Aln Valley Railway – July 2019 – Part 1

While Sophie and I were visiting the Stephenson Heritage Railway, (post on that HERE) a gentleman saw us taking pictures, and came over to tell us we might like to visit the heritage railway that he was involved in, the Aln Valley Railway.  Great idea we thought, and we decided to go when they also had a war re-enactment thing going on. The aim of the volunteers is to reopen the Alnwick to Alnmouth railway line.  The original station in Alnwick is now home to Barter Books so a brand new railway station and visitor center has been constructed by…

Cragside – Rhododendrons June 2019

It’s cold here in the UK, the summer flowers have gone and the autumn leaves blown away, so let’s take a walk through the estate at Cragside and remember warmer times. “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” Rachel Carson   “Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature”. Steve Maraboli “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” Laura Ingalls Wilder “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”…

Stephenson Heritage Railway – June 2019 – Part 3

Part 1 HERE  Part 2 HERE After we finally gave up going for rides, we got to look around in the workshops,with the lovely gentlemen explaining things to us. Some fab old tool boxes in use They had had some Thomas the Tank faces made for the front of the big steam engines to make the kids smile, but the people who own Thomas the Tank wouldn’t let them use them, so they just hang in the workshop. I mean, what harm would it do really? ‘Bait’ up here is Geordie for lunch They let you drive a train up…

Stephenson Heritage Railway – June 2019 – Part 2

Part 1 HERE Sophie and I enjoyed the train ride so much we went on it twice 🙂 as the ticket covered you for as many goes as you liked. They are still renovating the carriages, so they do look a bit shabby, but it didn’t matter to us, it was easy to ignore that and imagine being in Brief Encounter 🙂 Of course we and all the other kids ignored that! On the return journey we were just in normal class as someone got to our first class carriage before us (gits 😀 ) Good job we didn’t need…

Stephenson Heritage Railway ~ June 2019 – part 1

Old trains, nothing like them for evoking the past, all that choo-chooing and hissing steam.  Not that I ever went on one back when I was a kid and they were ubiquitous, but I have now! Have you heard of George Stephenson? Stephensons Rocket perhaps? No?  Oh good, then let us commence the History lesson! 🙂 George was a child of Northumberland. Born in 1781 to illterate parents, he too had no education until at the age of 17, he followed his Dad into the mines as a brakesman, and used his salary to pay for night school classes in…

The Bowes Museum – May 2019

The Bowes Museum can be found in Teesdale, in the market town of Barnard Castle, and houses a phenominal herd of treasures and art works collected during the lifetime of John and Joséphine Bowes. Shall we do the History Bit? (Rhetorical question 🙂 ) John Bowes  (19 June 1811 – 9 October 1885) was born in London, to a commoner called Mary Millner. Mary went to work for the 10th Earl of Strathmore & Kinghorne,  (14 April 1769 – 3 July 1820) a Scottish nobleman and peer, at his stately homes in County Durham, and ended up having a long…

Raby Castle Revisited – May 2019

Back in August 2018 Sophie and I went off to visit Raby Castle and had a great time chasing deer around the place. When you buy a ticket to get in there, it lasts for a whole year, so we revisited in May when the spring flowers were popping up.  The castle itself is a grand castle, so much to see, so much history, and a deer park in the extensive grounds and I did a 7 part series on it last year.  The history of the castle, and the Neville and Vane families who held it, is quite fascinating,…

Watersmeet & The River Tyne

Any Geordie native will tell you he/she has the waters of the River Tyne running through their bloodstream, and I think it’s conceivable that after 15 years of drinking the tap water up her, that I have too. The Tyne has been romanticised in many a song, who can forget Jimmy Nail & Big River, or Lindisfarne’s Fog on the Tyne, or the beautiful Sailing to Philadelphia by Mark Knopfler and James Taylor. It’s even mentioned in a song by the country singer Gretchen Peters, in her song England Blues. When I first moved up here 15 years ago, I…