Howick Gardens ~ February 2020

Sophie and I have visited Howick Gardens a couple of times prior to this post, in October 2015 and July 2017, but there’s something different happening there all year round, and this time we went to see the snowdrops. If you want the history of the gardens it’s in the first link there, if not, on with the pretty pictures! Although it was quite cold, we had a clear blue sky, and the snowdrops were out in force. I had my FujiXT2 + my 16mm fujinon & my helios lens, with me and my Canon EOS 100 FN with a…

Crook House & Gardens~Nov 2019~part 2

Part 1 HERE In spite of the weather being meh, we had a wander around the gardens. Not many flowers at that time of year, but nice to see some garden features,foliage & berries. So, a nice day out, the pictures as always are embiggenable with a click, and there are more photo’s of Crook House HERE Stay home, stay well, stay frosty and stay tooned for our next adventure!

Wynyard Gardens ~ October 2019

Sophie and I decided to visit Wynyard Gardens even though the flower season was over, we thought we’d do a recce and return in spring if we thought it worthwhile. The gardens are part of the Wynyard Hall estate, currently owned by Sir John Hall, a North East property developer ( and life president of Newcastle United Football Club). We only saw the hall from a distance as it is a very nice hotel now, but the gardens are open to the public all year round. The history bit . ( Cup of tea time 🙂 ) We’ll begin by…

Washington Wetland Center – October 2019

After we’d visited NELSAM we still had a couple of hours of daylight so decided to visit WWT Washington Wetland Centre as it was only up the road from the museum and is always good for birds and otters. The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust started out in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, and was set up by Sir Peter Scott, (son of Scott of the Antarctic).  Peter became an Olympic sailing medallist and a well-known painter and broadcaster. He created the IUCN red list which measures whether species are threatened or endangered. He was the founding chair of WWF – and even drew…

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.”…

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…

Allen Banks – part 2 – May 2019

Part 1 HERE So we’ve had a little rest and Sophie decides we’ll cross back over the bridge and walk along the upper paths to see if there are any bluebells there. To get to the upper pathways at the top of Staward Gorge, there are stairs in the side of the bank. These stairs are just the first section, and there were many more to climb, twisting and turning up the gorge. I have to confess that a) I’m not fit enough for this shit, and b) I whinged the whole way up. Sophie, of course, is used to…

Allen Banks – May 2019

Allen Banks and Staward Gorge is the largest area of ancient semi-natural woodland in Northumberland, and back in May Sophie and I decided to do a walk there along the river Allen, looking for bluebells again! Now owned by the National Trust it was originally part of the estate of Ridley Hall.  In the 1800’s the Hall was bought by Mr John Davidson of Otterburn for his wife Susan Hussey Elizabeth Jessup, granddaughter of the 9th Earl of Strathmore.  Susan  laid out 65 flower beds in the formal gardens and organised the system of paths, rustic bridges and summerhouses, not…

Embleton Bay ~ April 2019

Sophie and I are both members of English Heritage and the National Trust (saves a heap of money as we visit so many of their places) and so we receive emails from both advising us of events and so forth. Consequently we were quite excited to get an email from NT exhorting us to visit Embleton Bay and see the bluebells that festoon the dunes there. Wow, we thought, bluebells next to the sea, how cool, lets go! So off we went on a sunny spring day to shoot the flowers. To get to the bay you drive past the…