I keep catching bits on the news, about NASA’s artemis project, preparing the way for sending people back to the moon, with a view to colonising it, and as a set off point for then visiting Mars. It’s costing the American people $93 billion dollars.
I am reminded of this song by Gil Scott-Heron :-
A rat done bit my sister Nell. (with Whitey on the moon) Her face and arms began to swell. (and Whitey’s on the moon)
I can’t pay no doctor bill. (but Whitey’s on the moon) Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still. (while Whitey’s on the moon)
The man jus’ upped my rent las’ night. (’cause Whitey’s on the moon) No hot water, no toilets, no lights. (but Whitey’s on the moon)
I wonder why he’s uppi’ me? (’cause Whitey’s on the moon?) I was already payin’ ‘im fifty a week. (with Whitey on the moon) Taxes takin’ my whole damn check, Junkies makin’ me a nervous wreck, The price of food is goin’ up, An’ as if all that shit wasn’t enough
A rat done bit my sister Nell. (with Whitey on the moon) Her face an’ arm began to swell. (but Whitey’s on the moon)
Was all that money I made las’ year (for Whitey on the moon?) How come there ain’t no money here? (Hm! Whitey’s on the moon) Y’know I jus’ ’bout had my fill (of Whitey on the moon) I think I’ll sen’ these doctor bills, Airmail special (to Whitey on the moon)
written in 1970 just after the Apollo 11 expedition.
“If Marilyn Manson would write a song that says, ‘Do your damn homework,’ it would make the world a better place, and it wouldn’t hurt him at all. And if he doesn’t like it, to hell with him. He can come fight us – by the bicycle racks”. ~ Gary Rossington
“It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.” ~ Heinz Stucke, German former professional long-distance cyclist
“The city needs a car like a fish needs a bicycle” ~ Dean Kaman
“I never want to abandon my bike. I see my grandfather, now in his seventies and riding around everywhere. To me that is beautiful. And the bike must always remain a part of my life.” ~ Stephen Roche, Irish former professional cyclist.
“When I go biking I am mentally far, far away from civilisation. The world is breaking someone else’s heart.” ~ Diane Ackerman, American poet
“My father got a phone call to bring me in to meet with Spielberg for ‘E.T.,’ partially because they knew I was a physical kid, and I was known in the business somewhat as a stunt kid, and I could do all the bicycle riding”. ~ C.Thomas Howell (Tyler in E.T)
“Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity.” ~ Lord Charles Beresford, late British admiral and MP
“Happiness is always the inaccessible castle which sinks in ruin when we set foot in it” ~ Arsene Houssaye
“Huge knots of sea-weed hung upon the jagged and pointed stones, trembling in every breath of wind; and the green ivy clung mournfully round the dark and ruined battlements. Behind it rose the ancient castle, its towers roofless, and its massive walls crumbling away, but telling us proudly of its own might and strength, as when, seven hundred years ago, it rang with the clash of arms, or resounded with the noise of feasting and revelry.” ~ Charles Dickens
“You don’t need planning permission to build castles in the sky” ~ Banksy
“All British castles and old country homes are supposed to be haunted. It’s in the lease.” ~ Bob Hope
“We admire the castles, because we admire the security!” ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan
“Way back in the old days, say in Europe of the Middle Ages, you had an aristocracy, and they could afford to pay for musicians. The kings and queens had musicians in the castles, and that developed into symphony orchestras and what we call “Classical music” now.” ~ Pete Seeger
“The ideal of happiness has always taken material form in the house, whether cottage or castle; it stands for permanence and separation from the world.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir
“The narrow path had opened up suddenly onto the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers.” ~ J. K. Rowling
“Nothing will turn a man’s home into a castle more quickly and effectively than a dachshund.” ~ Queen Victoria
“I passed under an arch out of that region of slabs and columns, and wandered through the open country; sometimes following the visible road, but sometimes leaving it curiously to tread across meadows where only occasional ruins bespoke the ancient presence of a forgotten road”. ~H.P. Lovecraft
“When we look at the ruins, we always get the same feeling: It’s as if the ruin will suddenly come alive and tell its own interesting story!” ~ Mehmet Murat ildan
C’est finis! That’s all my castles curated, stay tooned for who knows what next time!
It’s been a (long) while since I did a Fraggle Curated post, so as I have a spare day off this weekend I thought why not do an extra post and add to the other ones which, if you haven’t seen them before can be found HERE.
“Castles are Forrests of stones” ~ George Herbert
“Even castles made of sand, fall into the sea, eventually.” ~ Jimmy Hendrix
“Don’t live in the castles; freedom is in the fields! But I can also say: Don’t live in the fields; security is in the castles!” ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan
“There is no castle so strong that it cannot be overthrownby money“. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
“A ruin should always be protected but never repaired – thus may we witness full the lingering legacies of the past.” ~ Walter Scott
“When we look at the ruins, we always get the same feeling: It’s as if the ruin will suddenly come alive and tell its own interesting story!” ~ Mehmet Murat ildan
“It is as easy to create a castle as a button. It’s just a matter of whether you’re focused on a castle or a button” ~ Esther Hicks
“If you are delighted to be in ancient ruins, you are either a curious historian or a romantic person!”~ Mehmet Murat ildan
“The splendour falls on castle walls And snowy summits old in story: The long light shakes across the lakes, And the wild cataract leaps in glory. Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying”. ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
The home to everyone is to him his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence, as for his repose. ~ Edward Coke
“Have fun storming the castle.” ~ William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
I last did a small post on Gibside back in 2013, that no-one just about has seen. Sophie and I did visit in 2016 but the 365 back then got in the way of me doing a Fraggle Report that time. Anyhoo, in November gone, we went looking for autumn, the best time to visit there.
The History Bit ☕️🍪
Gibside, a country estate, set amongst the peaks and slopes of the Derwent Valley. Previously owned by the Bowes- Lyon family. It is now a National Trust property. The main house on the estate is now a shell, although the property is most famous for its chapel. The stables, walled garden and Banqueting House are also intact. It is also the childhood home of Mary Bowes, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne (24 February 1749 – 28 April 1800), known as “The Unhappy Countess”, who was an 18th-century British heiress, notorious for her licentious lifestyle, who was married at one time the 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. She and the Earl are ancestors of Queen Elizabeth 2nd. We’ll get to Mary in part 2.
The Gibside Estate was aquired by the Blakiston Family through marriage around 1540, and Sir William Blakiston (1562–1641) (Willy 1) replaced the old house with a spacious mansion between 1603 and 1620. Jumping forward to 1693, Sir William’s great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Blakiston, married Sir William Bowes (Willy 2) (1657–1707) and as a result the Gibside property came into the possession of the Bowes family in 1713. The joined forces of the two influential families and the aquisition of Gibside gave the Bowes family an even greater influence in the north of the county and a share in the immense wealth that was to be acquired from the coal trade. The Blakiston estate included some of the area’s richest coal seams.
After Willy 2 came George, who inherited the estate in 1722. Dad to Mary, the “Bowes heiress” who married John Lyon, the 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. John had to change his surname to Bowes due to a provision in her father’s will that any suitor had to take the family name. This was a device to continue the Bowes lineage in the absence of a male heir. The estate remained in the Bowes and Bowes-Lyon family until the 20th century. In the 18th and 19th centuries though they carried out many improvements including landscaping, Gibside Chapel, built between 1760 and 1812, the Banqueting House, a column of Liberty,a substantial stable block, an avenue of oaks and several hundred acres of forest. The top floor of the main house was remodelled as a giant parapet and the building was also extended to the side.
Following the death of John Bowes (the 10th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne) in 1820, it belonged to his legitimated son, yet another John Bowes 🙄 until his death in 1885 (he is buried in the Gibside chapel), when under an established trust, it reverted to his cousin Claude the the 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. It had been the main residence of John Bowes’ mother, Mary Milner, by then Dowager Countess of Strathmore, and her second husband, the politician, Sir William Hutt, (who had been John Bowes’ tutor), until the latter’s death in 1882, which was the last time it was permanently occupied by the family.
I’ll be using photos from across the 3 visits, as we didn’t do everything everytime.
The mausoleum chapel at the south end of the ‘Grand Walk’ was built following the death of George Bowes owner of the estate, in 1760. The Greek Palladian-style building was designed by James Paine for Lord Strathmore, who had inherited the estate. George Bowes was finally interred in the mausoleum on its completion in 1812. The building is Grade 1 listed on the National Heritage List for England.
The Banqueting House is an 18th Century gothic folly, built 1751 by Daniel Garrett for George Bowes. Restored in 1980 by Charlewood, Curry ,Wilson and Atkinson and is now a holiday home you can rent from the Landmark Trust, so you can’t go in it unless you book a ticket for one of their public heritage days, hopefully we’ll do that this September. Of course if you have £900 and 3 people to share it with you can have a 3 night stay there. It sits atop a small hill with views over the Derwent Valley, and there’s an octagonal pond at the bottom of the hill.
The ‘Column of Liberty’ was commissioned by Sir George Bowes and begun in the 1750s. It reflected his politics as he was a Whig – a liberal political party in the UK which in the 1680s and the 1850s contested power with their rivals, the Tories -(Conservative Party). Set at the top of a steep hillock, the monument itself is a Doric order column, and topped by a standing bronze female figure, originally gilded, carrying a cap of liberty on a pole.
You can see it for miles and here it is, very tiny, seen from the far end of the avenue of oaks known as the Grand Walk.
Hope you’re not seeing it on a phone screen 🤣
A bit closer then..
And then we’re right there..
That will do for today and next time we’ll have a look at the Countess Mary Bowes’ life and times, and see the main house and the orangery.
“Wearing a hat is fun; people have a good time when they’re wearing a hat”. ~ Philip Treacy
“And all your future lies beneath your hat”. ~ John Oldham
People, when they buy a hat, they can’t explain why they want to buy it or why they want it, but they do. It’s like chocolate. ~ Philip Treacy
“Whenever you wear your hat, your day will be special.” ~ Margo Nickel
“Personally I would never want to be a member of any group where you either have to wear a hat, or you can’t wear a hat.””~ George Carlin
If you’re going to wear a cowboy hat, you’re going to have to go all the way. You should have livestock around you, settle all of your disputes with a pistol, and ride a horse absolutely everywhere. ~Tom Segura
“The success of a hat definitely lies with balancing the personality of the wearer with the type of occasion. Don’t listen to those rules about face shape”. ~ Philip Treacy
We just know inside that we’re queens. And these are the crowns we wear. ~Felecia McMillan
“It wasn’t the wearing of the hat that counted so much as having one to wear. Every trade, every craft had its hat. ” ~ Terry Pratchett
“Why should anyone be frightened by a hat?” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“I haven’t got an ad lib for people throwing bread rolls at my hat”. ~Tommy Cooper
“For no matter what the world, men who deal in headwear are men to be trusted above any other”. ~ Frank Beddor
“Some hats can only be worn if you’re willing to be jaunty, to set them at an angle and to walk beneath them with a spring in your stride as if you’re only a step away from dancing. They demand a lot of you”. ~ Neil Gaiman
On my last post, The Camel Parade, I said that that was the last report for a while as I’ve posted everything for my outings in 2017. Well I lied. 🙂 Not so much lied really, as completely overlooked mine and Sophies day out to see the Guildhall in Newcastle. Usually you are not allowed in the building, but there are Heritage Open days where you can get a guided tour of it, and Sophie booked us to go on one.
The History Bit
The building was designed by Robert Trollope and completed in 1655. Trollope was a 17th-century English architect, born in Yorkshire, who worked mainly in Northumberland and Durham. A propos of nothing, he was buried in St Mary’s church Gateshead where he’d designed and built his own monument with statue of himself and inscription that reads
“Here lies Robert Trollop
Who made yon stones roll up
When death took his soul up
His body filled this hole up”.
More Pam Ayres than Wordsworth, but he lives on in his magnificent buildings.
The frontage of the building was rebuilt to designs by William Newton and David Stephenson in 1794. The east end of the building is an extension designed by John Dobson and completed in 1823.
So on with the pictures!
In the stairwell on the way up to the courtrooms
The statue was placed originally placed at the North End of the Tyne Bridge, on the restoration of Charles II to the throne. It had the motto Adventus Regis solemn gregis. i.e the coming of the king is the comfort of his people.On 15th June 1771 it was moved and placed in a niche on the side of the Exchange (this is what the Guildhall was known as back then). It was finally moved to where it is now in 1794. I got this information from a book published in 1826 by John Sykes (bookseller of Newcastle), and the full fascinating story can be found HERE
In 1649 15 people were hanged on the Town Moor for the crime of Witchcraft, they were tried here.
The Merchant Adventurers Hall was quite something..
Stay tooned for part 2, which will be even more stunning than part 1, really! 😀
Following on from visiting Bede’s Museum and the Anglo~Saxon farm and villageSophie and I walked down the road to visit St.Pauls Church and Monastery ruins. The monastery site is under the care of English Heritage, but the church is still in use.
A bit more history
St Paul’s Church and Monastery was built on land given by King Ecgfrith of Northumbria in AD681.It was founded by Benedict Biscop, who seven years ealier had built the church and monastery of St. Peter’s at Wearmouth (Sunderland).The chancel of St. Paul’s is the original Saxon church, built as a separate chapel and possibly dedicated to the Virgin Mary.A large basilica was built on the site of the present nave and dedicated on 23rd April AD685.The present nave and north aisle are the work of the Victorian architect Sir George Gilbert Scott.The monastery to which the Venerable Bede came as a boy, thrived in the 7th and 8th centuries. It was here that Bede lived, worked and worshipped. His bones now lie in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral. In AD794 the Vikings sacked the church and monastery.In 1074 the church was repaired and the monastery refounded by Aldwin, Prior of Winchcombe Abbey in Gloucestershire. The monastery then became a daughter house of the Benedictine Community at Durham. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, St. Paul’s became a Parish Church.
And English heritage have Kindly put up a plaque to show which bit of the church is which.
The Church wasn’t open, so we wandered the site of the Monastery ruins just behind where I stood to shoot the church. The monastery’s reputation had spread throughout Europe, chiefly because of the scholarly writings of the Venerable Bede. Bede entered St Peter’s in about 680 at the age of seven, and spent his life in the twin monastery of Wearmouth–Jarrow, which he described as ‘one monastery in two places’.
Unfortunately we were not alone, two ladies (I use the term loosely and have deleted my original description) and their loud and (deleted) children were also enjoying the site, they on their smart phones, the children clambering over the ruins.
they didn’t seem to be going anytime soon so I took my shots with them in it as the light was going. I suppose they give it scale 😀
The River Don runs along the side of the Monastery, so we wandered down to the river to take a few shots before going home (and to escape the shouty brats)
and were lucky to find a bevy of swans on the river
and it was lovely and peaceful, until guess who turned up and started yelling and throwing sticks in the water, not at the birds at least, the swans and us made a rapid exit and Sophie and I went home.
Over the past 3 posts I’ve used the following pages for reference