Sunday 31 October 2021

Halloween At Ledston

Over the last few years, my Halloween posts have been about the spooky trail at Lotherton so this year, instead of taking you back to Lotherton, I thought I'd take you to see how a local village celebrates Halloween.

Ledston is a small village with a population of about 400. It's about four miles from where we live and it's where Mary Pannell, a woman accused of witchcraft in the 16th century, lived.

I'll let you scroll through the photos I took in Ledston recently of their Halloween scarecrows while I tell you about the story of Mary Pannell.

Mary was accused of, and executed for, witchcraft but there are differing accounts of her story.

The first account is that she was a maid at Ledston Hall in 1593 and that, trying to help the son of the house, she brewed a potion to be applied to the boy's skin. His mother thought the potion was to drink and after giving it to her son, he died. Mary was accused of witchcraft.

The second account was that it had nothing to do with the son of the house, but in fact the master, Sir William Witham. After taking advantage of Mary, Sir William had then spurned her and because of this, Mary had arranged his death, after which it was assumed that she had practiced witchcraft upon him.

There's also confusion about her end. It's recorded in some places that Mary's execution took place in 1603, which was years after her trial and conviction.

Some believe she was hanged in York prior to her body being brought back to Pannell Hill, near Castleford, and burned.

Others say she was burned alive as a witch on Pannell Hill.

Apparently, her ghost has been seen on Pannell Hill leading a horse, and it's said that if you see this apparition, there will be a death in your family.

Ledston Hall was originally a grange and chapel, built by the monks of Pontefract Priory. It is said to be one of the most haunted buildings in Yorkshire and was featured on Most Haunted on Halloween 2007 but was called Wheler Priory for security reasons at the time.

For such a small village it certainly has a lot of history.

I like to see these type of events where it's quite obvious that the whole village gets involved.

They've certainly put on a good display. It's a ten from me, and him.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday 28 October 2021

A Rainy Day In Scarborough

We looked at the weather forecast on Sunday and saw that it was going to rain at the coast, and yet we still set off, heading for Scarborough. To be honest, we just fancied a walk to blow the cobwebs away, and a walk on the beach in October, with the wind coming in off the North Sea, is definitely going to blow the cobwebs away!

It was fine, if dull, when we arrived so we did manage a walk on the beach. It was very cold though. Archie went to the groomers last week so he's sporting a very short cut at the moment and I was mindful that he'd be feeling the cold too. He isn't keen on wearing a coat though.

We walked on the beach at South Bay. It has a dog ban on the main section of this beach from May to the end of September, but being out of season, Archie was allowed on all areas. I was sad to see dog mess though, so I don't blame councils enforcing these bans at busy times of the year. As a dog owner it really annoys me as people who don't clean up after their animals spoil it for those of us who do.

It was just starting to spit with rain as we left the beach but business on the boat trips from the harbour was still brisk. Plenty of people were signing up for a pleasure cruise out on the sea.

As we walked along the front, the rain really came down so we decided to head back to the car. We munched on some snacks which Mick had packed and I drank hot chocolate from my Moomins flask, overlooking the beach in the rain. It did look rather bleak.

I enjoy our days out whatever the weather. I'm definitely a home bird but I like a change of scenery, and there's nothing better than a trip to the seaside.

Sunday 24 October 2021


I'm always on the lookout for stickers. I use them in my journals and now that I've just bought a Hobonichi Cousin ready for 2022, I know I'll need even more.

I found these sticker books in Lidl of all places. It's amazing what you can find in the Middle of Lidl. They were just £2.49 each and with over 500 fun stickers in each book, they're such good value. 

It does say on the front of the books that they also contain "templates for bullet journals, calendars & more!" so they're ideal for what I want them for.

I bought four: Food & Fun, Let's Travel More, Seasons & Holidays and All You Need is Love, but there were more to choose from.

The stickers are ideal for what I want.

I think the templates will come in handy too.

I do like to pick up a bargain and I think these books are such good value, they contain so many stickers and more besides. They're ideal for anyone who journals.

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Monk Bretton Priory

There are lots of lovely local walks where we take Archie but sometimes we just fancy going somewhere different, I'm sure Archie appreciates a change of scenery just as much as we do. On Sunday I was looking on the internet for somewhere we hadn't been before and came across Monk Bretton Priory.

Located on the edge of Barnsley in South Yorkshire, it's about a forty minute drive for us.

As you enter the site you come to the Gatehouse which was extensively rebuilt in the fifteenth century.

To the left is the Administrative Building, this is where the monks would have met with visitors. It's a thirteenth century building but the upper floor was rebuilt in the seventeenth century.

Monk Bretton Priory was founded in about 1154 and was originally a monastery under the Cluniac order.

In 1281, after bitter disputes with the Cluniac priory at Pontefract, Monk Bretton seceded from the Cluniac Order and became a Benedictine house.

In 1295, the Priory housed thirteen monks and a prior. The same number were there when it closed in November 1538 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. 

Although some of the buildings are preserved well, little remains of the church, though there are some medieval grave slabs dotted around. Some of these retain lead lettering whereas others are decorated with crosses.

The cloister buildings are better preserved. Here you can see the high south walls of the monks' refectory with its two windows. The square would have been enclosed and would have linked the various domestic buildings used by the monks.

Here you can see the drains which flushed the latrine block with running water brought from the River Dearne.

There's a good amount of ruins still standing but even where they're not, you can see the markings on the ground of where the buildings would have stood.

The two great windows in the south wall of the monks' refectory.

The west range is almost complete and you're able to stand inside the building and get a real feel for the place with its staircases and nooks and crannies.

The site is now cared for by English Heritage. They do such a good job of looking after our historic buildings, monuments and sites but there's always some who take pleasure in destruction and spoiling things for others. Just look at the state of this information board. Totally senseless. There were bits of rubbish and plastic bags littering parts of the grounds too.

It was a dull day but it was very mild, I didn't need a coat. I like to get out when I can during the later months of the year, you just never know when autumn and winter are going to really settle in and how many fine days we have left.

We certainly got our change of scenery and as dogs are welcome on leads, Archie got a change from his usual haunts too.

Saturday 16 October 2021

3rd of October

We're in full on wedding fever here at the moment. Eleanor and Jacob got engaged in October 2020 and would have liked to have started making preparations for their wedding straight away but we went into lockdown again after the engagement and it's been a bit uncertain throughout the year with limits being enforced on how many guests were allowed at gatherings due to the pandemic so they thought it best to wait awhile. Most restrictions have been lifted now and though nothing's certain in terms of what's to come, they've decided to start making plans.

The first thing they needed to decide on is where they want to hold the wedding and reception. Neither of them want to get married in a church, preferring a civil ceremony in a hotel, so we've been looking at venues. They've found the perfect place for them and have now booked it, along with a registrar.

Eleanor and Jacob met at university, they were taking the same degree and met on the 3rd of October 2016. At the time, Eleanor had been going out with her then boyfriend for over two years and it would be nearly two further years before they went their separate ways. This left the door open for Jacob to ask Eleanor out on a date, and this he did exactly two years after they first met, on the 3rd of October 2018. When it came to proposing, if it hadn't been for the pandemic and lockdown, I think it would have happened sooner than it did, but Jacob ended up popping the question on the 3rd of October 2020 and She Said Yes. So, as you can imagine, the 3rd of October is an important date for them, they met, started going out and also got engaged on this date. They had thought about having a summer wedding but in the end they've decided to carry on the tradition and they'll be getting married on the 3rd of October 2022.

Although it seems there's lots of time to get things ordered and booked, there isn't really. There's so many things to organise so we've been visiting some wedding fairs, they're such a great place to start as many suppliers come together under one roof and you can take lots of ideas away with you. Many of the suppliers have said that they're taking bookings and orders for 2023 already so we do feel a little behind the game, but I'm sure we'll catch up with things.

The main things we'll have to sort out that I can think of for a start are flowers, stationery, cars, cake, and of course, there's the wedding dress. I remember trailing around for Eleanor's prom dress, that was an ordeal in itself so goodness knows what wedding dress shopping is going to be like. Wish me luck!

Tuesday 12 October 2021

Wildlife World

I've written about Lotherton Hall on numerous occasions, it's only a ten minute drive from where we live and we usually visit several times each week as it's the perfect place to walk Archie. There's different walks around the estate but we rarely tour the hall or Wildlife World, which is situated in the grounds, as it's rare that we visit without Archie. Last week Archie hurt his leg and he's been limping so he's been on enforced rest at home. We took advantage of the situation on Saturday, visited Lotherton without him and had a look around Wildlife World.

The main attraction in Wildlife World is the colony of Humboldt penguins.

They're always playful, swimming up to the viewing windows and showing off.

These penguins are originally from South America and can live for up to twenty five years.

The natural surfaces and pool allow the penguins to behave as they would in the wild and also breed, which means that Lotherton can contribute to the national breeding programme as the species is listed as vulnerable.

Most of the flamingos were doing what flamingos usually do, standing on one leg. It's believed they do this to avoid muscular fatigue, it's an energy saving activity.

There always seems to be something new when we visit Wildlife World, this time it was the Nocturnal House. We didn't manage to see Bonnie and Clyde, the cloud rats, endemic to the cloud forests of The Philippines, but we did see the Egyptian fruit bats and Seba's Short-tailed bats, though they were far too fast to photograph. I did manage to take a picture of Pablo the Kinkajou though. He came to Lotherton from the Isle of Wight, though they're native to the tropical forests of Central and South America. 

It was very dark in the Nocturnal House so my photos aren't the best but you get the idea.

Another animal in the Nocturnal House is Gaston the Southern Three-Banded Armadillo. Gaston lives in the same enclosure as Pablo the Kinkajou but Pablo seems to spend his time climbing on the ropes and branches which have been especially installed for him, whereas Gaston scurries around the ground. A member of staff entered the enclosure while we were there and Gaston was following her round wanting her to pet him. He's such a cutie.

A different member of staff invited us into the educational centre to get a closer look at the tortoises and while we were in there, we were being watched. Apparently, this white peacock just turned up at Lotherton about ten years ago and has stayed ever since. He's free to wander wherever he pleases.

The African Grey Crowned Crane is the national bird of Uganda and features in the country's flag and coat of arms. His crown makes him look very majestic.

This Southern Helmeted Curassow is called Angus. The conservation status was changed from Threatened to Endangered in 2005. They're found almost exclusively in Bolivia and some northern parts of South America but their numbers have declined due to deforestation for agriculture - shrinking the habitat area. The male will present the female with choice food gifts to entice her. If she accepts the gifts they will breed. I thought the way to a man's heart was through his stomach, obviously the other way round in this case.

Have you ever seen anything as cute as a Patagonian Mara. A relatively large rodent also known as the Patagonian cavy, Patagonian hare or dillaby. Found only in Argentina, they prefer to live in habitats with plenty of shrub cover. Being monogamous, pairs of Maras stay together for life. The male will follow the female wherever she goes, living in pairs or warrens of up to twenty nine pairs. That's quite specific, isn't it. I wonder what happens if thirty pairs get together.

I really enjoyed our little look around. Although we visit Lotherton often, it can be a few years between our visits to see the animals so I always look forward to it. Before we left, we went to have a look in the hall but unfortunately it was closed for cleaning. I do want to return as there's an exhibition there at the moment which I want to see so we might do that in the next few days.

I hope you enjoyed coming along for a visit to Wildlife World with us.