Watergate Forest Park ~ October 2022

Sophie and I had our last outing for a while at the end of October, and we went to visit a park in Gateshead to see some Autumn colour, hopefully at least.

The Watergate Colliery pictured at the top there, started out in the 1800’s, and was finally shutdown in 1917. Unlike Washington, which as we saw last week got it’s own museum, Watergate was left alone until reclamation work began in the 1990’s, and the site was transformed into a recreational park having a series of trails and paths that take you through woodland, around the lake and through wildflower meadows.

It was a bit chilly, but still a nice day with some sunshine now and again, and we did get some autumn colours. I had my Fuji and my contax with me but have yet to finish the roll on that, so here are the few I took with the Fuji.

Details of a memorial to the miners.
a deer on the edge of the forest
Sunshine and doomcloud!
“Dancing of the autumn leaves on a surface of a lake is a dream we see when we are awake.” Mehmet Murat Ildan
“There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been.” Percy Bysshe Shelly
“Autumn mornings: sunshine and crisp air, birds and calmness, year’s end and day’s beginnings.” Terri Guillemets

Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath. Michael Caine

“Look with open eyes, and you will see the beauty of the waterfall.” Anthony Hincks
How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days. – John Burroughs

So there we are. Not sure if Autumn has gone and Winter arrived yet, I can’t tell because of all the bliddy rain we’re having, and the forecast is for 2 weeks of it!

Stay tooned dear reader!

📷 😊

Bolam Lake ~ Oct 2021 ~ part 2

Following on from part 1, we’re still photographing swans, because , well you can’t have enough magnificent swan pictures really. 🙂

The familiar pose with neck curved back and wings half raised, known as busking, is a threat display. Both feet are paddled in unison during this display, resulting in a more jerky movement. The swans may also use the busking posture for wind-assisted transportation over several hundred meters, so-called windsurfing.


The mute swan is one of the heaviest flying birds. In several studies from Great Britain, males (known as cobs) were found to average from about 10.6 to 11.87 kg (23.4 to 26.2 lb), with a weight range of 9.2–14.3 kg (20–32 lb) while the slightly smaller females (known as pens) averaged about 8.5 to 9.67 kg (18.7 to 21.3 lb), with a weight range of 7.6–10.6 kg (17–23 lb). The most familiar sound associated with mute swans is the vibrant throbbing of the wings in flight which is unique to the species, and can be heard from a range of 1 to 2 km (0.6 to 1 mi), indicating its value as a contact sound between birds in flight.

lift off

We often come across other people walking around the lake and now and again I can sneak in a people picture, in this case a little people picture’


and two couples, people and swans,

two pairs

but rarely do we come across people in or on the lake, so this lot gave us a nice surprise.

The Paddle Family

they were having a grand time!

there’s always one

and swans are not the only birds at the lake though these are in a dead tree.

Dead Tree Birds

And that’s about it for Bolam Lake. Next time we’re popping around the corner to revisit St.Andrews Church so stay tooned for that!

Killingworth Boat Lake ~ February 2019

In 1964, a 15 acre lake was created to help drain the ground for Killingworth New Town, and almost straight away a boating clubhouse was built which is alongside a public car park. Several different groups still use this clubhouse and more use the lake and park, which is run by North Tyneside Council.  A bunch of retired chaps interested in building, racing and sailing model boats formed a sailing group, which is now affiliated to the MYA (Model Yacht Association).

Sophie and I stopped off here on our way back from somewhere as I knew there were swans on the lake, and the racing was in full swing.

and they’re off!


Remote control

No remote control

Come in No.48

Precision Landing

The Swans win.

Herrington Country Park~ March 2018~part 4

Part 1           Part 2            Part 3

So on we go over the dinosaur rib cage and back towards the lake, alongside a rivulet where we watched a swan doing it’s thing


Oooh look at me!!!

I’m so pretty!

Back at the car park we came across a hound meeting

Eau de Beagle

I think they were Beagles after googling doggy pictures.

Corporal Beagley

Reflecting Penshaw’s Folly

Saw this cute little lad at the cafe while we had lunch


and then after lunch, back to the lake for more birdy shots

We watched a seagull fighting a tern for some bread

OY! That’s my bread!

gimme gimme!

Birds on a buoy

In the distance the sky did a thing over the standing stones,

And that’s the end of our day at Herrington.

all images can be clicked on for bigger versions so you can appreciate their magnificence so much better 🤣  

Full album can be found HERE for more birds and stuff.

Stay tooned, though god knows what for, the constant rain has put paid to Sophie and I going anywhere since this day, but we’ll be back! Meantime I’ll be over at The Other Place, click on that and I’ll see you there 🙂






Fraggle Report~ Herrington Country Park~ March 2018~ part 1


Last weekend, Sophie and I got together and this time went off to Herrington Country Park. It sounded promising on the website- an adventure play area, skate boarding, Nordic walking, model boat sailing in the lake and a variety of sculptures that celebrate the heritage of the area.  Wasn’t sure if Nordic Walking involved Viking re-enactment groups having a stroll, but according to Wiki it’s walking with poles, a bit like ski-ing without snow. Anyhow it all sounded very interesting so off we went.

The History Bit

Back in the days when England had industries the North East was a mine of ..well..mines really. And shipbuilding, but heaps of mines. The park was made on the grave of the Herrington Colliery, which closed in 1985, and had a waste heap of 11,000,000 cu. M. of shale, which must have looked like a mountain to the surrounding villagers.

Herrington slag heap-from Sunderland message board, photographer unknown.

For the transformation of the park, only the coal was removed, the minerals left behind went into making the park, sandstone for the sculptures, red ash for the walkways and clays to line the lakes.  Over a hundred different species of birds have been sighted since it’s inception, and many events are held there.

The weather wasn’t too bad, at least it was dry, but the promised-by-the-weather-forecasters sunny day never happened. No matter, there was a big lake and loads of birds on it.  We couldn’t believe how close the swans allowed us to get to them, no hissing or chasing us off, and I assume that is because of all the people who go there and feed them.

Good Morning. Feed me now!




Tufty Duck


Black headed gull (1st winter plumage)

I see no ships!

As well as birds, a couple of chaps were sailing remote controlled boats


24 (maybe a Jack Bauer fan!)


Swanning off

After a while at the lakeside we went for a walk around the park, and we’ll set off in the next episode to have a look at the sculptures, so stay tooned.








Druridge Bay~Feb 2018~ Part 2

Part 1 HERE 

There is a thing happening, the latest craze over from the USA, mostly I see it on Facebook, where people paint little rocks, and hide them in woodlands, on beaches, in towns, anywhere really.  We came across 3 of them whilst walking around the lake,

When you find one you are supposed to photograph it, post it to the Facebook page it belongs to (written on the back of the rock) and then re-hide it somewhere different or keep it, doesn’t seem to matter.

Not knowing all this at the time I just took pictures and didn’t re-hide them, life’s too short!  As always I liked the lichen I found on the trees, found a ball of it here..

liking the lichen

A Chinese (!) bridge takes you over to the far side of the lake

where I found a poignant memorial to someone’s mam

To Mam, I love you to the moon and back

There’s also a stepping stone crossing further up the edge of the lake which we ignored to go over the Chinese bridge, but had to have a go on it when we were on the far side. They were wobbly.

Intrepid Sophie

Then we found the swans, some of them still teenagers, and terns, gulls, ducks and geese

Teenage dirtbags

tern around bright eyes


Mummy swan saw us from afar photographing her kids and came to see what we were up to

She was a beauty

and when she decided we were no threat, she turned round and went back to hubby

and that’s about it from Druridge Bay,

Full album HERE

Druridge Bay has free parking and a cafe and visitor centre with things for kids to do. We had toasted cheese and ham sandwiches for our lunch, but they were a bit meh. As Phil would say, they filled a hole.

Next post we will be visiting The Lady of the North, or Northumberlandia as she is known so stay tooned folks!

Rising Sun Country Park ~ November 2017 ~ part 2

Part 1 HERE

So we’ve had a little rest, and now continue past where the Back to Future train disappeared, turning right and starting the long trek up an incline to the top of a hill under some stunning cloud formations

the horses we saw earlier came charging past us in the opposite direction


Looking back down the path at the top of the hill we could see from Hebburn on the right to Newcastle on the left. The yellow structures are on the River Tyne and we saw one of them being brought up the river when we visited the Anglo-Saxon farm at Jarrow Hall   you can click through the link there to see the yellow thingy bigly.


There were gorse bushes in bloom here and there

and a bench to sit on if the uphill struggle made you out of breath, not that comfy though!

and then we made our way down the other side of the hill.  We found a puddle..


where there were some more horses, and people

saw a blackbird

Then we came to another wetland area

so we took some pictures of the water birds

and here we rested, taking shots of the birdies whilst a couple of little girls threw crisps to them 🙄 before the final leg of our long walk.  ( And no, we didn’t tell them off, this is Sunderland and parents don’t take kindly to interference, especially from Non- Mackems! )

So stay tooned, and next time we’ll get to the end.

(all pictures can be clicked on to see larger)





Fraggle Report~ Bolam Lake~September 2017

Now the Road Trip is done, I can go back to reporting on the lovely scenery that Sophie and I got to see on our day trips this year.  Back in September, just before Autumn turned up, we had a sunny day and headed off to Bolam Lake. Although I’ve been before a few years ago, Sophie hadn’t so off we went.

Warning: short attention span~ners leave now, long post with lots of pretty photo’s 🙂

The lake was constructed c.1817 for Lord Decies of Bolam. John Dobson was commissioned to lay out the grounds in 1816, including the 25-acre artificial lake and woodland. Northumberland County Council purchased the lake and some of the surounding woodland in 1972 for use as a Country Park.


Mute swans are a familiar and impressive sight in Britain. Often found on ponds and rivers in parks and other urban areas. By tradition, all mute swans belong to the monarch. They are one of Britain’s largest and heaviest birds, with a wingspan of up to 2.4 metres. Male swans are highly territorial and first threaten intruders, striking an aggressive pose with wings arched over their back, before charging at them to chase them off. There are quite a few that live on Bolam lake and they are magnificent.

not just swans though

You could see Autumn beginning to take over the greenery

with plenty of leaves fallen already


We heard a loud annoying buzzing sound at one point, and thought some one must be strimming but that wasn’t the case.

if I’d had a gun I’d have shot it down. Hadn’t realised how loud and obnoxious they are, especially on a peaceful walk around a beautiful place. In spite of that feeling I had a chat on with the chap driving it and saw the results on his iPad. I want one, but with a silencer!

There was plenty of opportunity to shoot some reflections

and places to sit and enjoy the views

Some amazing old trees and bushes

There’s a nice cafe at the visitor centre where we had lunch, but then came clouds, so we decided to visit the nearby very old church of St. Andrews, but that’s a tale for another day. Stay tooned!

Congratulations, you got to the end!

full album of photographs can be found HERE

Information on the location can be found in the menu where it says Map of Photography Locations.











Hardwick Hall Country Park ~ June 2017~finale

Part 1 HERE

More pictures from the country park, well worth a visit.

Canadian Geese


Willow Fence and arch


moorhen chick on a lily pond




Wood witch




Owl House


Sailing with Mum



The Sunday Sermon

Here is the round up of some pictures I took this week, and what they’re all about. Because I was late last week and posted on the Bank Holiday, this week started properly on Tuesday. As usual, a work day didn’t bring about many photo ops, but I got to sit in my fave place and take a couple of quickies whilst I had a coffee break.

Peace & Tranquility
Peace & Tranquility

view from the car
view from the car


all taken with my samsung phone with the VSCO app and different filters applied. I could sit here all day really! Wednesday I forgot to take one, but was a pretty meh kind of day anyhow.  Thursday was a better day as I did a couple of sales, but I still didn’t take a shot, must try harder. 😀

So Friday came, and my hub says do you fancy a trip into Newcastle ( our nearest town) as he had to take his car in for brake fixing and stuff and had a couple of hours to kill. So off we went, and I took my iphone to show the blog all around Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. I don’t go th ere often enough and it’s my main town. It has some beautiful architecture and statues, and is about the coolest city I’ve ever been to. So here we go, welcome to The Toon!

Firstly the very tall statue of Charles Grey, Earl Grey 2nd, who was a big deal up here.

Grey's Monument
Grey’s Monument

the inscription reads as follows-

IN THE YEAR 1832.”

which just about tells you what a great guy he was, and wish they still made them like that!

Eldon Square Shopping centre
Eldon Square Shopping centre

nothing much to say about this except this is where you can shop indoors, like a USA mall I guess. But that geometric rooftop bit in the distance is St James Park, the home of Newcastle United Football team, which is a very big deal up here.

text break
text break

This is where people sit to text, call, have a cuppa, reorganise their shopping bags etc, at the foot of the Greys Monument. In term time lunchtimes it’s heaving with students from the Uni.

The Golden Lady Clock
The Golden Lady Clock

The Gold Lady Clock is on the corner of Pilgrim Street and Blackett Street, and is the symbol of the Northern Goldsmiths. Naked Lady statues are quite often found in Tyne & Wear, I’ll have to make a collection of them and do a post about them. Needless to say Northern chaps are a lusty lot. 😀

back alley
back alley

this is where my new clinic next week resides, it’s off to the right here, and I’ll no doubt take a pic of it on Tuesday when I go, but I like this little alley leading up to it, Newcastle has a lot of back alleys to explore.

strange guy
strange guy

not sure what his game was! In Nirthumberland Street now which is a big shopping are up from the Monument, and where you also find people busking and doing weird stuff.

paint pot drummer
paint pot drummer

this  guy was doing a great job of drumming on upside down paint pots, presumably empty.  There’s been a youtube video of someone doing the same thing I think in America, so he’s obviously ‘borrowed’ the idea. He was really good though!

Phones 4u
Phones 4u

I like the incongruous juxtaposition of old and new that happens in citys like this.

heads up
heads up

These heads and carvings were salvaged when the old library was demolished to make way for a new street. These are 7 gods and goddesses with Neptune in the centre (the chap gods look more like clergymen to me but hey ho, art is in the eye of the believer and all that) but I think it’s cool they kept the carvings and added them to the new retaining wall.

guitar man
guitar man

Phil always likes to check out the guitar shop when he’s in town, and he needed a set of strings, so we got them and had a look around. While we were in the shop the call came through from the garage that the car was ready and we hotfooted it to the metro station, where we found  2 of the 3 potential men statues.

Potential 1
Potential 1

potential 2
potential 2

didn’t have time to find the 3rd potential man but apparently it’s 3 views of the same man, I haven’t a bliddy clue what it’s all about but they were sculptured by Sean Henry who is (apparently) UK No.1 sculptor, so they must mean something. Hmmmm. 😀


So that’s Friday day, and at night my lovely hubby made a party for my birthday last weekend, as he’d missed it, and we had a lovely time,lots of wine & whisky and music and just the 2 of us.

Saturday we were ill.

Saturday night we had to go to a family bash as Phil’s neice’s daughter was 21 and had a party by the sea front, so we pulled ourselves together and made a good effort at being at the party. I took my polaroid so took some family pics to put on the wall when I finally get my photo board up!

View from the balcony of the Sundial.
View from the balcony of the Sundial.

Paul & Phil
Paul & Phil

Shelly & Karly
Shelly & Karly

Phil’s daughter & daughter-in-law

Jan & Barry
Jan & Barry

Phils nephew and Mrs.


Da Kidz.

Other Paul,Neil & Carl
Other Paul,Neil & Carl

Cousins and son-in-law

Carl,Neil & Karly
Carl,Neil & Karly

Neils face makes me laugh!

Today I went out taking pictures with my friend Sophie. We meet up a fair few times in the year and go off exploring somewhere, and I catalogue our adventures in my smugmug galleries so here is a selection from today. We went to Saltwell Park and Cemetery today ( we do like graves!) Saltwell park is a beautiful oasis in the middle of urban Gateshead, and has won many awards for it’s loveliness. It has a long & interesting history, which  can be found on wiki .

As we left the car park, we got the first hint that summer is just about over and autumn is nearly upon us.

autumn to be
autumn to be



Salty Towers
Salty Towers

Yes it’s called Saltwell Towers really.

Salty Towers side on.
Salty Towers side on.

The guy who had this built was a stained glass maker, not a single one in the building though.

on the lake

I love these bonkers peddle boats, must have a go on one next time.


bottoms up
bottoms up

nothing more funny than a supposedly graceful swan upending to look for food.


This guy was in a really bad mood, chasing geese and generally swanning around being bolshy.

Mr.Bolshy, Tony's edit
Mr.Bolshy, Tony’s edition

I remember Tony Single saying he didn’t have swans where he lives, and I was thinking he might like this dark contrast version.

ship ahoy cap'n
ship ahoy cap’n

Love that this guy wears a Captains hat when playing with his model boat. 🙂 We soon found out he was in a model boat club competition just past the lake, so we went in and took pictures of course. We also had to vote on which ship we liked best.

Sophie shooting boats
Sophie shooting boats

Sophie shooting more boats
Sophie shooting more boats


Saltwell also has a small wildlife section, with a few budgies and peacocks, but they are in cages, which saddens me always. Birds should be in the sky.

However hens can’t fly, and this one was ginormous!!This is his rear end 😀

fluffy bum
fluffy bum


still some flowers left but not many left in the rose garden, which is quite stunning in bloom time.




Sophie Bomb
Sophie Bomb

these are the flowers in the Tyne Bridge sculpture, and I took the shot just as Sophie walked past. We have a rule that we don’t take each other’s photo, but now and again we sneak one, and sometimes it’s accidental, but we also have a rule not to publish them. I don’t think we’re too good at sticking to the rules. Well I’m not anyway. 😀

Saltwell Dene
Saltwell Dene

The Dene is a walk next to a rivulette with lush foliage and little waterfalls,and there’s a lovely twinkling silvery water sound while you walk around.

chocks away
chocks away

So off to the cemetary over the road, and I managed to catch the magpie just as he took off.

baby graves
baby graves

Saltwell Cemetary is HUGE! And quite modern, one of the most poignant sights was this section dedicated to little ones.

DIY or Robbing Graves??
DIY or Robbing Graves??

This is such a crap shot but I only got the one chance before the lady saw me, and we could NOT work out what the heck they were doing. Speculation on burying their dog or digging for treasure.


So thats it for this week, another long one, and now to get ready for work tomorrow. Phil’s on night shift boo hoo. Never mind, soon be the weekend 😀













another week

As always work was busy, lots of problem solving and gnashing of teeth. Didn’t get chance to take any photo’s on Monday or Tuesday, but Wednesday I was able to have a quick lunch break at Woodhorn, and got to see the swans

swans at Woodhorn
swans at Woodhorn  

I was going to get out and take some shots, but this one decided to have a lie down by my car door, and I didn’t want to upset him!

Guard Swan
Guard Swan


Thursday was one of those days off I have that I end up working, but when I got home Phil and I went to our fave restaurant in South Shields, Pierro’s and had potato skins and Pizza for dinner, not the healthy option really but it was yummy!


and on the way home stopped by the sea. This is my favourite place to be for peace and tranquility, but it was a bit chilly and Phil didn’t have a coat so we didn’t stay long.

Peace & Tranquility
Peace & Tranquility

Friday was a good day off as I didn’t have to see any clients, so I cleaned out my worky office, took ages and engendered a lot of recycling of old paperwork.

Processed with VSCOcam with m6 preset


Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset

really that IS loads tidier!! 🙂

On Saturday my lovely hubby cooked us breakfast

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset
lovely hubby cooking

and after more sorting out of recycling, we got our glad rags on and went to see a band called Blue Diamond at a pub in Sunderland called The Saltgrass. No ordinary band though as 2 of the chaps in the band are also from Phil’s past life as a rock god. Before he became an Op.theatre technician back in the 70’s he was in a local band called The Showbiz Kids, and they were destined for great things, they even cut a record and were on the TV! But it didn’t work out, and after a few years it all fell apart. Still he had a blast and still plays bass guitar in our living room. He hadn’t seen Bob or Pat (the 2 guys I’m on about) in over 20 years, so a reunion was had and they were really happy to see him and reminisced about the olden days. We enjoyed listening to them mainly doing covers of harmonic bands like The Eagles, Steely Dan & Fleetwood Mac etc, with a strange Jethro Tull moment as well. They’re pretty good musicians, though some of the vocals were a bit dodgy now and then, and also a feedback issue was really annoying. The Saltgrass is not a great venue for live music, it’s very small, low ceiling and I couldn’t see a thing of the band. But a good night out nevertheless.


The Saltgrass
The Saltgrass

gee they got a band
gee they got a band

That’s Pat setting up before they started, after that loads of tall people stood in front of me.

There was some great graffiti on the wall next to the pub.

Graffiti Elephants
Graffiti Elephants

Today Phil has been working 8am-9pm so I’ve been doing washing, getting ready for work tomorrow 😦 and of course doing a photo for the Sunday Challenge, which this week was ‘1,3 or 5’.  I went with 5, and had a steep learning curve in photoshop to make the image below. The rest of my shots were done with VSCO cam on the Iphone and I do like how the sea shot came out. Now for some dinner and then… ta dah, the ironing!!

Five film cameras.
Five film cameras.




am quite in awe of my 105 macro lens, even though I dropped it onto a concrete floor and so the manual focus is really stiff (!) it still amazes me how small things can look so big!  The feather is that of a swan, from my swan pics of late, and the ball is one of my crystal balls and I fancied a mess about in the sun before it went down. The first sunny saturday in forever and I worked it all!!!!  On the good side, glorious scenery to see as I drove from one test to the next, on the poo side, no time for pictures 😦 But yay for a mess around in the conservatory! And it’s Luvverly Hubberly’s birthday today! Not much of one, but chocolates, Glenlivet and unmentionables are involved 🙂