St John the Baptist Church, Edlingham May 2022

Sophie has returned from Spain for a couple of weeks, so we have been on some outings at the weekends and our first visit was to Edlingham in Northumberland, where there are castle ruins, and yet another (guess what) medieval church worth exploring.

The History Bit 🍪 ☕️

The Church is set in a beautiful landscape in the tiny village of Edlingham, formerly Eadwulfingham, in Northumberland. There is evidence of a church on this site, a wooden structure which was granted by King Ceolwulf of Northumbria to the Lindisfarne Island monastery, when he abdicated his crown to become a monk there in 737AD. It was replaced by another wooden one and consecrated by Bishop Egred in 840AD.

The first stone church dates to about 1050AD and there are fragments of the late Saxon building which can be seen in the west wall of the nave. The rest of the church is mostly 12th century though the tower was added around 1300 and was more than probably built as a defence against the Pesky Scots, who were raiding along the borders between Northumberland and Scotland. There are slit windows in the tower for the use of archers. In the 17th century it was likely that the church was used to imprison Moss Troopers, these were disbanded Pesky Scottish soldiers turned brigands, and quite happy to attack Parliamentary troops and civilians alike, as well as raiding livestock along the borders.

Inside the church is the tomb of Sir William De Felton, and an arched tomb recess in the wall bearing the arms of Sir Will who died in 1358. We’ll delve into his history when we get to the castle next time, as it was himself who had the castle built. The niche would have held the effigy of Sir Will in full armour, but that was presumably removed after the Restoration. In the recess now are several pieces of stone, including part of the shaft of a stone cross believed to be 8th Century, which is probably the cross that originally stood in a socket outside the porch.

There is an unusual late 11th century south porch, with a barrel vault. The chancel arch is typically Norman in design dating back to the early 1100s. This is also the date of the chancel itself, which may have replaced an earlier and smaller structure attached to the church that was built in the 1050s. 

The north aisle arcade is 12th century and the nave pillars feature scalloped capitals and nail head decoration.

At the east end of the aisle is an early cross slab, apparently dating from before the Norman Conquest. Another stone, dating back to the 1300s, and carved with a sword and a pair of shears, has been set into the floor immediately inside the door from the porch. That doesn’t seem like a great idea as people walking on it will wear it away, but I’m not in charge so that’s that.

cross slab

Most of the current windows were installed during a restoration in 1902. The window at the east end of the chancel is a little older and is especially glorious. This was installed in 1864 in memory of Lewis-de-Crespigny Buckle, (which has to be our best found name ever!) who died when the S.S. Nemis was lost at sea. It carries the inscription “The sea gave up the dead which were in it”.

One of his relatives also has a wall memorial.

Edlingham is a lovely little hamlet mainly consisting of farm buildings and a couple of cottages and the church and castle are set in a beautiful landscape, but back in the eighth century it was one of four royal villages given to St.Cuthbert by King Ceolwulf, and had a population of 600. Nowadays there are more cows than people living there.

Sophie and I love these old churches I’ve been posting of late, and this is likely the last for a while as Sophie is back in Spain now, and we’ve done most of them over the past 12 years! We love the feel of them, being in one and reading the memorials, seeing the remnants of anglo saxon stonework, or Norman arches, it’s like walking through history.

William was born in 1675, when Charles II, the ‘Merry Monarch’ was King of England, and died in 1737 when King George II was on the throne, 5 monarchs later. When William was 10 years old, James II of England and VII of Scotland became King, he was really unpopular because of his persecution of the Protestant clergy and he was generally hated by the people. The Monmouth Uprising the Bloody Assizes of Judge Jeffreys after when more than 200 rebels were hanged, drawn and quartered, and 800 transported to the West Indies to work on the sugar plantations all happened during his reign.

Parliament asked the Dutch prince, William of Orange to take the throne and he did so in 1688 when our Will was 13. King Will landed 450 ships in Torbay in Devon, and with an army 20,000 strong, including many deserters from James’ army, he marched into London and effected the Glorious Revolution. William was married to James II’s protestant daughter Mary, and they ruled together until she died in 1694. James plotted to regain the throne and in 1689 landed in Ireland where William defeated James at the Battle of the Boyne and James fled again to France, as guest of Louis XIV.

Then came Anne, whose tenure started in 1702 when our Will was 27. She was the second daughter of James II and during her reign the United Kingdom of Great Britain was created by the Union of England and Scotland. Probably Scottish people haven’t forgiven her.

After Anne’s death in 1714 when our Will was 39 yrs old the succession went to the nearest Protestant relative of the Stuart line. This was Sophia, daughter of Elizabeth of Bohemia, James I ‘s only daughter, but she died a few weeks before Anne and so the throne passed to her son George. He was 54 yrs old lived happily in Hanover, Germany. He turned up with 18 cooks and 2 mistresses and couldn’t speak a word of English. Sir Robert Walpole became Britain’s first Prime Minister and ran the country for him. A year later in 1715 the Jacobites (followers of James Stuart, son of James II) attempted to supplant George, but the attempt failed. George spent little time in England – he preferred his beloved Hanover.

George I died in 1727 and in came his son George II who at least could speak English, though Walpole still ran the country. Our Will was 52 by then and only had 10 years left to live, so he missed out on the second attempt by the Jacobites to restore a Stuart to the throne in 1745 when they had their Bonnie Prince Charlie moment and got slaughtered at Culloden Moor by the army under the Duke of Cumberland, known as ‘Butcher’ Cumberland.

Impossible of course, to know how the historic events affected our Will throughout his life, and the villagers, if at all. But that’s what happens when you’re walking through and looking at the past, you can’t help but wonder!

Next time we’ll have a look at the Castle, or what’s left of it!

Stay tooned folks!

😊 📷

365 ~ 21st ~ 27th November

We’re on the home stretch now, and this week Rainbow colour week is upon us. Not that rainbows are ‘a’ colour, but I won’t quibble. Some quite ridiculous prompts this week, but got 7 rainbowy photos anyway in spite of that!

As always :

Abbreviations you may come across during this post. AFAC~ airy fairy abstract concept. AAFP ~ annoying as F-bomb prompt. CBBP ~ completely bloody barking prompt. HDBS ~ hippy dippy bull****. AWP! ~ Absolutely wonderful prompt!

Also- there may be swearing.

Day 325 ~ Radiant. ~ This week is all about chasing rainbows! Today, we are on the hunt for radiant rainbows. The word radiant can be defined as, “sending out light or glowing brightly.” One of the things that I love about this community is that their are so many people who send out light through their friendship. This photo was taken at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens while visiting with fellow community member Larraine Formica. It truly was a magical place and a magical day! The Magic Gardens were filled will all kinds of glass through which the light passed making it truly radiant. In case you can’t visit the Magic Gardens today, try finding rainbow colored glass around you. You can also create rainbows by using a glass prism, or other glass object that creates a prismatic effect. Have some fun chasing radiant rainbows!

Oh yes, I’ll just pop over to Philadelphia to the Magic Gardens! 🙄 I thought this was quite an AAFP what with Magic gardens and ‘find coloured glass around you’ and was a bit stuck for a while, but then I remembered the glass kaleidoscope an ex~ boyfriend gave me as a parting gift, and voilà, so I think I must rescind the AAFP.


Day 326 ~ Hard. ~ It might be hard to find a photo of all the colours of the rainbow, especially for a whole week.Try to make it easier for yourself and use your stock of cottons, buttons, pencils, crayons or something else.What do you have lying around that has all the colours included?

So hard has nothing to do with the photo, just that it might be hard to do these challenges. An AFAC in fact. Coloured pencils, which are hard, but easy to find in my shed.


Day 327 ~ Joy. ~ Are there any more perfect words to go together than JOY and RAINBOW? Rainbows are always a joyful experience. They signal the end of the rain and the start of the sunshine and who doesn’t stop in their tracks when they see one and yell out, “Wow, a rainbow”! There is an old shack near me that used to be pink and was called “Mrs Putt Putt’s Ice Cream Parlour”. It’s been derelict for quite sometime. Recently it has been seeing a drastic upgrade. Imagine my joy in finding it with a new rainbow roof! I am also dressed in my brightly coloured riding kit so I was feeling quite rainbow like myself. I am jumping for joy at the potential for ice cream in my future after a long cycle!

I do not like the word Joy, not sure why, it’s just such an evangelistical kind of word that’s over the top IMHO. I don’t mind ‘happiness’, or ‘delight’, and can do those quite well. But ‘joy’ is beyond me. Anyhoo I digress, again Mrs. Cocktail~Dress is not relating ‘joy’ to the actual photograph (because it’s a bliddy AAFAFAC!!!) and instead is thinking about ice-cream.

“Hi Fraggle, having trouble?”

‘*many swearwords* and the like, not getting there with Joy at all.’

“No worries, I’ve got this one. I brought the posse with me and they’re all dressed in rainbow colours”

‘The posse??’

“Peggo, Meggo, Sheggo, Breggo and Clarice”


“She’s posh”.

‘Um, OK, but no-one is wearing anything yellow.’

“We ARE yellow silly! Now sit back and keep quiet whilst I have them jump for joy!”



Day 328 ~ self~ motivation. ~ When I think of our 365 community self-motivation seems like the perfect adjective. Having an inner drive to take action, create and to achieve definitely describes someone willing to take on a photo a day project! Our motivation and approach to the prompts is unique to each of us…for me its a stress reliever. I like to read the email in the morning and see how the prompt presents itself in my day. Whereas someone else may be honing their skills, or another may like to be prepared for upcoming prompts and techniques. For the sample photo, a daily prompt helped me notice something I passed daily; this transformer box with a rainbow pattern thanks to a nearby sprinkler. When you share your rainbow with us also consider sharing a bit of what motivates you on this 365 journey!

Really I need to blaspheme at this one but I don’t want to upset anyone or any deity so we’ll leave it at AAFAFAC. I’ve considered sharing my motivation and this is what I came up with- in 2020 the covid thing happened, lockdown happened, and I didn’t do much photography, or feel motivated to do so. My pal in Canada, Connie, did this challenge last year and her amazing photography inspired me to give it a go too this year and get my mojo back. That was in January. Since then my motivation has been my own dogged bloody-mindedness, and tenacity in the face of adversity. 🤣 I baked a Rainbow Cupcake Kit in honour of Connie, who is a wonderful cook and baker by the looks of some of her shots ~ they make my mouth water. I myself can’t bake for shit oops sorry, for toffee I mean, as I don’t really like cake even though it looks so yummy.


Day 329 ~ 11 O’Clock. ~ You may have to get really creative like I did to create a rainbow around 11:00 today. I can’t wait to see what you all share!

At 11 O’Clock this morning I was sitting in the post-booster vaccine injection waiting area doing my ‘hang on 15 mins incase you drop dead after the injection’ thing so taking a rainbow shot then wasn’t really practical. At 11 O’clock tonight I wass watching the last 1/2 hour of a movie, so that was out too. So I got my kiddie’s paints and colouring pencils out and made an 11 O’Clock.

11 O’Clock

Day 330 ~ Imagination. ~ What a colourful week this is. Today I photographed oil and water. This is a fun challenge. You’ll need a colourful lighted wallpaper for your background (I used a wallpaper on my iPad). I used a glass baking dish perched on two cans and slid my iPad underneath the dish. Make sure there is about 6 – 8 inches between your backdrop and dish. Pour water into the tray and add about 4 – 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil and gently stir. The colourful wallpaper underneath will create great abstract images. If the circles are too big, add a few drops of dish soap. Change the background image and experiment with colours. If this challenge doesn’t interest you today just go ahead and use your imagination and see what rainbow coloured images you can come up with.

Today was an odd day. My whole upper arm really hurts from the vaccination and I was been feeling weird all day. Alright, weirder than usual at least. A bit light headed and wobbly in Tesco in the morning, but not too bad later. Anyways, I didn’t feel up to buggering about oops sorry, faffing about with oil and water, I did that back in 2011 when I first started learning my way around a camera, might have to do a curate post with them next year :). So my imagined mosaic butterfly will suffice for this one I think. I did a lot of imagining when I was making it!


Day 331. ~ Treat. You have been photographing colors of the rainbow all week culminating in today’s prompt. As you go about your day today be on the lookout for something that fits for the colors below and capture it. Once you’ve taken your photos arrange them in a collage. It will be a real “Treat” to see all of the colorful images in the community today!

Treat FFS! 🙄🤦‍♀️ AAFP!! It’s not a treat rounding up 9 images in a bliddy day I can tell you. So saying I got a fair few ready prior to the actual day and only had a couple to do in the end. Each square is to represent the colours of the rainbow, red,orange,yellow,green,blue,purple,white and pink with a rainbowy thing in the middle. I think the purple and pink are not quite right, should be violet, and indigo doesn’t even get a mention in her list but let’s not quibble on the last day of rainbows.

Treat ~ scavenger hunt

So that’s that, I’m (mostly) winning at rainbows. Next week we are doing framing. Not pieces of wood round them to hang on a wall, but having a frame in the picture to enhance your subject. Stay tooned dear reader!

365 ~ 28th March ~ 3rd April

Hi guys, this week is the sodding selfie week, and I find I’m taking a perverse pleasure in keeping as little of myself in the picture as is possible, whilst still following the prompts. I’ve checked out other peoples contributions on the Instagram page and am quite appalled at the amount of people who completely neglect to put any bits of themselves in the shot at all. I mean, come on, cheaters! Anyway onwards!

Day 87~ New. Where I Stand is a monthly prompt that we repeat throughout the year.  The idea is to include your feet, either taking the photo looking down or putting your camera on a tripod and taking a photo of just your lower half. What do you have that is new in your life, that you should include in your photo?  Put it next to where you stand and show us.

I didn’t have anything new unless we count some pitta breads and a bottle of milk, which I don’t, so made do with my latest purchases from Amazon and Ebay, though they are a few weeks old now. Some woolly socks, and a watch.

New (ish).

Day 88. Apparel. Don’t be into trends.  Don’t make fashion own you.  You decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live – Gianni Versace. I like an eclectic, bohemian style when I am not dressed for fitness. When my husband bought his Harley I was very excited by the potential for shopping for the clothes I needed in order to be his passenger.   I am in love with my Harley Davidson protective gear.  I feel really fierce in it!  It is almost as fun to wear the leathers as it is to ride on the bike. Fashion is instant language.  Show us your style and let us get to know you better.  

WTF? Fashion?? Style?? Leathers?? Seriously woman, left all that behind many years ago. Mini skirts and thigh high boots were the thing back in ‘my day’ but then I segued into sartorial elegance (jeans, T shirt) and now repose in the Andy Pandy school of fashion. This sums me up perfectly.

(For my non UK readers, Andy Pandy was a kids TV programme in the jurassic era and this is what he looked like).

Andy Pandy @BBC


Day 89~ Remember. As we continue on with our Picture You Week show us something that is currently part of your day. When you look back on this day next year what will your photo remind you of? 

This! Today was the first warm, sunny day of the year, and my Happy Eater Tree which had loads of buds on it sprang into action. By the time I got back from work it was blooming gorgeous! (I’ll do a not-the-365 post soon on the other blog with the tree in full gloriousness)


Day 90 ~ dinner. Picture You week is my favorite week and I am always so willing to be in the photos. Today, however, I was more excited to eat our yummy, colorful dinner and didn’t take the time to get myself in the photo. That’s ok! We definitely want to remind YOU of that as well. What does dinner (or supper) look like for you tonight? 

If someone who likes being in their pictures forgets, what hope is there for the rest of us? Dinner though, that took a bit of faffing about but here it is. Chili con carne with rice and pitta breads and salad.


Day 91 ~Relaxation. That feeling of bliss that washes over you when you “get away from it all” isn’t just in your head. Whether you spend time in the great outdoors, reading, or even cooking, total relaxation will help you find, clarity and rejuvenate your mind and body.  The exercise that generally goes hand-in-hand with spending time outdoors (hiking, biking, water activities, etc.) spurs the production of endorphins, your brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters which helps you feel loose, clear-headed and calm.  While some find relaxation in exploring the outside, others find relaxation in the quiet alone time reading, doing needlework or just sitting and thinking. What will you do today to reach a state of relaxation; you can do it! Take a photo of YOU…relaxing!

This was guest prompt, the ladies let someone from the group have a go once a month, this time a chap who frankly I think of as ‘lazy geezer’ for suggesting this. Also a bit long~winded there, but if it’s your only chance to be famousish you’re gonna take it I guess. Anyway I couldn’t do my normal relaxation shot as we did that on Day 33, so I decided I’d do meself in the bath as I do know people think that’s relaxing. I don’t think so really as the water keeps going cold so you have to keep topping it up with hot, and the pages of your book get wet too. Just have a quick shower and get on with life FHS!

(fake) Relaxation

Day 92 ~ Centered. What brings you to that place of balance where you feel the most content.  For me, it’s always being in nature with a camera in my hand. It really transforms my entire attitude.We have had several requests for a day where we can show off our 365 Picture Today Swag. Today is the day! If you have your 365 Picture Today swag, wear it! If you don’t own any of our group attire, that’s okay too! You can still show us where you are the most centered and balanced. You can also go in the direction of centering yourself in the photo. It’s totally up to you how to approach it.

This one annoyed me a fair bit. Firstly, be centered, be balanced be content etc. This is a thing that newish people do, oldish people like me grew up just getting on with stuff, not self-analysing every damned thing we do. So I had to google what being ‘centered’ meant. Pfft! Clap trap. Secondly ‘show off your 365 swag’. According to the Miriam Webster dictionary Swag in the USA can mean ‘promotional stuff’ like their sweatshirts with the 365 picture today logo on them. Swag over the pond here means stolen goods. I don’t have either, and I chose to use ‘happy’ instead of ‘centered’ so sat in my car which is my exceedingly happy place for my sodding selfie.

Centered. Pfft.

Day 93. Pocket. Do you remember where you were on January 9th of this year?  Do you remember the photo that you took on that day?  If not, go back and look because you will need to revisit that spot again today. Today’s Picture Your World prompt invites you to photograph the same location four times throughout this year documenting the changing seasons along the way.  You may choose a different perspective or choose to include different subjects in these repeating photos, but try to make it obvious to the viewer that they are seeing the same location. Once you have taken today’s photo, create a diptych using it and your January photo.  

In the January shot I hadn’t realised you were supposed to be in the shot, so this is how it has to be now. Phil and I had a nice walk over to the nature reserve, still a bit of a chill in the air, but nice blue sky afternoon. I tried to match up exactly where I stood in January but didn’t quite get there, but you can tell it’s the same place. Also, pocket???? WTH?? I don’t get that at all.


So another sodding selfie week comes to the end, but stay tooned for next week’s adventures in Golden Hour.


A Christmas Fetish

Hello dear reader, it’s not often I get asked to take photographs on a particular theme, but yesterday I was approached through the blog to do a little series. Now, usually I would not pander to men of a certain age with peculiar fetishes, but I do like Ol’10 and it is Christmas after all.

So here you are my friend,

Kitchen Utensils,~ in action!! by Moi.

Vegetable Peeler
My special chef knife.
the humble Teaspoon
garlic clove peeler
garlic peeler in action
Phil’s special knife.
cheese grater
Mum’s electric carving knife.

No utensils were harmed during the making of this series, and all gave consent and proof of age. Christmas Dinner gave a good account of itself, all in all a successful shoot. 😃


“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! 🙂

Bishopwearmouth Cemetery ~ March 2020

This was Sophie’s and my last outing this year, just after the keep 2 meters apart advice and just prior to the total lockdown. Because we couldn’t go anywhere in the car, we met up near where Sophie lives, at the Bishopwearmouth Cemetary. A quite appropriate visit for the time, as we will see in

The History Bit. ☕️ 🍪

Between 1817 and 1860 the world had 3 cholera pandemics, but for our purposes we are looking at the 2nd one. After dying down by 1824, historians believe the first pandemic hung about in Indonesia and the Phillipines having started out along the Ganges Delta in India. From there it spread along trade routes and reached China by 1828, with Iran being overtaken with it from it’s route through Afghanistan in 1829. Also in ’29 it reached the Ural Mountains, and the first case in Orenburg, Russia. There were 3500 cases including 865 fatal ones in Orenburg province.

 By 1831, the epidemic had infiltrated Russia’s main cities and towns. 250,000 cases of cholera and 100,000 deaths were reported in Russia. Russian soldiers then took the disease to Poland during the Polish-Russian war (1830-1831). Between 16 May and 20 August 1831 4,734 people fell ill and 2,524 died in Warsaw alone. The epidemic reached Great Britain in 1831 when a passenger ship from the Baltic brought it to Sunderland, then Gateshead, Newcastle, and on to London where the first cases occurred on the river, mostly on colliers from the Tyne. On it went to Paris, 20,000 died (out of a population of 650,000), with about 100,000 deaths in all of France. By 1832 it had reached Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia in Canada and Detroit and New York City in the USA, getting to the Pacific coast by 1834.

The British Government had issued quarantine orders for ships sailing from Russia to British ports and issued orders recommending the burning of “decayed articles, such as rags, cordage, papers, old clothes, hangings…filth of every description removed, clothing and furniture should be submitted to copious effusions of water, and boiled in a strong ley (lye); drains and privies thoroughly cleansed by streams of water and chloride of lime…free and continued admission of fresh air to all parts of the house and furniture should be enjoined for at least a week” as preventive action. However the ship arriving at Sunderland was allowed to dock because the port authorities objected to, and therefore ignored, instructions from the government. Well that’s Mackem’s for you.

Bishopwearmouth Cemetery was built as a direct result of the epidemic, as the subsequent overcrowding in churchyards became untenable. It opened at the same time as another new cemetary, Mere Knowles (which you may remember from a previous post, but probably not! 🙂 ) in 1856. Bishopwearmouth Cemetery soon became Sunderland’s main buriel site and separate areas were allocated for all religious denominations. It has been extended a couple of times and now covers 80 acres.

So on with some pictures!

Quaker Buriel Ground
In 1850 the ‘Society of Friends’ agreed for the first time to place stones over the graves of their brethren, with names in full with the date of their death inscribed on them, as prior to 1850 grave markers were not deemed necessary by strict Quaker doctrine.
‘Erected in loving remembrance of Gunner James William Rutherford Trench Mortar Battery Royal Horse Artillery. The beloved son of Thomas and Marie Rutherford who died at Rouen August 1st 1916 from the result of wounds received at Delville Wood.

Martini Maccomo has been recorded as coming from Angola, or the West Indies, or Liverpool, and was also described as a Zulu! His age is also not set in stone. Whatever, it is known that he joined William Manders’ Grand National Mammoth Menagerie in late 1857 at the Greenwich Fair in South East London. Maccomo was advertised as ‘the African Wild Beast Tamer’, ‘Angola’s Mighty Czar of All Lion Tamers’, ‘the Black Diamond of Manders’ Menagerie’,’the Dark Pearl of Great Price’, ‘the most talented and renowned Sable Artiste in Christendom’ and ‘The Hero of a Thousand Combats’. For all those great sobriquets I am not sure he was actually very good at his job! In 1860, at a performance in Great Yarmouth a lion attacked Maccomo and his pistol was accidentally fired into the audience, resulting in a piece of wadding becoming lodged in the eye of a local carpenter named Gillings. In the resulting case of Gillings v. Manders, the plaintiff was awarded £150 in damages. Then in Liverpool in 1861 he got his hand stuck in the mouth of a Bengal Tigress, who wouldn’t let go until an assistant pressed a hot iron bar against her teeth. The following year in Norwich a lion bit his hand and dragged him along the floor, and he lost part of a finger. Finally, in Sunderland in 1869 a lion called Wallace had had enough of him and also attacked him, apparently Maccomo used whips, pistols and knuckledusters during his act. Maccomo contracted rheumatic fever and died in the Palatine Hotel in 1871, where he was staying. Four years later Wallace died too, and is now displayed to this day in Sunderland Museum. Mackem’s I tell you! 🙄

Our days begin with trouble here
our life is but a span
and cruel death is always near
so frail a thing is man.

Cheery little epitaph, and I was disappointed the gravestone didn’t have a carved lion on it!

Thomas Scott Turnbull, the son of saddler John Turnbull, was born in Newcastle on October 28, 1825. After being educated at St Mary’s School, Newcastle, he went to work for “Dunn and Bainbridge” – then the largest drapery firm in Newcastle. Turnbull soon rose to a high position, later gaining further experience of the trade by working in several large commercial houses in London before moving to Sunderland in 1850 and starting his own business. He was extremely forward-thinking, introducing a system of “small profits and quick returns” at a time when established drapers gave long credit. From humble beginnings, he built up his Sunderland-based business “Albion House” into one of the largest drapery houses in Northern England. At his death, it occupied 122-126 High Street West, Sunderland, and the premises included sleeping and dining accommodation for 160 assistants, plus a library of nearly 2,500 volumes for their use. He went into politics as a Liberal and became Mayor of Sunderland in November 1880, but died of Typhoid Fever the following year.

‘A short and painful illness’
I forgot to remember whose grave this was, but it’s beautiful.

I found a few graves with mosaic inlays, so I had to do them of course!

This one intrigued me as it has an ornate carved panel, which I think must have been of brass, bronze or copper, as it was covered in verdigris

This is the detail shot, would be nice to know the story behind it.

The cemetery is nicely looked after, lots of daffodils lining the paths,

There are memorials on trees, and you can see there is a section for commonwealth war graves behind this one.

and a section for children’s graves, always sad.

The chapels are cordoned off for safety and. haven’t been in use for a long time.

So that is the last outing for Sophie and me, who knows when the next one will be. Still, Sunday history lessons will continue, so stay tooned! 🙂

refs: ~ Cholera comes to Britain.

http://www.wikipedia. ~ Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, Martini Maccomo. Cholera Epidemic.

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


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   🙂


Ormesby Hall ~ March 2019 ~ Part 3

See here for history and part 2

Most of the Stately Homes we visit have well-appointed kitchens which I duly photograph, and Ormesby Hall is no exception.

But it’s much of a muchness and we’ve seen similar in previous posts. What was unusual at Ormesby was a fully kitted out laundry, so that’s what we’ll look at today.

There’s no need for me to explain anything as that was done brilliantly by the info sheets in there.



flat irons

Laundry Stove

Love that they call it WEE BEN, 🙂

linens hung on hot pipes heated by the range

it had me worried, but it’s just another iron 🙂

through to the scrub room

the range which heated the hot pipes

more mangles

peg dollies, buckets & erm… a radiator (well it was a chilly day!)

so that was a nice surprise for Sophie and me as laundries are usually not given this much attention, and mainly consist of sinks and drainage channels. Good to see how it was all done back in the day, and I remember when I was a kid mangles were still in use in Yorkshire. Possibly still are! 😀

all pictures can be embiggened if you clickety-click on them.

Next time we’ll visit St.Cuthberts Church just across the road from the hall so stay tooned folks!

Seaton Delaval Hall – February 2019

*longish post alert, cup of tea time!*

The Potted History Bit

Seaton Delaval has not got the happiest of histories. The estate had belonged to the Delaval family since the Norman conquest in the 11th century.  By 1717 the mansion was owned by Sir John Delaval who was in severe financial difficulties, so he sold it to his rather rich kinsman, Admiral George Delaval.  George was from a minor branch of the Delaval family, from Northumberland, and his father had left him a legacy of £100 when he died, (about £11,000 in todays money) which he went on to convert into a large fortune from his naval career by capturing a fair few prize ships.

Having reached the position of Captain, he was given command of HMS Tilbury in the vanguard at the Battle of Malaga in the Spanish succession war of 1704, and rose through the ranks to being a Rear Admiral, then Vice Admiral by 1722.

Side by side with his nautical doings he had a full on diplomatic career as a member of the Whig party. That party no longer exists today, they were a liberal lot and in opposition to the Tories, (never a bad thing).  He was envoy to both Lisbon and Morrocco, returning to become the MP for West Looe in Cornwall in 1715, then was made Deputy Lieutenant of Northumberland the year after.

When he bought Seaton Delaval Hall he wanted to restore it so he employed the talents of Sir John Vanbrugh, a notable playwrite and architect. Men were so interesting back in those days, and Sir John is worth a little digression here. Known as a radical he was part of the scheme to overthrow James II, put William III on the throne and protect English parliamentary democracy, and he was imprisoned by the French as a political prisoner. In his career as a playwright, he offended many sections of Restoration and 18th century society, not only by the sexual explicitness of his plays, but also by their messages in defence of women’s rights in marriage. Go Sir John!

His architecture was bold and daring and he created what became known as English Baroque, designing Blenheim Palace, the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, and Castle Howard, home to the influential Howard family for 300 years. If you ever saw Brideshead Revisited, the series and the movie, it was used for them.

Back to Seaton Delaval, and Sir John informed Admiral George, that there was nothing to do but demolish it and start again. So that happened, though they left alone the ancient chapel near to the mansion, which is now the parish church of Our Lady.  Although the building was completed in 1728 poor old George never saw it. In 1723, at the age of 55, he died as a result of falling off his horse near to the building works.  The hall is considered Sir Johns  finest architectural masterpiece; however he too expired before it was finished, when asthma got the better of him in 1726.

On completion of the hall, Captain Francis Blake Delaval, also of the Royal Navy, moved in immediately, but in 1752, Captain Delaval fell down the steps of the South Portico of Seaton Delaval Hall, and died of his injuries. Clumsy lot the Delavals. He was married to the heiress  Rhoda Apreece, and they had 11 kids, all Barons and Earls and Sir This and Sir That. One of their daughters, another Rhoda, became Lady Astley when she married into that family, and through her, Seaton Delaval passed to the Astley family through her son Jacob.

In 1822 there was a big fire that gutted the central block, and was, apparently caused by Jackdaws nesting in the chimney of the section of the south-east wing closest to the main house. The wing had to be demolished, and although the house was partially restored by architect John Dobson and the central block re-roofed, the insides remained a shell.  It was also used as a German Prisoner of war camp during WW2.

The Hall remained uninhabited, until along came Edward Astley Delaval Hastings, 22nd Baron Hastings, and 12th Baronet Astley.  He spent 51 years doing further restorations, repairing and refurbishing the central block and west wing, and having a parterre laid out. The house opened to the public and it became his permanent home in 1990, until his death in 2007. His son, Delaval Astley the 23rd Baron, and 13th Baronet, 8th of his name, breaker of chains, regent of the realm, Mother of… oops, sorry (you can see where George R R Martin gets his inspiration from!) wanted to preserve the place and give the public more access, (also probably couldn’t afford the heating bills – his job was playing Cameron Fraser in the long-running British radio drama The Archers) so he had a chat with the National Trust who raised the dosh – £6.3 million needed to bring the hall and gardens under its care. The hall opened to the public again on 1st May 2010.

Sophie and I visited this place back in 2012 BW (before wordpress) and returned this year as it had been shut down for more building works, so we went back to review it. The first time around was on a blue sky day in May when the gardens were magnificent, however this time it was a grey day, no flowers and grey skies. Still, it didn’t rain. I’m using pictures from both outings.

Walking up to the side aspect.

Missing bits

Looking up at the main entrance.

The entrance.

The main hall (2012)

The lobby

Some features in the lobby

fallen stonework

checking out the column top

another column top

decorative doric columns, with added face!

The main hall upper levels have six 7 foot tall muse statues, which have been painstakingly refurbished and made stable, but will never be as they once were.


The other muses.

There doesn’t seem to be any references to how they used to look, which is a shame, as they are now I can’t help but think of The Walking Dead!

The decorative plinths at the back of the hall are of some Roman guys

and some Greek guys

The fireplace survived, just about

but they look sad… no jokes about them looking ‘armless’ please!

Stay tooned for next time and more from Seaton Delaval Hall.

The Art of Newcastle ~Jan 2019 ~ part 4

After lunch in the Biscuit Factorywe went off to see the Laing Art Gallery. On the way, we came across a little church hall

and as you can see from the sign on the right (which I completely missed in the photo!) had an art exhibition. Well, we came for art, so decided to do a detour and see what was going on. It turned out to be a one-woman exhibition by one of the church’s congregation.

and this was the artist

Sarah Ann Davies

Her arty bits were interesting, with lots of cut and folded canvasses

but I don’t think I’d have them on my wall. The artist lady was very nice and chatty so we wished her luck and went on our merry way.

We spotted a Lutheran Church for German-speaking Geordies

and back by the blue student accommodation, this time sneaking a peek in the windows

rainbow girl

There are a couple of furniture shops in the area.

😳 imagine waking up to all this bling!!!

Beds for children of insane parents. 🙂

Newcastle has its own version of Boris Bikes

and plenty of cafes

Channeling J.K.Rowling?

We went back over the flyover and spotted a breakdown

Not the best place to park.

and we peeked through the bars of the graffiti building corridor which is my featured image at the top of the post.


The New Bridge Hotel nearby. Probably not a 4 star 🙂

Grim up north.

and then we got to the Laing gallery, but that can wait for the next post, so stay tooned for that!


The Art of Newcastle ~ The Biscuit Factory ~ Part 2 ~ Jan 2019

Still looking around in the Biscuit Factory, these are the things that caught my eye and that I liked.

Born in 1957 Rob van Hoek is a professional Dutch artist who has exhibited in numerous exhibitions in the Netherlands, UK, Denmark and France. Rob is inspired by landscape, especially cultivated landscapes.

Pratima’s love of art has been lifelong even though she originally trained as a scientist. Pratima started studying at various universities through their open study programmes and started making art, primarily in mixed media. Through her ongoing experimentation she has developed a personalised style of creating distinctive forms of composition, harmony and mood. The artefacts that frequently appear in her work are collected during her frequent travels throughout India, as she tries to encapsulate all aspects of the country including the magnificent sculptures, stunning textures, vibrant colours and vitality of the subjects.

I liked this chess table, though not sure how comfortable the spine~chairs would be!

Creations in wood by David Lightly & Ross Purves, otherwise known as The Wood Neuk

Zoe Robinson studied an MA in Fine Art in Northumbria University in 1999. For the past ten years she has been teaching drawing and sculpture. Zoe’s current work is animal studies with wire and mixed media. 


Phil McMenemy is a photographer based in Dumfries, Scotland. Originally from Barrow-in-Furness, Phil has worked in Engineering and as a Mental Health Nurse working with children but now is forging a successful career as an artist and gallery owner in south-west Scotland.

Malcolm Lewis is a self-taught decorative artist, designer and sculptor from Newcastle. With a free-spirited, creative flair, which he developed from a young age, Malcolm draws inspiration from organic matter and living creatures in order to design and create his quirky pieces that are truly one of a kind.  (Legs by Sophie and myself.)

Phil McLoughlin was a successful artist (as Phil Barker) in the 1970s, winning the prestigious Pernod Prize at the Royal Scottish Academy (1974) and two years later becoming a founder member of the Dundee Group (Artists), which included Jack Knox, Grant Clifford and Jack Morocco. In 1980 he began his doctoral studies and when commissioned to write his first book he decided to exchange art for a career in academia. By 1990 Dr Barker was Director of Studies at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Dundee and spent the next 20 years as a professor and psychotherapist in universities in England, Japan, Australia and Ireland, becoming one of the world’s leading authorities on mental health recovery. He returned to art in 2010 as McLoughlin – taking the name of his grandfather who had first encouraged his interest in art.


another three I can’t find the name of,

Loved these cheery little timepieces.

Mrs.Woods doing her hair.

My fave bird.


The doors to all the rooms in the gallery, all had handprints on them and you just had to use them!

Hacksaw and towel please.

Well that’s a smattering of the good stuff at The Biscuit Factory, but we’ll move along next time and find more arty farty stuff!

Stay tooned folks!

The Art of Newcastle ~ The Biscuit Factory ~ Jan 2019

    The UK’s largest independent commercial art, craft & design gallery set in the heart of Newcastle’s cultural quarter

A commercial art gallery, café, and restaurant converted from a former biscuit factory which was operated by the Gibson family between 1860 and 1870. It has four floors, two of which were submerged when the street level was raised and these now serve as basement studios which are available for artists to rent.

The gallery has everything, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, glass, textiles, furniture, and jewelry!  So much to see.

As you walk in the space is clean and airy and nicely set out with groups of ceramics, pottery etc.

Pieces complement each other in their settings, so Jane Walkers print goes nicely with Alan Balls ceramics.

I am not really a fan of ‘modern art’ or rather I wasn’t! I did like this by Trevor Price.

Trevor Price born in 1966 specialises in drypoints and etchings, handmade and printed by the artist from his studios in St. Ives and Bermondsey, south London. He is a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (since 1992) and the Vice President 2013 – 2018.

I also loved the sculptures by Peter Sales.  I wanted this Ostrich for my garden!

Peter Sales lives and works in County Durham, UK. His sculptural work predominately represents animals, fish, and birds, and celebrates the incongruity of nature. He aims to imbue a feeling of movement and a sense of frailty and vulnerability, which brings his pieces to life. Peter’s sculptures have a unique style and strike a balance between realism and humour. They are constructed from reclaimed steel and sheet metals, and he achieves their vibrant colours using car spray paint and thick lacquer.

There were a few of his pieces around, I’d have had them all!

These made me smile by Susan O’Byrne

Susan O’Byrne was born and grew up in Cork, Ireland. In 1991 she received a Certificate with Merit from the Grennan Mill Craft School in Co. Kilkenny. From there she moved to Scotland and the Edinburgh College of Art, graduating in 1999 with a First Class Honours Degree in Design and Applied Arts and a Post Graduate Diploma in Ceramics in 2000.

Apologies for not getting this artists name, really should take notes!!

I liked the beauty and simplicity of this wooden bowl by Jane Crisp

Jane works from home in a studio and workshop surrounded by beautiful countryside in Hale Fen, Cambridgeshire. Jane loves the qualities of natural materials like wool, wood, copper and brass and experiments with the mythologies of making amplifying traditional techniques in a contemporary way.

The gallery gives space to the sculptures so you can look all around them without knocking anything over (which is always a risk with me fat bum and camera backpack!)

Portrait of a Diva by Christy Keeny

The gallery runs an interest-free loan scheme which I think brilliant as it means art is affordable and the artists don’t have to encheapen themselves to make a living.

That’s it for today, but still more art to come so stay tooned!