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!

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Annual trip to Northumberland 2023

Our first stop was at South Park Darlington. We entered the Victorian park to borders of brightly coloured Dahlias, past the bowling green with its trellis of roses to the cafe, where we sat out in the scorching sunshine.

Border of Dahlias

We walked around the lake and saw exotic birds in the aviary as we left. An information board gives the history green of the park which was to act as a “green lung” for the residents of Darlington.

Next stop Seaham on the Durham coast where we ate our lunch

Our base was the dog friendly Amble Inn on the outskirts of Amble. The special offer included free dog accommodation breakfast and unlimited treats, evening meal for us on the first night and a pack with maps of local walks.

Even doggy beer!

Amble's working harbour

,mile off the coast at Amble is Coquet Island wildlife sanctuary where the public are not allowed to visit.  Coquet Island

It is home to 40,000 breeding seabirds and is the only UK breeding site for roseate terns (rosy) and an important breeding site for puffins.

From the pack of local walks, we chose the Alnmouth to Boulmer walk along English Coastal Path.

This took us between the golf courses of Alnmouth and Foxton, with the path actually going through the clubhouse garden. Following the path, we came across off-grid customised caravans and lodges.


We arrived at Boulmer village in time for lunch at the Fishing Boat Inn overlooking sea before walking back to Alnmouth along the beach.

Seahouses Harbour
We then drove on to Seahouses and Bamburgh which were heaving with tourists and on to see the wildlife at Budle Bay.

On our return journey we stopped at Saltburn, Staithes, Whitby and Ulrome where we were spending a couple of days.

Saltburn showing pier and cliff railway

The Zetland Hotel (now apartments) where we stayed c1970

Picturesque Staithes, home of Captain James Cook

A steep climb down to Staithes harbour and an even more arduous ascent.  No cars are allowed.

Beach huts at Whitby

A sea fret drove us inland to Driffield

Bridlington Stones Artwork on North Beach

No sea fret today

When accompanied by our dog, we are greeted by loads of people, dog and non-dog owners, who always seem to have a treat in their pockets! If they are local, that’s a bonus for us as we learn more about the area.  

One week after our return, I remembered that I hadn’t paid the toll , which is online only and the £2.20 became £32.20 but it didn’t detract from the enjoyment of our holiday.

For additional pictures, history etc of the places mentioned, click on Northumberland on the labels in the sidebar.


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