Bold Venture Park In Winter

War memorial topped by an angel with trees in the background

My home town, Darwen, has several Victorian parks, including Bold Venture Park. At the entrance, an angel, now nearly 100 years old, holds up a wreath and an olive branch to remind us of the consequences of war and to commemorate those who fell in WW1. The angel’s wings are the first things you see when approaching from the town.

Looking out over a snow-covered park towards the war memorial

Bold Venture is a hillside park with an interesting topography, built around quarries and steep ravines. A small lake, home to ducks, is another visual magnet. The lake rarely freezes right over, but was cold enough to support a band of ice, covered in snow in places.

View of a frosted lake surrounded by snow covered trees

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Fern Frozen Against A Mossy Moor

Frost-covered fern lying on moss

An old, unflattering rhyme I’ve never liked calls my home town’s moors bleak and barren. Perhaps if you don’t like moorland or have never taken the time to walk on it, you might think so. I suppose some people might care little for what walkers can find on a winter day up there by venturing a few steps off the path.

If you follow my blog you can expect to see brighter, bolder pictures of plant combinations taken in gardens or at flower shows, where skilled, creative hands have put together their best for public consumption.

I’m not sure you’ll see any plant combination I could look at with much more pleasure than this.

In the textures of the frozen vegetation, I seem to see fabric: the fern becomes lace; the moss, wool or velvet. The colours are alluring too: sage, mint and chocolate, the latter frosted to mink. Nothing is jazzy, all is harmonious. I’d love something to wear in a design inspired by this.

It may appear haphazard – there are a few wayward stems, but the fern and strands of grass have surrendered to the frost gracefully and a natural order is appearing – of sorts. Towards the top left, a thaw has started.  Continue reading

First Wintry Walk Of 2018: To Darwen Tower

Brambles and moss, covered in frost

A New Year’s walk up to Darwen’s Jubilee Tower has become a tradition. I’ve been a little under the weather over the holidays (just a nasty cold), so when we finally took the plunge, it felt extra-good to brave the fresh, winter air and get out for some exercise.

Darwen Tower

Darwen Tower may look warm under the glow of late afternoon sun, but anyone who has ever made the climb will vouch for the wind chill factor up there, even on a summer’s day. Continue reading

Listening To A Riff; Capturing A Moment

The Two Hats Blues Band

Music makes me happy, and live music can be the best of all. I’m fascinated to watch musicians listen to each other on stage as they take turns to riff. It’s one of many added benefits of live music.

You’ll see all degrees of listening – in-the-mood in the main, but also respect, surprise, the odd wince, right through to definitely-thinking-about-something-else. Naming no names, of course, for civility’s sake. In most cases they’ve heard it all before, often.

I loved how these blues players listened with intensity, as if they were hearing each other play for the first time. The stage lights had simplified their colours to blues and magentas and the steel guitar had become abstract, rippling gold.  Continue reading

Today Was A Good Day | My first Mesh!

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A Jubilee tower, built in 1898, overlooks my home town, Darwen, seemingly to tempt walkers on to the moors. Getting up there involves what real ramblers call a moderate climb, which translates to quite steep for a good bit of the way. Despite this, it’s very popular locally – you’ll be sure to meet families, couples, joggers, mountain bike riders and dog walkers, young and old, with varying levels of fitness.  Continue reading

Weekly photo challenge: bluebell blur

Bluebell meadow

Bluebells. For me, they’re a sign of home. My tiny garden is so full of the sturdy, Spanish ones that I can’t plant anything else without digging a few up, no matter how careful I try to be.

We stumbled upon these ones growing wild on Darwen moor, not far from Sunnyhurst Woods, on our way to the Jubilee Tower last spring. A field of bluebells is enough to stop even the most experienced of ramblers in their tracks. It makes me happy to think that this year’s flowers aren’t far away now. Continue reading

Moorland ponies

Moorland ponies

Lovely to meet these three ponies during a walk on Darwen moors. One was bold, eager to meet two passing strangers and find out what we had to offer – ideally food but failing that, affection. The second was patiently waiting to see how things turned out, and the little one was poised to run even further away. The bold one took all we had – just pats, compliments and a few other whispered words!