Begonias and Origami


Bogart went off on his hols yesterday, and the student who has been on placement with us most of the summer goes back to Uni tomorrow, so I’m afraid the blog will probably suffer for a few weeks. I have developed Mr Stoatie’s man flu overnight and am sat here hoping regular doses of paracetamol will see me through the day. So to keep the theme here are a few work related pictures from the past week.

This year the bedding designs at work have been simplified (I’m not sure of this is cuts or because no one got round to sorting them out) and rather than the usual two variety planting, all the beds have been stuffed full of begonias. I’m not really a fan, they always seem too blousy and loud, a bit like a Blackpool hen party. For something so in your face they’re also ridiculously delicate, you only have to look at one too long and the flower head drops off. Still they have brightened up the beds outside the Lodge all summer and have survived all the slugs and snails which usually wipe out half the planting.

origami We had a Japanese Australian lady in the Office last week looking for Ian Curtis’ kerbstone. I gave her one of the lovely new maps and she headed off, only to come back later to thank me and to give me these pieces of Origami. They’re so tiny, the kangaroo is only two centimetres from nose to tail!


Bowland 1

This trip was supposed to be three nights away, but Mr Stoatie forgot to book leave -not for want of reminding! When he realised it was too late, so we only went Friday to Sunday in the end. I went in to work today rather than waste my leave, so maybe we can use the extra day another time. The camp site is on a working farm close to the village of Bolton By Bowland, it is a small Camping and Caravanning site with hard standing and electric for six units and an adjacent camping field. It was a cracking little site overlooking Pendle Hill and handy for Skipton, Settle and Clitheroe, Malham Cove, and the Yorkshire Dales – plenty of good walking and cycling therabouts.

Unfortunately Mr Stoatie came down with a really bad cold and so we didn’t actually get to see much of this! We managed an hour or two in Skipton on the Saturday but he wasn’t really up to walking around and so we spent most of the time chilling out on the site. He’d insisted on taking his bike, which took up a great deal of room in the van I might add (he’s too cheap to buy a carrier!) but didn’t get to use it. We had a little walk on the Friday night and that was about it.

Despite printing off the van list, I managed to miss the fact that we’d took the charcoal out last month and so our meals were a bit disappointing. It was a nippy in the evening and darker early, so a cheery fire would have been just the thing too. That was the only mishap, although a certain someone managed to leave a brand new bottle of fairly expensive shampoo in the shower (and he won’t be allowed to forget it!)

A few shots from the weekend :-

Bowland 2 Wild Hops – these were growing in the hedge either side of the farm entrance.


bowland 3

Maidenhair Spleenwort

 Bowland 4 Seed heads of Burdock – note the tiny hooks on the end of the hairs.


Bowland 5 Wood Ragwort ( I think! )


Bowland 6 There just aren’t enough comfy seats in the van if you want to stretch out . This is a rare photo of Tilly and Charlie so close together – sharing my leg as a head rest.

Bowland 7

Charlie eye view of Skipton from under our cafe table. It never ceases to amaze me that both he and Tilly will walk nicely to heel and completely ignore other dogs when out in a busy town. They’re usually OK at home, unless they happen to spot their deadly enemies whilst out. Tilly hates the black and white dog from up our road and has been known to brawl in the street, and Charlie will strain and yap at the Rottweiler we sometimes pass on our walks – he has no common sense!

I was so very upset to read about the fire at Manchester Dogs Home when I got up on Friday morning, my thoughts are with the staff and volunteers and all those who were involved in the rescue. They’re also with the arsonist and his family, the gods alone know what brought him to do such a deed. I adopted Charlie as a puppy from the Cheshire branch of the MDH, (Tilly was from the RSPCA) and had a previous dog, Sean, from Harphurhey. The accommodation was awfully out dated  – particularly the grim Victorian part, but the care given to the dogs was second to none. Out of the destruction will come creation as always, and so there will be a little good to come from all the sorrow.

Off Again!

Crochet campervan made by Janet at i heart and beyond


We’re off for a long weekend in the Scooby Van, catch up with you later!


On the Edge

Alderley Edge August 2014

I’ve been meaning to post these pictures all week, I don’t know where the time goes these days!

Last Sunday I went up on the Edge with a friend, it had been pouring with rain for a couple of hours before I set off, but thankfully it stopped about ten minutes before I left the house. It turned into a wonderful warm sunny day.

While I was waiting in the layby at 8.30am, a car pulled up behind me and a group of teenagers got out and staggered towards Castle Rock. One  large bottle of vodka, a large bottle of coke and a soda siphon (yes really!) clasped to their chests, with the obligatory ciggie in hand. In the Victorian era, when the railways first brought the tourists in from Manchester and beyond, there used to be beer tents set up on the Edge, so today’s kids are actually part of a long tradition of boozing. There’s nothing new under the sun!

Wizard's Well August 2014

This is Wizard’s Well.

Alderley Edge Below Castle Rock 2

Above and below, two views of the different layers of sandstone under Castle Rock

Alderley Edge Below Castle Rock

Alderley Edge funghi   Beautiful bracket fungus on a birch log.

De Trafford Well

De Trafford Well. The overflow of water is wearing a channel through the sandstone rock below the soil and leaf litter. It’s only visible in parts and reminds me a little of the red water fall at Chalice Well. This well is the only one with a stream of water, which falls from the rock into the basin, the others are filled by drops seeping out between the rock layers. It’s the best place to collect water – I’d taken a bottle especially!

Holy Well

Holy Well

I found a neon yellow rubber ball by De Trafford Well. There were no dogs or children around so I brought it home with me. Charlie was really excited about the pressie and immediately began his ‘jump on a chair with a ball, roll it off, jump on a chair with a ball, roll it off’ game but unfortunately only got about ten minutes of fun before The Grinch came and took it away. Whenever he has a toy Tilly takes it, when he was a puppy she used to take them upstairs one by one and hide them under the bed in the spare room.


 Carpet Bedding August 2 

You may have guessed that work has been exceedingly busy these past three weeks. Whenever it gets too frenetic I seem to lose all my blogging mojo! However, as I was dashing past the WW2 commemorative carpet bedding I thought I’d grab a shot to show you its progress.

The morning after I took my first set of photos in June, I found the supervisor on his hands and knees replacing plant plugs. A great many had been uprooted and spread across the lawn and the road, possibly by a woodpigeon or a squirrel. I thought the poor guy was going to burst in to tears! In order to protect it, the bed was covered in pea netting for a few weeks and that has given the plants a chance to establish themselves.

One other problem, was that the yellow plants, which made up the ‘1914-1918, 100 years’ decided to revert to green and the writing slowly disappeared into the background, a bit like the Cheshire Cat. These have been replaced with a different sort and it’s not looking too bad now, although it needs clipping again to remove the flower heads.

Carpet Bedding August

Other news in the Stoatie household … Mr Stoatie got knocked off his bike when the car in front turned left, then stopped suddenly halfway round, in order to let a pedestrian cross the road. He ended up sliding across their boot and diving head first onto the pavement, chipping his front teeth, breaking a finger and needing stitches in his lip. What with the swelling, scabbing and bruises he wasn’t a pretty sight!

Since he was on his way to work I had  a call at 6.45am, one of those telephone calls, you know, the ones that usually start with ‘I don’t want to worry you but’ Unfortunately as they could only tell me that he’d been knocked off his bike and was on his way to hospital in an ambulance, the approach didn’t really work. I had an anxious time phoning around A&E departments trying to find some news. Apparently he asked someone at the scene of the accident to call his work to tell them he’d been injured, and then got the ambulance to drop his bike off at the office on the way to the Infirmary. That gives you some idea of his priorities!

He’s looking and feeling a lot better now, but the bike needs a bit of love. The front wheel has buckled and the forks are so damaged that they need replacing. It doesn’t seem to have dampened his enthusiasm but it’s put me off having another go at cycling!


Image from the Macclesfield Express

We’ve been invaded by a film crew this week,they’re shooting a film called The Messenger, which is a thriller about a young boy who sees dead people .. or does he?  They’ve been using the Crematorium Chapel to shoot some interior shots (mainly the catafalque by all accounts) and the Anglican chapel for the exterior (this has been converted to Offices so the inside wouldn’t be suitable) The Cemetery Supervisor has been pulling his hair out as they couldn’t decide where they wanted ‘the grave’ dug and he had to open three different plots.

A local undertaker was hired to provide the hearse, cars and coffin. He’s spent most of the day either waiting at the catering wagon, or lowering and raising the coffin in and out of a grave. It seems filming seems to work on the principle of ‘hurry up and wait’ I think all the days shoot will only make three or four minutes of screen time in total.

Unfortunately I was stuck in the Office and missed all the excitement (and the grub!)



We had another busy weekend, as it was the London – Surrey 100 sportive. Mr Stoatie has been training for this for over six months, but he had a run of injuries in July and we were worried he wouldn’t make the big day. Thankfully it all seemed to come right just in time.

We stopped over in a Travel Lodge about four miles from the start point in the Olympic Park, so he could ride down from the hotel. We had to go and register on Saturday morning and the weather was absolutely beautiful, warm and sunny. Unfortunately we knew it couldn’t last, as we’d been tracking ex hurricane Bertha crossing the Atlantic. The trade stands were doing a roaring trade in waterproofs and overshoes as people prepared for the worst.

He estimated that the ride would take him about seven hours and so after he left on the Sunday morning, just after 6.30, I had a few hours reading before heading out to the British Museum. As I walked across Russell Square the heavens opened in a biblical deluge and I got pretty soaked. When I emerged later it was different again, the sun was shining and everything was drying out nicely. I decided to head over to The Mall and spent about three quarters of an hour watching the cyclists. I was about 100m past the finish line. The first things most of them did were to turn off their Garmin, get their mobiles out, take a selfie and then call someone. See the photo above!

IMG_6329 They then had a walk/ride down to the area where there were stewards handing out the medals.

IMG_6334 I was undecided whether to hang around or move on when I spotted someone familiar. In a stunning piece of serendipity I was there just as Mr Stoatie finished. He was much faster than his estimate, even taking into account the fact that the course had been shortened by 14 miles as it was deemed too dangerous to let the public up the two steepest hills in the stormy weather.

IMG_6337 It took us another 45 minutes to meet up again in the Meet and Greet area. It absolutely hammered down which was a bit of a drag as I’d only just got dry. It was a shame the weather was so changeable, but I think a lot of the riders got an additional buzz from battling the elements. It will certainly  be the one Prudential 100 which gets talked about for years to come!

Steve's Prudential Medal


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