Back to RHS Bridgewater

Friday again … aren’t the weeks whizzing past?!  I hope you’ve had a good one!

I took this photo on Monday’s dog walk – look at that sky!

Two arches of a brick built railway viaduct against a brilliant blue sky. The foot of the arches are covered with vegetation.

Nine Arches, Sankey Valley Park

First of all, let me say a huge THANK YOU! to everyone who has bought my patterns over the last week.  Wow, I didn’t expect such a response and I am very grateful that you have chosen my patterns to add to your projects queues.  If you’re new to the blog and have no idea what I’m on about, then last week I released five patterns which had previously been published in magazines but are now mine to share (there are agreements about rights with magazines which mean you can’t share them yourself for a certain length of time).

I do hope that you thoroughly enjoy knitting the patterns and don’t forget to let me know how you get on as I would love to see your socks!


In all of the pattern excitement of last week, I didn’t get chance to tell you about my trips (yes, two in one week!) back to RHS Bridgewater.  I am certainly making the most of my membership whilst I can!  A friend had mentioned that she would like to visit so we went early on Monday morning, complete with our brew and a picnic; the cafe there is extremely busy but actually, it was so much nicer to sit on a bench outside.

A blurred travel mug is in the foreground but the focus is on the borders of brightly coloured plants in the background. The flower beds are separated by gravel paths.

There is something very calming about sitting amongst the flowers, knowing that there’s nowhere else you need to be right at that moment – and also that they are not your flower beds and therefore there is no work for you to do on them.  I don’t think I have ever been as much of a Garden Appreciator as I have been just recently sitting on the benches at the RHS garden and listening to the hum of the bees and the distant conversations of other people.  I’m trying really hard at the moment to make time in my week for things that make me happy (the downside of working for yourself is that it can be really hard to stop working) and I was very happy sitting there with my brew in my hand.

I went back to Bridgewater on Thursday evening for their first Walkies event.  Dogs aren’t usually welcomed into the garden but this was a special evening opening when you could take your four-legged friend and walk around all the gardens and the lake as the sun went down.  Another friend came with me and borrowed her neighbours’ dog so that we could walk together.  My boy is a sociable chap and didn’t at all mind having a companion to walk with!

A chalkboard with the words "Welcome to Walkies" on it is standing on a gravel path. In the background are trees.

We were able to go into all the walled gardens and right around the lake – we decided that as the sun was already starting to go down that we would walk that way round and then finish in the walled gardens closer to the welcome building as it got darker.

A view towards the RHS welcome building across a stream and a meadow.

It was really quite busy with lots of people taking the opportunity to walk their dogs, and my dog was beside himself with excitement at the whole experience.

I’d love to tell you that we had a leisurely stroll around the gardens but sadly not.  If you’ve ever flown a kite and experienced that moment as it starts to fall from the sky, twisting and turning and trying to wrench the string from your hands before crashing into the undergrowth, then you will understand what it was like walking my giddy hound around the paths in the darkening twilight.

“Sit by this lake and have your photo taken,” I told him.

A black dog is sitting by a lake. His head is blurred because he won't sit still.

But no, he was far too excited to sit anywhere to have his photo taken.  If you think this photo is a bit blurry, this is the best of them all as the rest of them were more like this …

A hand reaches out to a black dog in a blurred photo.

It reminded me of the day that we took part in a Race for Life event which is a 5 km (3 mile) charity run/jog/walk to raise money for cancer research.  The walkers, which make up the biggest group and of which we were part, set off last after the runners and joggers and then you can take as long as you like to walk the course.  It’s a fun event – but not when you have a dog that really wants to be at the front and not just at the front of the walking crowd.  I have never walked 3 miles so fast in my life.  In fact, there were moments when I seriously thought that I was just going to be dragged on the ground in cartoon style behind this crazy dog that wanted to win some kind of time trial trophy!  Anyway, you get the picture and for some reason the dog seemed to think that this was a similar kind of event.

By the (record) time we got back to the walled gardens, the light was fading fast.  We had been given some guidelines on how our dogs should behave – one of them was that dogs were not allowed in the water.  It was like this when we got there, honestly!

A rill set in stone flags leading towards a pool. It is obvious that lots of dogs have been paddling in the rill as the ground is very wet!

Once the light starts to go, it goes fast, doesn’t it?

A walled garden in semi-darkness.

The coffee van at this side of the garden was still open so we stopped for a brew and to admire the moon.  My photos don’t do it justice but it was huge and golden, a proper harvest moon – absolutely beautiful.  The dog wasn’t impressed and didn’t even want to sit down whilst we had a brew.  What a pest!

We didn’t sit for long as the garden was closing so we headed back to the welcome building and wondered how the staff would make sure that everybody was out as it would be a long night if you were shut in!

A view across the dark walled garden to the bright lights of the welcome building.

It was a lovely evening and I did enjoy the evening sounds and scents which are always different to what you experience during the day.  I hope that the staff at Bridgewater felt that the event was a success – if it was then I’m quite sure it will be on again, but whether I’ll take the canine kite with me again is still up for debate … I’m sure I’d have a much calmer walk with a stuffed toy! 🙂


Finally for today, I have recently been speaking to Lindsay from the Making Stitches podcast and her podcast featuring some sock knitter called Winwick Mum is live today.  Lindsay has spoken to some really interesting people for her podcasts and I was delighted to be asked to be among them.

If you click this link here, it should take you to the podcasts page so that you can listen to it if you’d like to.  There’s a trailer of what’s coming up in this season’s podcasts, and depending on your podcast player, you might need to go to find the next episode as it may not link automatically.  I must warn you that the sound quality isn’t excellent on my part in places as I don’t have any equipment for recording conversations, but Lindsay sounds fabulous! 🙂

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9 Responses

  1. Lindsay says:

    Hi Christine, the image of you ‘flying’ around behind a dog brought a smile to my face. As RHS members, my husband and I want to go to Bridgewater next summer, you have definitely whetted my appetite. We live in North Yorkshire so will probably find a b&b close buy to stay overnight so we are not rushing and can fully enjoy the gardens. Thanks for another entertaining blog. I love them as they are so down to earth and ‘normal’. Best wishes (another) Lindsay x

    • winwickmum says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, thank you! I hope the dog will be better behaved next time! The Bridgewater garden is really lovely, I am sure you will enjoy it. It’s not far from Manchester and Salford so you could perhaps make a weekend of it and explore the city as well? It’s pretty easy to get around and there’s plenty to see! xx

  2. Susan Rayner says:

    I wish, wish, wish Wisley would do a similar experience for dog walkers!! Peggotty would have loved that garden and we only live three miles away! My sister’s two labradors are similar in Kite like behaviour!! Bridgewater is looking lovely!!

    • winwickmum says:

      I thought they might do it elsewhere as they asked me if I’d been to a Walkies event before but maybe it’s not at all the gardens. They might do it at Wisley later in the year, perhaps xx

  3. Ruth says:

    Lovely- I so enjoy your posts!!!
    – I have not done as much knitting as I would like but trying to make the most of the lovely sunny weather and loving the Moon this week.
    I have been really busy getting ready for my grand daughter as she is going to stay for 2 nights as her Mum and Dad are going to Chelsea Flower show tomorrow – looking forward to entertaining a 11 year old who loves cooking and crafting – been ages since she stayed over – or had a sleepover as the modern phrase is!!
    Socks will be in demand again soon!! as the next month advances and the weather cools
    Love Ruth x

  4. Lenore says:

    What a wonderful day out. Loved hearing about the dog. The garden looks beautiful. Xx❤️🌺

  5. I so get your description. Our dog has been to several ‘dog training’ courses (me with her), but every time she sees our neighbor Leon she acts like she’s never heard the word ‘sit’ or ‘off’. His dog is so well trained the dog was a ‘court’ dog for young witnesses who might need a warm friend to hug as they gave testimony…so like super calm/trained. Ah well.

    • winwickmum says:

      Oh, our dogs are so good at showing us up, aren’t they?! Ours knows perfectly well how to behave but he is very strong willed and prefers to do his own thing when he can. I have read that dogs take after their owners so I shouldn’t be shocked at this! 🙂 xx

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