North East Art Trail ~ 02

At last Sophie and I did an outing together yesterday, and we went on our 2nd Art Trail gleaned from the Art UK website, this time South of the rivers, and starting out in County Durham at a place called Ferryhill where we were to find 3 artworks. It’s a nice little town, built around the mining community in the early 1900’s. Of course the mining industry went tits-up ages ago, and the last mine at Ferryhill closed in 1968.

Our first ‘artwork’ on the list is Cleves Cross and I would beg to differ in it’s designation. It’s not an artwork in my lexicon, such as it is, as we’re looking at a lump of sandstone.

Cleves Cross

However, the lump of sandstone is a fragment of a 12thC medieval cross, set in the ground near the original site, and roughly shaped and with pecked marks. So there’s that.
Several theories exist as to how Ferryhill got its name and the most popular theory is that in the 13th Century, Sir Roger De Ferry (or Ferie), killed the last wild boar near Cleves Cross – certainly the seal of Sir Roger De Ferie still exists and shows a Boar passant. We parked up in De Ferie Court and saw these road signs ~ which do look more like artwork but are not listed on the Art UK site.

Sir Roger and the boar.

Our next artwork, has the lofty name of ‘Beacon of Europe’. Commissioned by the town council, designed by Robert Olley and Bill Kataky then built by the North Eastern Granite Company Ltd. Bearing in mind that County Durham voted overwhelmingly to Leave the EU, I found it rather sad.

No light left.
    The circular brick base has decorative paving, featuring the 12 yellow stars of Europe.
    On each side of the base is a rectangular, etched granite panel with images of a wild boar, a sunrise, a miner and pit pony and rail tracks.
    The centre of the arch contains a fibreglass relief of a miner inserted into the skeleton of the old town hall clock.

    We started working our way back up to Sunderland, (where Sophie lives when in England) with our first stop being at the little village of West Cornforth, known locally as “Doggie” though where that name came from is anyone’s guess. It may relate to the fact that dog irons were made there at one time, which seems good enough to me. We were looking for an artwork called Past and Future, by artist Philip Townsend, which turned out to be two large blocks of buff sandstone that are carved on their front faces with depictions of life in the mining community, set in what looked like a kids playground.
    The block entitled ‘Past’ is inscribed at the top with the words, ‘the past we inherit’.This sculpture, shows a ‘worm’s eye’ view of a scene from the past in which a miner, just returned from work, with his whippet at his feet, is about to release a racing pigeon into the air. In the foreground, sitting on the pigeon basket is his young daughter who is tempting another bird with bread, while to the left a factory chimney releases its swirling smoke, encircling the scene. The block entitled ‘Future’ is inscribed at the top with the words, ‘the future we build’. In this second sculpture, we have a ‘bird’s eye’ view: the years have passed and the young girl is now an elderly lady but still tempting the birds with her bread, while her skateboarding grandson has a pigeon feeding from his uplifted hand.~ Art UK “(He’ll be eating it next at the rate our country is going to the dogs).
    I’m glad they put that on the website as I wouldn’t have worked it all out for myself!

    The Past We Inherit.
    The Future we Build.

    Not listed on Art UK, but in the same park as the Past and Future, there was this..

    see you later…

    So off we went to our next place, Quarryington Hill, another mining village ( there’s a lot in County Durham!) for another mining related artwork, though this one was quite spectacular and informative. As with Past and Future, ‘Into The Depths’ is also by Philip Townsend, and the sculpture comprises two massive triangular blocks of Dunhouse Buff sandstone, base-heavy and tapering in thickness, which sandwich a central Iroko hardwood column.

    The column is surmounted by a depiction of a pit wheel with a tiny figure of a miner standing before it.
    running down the length of the timber, the coalmine’s shaft is shown to the same scale as the figure, with the eight coal seams worked during the mine’s long history crossing horizontally, their individual names and depths alongside, giving the viewer an inkling of just how far below ground these men worked.

    Back up to Sunderland, we went looking for ‘Delegation’, a sculpture by Tord Kjellstrom with glasswork by Creative Glass Ltd, of seven towering figures; the highest being 7.9 metres tall. Each is capped with a glass light box and shaped face. You would have thought 7.9 meters tall would be easy to spot, but it wasn’t. We went to the given postcode and ended up in the carpark of a business park. A little man in a yellow coat came out to see if we were lost, (um possibly) and when asked about the sculptures directed us to a wildlife park which had to cast iron obelisks at it’s entrance, which were not photographically pleasing. We did some more searching on the interweb, and headed back to the carpark to start again, but spotted them whilst we were on the way. Apparently “the sculpture really comes into its own at night, when the light boxes illuminate the eyes on the faces.” ~ Tony Campbell, managing director of Creative Glass. Might be easier to find as well!

    Delegation.

    We then went off to Doxford Business Park on the outskirts of Sunderland, to track down two artworks, Quintisection by Robert Erskine was the first. It’s a large, polished stainless steel sculpture based on the cross-section of a ship.

    A curved ‘hull’ is set on either side of three ‘boxed ribs’.
    This piece was awarded ‘Best Sculpture outside London’ by the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1995, needs a bit of TLC now though.

    We couldn’t find the other one in spite of driving and walking around the park, so that will have to be tracked down on another day.

    Our last art work isn’t on the Art UK site, but Sophie had spotted it whilst walking to work at the university. There isn’t any information about it, it’s just appeared without fanfare in the garden area of the art department there, so Sophie thinks maybe it’s a student thing. The plinth is permanent, but the statue is new. It is quite powerful, it would be good to know the thoughts behind it, but then again, you can have your own.

    Unknown artist.

    All pictures embiggenable with a click!

    And that, dear reader, is that. Stay tooned for whatever comes next!

    📷 😊

    Scotland ~ 2006

    I was recently reminded (thanks Eddie) of a trip to Scotland Phil and I took during the holiday bit of my audiology training. One of the ladies I trained with had a rental flat (appartment) on the Royal Mile and let us use it for a weekend. I was a point and shoot photographer back then, knew nothing about photography and didn’t have a great camera nor any editing software overmuch so the photos are not up to my usual standard, but it doesn’t really matter to me, good memories are enough.

    a glimpse of the flat

    The flat fronted on to the Royal Mile, but the back of it overlooked a cemetery.

    We spent a day wandering about the Mile, and other bits of Edinburgh.

    We also decided to climb Arthur’s Seat. Arthur’s Seat is a mahoosive ancient volcano, now a big hill, and is named so because of the legends about King Arthur (although King Arthur was mostly Welsh but born in Cornwall by the looks of things, all of which is moot as he wasn’t a real person anyway). Anyhoo I presume in one of the legends he sat on top of this hillock and that was that. You can just about make me out in the first slide, then some views above the city.

    Also in 2006, a movie came out based on the controversial novel of the same name by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, and though we hadn’t seen the movie, we had read the book and decided to visit Rosslyn Chapel, which became quite famous because of both the book and the movie. At the time we went the movie had only just been released, so whilst there were a few others there, it was nice to wander around, take photographs and enjoy our time. Unfortunately they were in the middle of renovations so the roof was under polythene, not making the outside of the building very photogenic. Fortunately, the influx of a gazillion idiots movie~tourists meant the chapel could then afford to pay off and finish the restoration. Unfortunately now you have a to book tickets prior to going, currently £9.50 per adult, and can only have a 90 minute time slot, and no photos allowed. Boo hoo. Of course they have a gift shop so you can by postcards of the chapel, and the Dan Brown book, they certainly did not look a gift horse in the mouth!

    Here are some reasonably terrible photos of the inside of the chapel, including a couple of the Green Men carvings, of which there are said to be over a 100 at Rosslyn.

    Phil wanted to visit the battlefield at Culloden. This was the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite army of Charles Edward Stuart was decisively defeated by a British government force under Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, a ruthless chap who was known as the ‘butcher’, on Drummossie Moor near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. It was the last pitched battle fought on British soil and, in less than an hour, around 1,600 men were slain – 1,500 of them Jacobites. I am not going to expound on the huge history of it all, you can watch Outlander to get the gist. It started out as a row over who would be King and ended with a terrible aftermath and persecution of anyone with Jacobite leanings.

    When we visited we were the only ones there, parked up on a windy rainy day and wandered the battlefield, Phil told me the awful history as we walked round looking at all the commemorative rocks where clan members were buried. It was bleak. They were not so easy to see or find.

    Mixed Clans
    The memorial cairne at the centre of the battlefield.

    One year later the National Trust for Scotland took it over and from the website HERE you can see they’ve done a lot to the place, including an award winning visitor shop (there always has to be a shop) a visitors centre/museum with a roof garden, and a café. They’ve recarved the buriel stones and put up flags to show which clan was where and paths to show you around the field. Of course it would set you back £14 to get in now but I never mind paying when it goes to the upkeep of history. Might get to revisit one day, who knows?

    On our way from Edinburgh to Culloden we stopped at some places, firstly we pulled off to see a rainbow over Loch Lubhair

    then drove on to Glencoe, where the Glencoe massacre took place in Glen Coe in the Highlands of Scotland on 13 February 1692. An estimated 30 members and associates of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by Scottish government forces, allegedly for failing to pledge allegiance to the new monarchs, William III and Mary II.

    Our next stop before reaching Culloden, was at Urquhart Castle, on the edge of Loch Ness. We didn’t have time to explore as this journey was all done in a day, but I did call in to one of the shops and picked up a Nessie.

    Souvenir Nessie

    Then we headed back to Edinburgh, a long old day we had, and then home the next day. We packed a lot in 2 days! I would love to re-do this little holiday, with my Big Girl cameras so it’s on my bucket list!

    Stay tooned in case I do somewhere else for next week!

    📷 😊

    Pot Luck Travels

    The moon

    I keep catching bits on the news, about NASA’s artemis project, preparing the way for sending people back to the moon, with a view to colonising it, and as a set off point for then visiting Mars. It’s costing the American people $93 billion dollars.

    I am reminded of this song by Gil Scott-Heron :-

    A rat done bit my sister Nell.
    (with Whitey on the moon)
    Her face and arms began to swell.
    (and Whitey’s on the moon)

    I can’t pay no doctor bill.
    (but Whitey’s on the moon)
    Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still.
    (while Whitey’s on the moon)

    The man jus’ upped my rent las’ night.
    (’cause Whitey’s on the moon)
    No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
    (but Whitey’s on the moon)

    I wonder why he’s uppi’ me?
    (’cause Whitey’s on the moon?)
    I was already payin’ ‘im fifty a week.
    (with Whitey on the moon)
    Taxes takin’ my whole damn check,
    Junkies makin’ me a nervous wreck,
    The price of food is goin’ up,
    An’ as if all that shit wasn’t enough

    A rat done bit my sister Nell.
    (with Whitey on the moon)
    Her face an’ arm began to swell.
    (but Whitey’s on the moon)

    Was all that money I made las’ year
    (for Whitey on the moon?)
    How come there ain’t no money here?
    (Hm! Whitey’s on the moon)
    Y’know I jus’ ’bout had my fill
    (of Whitey on the moon)
    I think I’ll sen’ these doctor bills,
    Airmail special
    (to Whitey on the moon)

    written in 1970 just after the Apollo 11 expedition.

    We are all like the bright Moon; we still have our darker side.
    Khalil Gibran
    The Moon is almost as obvious as the Sun. Clouds permitting, we can see it in the evening sky nearly half the time.
    David A. Rothery
    The Moon affects people in other ways, for a beautiful crescent suspended in a twilit sky can stir our hearts.
    Ken Croswell
    The full Moon – the mandala of the sky.
    Tom Robbins
    Aim for the Moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.
    W. Clement Stone


    The Moon puts on an elegant show, different every time in shape, color, and nuance.
    Arthur Smith
    There is something haunting in the light of the Moon. It has all the dispassionateness of a disembodied soul and something of its inconceivable mystery.
    Joseph Conrad
    If all fools could fly, the sun would be eclipsed forever.
    Dutch Proverb

    A Wardley Walk

    I took Phil and my iphone with me on my daily stay alive walk, and used the hipstamatic app, which is about the only photography thingy I have on my phone other than it’s inbuilt camera. Can’t wait for Sophie to get back and us to start up our outings again!

    Here we go then!

    Just outside our house on the drive

    Lord Vincent

    at the end of our drive are some unruly rose bushes, at least I think they’re roses,

    maybe roses

    round the corner and back on ourselves, up the pedestrian path and we found blackberry bushes growing amongst the trees by our fence.

    jam!

    The path that leads to the common has really grown over since last I was here, in summer last year. I used to be able to see to the end of this bit of path.

    foliaged

    Not sure what little flowers these are, they were all over the wilderness part of the common.

    pink flowers

    The common is actually marshland, and half of it has been left to go wild, and the other bit has a nicely mown large lawn about the size of a tennis court, maybe a bit bigger, where kids can play footy, and people train their dogs to fetch. In the marshy bit there are 2 ponds which serve the wildlife and birds, but even though we’ve had 2 days of heavy rain last week, the ponds have gone down the road of drought.

    pond life

    the oak that a few of you might remember, well Pete will anyway 😊, is still going strong, all alone in the ridge between the ponds-that-were.

    The Wardley Oak

    after the common we got to a path that used to be a road

    5

    and then we walked back home through the estate. The buildings here are a small busness kind of estate, mostly car fixers and pimpers.

    MOT stations

    This is the long road that cuts through the middle of this estate, from the metro station and out towards the A1 or A19. The trees are lovely.

    This is one of the houses we walk past on the way back and I love the giant cactus in the porch, it’s been there a long time, and whoever lives there decorates it at christmas 🤣.

    Cactus – house.

    A random flower poking out of someone’s fence, think it’s a honeysuckle but could be wrong.

    I like the shared creeper here, I’m thinking it’s liking No.32 best.

    32 for the win!

    this is the last one, just before we turn into our bit, beyond the trees.

    So that’s it, stay tooned in case I do something interesting for next time!

    Tynemouth Market ~ August 2022

    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

    the blues

    I love the light in the market, the glass panelled roof makes some great shadows when the sun is shining.

    shadows
    in the navy.
    got the blues
    in the pink
    decisions, decisions.
    wooden hearts.
    Bone Idol

    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 🙄 .

    busker lady

    I accidentally pressed the shutter at the bottom of the stairs, but I like the result

    happy accident

    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!

    Booby Doll.

    I am not sure why this fellow is dressed in the (pesky) Scottish National Costume, but he does look fetching I think.

    Foxy Scotsy
    actual health and well being.
    Phil purchasing tat 🥴 🤣 ♥️

    That’s it for this week! Stay tooned for where/whatever next time!

    😊 📱

    Raby Castle ~ revisted ~ August 2022

    Sophie came. back to England for a few days with her hubby Mentat, and we had decided to take Mentat to Raby Castle as it’s just about the most spectacular one. We also love the formal walled garden for the amount of butterflies and bees that grace the flowers, and the chance of seeing deer is pretty high too, so lots to see and admire. Phil came too.

    Well, what the website doesn’t tell you is that the grounds of Raby Castle are undergoing monumental upheaval and they’ve completely dug up the formal garden,

    This is a little of what is lost.

    Formally developed into a pleasure garden for the family, the existing ornamental garden will be redesigned to provide an outdoor space where visitors can move through planting or attend performances and events.” Performances and events, no doubt for which you pay extra.

    The café we usually go to which was in the old stables is also undergoing renovations.

    café no more


    The buildings, designed by architect John Carr in the 18th century are Grade 2 listed, will be restored and repurposed to provide retail and interpretation spaces.” Not sure what interpretation spaces are, but I sure know what ‘retail spaces’ means!

    There’s also going to be a Play Area :-
    A new feature, the play area will offer play for children aged 4-10 years old and will be built within the original Christmas Tree plantation to the north of the Castle, Park and Gardens”.

    Now Sophie and I do comprehend that people who own small people have to take them out and about at weekends and school holidays, especially in the nice weather. We just don’t like it when they take them out to places we visit. On the whole the small things are pushy, noisy, ill mannered and immune to any attempts at control by their owners (if indeed the owners bother) so this is not good news.

    There’s a lot more to it, the development is called ‘The Rising’ and will take 2 years to complete.

    The castle will remain as it is, and the deerpark, but according to Lord Barnard who owns Raby :-

    Raby Castle has welcomed visitors since the 18th Century, but felt it was “still very much under the radar, and it has a huge amount to share.”

    His motivation for the scheme, he said, “is to really open up the castle and the estate to a great many more people to enjoy.”

    “With a new generation it is time for a new beginning, and we want to make sure that Raby is preserved for future generations to enjoy as well as our own.”

    Which is all poshspeak for ‘not enough people visit to pay for the upkeep of it all’, so I don’t suppose I can blame him, it must cost a fortune to run. The total investment will be in the region of £14 million and paid for by proceeds from new housing developments in Gainford and Staindrop, consisting of 151 houses :-  including 3-bedroomed family, 2-bedroomed cottages, single storey dwellings and apartments. I don’t think they will be ‘affordable housing’ sites!

    Anyway, disappointed as we were about the garden, which was shut off, we went inside the castle and had a walk through the deer park, and had lunch in the new Yurt Café.

    Yurt Café

    I didn’t take any pictures inside the Castle, I’ve already done a 7 part post on Raby which starts HERE if you haven’t seen those and want to, which is quite comprehensive. Also when I’m out with non-photographers the dynamic for photography just isn’t the same, but I did take a shot of the Castle and we came across some deer.

    Boss
    He has a hairy willy, that must tickle.
    lady deer
    the White Queen

    Sophie and will go back in 2 or 3 years and see what’s become of it all so stay tooned for that! 🥴

    all pictures are clickable & embiggenable

    more information:-
    https://advisor.museumsandheritage.com/news/raby-castles-ambitious-development-plans-revealed/

    North East Art Trail ~ 01

    Sophie and I recently discovered a website showing all the works of art in the country, which is pretty amazing really, and we decided to use that as a basis for some of our days out. We filtered our search for North East England and refined it for outdoor artwork only, and found there are 844 items in the area, which in theory would last way beyond our needs. Some of the art works are war memorials and such like, market crosses etc and we are not too bothered about those, but there are some cool quirky things too and those are the ones we’ll be hunting down.

    Our first trail was around Killingworth and Cramlington area. I plotted the artwork positions on a map, and off we went to photograph them on a lovely warm, sunny day, not too hot but just right.

    Our first was ‘Sundial’ (which it is) by Graham Robinson, the artist, and  Anthony Walker & partners landscapers and set in the West Allotment Country Park at Shiremoor (which is not in The Hobbit or consequent books). The pictures of it shown on the website are not that nice, it’s all rusty, grass is growing between the paving slabs and it looks uncared for, but when we got there it was all spruced up. The blurb says “A sundial with face consisting of paving slabs in a variety of shades with iron numbers around a central disk with a sun motif. The gnomon is a large, slanting slab of rusted iron with relief designs of natural forms imprinted on either side. The sundial is sited at the summit of a modern, artificial hill, the highest point in North Tyneside.” A gnomon is not a character from Warhammer 4K, but is the part of the sundial that makes the shadow.

    We parked up and followed the signs and first came to a newly made area where you can sit and reflect about Covid 🙄

    the 3 R’s

    this gentleman and his dog were definitely relaxed and I could see signs of fishing equipment.

    gone fishin’

    You climb a circular path up a hill or use some wooden steps to get to the sundial, and I chose the circular path. A horse wearing a diamante tiara on it’s forehead passed us by, wish I’d got a frontal shot!

    Princess Horse

    Nice to see wildflowers and lots of insects along the way.

    thistle and Burnet Moth

    and then we got to the sundial

    Noon
    ? clay pressings of nature stuff by little people.

    Our next artwork is the Blue Ladies by an unknown artist. Set in a business park of all places.
    According to the blurb “A series of life-sized classical nude female dancing figures. Material is draped around their lower body, held close by their right hands and behind their heads in their left hands. The figures are painted bright blue with gold spots.” Although I don’t count 2 figures as a series.

    Blue Ladies

    Onwards then to Killingworth. There were supposedly 4 artworks here, but try as we might we could only find 2 of them. The first was the Blucher Automotive by Charles Sansbury (1916-1989) at Southgate, on the roundabout at the shopping centre there.
    The Blurb:- An abstract representation of the Blücher locomotive, the first locomotive built by George Stephenson in 1814. It could pull a train of 30 tonnes at a speed of four miles per hour up a gradient of one in 450. The artwork was originally erected in Killingworth town centre in 1971, next to the ‘Puffing Billy’ pub. However, when the pub was demolished the sculpture was dismantled and stored at the Stephenson Railway Museum. With the aid of Heritage Lottery funding, Killingworth Local History Society restored the sculpture to mark the 200th anniversary of the building of the locomotive, which first ran on the Killingworth wagonway on the 25th July, 1814. It was named after the Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, who, after a speedy march, arrived in time to help defeat Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

    Choo-choo

    Hippos is an artwork by Stan Bonner, situated at Garth 22 in Killingworth. Garth is not a country & western singer but “an enclosed quadrangle or yard, especially one surrounded by a cloister (Middle English; Old Norse garþr, garðr; akin to Anglo-Saxon geard)”, however in Killingworth it means a cul-de-sac.
    The blurb on this one is short and sweet:- “A group of four concrete, pygmy-sized hippos stood on an open paved area”.

    Hippos

    After the hippos we stopped at the lake there to watch the synchronised swimming practice.

    bottoms up

    It was nice to see they’d made a wildflower place instead of the muddy bird poop area that was there the last time we visited.

    After this we toddled up to Burradon to shoot the Colliery Memorial ~ artist unknown.
    The Blurb ~ “A monument made from an old colliery wheel and truck to commemotate those who lost their lives in an explosion at Burradon Colliery on March 2, 1860, which tragically killed 76 men and boys, some as young as 10 years old.

    Colliery Memorial

    Our last stop before lunch was at Cramlington Hospital which has the Helping Hands sculpture by Cate Watkinson and Collin Rennie.
    The Blurb ~ “Three curve-shaped panels representing healing hands set at equal, 120 degree angles to each other, which can be viewed from all sides. The hands are raised in a supplicant manner as if protecting a central space where help can be found”. Hmmm.

    you need hands.

    So that’s our first Art trail done, and hopefully there’ll be more to come! Stay tooned for wherever we end up next time!

    All pictures embiggenable with a click.

    If you fancy seeing which artworks are in your area HERE is the website.

    Herterton Country Garden ~July 2022 ~ part 2

    Part 1 HERE

    I know y’all were taken with Frank and Marjorie’s story last week, though I condensed 50 years into a couple of paragraphs so touched on not much more than an inch of it. They come across in Frank’s book as two lovely people, loving each other and their garden and home. I took a phone shot of them from the book, taken in 1994, they’d be in their 50’s here,under the arches of the byre, and sitting next to the falconer statue.

    Frank & Marjorie

    I took a fair few shots of some of the flowers on display, with some interesting (I think anyway) factoids.

    Foxglove (digitalis purpurea)
    The term digitalis is also used for drug preparations that contain cardiac glycosides, particularly one called digoxin, extracted from various plants of this genus. Foxglove has medicinal uses but is also very toxic to humans and other animals, and consumption can even lead to death.
    Japanese Anemone (anemone hupehensis)
    hupehensis, which means “from Hupeh province, China”, refers to a region where the species is known to occur. So that makes sense 🙄.
    Astrantia (astrancia major) ~ the great masterwort, native to to central and eastern Europe.
    The plant also produces an essential oil that can be used in herbal medicines.
    Persian Cornflower (psephellus dealbatos)
    a species of Psephellus native to the Caucasas Mountains and Turkey. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental perennial.
    Purple Toadflax ( linaria purpurea ‘Canon Went’)
    It is native to Italy but it can be found growing wild as an introduced species in parts of western North America. In the UK it is regarded as something of a weed, spreading readily on stony waste ground and walls, although it is tolerated for its attractive, long-lasting flowers which are very attractive to bees. This plant is poisonous to livestock, but in a recent study conducted in Italy the plant was found to contain a compound exhibiting antifungal activity, making it a potential natural and ‘green’ anti-aflatoxin B1 agent suitable for use in the food industry.
    Martagon Lily, or Turks Cap Lily (lilium martagon)
    is a Eurasian species of lily. It has a widespread native region extending from Portugal east through Europe and Asia as far east as Mongolia. It  is highly toxic to cats and ingestion often leads to fatal kidney failure.
    Purple Viper’s-bugloss, or Patterson’s Curse, (echium plantagineum)
    It is native to western and southern Europe (from southern England south to Iberia and east to the Crimea), northern Africa, and southwestern Asia (east to Georgia). It has also been introduced to Australia, South Africa and United States, where it is an invasive weed. Due to a high concentration of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, it is poisonous to grazing livestock, especially those with very simple digestive systems, like horses. When eaten in large quantities, it causes reduced livestock weight, and death in severe cases, due to liver damage. It can also irritate the udders of dairy cows and the skin of humans. After the 2003 Canberra bushfires, a large bloom of the plant occurred on the burned land, and many horses became ill and died from grazing on it. Because the alkaloids can also be found in the nectar of it’s flowers, the honey made from it should be blended with other honeys to dilute the toxins.
    poppys in the wildflower garden

    And we saw some butterflies

    Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
    The red admiral is found in temperate regions of North Africa, North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and island regions of Hawaii, and the Caribbean. It resides in warmer areas, but migrates north in spring and sometimes again in autumn. Red admirals are territorial; females will only mate with males that hold territory. Males with superior flight abilities are more likely to successfully court females. They are the Tom Cruise of the butterfly world. It is known as an unusually calm butterfly, often allowing observation at a very close distance before flying away, also landing on and using humans as perches.
    A small tortoiseshell, or angelwing. (Nymphalis) and a Red admiral.
    Today, the anglewing butterflies are found only in the northern hemisphere. Carl Linnaeus described the first members of this group in 1758, and it has since become clear that anglewing butterflies evolved from a common ancestor. During winter months, in latitudes with snow cover, all members of this group hibernate as adult butterflies During hibernation, hidden in various shelters, the butterflies are dormant. The camouflage provided by crypsis (the ability of an animal or a plant to avoid observation or detection by other animals)is advantageous to hibernating butterflies. Potential predators will have difficulties in seeing the dormant butterflies. With their wings closed, exposing only the ventral cryptically coloured underside, they blend in with their surroundings.

    More pictures taken with my film camera at

    OK school’s out 🎓 😊 Stay tooned for next week!

    Herterton Country Garden ~ July 2022 ~ part 1

    After lunch in Morpeth (see the previous 2 posts ) we toddled West for a few miles to visit Herterton House & Gardens, which we somehow hadn’t known about until this month. This was a treat and I wish we’d known about it sooner.

    I can’t do a ‘history bit’ as usual, as the Garden is the lifelong work of Frank and Marjorie Lawley, both now in their eighties and still working on the garden in spite of health issues. The house and grounds were leased to them by the National Trust for 50 years, which is due to finish in 3 years time, when it will revert to the trust, and Marjorie and Frank will have to find a care home or somesuch in which to live out their lives. That seems cruel to me, they should be allowed to live in their home which they’ve worked so hard on, even if the Trust take over the work needed in the garden. But who knows what will happen?

    Marjorie and Frank were both trained artists, meeting and falling in love back in the 60’s when they were learning their craft, but both fell in love with gardening when living in their first home, a cottage on the Wallington Estate, where Marjorie’s Dad was a stonemason. To cut a long story shortish, they were offered the lease to Herterton House through their contact with Trust officials at Wallington, and in spite of there being little to recommend it, i.e no roof on the house and mould on the walls, the land around it a complete mess, they decided to take it on. Apart from a year when 3 people from the government ‘job creation’ scheme came to help, the majority of the work has been done by Marjorie and Frank, and they’re still at it, with the help of one chap in his 70’s!

    Frank wrote a book about their lives, and how they started out, the people they met and learned about plants, flowers and gardening from, how they sourced the antique furniture and pieces for the house, another labour of love, and he dedicated it to his Marjorie, who now has alzheimer’s sadly. It is a beautiful book, and a must for keen gardeners I think, but also for anyone creative, it was a joy to read. There are photo’s of the before and afters, the plans Marjorie drew up for the gardens and some of their artwork.

    We met Frank, and he talked to us about it all, and pointed out things for us to see, whilst Marjorie carried on with her job in the garden. There are 4 sections to the garden, the flower garden, the formal garden, the physic garden and the fancy garden, Sophie and I did them all, and here are some photos.

    Firstly a couple of shots from the photos we saw in the gazebo

    Marjorie making pathways
    Frank & Marjorie gathering up stones
    Marjories plan for one of the gardens
    The formal garden
    In the flower garden looking back from the house toward the gazebo.
    the gazebo

    some views from the gazebo

    One of the buildings next to the house is an old byre, it contains a couple of statues with bits missing which i think were given by either Wallington or Alnwick, I forget which

    the falconer

    also on the wall of the byre is one of only seven three-faced Scottish sundials in this country

    Pesky sundial 🙂

    There is a pretty wild flower area next to the carpark too.

    Next time we’ll have a look at some individual flowers, and there will be a film friday post to go with this at some point (when I get the scans back!) so stay tooned!