Monday, 27 September 2021

Annual Visit to Northumberland 2021

 Each year we like to visit old haunts and find new places.  This year we had our new puppy with us so had to think ahead. 

First stop was at South Park, Darlington.

Pristine bowling green

Riverside walk

Huge duck pond with three islands 

We arrived at the dog friendly Schooner Inn at Amble, an old pub perfectly located between sea and park. Amble is a former mining town which once had railway links to the Northumberland coalfields making the town a centre for the sea transport and export of coal. The former station is now a private dwelling and the industrial workings are now Paddlers Park. It still has a working harbour and a marina.  Over the decades, we have seen it grow into a popular tourist resort.  

The pub was an old building and I found that Thomas Weir Innkeeper 1881 was mentioned here Amble Inns, Pubs and Drinking Establishments of the 19th Century. (

A new spot we found was Low Hauxley beach which is reached through the sand dunes.  Dolphins could be spotted just off the coast as could the bird reserve Coquet Island.

On to Alnmouth where we found the lovely, dog friendly Village Tearooms. Walking across the beach we saw a camera crew filming Kate Humble who was standing by a sand drawing but didn’t get too close in case the puppy spoiled the installation!

On to Seahouses for lunch.  We ate our sandwiches by the harbour where benches are arranged like a theatre.

The weather was glorious and the village of Bamborough with its beautiful beach was heaving with tourists so we gave it a miss this time.  We drove to Budle Bay but the tide was in so no birds to spot.  We did see many formations of geese coming back from Russia.  They are very vocal.

On the way back to the hotel, we found a new beach by taking a narrow road just before the bridge at Warkworth.

On our return journey we stopped at Newbiggin by the Sea, well known for its sculpture “Couple" by Sean Henry. This large (12.25 x 21 x 6 metre) sculpture was installed on 17th August 2007 with a smaller sculpture, "Land Couple", looking out at the larger couple out at sea installed on land in November 2007.

The large sculpture and students doing fieldwork





The Land Couple

There is a lot of history here. It was Northumberland's favourite seaside town in the Victorian era. In 1869, there were 142 cobles (fishing boats) in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. Newbiggin Colliery was opened in 1908, closing in 1967, but at its peak in 1940, 1,400 men were employed there.

Newbiggin by the Sea Mechanics Institute, Northumberland founded Aug 1891. On the premises were reading, smoking, games and billiard rooms. It also housed a public library established by a Miss Fraser with 2,000 books.

On our way home we stopped at Barnes Park, Sunderland for a picnic lunch.

We always enjoy our visits to Northumberland and have experienced flood, snow and gales.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves again this year; the wonderful weather and a well behaved puppy being the icing on the cake.


Monday, 13 September 2021

An interesting weekend in East Yorkshire


We often stop off at the tranquil Madhyamaka Buddhist Centre at Kilnwick Percy on our way to the East coast for a snack at the Peace Café or to eat our picnic.  However, this is the first time we have done the Lakeside Walk with its benches and picnic tables along the route.  It forms part of the Pilgrimage of Grace Heritage Trail, named after a Yorkshire rebellion of 1536 sparked by dissolution of the monasteries.

Kilnwick Percy Hall - Madhyamaka KMC

Kite Festival

The Kite Festival, an annual event in May in normal times, is held on Sewerby Cliffs at Bridlington.  Kites of all shapes and sizes are flown giving an amazing aerial display.  Kites are also available to purchase and the various stalls make it a jolly affair.  I find there is something magical about watching kites soaring in the sky although they can be very frustrating when they don’t behave as you would wish.

A visit to a vineyard in East Yorkshire

Set up in 2009 when a piece of land was purchased in Aike, Laurel Vines is now an award winning vineyard whose wines are stocked in the best restaurants and pubs.  We learnt of the trials and tribulations of the early days and their position on climate change and sustainability, the process of winemaking and we had the opportunity of tasting their produce.  It would have been rude not to!

Laurel Vines | Wine from an East Yorkshire Vineyard (


Saturday, 21 August 2021

Six (or Seven) on Saturday


August is not the best month for displays in my garden nor are Dahlias one of my favourite plants but I couldn’t resist taking photos of these in Valley Gardens, Harrogate.

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.

Monday, 12 July 2021

Renewed experiences

I should think most of us are once more experiencing events that were denied us since the start of the pandemic.  On line communication has served its purpose and I would still prefer AGM’s and other meetings to be done on line for their swiftness, but it can't replace the real thing.


We are now able to resume our monthly radio programme, The Deli,  at the recording studio.  While we have been away the newly acquired property next door to the original renovated chapel has been refurbished Virtual Tour – Chapel FM

Gardening club

Our gardening group, Friday Forum, has met up again in each other’s gardens which has been delightful, with the added bonus of cake.

Friday Forum


Against all my protests and threats to leave home, we have acquired a very mischievous puppy called Freddie.  He wasn’t being looked after by the owner so we removed him early and had to feed him with a syringe.  Freddie has now doubled in size, chewed everything in sight but now sleeps though the night.  He was supposed to be a mix of French Bull Dog and Shih Tzu (Bullshit?) but I don't think so!

Freddie at 6 weeks

Freddie at 12 weeks

Walking Tennis

After not lifting a tennis racquet for decades, I have taken a course of walking tennis at a local club.  It does not entail, as my son questioned, passing a balloon over the net, but uses less pressurised balls which are allowed to bounce twice.

Walking Tennis | LTA will tell you more about it.  The lessons were free and funded by Sports England so they may be running courses near you.

Nisa Nashim

Our local branch of Jewish and Muslim women were able to meet up again face-to-face and plan our events for this year.

I still haven’t managed to meet up with family abroad and hope it won’t be much longer.

I may even go clothes shopping this week, to replace items chewed to bits by the puppy.  I have received both vaccinations but I shall probably continue to wear a mask indoors.

What new or renewed activities have you been doing and how do you feel about resuming your former life?

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Six on Saturday: Two-a-penny

Aqualegia, perennial cornflower, forget-me-not, Welsh poppy, geranium, wild poppy

These common plants make my heart sing.  They are worth their weight in gold as they appear every year (not always in the same place), need no looking after but provide colour, form and ground cover aplenty.

Which would you choose from your garden?

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.

Monday, 17 May 2021

In a Vase on Monday - Spring Melody

 Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of materials gathered from our gardens.

Here are mine which I managed to procure in between  heavy showers.

Picked them not quite fully open.

Foliage from Flowering Blackcurrant and Euonymus Emerald 'n Gold, Geranium, Aquilegia, Bluebells, Ajuga, perennial Cornflower

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Walking the Wolds: Rudston:

Rudston is a village in the Yorkshire Wolds in the East Riding of Yorkshire surrounded by farms. The name comes from the 25 ft monolith in the village churchyard, sometimes referred to as the Cleopatra’s Needle of the Wolds and is said to have date from the late neolithic period, possibly around 2,000BC.  ‘Rod’ means ‘rood, cross’ and ‘stan’ referred to the ‘stone’ used for the cross.

In the village stands Rudston House birthplace of the author Winifred Holtby who wrote about the East Riding, the Wolds and the Dales. Her best-known work, the novel South Riding was published posthumously and has aired on TV as a serial and has been made into a film.   The house bears a plaque which reads: “Winifred Holtby, novelist and social reformer 1897-1935, author of South Riding. The original home of the Holtby family and birthplace of author.”

Born 1898 into farming family Winifred studied at Oxford where she met author Vera Brittain.  The two were lifelong friends and moved to London where there is a plaque to commemorate both of them at No. 82 Doughty Street, Holburn.  In 1931, Winifred Holtby was diagnosed with Bright’s disease and passed away in 1935 aged 37.  She was laid to rest in the churchyard at All Saint’s Church, Rudston. 

Winifred Holtby - Wikipedia

The well-described walk we went on, courtesy of the Hull Daily Mail took us on a public bridle path up through woodland known as the Zigzag Plantation and on to Woldgate, a Roman road and where the artist  David Hockney observed many different seasons and recorded what he saw using his iPad and on canvas with paints. 

The trail then descends by an underground reservoir and finishes at the Gypsey Race, a chalk stream which flows into the North Sea at the harbour at Bridlington.



Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Yom Hashoah – 7th April 2021 / יוֹם הַשּׁוֹאָה 5781

Yom Hashoah, which falls on the 27th of the Jewish month of Nissan the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising,  is Israel's day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews and five million others who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by the Nazis.

The Talmud says:  As long as someone’s name is remembered, his name will live on forever.  This evening I am lighting a candle in blessed memory of Betje Cohen who perished at Sobibor extermination camp aged 41  …. for being Jewish

While remembering the Holocaust, I am aware of acts of oppression and atrocities still being carried out against ethnic groups today.


Friday, 19 March 2021

Six on Saturday – A trip to the Garden Centre


I had some unused garden vouchers from last birthday so I thought I would treat myself.  The items cost more than I would pay at my usual outlets but, as the saying goes, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Not a wonderful selection to choose from but some were on my list

Seeds of Ammi Major and Borage

 Erysimum Sunset and Geranium Dreamland

On the way home I bought these to cover my sparse arch

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.



Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Zooming Along

Although meeting on Zoom isn’t the best way for to communicate, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this mode of interaction.


  • During Lockdown I have attended several AGMs on Zoom and find them to be much more efficient and would be quite happy for them to continue online.
  • I have managed to keep in touch with the various groups with which I am involved and, even when two groups are meeting on the same evening, it has been easy to fit both in without having to travel and park.
  • Although I am not one to stay in PJs, it is quite acceptable to wear tracky bottoms and slippers on Zoom as long as hair is brushed and lippy applied.
  • Zoom has made it possible to see family and friends in their own environments.   No need for a quick tidy up when there is a knock on the door or a car draws up.  A backdrop of your choice or one from a room from a stately home is a bonus.
  • I have attended some interesting and entertaining talks from worldwide sources.  These are often recorded and uploaded to YouTube to view at your convenience.


  • No communal eating.  I am a firm believer in those who eat together stay together.
  • No hugs or kisses
  • No opportunity to dress up in your glad rags, although I have worn a variety of hats to suit the occasion.
  • I know that there are many successful online choirs, but I’ve never managed a good, coordinated rendition of Happy Birthday
  • Less moving around has resulted in additional weight gain

Leeds LitFest 2021

The latest online events I have attended were from Leeds LitFest  which took place   2nd – 7th March.

I selected the following events and enjoyed each one enormously.

A Literary Quiz with quizmaster Gary Wigglesworth author of The Book Lover's Quiz Book (which would make a nice gift for a book loving friend). Questions were on first lines, characters etc  Most enjoyable but not my finest hour.

I had just read a couple of novels by Peter James  a UK No.1 best-selling crime and thriller author. He told us how he got into writing and how he shadowed police on their callouts for research purposes.  The TV series Grace, adapted from his novels about Roy Grace, is due to air on ITV on Sunday 14th March at 8 pm. 

Salon with Clare Fisher gave us poetry writers/authors from and near Leeds including  Rachel Bower, Cherie Baptiste-Taylor, Sarah Perry Poet, (novelist and short story writer), Kayo Chingonyi, Kimberly Campanello and  Sarah Dawson who is studying failure in contemporary experimental poetry performance at the University of Leeds.  The poems she read out were written in universal phonetics.   

These performances may well be found on YouTube.

 How do you feel about Zoom-type encounters?

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Six on Saturday: Signs of Spring


We've made it to the end of February and there seems to be a different feel in the air.  A couple of degrees higher on the thermometer, a bit of sunshine and signs of new growth in the garden goes a long way to improve our mood.  

Here are my six:

For me, after snowdrops and crocuses the flowering blackcurrant heralds the Spring

Garlic making good growth, although the pesky squirrels have had a good root around

I am determined not to lose my lupins this year, hence the collars from plastic lemonade bottles

The Bellis in containers have sprung back to life after the frosts and snow.  They usually carry on flowering for months.

Black Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescens) is spreading well

This is a picture of the frogs and frogspawn in the pond.  I counted more than seven large frogs all being very active

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 and focus on that chink of light at the end of the tunnel

Annual Visit to Northumberland 2021

  Each year we like to visit old haunts and find new places.   This year we had our new puppy with us so had to think ahead.   First stop wa...