Sunday, 2 December 2012

Shorter Days and Longer Nights

  Waterloo Lake, Roundhay Park


Long hours of rain, the sun setting by 4pm and waking up to the cold and dark are all signs of winter which usually brings on the winter blues.  We have fared better than many parts of the UK who have been hit by floods and not for the first time this year.   The weather remains cold but bright with blue skies and I have even spotted the odd poppy and rose daring to put on a display.  I planted Iris Sunrise bulbs; some in a pot for a payback scheme to my gardening club and some in my garden.

The Good, Bad and the Ugly

I attended the Bar mitzvah of my friend’s grandson.  A lovely celebration and Sam sang his piece beautifully.  
Unfortunately, I have been to a few funerals lately, and this week was the consecration of the gravestone of my late brother-in-law who died very suddenly in January.  I feel he would have appreciated the large numbers of family and friends who attended and even the congenial atmosphere at the gathering afterwards.
My laptop developed a horrific virus which took the form of a police notice with my photo, taken through my webcam, demanding a fine to be paid by PayPal to be able to use it.  I felt as if someone had invaded my personal space, never mind the cost of having it removed.
Out and About
A trip to Harlow Carr Gardens at Harrogate reminded us of the contrast of the seasons,

 The grasses still add interest

 The Winter Walk

Listened to an interesting talk on Cedric Morris (1889-1982) Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris, 9th Baronet was a British artist, art teacher and plantsman. He was born in Swansea but worked mainly in East Anglia. As an artist he is best known for his portraits, flower paintings and landscapes. Wikipedia

Had a run out to Ripon,  where I had a bowl of  Beetroot and Parsnip Soup for lunch at Booth’s.  The soup was raspberry coloured and tasted delicious.  Just the job for a cold, miserable day.

 The Town Hall, Ripon

I had a meeting at Cannon Hall in Barnsley and have made a mental note to return here next year when the gardens can be fully appreciated.   The Hall, which is also a museum, stands in 70 acres of rolling parkland and gardens.   There are splendid original features in the hall and an exhibition of Moorcroft pottery. 

A school party were cooking in the Victorian kitchen. You can also visit the Farm, the Farm shop and Garden Centre. Admission is free to all venues except for the farm, but parking fees must be paid.

 You can get versions for children too
As I arrived early, I had a cup of tea at the Pavilion Cafe, next to the car park.   The waitress was friendly and knew everyone by name.  The decor was interesting and the tablecloths were maps of world. 
After the meeting, I had the opportunity to see more of the grounds


 The view from the Hall

For almost 300 years Cannon Hall was home to the Spencer-Stanhope family who made their fortune in the local iron industry. In the 1790’s the architect John Carr of York enlarged the hall and redesigned the interior. The hall also houses ‘Charge’, the Regimental Museum of the 13th/18th Royal Hussars, Queen Mary’s Own and the Light Dragoons, it illustrates the part played by the regiment in many major battles such as the Charge of the Light Brigade and includes memorabilia dedicated to Lord Baden Powell.

 Part of the walled garden

 View from the walled garden

The historic walled garden dates from the 1760s and an annual event in September celebrates the pear trees, which were first grown here in the early eighteenth century.The Pear Tree collection is one of the most extensive in the North of England and has over 40 varieties.  One of the greenhouses is home to the 200 year old Cannon Hall vine, which was grown from a seed brought back by John Spencer-Stanhope from the continent in 1802. A cutting of the vine was exported to Australia, cultivated, and its descendants produce today’s fine Australian wines.

Watched:  Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris at the local Arts Centre; had me smiling throughout.  On TV I’m a huge fan The Killing III (Danish  version) and The Hour.

Written:  A short dialogue The Birthday Party for local radio and a short story which is, as yet, unfinished.  I can proudly wear my badge for achieving the Write1Sub1 challenge for November!  Another month will complete the year.  I am considering upping my production rate for 2013.
Thanks to all of you who advised me on whether, when writing, you can mix 1st person with 3rd person.  The jury is still out.
Reading:  Just finished Painting by Numbers by Sally Patricia Gardner and can recommend it.

Healthy Writers Group

Ashamed to report that apart from my weekly Pilates session I have not managed any sort of exercise regime – and it’s showing.




  1. I love your photos and descriptions; they transport me to another place with just a tinge of envy. Thank you for sharing.

    And AUGHG at computer viruses. They both frustrate me and alarm me a bit, especially when they're that personally invasive!

  2. I've never been to Harlow Carr - looks well worth a visit.

  3. That looks fab. I can almost taste the parsnip and beetroot soup. Thanks for the snapshot.

  4. Your pictures are amazing. Your virus infection, on the other hand, sounds absolutely atrocious and mind-bending. I'm so sorry.

    Congrats on reaching your W1S1 goals in November though.

    Rhonda Parrish


Six on Saturday - “Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle" Barbara Winkler

“Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle … a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining...