Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chatsworth Park, Derbyshire and Curbar Edge

We have been on a holiday to Derbyshire. We enjoy walking the footpaths along dales, by rivers, in woods and in gardens — such as that of Chatsworth (the country house of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire), which is open to the public — house, garden and immense estate.
There are miles of footpaths that take you all over the estate, including by the river and house, the Children's Farm area, up to the Hunting Tower (where, years ago, the ladies watched their men on horseback hunting stags), through the huge woodland areas, over farmland where deer graze with sheep and cattle, through the estate village of Edensor (where you can stop for an excellent light lunch or cream tea) — on the level or up and down hills.
The house itself is well worth a visit but we were there just for exercise. See photos of the views while on a short walk opposite the superb house.
There is accommodation available to rent for holidays too.
There is a well-known Chatworth Farm Shop (cafe there too) and a large Garden Centre.
Chatsworth Garden Centre has a wonderful cafe. Not only is the food excellent but there are tables outside when you can enjoy the magnificent flowers — beautiful scents, rich colours and an utterly delightful soul-enriching experience affecting every one of the human senses. Even wild birds entertain with song and funny antics!
Here is a photo taken from where we were sitting.
What ever people say about so much land and property in the hands of few people (I do believe the Duke has inherited six estates) it is wonderful to have this country park kept in such excellent condition for all to enjoy. I hate to think what it would be like if became 'nationalised'!
We also managed a walk along Curbar Edge — wonderful views across the valley with Chatsworth looking like a tiny dolls house!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Walk Around Linacre Reservoir — Derbyshire

We have been away on a caravan holiday. Gentle walks with beautiful scenery. Derbyshire is a great county with considerable history too. Linacre Reservoir is connected with Chesterfield's industrial past. It is now a beauty spot with much wild life in woods and on the water. A true delight. I'll let the photographs tell the story.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Photographs For New Blog

We have been driving to various places today and photographing some of the settings which are in my latest book — Checkmate (not yet released).
The whole blog is about beautiful Cumbria — the Lakes District National Park, plus the fringes within the Furness area of Cumbria. I intend quoting from Checkmate's pages to go with each photograph.
Today we visited Roanhead with its sand dunes, and view towards the high fells and in the far distance the mountains of the Lake District, including Coninston Old Man.
We also photographed the Shipyards at Barrow and the coast at Bardsea.
This photograph is of Roanhead, a great place for families with its Nature Reserve, sand dunes and long stretch of beach.

The book will shortly be released by Magpies Nest Publishing where it can be ordered post free in the UK. Once released it can be ordered from any bookstore including Amazon.

Checkmate is the third book of a trilogy — Book one, Awakening Love (DESIRE in the USA) Book two is Seduction By Design.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Open Door

The Open Door. A good title for a short story. Unfortunately, I am not in the mood for writing yarns. The washing is in progress and we have a dog to look after. She belongs to my son and his wife. They will be here tonight and our duty will be relieved. We love that Border Collie but she is a handful. She has developed a sure habit of getting attention. Howling!
She likes to look out of the window or sit by the open door, hoping to see movement — squirrels, or occasionally — a rabbit! Squirrels can climb trees but rabbits can only run and dive down holes!
I saw a bee on the garden steps. Was it dying? I put some flowers close by and it moved slightly. I found flowers almost hidden, broke them off and put those near the bee. It showed interest by crawling inside one flower and then another. I left it to it. Had I helped it to recover? I like to think so.
It is lovely to be able to have the door open. Nothing like fresh air!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Birds and Bees

Sunshine and the bees are buzzing, birds are singing and a soft wind blowing. All is tranquil. The rain has done wonders in the garden — such abundance! Feel good — domestic chores done! (well almost!)
Maybe time to do some serious writing this week?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Paradise Lost... Killer Birds

Where sheep may safely graze?

My last post was about our visit to West Cumbria. A wonderful holiday with exercise! Fantastic scenery — hills, streams, mountains, lakes and the sea. Everywhere brimming with new life — calves, foals, lambs, pigs, birds and no doubt the red squirrels had young somewhere around.
The only ugliness on the landscape, which brought me to tears, was discovering a young lamb lying dead close to its mother. The poor innocent creature had had its eyes pecked out, no doubt by crows. Black holes with blood trickling down its face. Another lamb was limping on three legs. When we reported the scene at the nearby farmhouse, I was told it was only nature. But the man intended removing both lambs because crows attack the ones they find in distress.
Nature? Well my reaction was that if I had a shotgun I’d shoot every crow in sight. Lambs are so very vulnerable — creatures that never do harm and yet suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune — in this case sharp beaks. Of course, I know I would never fire a shotgun, even if someone put one in my hand and said, ‘Go on, shoot at their nests and kill the bloody lot of them.’
We had only been home just over a week, when that dreadful happening took place in the very area we visited. I have put photographs of the area here. Whitehaven was once industrial and the place has had to cope with closure of the mines and all associated with the business. But, like other towns in Cumbria, ones used to having fishing boats in their harbours or industry keeping people in work, changes have been made. Marinas seem to be the thing. Rather ironic though that these places will service those with money for an expensive hobby or sport. As to whether this has anything whatsoever to do with one man going on a rampage of killing is another matter altogether.
West Cumbria is rural. Cumbrian farmers, like elsewhere, have suffered many
misfortunes — most have survived but incidents of broken men taking their own lives is not unknown.
But what of Derrick Bird? What made him snap and kill his brother, colleagues, friends and neighbours? Twelve deaths and eleven injuries, some life-threatening. Then his own life. The horror is too great for my mind to taken in.
Money pressures may be at the heart of it. It may be thought idyllic to live in this magical area, but beautiful scenery does not pay the bills. Anger and hatred, combined with low self-esteem can lead to violence, Someone snaps — have gun will shoot?
Those injured and dead, and their loved ones, are not the only victims. A mother has lost her twin sons — one of them having killed the other. Cain and Abel? The whole area is in grief.
At present I feel strangely detached. I know, deep down, we all have a darker side. We learn to have mastery over it and use it creatively. Even to the extent of only recognising our ‘shadow’ as a force for creativity. But is also a place, a cellar, where our ‘demons’ live. Once the ‘policeman’ dwelling in our ‘upper’ mind — the authority voice, a combination of ‘voices’ that taught us right from wrong— is subdued, then restraint has gone all hell can be let loose. But it is premature to speculate.
Let us stone the crows by all means to keep them from the sheep, but we need to understand what makes people break under pressure, that is, if we want to avoid these dreadful tragedies.