Wonderful Wychwood Festival

What an amazing weekend at Cheltenham Racecourse for Wychwood Festival 2017. Hobgoblin Beer on tap,  sun shining (most of the time) and some seriously tasty food.      A great family atmosphere flowed, dancing commenced and the festival was underway.

There were some quite moments when we didn’t want to see one of the bands performing on one of the three stages, so had some chill out time in the craft tents making enamel jewellery and screenprinted tote bags.  The Dhol Foundation were superb and did a bit of Bangra dancing with them, OMD were great…even got to hear their soundcheck along with about 20 other people and a political performance from Billy Bragg.

The highlight of this weekend had got to be The Levellers. A band I have wanted to see since I was about 16, they did not disappoint although my knees are informing me that I am not quite as young as I used to be!

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Autumn review

Nice to see one of my photos in Autumn review

National Trust Press Office

Susan Guy_Calke Abbey_Serpentine Wood_Autumn 31.10.15_2 Autumn colours at the end of October in Serpentine Wood at Calke Abbey. Credit Susan Guy.

Matthew Oates, nature and wildlife specialist, looks back on the effects of a mild autumn on our wildlife:

Autumn has been incredibly mild, to date.  The south has had a single light frost, a windscreen affair on October 25th. It has also been dry, everywhere – with a drought in Northern Ireland – until the autumn rains arrived, perhaps with a vengeance, after the warmest November day on record (the 1st).

In consequence, many summer plants are flowering in garden and countryside.  Even tender summer annuals, such as Nasturtiums, are persisting.  In the wild some high summer plants have sprung back into bloom, notably the brambles.  Also, many of spring’s flowers are evident, again in both garden and countryside – especially Primrose, violets, Wild Strawberry and, most noticeably, the garden Viburnums.

Insects…

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The Aah Factor – Lambs

Last weekend saw the start of lambing at Calke Abbey. After watching a couple of BBC Lambing Live episodes I couldn’t wait to visit and see the real thing. This year was different to previous years as Home Farm was open for visitors to see the Portland Sheep in the maternity ward, a separate area within the farm buildings for new mums & the large kitchen garden where lambs (and their mums) a few days old grazed on grass. These lambs seemed to have got the hang of walking and frolicking very quickly.

The slate Lambing Live signs put a smile on my face with their cute chalk sheep drawings
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Sheep trivia:- Portland sheep are one of the oldest UK breeds, they originated on the Isle of Portland. They are a rare breed & have been at Calke since around 1770. In the 1970’s there was only 77 breeding Ewes in the country, this figure has now risen to around 2,000 thanks to the help of dedicated breeders and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Portland lambs are born a rusty red colour which fades with age to a creamy white in the first couple of months. The meat was highly sought after for it’s flavour and fine texture by King George III.

Here is my first view of a Portland lamb.

DSC_9276-1 Susan Guy CalkeComing up, some more aah photos

DSC_9340-1 Susan Guy Calke Susan Guy Calke 9764 9865 9886 DSC_9868 Susan Guy Calke lamb DSC_9324-1 Susan Guy CalkeHay barn and maternity ward at Home Farm

Susan Guy Calke 9305 9312 9317This little lamb in the new mums area is only 1 – 2 days old

DSC_9302 Susan Guy CalkeHome Farm looks a really cosy traditional farmhouse with gorgeous red brickwork & slate roofs

Susan Guy Calke 9319 9321 9327I really didn’t want to leave, but seeing the cute little lambs gave a warm feeling all over and the start of new life and Spring. I returned back to the car park via the kitchen garden & gardeners tunnel. Raspberries are just beginning to shoot in the kitchen garden and Sweet Peas have been planted ready for glorious scented displays in Summer
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I wanted the blog title to be a cute version of the “X factor” & came up with the Aah Factor but how do you spell aah?

How do you spell it? aah? aargh? aahh? As you can see I came up with all sorts of spellings none really looked right and some sounded as if Pirates were talking!

Christmas at Calke Abbey

During the weekends of December Calke Abbey, Derbyshire opens the house for visitors to experience Christmas. The National Trust normally closes the house during winter months so December is a very special month. I went along just as it was getting dusk to see it in all it’s magical, colourful glory.

Calke Christmas 2013 - DSC_0890 0893 0895Traditional beautiful real trees are dotted all around the property.

My favourite is just past the entrance door by the grand staircase and rocking horse.

Calke Christmas 2013 - DSC_0905 0907 1714I love how you can look at the beautiful decorations on the tree as you climb the stairs.

At the top of the stairs you are almost eye to eye with the vintage Fairy that sits on the tallest branch.

Calke Christmas 2013 - DSC_0914 0915Upon entering the Saloon you are greeted with lots of Christmas cards. These have been hand written by adults & children visiting Calke Abbey and placed on the Billiard table.

A tradition started by the Harper-Crewe family that used to live in the house.

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Calke Christmas 2013A lovely sitting room, I can imagine how cosy this room must have been with a gorgeous log burning fire.

Perhaps there would be music playing in the background whilst you enjoy a mince pie and glass of mulled wine.

DSC_0948 c Calke Christmas 2013 - DSC_0954 0957 0958The smells coming from the kitchen must have been devine with mince pies and Dundee cake baking.

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After wandering around the rooma inside I ventured outside to see the house & trees lit up with illumintated lights that changed colour whilst you watched.

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DSC_1026 cDSC_1040 clairty cTrees lit up by multi coloured lights

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Calke Christmas 2013 - DSC_1033 1037 1053Don’t forget to visit Santa in his Grotto

Calke Christmas 2013 - DSC_0879 1090 1705Carol Singers completed my visit

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