A Book Launch at Middlethorpe Hall, York

Garden Equation

A couple of months ago I contacted Sally Tierney (The Yorkshire Garden Designer) as I’m hoping to improve an overgrown area of the garden and make it into a little haven of tranquility with raised beds of herbs and flowers and a special garden seat but with minimal upkeep as I am away such a lot. I liked her premise that your garden should fit into your lifestyle and not the other way round. When she first arrived in October and we talked about my ideas she christened it ‘The Reading Garden’. Sally then told me about her forthcoming publication and invited me to the book launch.

Middlethorpe Hall

This took place last Tuesday at Middlethorpe Hall, near York. Middlethorpe Hall is owned and run by The National Trust and it’s  a beautiful building and I hope one day to return for the full afternoon tea. I arrived early (yes, even at 2.30pm it was very dull and dusk-like) and had a walk round the hotel gardens; although the ground was soggy and paths were wet it wasn’t actually raining. A return visit in spring or summer is definitely to be arranged.


Middlethorpe Bower

kitchen garden

Gardens 1

Garden 3


next door to race course

welcome to barlow room

The Barlow Room is a separate suite from the main hotel occupying former stables.

colour your garden

For the event Sally was supported by Strulch (makers of straw mulch) and Colour Your Garden nurseries. Three copies of the book were raffled in aid of the local York-based charity Carecent which provides a hot breakfast for homeless people, 6 mornings a week, 52 weeks of the year. Lucky Caroline won a copy!

After welcoming us and thanking us for coming (books and tea and cake, what’s not to like?) Sally gave a short presentation and slideshow about her work and the book and why she had written it. This was followed by a Q&A.

It was a lovely, happy and inspiring afternoon. I met some interesting people including Etta Cohen who has a website and blog called Scones, jam & cream. Etta has since been in touch and has reblogged one of my posts. She has also asked me if I would like to write about any tea shops I happen to visit on my travels. I already have some ideas ‘up my sleeve’.

Sally and book

Sally and her book

Pugin’s Staffordshire Gems

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812 – 1852) was a prolific architect of the Victorian age. In fact he burned himself out through over work and died at the age of 41 having designed not only the exteriors but also the furnishings and fittings of  countless churches not only in England, but also in Ireland and Australia. He converted to Catholicism and most of his ornate designs are for Roman Catholic churches and cathedrals. There is a long list of his architectural achievements at the end of his Wikipedia entry here. He is most notably connected with the building of the present Palace of Westminster. Continue reading

No Trains Today! Alton Station, Staffordshire

Welcome to Alton

On Friday I stepped back in time visiting a pre-Beeching era railway station. My friend, Ann, and I were on our way to spend a weekend visiting Pugin-related buildings in East Staffordshire, staying at a National Trust cottage in the Manifold Valley (Peak District) and, hopefully, fitting in a country walk in the valley. More about these in future posts; but our first destination of the weekend was the Landmark Trust’s Alton Station which Ann arranged for us to visit on this changeover day. Continue reading

Remembrance : Rosanna’s Mosaic Poppies


My friend Rosanna posted this earlier in the week. The South Street Gallery is in Isleworth at 2 Shrewsbury Walk, Isleworth, TW7 7DE (020 8758 9177)
Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
I also love Rosanna and Alan’s plans to walk The Capital Ring.

NOTE : Some of Rosanna’s photos don’t appear here so please click the link to the original post to see more!

Originally posted on Rosanna's Mosaics:

P1050595For this Remembrance weekend I have made 3 poppy mosaics. They will be in the South Street Gallery as Lesley is having a special weekend event.

Here is a reminder of the fantastic poppy art installation that graced the Tower of London last year.  A stunning, moving display that will stay in the mind forever.

LONDON ACTIVITIES:  We have started to walk ‘The Capital Ring‘ which is a 78 mile route around London, divided into 15 sections. Walking through open spaces, nature reserves and woodlands, it passes numerous historic sights and places of interest.

Section 1: Woolwich to Falconwood. Starting by the river at Woolwich going towards the Thames Barrier, branching off into Maryon & Maryon Wilson Parks, past Charlton House, over Woolwich Common and Eltham Common before ascending Oxleas Meadows for spectacular views over London and a well deserved cuppa before catching the train home. A beautiful…

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Fountains Abbey to Markenfield Hall

autumn colours

Autumn colours at the start of the walk

The area around Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire provides several opportunities for walking without the need, lovely as it is, to actually enter the grounds. This is especially important when leading a walk for Weekday Wanderers as not all group members are National Trust members. The Trust encourages walks in the area by publishing descriptive leaflets. For me the beauty is also free, reasonably safe parking and the use of facilities at the Visitor Centre. There is also interest in the buildings and landscape and walking is generally pretty level. Continue reading