"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Books, Shopping, A Canal and a Church plus a cake

Some recent reading.

Having got up to date with the Shetland and Vera Stanhope series of books, I thought I would try some more of Ann Cleeves' work. This book was totally different and I suspect one of her earlier novels? I enjoyed it but there again I've been a birdwatcher for years and years and even attend the occasional twitch. I am not sure how a reader who doesn't know much about twitchers would get on with story as there is an awful lot of the book taken up by the subject. But it is an easy and entertaining read and I will try the next in the series.

This book by Martin Edwards is, in my view, the best so far in the Lake District Mystery series.

Really loved this second Nikki Galena story.

Rosie from "Corners of my Mind" blog recommended this book after I had finished reading The Dinosaur Hunters by Deborah Cadbury. This is a super book detailing the life of Mary Anning - a famous fossil hunter from the early 19th century. The book has made me want to return to Lyme Regis and also do more research on this remarkable lady.

Ramble through the Heart of England was on sale in a local bookshop for just £2. I bought it because it includes some fairly local places such as Lichfield, Bosworth Field and Shugborough Hall. It is an interesting "slow travel diary" and contains snippets of information about churches, canals, birds, trains, pubs,famous people in the localities visited, wild flowers and butterflies etc.

Towards the end of last year I had planned to go to an exhibition at Compton Verney featuring the illustrations in the book below. Sadly, for one reason and another I never went so decided to treat myself to the book instead. This is such a beautiful book with wonderful illustrations and "spells" written for various species in the countryside. The words such as acorn, bluebell, otter, fern, dandelion and bramble, are sadly disappearing from the vocabulary of young children and this book aims to bring them back to life. Every primary school, if not every child, should have a copy of this excellent book. I cannot praise it enough.

Determined to read more of Mary Anning I bought this book - it is very short but it is informative and worth reading if you want to learn more about Mary, early geologists and fossils.

E was on holiday last week and, on the spur of the moment, decided she wanted to visit a shopping village at Trentham which had been recommended by a friend of hers.

It was good to discover Natural World as our local branch shut down years ago.

There was a very good pottery shop which had Portmeirion pottery and ranges by Hannah Dale plus some pieces of Moorcroft. I do love Moorcroft but sadly it is far too expensive for me to consider buying any.

A bear shop! I decided not to go inside as a purchase might make Timothy rather jealous! but

I did make a few purchases at the Cheshire Cheese Company shop.

We had lunch at the Riverside Cafe - in my case a cheese and tomato toastie.

Timothy posing with the cheese and chutney purchases.

We spent so long in the shopping village and home and garden centre that we didn't have time to visit the gardens and woodland walks - hopefully we will go back later in the year.

On Sunday D and I decided on a canal walk at Catherine de Barnes walking in a different direction to usual and a route taken by Edith Holden in The Country Diary of an Edwardian lady.

Daffodils are starting to flower.

Mr and Mrs Mallard

But as you can see the tow path was very muddy and, although I was wearing wellies, D only had shoes on so we didn't walk very far!

On the way home we stopped off at the hamlet of Bickenhill. I knew the church would be closed as I had tried to visit before so just had a quick walk round the exterior.

St Peter's Bickenhill

Parts of the church date back to the 12th century although there is little left to see from that period. Alterations occurred in the 14th century and the west tower was added in the late 15th century. There was a major restoration in the second half of the 19th century.

Another local church that has marks where arrows were sharpened centuries ago.

17th century graffiti


I made this triple ginger loaf cake a week or so ago and it really is delicious especially if you like ginger. You can find the recipe here

Frogs have started spawning in garden pond today - there has been a lot of activity and thankfully no sign of the heron! I will try and get some photos tomorrow.


Rosie said...

So many lovely and interesting things in your post. Like you I'm facsintated with Mary Anning and love reading about her, in fact about all the very early fossil hunters. Glad you are enjoying the Tracey Chevalier book and also the Joy Ellis Fens books, they just get better with each one. Like the look of the Ramble through the Heart of England book too, I must try and get to Bosworth again this year. Glad you got to Trentham, I love 'One More Bear' but yes, Timothy would have been upset to have to travel home with a new bear. Your lunch looks tasty and so does the ginger cake:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much:) Am reading a super book now called Jurassic Mary by a Patricia Pierce (from memory) which has a lot of detail in about Mary Anning :) Also have a book in bookcase to read called The Dragon Seekers which I may read next - think it is similar to Dinosaur Hunters.

Will soon be uploading the next Joy Ellis fen book. I got the Ramble book from Books Revisited - a second hand charity bookshop for the Mary Ann Hospice one of the charities the book raises funds for. I think you would recognise many of the places visited. Haven't been to Bosworth for years since the children were little but would love to go again.

Do hope we can return to Trentham and perhaps this time meet up for the coffee.

Caroline Gill said...

More books to explore - thank you, RR, for keeping us informed! I have read the Tracy Chevalier historical novel and found it fascinating. Lyme Regis is such an unusual place. I haven't read 'At the Edge of the Orchard' by Chevalier yet, or 'Falling Angels', but have much enjoyed the others. Your cake looks sumptuous, and I'm glad Timothy enjoyed his day out.

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thanks so much. I must try more Tracy Chevalier books. I would so like to return to Lyme Regis - it is a great town as well as being so interesting geologically :)

Toffeeapple said...

I am so thrilled to see Spring flowers again. Your cake looks delicious!

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thank you. Yes it is lovely to see them appearing - went in the garden today and we have about 8 large clumps of wild primroses in flower :)

Bovey Belle said...

I can see there are a few more authors I need to add to my list to try. I am glad to see you have braved the winter chills and got out and about. We finally have enough snow to make a snow walk worthwhile this morning, but I won't be going far as it is such a chilly wind.

That ginger cake looks delish and I shall try that this morning (though probably leave the icing as my OH will complain "it's too sweet" as he always does even if I hardly put any sugar in it. (Yet this is the man who drinks Mead, which I find disgustingly sweet and can't touch - it's the Viking in him he reckons!!!)

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - Thank you. We have had far more snow overnight than forecast! Hope you enjoy your walk even if not far - very cold wind here too so wrap up warm! Was hoping to go in search of primroses and daffodils next week but will have to wait until the snow goes!

The chrystallised ginger in my cupboard was out of date! so I put glace ginger on top of mine which probably makes the topping less sweet. Perhaps you could just ice your half of the cake!! I made it again yesterday to use up the rest of the jar or stem ginger. Somewhere I have another recipe for gingerbread which I think is even better although my husband raved about this particular cake. Will make older recipe again soon and perhaps post recipe. It came out of an old recipe magazine so I doubt there is a website link so will type it out.

amanda peters said...

Lovely post RR, despite making a promise to my self I still have not managed to read a full book this year, you always amaze me how much you read, spotted the Mary Anning book, might get.

The garden centre looks lovely, my kinda place. You will have to take another walk down the canal in summer, hopefully not as muddy ! Lovely little church too.Quite a tall thin spire on the tower, and I just love the doorway photo. Great spotting on the arrow marks, which through my church wonderings I don't think I have come across, do you think it might have something to do with the fact my churches were very rural in the day, churches were most of the congregation would have been farmers ?
Great to spot the graffiti too.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much. Being retired helps with finding time to read! The Mary Anning book is very good - written like a novel and fairly easy reading but you still learn a lot. I enjoyed it.

Will go back to the canal - muddy everywhere at the moment.

Not sure tbh why there don't seem to be arrow marks on churches in your area. It was villagers who had to have arrow practice in churchyard every week (can't remember the name of the King or person who decreed it) so I would have thought that would have applied to farming community too as archery practise was for the average person not just those in army. Will try and find out more and let you know! :)