms, she bargained for a discount.  So here are a few pics of Hardwick Hall, most of them will be on my facebook page.

Top is an actress depicting Bess of Hardwick, telling her story.  Second is the old Hall.  Third is the new Hall looking from ruins of the old.  The bottom photo there are 3 ladies dressed in Elizabethan dress which they made themselves from authentic patterns.

And castles?
When I was in Christchurch, the nearby village of Highcliffe has a castle which I went to visit one afternoon.  Having been built by the 3rd Earl of Bute it had a chequered history and once was resided by Gordon Selfridge, founder to Selfridges department store.  There was fire damage in the 80s and this was in a sorry state, but in recent years it has and continues to be restored.  I went there to see a textile exhibition, a few pics of which are on Maggie Grey's blog, as she is one of the exhibitors but unfortunately it didn't allow photography.  However I can share some photos of the Castle itself and it's view to the Isle of Wight.

Top is the stained glass window in the great hall. Next is a view out of the window ( I loved the design of that window and couldn't resist taking a photo. Thirdly the main entrance to the castle.  Bottom shows a very misty view between the trees out to the Isle of Wight, you can just see the Needles.

Just about catching up with my blog posts and I am sewing.  Will have something to show soon, promise.

22 May 2010

Still catching up....

Since I returned from Christchurch, I've made one postcard which I should have done before I went down there but just plain run out of time.  It is sometimes difficult to fit things in when I work full time, but do my best.  So here is a photo of a birthday postcard for another Sue in the BQL Postcard Group. I hope that she received this ok as I haven't heard anything from her.

My Mum is doing very well after her operation and just less than four weeks she has now progressed to a walking stick from a zimmer frame so good progress indeed.  So well and truly on the mend.

On my way back to Hemsworth about halfway into my journey is The Bramble Patch, in Weedon, near Northampton, where I just had to buy some fabric (well you can't go to a quilt shop and not buy!).  I could not resist their Union Jack cushion kit, and Union Jack cushions are all the rage at present.

On my first day back in Yorkshire David and I went to the RHS garden in Harlow Carr, near Harrogate. Just a lovely place to wander.  It had a lovely display of tulips and a wonderful Alpine plant house, which I had to go and see twice.  I think I may go back again during the summer to see how the gardens are doing as the year progresses.  There are more photos on my facebook page, so go over and have a look, but here are just a few of the photos that I took.
The delightful show of tulips in one of the gardens.
 Some of the alpine plants, varieties of Sempervivum in the Alpine House.
This lovely angel sculpture was one of a number of metal sculptures around the garden.
There were some lovely potted displays around the Gardens Through the Ages display.

And this was also in the 1970's garden in the Gardens Through the Ages.

Today we went out again to Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire which was where Bess of Hardwick lived.  Fascinating history and will show pictures of that soon.

17 May 2010

It's been a while...

...since I last posted anything on my blog.  On 24 April I had news from my sister that our Mum had a fall and was taken to hospital in Poole.  My sister whizzed down south from Slough and stayed down in Christchurch with our dad whilst Mum had an emergency hip operation and recovered in hospital.  She was bought home on 1st May.  Wendy stayed that first week, then I took 2 weeks off work and went down to stay with them.  Now this week I'm back up North and back to work whilst Wendy sees to things in Christchurch for a fourth week.   Fortunately Mum is recovering very well and at this point can do a lot for herself now and we're pleased with how things are going.

So here are some pics of what I've been up to before going down south.  When I got the call about Mum, David and I went to Sheffield for the day forgetting about the World Snooker tournament that was taking place at the Crucible Theatre.  When getting to the square where the Crucible is there were loads of people standing and staring at the match taking place on the giant screen outside the theatre.  I was the match with Steve Davis versus John Higgins.  I was more fascinated by the topiaries either side of the entrance of snooker player and table!

Opposite the theatre, in the Winter Gardens where there were snooker related events taking place, I saw a couple of small sculptures amongst the greenery there.  This colourful rhinoceros  and also a small waterfall created by the steel flower with petals that drooped when full of water.

I did managed some postcards before I went away and posted them off to the Teenage Cancer Trust (see my last post) in all I've sent 10 postcards to them and they'll be sold before the end of the month.