Saturday, 3 October 2020

Six on Saturday

Luckily, I picked these from the garden yesterday as there is no way I’m venturing out in this cold, wet weather.


Cotinus, Artemisia, Persicaria, Abelia, Sedum Autumn Joy

Last of the bulbs.  How do you remember where existing bulbs are planted before digging to insert new ones?

The Propagator generously hosts Six on Saturday.  Click on the link to his blog to see what he and his followers are growing and doing in their gardens this week.  Perhaps you feel you could add your own six too.

Stay well everyone.


Saturday, 26 September 2020

An Autumn break in Northumberland

Northumberland is beautiful in any season, but our preferred time to visit is in Autumn.  

Membership of the Historic Houses Association entitled us to visit many castles for free.

We visited Alnwick Gardens a few years ago, so this time we explored Alnwick Castle.  This impressive castle has been home to the Duke of Northumberland’s family, the Percys for more than 700 years and is now notorious for being the  location  of the filming of Harry Potter.

View from the castle

Then on to Alnmouth Village Golf Club where we had a drink at the clubhouse.  The club was established in 1869 and is the oldest 9-hole links in England with good views of the bay and Coquet Island. 

We spent the next day on a mini road trip road visiting some old haunts and finding new ones.

First stop was the small working harbour of Amble.  Over the years it has reinvented itself from a fishing village, sandstone quarry and transporter of coal to a marina with trendy boutiques, bistros and a state-of-the-art fish market.

The uninhabited Coquet Island owned by the Duke of Northumberland and managed as a bird reserve by the  RSPB
On to Seahouses via Boulmer and Embleton, where we stopped for lunch at the Bamburgh Castle Hotel which gives a clear view of the Farne Islands.   
Next, Bamburgh Castle. 

Bamburgh Castle is an imposing building which looks over a beautiful beach.  The artefacts are fascinating and well curated.

On our last day the weather took a turn for the worse so we took advantage of  a browse round Barter Books at Alnwick an amazing second hand bookshop covering every subject imaginable.  It has cosy reading rooms with open fires and a toy railway runs on a circuit above the shelves.

 Going inland, our last stop was Chillingham Castle which is advertised as being the most haunted Castle in the UK and is complete with torture dungeons.  The present owner and resident of this medieval castle, Sir Edward Humphry, inherited the property as a shell.  An antique dealer by trade, he has since filled the building with a variety of interesting artefacts from tennis racquets to typewriters.  

For more details of the places mentioned, the keyword Northumberland will bring up past posts.


Friday, 28 August 2020

A Stone for Srebrenica -25 years on

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, our local group of Nisa Nashim (Muslim and Jewish women) joined Big Ideas in painting stones.  The stones will be a permanent reminder of the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered in the Holocaust and all other victims of Nazi persecution and to those murdered in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The stones from across the United Kingdom will be placed within the foundations of the new UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London. Each painted stone is a commitment to remember the past and to build a future free from all forms of prejudice, discrimination and hatred.

My stone includes a heart, the Hebrew word Chai and flowers to represent Love, Life and Regeneration:

Pictures of other stones and more information can be found at

Sadly, we haven't learnt from the horrors of the past and persecution still continues today. 

In the words of Eli Wiesel, holocaust survivor: We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Friday, 31 July 2020

Ten Years a Blogger

Happy tenth anniversary to Thirdageblogger!
Birthday, Polaroid, Chalkboard Font

I began this blog as personal journal after I retired and was considering my options.  I cited the following as possible avenues:
 Not mine!  Italian Gardens, Scarborough


Voluntary work


Do something new every week

Followers of my blog will know that I did indeed embrace these options and have met new people and encountered bloggers of similar interests from whom I have learnt a great deal.

Who would have thought that a pandemic could change our lives to such a degree - and it's not over yet?  

I recognise that my blog is rather eclectic but it fits the criteria of a personal journal to look back on in my dotage.  For this reason I will continue to record my triumphs, however small.

Thank you for reading and hope that you will continue to drop by.

Monday, 27 July 2020

Visit to Kiplin Hall and Gardens

Taking advantage of what the forecast promised to be a fair weather day, we visited Kiplin Hall and Gardens, situated off the beaten track in the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside near Richmond.  The Jacobean Hall was built by George Calvert, Secretary of State to James 1 and founder of Maryland USA.  Four families, all blood relatives, have owned and lived here and left the paintings and furniture they collected as well as the art work, literature and furniture that they produced.  The last member of the family, Bridget Talbot, had no offspring neither did her siblings so when she died in 1971, she bequeathed it to charity.  I'll leave the rest of the history for you to discover.
This lake was the result of gravel quarrying in the 1990’s. The income from the sale of the gravel was used to pay for the restoration of the hall. 

The Folly

  Geese and swans can be seen on the 1 mile walk around the lake.  The island is a safe haven for them.  There is a wide variety of wild flowers and trees with benches dotted about to appreciate the scenery.  

The gardens are a delight.  We had our picnic in the walled garden with its swathes of flowers, edged with fruit trees, an allotment and ornamental pond.

There are other walks around the grounds, none very strenuous, so allow a good few hours for your visit.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Visit to Scampston Hall and Walled Garden

It was such a treat to visit Scampston, in North Yorkshire, which was impressive even under grey skies and drizzle.
The Walled Garden was designed by Piet Oudolf in 1999 and his signature swathes of grasses and flowers are very much in evidence.

A viewing mount gives an overall impression of the whole garden
The garden is such a great opportunity to find plenty of planting ideas for your own garden.

In contrast, the parkland was the work of Capability Brown with a huge lake, bridge and waterfall.  The Hall was closed for this year.


Throughout the grounds there are trails allowing you to discover wildflower meadows, specimen trees, wildlife and the various outbuildings and features of a stately home.

I don't like to give too much away, as you can experience the wow factor for yourself.  A cafe and plant sales completes the experience. 

Six on Saturday

Luckily, I picked these from the garden yesterday as there is no way I’m venturing out in this cold, wet weather.   Cotinus, Artemisia, Pers...