Not sure if anyone will be popping in here as it’s Christmas Day, but if you do, my very heartfelt Best Wishes for a lovely day for you, wherever and however you are. Sundays are my post days here, and not even Christmas prevents that, so here’s a short one, that is at least apt for the day.
On our last outing together before Sophie’s return to Spain, we decided to visit the Christmas Market in North Shields. There were many, many stalls selling all sorts of produce, arts, crafts, clothes. All the usual stuff, and the place was heaving with people, it you stood still you got knocked into. Not really conducive to taking photographs. So we didn’t, we sauntered around trying to peek through people to see the stalls. I know Sophie was looking at a hat stall for a Christmas present but not sure if she bought one in the end as I’d wandered off to look at something else, and I bought three scotch eggs of different flavours as Phil likes them, but mostly we didn’t buy anything.
They had some fairground rides for the kids, so we went and photographed those instead. They’d kind of given it a Christmas feel, candy canes, penguins, Mickey Mouse dressed as Santa.
It was nice for the Mums and their little kids I guess, and I realise I still prefer fairgrounds empty.
On the way back to the car I spotted a man parked on the corner of a road, or his car was anyway, and he was underneath it, I think he’d broken down and was trying to fix it.
Anyway the afternoon would be drawing in soon enough so we went over the river to South Shields Christmas Market, which we took one look at and decided it was not in the same league as the one we’d been to, so we went to lunch instead. On the way to where we thought we were going we spotted a sign outside the library building advertising the café within, so a snap decision was made and we went in. Not the best photo but I was trying to be unobtrusive (sneaky really) and fluffed it.
It was so lush to be in from the cold for a while. We both had a home made vegetable soup and I had a ham sandwich with mine. The sandwich was nothing special, but the soup was glorious. I don’t do ‘food at the dinner table’ pics really, not a fan, but I had to remember this one! Made it myself last week, so yum!
The evenings arrive so quickly up North here at this time of year, you just finish lunch to find the sun beginning to set. And so it was as we walked back to the car, and we could see it was going to be a lovely sunset and if we were sharp I could drive us up the coast to get some nice shots. So I did, and we did.
I had my Contax on the go too, still waiting for those to come back, so the iPhone was enlisted for this post, don’t usually bother but they look much better clicked through to, especially the last two. Anyhow enough of me,
Regular visitors will have seen a few posts from Tynemouth Market over my past 9 years on WordPress, there’s always something to photograph and it’s a fab place for great coffee, interesting foods, daft purchases and funny looking people. For those who are new here, or have forgotten, the market takes place in Tynemouth Metro station, the station is also a Grade II listed building which opened in 1882 as a railway station. It later became the first section of the Metro network in 1980, making it a great attraction for local history buffs. (Metrospotters?) Anyway with Sophie back in Spain, I decided to go looking for vintage spoons for a photo I need to do, and Phil came along as there are plenty of vinyl record stalls to browse.
I took my Contax of course, so there’ll be a Film Friday post at some point, but I also took my iPhone and used the Hipstamatic app to photograph anything/one I fancied that took my notice.
Just at the entrance there’s a small section of floor tiles that are cracked and blue, which I hadn’t noticed before today
I love the light in the market, the glass panelled roof makes some great shadows when the sun is shining.
I think it takes a fair bit of courage to stand at the top of the steps on your own singing to a herd of people who are not interested and don’t give a monkeys, but she needed to be a better singer to grab any attention. Also The New Seekers songs are a bit beyond 🙄 .
I accidentally pressed the shutter at the bottom of the stairs, but I like the result
I have no idea what this musical dummy is for, I don’t think it can be for dressmaking judging by the boob area, you could rest your drinks on that ledge!
I am not sure why this fellow is dressed in the (pesky) Scottish National Costume, but he does look fetching I think.
That’s it for this week! Stay tooned for where/whatever next time!
“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
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!
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. 😊
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.
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.
Each of the giant kitchen implements has a reference to the stars, the sun or various celestial movements.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 😔
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.
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!
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.
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 🤣
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. 🙄😊
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!
I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection. — Sigmund Freud
“Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.”–Anthony Brandt
“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
“The memories we make with our family are everything.”– Candace Cameron Bure
“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
“Becoming a grandmother is wonderful. One moment you’re just a mother. The next you are all-wise and prehistoric.” – Pam Brown
“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
“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
“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
“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
Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventures, story-tellers, and singers of songs. –Pam Brown
“We are sisters. We will always be sisters. Our differences may never go away, but neither, for me, will our song”. —Elizabeth Fishel
Following on from seeing Richmond Castle in Part 1, Sophie and I went into the market place
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.
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!
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.
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.
Not everyone jumped in.
After this we went to visit Easby Abbey so we’ll have a trip there next week! Stay tooned folks!
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?? 🙂
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.
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
and it was a perfect day for umbrellas
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.