Saturday 20 October 2012

Walking, Weather and Working Out

Autumn in Northumberland

Just returned from our annual, October short break in Northumberland

En route we stopped off at Newton Aycliffe and noticed this sculpture called In Our Image on the roundabout.   

The Angel of the North at Gateshead heralds our approach and is no longer perceived as a blot on the landscape.

The weather was kind and we made straight for Howick Hall Gardens and Arboretum.  The Hall was home to Earl Grey of the blend of tea and prime minister fame and his descendants still live in a wing of the house.  After refreshments in the elegant Earl Grey Tea Rooms we spent a good few hours walking through the grounds.  The autumnal colours were stunning.  

 We had a pot of Earl Grey Tea at the house of the man who thought up the blend while admiring the antique mirrors and original paintings which adorned the walls in what was the former ballroom.

 The Bog Garden

 Betula Albosinensis
The stunning bark of the Chinese Red Birch

Plenty of late Autumn colour


On the way to the B&B, we stopped off to take in some of our favourite haunts.
 Low Newton

 The harbour at Seashouses

 Bamburgh Castle from Seashouses

 One of the Farne Islands from Seashouses
The next day brought heavy rain, but we were not put off.   A visit to the former railway station at Alnwick, which is now Barter Books, is always a delight.  The aroma of fresh coffee greeted us and the coal fire made a cosy retreat from the deluge which drummed on the glass roof of the building.  A vintage, model train circulates on a track above the shelves. In box of books bought at auction in 2000 by the second-hand book dealers, the now trendy wartime poster was discovered.
After a drink at the cafe with a dining table on the ceiling, we sent off for Craster; once a famous fishing centre for herring which was cured as kippers in the smokehouses.

 Craster Harbour


From Craster harbour with the 14th century Dunstanburgh Castle behind us, we joined St Oswald’s Way.  This coastal trail is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and European Marine site.  Although the weather was wet and windy, the sight of the huge waves crashing against the rocks was spectacular. We met only one person along the way; a woman who found it hard to see where she was going as the driving rain on her glasses obscured her view.  Maybe there is a business opportunity there.  I can’t describe the view with words nor capture the scene with my camera, although may have and posted them online.  We walked past Cullernose Point, part of the Whin Sill rock formation and on to Bathing House, built during the Victorian period for the Grey family of Howick Hall and now a luxury holiday let. At Rumbling Kern, a small beach in a rocky cove, we left the trail and headed inland but not before a weak sun appeared and a rainbow completed the picture.
 Cullernose Point

 The Bathing House.  Now a holiday let, but almost fully booked for 2012 and 2013

 Rumbling Kern

As is our tradition, we visited the Metro Centre, an enormous retail shopping mall at Gateshead, on our return journey.

Healthy Writer's Club

Encouraged by the support of the club set up by fellow blogger and writer Shallee McArthur a I have made a determined effort this week.  I walked for miles and dug out and used the exercise DVD by Joanna Hall which claims to change your body in 28 days.  I have put on ½ lb in weight, but do feel more energised.  This week’s goal is to continue the regular exercise and try to cut back on some of the calories; not easy as I have a few social engagements this week.

Reading:  Long Walk off a Short Porch by Gary Campana

                 I also came across  this poem:

A Change Of Seasons

There is beauty found in dying
when Autumn dons her velvet gown—
A pastel landscape underlying
when Autumn strolls through town.

When Autumn dons her velvet gown,
deep colors in her skirt unfold.
When Autumn strolls through town,
the leaves turn crimson, brown, and gold.

Deep colors in her skirt unfold.
Summer acquiesces.
The leaves turn crimson, brown, and gold
when Autumn unbraids her copper tresses.

Summer acquiesces—
A pastel landscape underlying.
When Autumn unbraids her copper tresses,
there is beauty found in dying.

Kathy Lippard Cobb

Writing:   For this month’s session at the Writing Group wrote a letter to your home town and what home means to you.  These may be read out on a local radio station.  Submitted a short story and two travel articles.  No news is good news.

Watching:  Historical saga Downton Abbey, Thriller Homeland starring Damian Lewis and Hebburn, a Geordie farce written by comedian Jason Cook.

Friday 12 October 2012

Hornsea Museum, Healthy Writers, matters Horticultural and the Last of the Haussmans

Hornsea Museum

We had an enjoyable visit to Hornsea Museum which is situated in Newbegin, the main street of the East Yorkshire seaside town.

The museum is in a former farmhouse where the Burn family lived for 300 years up to 1952   the experience was made more interesting for the children by hiding small, toy mice in every room which had to be spotted and ticked off on a sheet.  The adults liked this bit too!

The exhibits are arranged in rooms; bedroom, parlour, kitchen, washroom.  There was also a schoolroom, blacksmith and barn.  Other artifacts of local history are displayed here and examples of Hornsea pottery, once manufactured on the site of the Freeport Retail Outlet, are shown in chronological order. 



This month’s flower arrangement of foliage and pale flowers:

At the Gardener’s Club Forum,  Sally Henson gave an interesting talk on Madeira - Garden of the Atlantic (and also birthplace of Ronaldo and where kapok trees grow).  The photos of the plant life were amazing. 
 The Botanic Gardens

 One farmhouse was for the family, the other for the cattle

Healthy Writers Club

Nudged to “get off may butt” as they say across the pond, I signed up for Shallee McArthur’s challenge, which has served to make me aware of the amount of exercise (or lack of it) I am getting as the weather takes a turn for the worse.   

So, the Friday round up goes like this:

Walked to our local park which is 15 minutes  away on foot. Roundhay Park is one of the largest city parks in Europe with over 700 acres of parkland, lakes, woodland and gardens.  These photos were taken at the Canal Gardens.  

A spell of dry weather allowed some heavy sessions of gardening, including cutting up a heavily pruned tree and mowing the the lawns.
Can you tell I am being rather vague with days and time spans?
Target  for next Friday: Use my Pilates and exercise DVDs on alternate days for 30 minute sessions.

Last of the Haussmans

This play, a debut for Stephen Beresford, was screened at the cinema from the National Theatre in real time. It was a strange experience as the whole set was visible with no background music or close ups. We saw the audience applauding after the first act and had the same interval as the theatre goers. Julie Walters, always worth seeing, plays the ageing hippy, Judy Haussman, the mother of a dysfunctional family, who lives in a ramshackle seaside house.  Her children were acted by Rory Kinnear and Helen McCrory.
Acting and entertainment value:  excellent.



“The sea is their grave but this Memorial sculpture is, in many ways, a headstone for the lost trawlermen”

I have always been impressed by the architecture in the centre of the maritime city of Hull, especially the old buildings with their carving...