Friends

“If you have good friends, no matter how much life is sucking , they can make you laugh.”― P.C. Cast Kristin Cast

Bede’s World, UK 2012

“Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.” —Oscar Wilde

Alnwick UK 2012

“I don’t know what I would have done so many times in my life if I hadn’t had my girlfriends.”Reese Witherspoon

Chinatown, Newcastle, UK 2012

“When the world is so complicated, the simple gift of friendship is within all of our hands.”Maria Shriver

Staithes UK 2013

“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.”Douglas Pagels

Niagara Falls ,Canada, 2014

“Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.”Marcus Tullius Cicero

Newcastle, UK, 2015

“Women’s friendships are like a renewable source of power.”Jane Fonda

Newcastle, UK, 2016

“True friends don’t judge each other, they judge other people together.”– – Emilie Saint-Genis

Tynemouth, UK 2016

“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”
― Bernard Meltzer

Tees Cottage Pumping Station 2017

“Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.”Thomas Aquinas

Pow Hill Nature Reserve, Northumberland, UK 2017
Botanical Gardens, Durham, UK, 2018

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”Amy Poehler

Newcastle, Uk, 2019

“A man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.”Charles Darwin

Eindhoeven, Holland, 2019
Florence, Italy, 2019

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”Linda Grayson

Wardley Lake, UK, 2020

pictures are clickable embiggenables,

Stay tooned for whatever comes next. 😊

Cats

“Cats are connoisseurs of comfort.”
― James Herriot,

Cyprus 2005

“Cats strongly believe that everywhere is designed for their comfort!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

‘Herky’, South Shields, UK 2007
‘Yo-yo’ 2007

“The way to get on with a cat is to treat it as an equal – or even better, as the superior it knows itself to be.”― Elizabeth Peters,

Tunisia 2008

“The ideal of calm exists in a sitting cat.” —Jules Renard

Troodos Mountains, Cyprus 2012

“I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me.”
― Rudyard Kipling,

Troodos Mountains, 2012
Wardley 2013

Black cat or white cat: If it can catch mice, it’s a good cat —Deng Xiaoping

‘Koudar’, Biggleswade, UK 2014

“Having a bunch of cats around is good. If you’re feeling bad, just look at the cats, you’ll feel better, because they know that everything is, just as it is.”― Charles Bukowski, 

Mog on the Tyne Cat Cafe, Newcastle, UK 2015

“I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days.”—Bill Dana

Phil & Skye, Wardley, 2016

“A black cat crossed my path, and I stopped to dance around it widdershins and to sing the rhyme, Ou va-ti mistigri?
Passe sans faire de mai ici.

― Joanne Harris,

Poland, Łańcut Castle, 2017

“I have a cat, the pet that ranks just above a throw pillow in terms of required responsibility.”― Anna Quindlen,

At Eddy’s place, Poland, 2017

“The problem with cats is that they get the same exact look whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer.” —Paula Poundstone

‘Mrs. Fluffy’ (don’t know her real name) Wardley, UK 2018

“Everything I know I learned from my cat: When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re tired, nap in a sunbeam. When you go to the vet’s, pee on your owner.” —Gary Smith

France 2019

“I have lived with several Zen Masters – all of them cats.” — Ekhart Tolle

Winnie, at ours, 2020

“No one can truly understand the bond we form with the cats we love until they experience the loss of one.”–Unknown

Skye, forever.

Easby Abbey

Following on from our trip to Richmond Castle, Sophie and I went a mile and a half down the road to the ruins of Easby Abbey, and as you know, before we get to the pictures, we must first do

The History Bit 🍪 ☕️

Nobby

Easby Abbey, or The Abbey of St.Agatha is one of the best preserved monsteries of the Premonstratensian order. Premonstratensian is a bit of a mouthful, and I’d never heard of it so in case I’m not the only one here’s a quick run down of what it was/is. It’s full title is The Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré, also known as the Norbertines (sounds like a grunge pop group) and in Britain and Ireland the White Canons, on account of the canons wearing white habits.

Founded in 1120 by Norbert of Xanten (which is in Germany). Norbert has nothing to do with Easby Abbey per se, but he’s an interesting chap so lets dig a bit deeper into his history. Nobby’s Dad, Heribert, Count of Gennep, was a member of the high nobility of the Holy Roman Empire and related to the imperial house and also to the House of Lorraine. Because of the family connections, he was ordained as clergy to the church of St. Victor at Xanten, wherein his only job was to chant the Divine Office. Nobby wasn’t up for that so much and paid someone else a small fee to do it for him while he went off to become a councillor to the emperor Henry V in Cologne. The salaries he got from the Xanten church and the royal treasury allowed him to live in the style of the nobility of the times.

He quite liked living high on the hog for not so much work, and managed to avoid ordination as a priest and also turned down the chance to become a Bishop of Cambrai in 1113. But two years later, Nobby had a near death experience whilst riding his horse to Verdun. A thunderbolt from a storm struck near his horses feet, naturally the horse threw him and he lay unconscious for nearly an hour. Nobby saw this as a wake up call, gave up his posh life at court and returned to his church in Xanten to live a life of penance placing himself under the direction of Cono, Abbot of St Sigeberg. In gratitude to Cono Nobby founded the Abbey of Fürstenberg in 1115, endowed it with some of his property and gave it over to Cono and his Benedictine successors, which was jolly nice of him I think.

Nobby was 35 years old at this point and soon accepted ordination as a priest and became a great devotee of the Eucharist and Our Lady. He adopted a lifestyle of ascetism, (adopting a frugal lifestyle, characterised by the renunciation of material possessions and physical pleasures, and also spending time fasting while concentrating on the practice of religion or reflection upon spiritual matters.) Unfortunately his ascetism was so fierce it killed his first three disciples. 🙄 He tried to reform the canons of Xanten, but in light of not wanting to starve to death, they declined and denounced him to some council or other, whereupon Nobby resigned his positions, and sold up his properties to give to the poor. Off he went to visit Pope Gelasius II who gave Nobby permission to wander as an itinerate preacher so he trundled around Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and northern France, where he did some unspecified miracles. Along the way, in many settlements he visited he found a demoralised clergy, often lonely chaps, feeling abandoned by the official church, and practicing what’s known as concubinage, which means they were indulging in matters of bodily naughtiness with ladies they could not marry.

He also became acquainted with the Cistercian administrative system that created an international federation of monasteries with a fair amount of centralized power, though local houses had a certain amount of independence. These reforms, written up in their “Charter of Charity” would affect him significantly in his own future work. Nobby gained a lot of acolytes and founded houses of his order all over the shop, firstly in Premontre, as well as becoming the Apostle of Antwerp after combatting a heretical preacher called Tanchelm. He became the Archbishop of Magdeburg where he survived a few assassination attempts whilst reforming the lax discipline of his see. In 1126 and in his last years, he was chancellor and adviser to Lothair II, the Holy Roman Emperor, persuading him to lead an army in 1133 to Rome to restore Innocent to the papacy.

Nobby died in 1134, and initially buried in Magdeburg. The abbot of Strahov in Prague was able to claim the body after a few problems such as Magdeburg turning protestant and military fisticuffs and such like. He is now buried there in a glass fronted tomb and was canonised by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, so is now Saint Nobby.

So back to Easby and it is listed in the Domesday survey of 1086 as ‘Asebi’, which was held by Enisan Murdac, an important local landowner who was a vassal of Alan le Roux or ‘the Red’, Earl of Richmond (c 1040–1093) whomst you may remember from the History Bit re: Richmond Castle.

The abbey of St Agatha at Easby was founded in about 1152 by Roald, constable or principal officer of Richmond. It’s thought he was the son of Hasculfus Musard, lord of Tansor in Northamptonshire and of estates in Oxfordshire. He established Easby as a Premonstratensian monastery, only the third such house to be founded in England. In the process, the existing minster community was probably absorbed into the new abbey.

Roald endowed a modest bit of land to Easby which rose slowly, over the centuries and there are over 100 charters documenting it’s rise. Sheep farming seems to have been their main income. Not much is known about the early buildings of the monstery, but there is a re-used 12th century doorway in the west range of the cloister, and surviving fragments of the abbey church probably dating from 1170 or 80. In the 12th and 13th centuries the monastery prospered, with the increase of more Canons and the replacing of the original buildings on a grand scale. In 1198 Egglestone Abbey in nearby Teesdale was founded as Easby’s only daughter house.

During this time Roald’s descendents kept hold of the constableship of Richmond going all lah-de-dah and styling themselves De Burton or De Richmond, but then in the late 13th and 14th centuries they started to sell off their estates for unknown reasons.

In come the Scropes of Bolton, a family from Wensleydale, and landowners of knightly rank. They made the abbey their buriel place and it’s most likely they paid for an extension to the chancel in the 14th century. In 1392 Sir Richard Scrope the 1st Baron of Bolton granted land to the Abbey and it was substantially enlarged. Sir Richard served King Richard II and also fought in the Battle of Crécy under the Black Prince, (Richard II’s Daddy). He had been made Lord Chancellor in 1378, trying to stop Richard II spending all the treasury dosh on wars against the Pesky French, but resigned in 1380 when the government collapsed after all the military failures in France. He regained the position after the Peasants Revolt that had started then, but was sacked by King Richard for non-cooperation in 1382, so went off back to Bolton and rebuilt his castle there. He had a 4 year long dispute with Sir Robert Grosvenor over his armorial bearings for the right for his shield to be emblazoned “Azure, a bend Or.” A court of chivalry decided in his favour, with Geoffrey Chaucer gave evidence in his favour. Although his son William had been executed by King Henry IV for supporting the deposed King Richard, Henry held Sir Richard in high regard and allowed him to keep his lands and titles. He died in 1403 and was buried at Easby Abbey.

A good deal is known about the abbey between 1478 and 1500 when the abbey was subject to inspections on the state of it’s community. Richard Redman the Abbot of Shap and later the Bishop of Ely was the principal of the Premonstratensians in England and he recorded any goings on. In 1482 he discovered a canon called John Nym had run away after being accused of improper bodily naughtiness with a widow, Elizabeth Swales. Redman wanted him found and to face a tribunal, which he was and he did, where he was exonerated. By 1494 he was the Abbot in charge. Redman also observed that although the Abbey was in debt, the buildings were well maintained and food was provided.

In the 16th century little is known about the abbey, but in 1535 the then Abbot, Robert Bampton, drew up a document restating the rights of the Scropes as patrons. Round about this time there were rumours that Englands monasteries would be suppressed and it’s thought he issued this document to obtain the Scropes support for keeping the monastery intact.

That was a vain hope in the end, as the year after Easby Abbey was closed. Their were only 11 canons left by then, so the abbey and it’s lands were let to Lord Scrope of Bolton for £300. Also by this time Richmond was taking a major part in the Pilgrimage of Grace, whereby the north rose up in support of the monasteries. That went tit’s up and by Springtime 1537 the leaders of the uprising had missed the opportunity to defeat the Crown’s forces. It was, of course, Henry VIII in charge at this time, and he was well miffed about the uprising. His pal the Duke of Norfolk was tasked with crushing the rebels, and Henry wrote to him saying “at your repair to … St Agatha and such other places as have made resistance … you shall without pity or circumstance … cause the monks to be tied up [hanged] without further delay. Vengeance was a thing with Henry.

The Abbey was returned to the Scropes but by 1538 most of the buildings had been demolished and the lead roofing stripped. The Scropes gave up the lease in 1550 and the abbey and estates went through several pairs of hands before another Lord Scrope, Henry, bought it back in 1579. There’s no evidence of any repairs being done to the Abbey between the 16th and 18th centuries and an engraving of it in 1721 sees it not much different from it’s present state.

The Scropes passed it on through the family until the death of Lord Emmanuel Scrope in 1630. His daughter Annabel married John Grubham Howe and so the estate passed into the Howe family. In 1700 Sir Scrope Howe (way to go combining the names!) sold it to Bartholomew Burton and then it passed through several different hands until 1816 when Robert Jaques bought it.

Late 18th century and 19th the abbey became known for being a romantic ruin and was painted by several artists including JMW Turner between 1816-18. Then in the 19th century it became the plaything of antiquarians, and Sir William St John Hope partially excavated it in 1885-6. It was still owned by the Jaques family up until 1930 when it was taken over by the Ministry of Works.

And some pictures I took of it to finish up with.

The graveyard

refs:-

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/easby-abbey/history/

https://www.britainexpress.com/counties/yorkshire/abbeys/easby.htm

Richmond ~ August 2013 ~ part 2

Following on from seeing Richmond Castle in Part 1, Sophie and I went into the market place

The market place from the top of the Castle keep.

The church in the market place is the former Holy Trinity church. The tower is 14th century, and was originally detached from the nave, but they are now linked by a more modern, possibly Victorian block. At the east end shops and houses are built against it. Since 1938 it has been home to the Green Howards Regimental museum, tracing the history of that regiment, which was inaugurated back in 1688. As well as other stuff it houses 3700 medals awarded to members of the regiment and includes 16 Victoria Crosses.

Green Howards Museum/Holy Trinity Church

The obelisk you can see in the centre of the market place was put up in 1788 to replace a medieval market cross. Would rather they hadn’t but the 17th & 18th centuries marked Richmond’s Hey-Day and new elegant Georgian housing and buildings replaced many of the older medieval buildings. Argh!

reflection of the obelisk in the Golden Lion’s window.

We visited the 18th century Millgate House, a building on the south side of the market place known for it’s beautiful garden arranged in terraces below the house.

We also had a look inside the Market Hall, which was open 7 days a week.

Market Hall

And then it was such a nice day we went to see the River Swale waterfalls, which would have been more beautiful without the stupid boys.

A herd of numpties

Not everyone jumped in.

After this we went to visit Easby Abbey so we’ll have a trip there next week! Stay tooned folks!

Richmond Castle & Easby Abbey ~ 2013

I am going back in time now, to places Sophie and I went before BWP (before wordpress) as we can’t go anywhere as yet. But back on a sunny day in August, 2013, we set off to visit Richmond Castle and Easby Abbey just down the road from the castle. My camera was a Nikon D700, a bit of a gorgeous beast, but my treatment of my photo’s was a bit on the bright side, nevermind, we all have to learn and grow!

But first, of course, we must do…

The History Bit 🍪 ☕️ (long post alert!)

Our Alan.

Richmond Castle stands overlooking the River Swale in a place originally called ‘Riche Mount’, meaning ‘the strong hill’. We are back in Norman Conquest times now gentle reader so everything gets a bit Frenchyfied. The Castle and subsequently the town of Richmond was built by a chap called Alan Rufus, (Alan the Red) which doesn’t sound very French but rest assured he was one of those Pesky French who played a large part in our history.

Alan was a Nobleman of Breton and companion to William the Conqueror who you may remember from our previous history post concerning Auckland Castle.

Born in 1040 his parents were Eozen Penteur, Count of Pentfiévre and Orguen Kernev known as Agnes of Cornouaille. Eozen was related to Willy Conk’s family and there’s a whole shed load of inter-related and married brothers and sisters, and Dukes this and that of here and there that I think we’ll skip over for sanity’s sake, suffice to say our Alan’s family were well heeled and connected in the upper eschelons of Royal society.

By 1060 our Al had properties in Rouen, and was Lord of Richemont in Upper Normandy prior to 1066. Willy Conk gifted Al a couple of churches therein, St-Ouen de Rouen of the church of Saint-Sauveur and the nearby church of Sainte Croix des Pelletiers. You will have clocked 1066 as the date when The Battle of Hastings happened, when the Pesky French wiped the floor with the English. Now, I don’t want to appear to be a bad loser here, but I’m going to point out that the battle took place on the 14th October, and started at 9am. It’s estimated the Pesky French under Willy Conk, had 10,000 men, cavalry and arches and infantry, whilst good ol’King Harold had 7000, mostly infantry. The English were outmanned and out techied, but held their ground, and by dusk of that day the Pesky French had not been able to break the English battle lines. So what did they do to win? They ran away, pretending to flee in panic, and then turned on their pursuers! It’s just not cricket!!

Anyway I digress. Our Al was with Willy Conk at the Battle, and apparently Al and his Breton men aquitted themselves very well, doing the English ‘great damage’. Later in 1066 Norman cavalry swept into Cambridgeshire and built a castle on the hill north of the river crossing and as Al’s first possessions in England were in Cambridgeshire, he possibly obtained them at this point. King Harold who died at the battle (legend has it he got an arrow through the eye, which is enough to kill most people) was married, (sort of) to a lady known as Edith the Fair, or Edith Swanneck, who held many land titles in Cambridge, and our Al aquired all but one of those. He also aquired Edith and Harold’s daughter Gunhild of Wessex as his mistress who abandoned her life as a nun in Wilton Abbey in order to live with him. She was hoping to marry him but that didn’t happen and after Al’s death she went on to live with his brother Alan Niger (Alan the Black), I suppose one brother is much like the next! Except one’s red and one’s black. Nomenclaturally speaking I mean. I think it was down to hair colour.

In January 1069 the rebellion of York kicked off and Willy Conk got his army together in the latter part of the year, putting down the rebellion and then going on to do the ‘harrying of the north’. As a reward to red Al for his help in the conquest, Willy bestowed what’s known as ‘The Honour of Richmond’ upon him. This ostensibly means a huge swathe of land previously owned by Edwin Earl of Mercia who was part of the rebellion in the North, and was killed trying to escape to Scotland. It was one of the most important fiefdoms in Norman England covering parts of eight English counties. Alan went on to become one of the most important, and wealthy men in England, owning land just about everywhere and being the third richest Baron. But that’s another herd of stuff that isn’t of import to Richmond so there we’ll leave it except to say he had a sudden and unexpected death in either 1089 or 1093, most likely 1093.

Our Al commenced the building of the castle in 1071, and the earliest surviving structures at the castle include long stretches of the stone curtain wall, the great archway in the ground floor of the keep, and Scolland’s Hall. No other castle in England can boast so much surviving 11th-century architecture and it is probably the best-preserved castle of this scale and age in the country. After Al’s death, his brother Al the Black took over and after his death another brother Stephen. By 1136 Stephen’s son, wouldn’t you know it, another Alan Niger (so Al the Black 2nd whomst we will call Alby 2) held the estates.

The King at this point was King Stephen, known as Stephen Le Blois, who we never hear much about, so I’ll digress a little to tell you he was the grandson of Willy Conk, and when Conk’s son King Henry 1st died leaving the succession to the throne open to challenge, Stephen hot footed it over the channel to England and with the help of Henry, Bishop of Winchester, took the throne, before Henry’s daughter Matilda got her little graspy hands on it. Alby 2 had a mint built in the castle that issued coins in support of King Stephen, as his reign was muchly embattled with rebellions and the like.

Alby 2 had married Bertha, the heiress to the Duke of Brittany and they had a son named Conan, (not the Destroyer, nor the Barbarian) and he eventually inherited the Duchy of Brittany and the Earldom of Richmond, thereby becoming subject to both the King of England and the King of France. He began to assert control over his English lands from 1154 and during the next 10 years spent a lot of time at Richmond, commencing the building of the castle keep, a statement of his vast power and wealth. The 100 feet (30m) high keep was built of honey coloured sandstone and it’s walls were 11 foot (3-4m) thick.

Henry II was our King at this time, and in 1166 after getting help from Henry to put down rebellions in his lands in France Conan betrothed his daughter Constance to Henry’s 4th son Geoffrey ceding the duchy of Brittany to the king as part of the agreement. Constance was only 9 years old when Dad died in 1171 so Henry took control of Richmond castle, and held the guardianship of Brittany until Geoffrey and Constance could marry. Royal accounts list several buildings as objects of repair or new work under Henry II, including the tower and houses of the castle (1171–4) and the ‘king’s house’ (1186–7), probably a reference to Scolland’s Hall.

Although Geoff and Connie did marry in 1181, the castle remained in royal hands until the end of King John’s reign in 1261, though there’s no evidence that he did any building works at the castle.

Throughout the 12th and 13th centuries Alby 2’s combination of the French Duchy of Brittany with the English Earldom of Richmond caused a long running international dynastic dispute. The French and English Kings were often having fisticuffs, so the incumbent at Richmond castle had dual allegiances, never really works that does it? As a result the Honour and castle were confiscated from time to time and held by either the English Crown or a royal favourite. Finally in 1372 the castle was surrendered to the Crown.

The Dukes who intermittently ruled Richmond in this period continued to invest in it. In 1278 Duke John II entered into an agreement with Egglestone Abbey to provide six canons (priests, not implements of war- they have an extra ‘n’) for the castle’s Great Chapel so they could spend their time praying for the soul of his late wife Beatrice. Beatrice must have been really bad to need that many prayers I think. The chapel isn’t standing now, so the prayers probably didn’t work too well.

By the end of the 14th century the castle was not in good nick anymore and surveys in 1538 had it ‘derelict’, and in 1609 ‘decayed’ but parts of the castle were still being used. At some point in the 16th century expensive glass was imported from Europe to refurbish the Robin Hood tower’s chapel, and at another point that was abandoned too.

The castle remained in this condition for another 300 years with ownership passing back to the Dukes of Richmond in 1675. These lot were not the Pesky French but started with the extramarital son of King Charles II, probably better keeping it in the family. Every one of the Dukes was called Charles Lennox, Charles Gordon Lennox, Charles Henry Gordon Lennox or Frederick Charles Gordon Lennox. My eyerolling knows no bounds gentle reader. There are 11 of them and apart from one nephew all are sons of the fathers. At least the 3rd Duke made some repairs to the castle keep, but other than that, it stands a ruin. In the 18th and 19th centuries artists including JMW Turner painted the castle in the landscape which encouraged admiration of the castle as a romantic ruin, and the town became a fashionable place for tourists to visit.

In 1854 the North York Militia leased the castle for it’s headquarters and built a barrack block against the west curtain wall. They adapted the keep as a depot and built a range beside the main castle gate, intended as a reserve armoury for the militia. Then in 1908 it became the headquarters of the Northern Territorial Army commanded by Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts until 1910 when the army handed over the historic fabric of the castle to the Ministry of Works, but retained control of the buildings.

When World War 1 happened the Northern Non-Combatent Corps occupied the building. They were a military unit of chaps who had asked to be exempt from going to war but would contribute to the war effort in some other way. However there were a few chaps who didn’t want anything to do with the war at all as it was against their fundamental beliefs and in 1916 some of them were detained in cells at the castle. The tiny rooms where they were held still have the graffiti on the walls that the objectors drew.

Some of these conscientious objectors, who became known as the Richmond Sixteen, were sent to France in May 1916, where they were court martialled for refusing to obey orders. They were given a death sentence, but it was commuted to 10 years penal servitude. Their transportation to France, trial and sentencing have become notorious in the history of conscientious objection.

After the war, from 1920-28 the barracks were used by Richmond Council to help alleviate the shortage of housing in the town and the block was demolished in 1931. In the 2nd World War the roof of the keep was used as a lookout post against enemy activity, and the keep was used as a daylight air raid shelter. In 1940 the cell block was once again used to detain prisoners, although these were soldiers rather than conscientious objectors. Many of them also pencilled drawings and inscriptions on the cell walls.

In 1987 English Heritage became the guardians of the Castle, and now we are bang up to date! That was a long read and I salute you gentle reader for staying to the end, you are still my favourite 🙂 .

So let’s have a look at the castle.

Starting off on the walk around the outside of the castle, and the 11th-century curtain wall.
View over the River Swale from the east wall.
View of Culloden Tower from the East wall.

Built by John Yorke as a feature in the park surrounding his mansion, The Green, which was demolished in the 1820s in the 19th century it was known as the Cumberland Tower, or Temple. It was built on, or close to, the site of an earlier peel tower but an exact date has not yet been discovered. It must however be between 1732 – as it bears the arms of Anne Darcy who Yorke married in that year – and 1749 when it is described as a ‘Gothick Tower on an eminence’. The Culloden Tower fell into disrepair in the 1970s and was rescued by The Landmark Trust which completed an exemplary restoration in 1982.

The Gold Hole Tower
This is where the barrack demolished in 1931 stood.
The keep
The keep and to the right of it the 1865 barrack block where the conscientious objectors were stored and where the graffiti can be seen.
View over Richmond from the top of the Keep.

Well that will do for today, you must have finished your cuppa tea by now, but stay tooned, next week we’ll have a look at the town and the river.

All the pictures are embiggenable with a click if you like.

refs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richmond_Castle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Rufus

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/richmond-castle/history-and-stories/history/

https://thefollyflaneuse.com/culloden-tower-richmond-north-yorkshire/

Fraggle Report~ Saltwell Towers & Park~April 2017~part 1

The History Bit

Saltwell Park is a Victorian park in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England. Opened in 1876, the park was designed by Edward Kemp and incorporates the mansion and associated grounds of the Saltwellgate estate owner, William Wailes, who sold his estate to Gateshead Council for £35,000. Upon opening, it became known as “The People’s Park”. The park was expanded in 1920 when the council purchased the adjacent gardens to the Saltwell Grove estate and added these to the park. This extended the park’s total size to 55 acres. Towards the end of the 20th century, the park had fallen into disrepair, but between 1999 and 2005, it was subject to a £9.6 million restoration project, funded collaboratively by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Gateshead Council and is now host to around 2 million visitors per year.

The park is split broadly into three sections. Saltwell Grove, the southern section, is an area of grassed open space with a bandstand to the western corner. The central area contains the centrepiece of the park – Wailes’s former home, the Grade II listed Saltwell Towers and its surrounding belvedere walls. These have been fully restored and are now a visitor centre. There are also three war memorials, a yew-tree maze, a dene and an area containing several species of caged animals known as Pet’s Corner. The largest section of the park is the Northern Fields section which contains a four-acre boating lake with a wooded island at its centre, as well as three bowling greens and two pavilions.

Sophie and I have visited Saltwell before though I haven’t done a report on it before that I can find, so I am combining photo’s from the two outings, but Sophie and I went this weekend specifically to photograph the wonderful path of cherry blossom trees that appears at this time of year. But other stuff first!

Saltwell Towers

Saltwell Towers, former home of William Wailes and later to lawyer Joseph Shipley (founder of the nearby Shipley Art Gallery), was the seat of the former Saltwellgate estate and has been described by a BBC report as a “fairytale mansion”. The building is a dark red and yellow brick construction with asymmetrical towers, tall chimney stacks and corner turrets. It has been used for a number of purposes, including as a hospital during the First World War and as a museum from 1933 to 1969, but was then abandoned and fell into considerable disrepair. However,after a £3 million,five-year refurbishment programme the restoration was completed in 2004.

There is a Boer War memorial in the central section of the park around 100 metres south of Saltwell Towers. This consists of a bronze angel perched on a granite plinth and is dated 1905.

The Charlton Memorial Drinking Fountain, a stone and granite fountain inscribed in memory of George Charlton, the mayor of Gateshead between 1874–75.

The ‘Salte Well’ at the west entrance to the central section of the park is dated 1872 and is a sandstone construction with a basin in the central alcove.

There have been animals kept in Saltwell Park since June 1877 – initially, these included monkeys, deer and a raccoon. Caged animals are still kept in the north-east of the park in an area called “Pets Corner”, where there are a peacock and peahen, pheasants, rabbits and guinea pigs kept in a pair of aviaries built in 1880 and paid for by John Elliot, then chief constable of Gateshead. The aviaries are stone and wrought iron, octagonal constructions which were listed at Grade II by English Heritage in 1973.

I don’t like to see caged birds in such a small enclosure. Plus the spaces between the bars make for impossible photography!

The principal feature of the northern section of the park is a boating lake. This has been in situ since a tender to install a 4 acres lake with an island in the centre was accepted in August 1880.

More to come, so stay tooned!

 

Day 208~366

Phil & I went into Newcastle today as he wanted to buy tickets for Bad Company who are coming to the arena in October. Strange to see it in daylight and without herds of people.

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When we were walking out of the station I noticed some chaps up a height, looks like a scary job to me!

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I took my little Nikon S1 with me incase the sun came out and I could get some shadows, and whilst we sat and had lunch did some sneaky street shots, love the expressions that turn up,

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aw, so cute when the oldies are still holding hands 🙂

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Crossword break

 

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this is my shadow shot of the day

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but my fave shot of all is this next one- what the well dressed photographer about town should be wearing 😀 the gloves in particular make changing settings on the camera so easy 😀 :D.  His model is the chap on the right wafting his hand about.

Ninja Photographer
Ninja Photographer

 

 

 

 

The Sunday Fraggle report~SeaLife edition

The horrible weather has been very horrible this week, culminating in Storm Desmond on Friday and Saturday. 70mph gusts of wind and rain, not too good for photography.  On Wednesday I had to travel to Scotland, but didn’t get inspired to take many photos.

It’s grim oop north

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Came across a telephone box though, always like to collect shots of these,

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This weekend we have had our grandson Cal to stay over while his Mum & Dad had a trip away for Dad’s birthday. We like to take Cal out, so in spite of Storm Desmond, off we went to Sea Life in Tynemouth. It was so windy it was hard to walk, but once inside it was OK. First thing we did was to feed Cal ..

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and then went in to see the fish. I gave Cal my Nikon S1 and he and Grandad also took some shots.

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The lighting inside is not great, and you can’t use flash, so lots of rubbish shots, but did get a few nice ones,

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Nemo
Found Nemo 

There is a glass tunnel to walk under where the fish swim all around and above..

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they also have an ‘amazon’ section with marmosets and a cotton top tamarind

Cotton top by Phil
Cotton top by Phil

Marmoset
Marmoset

We caught feeding time with the otters, it was really dark in the otter house, and neither my fuji or the nikon could cope with the combination of low light and rapidly moving otters, so I used the Nikon with flash and got told off by one of the animal keepers. Bad Fraggle. Don’t think I did any damage to the otters and they didn’t give a poo.

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We went to see the sealions which have a huge play park and they shoot around it so fast it was really hard to get a shot.

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And you can see them outside too.

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but it was too cold and windy for Cal so we went and had another cuppa, and got him some toys for his bath time

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and then we took a selfie as we left 🙂

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and went back home to get warm!

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and thats the end of this week.

Laters gaters

😉 ❤

The Fraggle report ~waterfall edition

I’ve been going through my archives again, and have pulled together all the waterfalls I’ve shot, I never had a ND filter so don’t always get the floaty milky effect that seems to be the in thing, but sometimes I’ve managed it with a long exposure in low light. I actually like water looking like water and seeing the force of it sometimes.

Highforce
Highforce

High Force waterfall is on the River Tees in Teasdale, County Durham. The whole of the River Tees plunges over a precipice (cliff edge which is almost vertical) in two stages. In former times flooding created two separate falls, but after the completion of Cow Green Reservoir in the upper Teesdale this seldom happens now. 😦 It was thought to be the highest in England at 71ft (22m) but that’s not the case, there are higher ones in Cumbria & North Yorkshire. It is pretty impressive though. It’s easy to get to as there’s a path down to it from a carpark off the main road, though you have to pay a couple of quid to get there.

Low Force in Winter
Low Force in Winter

Low Force
Low Force

Low Force is about 1 mile down stream of High Force, and at only 18ft not too high, but it’s good enough for kayakers to train on..

Kayaks on Low Force
Kayaks on Low Force

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Waterfalls don’t always have to be big and impressive, I like the little ones too, this one on the River Aln in Northumberland was cute

Baby waterfall
Baby waterfall

Also in Northumberland, and not as easy to get to is Hareshaw Linn waterfall. It’s a 3 mile hike from the village of Bellingham, following the stream known as Hareshaw Burn, along the way you see  mini waterfalls..

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Hareshaw Burn
Hareshaw Burn

and then you get to the main event..

Hareshaw Linn
Hareshaw Linn

And then you have to trog all the way back!

Richmond in Yorkshire on the River Swale, has a not so high, but really wide waterfall, and in summer, silly boys jump into it.

Richmond & silly boys
Richmond & silly boys

Silly boy leaping
Silly boy leaping

well at least there was eye candy 😉 and it did look refreshing!

When I went to America though, Kathy & Dave took us some places and we had a whole different league of waterfalls.

Rochester
Rochester High Falls

This might not be the prettiest waterfall I ever saw but its a mighty beast. Part of the Genesee river where it flows through Rochester, it’s a working fall,  and was used to feed various flour mills and industries, today the water is used to produce hydroelectric power.

We visited Watkins Glen State Park in New York State and it is full of eye popping scenery. Lots of waterfalls in deep gorges

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Watkins Glen entrance
Watkins Glen entrance

that was one of our favourite days out and places to visit, beautiful.

And then Kath & Dave took us over the border to Canada, to see the Daddy of them all…

Niagara Falls
Niagara Rainbow ~ Canadian Falls

Niagara Rainbow
Niagara Rainbow ~ American Falls

Located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world, with a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (50 m). Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America, as measured by vertical height and also by flow rate. The falls are located 17 miles (27 km) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York and 75 miles (121 km) south-southeast of Toronto, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York.

Niagara Falls were formed when glaciers receded at the end of the last ice age, and water from the newly formed Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment en route to the Atlantic Ocean. While not exceptionally high, the Niagara Falls are very wide. More than six million cubic feet (168,000 m3) of water falls over the crest line every minute in high flow and almost four million cubic feet (110,000 m3) on average.

The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Managing the balance between recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a challenge for the stewards of the falls since the 19th century. (wiki)

Golden Horseshoe
Golden Horseshoe ~ Canadian Falls

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Niagara Party lights
Niagara Party lights ~ American Falls

I am so glad I have seen Niagara Falls in my life, just an amazing experience to see and hear it. Will never forget standing right there and taking the shots.

laters gaters

😉