Hello, thank you for calling in. Happy Valentine's Day. The Best Beloved and I don't usually mark it, he has never been bothered so I had to give up years ago, and anyway, we have a wedding anniversary to celebrate our love for each other. But I have had the most WONDERFUL day. The temperature has shot up to 8 degrees Celsius here today and the sun was shining this morning but it didn't matter to us as we had planned a day out in the Peak District and when we got there, the sky was a dense blanket of grey cloud! Grrr.
Now then, I must warn you that this post is photo-heavy because...the Best Beloved and The Mathematician bought me a new camera for my birthday. It is one of these, which I chose because Jacquie over at Bunny Mummy uses one and I really like her photos. So today I took it with me so that I could start getting to grips with it.
Our destination was Ilam in Staffordshire, very close to the Derbyshire border, and we were lured there by the promise of a "decadent afternoon tea" for £6.50 each at Dovedale House, which belongs to the Church of England and is used as a residential youth centre. But first, we went for a walk.
This is the Church of the Holy Cross, originally Saxon, restored in the 17th century and clumsily added to in the 19th century. Sir George Gilbert Scott, what were you thinking?! It houses the tomb of St Bertram and we sat with him awhile as the church is open every day. St Bertram is said to have described Ilam as "Eden" and frankly, I can see why, even on a grey day like today.
This is St Bertram's bridge over the River Manifold. That's the Best Beloved photographing me photographing the bridge!
Standing in the same spot as the last photo I was able to zoom in on these stalactites growing on the underside of the bridge.
The view from up here was stunning, looking down to the church and across to Bunster Hill and Thorpe Cloud.
The slopes are heavily wooded but as the trees are deciduous, they were bare. On this grey day, there was little green to be seen, but I did find some. The yew trees were vivid.
I loved the look of the lush green moss on the stone walls. It looked so vibrant and alive.
It looked good on the logs, too. Would you like a closer look?
The Best Beloved really doesn't understand why I took this so I hope you do! There were other interesting things growing on the logs, too...
fungi! Does anyone know what this is?
I do love the colours on this one. Isn't Mother Nature clever?
There were plenty of these. If you like snowdrops, take a look here where Julie has taken some stunning photos and put them together to make a lovely little film.
You know that I like sheep so I really couldn't leave these girls out, could I? So after our walk we went back to Dovedale House, which is the old vicarage, for our decadent afternoon tea.
This is tea for two. Anne-Marie baked all the goodies this morning and they were heavenly. The tables and the room were decorated and the atmosphere was lovely. There were families and groups of friends there. I had the best hot chocolate I have EVER drunk. Seriously. Would you like to see it?
Lizzie and Mark and their team put this on as a community event and they did a wonderful job. We are determined to visit Ilam again in the summer sunshine and take a picnic. I wonder if we can persuade Dovedale House to do this again??
It's half term week here so the Best Beloved is off work and I am hoping to be out and about in Shropshire with the camera.
See you tomorrow.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x