Category Archives: Education

Harlow Carr Gardens – The Visit

The approach to Harlow Carr was interesting as the satnav told us to take a different route to that indicated by the brown signs. It was an interesting, and narrow route. I will follow the signs next time and suspect I will have a less strenuous drive.

There is a lot of building going on in the area, and there is a large set of roadworks at the entrance to the gardens. Despite this we didn’t have to queue for long and were soon in the car park, dodging doddery pedestrians and trying to find a space.

I think I’ve already mentioned that most of the pensionable population of Yorkshire was out in the garden. Many of them were playing slow-motion Russian Roulette in the car park whilst others formed an orderly queue at Bettys.

That still left a surprising number to fill the garden paths. Fortunately, although the unkindness of the passing years has rendered me less mobile, it has made it easier for me to formate with pensioners. I was even able to hold a few up as I paused for photography.

There are some compensations to getting old.

We only saw about quarter of the gardens. There was a big bed of heathers as we walked in. It was good winter colour, one of the things I was looking for, but not something likely to be making an appearence in our garden.

There are some great vistas in the garden which, again, aren’t likely to be repeated at our house. You need distance for vistas and that isn’t something you can buy at the garden centre.

We looked at the alpine house because Julia is looking at a cactus/succulent/alpine project this year. I suspect the Mencap version will be slightly less polished than the RHS version.

I had taken a few photos by this time, including a wicker worm and a moving sycamore sculpture.

I won’t take you through the rest of the day in such detail – just give a quick list. Spring flowers, rhubarb, dogwood, kitchen garden, scones, toilets, mosaic display, sulphur springs, foliage beds, garden centre, bookshop, afternoon tea at Bettys.

We missed the lake, the library, the arboretum, the education garden and probably some other things we don’t know about.

To be honest, my search for new winter ideas didn’t meet with much success – I already knew you could plant bulbs and shrubs and leave large areas of bare soil.

It was a very enjoyable day despite this and I’m looking forwards to the spring visit, though I might try taking a flask and sandwiches next time. That way I can save money and take up an entire bench whilst pensioners tut their way past looking for somewhere to sit.

I’m a member. I can go as many times as I like without it costing more. I’m feeling quite smug.

 

 

Photography Puzzles

Looking through the old photographs, as I was yesterday, I am reminded of the complexity of regulations around photography.

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Care Bears came to visit

I have photographs of children and vulnerable people and I have permission to use them. So I’m clearly OK to post them on the blog aren’t I? Well, no. According to some regulation, which may be data protection rather than safeguarding, I should have asked for time-limited permission and I shouldn’t use them indefinitely. Schools, for instance, are only supposed to use photographs of children while they are attending the school. This would tend to suggest that I shouldn’t use the images now we have closed down.

This suggests that even if you are lucky enough to get a decent shot of a child you can’t keep using it. Unless you’ve paid a child model – that will be OK. That’s one anomally. Another is that I can’t publish names, but newspapers can. Presumably predatory perverts only cruise amateur blogs – professional photos and newspapers hold no interest for them.

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The Quercus Group in disguise

There’s another anomally – if I want to take pictures of children on a visit I need permission, which some schools take more seriously than others.  We once had a teacher shouting at one of our group members because they had  taken a picture with their telephone, which might have included a school pupil.

Yet that teacher thought it was OK for the school to take pictures of the visit without asking our permission and without checking with the vulnerable adults in the group. In fact no school ever asked permission to take pictures.

I’m not saying they should do, but I am saying that there should be one rule for everyone, particularly for schools that insisted on coming on days when the group was in.  Julia, being soft-hearted always resisted my requests that we should have a photo permission form for visits and only give permission to groups who gave us permission.

It’s funny how a train of thought can rise from a few photos…

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Agroforestry project

Imagine what that would mean for the famous Pears Soap advert. They used this one for years. Oh, how Admiral Sir William Milbourne James GCB must have mentally thanked his grandfather for this portrait of him in green velvet as he strode the decks of his various commands, where he was known by the nickname “Sir Bubbles”.

Image downloaded from the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum, with permission. Despite a lack of medals and dead animals this kind gesture has elevated thm to the status of one of my favourite museums.

 

Loose Ends and New Beginnings

I’m tying up a few loose ends today – you may have noticed a new, more accurate, subtitle (“Life after the Care Farm”) and I’ve added the latest news to the About Us page.

I’ve also added an update to the Ecocentre page.

They aren’t worth reading (being dry and, possibly, a little bitter) but if I add links it supposedly makes the blog more visible on the internet. It’s what they call Search Engine Optimisation. Like much of modern life I find it easy to ignore, but occasionally I like to give it a try.

It’s funny how the internet, whilst being ephemeral in nature, also preserves things.

Julia is taking the group from Mencap to see the Flintham Show. We’re just hoping the weather improves. It has generally been a good day out and the group is looking forward to it.  At least some good has come from our time at the farm.

They are advertising an education tent at the show – we have been replaced so easily. What hasn’t been replaced is the write-up that Julia prepared for the education tent several years ago. That is still up on the site, and is promising a number of things they won’t be able to deliver, including Connie the Cow, who is now living at a local school.

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Ploughing at Flintham Show  (2016)

Julia has just joined the Women’s Farm and Garden Association. It seems quite a go-ahead group of people, despite being formed in 1899, though the marketing could do with some work: we didn’t even know it existed until I saw one of its badges for sale on ebay.

Perhaps ebay is a force for good after all.

 

 

 

Goodbye to Connie the Cow

A sad morning today (though a less foggy day, as you can see from the photo), as we said goodbye to Connie the Cow. I know she’s going to a better place, where she’s going to star in panto and feature in educational units about fairy tales, but it’s the end of an era.

She’s been a group effort over the years. Julia drew her, John the Builder cut her out of ply, Dave made the udders, we all painted her (several times) and today we dismantled her and put her in the back of the car.

It was a mixed morning, as we were given a book of drawings and letters of thanks from the kids who came out on the last school trip (which just goes to show we’ve chosen a good home for Connie).

On a brighter note, the teacher who collected her showed us pictures of a Kingfisher on her phone. She’d been up to Rufford Park and on a bridge within yards of where I took the Marsh tit photo she saw a Kingfisher.

It’s slightly annoying that we missed the Kingfisher, but I’m looking forwards to looking for it on the return trip.

There’s always something good around the corner.

 

 

Retired teachers wanted – Nottingham Area

This is a request from Gail (better known as the Bread Lady to regular readers). She is working with a group helping refugees, teaching kitchen skills, and mentioned that they need teachers to help improve the English skills of their clients.

I can kill two birds with one stone by blogging with that title, as it is also the title that appears on Twitter.

So if you are a retired teacher from the Nottingham area, or know of any retired teachers from the area, let me know if you can spend a few hours teaching English to refugees.You can, of course, also volunteer even if you aren’t retired or a teacher. I’m sure she’ll be happy to accept help from anyone with a few hours to spare.

I’ll leave it there for now, as I still have  along list of jobs to do (having been diverted by making the blanks for 35 masks for tomorrow’s visit. I’m not good with a glue gun, and progress was not swift. However, I did end up with 35 masks. I also have burnt finger tips, glue on my clothes and a spider web of glue trails all over the place.

As Julia said: “You can’t get the help these days.”

 

Worms, Cookery and Bread

For tea on Wednesday we had chicken, mushroom and bacon pie with tarragon. Yes, we’re in “tea” territory here, and even if we weren’t I spent my early years in Lancashire, so it will be “tea” wherever I go. On the side we had baked potato and sauteed kale. (It’s stir fried really but people always seem to call it sauteed). Of course, those people know how to access the French accents on their keyboard; I don’t and on my screen the word is underlined in red. We had a proper meal because we left work as early as we could and got home in time to do some proper cooking.

That’s what we’ve been missing recently, time.

We did a bit of easy cooking with the group -jam tarts using ready-made pastry and the jam we made on Tuesday from the blackberries we picked on  Monday. It’s known as Any Berry Jam. I would include a link, but I can’t find it. I’ll try later. There was very little washing up and we had very little inclination to stay longer, so we went home, where I cooked again.

Joy.

Tonight, we will be having soup and a sandwich because we tested sausage rolls for the food blog. I am putting weight on in my capacity of pie tester.

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Quick blackberry jam tarts

It was a very pleasant day, and there were several butterflies on the wing as I drove down the lane. I snapped the two Red Admirals just behind the centre and the very tatty white on the verbena is by the polytunnel.

The marigolds are having one last hurrah, whilst the Cape Gooseberries (or physalis, ground cherries or Inca berries if you prefer) are still struggling to ripen. The ones that were left from the vicious attack last year are a little behind the ones we grew from seed.

The last wheatsheaf loaf broke. This year they all seem to have deformed as they dried out and have actually broken instead of cracking as they normally do. I think it may be because I should let the dough rest more before use.

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Sad fate for Wheatsheaf Loaf

The wormery is going well, though we will probably release them after tomorrow’s session. They have produced tunnels, they have dragged bits of grass down and they have even moved a paper triangle, though not as impressively as in Darwin’s original experiment. In their defence, my worms are smaller. 😉

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Wormery, with paper triangle showing

 

 

School visit

It was an intensive session today – the underground world, cheese scones, soup (using potatoes from the school garden), apple pressing and microwave jam making.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so help yourself to a few thousand. 😉

Yes, it’s a lazy blog today…