Saturday, 29 April 2017

Plants


We sell plants throughout the year on Ampthill country market, and some of these are tender plants in March and April and these cannot be 'left' in the garden if the overnight temperatures are close to zero.

In the UK overnight temperatures can be too cold until at least the middle of May, sometime even later, especially in the north.

So if you buy these plants you just need to keep them indoors during cold spells, or covered such as in a cold frame or a try a re-using idea mini cloche.

You can keep them on a windowsill or in a conservatory.  I suggest putting them on a tray that is waterproof and strong enough to lift them, and then pop them out during the day in the sun and giving them a water, and just bringing them in at night.  Keep your eye on the forecast, I am putting out an alert on twitter as a reminder if the temperature is due to drop below 3 https://twitter.com/AmpthillCM.

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Friday, 28 April 2017

Bletchley Park



Interesting day out
A substantial investment of lottery funding has been well spent at Bletchley Park. The grounds are great to explore on a nice day and there is plenty of seating (picnic tables and deck chairs). The period sound effects being played in the grounds are evocative but not too intrusive.  There are also a few games to entertain the kids and a small lake to relax next to. 

The Mansion and Huts
There is plenty to see inside as well if the weather is not great, with visitors able to access the ground floor of the Mansion house, which houses a number of temporary and permanent exhibitions. These include the Office of Alastair Denniston, Head of the Government Code and Cypher School and the Library, laid out as it would have looked during WW2 as a Naval Intelligence office.  

There are a number of the original huts, which all have period displays to wander around. The restored Codebreaking Huts 3 and 6 are where Enigma messages sent by the German Army and Air Force were decrypted, translated and analysed for vital intelligence. In these huts, the atmosphere is recreated with rooms recreated to resemble what they once were when codebreakers worked here.  You can also “meet” some of the codebreakers and can listen to recordings of the men and women tell the stories of what happened, including sounds, projected images and authentic props.
Hut 11 houses the Turing-Welchman Bombe machines – now restored and refurbished so you can experience the sounds of the wartime Bombe machines and learn what it was like to work on these machines in the original conditions.  In Hut 12 you can see historic exhibits relating to Bletchley Park, including original wartime documents, historical artefacts and  relevant archaeological items. 
Hut 8, as well as being the Codebreaking Hut leading the breaking of German Naval Enigma messages, houses an interactive exhibitions explaining the different methods the codebreakers used to help them with their work. It also displays the real office of Alan Turing, recreated to how it would have looked in World War Two complete with the mug chained to the radiator. 

The museum in Block B contains a number of fascinating exhibits relating to the history of Bletchley Park and is well worth a visit. There are also wartime garages, complete with WW2 vehicles.
Everything is well laid out and there is plenty of signage and volunteers if you have any questions. There are a couple of cafes serving reasonably priced refreshments. The entrance fee is not too expensive, especially as the ticket is valid for a year so you can return on another visit, if you don't see everything on the first visit. There is a  Visitor Centre in Block C as you enter into Bletchley Park with a coffee shop, gift shop, selling Bletchley Park books etc., and a multimedia, interactive introductory exhibition. I recommend visiting this attraction not only to appreciate its significant historical importance but also for a fun day out. There are also numerous special events held on a regular basis, so check their website.











How to get there 
Leave Ampthill heading west along Woburn Street and turn right onto Woburn Road (A507). Stay on the A507 until you see Woburn signposted. Take the route through Woburn and follow signs to A5 – join the A5 heading north. Stay on the A5 until you reach the junction after Kelly's Kitchen Roundabout (signposted MK West & East). At this junction leave A5 and join Bletcham Way (H10) heading west. Stay on Bletcham Way until you reach V7/Saxon Street/B4034 – follow V7 to Bletchley. When you have passed the shopping centre and Bletchley station, you will come to a roundabout where you turn right onto Sherwood Drive – after a short distance turn left into Jemima Way, which is the approach to Bletchley Park. The satnav postcode is MK3 6DS – jouney time is about 30 mins (15 miles) depending on traffic.

On Arrival
The public car parks are signposted and there are plenty of spaces. They are only a short walk from the pay kiosks and the entrance to Bletchley Park.  You can book on line and get a discount, the ticket lasts for the year.  There is a cafe and a couple of other places to buy food.



Monday, 24 April 2017

Re-use and re-purpose - Chalkboard

We have had a chalkboard for many years that we bought from the Keech charity stall on Ampthill Charter Market.

However we have not been bringing it every week as it was looking a bit tired, but with a renewed enthusiasm I have now painted it (and glued it), so no longer primary colours of red and yellow, a little more sophisticated.

We just need to find someone with fab writing!

So it has been saved from the landfill for another year...

...have you re-used or re-purposed something this week?

Visit Ampthill Country Market stall every Thursday, on the Ampthill market.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Re-use & Re-purpose - kitchen pots

Have you got a tired old saucepan, that has a bit of character?  or a colander or something similar?

Well how about planting it up?  The colander is perfect as it already has draining holes, no worries about drilling.  You will need to line it with something, just some plastic from a compost sack, just make sure you can't see it through the holes, so black side out.  Or an old jumper could work sacking.

This is what I came up with last year - they soon filled up when the plants got established...

Bedding begonias will be on sale on May when you can safely plant them outside.


Friday, 14 April 2017

Stockwood Mossman Collection

See more details about the centre here:
Stockwood park discovery centre
My great grandfather was a coachbuilder based in Holloway, in Marlborough Rd in the late 1800s to early 1900s, and I have some picture of coaches that he built.  It was interesting seeing some similar models in the collection, but I did not manage to see any with the 'Lugg Bros' logo on them.  We took a few photos so thought I would share them as an additional part of the days out.

Interestingly they lived in Hanley Rd, close to Hornsey Road, but I think this was only painted 'fictitiously' of the period, which was a shame, I have yet to find out any history about the business.



Discovery Hall:
The Discovery Hall has transport exhibits associated with Luton and houses The Mossman Collection.   The Mossman Carriage Collection is a collection of horse-drawn vehicles and is the largest collection of such vehicles in the United Kingdom, and includes original vehicles dating from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.  The collection was donated to the Luton Museum Service in 1991 and has examples of horse-drawn road vehicles and carriages used in Britain dating from Roman timess up until the 1930s.  The collection includes vehicles used by tradesmen and ordinary people as well as luxury vehicles and state coaches used by the British nobility and on the large British estates. Many of the exhibits have also been used in television productions and films including Ben Hur and Carry on Dick.  I will post some of the carriages on another post.















Monday, 10 April 2017

Re-use & Re-purpose - Mini cloches

Did you want to plant out a few vegetable plants in the garden and it is a bit early as the nights are a little cold, you can put a cloche over the top and they should be fine from April onwards - you may even be OK in March too.

We have lettuce plants for sale at the moment on Ampthill Country Market, you can put them in your garden with a little hat on now, and they will be fine.  I would suggest that you make sure they don;t get too hot during the day.  Leave the lids off as that will give them some air.



There are other plastic containers that will do the job just fine, just see what you are throwing away, just cut a hole for air circulation...and it didn't cost you a penny.

Just search for plastic bottle cloche - here is a little more reading

Plastic bottle cloche


25 ways to repurpose plastic bottles

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Stockwood Park & Discovery Centre

Last summer we decided to go to Stockwood Park, we went many years ago, so long ago that it had changed quite a bit with a new building for the Mossman Collection of carriages and a cafe.  Last summer there had been several dry weeks, so the gardens were maybe not looking their best at the end of August.








History
The park was originally the estate and grounds to Stockwood House, which was built in 1740 by John Crawley, one of Bedfordshire's leading landowners.  The enclosed walled gardens provided shelter for growing fruit and vegetables for the house. One of the walled gardens now displays a series of gardens illustrating the changing styles of gardening through the ages. During World War II the house was converted into a children's hospital. The House was eventually demolished in 1964.



Something for everyone
Gardens:
If you are a garden enthusiast there are a number of different gardens to wander around, including formal Period Gardens (Medieval, Elizabethan, Dutch and Italian) and a wartime garden. Once part of the original Stockwood House walled areas, the Period Gardens reflect the changing styles of gardening in this country. The 'Improvement Garden' is a classical garden in which the sculptures (by acclaimed artist Ian Hamilton Finlay) are an integral part of the landscape and can be seen on permanent display.  Newer areas include a contemplative Sensory Garden, a colourful World Garden, and a Medicinal Garden highlighting the usefulness of plants - designed with environmentally green and sustainable principles in mind.  This is not a complete list of the gardens that can be visited and there are also greenhouses to explore.

Galleries:
If you are keen on history, then the old stable block has a number of galleries depicting the development of the local area from pre-historic times through to the last hundred years. Located in the original stables of Stockwood House, these galleries explore the history of the region from prehistoric times to the evolution of Stockwood House and the Farley estate. The first gallery introduces Stockwood looking at its history for the last 200 years. The Landscape and People Gallery explores the changes to the local environment. The  Discover Archaeology Gallery introduces early inhabitants of the area and shows how the past is uncovered. There is a separate Roman and Anglo Saxon Gallery where you can see the legacy that these people left us. Well worth a visit is the Medieval Gallery where you can walk the streets of Luton in the 1400's. The final gallery – the Rural Trades Gallery – shows some of the craft and trade objects collected from Bedfordshire villages in the 1930's-1950's. There is a forge located next to this gallery and a collection of vintage stationary engines are also located at this end of the site.

This is a great attraction provided by Luton Council that amazingly has free entry. Away from the formal displays there are plenty of open spaces to sit and relax.  There is a children's play area, a cafe and a gift small shop. A great place to spend a few hours browsing and to return to for future visits at different times of the year to fully appreciate the variety of gardens.  There are also regular events and special exhibitions at different times during the year and the annual Country Fair on the Easter weekend.








Discovery Hall:
The Discovery Hall has transport exhibits associated with Luton and houses The Mossman Collection.   The Mossman Carriage Collection is a collection of horse-drawn vehicles and is the largest collection of such vehicles in the United Kingdom, and includes original vehicles dating from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.  The collection was donated to the Luton Museum Service in 1991 and has examples of horse-drawn road vehicles and carriages used in Britain dating from Roman timess up until the 1930s.  The collection includes vehicles used by tradesmen and ordinary people as well as luxury vehicles and state coaches used by the British nobility and on the large British estates. Many of the exhibits have also been used in television productions and films including Ben Hur and Carry on Dick.  I will post some of the carriages on another post.

They have a 'long term' project to restore the last surviving Luton tram.....

How to get there:
Leave Ampthill heading south along Dunstable Street, carry on through Flitwick and Westoning and join the southbound M1 at junction 12. Keep on M1 until junction 10 and exit towards A1081/Luton Airport. Stay on A1081 and at the big roundabout take the second exit onto London Road. In less than half a mile turn left  onto Cutenhoe Road, keep left and you will shortly see the signs for the Discovery Centre and car parks. The satnav postcode is LU1 4LX – jouney time is about 30 mins (17 miles) depending on traffic.

On arrival
There is plenty of parking only a short walk from the entrance. There are also large grassed areas next to the car park where you could have a picnic or the kids could run around and play ball (ball games not allowed in the Centre), there is seating around the park and plenty of space to eat a picnic or use the cafe.

http://www.lutonculture.com/stockwood-discovery-centre/

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Baking

I thought I would share some pictures of some of our delicious bakes...just to remind you all







Monday, 3 April 2017

Days out from Ampthill (Cambridge)



Now that we have some nice sunny days, and Easter is just around the corner, I thought I would remind you that there ideas for day trips from Ampthill, they are all less than 1 hour and 10 minutes away....

I have added them all to a page here
Days out from Ampthill

I thought I would share some pictures of Cambridge, which is a nice easy drive, and has loads to offer, walks, views, river, punting, food, Fitzwilliam Museum, shops, market just to name a few.

It also has a fabric shop, homemade fudge, chocolate making, and of course a Country Market stall.

...and of course if you are around in the Easter break don't forget to visit the Ampthill Country Market stall on Thursday morning - we are there until 12