My Sunday Photo – August 27th, 2017.

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My baby is four. Can you believe it? I can’t, even though I am surrounded by cards and balloons with it on.

I had an idea of where I wanted to take her birthday photo this year, which I use on thank you cards, but when I tried it, I just couldn’t get the shot I had in my mind. It was a bit frustrating. Not only did it start raining but the bandstand (see below) just didn’t work, for all sorts of reasons. Luckily it did make for a lovely shelter during the downpour.

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Then one night we decided to head up to Mousehold Heath to let Freya run off some energy and I grabbed the balloon. I got some nice shots with Norwich as a backdrop and have used one of those on the card (along with some random ones).

Do you do special yearly photos? I wonder how long she will let me do it for?

To see what other people have snapped for this week’s My Sunday Photo please click on the camera below.

Wishing you all a lovely week.

Photalife
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My Sunday Photo – August 6th, 2017.

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Every year the Bishop of Norwich opens his private formal gardens in the city centre on select days to raise money for different charities.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit the four acre site on several occasions and it always takes my breath away.

As we were coming back from a lovely lunch a couple of weeks ago, Mark said: “Look, the Bishop’s Garden is open. Shall we go?”

Usually I would jump at the chance but a gentle pitter patter of rain was hitting the windscreen and the dark clouds overhead indicated that it might not be a short shower (and none of us had raincoats). However, not one to pass up an adventure, I said we should give it a go – especially as it was to raise money for Samaritans, Norwich.

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The gardens are something of a secret, surrounded by high walls so you’d never normally know they were there. Apparently there has been a garden on the site, although not like it is today, since about 1100AD when Bishop de Losinga began to build the cathedral and palace. There’s a history here.

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While Freya was more interested in listening to the Broadbeat Choir perform, we did manage to have a wander around the various areas, including a nose in the greenhouse.

My favourite was the wild flower labyrinth, which Freya also loved racing around to get to the centre (more pics of this on Instagram).

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Photo wise, the light was a challenge for my limited skills but it was still a lovely way to spend an hour or so.

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There are two more chances to visit the Bishop’s Garden this year on September 3rd and 10th. Admission is from 1pm – 5pm and is £3 for adults. Children and wheelchair users are free. If you’re in Norfolk it’s well worth a visit.

As always I’ve joined in with the awesome My Sunday Photo link, run by Darren at Photalife. Please click on the camera below to see the other submissions.

One last thing, please pop back tomorrow where I have another excellent Behind The Book interview for you, this time with “indie” author Julie Stock.

Wishing you a fab week.

Photalife

Things To Do In Norfolk – Waterloo Park, Norwich.

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We are very lucky to live in a leafy green city with a range of wonderful open spaces – including Waterloo Park, which is where we spend a lot of time as a family throughout the year.

I knew it was historic  – there’s a sign that says so – but I had never really thought about how or when it came to be. For that we owe a number of people a debt of thanks, including Captain Arnold Sandys-Winsch.

When he was appointed as parks superintendent in 1919, Norwich had Chapelfield Gardens, the Gildencroft, Sewell Park and a few playgrounds but by the time he retired, some 34 years later, it had about 600 acres dedicated to recreation and relaxation.

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The straight-backed former first world war fighter pilot oversaw the creation of much needed green spaces in a city where, in those days, many families lived in less than ideal conditions.

Taking advantage of government grants to fund schemes aimed at providing much needed jobs during the economic downturn following the war, the corporation, now the city council, decided to construct a series of formal parks using land acquired at the start of the 20th century.

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The captain, a passionate gardener who had gained a scholarship to Cheshire Horticulture College, not only drew up plans for the gardens but also every element within the parks – from the pavilions to the steps and from model yacht ponds to balustrades.

Over the years he employed a small army of men, many of whom had returned from the ravages of the war desperate for work but unskilled in any trade.

While Eaton Park, opened by the Prince of Wales in 1928, was the flagship scheme, the captain made sure each of them had its own identity – and these days they all have their own passionate supporters.

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Waterloo Park was already in existence when the captain arrived. It was known as Catton Recreation Ground then and was just an open space but the captain doubled its size to 18 acres and added all sorts of features, such as new bowls and tennis courts, a pavilion and bandstand, formal lawns and gardens, including what is thought to be the longest herbaceous border in the country (looking especially lovely at the moment).

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The name was changed to Waterloo Park when it was reopened in 1933. 

While many parks in the UK fell into decline in the 1970s and 1980s, in the last two decades they have seen something of a renaissance – sparked largely by investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BLF). In Norwich, Waterloo, Wensum, Eaton and Heigham parks have all been restored using lottery money.

Waterloo is now one of 23 parks and more than 100 open spaces and natural areas within the city. 

I’d visited the park a couple of times pre-Freya to play tennis but I first started going regularly when I needed to lengthen my running route and wanted to stay away from busy roads.

It became even more important once I’d had Freya; it was my sanctuary. I would pop her in her pram, usually crying it has to be said, and walk to the park most days, whatever the weather. Quite often she would fall asleep on the way and I would just sit on a bench and ponder how people did this motherhood thing.

Those days are thankfully gone but my love (now, our love) for the park has remained strong. I only have to look back over my photo archive to realise how many times we’ve visited in the last nearly four years.

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During each season I think that one is my favourite but then the next one rolls around and there are more things to photograph. We visit all year (although quite often we have the playground to ourselves in winter).

As well as just being a lovely open space with plenty of grass to play on there is also a splash park, which is very popular in the summer, the aforementioned children’s playground, various courts and a circular path to run/walk around.

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The only thing missing for me was somewhere to buy a drink or a snack but that’s all about to change with the launch of a new cafe – I can’t wait to try the hot chocolate!

Even though it feels like we’ve explored every inch of the park we still come across new things all the time.

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This sight literally stopped me in my tracks. Taken in 2012.

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If you’re in Norwich and looking for somewhere (free) to explore or let the children have some fun, you won’t be disappointed with a visit to Waterloo Park.