Earth is waking from it’s Winters sleep

warmer days are such a treat

Spring has begun

or has it just sprung

birds are tweeting

Sheep are bleeting

blossom filling the air with scent

smell them quick before they are spent

blue skies

and busy Bees

pollinating our trees

leaves uncurling

fluffy white clouds whirling, twirling swirling

soil preparation

in anticipation

for what this year will bring

Beacon Hill birthday

Frost sprinkles sparkling like icing sugar over my birthday cake, with beautiful clear blue sky to accompany it, a perfect day for a family walk around Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire. Great way to blow off the cobwebs, get out for a run around to try and shed all the Mince Pies and Christmas pudding from the past few days. Winter sunlight was definitely a welcome companion.

Some of my favourite trees are in this wood, their shapes are so aesthetically pleasing, combined with the light, green barked trees and copper coloured Beech leaves what more was needed for stomping, leaf kicking and exploring.

The rocks are pretty fantastic too, formed from volcanic activity 700 million years ago, the summit was originally created at the bottom of the sea from compressed volcanic ash and tilted into their vertical position by an earthquake.

Calke Abbey Christmas long exposure

Last year in the run up to Christmas we visited 6 National Trust properties, this year our weekends have been taken up with other things, days have flown past and suddenly find ourselves 2 days before Christmas

Determined to visit at least one place festooned with baubles, twinkly lights and colourful illuminated grounds we settled upon our closest place National Trust Calke Abbey located between Derbyshire/Leicestershire border

Here are just a few photos from our little trip into echos of Calkes Christmas past. Although over for another year we cannot wait for Christmas 2017 at Calke Abbey.

Lovely Lyveden

Upon arriving at National Trust Lyveden – an Elizabethan lodge with moated garden in the heart of Northamptonshire. I was greeted with the sight of a swarm of Honey bees following the Queen into the cottage tearoom eaves….perhaps they wanted some delicious cake too!

Built in the shape of a Greek cross to symbolise Sir Thomas Treshams Catholic faith. Lyveden New Bield is perfectly symmetrical but incomplete as building work stopped when Sir Thomas Tresham died in 1605.

North view

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West view

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Panorama looking towards the West side of Lyvedon from moat edge with spiral mount awaiting exploration.

Susan Guy_Lyveden_Panorama_Garden_Spiral Mound_West Exterior_17.05.16 cSouth view

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Alternative South view of Lyveden

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Panorama from South side

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South East view

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You enter via the low servants door into a very spacious shell with beautiful stone, gorgeous curved arch doorways and a small spiral staircase to take you to the first floor window with view overlooking the huge expanse of countryside.

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Exterior and cute bird graffiti, wonder what the story is behind these birds

There are a pair of spiral mounts, these were extremely popular in the 16th century to provide an elevated viewpoint of the garden and beyond. The spiral pathway enables the viewer to reach the top with little effort.

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Panorama view of Lyvedons West face with spiral mount and moat, with footbride to gain access to the mount.

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Just some of the flora and fauna that call Lyveden home – Lady Smock (also known as Cuckoo flower) a Red Kite soaring on a thermal, Mallard Ducks with their chicks, fish in moat pool, Cowslips and a beautiful bug hotel that’s home to all sorts of bugs and beetles. Hawthorn was foaming with a mass of white flower heads busily being pollinated by some of the Honey Bees that call the Orchard hive home.

View from the raised terrace
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Blooming Bluebells in Calke Park

Bluebells are blooming and filling Serpentine Wood at National Trust Calke Abbey with their heavenly scent and bright blue petals. Whilst visiting on a sunny blue sky day they seemed to be the perfect compliment for the acid green leaves bursting from Beech trees.

What could be more idyllic than an English woodland filled with Bluebells and birdsong in Spring. Click here for a virtual Bluebell visit.

Abstract Bluebell photos. I would love to know what you think

Rainy day poem on World Poetry Day

Now for something a little different from me, felt inspired to write these words.

Spit spot drip drop, listen to the rain,

spit spot drip drop, shelter from the storm,

spit spot drip drop, underneath an oak tree,

spit spot drip drop, watch it plop from leaf to leaf,

spit spot drip drop, will it ever cease,

spit spot drip drop, puddles getting bigger,

spit spot drip drop, bracken looking greener,

spit spot drip drop, storm is blowing over,

spit spot drip drop, rain is ceasing,

spit spot drip drop, coming to an end,

spit spot drip, sun is peeping from a cloud,

spit spot, time to run around,

spit spot, storm is over, rain has gone,

time to meet afternoon sun.

Images shot at National Trust Calke Abbey and National Trust Stoneywell


Snow in March

Snow was forecast overnight to Buxton, Derbyshire but didn’t think it would reach as far south as National Trust Calke Abbey. Upon leaving home the sky was blue and clouds white and fluffy but by the time I had driven for half an hour or so the sky had gone flat grey. One flake then two, and all of a sudden lots of big wet snowflakes swirling around creating a white overcoat, the snow flurry was well and truly under way. It was rather magical and I hope these photos and video clip shows the magic of a March winter wonderland.

Video shot with Panasonic FZ330 camera
Photographs shot with Nikon D5000 camera
copyright Susan Guy

an extra day every 4 years – what i did with mine

Crisp clear frosty start to the 29th of February 2016.
Another 4 years until this date arrives again so I decided to take random mobile phone photos of my day.

Turning 40 at Christmas meant I had won a trip to the doctors for a free MOT health check Woohoo! So 40 minutes later emerge with less blood than I went in with, the promise of a 24 hour blood pressure check, advised to have more milk….bleugh more fresh fruit..i wish (stupid allergies) but at least weight and height are ok 🙂 Returned home via shops, seeing signs of spring and snapping pics of urban textures.

Inside a canal lock gate

Not really what I expected to do for the weekend but had a fascinating trip to Mountsorrel locks near Leicester where the Canal and River Trust are restoring the lock gates.

The lock has been drained – first time in 30 years. No treasures were found at the bottom but it does have the original red  bricks dating back from between 1780 and 1794. The top and bottom lock gates are being replaced, together they weigh nearly 4 tonnes! The lock chamber itself is a massive 28 metres long, 4.6 metres wide and 3.4 metres deep and it can hold 438,000 litres of water, standing inside it was awe inspiring and almost hard to believe how much water should be above my head.

Also had a lovely little trip along the canal in a barge thanks to Sileby Mill Boatyard.

The event is on again tomorrow (28th Feb 2016)
There’s also a lovely pub next to the canal (The Waterside Inn)