Monday, 14 April 2008

Trip to Buxton (2)

Ahh poor Blog ! - it's been a bit neglected whilst I a) frantically try to finish as many bears for the TBAE as I can , and b) sniff / croak / cough / complain about ear ache and dizziness !! Our household has been struck by a profusion of nasty colds which seem to be lingering with malicious delight .... I haven't even been able to keep sewing past 10.30 pm !! Tsk - that's not going to get me a bumper crop of bearies is it ?

I had intended to make a lovely post about Poole's Cavern ; waxing lyrical about its scenic wonders , in true "Travelog" style ... but.... well , I'll leave the photos to speak for themselves . Actually it's a very difficult place to get any decent photos due to the extremely low light levels . Apparently the cave was used right back to the Bronze Age , and many intriguing human remains have been found inside . In one recess a tiny altar was unearthed which naturally gathered a pool of water underneath . A skeleton family of 2 adults and a child were found huddled next to this , seemingly with their arms around each other .... well details like that make my imagination run riot ! The Romans definitely made use of the cave as well , and are said to have battled the Briganti in the area ; a particularly hostile set of Celts who had settled in the Peak District , and loved a blood thirsty battle !
The cavern is named after John Poole - a Highwayman , known to have hidden inside , then later living (and dying) as a hermit within the dark , calcite laden walls . It's pretty cold inside too ; remaining a constant 7 degrees , and past the first wide open "hall" the cave narrows , but accommodates the river Wye which during bad weather rushes through amongst the boulders in full spate .
There are many points of interest in the tour ; a couple being The Flitch of Bacon - a spectacular long stalactite , which was recently reunited with its tip (knocked off and buried outside by 18th century vandals !) and another huge round stalactite said to have been hugged and kissed by Mary Queen of Scots !! Well , they did only have candles back then !!
Brett's favourite information was that bats perennially roost in a high natural vault - what a brilliantly spooky place ! Actually a crew from one of those ghostly- shenanigans programmes have visited the cave ; setting up motion sensors near the "Mary" spot . When they visited the next day all the equipment was back in its boxes with the lids on ...............

I shall try to post some "work in progress" pics soon - just to prove I am getting things done !

T.T.F.N Ruth x

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

A Trip to Buxton (1)

I've had a few days away from bear-making over the holidays ... which usually produces itchy fingers waiting to get back to it ! Last week on a typically mixed "British weather" day I ventured in to Buxton , Derbyshire for a look around .
Buxton nestles in the Peak District ; the vertiginous route winding through the Peak National Park . On one side the fields literally "roll" away from you to amazingly steep dips and clefting hedges , before soaring up again in to another huge hill . The grazing sheep seem unperturbed by what must be challenging terrain to live amongst ! On our way there the cloud-bottom mist was beginning to settle over the high tops , bringing drizzle with it , but not concealing the full glory of the landscape which your eyes cannot help but swoop over in appreciation .
Buxton itself was set up as a spa town going back to Roman times ; a Bath of the Midlands , even boasting its own Regency style Crescent buildings ( on a slightly more modest scale ) . Mary, Queen of Scots , beset by rheumatism , was a frequent visitor to take the beneficial mineral rich waters . There is a public tap source of Buxton spring water ; where anyone can fill their bottles with the same H2O which is marketed around the world .
During a heavy downpour we ducked in to a small shopping arcade (The Cavendish) which has been constructed from the Victorian Thermal Bath rooms . What sheer delight ! Now , I like shopping . A lot . But , I also marvel at architectural endeavour and the inspiring beauty which sometimes appears unexpectedly ; like the sun behind a cloud ! Inside , all the original Victorian tiling had been preserved - the time worn "crazing" of the glaze merely adding to their charm .

My resident ceramics-degree expert (or Hubby) informed me that the plain tiles were a Celadon green glaze ; the hand-glazing producing delightfully uneven nuances of watery hues .There was a wide frieze of Cornucopia and Swags along the top of the walls , banded with what I now know is an "Egg and Dart" border.

The slightly odd perspective is caused by tilting the camera upward in order to capture such wonderful bygone grandeur !
Needless to say many photos were taken , and the time we spent inside was not so much down to the little shops , although I did purchase the sweetest tiny Espresso cups and saucers decorated with butterflies , for displaying bears . Outside one of the shops was a plunge-pool set deep in to the floor , complete with suspended chair ; rather scary looking ! We surmised that the shop units were originally changing rooms , or for various machinery - one tiny unit had a distinctly oddly raised floor .
The three of us had a most enjoyable lunch at the upper floor cafe - an added benefit of which was the chance to "get closer" to the ceiling !! Over-arching the elegant arcade interior is a most impressive modern stained glass ceiling . Apparently the deep blue colours represent the river Wye , and the coloured flecks recall sycamore leaves - which scattered the avenue in front of the Crescent buildings in Georgian times . I think it is a wonderful marriage of the Old and the New .

All in all it was a most serendipitous day !!

T.T.F.N Ruth x