Thursday 15 February 2024

Winter Break 2


Our second winter break took us to Cumbria.

En route we stopped at Kirkby Lonsdale

The roads to our final destination of Millom were winding and went up hill and down dale allowing us vistas of the beautiful countryside. We didn’t know until after our visit that this is the birthplace of the poet Norman Cornthwaite Nicholson OBE (8 January 1914 – 30 May 1987) whose writing career spanned from the 1930s until his death in 1987. Nicholson is best remebered for his poetry but he also wrote novels and plays. He wrote in his attic of his home, a Victorian terraced house and tailoring shop at 14 St George's Terrace in Millom and is known for the straightforward language and his content which reflects the local industries and culture of his area mining, quarrying, and ironworks—the dominant industries in Millom at the time.

This abandoned house was opposite our guest house

Also in Millom is the Hodbarrow RSPB Nature Reserve situated on a coastal lagoon which is located on the site of a former iron mine but the approach was too muddy.

Just down from Millom is the village of Haverigg, which lies on the Duddon. The small seaside fishing village with its dunes and waterpark has a restored lighthouse.

We took a picnic Lake Coniston where we spent a day

On our way home we stopped at Morecambe

and Clapham

and at a retro tearoom at Gargrave

We were lucky with the weather in North West UK in February.  The rain mostly held off and, from time to time, the sun even peeped through!

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Winter break

A few days away took us to the North East coast to Sunderland.

En route, we stopped off at various places; the market town of Thirsk in North Yorkshire, then on the Fish Quay in Hartlepool and Seaham in County Durham.

The trail along Fish Quay is called the Monkey Trail. We looked up the reason for the name and then realised that the house outside which we parked paid tribute to the legend of the Monkey Hanger with its many ornaments. The link for the interesting details of the legend is here

We also stopped at Seaham where there is an oversized statue of “Tommy”, a First World War soldier by artist Ray Lonsdale. We had a drink at the Armoury Cafe whose walls were adorned with murals of various wars.

Arrived at our hotel The Seaburn Inn on the sea front at Sunderland, in Tyne and Wear, where dogs are welcomed with treats and a sausage for breakfast. The hotel is part of the Inn Collection and often offer off season breaks at excellent rates.

A pleasant walk along the front brought us to Roker Park

The Winter Gardens and Museums look interesting but travelling with a dog means that we do miss out on certain things.  So here we are at Barnes Park which was laid out in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is the largest urban park in Sunderland.

Far too soon, it was time to make our way homewards and stopped of in Yarm, originally a Roman fort situated on the River Tees. A walk along the river was too muddy an option so we spent some time in the picturesque High Street which has retained its Georgian architecture. Most of the shops and eating places had signs saying dog friendly.

We would certainly return to the area.

Saturday 23 December 2023

Round up of 2023


As the purpose of this blog was to be a journal of events in my life since retirement, without repetition of posts, here are a few noteworthy events in 2023.

The Ups

Celebrations: Big family gatherings for Nephew’s wedding, Granddaughter’s 16th, Grandson’s 18th, Brother’s 80th and Sister’s 70th

The Downs

Saying goodbye to many friends including my beautiful niece, taken much too soon at aged 50.

Wars, massacres and natural disasters.

Some of the notable books read:

Girl, Woman, Other Bernadine Evaristo

All your Perfects Colleen Hoover

Now you see us Bali Kaur Jaswal

Shuggie Bain Douglas Stuart

I’d be glad to hear your ups and downs in 2023.

Warm wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful year

Thursday 23 November 2023

Writing on Air Festival 2023

This year is the 7th year of the festival put on by Chapel FM Arts Centre in East Leeds and includes 80 programmes, live events and workshops. The event involves more than 200 actors, musicians and other performers from Leeds, Yorkshire and beyond. This year’s festival has the theme of Missing and runs for seven days Nov 24 to December 3rd. See the full programme   here

The festival kicks of with the launch of its first-ever literature publication, the anthology “Missing”, which includes a piece I wrote.

Our team, Chapel FM’s longest-running radio show THE DELI established in 2012, features twice in the festival and is billed as including new writing and witty banter. The first programme is a pre-record of an earlier programme. The second programme rounds off the event with a live broadcast of the Deli and is billed as our first-ever show in the radio theatre “Expect original poetry, music, and zany humour”. Well, the audience will be the judge of that!

Saturday 21 October 2023

Making hay while the sun shines

 Taking advantage of the colder but bright weather in mid-October, we had a busy few days.

With free National Trust tickets, first stop was Beningbrough Hall after finding their grounds were dog friendly.

Harvest time at Beningbrough with lots of tasting of fruit and drink

How the laundry was done back in the day

We then went to Scampston for lunch. If you haven’t visited the gardens laid out by Piet Oudolf, a leading light of the "New Perennial" movement who uses bold drifts of herbaceous perennials and grasses, it’s definitely worth going especially in June and JulyDogs are not allowed in the walled gardens, but there is plenty of parkland.

The view from the mound, a viewing point

And on to the Yorkshire Coast

Pembroke Gardens and The Spa, Bridlington

Bridlington Harbour at low tide

and a long, circular walk from Ulrome beach to Barmston Drain and back through the fields.

Bridlington's working harbour


What a difference a week makes! One week later Storm Babet arrives in the area with flooding and wind damage.  Carpe Diem!

Winter Break 2

  Our second winter break took us to Cumbria. En route we stopped at Kirkby Lonsdale The roads to our final destination of Millom were ...