The Sunday Fraggle report ~ Bits & Bobs edition

It’s just about the end of September, and apart from days out, as always I’ve been taking pictures of daily life. We went up to Edinburgh at the beginning of the month, as a new scale model show has started up there called Scale Scotland, and Phil was asked to do a demonstration of figure detailing and composition. The show was held at The Airport Hilton, which is a nice enough hotel, and it was cool to be staying in the same place as where the show was held, as we didn’t have to get up too early :). I got to try haggis for the first (& last!) time too. Packing to go wasn’t all that straightforward..

can I come too?
can I come too?

But we got there cat free ūüôā

Arrival!
Arrival!

One of the organisers works for Lambourgini..so he had one parked outside the hotel

Lambo posing
Lambo posing

Our hotel room was nice enough..

mirror image
mirror image

Phil’s demo went well

demonstration man
demonstration man

and he also won some medals in the competition

silver hoard
silver hoard

I asked the organiser of the show if I could be allowed into the competition room during judging to take photo’s for the Tyneside Model Club web page which I run, and they said yes, so I got loads of pictures of all the models, unencumbered by the hoipoloi ūüôā these are a couple that won gold, great painting skills.

Oddball
Oddball
Cooler King
Cooler King

Phil’s Volksgrenadier won a silver which he was well chuffed with. We called him the mushroom man due to the ground work Phil did, he made mushrooms from plasticard, they’re really tiny. For scale, the chap is 12cm in height.

Phil's little man
Phil’s mushroom¬†man

After the show the organisers and demonstrators all had dinner together and we sat with our good friends Hermann and Kristoff who were over from Belgium,

me, Phil,Kristoff Brian & Hermann
Fraggle, Phil,Kristoff Brian & Hermann

and the next day we went home.

Ah… home, or now The Menagerie. Phil’s son Carl and his family have had to move out of their house for 6 weeks while the council goes in and does a big renovation job. His temporary house is too small for his pets, so we are looking after Penelope & Rango…

Penelope, (top) & Rango
Penelope, (top) & Rango

They are bearded dragons, and have to be fed live crickets. I can’t watch, Phil has to do it, and though he didn’t like it, he’s got quite good at it.

We’ve had Cal & Liddy over last weekend..

Grandad
Grandad
Liddy
Liddy

liddy3

liidBW

Cal loves Storm..

best pals
best pals

We had a really odd sunset..

sunset over the houses
sunset over the houses
a pinkbow
a pinkbow

I watched Bryan Adams on the TV doing The Hyde Park Festival in London, he was great, I really like him.

TV iphone shots :) Bryan Adams
TV iphone shots ūüôā Bryan Adams

I had some of family photo’s printed, they hang up on our staircase walls, so we can see them grow up as we go up

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Phil had an old magazine shot of one of his favourite ever singers Paul Rogers and it was all scratched and creased and faded, so he asked me to do my faffographic techniques and get it up on a canvas..

this is the original ( wish I could find out the photographer to give him credit, but this was in Phil’s scrapbook from 1970’s so that’s not happening)

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and this is it cleaned up and on our wall

progs

hanging..
hanging..

Found some mushrooms hiding in the front garden when Phil was mowing the lawn..

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I collected some acorns in my adventure hat..

acorns

and today I strung them together and hung them around our defunct bird feeder in the back garden as a weathervane.. apparently they open their spines in warm weather and close up in cold, though I have no corroborating proof of that and anyway I can just look up at the sky! But it was fun to do.

weather is warm :)
weather is warm ūüôā

sunday-2

Phil is on the go with another tank..

stages

Went into South Shields to go to the bank for work…

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smartgull

another sunset..

soft sunset
soft sunset

I discovered that Phil’s socks mysteriously clone themselves, he wears 7 pairs a week, and I do the washing on the same day each week but find between 10 &14 pairs come out of the washing machine..

cloned socks
cloned socks

I did some faffography for the Sunday Challenge group on Ipernity..

Escaping the Apocalypse
Escaping the Apocalypse

and yesterday had a go at an upside down shot, using the inverse glass of water technique!

set up shot….

inverse glasses
inverse glasses

The upside down finished article..

Upside down
Upside down

I hadn’t thought it through properly….removing the glasses afterwards wasn’t pretty.

And then there are the cute cat shots :).

But first have to say Storm’s trip to the vet did not go as planned. We went as she chucks up more than we consider normal, most days, (regular readers know this drives us mad!) and we thought she probably had an ulcer or some malabsorption thing and need medicine. ¬†So they sedated her, took blood and did X-rays, and found a renal lymphoma, maybe one on each kidney but definitely one big one. So that’s a death sentence really. Even with chemo and radiotherapy the prognosis is poor, and we won’t put her through that. ¬†The vet said not to leave it too long before we take her in for ‘the injection’, but I can’t do it yet. ¬† We found this out last weekend, and are quite in shock and devastated, she is only 6yrs old and we’ve only had her 6 months. ¬†She isn’t acting ill and is carrying on oblivious to her state, isn’t distressed or in pain, still eating and doing the other end well, so not yet. Not yet Mr.Vet. She is my special friend and this is breaking my little heart.

My special friend.
My special friend.
waiting for cuddles
waiting for cuddles
Favourite place to sleep
Favourite place to sleep

Skye is fine and just loves Phil to bits, won’t leave him alone when he’s playing his guitar/on the computer/having his brekkie/dinner or tea ūüôā

Phil's special friend
Phil’s special friend
in Phil's modelling bag
in Phil’s modelling bag
Peeping not sleeping
Peeping sleeping

I love it when they cuddle up, Storm always puts her paw over Skye..

Sisterly love
Sisterly love

sunset-3

cuddling
cuddling

Caught Skye on the speaker in the conservatory with a fetching piece of grass attached to her pink bell ūüôā

Beautiful Skye
Fashion Icon Skye

and caught Storm looking regal..

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and roaring..

roar!!!
roar!!!

I should think there will be lots of Storm photo’s to come, while I can still have her.

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So that’s September just about finished. Next month have got a day out with Sophie coming up but not sure where we are going, and also a trip to Holland for another model show, and we’re going on a ferry to Calais, that should be interesting as Calais is having refugee issues. Back to work tomorrow, it comes round too quick!

laters gaters

ūüėČ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fraggle’s ‘hood report

Had to walk over to Pelaw today to pick up a prescription for Phil, and though it was a blustery day, the sky was blue in a lot of places and everywhere was all coloured up. It’s officially Fall here as of yesterday, and it’s a great time of year for photography. ¬†You’ll notice I use the term Fall, even though I’m English, but…

(edumacation bit coming up ūüôā )

The word autumn comes from the ancient Etruscan root autu- and has within it connotations of the passing of the year.It was borrowed by the neighbouring Romans, and became autumnus. After the Roman era the word continued to be used as the old French word autompne (automne in modern French) or autumpne in Middle English, and was later normalised to the original Latin. In the Medieval period there are rare examples of its use as early as the 12th century, but by the 16th century it was in common use.

The alternative word¬†fall¬†for the season traces its origins to old¬†Germanic Languages. The exact derivation is unclear, with the¬†Old English¬†fi√¶ll¬†or¬†feallan¬†and the¬†Old Norse¬†fall¬†all being possible candidates. However, these words all have the meaning “to fall from a height” and are clearly derived either from a common root or from each other. The term came to denote the season in 16th century England, a contraction of Middle English¬†expressions like “fall of the leaf” and “fall of the year”.

During the 17th century,¬†English emigration to the British colonies¬†in North America was at its peak, and the new settlers took the English language with them. While the term¬†fall¬†gradually became obsolete in Britain, it became the more common term in North America. (wiki) Well it’s not obsolete to me now!

I only had my iphone6 with me, so all these were taken with a couple of camera apps I have on it.

I have to walk over a bridge across the metro lines to get to Pelaw, there isn’t a drive-straight-to-it road, so it’s quicker to walk than go in the car, which is good, a bit of fresh air and exercise!

down the line (camera pro app)
down the line (ProCamera)

ProCamera is one of my fave apps as you can alter focus and exposure very easily and it has a lot of functions which is great if you don’t have a DSLR to hand.

ProCamera settings
ProCamera settings

My most used app is the hipstamatic app, I really like all the different lens/film combo’s. I make up favourites and also use the random choice setting now and then to see what it comes up with. At the moment I have about 60 different sets of films and lenses on the app! OK I’m a geek.

These were taken using the Bruno Lens & Claunch 72 monochrome film.

Pelaw Metro Station
Pelaw Metro Station
Pelaw Metro Station
Pelaw Metro Station
crumpled cone
crumpled cone

I walked home through the wooded back pathways to find some colour..

red green & blue (Emma Lens,Big Easy film)
red green & blue (Emma Lens,Big Easy film)

The John S Lens & Kodot Grizzled film combination is one of my favourites for the deep blues and rich colours.

head in the clouds (John S Lens,Kodot Grizzled film)
head in the clouds 
Lone tree
Lone tree
undercover path
undercover path
abundance of berries
abundance of berries

I also have an app I only use for iPhone macro shots, I got it in error as I thought I was getting ProCamera but it isn’t, it’s called Camera+. It’s a really annoying app to use, not intuitive at all, but the macro setting is fab so I just leave it on that! ¬†It is a very popular app so maybe it’s just me being dim. ūüôā

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IMG_4078

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spidey!
spidey!

and now to do the washing and mop the floors..

laters gaters

ūüėČ

more about Autumn/Fall HERE

ProCamera app (Iphone) can be got HERE, can’t find one for android phones.

Hipstamatic app HERE, there isn’t one for android phones.

Camera+ HERE  for iphone, HERE for android.

 

 

The Newcastle Upon Tyne report ~ part 2

Part 1 HERE¬†ūüôā

I did manage to do a bit of ‘street’, though I love colour too much to be like the cool dudes who B&W street candids. Also mine never look as good somehow! So, in colour, some people of Newcastle.

Best friends
Best friends
More best friends
More best friends
four friends
four friends

The lady on the right wasn’t with them!

In Eldon Square they had a big TV up showing movies for free, and had put out deckchairs  under the monument for people to sit in while they watched..I guess like a drive-in, only you walk in.

At the Walk-in
At The Walk-In
Big Screen
Big Screen

Tried to get some candids of this lady as I thought she was quite beautiful, but this is the best I managed.

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Lollypop
Busker
Busker
Jacks
Jack & Diane

Those are my people pics.  And the rest is just things that caught my eye,

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Grooming the windows
Red shoes
Red shoes 

Of course Newcastle’s back streets are perfect for a Tiki bar with beach terrace. NOT! ūüėÄ

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Tiki Bar & Beach Terrace

Left overs from Roman times…

Rome lingers on
Rome lingers on
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ancient and modern
another alley
two wheely bins about to joust
Bier Keller
Bier Keller Door
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waterless fountain & colour co-ordinated pigeon 
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mish mash
Brothel Creeper
Brothel Creeper

Some gargoyles..

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and lion heads..

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and finally…

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Rose & Crown

Moscymot everyone ūüôā

laters gaters

ūüėČ

The Newcastle Upon Tyne report~part 1

The last time I posted pictures of Newcastle a while back in March, Phil & I had gone there and I took lots of pictures of the beautiful architecture and you can see those on the CLICK. When Sophie & I went in to go to the cat cafe, we were in a different part of town and I had fun taking pictures of the grittier side of town.

Firstly in Granger Town we came across the Man with Potential Selves, bronze sculptures by Sean Henry done in 2003. The piece comprises three views of the same man. One stands, one
walks and one apparently floats, horizontally, above the ground. Each figure is 2.5m tall.

cool check chap
potentially cool

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not sure of their significance but they at least stand still for photo’s.

We came across this chap in the cathedral grounds, he looked deep in thought, and I had thought after he maybe homeless.

Sanctuary
Sanctuary

also in the grounds a bright flower amongst the lavender.

rose
rose

wall art…

Cheers
Cheers!
drive-in
drive-in
back street
Pudding Chare
Pudding Chare long shot
Pudding Chare long shot

Pudding Chare?? I hear you ask. A chare in the dialect of North East England, is a narrow medieval street or alley. ¬†Chares and much of the layout of Newcastle’s Quay Side¬†date from medieval times. At one point, there were 20 chares in Newcastle. There are still a few about but there was a Great Fire in 1854 and some were lost. Pudding Chare runs from the Bigg Market to Neville Street.

Superhero Shop
Superhero Shop

The name Bigg refers to a type of coarse barley that used to be sold in this market.

A less specialized market is still held here on certain days of the week. At night, the whole area comes alive as hundreds of revellers frequent the many bars, restaurants and night clubs in the party city of Newcastle. That’s the blurb on a website haha what it translates to is hundreds of drunk teens chucking up/fighting/engaging in rude behaviour etc. Well that’s what you see on the news, have to be fair, have been to Newcastle plenty of times at night and only seen the happy people.

Bigg Market amenities
Bigg Market amenities
To the George
To the Old George

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This alley had a lovely area to have your drink in..

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dark alley
dark alley
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Cedars of Lebanon
Lady Boys
Different Times

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I like buildings that have trees growing out the top of them.

Just along from the cathedral is the statue of Queen Victoria. Sculpted by Alfred Gilbert and unveiled by Countess Grey in April 1903 Рtwo years after Queen Victoria’s death Рthe statue was a gift from WH Stephenson, a company director and politician who held the office of mayor in Newcastle seven times.

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria

A recurring theme when I was shooting old run down parts of Newcastle, was the quite nice cars in the midst of it all, so here they are..

mini

jaguar

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some ad hoc shots…

mosaic
mosaic
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Beehive
Dancing lamppost
Dancing lamppost
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No.1

I’ll leave it there for now, but another post to come, had a lovely sunny day today, & managed a couple of photo’s for the bits & pieces report at the end of the month, weekends are cool aren’t they ūüôā

laters gaters

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The Newcastle Castle report ~ part 2

History of, and photo’s of the interior can be found if you¬†CLICK.¬†

This second part of the castle was my fave bit of it as you are allowed to climb to the very top of the keep, and up to the top corners. Amazing views, so really this is not so much about the castle, as what you can see from the top of it.

Defender of the Keep, and Tyne Bridge & Sage in the distance.
Defender of the Keep, and Tyne Bridge & Sage in the distance.
Iron Man
IronMan

This lovely Georgian building is called The Moot Hall, ‘moot’ being old English for ‘meeting’. It dates from 1812 and the courtrooms have been restored to the Victorian design from 1875. On my list of places to photograph! When it was finished, it was described as the most perfect¬†example¬†of Doric architecture in the North of England, this is the rear of the building¬†¬†and is¬†based on the Parthenon in the Athens.

The Court House
The Moot Hall
over the rooftop.
over the rooftop. My fave view.

Turnbull’s Warehouse, was built on the site of Lord Armstrong’s mansion in the late 1890s. Originally occupied by the printers R. Robinson & Co. it was subsequently taken over in 1963 by Messrs E. & F. Turnbull, a Newcastle-based ironmongers, who used it as a wholesale warehouse. In 2002 the building was redeveloped by Northern Land and the architect Bill Hopper as luxury loft style apartments. Posh peeps live here.

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E & F Turnbull Ltd

You can read about and see pictures of The Cathedral if you CLICK 

The Cathedral
The Cathedral

The Train Station, now managed by Virgin Rail, opened in 1850 is a Grade 1 listed building, and a nationally important transport hub, being both a terminus and through station serving  London to Edinburgh,  Durham to Middlesborough, and the Tyne Valley to Carlisle. It is also served by the adjoining Central station on the Tyne & Wear Metro.

The train station
The train station
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Virgin Train
Metro
Metro
The Cathedral, Black Gate, and nice appartments.
The Cathedral, Black Gate, and more nice apartments for posh peeps.

The Tyne Bridge was designed by¬†Mott,Hay & Anderson, comparably to their¬†Sydney Harbour Bridge¬†version, based on the design of the¬†Hell Gate Bridge¬†in¬†New York USA,¬†(which was completed in 1916). The bridge was completed on 25 February 1928, and officially opened on 10 October by King George V and¬†Queen Mary¬†, who were the first to use the roadway. ¬†See Ray Clark?? London is so not the place, it’s Sydney, New York, NEWCASTLE!! What a combination, we could rule the world. ūüôā

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Icons~ The Tyne Bridge & The Sage

The Sage is an awesome building,¬†it¬†contains three performance spaces; a 1,700-seater, a 450-seater and a smaller rehearsal and performance hall. The rest of the building was designed around these three spaces to allow for maximum attention to detail in their acoustic properties. Structurally it is three separate buildings, insulated from each other to prevent noise and vibration travelling between them. A special ‘spongy’ concrete mix was used in the construction, with a higher-than-usual air capacity to improve the acoustic.¬†¬†These three buildings are enclosed (but not touched) by the now-famous glass and steel shell. Hall One was intended as an acoustically perfect space, modelled on the renowned¬†Musikverein¬†in Vienna.¬†Its ceiling panels may be raised and lowered and curtains drawn across the ribbed wooden side walls, changing the sound profile of the room to suit any type of music.¬†Hall Two is a smaller venue, possibly the world’s only ten-sided performance space. Another place on my list!

Sage & Tyne
Sage & Tyne

 

The Millennium Bridge
The Millennium Bridge & The Baltic, and The River Tyne

The Millennium bridge is a pedestrian and cyclist¬†tilt bridge¬†spanning the¬†river¬†between¬†Gateshead’s Quays¬†arts quarter on the south bank, and the¬†Quayside of Newcastle¬†on the north bank. Opened for public use in 2001, the award-winning structure was conceived and designed by architect¬†Wilkinson Eyre¬†and structural engineer¬†Gifford.¬†The bridge is sometimes referred to as the ‘Blinking¬†or ‘Winking Eye Bridge’¬†due to its shape and its tilting method. This next one¬†is an old one I took with a crappy camera, but you can see what it’s like at night, must do a proper night shoot in Newcastle at some point.

Millenium Bridge at night
Millenium Bridge at night

The¬†Byker Wall¬†is the name given to a long unbroken block of 620¬†maisonettes¬†in the¬†Byker¬†district.¬†¬†They were designed by architect¬†Ralph Erskine¬†and constructed in the 1970s. The wall is just part of the estate which covers 200 acres. It won loads of awards for design but everyone round here thinks it’s pants.¬†The Byker Wall was infamous as the home of “Ratboy,” a juvenile delinquent who hid in its heating shafts when running from police during the 1990s. So ya know, posh peeps don’t live here.

Byker!
Legoland

So that’s about it, except my little Fuji has a panorama function and this was the first time I tried it out, so here they are,

Panorama from the castle
Panorama from the castle
2nd pano
2nd pano

they’re OK but come out a bit small for my liking, I prefer doing pano’s in portrait mode, but it was easy and fun to do.

So that’s it for now, next time I’m going to post some shots I took wandering round between the Cafe, cathedral and castle, (that’s coincidental alliteration!) ¬†with Sophie..

laters gaters

ūüėČ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Newcastle Castle report ~ part 1

You may remember, or not, a couple of weeks ago I posted mine & Sophie’s outings to Mog on the Tyne and ¬†Newcastle Cathedral. ¬†We also visited Newcastle Castle & The Black Gate that day, so I thought I’d get part 1 done, as there’s still lots of Newcastle photo’s to come, I love it there.

As always, buckle up..it’s

The History Bit

The castle is a medieval fortification, built on the original site of a Roman Fort (Pons Aelius (dat’s latin ūüôā ) guarding a bridge over the River Tyne.¬†The most prominent remaining structures on the site are the¬†Castle Keep, the castle’s main fortified stone¬†tower, and the¬†Black Gate, its fortified¬†gatehouse. Now, Pons Aelius means Bridge of Aelius, and Aelius was the family name of that great Emperor Hadrian who also built a wall across the North of England to keep the pesky Scottish people at bay.

The anglo-saxons named the place Monkchester, (week! sounds too much like Manchester to me!) and then later on in 1080 the Norman king William 1st’s son Robert Curthose came charging up to defend us from those wee scots, and when he’d sorted them out he moved to Monkchester and started building a New Castle (geddit? ūüôā ) n 1095, the Earl of Northumbria,¬†Robert de Mowbray, rose up against¬†William Rufus¬†and Rufus sent an army north to crush the revolt and to capture the castle. From then on the castle became crown property and was an important base from which the king could control the northern barons. It was a motte & bailey castle so didn’t last that long I guess.

So¬†Henry II¬†replaced it with a rectangular stone keep, which was built between 1172 and 1177 at a cost of ¬£1,444. A stone bailey, in the form of a triangle, replaced the previous wooden one. The master mason or architect, Maurice, also built Dover Castle. The great outer gateway to the castle, called ‚Äėthe Black Gate‚Äô, was built later, between 1247 and 1250, in the reign of¬†Henry III.

In 1643, during the English civil war, the Royalist Mayor of Newcastle, Sir John Marley, repaired the keep and probably also refortified the castle. In 1644 the Scottish army crossed the border in support of the Parliamentarians and the Scottish troops besieged Newcastle for three months until the garrison surrendered. But we get on well with the Scots for all that. Except at footy matches. The town walls were extensively damaged and the final forces to surrender on 19 October 1644 did so from the Castle keep.

During the 16th to the 18th century, the keep was used as a prison. During the siege, the Scots bombarded the walls with their artillery. The Scottish commander threatened to destroy the steeple of St Nicholas Church nearby by gunfire if the mayor, Sir John Marley, did not surrender the town. The mayor responded by placing Scottish prisoners that they had captured in the steeple, so saving it from destruction. Take that!

The “Black Gate” was added to Newcastle Castle between 1247 and 1250, forming an additional¬†barbican¬†in front of the earlier north gate of the castle. It consisted of two towers with a passage running between them. On either side of the passage was a vaulted guardroom. There was a drawbridge at the front (facing west) and another at the rear. There was also a¬†portcullis¬†which could be raised and lowered to seal the entrance passage.

In 1618 James 1 leased the gatehouse to a courtier, Alexander Stephenson. Stephenson substantially altered the gatehouse, rebuilding the upper floors. Stephenson then let the Black Gate out to various tenants, one of whom was a merchant, named Patrick Black. It was he who gave his name to the Black Gate.

Eventually houses were built along both sides of the passageway, and one part of the building became a public house. By the early part of the nineteenth century, the Black Gate had become a slum tenement, housing up to sixty people. Info from wiki.

So now you are edumacated, lets do the pics.

The Black Gate plaque
The Black Gate plaque
The Black Gate
The Black Gate
Looking at the castle from the Black Gate
Looking at the castle from the Black Gate
Stones of History
Stones of History
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armour

This next shot got me thinking.. if you had legs long enough to take those giant steps, how would you get out of that window??

a conundrum
a conundrum
The Chapel
The Chapel

This is the entrance to the Royal Chapel of the castle and is one of the finest surviving examples of Norman decorative stone carving in England. This chapel was reserved for royalty, & when the king wasn’t in residence, the priest would pray for the souls of the Royal Family.

Norman stone carving, ceiling
Norman stone carving, ceiling

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a WTF?
a WTF? for historians.
windows and walls
windows and walls

It always amazes me how thick they built the walls.

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Graffiti prisoners
Graffiti prisoner ~ Thomas Cuthbert

When the Scottish prisoners were held in the castle, some of them carved their names into the walls. Thomas Cuthbert’s name, still easy to see after 372 years. Wonder if he got put in the steeple? ūüôā

So part 2 to follow soon, but that’s enough for now,

laters gaters

;

 

The Fraggle Fried Rice Recipe report

Cooking a fried rice is a labour of love. The cooking time itself is short, but the preparation seems to go on forever. This one took over an hour, but I don’t mind, I was in the mood. ¬†You can fry most stuff up with rice and do a little or a lot, but this was a special one so had lots of different elements. It was a sunny day today and I had intend to go for a walk to Wardley Lake with my camera, but we took our chucking up cat Storm

Storm the chucking up cat.
Storm the chucking up cat.

to the vet this morning as she has started eating cat litter in the middle of the night and then chucking THAT up,sigh, and then we went to ASDA food shopping, and I had to see a client this evening so had to do my cooking this afternoon. I was determined to take photo’s though, so thought I’d do some food photography with the Fuji. I also thought I would process them uniformly and applied a¬†VSCO cam fuji kodak gold preset to each shot, I’m not overly a fan of presets that make your digital shots look like film, because of course they don’t look like film. I’ve got old photo’s on Kodak film and they look nothing like my digitals with a preset. ¬†Maybe they just look how we would like film shots to look ūüôā anyway I quite liked the effect of this particular preset.

So onto the cooking bit. OK, when you do a fried rice you need to gather your chosen ingredients that are going in with the rice, chop them all up and put them in separate plates/dishes. Then fry them in a little olive oil, in a wok, one set at a time, and in the right order. You need a large bowl with a colander in it, as each time you fry a set you then tip it into the colander and any excess oil/water drains through to the bottom of the bowl. While you’re doing this you should already have your rice cooking, or you can use rice you already have cooked. ¬†I use jasmine or basmati rice and add a good teaspoon of Turmeric or Saffron to the water to colour the rice. I like a lot of different colours in my fried rice.

boiled basmati rice with turmeric
boiled basmati rice with turmeric

So here we go..

onions
red onions
  1. always start with frying the chopped onions and garlic together. I used a red onion just for the colour. Get your oil hot and flash fry at high heat for a minute to get tasty charred edges to the onions. Yum. ūüôā Then into the colander and wipe your wok out with a paper towel. Trust me, it’s better to start each time with a fresh dollop of oil. You don’t need a lot of oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the wok, this is a healthy recipe :).

    chopped garlic
    chopped garlic
  2. I like peas in my fried rice so thats the next thing to go in the wok. Once you’ve given them a quick stir fry, add a 1/4 glass of water, turn the heat down so they are bubbling not boiling,put a lid on and go to the loo/ take a pic of the cat/
    Skye
    Skye

    read a book/go on internet for 2 minutes,~ then tip into the colander and wipe out the wok, OK, I’m not going to put ‘¬†tip into the colander, wipe out wok’ every time now, tip & wipe will suffice.

    peas
    peas
  3. Add any other veg you like, I did this next 3 all at the same time, (no I don’t know why peas are separate, trust me and just do them on their own). Make sure your oil is hot before chucking them in. When you’ve done a minute flash fry, add a little water and also this time a couple of good lugs of light soy sauce. Put a lid on and get a drink/take a picture of the cat/check your FB,Twitter,Instagram for 3 minutes. Tip & wipe.
    shiitake mushrooms
    shiitake mushrooms

    I know, not the easiest name to deal with, but I like the exotic oriental stuff for my fried rice, and¬†shiitake mushrooms are from Japan. They are more chewy than the usual mushrooms with a delicate nutty flavour. It is considered a medicinal mushroom¬†in some forms of traditional medicine. Maybe I’ll give some to the cat.

    baby sweetcorn sliced into rounds
    baby sweetcorn sliced into rounds

    I like baby sweetcorn, it’s sweet. And a little crunchy.

    Mangetout
    Mangetout

    This was the first time I used Mangetouts, and just fancied something different, plus I liked the name. Very tasty, quite sweet and crunchy, I left them whole.

  4. I like to add some bamboo shoots as Phil loves them, I don’t, and water chestnuts as I love them,Phil don’t.:) I always use canned ones as I wouldn’t know where to buy fresh.
    bamboo shoots & water chestnuts
    bamboo shoots & water chestnuts

    Same cooking method as for the veg combination.

  5. On to the meat. If you’re veggie you can leave this bit out and still have a lush fried rice. You can use most types of meat & shellfish, but lamb and beef don’t really work as well as chicken, prawns or pork. Today I used pre-cooked char siu pork ( pork with a coating of chinese 5 spice) and chicken coated in chilli & spices, and king prawns soaked in chilli and coriander. You can use just one or a combination of any cooked meat.
    the meat of the matter
    the meat of the matter

    Get your oil hot, chuck it all in and stir fry, reduce the heat if it starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. Don’t add water this time but do add a couple of splashes of dark soy sauce. Tip & Wipe.

  6. By this time you’ll be getting¬†hot, so get a cool drink to keep you going ūüôā I recommend

    white grape juice & ice
    white grape juice & ice
  7. Now we put it all together. Heat some oil in the wok but on a medium heat. Put the rice in and get it all stir fried, then tip the contents of the colander in on top and start turning it into the rice, when you do this don’t ‘stir’ as such, it’s more like the action you do to fold flour into cake mix.
    mixing it up
    mixing it up

    Add a good sprinkling of Chinese 5 spice, a tiny dash of sea salt (optional) and a good sprinkle of ground black peppercorns. Leave on a low low  heat turning every so often while you

  8. Make an omelette.
    eggs for omelette
    eggs for omelette

    Chinese fried rice always comes with chopped up omelette so get a little frying pan, and make an omelette in your usual fashion, when ready, cut into strips and add to the fried rice. Chinese people eat from bowls with chopsticks, if you can’t manage chopsticks a dessert spoon is better than a fork. But still use bowls so the rice stays hot, on a plate your last few mouthfuls would be cold. Some chinese crackers and a glass of wine to go with and some oyster sauce splashed on top finishes it off nicely. Try it, it’s delish!

  9. fried rice-17

I have not included how much of anything you need to have, it always depends on how many you are cooking for. I use a ratio of 3/5 goodies to 2/5 rice, thereabouts. But these are the other bits you need..

bits and bobs
bits and bobs

I once lodged for several months with a lovely lady called Jo

Jo and her beautiful daughter Emma
Jo and her beautiful daughter Emma

and she taught me some of the ways of cooking chinese, 25 yrs on and I still do dinner parties with her recipes, lucky to have had the experience ūüôā

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The Shillington Church Report

During the Scarecrow Festival we came across All Saints Church, which as well as being a beauty, has a really great view. The church stands on a hill of domed chalk, and is built of ironstone (an iron rich sandstone with a mineral giving a greenish colour which darkens to brown on exposure to light).  It has been a place of worship for over 1000 years, with the present building dating from 1400 with only minor changes.

We met the vicar while we were there and asked to take photo’s, he showed us some of the interesting stuff.

Firstly a few of the church’s pillars have graffiti on, not modern as they resemble medieval drawings and have been there since anyone can remember, but no-one knows what they mean or who did them.

graffiti
graffiti
Graffiti
Graffiti

Tantalising mysteries!

He also pointed us to the crypt, which is thought to have held a relic, but no-one knows what that was either!

On the way to the crypt
On the way to the crypt

That’s well old English, and I can just about make out ‘Here lyeth¬†Thomas..’ but that’s it!

In the crypt
In the crypt
spidey home
spidey home
Saints in hiding
Saints in hiding
Crypt staircase
Crypt staircase

Back upon the main hall there are some beautiful stain glass windows

shillchurch-11

shillchurch-13

and simple ones too..shillchurch-3

The chancel and nave are separated by a rood screen..common to late medieval churches

shillchurch-14
rood screen

The ceiling was amazing..

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and the light throughout the church was lush..

shillchurch-4

shillchurch-5

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shillchurch-12

Outside there was a graveyard..

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Hair-do
Hair-do

and the view was spectacular. The fuji has a panorama setting so I tried it out..

fuji pano
fuji pano

but I also turned to¬†portrait pano, which whilst it doesn’t encompass as much, seems better to me..

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so that’s the end of my visit down South, it will be winter when I get back there, or at least late autumn, so it was nice to have blue sky days.

laters gaters

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The Sunday Fraggle report ~loose ends edition.

Already a week in September has gone by and I’ve not yet got round to finishing August photographs. ¬†I have been away to a military model show in Scotland this weekend, and of course have photo’s from that!

But I still want to post the photo’s of my little family down south from last weekend. It was great to see my son Ben and my grandson Lewis, who just gets cuter every time I see him ūüôā

We had a day out at Milton Keynes, the shopping centre to start.

with the plastic cows
Lewis with the plastic cows, & a plastic gun.
The frog clock in the shopping centre
The frog clock in the shopping centre
Reflecting in Burger King
Reflecting in Burger King
at Burger King
at Burger King
Mr.Blue Eyes
Mr.Blue Eyes

Then we went off to Wirral Lake to the playground..

Wirral Lake
Wirral Lake
Swans at the lake
Swans at the lake
tickles
tickles
Dad helping
Dad helping
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Balancing act

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Then onto a giant slide thing..

giant slide thing
giant slide thing
smiley
smiley
flying
flying

A great day out. In the evening I went north to stay with Helen and caught this fab sunset on the way

Sunset at Stanford
Sunset at Stanford

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it was amazingly beautiful to watch.

Helen and I went off to Shillington the next day to do The Scarecrow Festival¬†(click to visit that post). But I took a few different bits and pieces of Shillington¬†while hunting down the scarecrows. There were some gorgeous quintessential English homes….

Beautiful house
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a flowering roadsign

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One of the scarecrow houses had a train station in the back garden.

Garden feature
Garden feature

A house with a gargoyle ūüôā

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at Moorhen farm we saw haymaking going on..

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and we loved the sunflowers

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but you can see it was clouding over so that was the end of the day.

In home life we had a visit from our newest grand child Liddy..

Liddy

Liddy
Liddy

and I saw another lovely sunset from my bedroom window..

Sunset 1
Sunset 1
sunset 2
sunset 2

and that’s some loose ends tied up. Still more to do, I might be taking too many photographs, quantity not quality!! Hope that’s not true!!! ¬†Anyway back to work tomorrow and would you believe it back up to Scotland, then Tuesday back to Cumbria, lots of long journeys. Will try not to take any photo’s haha.

laters gaters

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