I may have written about this before. But we have this beautiful victorian palm house near us. It is a favourite visit and has such a lovely history. I think one of the reasons that it has such a lovely feeling is that there is a lot of love gone into this building. It is a grade 2 listed building and was built back in 1896. After being bombed in the war and then re-built a little, it fell into disrepair and by the 1980’s was closed to the public as it was deemed unsafe.
In June 1992, a public meeting was held highlighting the dereliction and calling for restoration. A petition was presented to the City Council by what had become the “Save the Palm House” campaign. A public fund raising campaign was established, with a “sponsor a pane” programme generating over £35,000. This led directly to the conversion of Save the Palm House into a registered charity (Friends of Sefton Park Palm House). The Palm House was partially repaired and reopened in 1993. It was fully restored at a cost of £3.5 million with Heritage Lottery and European funding and reopened in September 2001.
It is now simply stunning and is often used for events and weddings. It is so pretty and one of my favourite places. One of the things about the people of this city is that they love their city and they will get behind something that is important to them.
The palm house is evidence of that, that is for sure…
I have photographed it SO many different times. One of the first professional jobs i had was in the palm house, in the evening and with not much light. yeah was a baptism of fire. I climbed the little staircase that takes you up to the top of the palm house to try and get an overhead shot. There is a little gallery at the top of the dome. But the ladder started to wobble and got the best of me!! It was an evening ill not forget.
This is one of my shots from that night:
Ha! looking at those images now makes me realise how much i have changed as a photographer. I wont forget that fully grown angel statue and his hairy legs though!! 😉
We often just nip out to the park and the palm house at the end of the day and before the kids went back to school and all the christmas decorations came down we did just that and it was all pretty and lit up with fairy lights and a jaunty little christmas tree in the doorway (that was actually tied down- bit windy i guess!) It was getting very dark as we left the park and i only had my little camera with me and i fiddled with the setting so that i could let in a max amount of light to get the blue in the sky. It could really do with a tripod to be honest because the shutter was slow and really it was beyond a hand hold but they kids were already yelling at me to hurry up…they get quite used to mama dragging her feet and taking lots of shots!!
Then we played a little with some ‘fill-in’ high sync flash techniques….the kids always come back on side when they are in the pictures!! (btw for the photographers out there, this image below is just taken with a entry level DSLR and the little on camera flash that it has!!)
It is getting colder isnt it? That snap of winter is in the air and the gloves and scarfs are starting to litter the porch and the shoe cupboard. It is no use trying to hold it of. I am not a massive fan of winter but im trying to embrace it a little and not grumble too much.
So in a bid to enjoy some of the first frosts of the season, i went and took some autumnal pictures!! 🙂 lol
Catching the colours before they really do change!
This week has been a strange one, the come down from a crazy run up to the girls ballet show, a horrible flu like cold thing and our car needing some attention ‘dans le garage” 😉
We scheduled in the car for its day of treatment on a day when i didnt have quite so much to-ing and fro-ing. Me and the littlest one got on with getting used to a day at home. Which is not something that happens very often. We have visitors this weekend so we did some baking and she did lots of ‘helping!’ We did some washing (yeah exciting stuff for a toddler) and i got her to help me sort out clothes into piles. It is amazing how well she knows everyone’s clothes!! Then we made ourselves some toast and jam and headed out into the garden.
Our garden in the winter is a bit of sorry state of forget…its not a whole lot better in the summer if im honest (sshhh) but at least spring and summer getting her glad rags on and giving them a bit of a shake covers up our ever-so poor horticultural skills!
But anyway we had about half hour of bubble blowing and digging in a random, bucket of earth before she discovered the hose and it all went a little down hill quite quickly! You will notice that she has the completely appropriate footwear for November…as always 😉
I did do a bit of a dizzy dance this day though…as you might notice she is wearing a cute little dress…which she has refused to wear for months and months. I had lost the receipt and resigned myself to the fact that i would just have to hand it down to someone else and ta-dah..she appeared wearing it!
Thats worth a celebratory piece of cake!!
One of our favourite places to go that is local but good for a few hours of getting the kids outdoors is the National Trust property. It really is one of those places that we know inside out, its like a local park. But we love it. It has little hidden gems and is a perfect way of spending an ordinary weekend afternoon or a place to go with a group of friends and a large picnic for a special time.
I have to confess that we have only ever once ventured into the house. A lovely lady said that we could have a little handy hip shelf thing to pop our youngest on instead of using the buggy (there isn’t room). Which i did use, probably incorrectly as it was really uncomfortable and then we spent about 30 minutes running after lively toddlers and telling them not to touch anything. So i can’t really vouch for the house. Im sure its lovely. 😉
But we know the grounds really really well. Recently they have added a Maze. They have planted smallish trees and so at the moment the maze is actually quite handy as the kids run off and yet we can still see them and not spend hours trying to work out which corner they have gone round.
By the time the trees are going to be big enough for us to actually loose our kids in the maze, the kids will be old enough to not be bothered by it. I think its a fabulous addition to the grounds and the kids love it. Especially the bit where they get to the last bridge.
Our other favourite bit of Speke Hall is the fact that it basically backs on to the airport and we have, since my son was young, walked round the perimeter and watched a few planes land and take off. Lately they have added another walk which means that you can walk along side the works access to the runways and then sit on a disused part of the runway.
The new walk means that we can get down to the estuary, which was fun until we pretty much got stuck in a load of mud and had to make a swift about turn and get back to the track!
I love the new walk though. It feels a little unkempt and wild, which doesn’t really fit the house and the grounds that we know…but i think it really adds a new dimension to the place.
We still love it there and no doubt we will be back soon!