Fraggle Report~Hardwick Hall Country Park~June 2017~part 1

The History bit

Hardwick Hall Country park is on land that was originally, in medieval times next to Hardwyck Manor, now Hardwick Hall Country Hotel. The 18th century saw dramatic change: a new hall was built, and a new owner—a wealthy businessman from Tyneside named John Burdon—began to develop the grounds. Burdon enhanced the 17-acre ornamental lake on the south side of the hall by adding an artificial river leading to it and encircling it with a walkway. In all, he laid out 40 acres of additional ornamental features, including temples, grottoes and follies designed primarily by London architect James Paine. Although the grounds and buildings were not subsequently well maintained, the garden retains Pain’s basic structure and is an unusual example of authentic 18th century landscape design.

Durham County Council had already begun to acquire parts of the grounds when in 1997 it determined to undertake the preservation of the whole park. A study commissioned in 1999 provided a detailed estimate of the expenses of restoration and also indicated the property’s significance, leading the Register of Parks and Gardens to give it a II* rating. With assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the County purchased more of the grounds in 2001 and launched a restoration scheme to bring it all back to its former condition. The park now includes a visitor centre, cafe, toilets, exhibition, classroom and office.

Sophie and I came here for the afternoon once we’d finished at the Pumping station, we needed somewhere to lunch and this was nearest. Turned out a really lovely place to walk around, so we stayed for the afternoon.

Tree of fungus in the car park

 

Neptune, fishing 🙂

 

Not sure why they call this a Black-headed gull when it’s obviously brown.

 

ornate seating area

 

common orchid

 

Foxglove

 

damselfly

 

cygnets

 

a folly 

 

 

Tees Cottage Pump Station~June 2017~finale

Part 1 HERE.   Part 2 HERE

The building that the wheelhouse is in and the reservoir

Had to take some pictures of the waterpipes, they ebb and flow as the pump is working

Outside the building was parked a vintage car

and on the other side, a vintage steam engine

There was also a min railway you could ride on for a small fee, and this little chap waved at me when I took the picture

there was also a small TV crew wandering round sussing the place out,

Inside the engine rooms there were a lot of spinning and moving things

This was the big pump at work

This plate was on the side of the pump swinging left to right as the pump moved up and down

also some not moving things

After we’d seen everything, we stopped by the River Tees and I got a shot of the Pump Station nestled by the river

and that’s the end of my visit. Have to say the Ryhope Pump Station at Sunderland is more impressive, it has two pumps working in tandem, and seems more organised, but any pump station is photographically fine by me!

 

The Hoppings~June 2017~Part 5

Part 1 HERE   Part 2 Here   Part 3 HERE   part 4 HERE

The last part of The Hoppings series concludes with a battle, or rather a display by the army.  Actually I wasn’t quite sure what they were meant to be doing, but lots of army chaps charging about in vehicles, shooting and running about. All good fun. 🙂

Ready for the off

 

Oscar Mike

 

Apparently this rocket launcher thingy can launch a rocket from Newcastle and precisely hit the football stadium in Middlesborough.  No need to shoot that far I thought, the Stadium of Shite in Sunderland would be a much worthier target. 🙂

Field gun

 

A Warrior APC (armoured personel carrier)

Halleluja!

You’ll never get on Facebook with that!

Soldierette

inside the rocket launcher thingy

So that’s that, a great day out and on the way home I saw this and liked it 🙂

Poland April 2017~ part 2

Part 1 HERE

Eddy’s home is set in a fair acreage of land, and the views from his balcony are stunning, so today I’ll show you the outside and around.

The house in the landscape
Phil and Dennis the dog (she’s a lady 🙂 ) on the balcony.

 

view to the west

 

Eddy (and Dennis) scything feed for the goats 

 

Eddy has a basement workshop where he saws wood and does manly DIY stuff, and Gosia makes soaps,

After we had a look around the workshop, Eddy took us off to his shed to feed the goats and rabbits.

The shed is huge!

Eddy has two shed cats, we didn’t see Boris but Silvex was in-house

 

There are 6 lady goats whose names I can’t remember but here they all are and we got to feed them.

and not forgetting the rabbit

Our favourite view was to the west, and we got treated to a grand sunset

and I took a shot just after sunset of Eddy’s house with his outside lights on.

Next time we’ll do some of our outings so stay tooned 🙂

Fraggle Report ~ Poland April 2017~part 1

Here it is then 🙂

My trip to Poland came about when Eddy on his blog (which can be found HERE) offered a free weekend B&B if someone would take photo’s of the house for his website advertising the B&B, and then Pete (who’s blog can be found HERE) suggested Eddy asked me. To cut a long story short, 4 weeks later Phil and I set off for Krakow from Newcastle and arrived on a dark and stormy Friday night.  I recognised Eddy straight way as we came out of the airport though I’d never seen a picture of him before,and even though he wasn’t wearing Lederhosen :).  It was a 2 hour journey back to where Eddy lives and as it was dark and raining we didn’t see much of the countryside, but it didn’t matter as we chatted on so much and got to know each other, and planned out our weekend. We arrived at Eddy’s late in the evening and we met the beautiful Gosia, Eddy’s wife, and a little smiley imp Malina, their daughter.   We’d stopped for beer and wine along the way and so cracked open the cans and bottles and chatted on until god knows when. 🙂

We did that a lot this weekend 🙂

Today’s post will concentrate on the interior of the house, our Bedroom and bathroom were lovely, felt like home 🙂

lovely little details

Eddy built his own house with straw bales, and in our room was ‘The Window of Truth’

Here are some photo’s of the rest of Eddy & Gosia’s beautiful home

Front hall

 

to the right of the front door, bathroom and coat area, (note the compost loo!)

 

Back hallway, view from the dining area.

 

window to the left in previous shot

 

The snug & TV area

 

A great kitchen

Gosia loves blue & white kitchenware and has an amazing collection.

 

Pizza oven!

 

As you can see, the house is so homely and warm, and we were made so welcome. 

Next time we’ll look at the exterior and surrounding land.

Stay tooned!

Bridges Over the River Tyne ~ Part 3

Part 1 HERE.   Part 2 HERE

After we got to the end of the High Level Bridge it was time to go to lunch, and we found a fab little cafe called Long Play Cafe, as well as serving great food and coffee, they have a record deck and loads of music on vinyl which you can play if your sitting next to the deck

After lunch we walked to the Swing Bridge and went across it and back again.

The hydraulic power still used to move the bridge is today derived from electrically driven pumps. These feed a hydraulic accumulator sunk into a 60 foot (18 m) shaft below the bridge; the water is then released under pressure which runs the machinery to turn the bridge. The mechanism used for this is still the same machinery originally installed by Armstrong. It has an 281 feet (85.6 m) cantilevered span with a central axis of rotation able to move through 360° to allow vessels to pass on either side of it.The previous bridge on the site was demolished in 1868 to enable larger ships to move upstream to William Armstrong’s works. The hydraulic Swing Bridge was designed and paid for by Armstrong, with work beginning in 1873. It was first used for road traffic on 15 June 1876 and opened for river traffic on 17 July 1876. At the time of construction it was the largest swing bridge ever built. The construction costs were £240,000.The Swing Bridge stands on the site of the Old Tyne Bridges of 1270 and 1781, and probably of the Roman Pons Aelius. It is a Grade II* listed structure.

On the way over

View from the Swing bridge, of the Tyne Bridge and Millennium Bridge

Looking the other way, the Queen Elizabeth 2nd bridge and King Edward V11 bridge beyond it.

On the way back

View of the Castle at the end of the bridge

After we left the bridge we had a wander around the quayside and saw the old Fish Market building

The Fish Market in Victorian times (post 1880 when it was built) on the Quayside near the Guildhall. As the commercial heart of Newcastle moved away from the Quayside so did the traders and the Fish Market moved, during the twentieth century until 1976 it was on Clayton Street, From 1876 the Fish Market moved to the Green Market, part of the new Eldon Square.

Today it is difficult to know where the fish market is.Neptune looks across the Tyne from the top of the old Fish Market, erected in 1880. Also note the larger than usual sea-horses supporting the city arms above the door. This building had been unused for over a decade, but it now rejoins the commercial activity of the area, this time as a high class ale house for the booze sodden partygoers that make the nightly pilgrimage to this centre of revelry.

The upper storey of this building used to house the Town Court, and the Mayor’s Chamber. It is decorated with heraldic devices and scenes from Newcastle’s history, topped by a hammer beam roof.

Then we went on to walk down to the millennium bridge, but as it was Sunday there was a market on and we got distracted by it 🙂 so that will be the next part of our visit to the bridges.

Stay tooned!

(info re Fish Market from http://www.seenewcastle.com)

Washington Old Hall~July 2016 ~ Part 2

Part 1 HERE

On with the tour of Washington Old Hall. In part 1 we were in the kitchen and dining room and now move on to the panelled room, where there are some beautiful examples of carved oak furniture and a precious collection of delft ware spanning three centuries.

and how about this for a recipe book?!

In old English the “s” is written as “f” so when you are ftewing your Bullock cheeks, you are in effect, stewing them!

On to the first floor where we find No. 5 The Old Hall, a recreation of the home of the Bone family. From the second half of the 1800s right up until 1933 the hall became home to up to nine families.

Then we went out into the gardens and did some macro shots of the flowers and stuff,

Still in its infancy the orchard has a variety of English heritage apple trees that were recently planted on the sight of a previous orchard

The Knot Garden,

A knot garden is a garden of very formal design in a square frame, consisting of a variety of aromatic plants and culinary herbs including germander, marjoram, thyme, southernwood, lemon balm, hyssop, costmary, acanthus, mallow, chamomile, rosemary, Calendulas, Violas and Santolina. Most knot gardens now have edges made from box (Buxus sempervirens), whose leaves have a sweet smell when bruised. The paths in between are usually laid with fine gravel. However, the original designs of knot gardens did not have the low box hedges, and knot gardens with such hedges might more accurately be called parterres, which this one is.

Next time we’ll move on the the church next door to the Hall, not part of the Hall, but interesting in it’s own right.

Farne Islands July 2016 ~ part 3

Part 1  Part 2

Apart from Puffins, Arctic Terns breed during the summer on Inner Farne, they attack you if you get too near their chicks by dive bombing your head, so it’s best to wear a hat. They are pretty though,

baby sitting (you can just see the chick underneath mum)

I got a herd of shots the year before of gulls and cormorants, so didn’t do too many this time, (concentrating on the in-flight puffin shots!)

Peek-a-boo

I see no ships

Duck pond

The weather was lovely so some nice blue skies and sea

and then time to go, you only get an hour on the Island, but on the way back we were escorted by a herd of Dolphins, so many people on the boat with huge long lenses crowding to photograph them (mostly big blokes people) that I couldn’t see past them, so went into the inside bit of the boat and shot through the window, so these are not the best, but these are the only dolphins I’ve ever seen so here they are

And that’s the end of my visit to Farne Islands, can’t wait to go back!

 

 

 

 

Farne Islands July 2016~part 2

Part 1 HERE

So once we got to Inner Farne, we first came to the Arctic Terns, and their bambino’s

Feed me now Seymour!

but then we moved on to puffins!
Some in-flight shots were attempted..

was quite pleased with these as they really zip along and I have to admit a fair few frames had just the tail end at the edge of the shot! Not an easy job!

incoming!

in the naughty corner

If I don’t turn around maybe she won’t see I’ve got a gob load of fish

Playing Hide and seek

maybe they’ve forgotten about me

that’s lunch taken care of

I’m on the edge I tell ya

The Chubb twins

There’s always one!

got some for me?

Part 3 tomorrow 🙂