Bicycles 🚲

“It would not be at all strange if history came to the conclusion that the perfection of the bicycle was the greatest incident of the nineteenth century.” ~ anonymous

Beamish Museum, England, 2011

“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realise fishing is stupid and boring.” ~ Desmond Tutu

Hexam, Northumberland, England 2012

“The bicycle is the most civilised conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remain pure in heart.” ~ Iris Murdoch

Sint Niklaas, Belgium, 2012

“Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.” ~ Grant Petersen, American bicycle designer

York, England, 2015

“The bicycle is a just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community.” ~ Ann Strong

Shillington England, 2015

“Truly, the bicycle is the most influential piece of product design ever.” ~ Hugh Pearman.

Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, 2016

“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.” ~ Mark Twain (who rode a penny farthing)

and here is his essay on Taming the Bicycle.

Beamish Museum 2016

“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

Newcastle Upon Tyne, England 2017

“It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.” ~ Heinz Stucke, German former professional long-distance cyclist

The Atlantic Wall, Normandy, France, 2017

“The city needs a car like a fish needs a bicycle” ~ Dean Kaman

Newcastle Upon Tyne, England 2018

“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.

Munster, Germany, 2018

“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 bike, Wardley, Tyne & Wear, England 2019

“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)

My Shed, 2019

“Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity.” ~ Lord Charles Beresford, late British admiral and MP

Jedburgh, Scotland, 2020

É finito! Stay tooned dear reader!

Wynyard Country Park ~ Sept 2021

I should have done this post before Belsay Castle and Bolam Lake as Sophie and I visited here a month earlier, but I forgot I hadn’t done it so here it is.

The History Bit

Wynyard Woodland Park (formerly known as the Castle Eden Walkway) started life as a working railway carrying freight to the ports along the River Tees. There are miles of flat footpaths, (remember that phrase dear reader) and numerous circular walks for trompsing around. And the old railway station is now a visitor centre. Thorpe Thewles was a small country station located on the Stockton and Castle Eden branch of the North East Railway approximately 5 miles north of Stockton-on-Tees and slightly northeast of the village it served. The line was opened for traffic by 1882.

The branch itself was an important part of the railway network, taking pressure off the heavily used routes around the Stockton area. There was never a great potential for passenger revenue, as the communities served were quite small. Around the turn of the nineteenth century Thorpe Thewles itself only had a population of around 300. Nevertheless, in the 1930’s, the branch was provided with 5 trains a day in each direction between Stockton and Wellfield.

 The bulk of traffic was coal, together with materials for the regional industries especially shipbuilding. The line connected Teesside with Sunderland and Tyneside. Hay, livestock and clover were the usual goods cargo handled by the station, and there were coal drops to serve the surrounding community.  

The line’s final demise even as a bypass route occurred as a result of the Beeching Axe review, closing in stages between 1966 and 1968.

Interesting factoid
There was an incident shortly before WW1 when the station master of Wynyard station, Mr G Dodds, discovered the dead body of the station master (name unknown) at Thorpe Thewles who is believed to have been murdered. Apparently his ghost wanders the visitor centre, so there’s that, if you believe in such things.

On with some pictures!

Thorpe Thewles Station/Visitor Centre/Ghost home.

These guys were going to move so that we could take pictures of the sign, but I asked them to stay put and they were all smiley. 😊

smiley bikers

We went along one of the circular walks without a map or anything and ended up walking miles not knowing where we were, that happens quite often to us. 🤷‍♀️

We started out well and came to this wonderful railway bridge with just amazing brickwork.

curvy

We came across a sculpture by Colin Wilbourne ~ the Celestial Kitchen. The park is also home to a planetarium and observatory, managed by the Cleveland and Darlington Astronomical Society so it’s to do with that, though we never found the observatory.

recipe

Each of the giant kitchen implements has a reference to the stars, the sun or various celestial movements.

the utensils
The holes of the giant draining ladle show the constellations of the southern hemisphere.
The measuring spoon has a piece of string conveniently placed, so that it works as an ‘hour measure’ or sundial

You can read more about that on Mr.Wilbourn’s website HERE if you so desire.

On we trundled, I think we did the whole perimeter of the park instead of an actual prescribed walk and it took ages, with not much to photograph other than cows and pylons.

cows and pylons

Eventually we got to a kind of junction on the pathway and had a choice of left or right- we chose right, which was also just plain wrong. Do you remember that phrase? Miles of flat footpaths? This stairway might as well have been up the side of Mount Everest, I nearly died before we got to the top. I am sure it is Sophie’s mission in life to make me do hills when we are out on our trips, and only herself would find a bliddy hill when it says miles of flat footpaths. 🥴🤣 I so moan whilst I’m going up.

I hate step hills.

Eventually we found our way back to the visitor centre and sat outside to have a very nice Panini from their café (we are the Panini Queens) and watch the birdies bobbing for crumbs.

chaffinch

All pictures have clickability for embiggeration.

Refs:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorpe_Thewles_railway_station
https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/spooky-teesside-13-areas-most-7967686
https://www.teesvalleylocalaccessforum.co.uk/castle-eden-walkway.html

and a few more pictures can be found HERE

Stay tooned for someotherwhere next time! 📷 😊

365 ~ 28th Feb ~ 6th March

Here we are into March already, and this what the bumf is on this month.

Let’s see where March takes us. Will your photography change as the month progresses? Will you be more creative or inspired? Will your photography blossom with the buds? We lost all of our seasons in 2020 when our world turned upside down in March. I am hoping and praying that this March sees us coming out of our cocoon transformed. Will we look at things differently? Will we appreciate freedom and new growth. If 2020 was a metaphor for slowing down and noticing more, maybe 2021 will be a metaphor for transformation, appreciation and gratitude. Maybe we will appreciate the things we do have and grumble less? Something you might consider doing this year, if this is not your first 365 adventure, would be to compare monthly photographs from last year to this year and see if you notice a change in creativity or attitude. There may be a pattern, or not. You might actually find that your photographs were more creative when there was little else to do. Let’s see what our photography says about us this month. I believe it will be wonderful!

So positive these ladies who run the prompts. I am definitely coming out of the cocoon transformed ~ by about 5lbs extra and it’s not easy to shift it! I don’t expect I’ll grumble less though. So on with the show Fraggle!

Day 59 ~ We are back to self -portrait week, gah, and with reflection as the main theme, so the first one is our reflection. Well my reflection obviously, not yours.

reflection. me. again. sigh.

Day 60 ~ Delight. Today you are encouraged to share a glimpse of your day with this month’s “Where I Stand” prompt.  How can you be creative with your POV to show us where you stand today? Don’t forget to try include this week’s theme of reflection. What delightful place are you standing in today?  Show us your world today!

Yet again thwarted by being at work all day. I was so busy I just didn’t get a chance to do the photo at work, so had to do it at home instead. Nothing I did turned out OK, and by the time I realised that, it was dark. I ended up sitting on my bed in front of the mirror and tickling Vinnie when he came to see what I was doing, I suppose Vinnie can be classed as a delight. This is such a s**t photo I’m embarassed to post it, but hey ho, warts and all. 🥴. I am beginning to hate selfie week, whereas before I just didn’t like it. 😔

Delight

Day 61~ Button. Figuratively? Button. Button Up. Button your lip. Button your mouth? Or… Literally? Buttons on your coat? Buttons on your pillows? A collection of buttons? I am working on buttoning my lip. Sometimes it’s more important to retain relationships than to speak your mind.

The lady who posted this prompt put an accompanying picture of herself with a button over her mouth. I had a total WTH am I doing here moment and nearly gave up there and then. Another work day but I got home knowing what I would do so managed to get a shot before the light went. My favourite button.

Button

Day 62 ~ Exhilaration. ~ Exhilaration is defined as “a feeling of excitement, happiness, or elation.”  As we continue thinking about reflection during this Picture You week, we can also approach reflection in the sense of how we see ourselves, i.e. personal reflection.  What makes you feel excited or happy deep down inside? Look inside yourself today.  Reflect on what brings you a feeling of excitement and happiness.  Photograph what exhilaration looks like for you.

This one had me stymied, as getting exhilarated at work is really not an option. Luckily Morrison’s Supermarket came to the rescue again! I think it might be my muse! I found that Cadbury’s have re-launched their Old Jamaica Rum & Raisin Bournville Chocolate bars. It used to be my Mum’s favourite and she would share it with me. They stopped making it in 2010. My Mum died in 2004 ( not because of the chocolate) so seeing it on the shelves again made me think happy thoughts of her. I was so exhilarated I bought up all the bars on the shelf! 🤣. You might notice that I am not in the photo because it isn’t a literal reflection but a figuritive one, even though I’m still meant to be in it I think. Talking of literal, I have noticed that other people following the prompts don’t always do all of the prompt. Prompts come in 2 or 3 bits, the theme for the week, i.e self portrait, landscape etc etc, but each day has a different title, i.e Segment, Delight etc etc. Sometimes there’s added stuff like reflection this week on top of Selfie. The more enlightened just take what they want from the prompt, so long as a bit of it is in it seems to be fine. I’ve been taking the prompts prescriptively instead of using them as a guide, so I’m going to be a bit more free with my interpretations!

Exhilaration

Day 63 ~ Street. It’s amazing how the simple name of a street can be a reflection of who you are, where you’ve been, and even where you are headed. Some of us have lived on too many streets to count, while others just a few.  How is a street in your life a reflection of you? I’m looking forward to seeing the streets from around the world today!

Well this one got me thinking about all the places I have lived, 7 counties, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Bedfordshire,Hertfordshire and Tyne & Wear, RAF camps x 2, apartments x 2 rented and bought houses, it’s been a bit of a journey! I got out my box of old photo’s and found some of the streets I lived on, and had a pleasant trog down memory lane (Pete will be impressed 🙂 ) for a couple of hours.

Street

Day 64 ~ Positive. As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart – proverb. Positive thinking is when we consciously cultivate positivity in our minds so that we think we can get through anything. It’s been scientifically proven to improve your work life, physical and metal health, and relationships. The covid 19 pandemic has certainly caused us all to reflect. Sometimes it is hard to not choose negativity.  Get outside today and see if you can find yourself in a reflection.  Look at yourself in that reflection and find yourself.  If you can’t get outside, find yourself in a mirror or a window.  Have a look and make a positive comment to yourself because you are awesome!

I walked my awesome self up to the shop and looked for puddles along the way as we’ve had a fair bit of rain (surprise~not) lately. I found a really nice one so plopped the camera down, stuck it on a 10 second timer, ran to the end of the puddle and did a little happy dance of positivity and hoped no-one was looking out of their window, and if they were, a second hope they didn’t call for the men from the funny~farm. I took one shot and legged it. Shame about the wheely bin, but moving it may well have resulted in a disgruntled audience. Or the police 🤣

Positive

Day 65 ~ Hobby. Do you have a hobby? A favorite pastime? Something that you enjoy in your downtime? Something that helps you relax?  A diversion just for fun? As we reflect on Picture You Week, show us what piques your interest when you have a little extra time to spare. 

Well this was a bit of a gift for me. Time to show off the mosaics. Although Winnie got in on the act so no doubt she’ll get all the attention. 🙄😊

hobby Winnie 😊

So that’s another week done! Stay tooned, ‘street’ photography is next week’s theme. That’s going to need a fair amount of outside-the-box interpretation!

Kids

“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence”. —Denis Waitley

Teesdale, UK 2012

A person’s a person, no matter how small”.Dr. Seuss

Ryhope Water Pump, 2012

Never have more children than you have car windows. — Erma Bombeck

Staithes, UK 2013

You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they’re going. P. J. O’Rourke

Folkestone, UK, 2014

Play is the royal road to childhood happiness and adult brilliance. Joseph Chilton Pearce

Cal & new friend, Washington Wildfowl trust,UK 2015

You know what the great thing about babies is? They are like little bundles of hope. Like the future in a basket”. Lish McBride

Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK 2016

A child educated only at school is an uneducated child. —George Santanaya

Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields, UK 2016

Kids, They Dance Before They Learn There Is Anything That Isn’t Music“. —William Stafford 

Sunderland Diwali Festival UK, 2017

A child who loves animals is an adult who has compassion for people Toni Payne 

Beamish, UK 2018

I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it. Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States

Malina, Poland, 2017

Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child’s eye – it is very beautiful. –Kailash Satyarthi 

Liddy, South Shields, UK 2018

There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other, wings.Hodding Carter

Livvy, Northumberland Zoo, 2019

Stay tooned for whatever comes next 🙂

all pictures clickable embiggenable!

Family

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.     — Sigmund Freud

Tanfield Railway, Tyne & Wear, UK 2012

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.”–Anthony Brandt

Bolam Lake, Northumberland UK 2012

“Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life.”– Lisa Weed

Staithes, North Yorkshire, UK 2013

“The memories we make with our family are everything.”– Candace Cameron Bure

Saltwell Park, Tyne & Wear, UK 2014

My children give me the gift of stepping out of the daily ordinariness into the father zone—a place where my innate curiosity, sense of adventure, and love of a weekend gets rediscovered.”      –Jeff Stone

Warkworth, Northumberland, UK 2015

“Becoming a grandmother is wonderful. One moment you’re just a mother. The next you are all-wise and prehistoric.” Pam Brown

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne UK 2016

To be a mother of a son is one of the most important things you can do to change the world. Raise them to respect women, raise them to stand up for others, raise them to be kind.”     –Shannon L. Alder

Pow Hill Nature Reserve, Northumberland, UK 2017

“There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself ”. —-John Gregory

Eddy & Malina Poland, 2017

“In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit.”– Marge Kennedy

Alnwick, Northumberland 2018

“Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man, the victory of just cause, the triumph of truth.”– Menacheim Begin

Botanical Gardens, County Durham, UK 2018

Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventures, story-tellers, and singers of songs.     –Pam Brown

Tynemouth Market, UK 2019

“We are sisters. We will always be sisters. Our differences may never go away, but neither, for me, will our song”. —Elizabeth Fishel

Durham Castle, UK 2019

Stay tooned for whatever comes next time 🙂

all pictures clickable & embiggenable.

Seas

“There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”
Sarah Kay

Wales, Rhyl, The Irish Sea 1994

“Life is a sea of vibrant color. Jump in.”
 A.D. Posey

Fuerteventura, El Cotillo, North Atlantic Ocean 1997

Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth.     

Heinrich Zimmer

Turkey, Side,Mediterranean Sea 1999

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.     

Jacques Yves Cousteau

Brighton, The English Channel 2002

To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim, the rocks, the motion of the waves, the ships with men in them. What stranger miracles are there?     

Walt Whitman

Tunisia, Monastir, Mediterranean Sea 2008

“To reach a port we must set sail –
Sail, not tie at anchor
Sail, not drift.”

― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Dover, The English Channel, 2012

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.”
― Victor Hugo, 

Cyprus, Coral Bay, Mediterranean Sea, 2012

To me, the sea is like a person–like a child that I’ve known a long time. It sounds crazy, I know, but when I swim in the sea I talk to it. I never feel alone when I’m out there…     

Gertrude Ederle

Italy, Sorrento, Tyrrhenian Sea 2013

My soul is full of longing for the secrets of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.     

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Strait of Dover 2015

There was a magic about the sea. People were drawn to it. People wanted to love by it, swim in it, play in it, look at it     

Cecelia Ahern

Isle of Wight, The English Channel 2018

“In still moments by the sea life seems large-drawn and simple. It is there we can see into ourselves.”
― Rolf Edberg

Embleton Bay, The North Sea 2019

There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about the sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath.     

Herman Melville

Folkestone, The English Channel, 2019

Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.     

Robert Henri

South Shields, The North Sea 2020

All pictures embiggable with a click.

Stay tooned, for whatever comes next! 🙂

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!

Newcastle – Sept 2019 – people

Just some people I spotted on our walk around Gateshead & Newcastle.

At Venice Beach 🙂
The force is with them
Geordie Shore
02
Up
It wasn’t that bad!
Liquid Lunch
Three Hens
Walking Dudettes
Wait-ers
Party Girls
Living out of a suitcase.

All pictures embiggenable with a little click

An album of all the Newcastle pictures can be found HERE

Stay tooned for our next adventure. 🙂

Dunston Staiths – July 2019

On a wet day in July Sophie and I went to the outdoor market held once a month on Dunston Staiths.

 

The History Bit 

The Staiths are believed to be the largest timber structure in Europe, maybe the world, but who knows?  It is also a Grade II listed scheduled monument and is owned by registered charity Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust (TWBPT).  The structure is made of North American pitch pine timber, no longer available, from the once unlimited forest. Most of the timber used was 20 metres long, 14 inches deep and 14 inches wide. The total weight of timber is 3,200 tons. The Staithes are 526 metres long with 4 railway tracks, 6 loading berths (3 on each side), with two chutes to each berth.

The North East Railway Company opened the Staiths in 1893, and it’s purpose was to facilitate the loading of large quantities of coal from the Durham coal fields onto the waiting coal ships, (known as colliers) which then transported the coal to London and abroad.  At it’s peak, the coal industry  moved 5.5 million tons of coal each year from the staiths. Waggonways were used to transport the coal from the North Durham coal-fields, of which there were quite a few. The coal waggons were pushed by steam engines up the gradient, to the Staithes. It was a very skilled job to shunt the wagons onto the Staithes, as the driver worked “blind” from behind, and had to make sure they were on the right track. The men had their own signals, maybe a touch of a cap, or some other gesture, but there was nothing written down, so the driver had to depend on them. If he didn’t gauge the end of the track just right, the trucks could fall over the edge.

Once on the Staithes, and at the berths, the “teamers” and “trimmers” were waiting in the colliers to level the coal, as it came down the chutes, to keep the ship level. The empty wagons rolled back to the Railway siding by gravity. It was not a pleasant place to work, as it was noisy, oily and very, very, dirty. There were occasionally some very serious accidents, because of the poor lighting. They worked by candlelight until electricity arrived in 1930. Some of the men lost their limbs, some were crushed between the ship and the Staithes, however,  it was still considered a privilege to work there. Trimmer’s and teamer’s jobs were nearly always handed down from father to son, or some-one in the family. They were the “elite” of the Staithes, very well paid, as in 1930 they earned around £8 to £10 per week, I don’t think anyone knew how much they really earned, (not even the Tax Man).

Interesting factoid:- In 1912, a dug-out canoe was found at the West Dunston Staiths, it dated back to Neolithic times, (New Stone Age circa 5000 BC). Not sure where that ended up.

The coal industry declined at the end of the 19th century, and so too did the staiths, no longer needed, it fell into disrepair. In 1990 though, the Newcastle Garden Festival was held and extensive restoration work carried out, with the Staiths taking a leading role as a key installation with performance space and an art gallery.  But then a fire broke out in 2003 damaging the Staiths extensively, and it was put on English Heritages ‘at risk’ list. It has been subject to a few arson attacks too sadly.  Somehow the TWBPT raised the funds to recommence the restoration, which is still ongoing, and the Staiths is once more a visitor attracton, with a Saturday Market open once a month on a Saturday, which is when we visited.

So on with the show!

Firstly, on the menu..

who doesn’t love a Carpathian sausage?? 🙂

Not the biggest market really

Wine tasting always welcome!

Father and son disunion

The structure is quite amazing

We went topside to see what the view was like. Looking back towards Newcastle the fire damage was evident and that part was cordoned off.

Fire in the hole

Looking the other way, a sea fret was rolling up the river

It passed over, we got wet and then we got a better view.

It was a good spot for people watching

Mr.Text

Mrs Smile + 1

and it was a perfect day for umbrellas

Leopard print and bubble style

Spotty dotty

3 + hoody

We didn’t stay very long as the weather just kept getting worse, but did go and visit St James Cemetary nearby in the afternoon, which has some interesting gravestones. So stay tooned for that 🙂

all pictures by moi and you can embiggen them with a click.

Some more fascinating images of it  HERE   🙂

refs: http://www.dunstonstaiths.org.uk/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunston,_Tyne_and_Wear