Nottingham

Jo’s Monday walk : Wollaton Hall

Just one more beautiful piece of English Heritage, before I move on.  I’ve jumped counties this week, to Nottinghamshire and an Elizabethan country house, Wollaton Hall, dating from the 1580s.  The sturdy old entrance gate looks anything but welcoming but, beyond it, 500 acres of parkland wrap gently around this elegant house on a hill.  Lime Tree Walk sweeps gracefully upwards, but I’m diverted by the activity down at the lake.

An aloof swan or two, some cheerful coots and a waddle of ducks glide around the lemon and white water lilies, on a well nigh perfect summer’s day.  The lake, just big enough to consume an icecream as you walk around it.

The park is also home to herds of Red and Fallow deer, some of whom astonished me by treading nonchalantly across the adjacent golf course.  It must be a common occurrence, for the golfers appeared unperturbed.

There are formal gardens too, out of reach of the deer, but Wollaton is best known as Nottingham’s Natural History Museum.  I’m really not fond of stuffed animals, but had to venture inside the hall out of curiosity.  I was glad I did.  In parts it was very beautiful.

It being the summer holidays, the hall was full of distractions for children.  My daughter, long past childhood but a child at heart, still likes to twirl a bat cape alongside Bruce Wayne.  Batman Forever!  Wollaton regularly hosts events, and has been used as a film set on several occasions, understandably looking at this staircase.  There appeared to be dinosaurs in residence, too.

I was interested to read of the behind the scenes tours available at the house,  including a ‘descent to the depths’ to discover the Tudor Kitchen and the Admiral’s Bath!  I averted my eyes from much of the taxidermy, but stopped to read Len’s story, and some history of the hall.

You can also access the roof for a closer look at the Pavilion Towers.  Or how about a Bat Walk, or ghost tour?  There have to be a few skeletons in the cupboards around here, wouldn’t you think?

We had some ace cake eaters in our company that day.  Sampling is a public service, after all.  Fortunately standards were met in the Courtyard.

Within the courtyard I also found something quite fascinating- an ancient knitting machine, on loan from the Framework Knitters Museum at Ruddington.  All in all, a very satisfying afternoon out.

And there you have it!  A bundle of very happy memories from an English summer.

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Time to share this week’s walks.  You have to admit, there’s variety here.  And if you want to add something of your own, you know where to find me.  Jo’s Monday walk explains it all.  Join me here any time.

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Let’s start with Debbie.  I remember this place as being wonderfully atmospheric :

A dawdle down under – In Liverpool

What is it about Cornwall that makes its gardens so beautiful?  Jude might know :

Heligan

More colourful characters from Janet this week :

Jo’s Monday walk…going to the dogs

Wonder what Jackie’s been eating?

Road Grill

Stroll round ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’ with Lady Lee :

Nishiki Market

Irene takes us to a beautiful place :

Along the Shores

Step by step, Cathy crosses Northern Spain, meeting a few characters along the way :

(Camino day 34) Astorga to Rabanal del Camino

And I made a new acquaintance in Marsi.  The views are stupendous, but you need to be fit!

Smith Rock State Park: Oregon’s Rock climbing Mecca & Dreamy Day hike destination

I’ve been back in the Algarve for 3 weeks now, settling into a rhythm of sorts.  I hope you’ll hang around to enjoy it with me.  Take care, all!

Relaxing in Nottingham

Behold, Alan Sillitoe!

Tempting though it is to share relaxing, riverside images of Tavira, I thought I’d indulge in a little tram spotting in Nottingham instead.  Now, I know tram spotting isn’t everybody’s idea of relaxation, but I’m reluctant to let go of time spent with my daughter.  And the wine bar that was our first port of call (That gives a terrible impression, doesn’t it?  But probably the correct one 🙂 ) was conveniently located, right beside the tramlines.

We had already debated the ‘Pitcher and Piano’, a favourite venue, inside that church that you’re looking at, but opted instead for a sunny corner to catch up on life.  I’ve always loved trams and Lisa humoured me, as I bobbed up and down to read the names.  The trams are named after local heroes of past or present.  Robin Hood, of course.  Brian Clough and Rebecca Adlington from the sports world.  Lord Byron and his daughter Ada Lovelace.  D.H. Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe.  All spotted, and more besides.  My one regret, I didn’t see Torvill and Dean!

Nottingham is never short of quirky in any respect, and as we ambled the streets towards home I recorded a few random impressions.  Mosaic seemed to be big news in Sherwood, a very crafty area.

And just for those people who think I exist on cake, we did manage some nourishment, along with the wine.

I had a lovely, relaxing time in Nottingham.  No cooking, no cleaning, wonderful company!  The Sunday morning of my return home, I suggested brunch as a treat on the way into town.  The food was great, but we did wonder why the place was so busy.

It’s Amy’s turn to host the Lens Artists Photo Challenge this week.  I hope she won’t mind my rather frivolous version of Time to Relax.

Six word Saturday

As transient as a reflected image

I hate goodbyes.  The weekend in Nottingham with my daughter came and went all too swiftly. Transient, you might say.  As she returned to work, I took one last disconsolate stroll by the canal.

Share your six words this Saturday?  Debbie will be pleased to see you.  Or you might want to try the Weekly Photo Challenge. There’s still time.

Vision of loveliness

Where better to have a vision than in a church?  But this is no ordinary church.  The Pitcher and Piano in Nottingham is a deconsecrated Unitarian church, saved from dereliction in a rather spectacular fashion.

Meeting me from my bus journey on a balmy afternoon, my daughter proposed a refreshing drink.  To me, she was a vision of loveliness.  You could say that for our surroundings too.

Last week I was too excited at meeting my daughter to settle to a Thursday’s Special.  This week I’m home again, and able to share some of the magic.  The little girl in Paula’s Vision is beautiful too.

Jo’s Monday walk : Newstead Abbey

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Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire is the perfect setting for a Victorian period drama.  Yet I was unprepared for the small characters chattering excitedly in the grounds.  The Abbey itself, formerly the home of poet Lord Byron, was closed to visitors, but I had come seeking fresh air and a stroll in the lovely grounds. I had company, and naturally my daughter was fittingly dressed for the occasion. To the manor born, without a doubt.

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A long drive sweeps up to the house, thick with rhododendrons and camelia.  There are over 300 acres of parkland and gardens, and cars can park quite near to the house.  Let’s save a little energy and sashay straight into the gardens.  A former monastic residence, the priory dates back to 1274.  I showcased the house and the Byron connection on a previous visit (and got to meet Santa!) if you’d like to know more.

The Garden Lake swells out in front of the house, and you can walk all around it.  The lakes, ponds and cascades that ornament these gardens are fed by the River Leen.  Pass by the unappetisingly named Monk’s Stew Pond (probably once a fishpond for the monks) to delve into the Fernery.

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The grotto has an interior made from Derbyshire tufa, whilst some of the old carved stones used in the Fernery probably came from the ruins of the priory church.  Built into the wall with the alcove were terracotta stands, for the display of potted ferns.

Bright berries gleam from the foliage and a drift of lemon whispers its presence in among the shrubs.  For all that this is a garden in winter, there is no lack of interest.  The rolling hedges are clipped pleasingly to the eye.  It’s so easy to meander among them, beguiled by shapes and shadows.

The formal shapes of the Rose Garden and Small Walled Garden invite closer inspection.  Both were once part of a two and a half acre kitchen garden.  In heated glasshouses, now demolished, grapes, melons, peaches and winter cucumbers were grown.  Even in a mild December, roses were few, but I liked the quirky mesh gardeners who kept us company.

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A willow sculpture catches my eye, complete with bench.  Too late for THAT challenge, I’m afraid!

Behind the house, the Great Garden is a formal garden of terraced walks descending to a large rectangular pond.  Two swans splashed each other playfully, just out of range of my camera.  The adjacent French and Spanish gardens are among my favourites.  Every Spring in the 1830s and 40s the gardener laid fresh red and white sand, in intricate patterns, directly onto the soil in the French Garden.  It was affectionately known as the ’embroidery garden’.

The Boatswain’s Monument sits mournfully at the centre of the lawn, Byron’s tribute to his beloved Newfoundland dog.  The inscription speaks of ‘Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man without his vices’.

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Are you beginning to flag yet?  I believe the tearooms are open.  Muffins and gingerbread latte, before or after we tackle the lake?

The shadows are lengthening and there’s a hint of chill in the air.  Ominous clouds dot the sky so we won’t linger much longer.  It’s not the time of year to view the yellow water lily, wild angelica, water forget-me-not, corn mint and the many species that surround the Garden Lake, but it is still undeniably beautiful, don’t you think?

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The Japanese garden with its lovely cascades is looking a little bedraggled, but we can still cross the stepping stones to admire the lanterns.  There’s one more feature I’ve left deliberately till the end, and someone’s waiting there to say goodbye.  Accompany me to the waterfall?

The gift shop, with its pretty things, was calling to my daughter.  We lingered just a shade too long, and came out into a deluge of a different kind! Brollies aloft, we scurried to the car.  The day ended with a magical double rainbow and I felt truly blessed.  I hope you have enjoyed our company today. (and that of the children from Woodthorpe school)

The Newstead Abbey website includes a detailed garden tour, which you might like to follow, plus details of how to get there.

You may already know that Jude has chosen to abandon her benches.  Sigh!  The challenge has run for a highly successful year, but it’s time to move on.  My Winter garden, though not quite what she was hoping for, is my first contribution to the new challenge.  I’ll definitely have to be honing my skills (or trying!)  Her first post is a stunner, but I won’t spoil it for you.  Go and look!

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Meanwhile, it’s time to get the kettle on and share a few more walks.  I hope that all of you, walkers or not, have enjoyed their Christmas break. Many thanks for all your contributions but, more importantly, your friendship.  Join me whenever you like.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or the logo above.

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First, come beach combing with Drake on the lovely little Danish island, Samsø :

Stone-washed path

There’s a certain fascination about a lighthouse, isn’t there?

Cape Byron Lighthouse

Jackie was still ‘down Mexico way’, hopefully enjoying the sunshine :

El Quelite, Mazatlan

Let me introduce you to a Slovenian Girl abroad, in Switzerland.  Such pretty photos!

Zurich in December

And a lovely lady in another good-looking place.  Please welcome Mitza to my walks :

A walk through Hamburg in Winter

Debbie has found a nice little beach, somewhere you might not expect :

A Seaside Walk in Edinburgh

While Jaspa would have me galloping this week!

Best. Crossing. Ever!- Santiago, Chile

This next isn’t a walk, and might be better suited to Jude’s Garden challenge, but I want to share it with you, courtesy of Debra :

Huntington Botanical Gardens and El Nino Watch 2016 

Some people can just always be relied on!  Walk with Gilly.  She’s a sweetheart!

Another Quay Perspective 

Brisbane and the rainforest is my final destination.  Thanks Lee Ann!

Moran Falls – Sculpture by Nature

That’s it for now!  Breathes big sigh!  If I’m slow responding this week it’s because I have Polish family visiting for a few days (including a very special uncle) but normality (ha!) will be restored on Thursday.  Take care till then!

P.S  Those lovely ladies at Monday Escapes are back if you have 5 minutes to wish them Happy New Year.

 

Six word Saturday

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This pretty well sums it up

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Time spent with my daughter almost always involves cake and pretty things, and this week was no exception.  The shops were all a-twinkle and we gazed our fill.  A brisk walk through the park was rewarded with hot chocolate.  A shopping session required something a little more substantial.

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The Christmas market was fun but I never did find one of those angels.  I tried on a hat and thought about playing ‘hook a reindeer’, but I hung on to my Winter Pimms instead.  The Helter Skelter did look tempting though.

No doubt about it, Christmas has come to Nottingham.  I hope your preparations are going better than mine.  I have a naked Christmas tree in the corner.  Time to get my fairy out and find her some friends.  It won’t be quite so grand as this.

Just one more weekend to go.  Enjoy this one, and don’t forget to pop in on Cate with your six words.  See you on Monday, when we’ll get out for a walk together to blow all those cares away.  See you then!

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Jo’s Monday walk : Canalside in Nottingham

A faithful companion

A faithful companion

Nothing quite gladdens my heart like stepping out along a towpath on a sunny day.  Canalside people seem to me to be some of the friendliest in the world.  I hadn’t planned to walk along the canal at Nottingham, but I had a couple of hours to spare before meeting my daughter for lunch. The canal runs right by her office, and the sparkle of the water had me hooked before I knew it. Added to which, I couldn’t possibly get lost following a towpath! (my sense of direction being notoriously lacking)

There’s something really delightful about being in the heart of the city and yet totally removed from the hurly-burly and the bustle.  Come and walk with me, and we’ll leave our cares behind.

This was the scene that greeted me on the towpath

This was the scene that greeted me on the towpath

It was part of their morning routine to attend to the canal’s wildlife.  The young man was happy to chat while he fed the goslings.  The dog resisted its strong impulse to give chase.

Trams ran overhead

Trams run overhead

But I was more interested in the serenity beneath

But I was more interested in the serenity beneath

Nottingham Canal came into being in the 1790s as a means of carrying coal from the mines, which were scattered around the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire borders, into the city. Previously the coal had been hauled overland, or via the Erewash Canal and River Trent.  The new canal, which ran for a little under 15 miles, would more than halve both journey and cost.  But, with the advent of the railways and the increasing cost of tolls, the canal was no longer viable.

Following privatisation in 1947, almost any local authority who wanted it could have the land, with the result that much of the canal has been filled in and built over.  I was oblivious to this as I pursued my stroll along the canal.  The downstream section through the city centre, and connecting to the River Trent, remains in use.

Many buildings back onto the canal

Many buildings back onto the canal

While cyclists happily scoot past

Cyclists scoot happily past

The towpath is also part of Nottingham’s Big Track, a 10 mile cycle route which follows the canal from the railway station in Nottingham to Beeston locks, and returns via the Trent riverside path.

Bike track

Bike or walk?  You can choose

Ahead, the excitement of a lock!

Ahead, the excitement of a lock!

Castle Lock beckons

Castle Lock beckons

I don’t walk far before I’m having more encounters with the wildlife.  A coot is a little curious about me, but not sure if he wants to hang around.  Smart apartments line the canal at this point, and I’m rather surprised to come upon a heron, nonchalantly preening himself.  The young man with the dog catches me up and tells me that this is the heron’s regular haunt, seemingly oblivious to observers.

The canal twists and turns through the city.  Around the next bend I find a colourful narrowboat and pause to admire the painted canal ware displayed on deck.  A passerby stops to tell me that the boat sells beautiful things.  He thinks it must be moving on today as there are usually many more goods to see.  The owner pops his head out, and we chat about his next destination.

All manner of boats are tied up along the towpath, or come chugging towards me.  I’m looking out for Castle Meadow marina, where I hope I might find some breakfast.  As I approach a barman is putting umbrellas up to shade the outdoor tables.  When he smiles, I ask if he’s doing coffee.  “Not till 11” he says.  My face falls because it’s only 10.20am.  I hover, looking at the boats, and he takes pity on me.  I don’t push my luck and ask for toast, but it’s very pleasant sitting there, at the ‘Water’s Edge’.

You know that I couldn’t resist a wander among the boats before carrying on along the towpath, don’t you?  They’re all so colourful and individual.  Do you have a favourite?

I carry on, not sure how much further I should go because I have a lunch date.  There are some lovely canalside homes and even a boat builder’s yard.  Hawthorn tumbles from the trees and I take many more photos.

The blossom crowds the towpath

The blossom crowds the towpath

Jill looking beautiful in the boatyard

‘Jill’ looking beautiful in the boatyard

With sparkling Vermuyden for company

With sparkling Vermuyden for company

I turn back reluctantly, not sure how much further I could have followed the canal.  If you are interested in the history, this link will tell you a little more.  I joined the canal at Trent Road.

I’m sure some of you will have glazed eyes.  I just can’t help my fascination with boats, and for me it was a lovely respite from a sometimes stressful world.  Time now to put that kettle on and see what everyone else has to share.

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As always, if you click on my logo it’ll take you to the Jo’s Monday walk page, where I explain how to join me.  Thank you very much to all my contributors for keeping me so well entertained.  Your company is priceless.

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First up, it’s a little dainty stepping out in the desert with Drake this week :

Step’ing stone in the sand 

Tobias enjoys looking for the details :

A short walk around Luxemburgplatz

If you like walking, sometimes you just have to ignore the weather :

Lake District walks : Easdale Tarn

Or how about a pretty little village stroll, complete with clogs?

A bit of green 

Going from green to blue, with somewhere rather nice to sit :

A walk in the woods

Does anyone write a better ‘gardens’ post than Jude?  I don’t think so!

Garden Portrait : Trelissick

Let’s travel to Toronto with a newcomer next.  Please say hello!

Monday walks : Toronto Doors Open

A luscious cacti garden in Arizona next, and Amy’s first humming bird!

The Desert Botanical Garden

Geoff made the very most of a Bank Holiday Monday with…

A Blast on the Heath

Not so much a walk as … varoom- varoom!  A ride :

On the Grid at the Indy 500

Rosemay is ‘under the weather’ in Munich, but what a beautiful city!

A stroll in the Englischer Garten

And last, and totally fabulous- Gilly has us flirting with death on the cliff tops!

A Walk at Morte Point

Thank you so much, everyone!  Definitely living up to my name  this month- next weekend sees me in Norfolk, visiting with Polish family.  I hope to schedule a Monday walk, and I’ll be back Monday evening to chat with you.  Till then, have a wonderful week!