The Swiss Gardens ~ July 2017 ~ part 4

Part 1.    Part 2.   Part 3.

The Swiss Gardens are also home to 3 peacocks, I couldn’t help taking more shots than necessary, but they are such beauties

he’s in here somewhere

they were moulting, so I got a couple of feathers Helen found on the ground.

We had a wander around the woodlands surrounding the lake, and came across some wood carvings

the little house was about knee height

Next time we’ll be back in the main grounds seeing more little buildings and follies, so stay tooned!



The Swiss Gardens~ part 2

Part 1.

The Swiss garden tour begins here, though really we just wandered around being amazed at the scope of it, so many odd things to see that you don’t expect in a garden, and everywhere was beautiful.

dog heads on benches were a thing we saw in yesterdays post, here’s another one

but eagles were a bit of a thing too

only one lion spotted though (do they have lions in Switzerland one wonders,)

and a fishy fountain looking grumpy as there isn’t any water

and then there’s this huge urn

and another

and a font parked up

and to end today, some real live ducks.

Stay tooned for follies and more next time.




Fraggle Report ~ The Swiss Gardens at Shuttleworth ~ July 2017

Still down in Bedfordshire, dog sitting for Ben, and the visit to the Swiss Gardens was my second day out shooting with Helen.  There will be a few parts to this report as the Garden is huge, staggeringly beautiful, and I took a lot of photo’s of it. 🙂

The History Bit

Back in the 1820’s, holidaying in the Swiss Alps was a bit of a thing, and inspired a fascination for all things Swiss.  A rather well-to-do young man who happened to be the 3rd Baron of Old Warden, Lord Ongley, whose family had owned the estate since the 1960’s, was thus motivated to create the Swiss Alps in his back yard bog.  Bedfordshire is flat as a pancake, so this involved a fair amount of excavations to make ponds etc, and the building up of embankments from the excavated soil, to make high points. He had the nearby river dammed to make a few ponds and a lake. As you walk around there are all sorts of follies, little buildings, beautiful shrubs and trees, none of which look very Swiss, some even look oriental, but at the those days it didn’t matter. One young visitor, Cecilia Ridley, writing to her Aunt Fanny from nearby Ampthill in September 1839, described it as “the most extraordinary garden in the world made out of a bog; full of little old summer houses on little round hills, china vases, busts, coloured lamps – in short quite a fairyland but more of a Chinese fairy than a European one”.

In 1850, Lord Ongley departed, and 20 years later Industrialist Joseph Shuttleworth bought the estate, by which time the garden had fallen into disrepair. Shuttleworth resurrected and added to it, but then along came WW2, and again the garden suffered, and by the 1970’s it was in dire need of resuscitation. Over the next 30 years bit by bit the garden has been restored and allowed to settle in and opened once more in 2014 after an 18-month restoration process funded to the tune of £2.8 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

So lets begin…

there were many  invitations to rest a while,

in a loveseat perhaps

or have a tea party

or sit with dogs

or the dearly departed

or chat with a peacock



or hide away

you might want to sit and watch the ducks float by


or rather sit under a shady tree

or be watched over by an eagle

but enough with the resting, there are flowers and creatures, bridges and follies to look at, so stay tooned for the next part of the tour.


Jordan’s Mill~ July 2017 ~Part 3

Some more photo’s of the garden at Jordans Mill, they did have some gorgeous flowers,


and also grew fruit

Not sure if these are wheat, rye or corn

black tomatoes are a thing too

after the gardens we took a walk along the banks of the River Ivel, will do that next so stay tooned!


River Tyne Cruise~July 2017~ end bit

After the cruise, we wandered about the Quayside and went to get some lunch.

The Tyne bridge, apart from being an icon in it’s own right, is also famous in bird land for being the home of choice for kittiwakes to nest upon.  As the ledges they use are quite slim & perilous, one has to wonder at their bravado, or is that dimness?

The chicks fall off onto the roads sometimes, and as it’s before they’ve figured out what wings are for, they perish by being run over, or just starve.  Their parents don’t seem to bother, we realised that if there is 2 chicks, one gets pushed over the edge by the stronger sibling. This chap was rescued by one of the market traders, but I don’t know if he took it home to hand rear it, or wether he left it behind at the end of the day.

Sales person for dog equipment

Taco van

The house of Bessie Surtees

In 1772 Bessie Surtees, an It Girl of 17th century Newcastle, climbed out of the first-floor window of this historic house to elope with John Scott, a coal merchant’s son who Bessie’s father did not approve of, but who later became a prominent local and national figure whose name lives on in the city today.

her house is the black and white one on the left

the front door, and no, it’s not a camera lens distortion 🙂

These were a trial!


and I’ll finish with this rather dapper gentleman hoping for everlasting life.


River Tyne Cruise~ July 2017 ~ part 3

Part 1

Part 2

Nearly back to our starting point now, and some old industrial buildings on the river bank,

and then the newer Hilton Hotel

The sage, some boats and some dolly birds 🙂

worth 2 views of the Sage, it is amazing!

The Baltic Flour Mill, now converted into a gallery for contemporary art, and some people on the Millennium bridge

That’s it for the river cruise, but we took a few of the quayside as well, so will do those next time.

Stay tooned! 🙂


River Tyne Cruise~ July 2017~part 2

Part 1 HERE

Travelling up the Tyne we saw plenty of birds, and I got lucky to catch a shot of a heron

Back in 2012, the BAE plant, previously Vickers-Armstrong, on the river was a closed down with the loss of 300 or so jobs. It’s now been taken over by the Reece group,had a £20 million revamp and it’s 500 workers manufacture equipment including tank parts, sub-sea products and pot-hole repair technology.

More bridges

We saw what looked like racehorses in a dubious looking stable building

there had to be a pub at some point

and these reminded me of a song, ‘little boxes, on the hill side, little boxes made of ticky tacky…’

Back down the other side of the river now..

The Blaydon Races are famous in our neck of the woods. They began in1811 but were discontinued and then resurrected in 1861 on a circular island – a mile in circumference – in the Tyne called Blaydon Island, and known locally as Dent’s Meadow, and moved by 1887 to Stella Haugh on the riverside. In the later decades of the 19th century and into the 20th, crowds flocked to the Blaydon Races. Even, in 1916, as World War I raged, permission was granted to hold the event as long as a large donation was given to the British Sportsmen’s Ambulance Fund.  On September 2nd 1916, more than 4,000 punters attended day one of the races, but come the following day – September 2 – all hell broke loose. There were suspicions races were being rigged and when the heavily-tipped nag, Anxious Moments, was disqualified after winning by six lengths a full-scale riot broke out. In the absence of many police, members of the crowd went on the rampage, smashing up the weighing house and throwing equipment into the Tyne.  And that, it turned out, was to be the end of the famous Blaydon Races…

EMR Scrap Metal

Dunston is particularly known for wooden coal staithes, first opened in 1893 as a structure for loading coal from the North Durham coalfield onto ships. Today, the staiths are reputed to be the largest wooden structure in Europe, and are protected as a Listed Building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Still more to see, so stay tooned!

Teeside Nature Reserve~July 2017~part 2

part 1 HERE

The nature reserve has, as you’d expect, a fair amount of wild flowers.

The reserve is home to 4 different types of marsh orchids, but I only spotted 3

the burnet moths were quite fond of them

always there are dandelions

and buttercups

and pink grassy stuff

and finally some poppies

the nature reserve is right on the coast, so next time we’ll have a look round there.

Stay tooned!

Fraggle Report- Teeside Nature Reserve-July 2017

Sophie and I had an epic trip out a couple of weekends back. Ostensibly we went to see the Nature reserve, and maybe the seals at Seal Sands, which we did, but then did a tour of the huge industrial estate next to the reserve, stopping to take photo’s along the way, until at the end a nice man came out of a guard box and told us we weren’t allowed in there let alone to take photo’s :). He then pointed out that the rules were a bit daft as anyone with google earth could see the whole shebang from above. We’d finished anyway, so off we went. A good day out!

We could see the industrial site on the way to the reserve, so had a stop to get the big thingy here.

then on to the nature reserve

There were loads of Burnet moths around, very pretty

and snails

and I saw a woolyboy

and a beautiful butterfly

stay tooned!