Saturday, 16 February 2013

Pablo Cat 1994 - 2013

R.I.P. little pal

What do cats remember of days?

They remember the ways in from the cold,
The warmest spot, the place of food.
They remember the places of pain, their enemies,
the irritation of birds, the warm fumes of the soil,
the usefulness of dust.
They remember the creak of a bed, the sound
of their owner’s footsteps,
the taste of fish, the loveliness of cream.
Cats remember what is essential of days.
Letting all other memories go as of no worth
they sleep sounder than we,
whose hearts break remembering so many
inessential things.
                                         Brian Patten

Monday, 11 February 2013

A walk in the park

When North Winds do blow

It’s too cold to garden but the perfect time to take a walk in the park - Auckland Castle Park of course - which is what friend Elaine and I did a couple of weeks ago, in the snow.

View from the Deer House

Quite a few others had had the same idea, including, of all people, a man riding a unicycle! A walk last year in the snowy park elicited a skier which was fairly unusual for Bishop Auckland, but a unicycle in the snow was completely bizarre. 

Close-up of amazing  tree bark

We wanted to take photos of the trees draped in snow, but, ironically, the snow had only just peppered the trees so we concentrated on the deer house. 

Sadly, the Deer House is almost a deserted folly as deer are rarely to be seen although there are substantial herds at nearby Whitworth Hall and also some miles away at Raby Castle. In its heyday, the Bishops, their family and guests used to picnic in the tower of the Deer House while watching deer caring for their young in the central courtyard below.

View of  the roof tops of the Deer House

The future of the Bishops’ Park and Auckland Castle are now assured with their recent purchase by philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer. His plans to make Auckland Castle a major tourist attraction and a centre of ecclesiastical history are on target and - especially of interest to gardeners -  work on restoring the walled kitchen garden has already begun and, hopefully, the garden will be open to the public later this year.

Looking upwards in the Deer House