April’s Changing Seasons ~ Bleak With Bright Blooming Intervals

Here in Shropshire we’re back to wintery temperatures after last week’s four days of summer. The header photo was taken on Sunday up at the allotment – damson blossom against a stormy sky.

But despite the coolness, plant life seems to be thriving:

Out in the woods:

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In monochrome:

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As seen from Wenlock Edge and in the Shropshire Hills (on a hot day last Thursday):

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And out in the garden:

Who knows what will happen next:

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The Changing Seasons:  April 2018

Please visit Su to see her changing seasons over in New Zealand

My Town In Black & White

Cee’s current black and white challenge is store fronts and building signs, so I thought I’d give you a quick tour of Much Wenlock’s High Street and Square, starting with the Museum (once the Market Hall) and opposite The Guildhall built in 1540, and still a market place several days a week. Most of these images were shot in monochrome.

The town grew up around the early medieval priory, first catering for the many pilgrims, and then with the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, growing into a thriving manufacturing and mercantile centre. Most of the oldest buildings along the town’s main streets would have been shops, workshops and inns rather than private houses. There were blacksmiths, nailers, needlemakers, clay tobacco pipe makers, brick makers, cloth and leather workers. There was also a thriving in trade in cattle, horses and agricultural produce. The grant for the first weekly market was issued by Henry III in 1224. We can thus be pretty sure that an awful lot of shopping has been done since then.

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Cee’s Black & White Challenge Store Fronts and Building Signs

Raynald’s Mansion ~ The Grandest House On Wenlock’s High Street

Raynald’s Mansion has seen several phases of development. It began as a medieval hall. In 1600 it was given a face lift with a new frontage. And in 1680 it was made grander still with the addition of three bays. Its owners certainly knew how to make their presence felt in the town.  Rather amazingly the house was still owned by members of the Raynald family into the late 20th century, and today it remains a private house. Directly across the street is our much treasured book shop, also housed in a very ancient building.

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March Square

#MarchSquare

Reflections Of Ludlow ~ March Squares

Ludlow is probably the most handsome of Shropshire’s ancient market towns, and one of our favourite places for a day out. It is also the region’s foodie capital so you can usually be sure of something delicious to eat at one of its many inns and restaurants. And it has shops as they used to be – proper butchers, green grocers and bakers. Then there is this place on Corve Street – a magical emporium of light fittings and fixtures. They are all rather expensive so we usually just look in for the show, or press or noses to the window.

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March Squares This month Becky wants squares in squares or squared circles.

Frigid February But With Flowers ~ The Changing Seasons

We’ve had gales, sleet, snow, frost, downpours and sunshine, lowering skies, gloom, dankness, glowing sunsets, and starlit nights, and throughout all variations it has been bitterly cold with far too many Arctic blasts and draughty peripheries. Yet despite the chill factor, some things seem to have been growing since December, many of them out of season.

For instance, up at the allotment this afternoon, I came upon a very confused globe artichoke. In the last few days it has grown some very chunky buds. Too soon, I tell it. It was also surrounded by a vigorous bouquet of spanking new foliage. In the garden at home a butter coloured geum has been flowering, one stem at a time, all winter. Likewise a blue penstemon. I have also been cropping the wild garlic leaves for several weeks. They are shooting up along the old railway line beside the Linden Walk.

All of which apparently tells me that it can’t have been as cold as I think it has.

Certainly the spring flowers have not been deterred – celandines, snowdrops, primroses, crocus, flowering currant and hellebores all quick off the mark – with daffodils just on the cusp of opening.

Here then are February scenes around and about the Farrell domain in Much Wenlock:

 

To join in the Changing Seasons challenge please visit Su at the link:

The Changing Seasons: February

Much Wenlock As Seen On TV!

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This view of the town is the one I see as I head to the allotment. I have captured it in many seasons. Today I’m posting it because it features one of the town’s oldest and most notable landmarks at the heart of our town – Holy Trinity Church which dates from the early Middle Ages and was once part of an impressive priory complex. And the reason for doing that is because its current vicar, Matthew Stafford, also known as ‘the mad vicar’ is featured in a 4-part BBC series A Vicar’s Life. The programmes follow the parish duties of three vicars in the rural Hereford diocese (of which Much Wenlock is a part although in Shropshire) over a one year period.

I adhere to no church or dogma, but I do have a lot of time for Matthew Stafford and the work he does in the community. If you watch only the first four minutes of this first episode you will perhaps see why. You will also be treated to bird’s eye views of Wenlock and see Matthew out and about in the town, as well as arranging a marriage at my local hairdressers.

Daily Post: Tour-guide

Yesterday Along The Lanes In Wenlock

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I don’t remember ever seeing lesser celandines flowering in January. They are at least a month too soon, and this one has clearly been around a while, and much rained on. Snowdrops, though, are timely, and they are cropping up everywhere in gardens and wooded margins around the town.

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All the footpaths are very waterlogged and slithery. On our walk yesterday it was necessary to stop at intervals to de-mud the boots and stop growing giants’ feet. This also gave me the chance to photograph the highland cattle in the Cutlins meadow, the sheep in the Priory park, and puddles on the track to Bradley Farm. Welcome to Much Wenlock in January.

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Six Word Saturday  Please pop over to Debbie’s to see her very astonishing photo

Starting As I Mean To Go On ~ The Big De-Clutter, Or This Writer’s Extra-Convoluted Displacement Activity?

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Well not so much de-cluttering as re-arranging, though somehow I’ve ended up with a whole BIG EMPTY drawer beneath the cabin bed in the office. I should of course see this as a great achievement on day one of 2018, but I’m afraid the whole process has made me very ratty. Not a good way to start the year.

One problem is I find myself at the end of the line for two branches of family memorabilia – in particular the material evidence of the lives of two deceased aunts – maternal and paternal. I was very fond of them, Miriam and Evelyn, and we three had much in common. Both were passionate gardeners, readers, writers, watchers, makers, generous authors of many small kindnesses. And both were keen on family history, gathering in whatever they could in the days before Ancestry and Find My Past.

I now have their gleanings – barely readable notes, diaries, photographs – all the makings of good stories if only someone could knock the stuff into a shape that would mean something to family others. That someone has to be me. And I think I should do it, because if I don’t, no one else will. And that’s when I start getting cross. Imposition looms like a heavy, wet fog. Hmph.

The moving of the auntly archive from the pine blanket chest in one bedroom to the pine chest of drawers in another bedroom (so facilitating the BIG emptying of the office drawer into the now empty pine blanket chest) leads to encounters with my own archive. The aunts kept most of the letters I wrote to them during our eight years in Africa. They are very detailed letters. I need to revisit them. Well I do, don’t I? Then there are all the Africa photos and negatives. I never did finish scanning them.

More long-winded tasks loom.

Not only that, when you start shunting stuff around the house, and arguing with yourself over what should be kept, and what should not, you then find all sorts of diversions.  And yet the whole point of the de-cluttering process was so I could free up the office, create clear spaces for laying out the notes relating to some of the several unfinished writing projects that have long lodged on my brain’s back boiler.

Which is where this photo comes in. As I was sorting through boxes and folders, I found a forgotten scan of it, taken by Graham many New Years ago at the Bronze Age stone circle, Mitchell’s Fold in the Shropshire borderland. You will notice that my blog header is cropped from another scanned version of it. That’s me all huddled up in many layers. But I love the huge wintry sky above me, and the blue hills of Wales stretching far, far away behind me. It’s reminding me that this is where my head needs to be. Never mind the clutter. It’s a piece of very elaborate self-sabotage. Off to the realm of imagination, that’s where writers need to be.

Thank you, Julie Riso, for reminding me of where the best paths are.

copyright 2018 Tish Farrell

Monday Magic ~ Today In My Wenlock Garden

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Good heavens! This morning we woke to frost. The windscreens of the cars parked across the road were definitely glinting whitely. But there was bright sunshine too, lighting up the last of the leaves on the lime trees. They looked like great golden flares.

And since the temperature was much keener today than yesterday, sun notwithstanding, my cooking thoughts turned to making Greek lentil soup. While it was it was cooking I went out in the garden to snap whatever was blooming.

Extraordinary, isn’t it. We’ve had vicious gales, heavy rain and yet on the 30th day of October we still have sweet peas on the back fence. There are also masses of buds on the Morning Glories, though when they do open, it’s a half-hearted show of the decidedly shivery. I’m  not sure why they waited till October to get going.

The real stars are geranium Rozanne, now in its second or third flowering, and the little border of coral and shell pink Hesperantha; pull off the lilies’ spent stems and more burst forth.

So welcome to my autumn garden and all that’s still flourishing there. Frost, what frost?

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Copyright 2017 Tish Farrell