Saturday 4 August 2018

June - July 2018: RHS Chatsworth, Peak District walks and Coton Manor Gardens

Greeting readers, felicitations to you on this fine August day!  For once I am bang on time (perhaps early even, given that the month has only just started?) with my posting schedule and am here to bring you the latest news, activities and (hopefully) some pretty photos.

The month kicked off in style with Leicester Riverside Festival, an event taking place each summer on the river Soar on the Western side of Leicester city at Bede Park, Castle Gardens and surrounding streets.  You can enjoy boat trips, music, live performances, and stalls selling food, drink and hand crafted goods.  There was a lovely friendly, buzzy atmosphere and everyone seemed to be having a great time.

Narrow boat converted into a stage at Leicester Riverside Festival 2018.

Musicians on a boat at Leicester Riverside Festival 2018.

There was a good turnout for Leicester Riverside Festival 2018, with a chilled-out atmosphere.

Midway through June my brother came down with his fiancee and son to spend a few days with us.  Mum's 70th birthday was back in January, but for her big birthday we planned a special (if delayed) treat: a day out at RHS Chatsworth!  None of us had been to an RHS flower show before, and we were not disappointed - the arrangements and presentation of the flowers were absolutely stunning, and getting the blooms to look (and stay!) so fresh was a real skill.  I had a fun time spotting my favourites: orchids, chrysanthemums, dahlias, roses and peonies.  I also loved the displays of Japanese acers, as well as succulents, grasses and leafy plants to add texture.

View of Chatsworth House.

Display of orchids.

Display of orchids.

Display of orchids.

Display of peonies.

Display of acers.

At the end of the week we took a trip up to the Stoneygate area of Leicester to see Art House Leicester, an event where homes in the area open up to the public and become temporary galleries for local artists.  It was my first time attending the event and I was immensely impressed by the quality and amount of local art on offer - suffice to say I made a few purchases!  I'm very much looking forward to seeing more next year.

I took my monthly trip up to greater Manchester to see Pete and the kids, for which we decided to make the most of the fine weather and do a walk in the Peak District since it's not far from where Pete's Mum lives.  The walk was a circular one from Ashford On The Water, going through Monsal Head, Deep Dale and Sheldon before passing over Sheepwash Bridge (allegedly the best place to play poohsticks!) and back to Ashford On The Water.

Friendly cows.

View into the Wye valley from Monsal Head.

A large weir.

Pete and the kids in front of the weir.

Homes in Sheldon.

Plant growing out of a stone wall in Sheldon.

View over greater Manchester area.

The video below shows the view around the lovely rolling countryside of Deep Dale.

At the end of June it was my 31st birthday, and it happened to fall on my day off!  So we took a special trip to Coton Manor Gardens to wander around in the sunshine and admire the plants.  The house is still privately owned so is inaccessible, but we had a lovely time looking at the flora and fauna - which included flamingos!

Flamingo at Coton Manor Gardens.

Flamingos at Coton Manor Gardens.

Roses at Coton Manor Gardens.

Sculptural water feature at Coton Manor Gardens.

Pond at Coton Manor Gardens.

Coton Manor.

Lilies at Coton Manor Gardens.

Wildflowers at Coton Manor Gardens.

Wildflowers at Coton Manor Gardens.

Water feature at Coton Manor Gardens.

Stag sculpture at Coton Manor Gardens.

Irises at Coton Manor Gardens.

The day was rounded off with a trip to Boboli in Kibworth, one of our favourite Italian restaurants.  The following day we went for a manicure and back massage in Oadby, and then on the Saturday night I went out with some pals for dinner at Casa Romana (another Italian - their steak in truffle sauce is to die for!)  Afterwards we hit some bars in Leicester city centre, including 33 Cank Street, The Terrace and 45 West, all of which I can heartily recommend.

This was a month of much organising and planning: Leicester Sunday Assembly's July assembly was fast approaching and as the other committee members were away, it was down to me to lead the event!  This involved organising and delegating, setting up on the day, coordinating the cooking, as well as hosting (i.e. presenting the event) and doing a reading.  It was a busy morning but all went well - even the food!  I felt pretty proud of myself afterwards as only a matter of months ago having so much responsibility would have scared the hell out of me, so it was a validating experience to rise to the challenge.  And I was lucky to have my fellow assemblers there to provide support when needed!

The last major event of July was another Peak District walk, this time we decided to tackle Mam Tor, also known as the Shivering Peak!  This walk started and ended in Castleton, going up Losehill, along the Great Ridge to Mam Tor and then back past the Blue John Mine and Treak Cliff Cavern.  It was a boiling hot day so we were rather uncomfortable for much of the walk, but the views made it all worth it: probably the best of any of the walks we've been on to date.

Start of the ascent to Losehill.

View across the Great Ridge to Mam Tor.

View from the top of Losehill.

View from the top of Losehill.

View across the Great Ridge to Mam Tor.

The descent heading back towards Castleton.

The two videos below show the view either side from the top of Mam Tor giving views of the surrounding valleys: Kinder Scout, Edale and Hope Valley on one side and Castleton on the other.

That's all for now folks, see you in October when I'll be sharing news and events from August - September!  As always, thanks so much for reading :)

Emma x