Monday, 20 November 2017

A la Ronde

Following mentioning fossils in the last two posts I will move on this week to show you some shells instead! We visited A la Ronde a few weeks back and although it sounds as if it should be in France it is in fact near Exmouth in Devon. It is a quirky 16 sided house full of creative treasures from around the world including lots and lots of shells!

This fascinating house was built for two spinster sisters in the 1790's. They had travelled extensively through Europe, on Grand Tours collecting treasures as they went.  They enjoyed buying and creating decorations which included using feathers,shells,decoupage,seaweed,stones and glass.

They would follow the sunshine around the house working under the windows on small fold down tables making their latest creations.

One of the striking features of the house was a two storey "Octagon Hall " off which all the rooms radiate. This makes the shapes of the rooms very unusual and quirky, as can be seen in one of the bedrooms.

This bedroom window in particular had wonderful views looking out towards the Exe estuary and in the far distance towards Dawlish.

On the top floor is a sort of Gothic seaside grotto that is decorated with 25,000 shells. As the contents of this gallery are so fragile it can only be viewed by a remote control camera. The picture above taken from a screen just doesn't do it justice as you can see by looking at it yourself using this Link.

These aren't the only shells as there are still cupboards and shelves covered in them throughout the house!

As if that wasn't enough this frieze made of feathers really caught our eye. It must have taken so much patience to create it and it is amazing it is still there so many hundreds of years later. Again it is better to see it for real. I recommend when you open the link to use the sound effects and the auto rotate at the bottom of this page to explore the drawing room. Do look for the frieze around the top of the walls, and around the doors and fireplace and the silhouettes they created

The sisters would never allow any men to enter their houses or grounds, as this now belongs to the National Trust they are welcome. We enjoyed seeing something completely unique, I hope you enjoyed your glimpses of it too!
Until next time.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Kicking through the autumn leaves

Our walks this week seem to have taken us towards the woods....

There is still a patchwork of autumn colours to be found.

I'm afraid I do revert to childhood and can't resist kicking through a pile of leaves just for the fun of it!

It's amazing how one side of the wood there are still plenty of leaves on the trees whereas on the other side they have already fallen, both sides have a different beauty to portray.

I had a number of queries following my previous post expressing surprise that anyone can pick up fossils along the beach so I thought I would show you some that we have found over the years, most of them have been found wandering along the beach at Charmouth.

Round Ammonites and cylinder shape Belemnites, are the most common  they are both extinct type of Mollusc, which creatures today would include octupus, cuttlefish, snails and slugs.

Top picture marine worms, bottom picture fossil wood.

As I mention in my previous post in the comments, if the fossils are loose on the beach the public can take them away, the reason behind this if they aren't picked up they will be eventually washed out to sea and lost. For further information see Charmouth Fossil hunting and there is a very good historical novel  called Amazing Creatures by Tracey Chevalier which tells the story of the famous fossil hunter Mary Anning and is  well worth reading.

Hope you are all having a good week, thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Along the Jurassic Coast

As we head towards the end of the year time seems to fly by even faster .......

This week the weather seems to have been quite good and instead of sitting inside working on a project to encourage everyone to explore more, we followed our own advice and managed lots of walks along the Jurassic coast.

The rock formations vary in each location and provide a completely different feeling and walk along the seashore - from the golden honeycomb cliffs at West Bay, which were a starring part in Broadchurch.

To the white chalk cliffs on the border of Devon.

To the black  clay fossil filled cliffs at Charmouth.

I always find the black clay rocks quite magnificent but quite forbidding. Can you see the West Bay cliffs in the distance?

There is always something different to discover on the beaches especially at low tide from fresh water, to ship wrecks and unusual rocks the one above made me think of Vienetta Ice-cream!

Fossils discovered are dug out and taken away. lucky some are just too large and they can be enjoyed and marvelled at in their natural surroundings.

 I was also surprised to discover a fallen leaf amongst the pebbles, it's not often we find leaves on the beach even in Autumn. Have you out exploring around your homes too?

Until next time.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Through the Garden Gate October 2017

The glory in the garden has faded fast in the garden this month. Everything was still looking quite colourful until the remnants of  Hurricane Ophelia and then Storm Brian hit. The cosmos turned into dismal weeds and many leaves were whipped off their stalk. There is however an small element of colour if you care to look........



Michaelmas daisy novi belgii

The sedum are still providing a colourful base to the hazel bushes, although a mole that was in a nearby garden seems to have found a new location to create his mounds under these flowers. Do you have any hints to encourage it back into the field?

The nasturtiums continue to roam in each direction. I do enjoy the peppery taste of the smaller leaves in a salad, last year they were destroyed by caterpillars. Maybe this year I will find enough seed pods to make poor man's capers.

The usual views looking more bare!

Most of the leaves of the grapevine have blown away. There are a few bunches of grapes still  hanging that we have left for the birds. On Friday morning we noticed more blackbirds feeding on them than usual and when took Tavi for his morning walk we discovered these birds were rather special.

We met with a naturalist who told us that there was a huge number of birds passing through including flocks of blackbirds that had flown down from Scandinavia.It's amazing to think that these birds may have been feeding in gardens of blogging friends in Sweden and Finland! Obtaining more knowledge about wildlife and growing plants makes me appreciate how wonderful nature is and how we should more time observing it.

What has been the best thing in your garden this month?

If you would like to join in with Through the garden gate each month please let me know in the comments below and I will add your site. 


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