Tall Ships at Sunderland ~ July 2018 ~ Part 3

Part 1 HERE.   Part 2 HERE

Finishing up our day visiting the tall ships, here are a few more random pictures I took on the day.

What have these to do with Tall Ships Fraggle? Because UNICORNS!!!


Empty Gin Joint ~ what were they thinking?? IT”S SUNDERLAND!!! they don’t know what Gin is unless it’s spelled B.E.E.R! 🤣🤣




Chimney Sweeper.


Tooting Popular Front. Or back.


Hope they don’t go over a big wave.


Actually the handstand man was part of a shoreside kind of play where himself and a couple of totties ran around half a ships deck, but I have no idea what that was all about.

Handstand man and Totty 1.


Scary Totty. Having a bad hair day I think.


Three-point turn FAIL!! Several times. 🙄

I think though, my fave shot of the day was looking up at the grey block of flats overlooking the river and seeing this

Making a difference.


Stay tooned for a visit to Stockton-on-Tees where we visited the cemetery, and the Butterfly House.

Tall Ships at Sunderland ~ July 2018 ~ part 2

Part 1 Here

Part of the joy in photographing a big event like this, is people watching, and there were plenty of interesting humans for my camera.

Say ‘cheeeeeeze!’ Wait, no, say ice creeeeeem!


Fish & chips


what shall we do with a drunken sailor…


Aye aye Capn’ Boss


Where do I start?


I’ll keep my head down, no-one will notice me.


obliging merchants


The SIlver Surfers


sharp dressed man

stay tooned for more ships ahoy!

Tall Ships at Sunderland ~ July 2018~ part 1

The History Bit

The Tall Ships Races are designed to encourage international friendship and training for young people in the art of sailing. The races are held annually in European waters and consists of two racing legs of several hundred nautical miles and a “cruise in company” between the legs. Over one half  of the crew of each ship participating in the races must consist of young people.

After World War II, tall ships were a dying breed, having lost out to steam-powered ships several decades before. It was a retired solicitor from London, Bernard Morgan, who first dreamed up the idea of bringing young cadets and seamen under training together from around the world to compete in a friendly competition. The Portuguese Ambassador to the UK, Pedro Teotonio Pereira was a huge supporter of this original idea, and believed such a race would bring together the youth of the world’s seafaring peoples.

These two figures started discussions in 1953 and three years later they saw their vision become a reality. The first Tall Ships’ race was held in 1956. It was a race of 20 of the world’s remaining large sailing ships. The race was from Torquay, Devon and Lisbon, and was meant to be a last farewell to the era of the great sailing ships. Public interest was so intense, however, that race organizers founded the Sail Training International association to direct the planning of future events. Since then Tall Ships’ Races have occurred annually in various parts of the world, with millions of spectators. Today, the race attracts more than a hundred ships, among these some of the largest sailing ships in existence, like the Portuguese Sagres.

This year the race Set off from Sunderland with the legs being Esbjerg (Denmark) – Stavanger (Norway) and ending in Harlingen (Netherlands).

Sophie lives in Sunderland, and her chap Mentat was over from Spain, so we all met up to go and see the ships, and I took a few photo’s, of course.

a herd of ships

Most of the ships had information flags on them so we could see where they were from


Dyrafjeld was built in Nordmøre in 1889. The builder was Martinus Olson Ansnes. Initially she was hunted, (not hunted as in catch yourself a boar for dinner, it means she had a mast), but in 1918 she was turned into a galeas (trade vessel) for practical reasons.

Dyrafjeld snout/nose/pointy thing delete as applicable.

Really it’s known as a bowsprit 🙂

and another shot of this lovely old wooden lady from the Minolta film camera



Another herd

Sunderland is a working dock, so had to put up with the crane in the background, but still cool to see all the ships parked up together.

It was also fun to watch the trainees being put through their paces

Bottoms up

Couldn’t resist a zoom

on the ropes


Figurehead and hair, and boobs and everything.

Figureheads were predominant between the 16th and 20th centuries. In the 17th to the 18th centuries, the carved subjects of figureheads varied from representations of saints to patriotic emblems such as the unicorns or lions popular on English ships. When the ship was named after a royal or naval personage the head and bust of the individual might be shown.

Crowned lion figurehead- also note the carved figures up the side of the ship.

The Santa Maria Manuela is a Portuguese four mast lugger. Originally a fishing ship of the Portuguese White Fleet, Santa Maria Manuela is now used as a sea training and cruise ship, belonging to Grupo JerĂłnimo Martins.


side on view was amazing walking up to her, (another fom the Minolta with kodak portra 400 film)

Ummm is something missing?


Lord Nelson is one of only two tall ships in the world designed so they can be sailed by a crew with widely varied physical abilities.

Every aspect of shipboard life is available to all, from setting the sails, going aloft and helming the ship.

Stay tooned landlubbers, more of the day to come.

The Diwali Festival~ Sunderland ~ Nov 2017~ Part 2

Part 1 HERE

Bring on the dancing girls! And guys too. Not much to say except it was full of colour and joy and laughter.

These guys were more fit than a fit thing on a fit stick!

The lady dancers watching the chaps come down the stairs

they got everyone they could up on the floor to dance with them

After that it was the ladies groups turn to dance

and a little solo artiste

And then Sophie and I walked home as the sun went down.

Over the bridge

back through Keel Square

and through the shopping area where they had some fancy Christmas lights.

It was such a lovely festival to attend, so many smiling faces, so much to see and learn about, hope they do it again this year!

Full album of pictures HERE




The Diwali Festival~ Sunderland~ Nov 2017~ Part 1

Diwali is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair,  and it is also celebrated by  Jains, Sikhs and Newar Buddhists to mark different historical events and stories. It is a five-day festival in many regions of India, with Diwali night centering on the new moon – the darkest night – at the end of the Hindu lunar month of Ashvin and the start of the month of Kartika. In the Common Era calendar, Diwali typically falls towards the end of October, or first half of November each year. Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin days or weeks in advance. The festival formally begins two days before the night of Diwali, and ends two days thereafter. Each day has it’s own rituals and significance.

In Sunderland the Festival was housed in the National Glass Centre, and was free to attend.

It’s a great way of show-casing our culture. Allowing non-Asian communities to come and embrace and see what we have to offer and it is a positive event. It’s about friendship, it’s about joy, it’s about education.

When we arrived we were offered, and took, an ornamental bindi, which was stuck in the middle of our foreheads! Everyone had one so it would have been rude not to.  There was a lot going on in all the rooms upstairs, and dancing displays downstairs. Firstly we listened to some sitar playing and it was lovely to watch the relationship between the player and the drummer, and the sitar was beautiful.
There was a lady who carved fruit and vegetables into flowers
and ladies painting henna patterns onto hands
you could try on sari’s and turbans
or buy some bling for the ladies
and maybe a handmade jacket for the gentlemen
or have your hair done
or get made up Bollywood style!




When we’d seen all the displays, we headed off downstairs to see the dancing, but took some sneaky’s whilst on the way.
well that’s enough for now, next time we’ll see the dancers in action, they were gorgeous, so stay tooned!


Sunderland ~ November 2017

Sophie lives in Sunderland and had spotted the signs for the Diwali Festival so we decided that would be a cool thing to attend with our cameras. We knew parking would be a bit of a nightmare so we  walked to the Festival which was being held at the National Glass Centre. Of course I took pictures along the way, so before we get to the festival, this post will be of our walk on the way.

The old Fire Station on Station Road West is a wonderful Edwardian building, with immense heritage value and importance. It has lain derelict for 22 years but has now been redeveloped, The Engine Room is a ground floor bar and bistro that forms part of The Fire Station. It retains many of the original features, including the names on the tiles of former firefighters at the old station.

The Sunderland Empire Theatre is a large theatre venue located in High Street West, it is one of the largest venues in the North East. It was opened on 1 July 1907 and the dome on the 90 ft tower featured a revolving sphere bearing the statue of Terpsichore, the Greek Muse of dance and choral song. The Empire Theatre’s immediate neighbour to the east is the lovely green copper-domed tower of the beautiful Dun Cow public house, its tower perfectly complementing the tower of the theatre. In County Durham a Dun Cow was a dun-coloured (greyish) cow, strongly linked to legendary connections with St Cuthbert and the foundation of Durham.

We crossed The Wear Bridge, not as pretty as the Tyne Bridge.

We love churches so popped in to Sunderland Minster, formerly St Michael and All Angels Bishopwearmouth. It was first built around 900AD but due to many alterations little remains of the earlier constructions.

We were accosted by priests who were lovely and pleased for us to take photo’s,  one chap followed us around and told us bits and pieces of the history, though it did feel like he was checking we weren’t stealing the silver!

The Stained Glass Window depicting Christ in Glory contains the words of the Creed, the Borough of Sunderland coat of arms, St Michael slaying the dragon and the historical figure of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra and patron saint of sailors. The window was designed in 1950 to replace one damaged by enemy action during World War II.


I was quite fascinated by the list of Rectors from the past, especially of Aymer de Lusignan who was Rector here in 1252. Aymer de Lusignan was the half-brother of Henry III of England.He was the son of Hugues (X), count of La Marche, and his wife, Isabella of Angoulême, widow of King John. Aymer was born around 1228 in Poitou, probably at Valence, near Angoulême, and had three elder brothers, Guy, Geoffrey and William de Lusignan. He had been promised the lordship of Couhé in 1242 and in June 1246 was presented to the church of Tisbury in Wiltshire and by the following summer was residing in England with his brothers. Other benefices which he received included Wearmouth and Chester-le-Street in the diocese of Durham, Kirkham (Lancashire), Blakeney (Norfolk), Deddington (Oxfordshire) and St Helen (Abingdon) and the prebends of Holme (York Minster) and Oxgate (St Paul’s, London). Aymer was said to be a very ignorant and vicious man who was able to gain positions in the Church through his relatives.

There’s a link HERE to information on many of those early names.

The south transept houses the tomb of Thomas Middleton of Silksworth, which is now in poor condition. It depicts a knight with crossed hands, a sword by his side and his feet resting on a lion.


We also came across St.Peters which is the twin to St.Pauls from my previous post.  Home of the Venerable Bede in the 7th century AD, part of the Anglo-Saxon Wearmouth-Jarrow monastery, St. Peter’s was built on land given by King Ecgfrith to St. Benedict Biscop in 673 AD. It is the earlier of the twin site to come to life, and in the church can be seen the original carved stone within a reconstruction of the abbot’s seat among many artifacts uncovered during the 1960’s archaeological excavation, though it wasn’t open so we’ll be going back to see that at some point.

Sunderland haas recently had a new city square, called keel Square. It has an art installation called Propellers of the City, which has named pictures of people who worked in the ship building industry incorporated into it, sent in by locals. British sculptor Stephen Broadbent was commissioned by the city council to create the artwork, which celebrates the city’s industrial heritage.

Sophie and I had a go at turning it, like a ships wheel, but it was hard work!

The square also has new water features

Then we went under an underpass to get to the venue for the Festival.  There we found it doesn’t matter how pretty you make somewhere when this hits you in the face,

Ice Cream? Gateaux? Rice Pudding?


and I sighed as all the culture, old and new, that I’d been soaking up, was wiped away by bigotry, ignorance and bad spelling.  But that’s Sunderland for you. 🙄

Stay tooned for next time when we get to the Festival!




Fraggle Report~Washington Wildfowl Trust~March 2017

One of the first outings Sophie and I had this year, was to visit the wildfowl trust at Washington, a reasonably regular haunt as the birds there are cool to see. First though we went to see the building of the new bridge across the River Wear in Sunderland.  It’s a bit of a behemoth and will link up Castletown to Pallion, or, as my hubby says, will link up one shit~hole to another shit~hole 🙂

I think they must be trying to have an iconic bridge, as Newcastle has 7 beautiful ones, and the other Sunderland bridges are pig ugly in truth. It will be cool to see it when it’s all finished, in the meantime the disruption to traffic is painful.

Anyway on with the birds at WWT!

Smiley duck!


Mandarin ducks


No idea what these are but they’re pretty,

love seeing the otters

and we sat in a hide for a while and took shots of the wild birds feeding





chaffinch ladies






Grey Squirrel


at the lake we saw a Heron Tree

and some geese

and on the way back, some swans under a weeping willow.

A lovely day out.

Day 54~366

I was working in Sunderland today, managed a couple of pictures. Firstly I stopped for lunch in a carpark and saw a Mum and her teenager on top of a car,


Later in the afternoon I had to park up on the sea front at Seaham, while I waited for a client to get home from her bowling match, it was a bit wild and windy, so just took a couple of shots.

The beach


and the safety belt,


Think I like that one most, so that is for the daily shot!