New Year’s Eve retrospective.

Traditionally we photographic types do a year’s retrospective and choose a few of their favourite/best photo’s to showcase what they’ve been up to. Well hang me and bedamned, I’ve got too many to choose from and you’ve seen them all anyway, so I’m going to do something else instead.


First up a short video of the view from my bedroom as it changes throughout the year, I was supposed to do one a week, that’d be 52, but to be honest some weeks nothing changed so I’ve just done 34 stills and run them together.


The second short video is via an app on my phone called 1SE (1 second every day) and you take a shot or do a 1 second video and it puts them all together for you. I didn’t manage every day, but most of my year is covered. It has sound too ūüėä.¬† Possibly boring to anyone else but me, but I like it and so here it is.


Finally we had a lovely sunset here to see out New Years Eve day, and I wish you all a wonderful 2019!

Sunset New Years Eve 2018


Wallington ~October 2018 ~ part 2

part 1 HERE

After wandering around the walled garden (see part 1) we then went into the large conservatory and took some photos of the flowers and bits and bobs.

large purple plant


large purple plants flowers.

there were a few different types of Fuschia



the glass house is definitely full of flowery goodness



A nice detail set into the wall

“When wearied and overwrought by study or affairs of business, repair to these haunts and refresh your mind by a stroll amidst the flowers”

We left the glass-house and had a wander up to the bird feeding station

a lucky day!



It was nearing lunchtime for us too, so we walked back up to the house, past the lake and boat shed


A heron took flight out of the reeds whilst we were shooting and I managed a half decent shot


Stay tooned for when we visit inside the house!

Wallington Hall and Grounds ~ October 2018 ~part 1

Sophie and I had a lovely autumnal outing to Wallington Hall back in October, chilly, but with blue skies and autumn leaves and colours everywhere. ¬†Of course the hall has a history, so that’s up first.

The History Bit

Wallington is a country house and gardens located about 12 miles west of Morpeth, Northumberland, England, near the village of Cambo. It has been owned by the National Trust since 1942 after it was donated complete with the estate and farms by Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan, the first donation of its kind. It is a Grade I listed building.

The estate was originally owned by the Fenwick family back in 1475. The Fenwick Baronetcy, of Fenwick in the County of Northumberland, was a title in the Baronetage of England. It was created on 9 June 1628 for Sir John Fenwick, of Wallington Hall, Northumberland. He sat as Member of Parliament for Northumberland and Cockermouth. The second and third Baronets also represented Northumberland in Parliament. The title became extinct when the third Baronet was executed for treason on 27 January 1697. The third Baronet, also a Sir John, was a Jacobite conspirator. I’m not going into Jacobitism here as it’s a very diverse and quite complicated political movement but basically a whole bunch of Brits¬†aimed to restore the House of Stuart to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. You can google it for further info. Back to Sir John. ¬†He had succeeded his father to become an MP, and also later got to be a Major General in the army in 1688. ¬†He was a strong supporter of King James 2nd, the last Roman Catholic King of England, who was deposed in what was called the Glorious Revolution in 1688, and succeeded by William 3rd, or William of Orange, as he was known, a staunch Protestant. Our Sir John remained in England ¬†when William came to the throne, but had money troubles which led him to sell Wallington Hall to the Blackett family. Then Sir John decided to plot against William, insulted Williams Missis, Queen Mary, and was involved in a couple of assassination attempts on William. ¬†Eventually he was nabbed, and¬†was beheaded in London on 28 January 1697.

So on to the Blacketts. Also given a Baronetcy, they were a wealthy Newcastle family of mine owners and shipping magnates. They shared the Fenwick‚Äôs love of parties and Jacobite sympathies, but the Blacketts managed to avoid both financial ruin and treasonable activities.¬†Sir William Blackett (1657-1705) bought Wallington in 1688 as a country retreat from the family’s main home at Anderson place in Newcastle, and knocked down the medieval house and pele tower that the Fenwicks had built, though he converted the ground floor into cellars, which still remain. The new building was quite basic, it consisted of four ranges built around an open central courtyard. The upper floor was reached by ladders and had no internal dividing walls. ¬† ¬†It wasn’t meant to be a permanent home, but a residence for when the family wanted to have shooting parties for their poshknob pals.

The Fenwicks had also been known for their parties and hospitality, and the Blacketts followed the tradition.¬†Sir William’s son took it to excess and employed six men simply to carry him and his drunken guests to bed after their grand parties. Upon his death he left debts of ¬£77,000 and an illegitimate daughter, Elizabeth Ord.¬†Wallington passed to his nephew Walter Calverley on condition that Walter married Elizabeth and adopted the family name. Walter agreed to this and in 1728 Wallington passed to the 21-year-old Sir Walter Calverley Blackett (1707-77). Surprisingly, and fortunately Sir Walter proved a better household manager than his uncle had.

He had the house completely remodeled, adding staircases and partitioning the upper floor into rooms. The gardens and grounds were extensively redesigned with the introduction of pleasure grounds, the planting of many trees, and the digging of watercourses and ponds.¬†Sir Walter also built the clock tower which dominates Wallington’s courtyard. Amongst the many figures involved in the recreation of Wallington was Capability Brown who may have contributed to the work in the East and West Woods and was certainly responsible for designing the pleasure grounds at Rothley Lake. Sir Walter‚Äôs children died before him, so Wallington passed to his sister‚Äôs son: Sir John Trevelyan.

The Trevelyans were Baronets as well, and Wallington stayed in their family until 1942. The family includes authors, artists, MP’s and their history is far too long for a little blog post, but also quite fascinating.¬† Sir Charles, the 3rd Baronet was the last to live there. He was first a Liberal and later a Labour MP. He served under H. H. Asquith as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education between 1908 and 1914, when, as an opponent of British entry into the First World War, he resigned from the government. In 1914, also, he founded the Union of Democratic Control an all-party organisation rallying opposition to the war. In the 1918 general election, he lost his Elland seat, running as an Independent Labour candidate, but¬†won Newcastle Central for Labour in 1922 and held it until 1931. In early 1939, following Stafford Cripps and with Aneurin Bevan among others, Trevelyan was briefly expelled from the Labour Party for persisting with support for a “popular front” (involving co-operation with the Liberal Party and Communist Party) against the National Government. He was the last surviving member of the first British Labour cabinet.

He had 6 kids, the eldest being Sir George, the 4th Baronet. He was effectively disinherited when his Dad gave Wallington to the National Trust.

In 1925, George went to read history at Trinity College, Cambridge, in accordance with family tradition. Whilst there he began his 42-year-long association with the famous ‘Trevelyan Man Hunt’, an extraordinary annual event which involved a chase on foot over the wild Lakeland fells, with human ‘hunters’ hunting after human ‘hares’. This energetic event was started in 1898 by Trevelyan’s historian uncle G. M. Trevelyan and the Wynthrop Youngs, and still continues today, as a kind of hide and seek game without dogs or weapons. He also became an educational pioneer and a founding father of the New Age Movement.

Not sure why Dad didn’t pass on the Hall to George, perhaps George was just too busy to look after the place, another fascinating chap.

That’s the history bit done, I’ve cherry-picked ¬†just to give some context to the pictures, but so much fascinating stuff that I’ve had to leave out! Never mind, google is your friend! ūüôā

So on with the pictures!

Because the evenings were drawing in, Sophie and I decided to do the grounds first and the house after lunch. It was lovely walking through the woodland and by the lake.

On golden pond


The Japanese Maples were gorgeous



There’s always ducks.


We walked to the walled garden and huge glass house that are in the grounds.




there were only a few flowers left, grasping at the last piece of sunshine they were likely to have.


but plenty of berries

berry red

There has to be a  lichen shot of the day..


and it was good to find a coffee hut hidden amongst the woodland.


Also in the grounds, a giant compost-loo.  I immediately thought of Eddy  my living-off-the-grid guru pal and took a picture for his opinion.

Compost loo for giants and ladies with dogs.

I think that’s enough for now, as always, there are still more pictures to see, and next time we’ll have a wander into the glass house for some exotic blooms.

All pictures are clickable and embiggenable if your eyes are bad ūü§£

Stay tooned goodly folk.




Raby Castle ~ August 2018 ~ The Deer Park.


INTERIOR…….PART 1 HERE¬†~ Entrance Hall, Chapel, Baron’s Hall.

INTERIOR……PART 2 HERE¬†~ Small drawing room, Octagon Room, Dining Room

INTERIOR…….PART 3 HERE¬†~ Blue bedroom, Servants bedroom, Kitchen, Servants dining room.


We are finishing our time at Raby with a walk around the estate to see the deer, but first, we went to lunch.  The Stables have been converted into a cafe

at the troughs

and Sophie and I had a table in one of the horse’s booths or whatever they’re called. Stalls maybe I think. Anyway, I had a very trendy lunch of avocado and poached egg on wholemeal toast. ¬†(I know it’s trendy because I’ve seen it in a magazine where they did a restaurant critique of a place in London). (It also had twiddly greenery bits on top of it which was another clue).

le lernch a la trend.

Seriously most places we go have a cafe but all serve similar stuff, homemade soup of the day, panini’s, chips, toasty sandwiches, you know the kind of thing, good, but easy. It was nice to see them make an effort to be a cut above.

After lunch we went and looked at the carriages for a few minutes

but were too excited to go and find the deer to stay very long there.

So off we went on a deer hunt. We started walking through the grounds, and in the distance, we could see the herd ~ we were creeping through the grass so they wouldn’t be disturbed

The unsuspecting

by chance I looked to our left and spotted these 3 herberts

They wandered off and we concentrated on creeping up to the herd. Of course they spotted us a mile off, we were as quiet as a buffalo on acid, and Sophie was wearing red ūüėÄ ūüėÄ


We slowly crunched forward through the grass, keeping low, and the deer slowly edged off to our right and to the side of the copse of the trees you can see

are they still coming for us?

we kept moving towards them and the stag of the group must have said ‘Right my bitches, those red and green blobs are getting nearer, let’s scarper! and so they all went around the back of the copse, and then legged it up the hill and away.


Stag and his bitches off and away.

Sophie and I were undaunted. The estate is a huge place but fenced all round so the deer had to be there somewhere, and we set off in the direction the deer had gone. As I got to the top of the hill, and turned the corner, I came to a standstill, I’d found one!


They’d stopped as they’d got around the corner, and when Sophie and I got there they had to scarper again!

They’ve found us! Run for your lives!!!

They ran a fair distance then tried to hide under some trees

They’ll never see us here. Will they??

So onwards ever onwards, Sophie and I determined to get some good pictures! I hid in an old dead bush to get a bit closer

It’s in that bush you know!

As we studied the herd it became apparent that there was only one stag, surrounded by a harem of lady deers.   (? does as in doh a deer but who knows?)

You can make out his antlers if you embiggen the picture.

Mr.Big and his harem


it didn’t take long before they all ran off again. ¬†We spotted a white calf (I think they’re calves, or maybe fawns, that sounds weird though) which seemed odd as there were no white lady deer and the stag was definitely big and brown.

Run Forest Run!!

We decided not to pursue them any further, we’d got some nice shots, and it was a long walk back. ¬†But on the way back we did find a few more that didn’t seem to be part of that group, or could be playing truant!

drink up girls, no-one knows we’ve gone and we need to get into the woods!

And then the best bit, further on we came across these

Young Guns


and these are the chap-babies who’ve grown into young bucks, and are therefore competition for Mr.Big and so not allowed to be in amongst his harem. ¬†But if you look to the right you’ll see a white face there,


who has obviously succumbed to one ladies charms when Mr.Big has been busy elsewhere, hence the white calf/fawn thing. ¬†These lads didn’t run away, they let us get quite close which made our day!

so there ends our trip to Raby castle, what a great day out!

A full album (yes there’s loads more! ūüôā of pictures can be found HERE

Information about the castle came from the following sites


Stay tooned, we’re back at Cheeseburn Sculpture park next time, some new art and some we’ve seen last time, but differently!


Raby Castle ~ August 2018 ~ Interior part 3


INTERIOR…….PART 1 HERE¬†~ Entrance Hall, Chapel, Baron’s Hall.

INTERIOR……PART 2 HERE¬†~ Small drawing room, Octagon Room, Dining Room


Today we’ll start in the Blue Bedroom.

Blue Bedroom

Guess why it’s called the blue bedroom :). This bedroom was added as a guest bedroom by John Carr in the 18thC and has a Four poster bed which was the marriage bed of the Duke of Cleveland, ¬†It has a handmade bedspread made in Turkey.

Big Bed


Commode and bath, with screen for privacy

Of course servants quarters would not be so swish, but even so, not too bad,

Servants bedroom

The kitchen in Raby was in use up to 1954, (Not sure where they cook now!) It originally had an open fire in the middle of the room and carcasses of meat would be hung across beams in the ceiling so the smoke would cure it.  Three large fireplaces were installed at various points in its history.  In the Victorian era, a range with a fan turned spit and side ovens

Victorian Range

Another range was added during WW2 when officers were billeted in the castle

and a third which was turned into a sink so that the fire below could heat up the water


Some of the display items seem so funny now, but back in the day this was serious advice!


Don’t try this at home! ūüėÄ

Again the servants dining area wasn’t too shabby either

That’s the best bits of the Interior finished up, next time we’ll visit the stables where we had lunch, and commence the Deerfest!

Stay tooned!

Raby Castle~August 2018~Interior part 2


INTERIOR…….PART 1 HERE¬†~ Entrance Hall, Chapel, Baron’s Hall.


The small drawing room, (which is quite large really) is decorated in the Regency style and has lots of paintings of horses and sporting stuff, but also some decorative bits and bobs.

Small Drawing Room

a lovely ornate clock

French ormolu clock purchased at the Paris Exhibition in 1861.


and an oriental thingy, we see a lot of these in castles and stately homes ~ must have been a thing.

Oriental thingy


In 1848, the Scottish architect William Burn¬†used castle records to restore and to re-create one of the most striking and instructive interiors of a period that loved rich and colourful effects.¬†The Octagon Drawing Room is a rarest survivor of an 1840’s room with unchanged decoration, displaying lavish textiles: gold silk lines the eight walls, and the curtains and elaborate swags are of crimson and gold silk.

The Octagon Room

In 1993 the 11th Lord Barnard commissioned a 5-year restoration programme,. Much of the original room’s paintwork, moldings and gilding were cleaned and conserved. Where necessary, new silk panels and curtains, which matched the originals, were woven on the only 19th century handlooms still in commercial use in England.

Pineapple chandelier.

The pineapple was an exotic and rare fruit back in the day and having them showed off your wealth, so they were incorporated into decorations.

The ceiling was bonkersley ostentatious, but I like that!


The Dining room has red walls and a plaster ceiling. The table extends to fill the room and is laid with a dinner service which had belonged to Queen Victoria and was given to the Raby estate by Edward VII. Sideboards had small warmers to keep food warm a marble-topped buffet was used for cold food.

Dining in style


Food warmer


wood paneling window frames.

I think that’s enough for now, there’s still a lot more to see at Raby so stay tooned!