Watergate Forest Park ~ October 2022

Sophie and I had our last outing for a while at the end of October, and we went to visit a park in Gateshead to see some Autumn colour, hopefully at least.

The Watergate Colliery pictured at the top there, started out in the 1800’s, and was finally shutdown in 1917. Unlike Washington, which as we saw last week got it’s own museum, Watergate was left alone until reclamation work began in the 1990’s, and the site was transformed into a recreational park having a series of trails and paths that take you through woodland, around the lake and through wildflower meadows.

It was a bit chilly, but still a nice day with some sunshine now and again, and we did get some autumn colours. I had my Fuji and my contax with me but have yet to finish the roll on that, so here are the few I took with the Fuji.

Details of a memorial to the miners.
a deer on the edge of the forest
Sunshine and doomcloud!
“Dancing of the autumn leaves on a surface of a lake is a dream we see when we are awake.” Mehmet Murat Ildan
“There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been.” Percy Bysshe Shelly
“Autumn mornings: sunshine and crisp air, birds and calmness, year’s end and day’s beginnings.” Terri Guillemets

Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath. Michael Caine

“Look with open eyes, and you will see the beauty of the waterfall.” Anthony Hincks
How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days. – John Burroughs

So there we are. Not sure if Autumn has gone and Winter arrived yet, I can’t tell because of all the bliddy rain we’re having, and the forecast is for 2 weeks of it!

Stay tooned dear reader!

📷 😊

Bolam Lake ~ Oct 2021 ~ part 2

Following on from part 1, we’re still photographing swans, because , well you can’t have enough magnificent swan pictures really. 🙂

The familiar pose with neck curved back and wings half raised, known as busking, is a threat display. Both feet are paddled in unison during this display, resulting in a more jerky movement. The swans may also use the busking posture for wind-assisted transportation over several hundred meters, so-called windsurfing.


The mute swan is one of the heaviest flying birds. In several studies from Great Britain, males (known as cobs) were found to average from about 10.6 to 11.87 kg (23.4 to 26.2 lb), with a weight range of 9.2–14.3 kg (20–32 lb) while the slightly smaller females (known as pens) averaged about 8.5 to 9.67 kg (18.7 to 21.3 lb), with a weight range of 7.6–10.6 kg (17–23 lb). The most familiar sound associated with mute swans is the vibrant throbbing of the wings in flight which is unique to the species, and can be heard from a range of 1 to 2 km (0.6 to 1 mi), indicating its value as a contact sound between birds in flight.

lift off

We often come across other people walking around the lake and now and again I can sneak in a people picture, in this case a little people picture’


and two couples, people and swans,

two pairs

but rarely do we come across people in or on the lake, so this lot gave us a nice surprise.

The Paddle Family

they were having a grand time!

there’s always one

and swans are not the only birds at the lake though these are in a dead tree.

Dead Tree Birds

And that’s about it for Bolam Lake. Next time we’re popping around the corner to revisit St.Andrews Church so stay tooned for that!

Bolam Lake ~ October 2021~ part 1

Sophie and I were making the best of Autumn and so the weekend after visiting Belsay, we went off to look for more Autumnal colour and to see the swans et al at Bolam Lake. We last visited 4 years ago in September 2017 – ah, the good old pre-plague days! Looking back at those photo’s there was more autumn colours in September 17 than there was in Oct 21 🤷‍♀️.

Bolam lake was constructed c.1817 for Lord Decies of Bolam. John Dobson was commissioned to lay out the grounds in 1816, including the 25-acre artificial lake and woodland. Northumberland County Council purchased the lake and some of the surrounding woodland in 1972 for use as a Country Park.

Bolam Lake

The weather was a bit pants, but the swans didn’t seem to care. Bolam has a herd of Mute Swans, though they are not entirely mute, as they’ll hiss or snort if feeling threatened. But they are quiet in comparison with other types of swans, and in spite of that are quite beligerent with the male swans highly territorial. They will threaten intruders, striking an aggressive pose with wings arched over their back, before charging at them to chase them off. 

these two were quite friendly..we had birdseed 😊

There are many collective nouns for a group of swans, they can be a bevy, a gaggle, a whiteness, or a wedge, but only when in flight. Herd is OK too which suits me fine.

a bevy/gaggle/whiteness herd.

Since the 12th century, the Queen has had the right to claim ownership to all unmarked mute swans in the country swimming in open waters, and there is a traditional swan upping ceremony, an annual ceremony that has taken place for hundreds of years and takes five days. It’s held every July on the river Thames at Caversham. In the ceremony, a flotilla of Thames rowing skiffs, manned by “Swan Uppers” make their way along the river led by The Queen’s Swan Marker, David Barber. The cygnets are marked as being either part of the Vintners or the Dyers livery companies. This is determined by their parentage. All Crown birds are left unmarked. Although it’s a tradition it also helps with conservation. Anyway, it only happens on the Thames and the rest of the country’s Mute swans can go about their business unaware that they are Royal swans, although they always look regal, so maybe they are.

passing by

There is more to see than swans though, so let’s move on. The ground was damp, and shady so we came across a few mushrooms and fungi, I love finding ones I haven’t seen before.

not sure which type of mushroom this is, think it’s one of the Grisettes, didn’t munch on it just in case.
Orange grisette
Trametes versicolor (turkey tail )
Fomes fomentarius (Hoof fungus, Tinder bracket)
Evernia prunastri – Oakmoss Lichen

my last photo today is of a dear little dog, a collie I think, who was undergoing some training with her owner. I hope it’s a girl dog!

Dog in pink.

That’s it for this week. As you read this I’ll be driving 250 miles down south, takes about 5 hours, to visit with my son and grandson, so will be late answering comments today.

Stay tooned for next time, there’s more to see at the lake 🙂 .

all photos are embiggenable by clickeration.

Killingworth Boat Lake ~ February 2019

In 1964, a 15 acre lake was created to help drain the ground for Killingworth New Town, and almost straight away a boating clubhouse was built which is alongside a public car park. Several different groups still use this clubhouse and more use the lake and park, which is run by North Tyneside Council.  A bunch of retired chaps interested in building, racing and sailing model boats formed a sailing group, which is now affiliated to the MYA (Model Yacht Association).

Sophie and I stopped off here on our way back from somewhere as I knew there were swans on the lake, and the racing was in full swing.

and they’re off!


Remote control

No remote control

Come in No.48

Precision Landing

The Swans win.

Alnwick Garden ~ April 2018~ Part 5 ~ bits and bobs

The tree house at Alnwick Gardens is one of the biggest I know of (not that I know of many, except that mad one in Tenessee) and is made from  sustainably sourced Canadian cedar, Scandinavian redwood and English and Scots pine. It has a well-reviewed restaurant doing local fare, and has wobbly rope bridges to cross. There’s also a lunch place called The Potting Shed in the top part of the tree house.

Tree House, or Village really.





view from one of the wobbly walkways.


There’s also a lake with a pair of swans, the Lady Swan was nesting



The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful pea-green boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. 


The Alnwick Garden website is https://www.alnwickgarden.com if anyone is looking to go there.

All photo’s can be clicked so you can go large and see more 🙂



Herrington Country Park~ March 2018~part 4

Part 1           Part 2            Part 3

So on we go over the dinosaur rib cage and back towards the lake, alongside a rivulet where we watched a swan doing it’s thing


Oooh look at me!!!

I’m so pretty!

Back at the car park we came across a hound meeting

Eau de Beagle

I think they were Beagles after googling doggy pictures.

Corporal Beagley

Reflecting Penshaw’s Folly

Saw this cute little lad at the cafe while we had lunch


and then after lunch, back to the lake for more birdy shots

We watched a seagull fighting a tern for some bread

OY! That’s my bread!

gimme gimme!

Birds on a buoy

In the distance the sky did a thing over the standing stones,

And that’s the end of our day at Herrington.

all images can be clicked on for bigger versions so you can appreciate their magnificence so much better 🤣  

Full album can be found HERE for more birds and stuff.

Stay tooned, though god knows what for, the constant rain has put paid to Sophie and I going anywhere since this day, but we’ll be back! Meantime I’ll be over at The Other Place, click on that and I’ll see you there 🙂






Rising Sun Country Park ~ November 2017 ~ part 2

Part 1 HERE

So we’ve had a little rest, and now continue past where the Back to Future train disappeared, turning right and starting the long trek up an incline to the top of a hill under some stunning cloud formations

the horses we saw earlier came charging past us in the opposite direction


Looking back down the path at the top of the hill we could see from Hebburn on the right to Newcastle on the left. The yellow structures are on the River Tyne and we saw one of them being brought up the river when we visited the Anglo-Saxon farm at Jarrow Hall   you can click through the link there to see the yellow thingy bigly.


There were gorse bushes in bloom here and there

and a bench to sit on if the uphill struggle made you out of breath, not that comfy though!

and then we made our way down the other side of the hill.  We found a puddle..


where there were some more horses, and people

saw a blackbird

Then we came to another wetland area

so we took some pictures of the water birds

and here we rested, taking shots of the birdies whilst a couple of little girls threw crisps to them 🙄 before the final leg of our long walk.  ( And no, we didn’t tell them off, this is Sunderland and parents don’t take kindly to interference, especially from Non- Mackems! )

So stay tooned, and next time we’ll get to the end.

(all pictures can be clicked on to see larger)





St.Pauls Church and Monastery~ November 2017

Following on from visiting Bede’s Museum and the Anglo~Saxon farm and village  Sophie and I walked down the road to visit St.Pauls Church and Monastery ruins.  The monastery site is under the care of English Heritage, but the church is still in use.

A bit more history 

St Paul’s Church and Monastery was built on land given by King Ecgfrith of Northumbria in AD681.It was founded by Benedict Biscop, who seven years ealier had built the church and monastery of St. Peter’s at Wearmouth (Sunderland).The chancel of St. Paul’s is the original Saxon church, built as a separate chapel and possibly dedicated to the Virgin Mary.A large basilica was built on the site of the present nave and dedicated on 23rd April AD685.The present nave and north aisle are the work of the Victorian architect Sir George Gilbert Scott.The monastery to which the Venerable Bede came as a boy, thrived in the 7th and 8th centuries. It was here that Bede lived, worked and worshipped. His bones now lie in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral. In AD794 the Vikings sacked the church and monastery.In 1074 the church was repaired and the monastery refounded by Aldwin, Prior of Winchcombe Abbey in Gloucestershire. The monastery then became a daughter house of the Benedictine Community at Durham.  At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, St. Paul’s became a Parish Church.

And English heritage have Kindly put up a plaque to show which bit of the church is which.

The Church wasn’t open, so we wandered the site of the Monastery ruins just behind where I stood to shoot the church. The monastery’s reputation had spread throughout Europe, chiefly because of the scholarly writings of the Venerable Bede. Bede entered St Peter’s in about 680 at the age of seven, and spent his life in the twin monastery of Wearmouth–Jarrow, which he described as ‘one monastery in two places’.

Unfortunately we were not alone,  two ladies (I use the term loosely and have deleted my original description) and their loud and (deleted) children were also enjoying the site, they on their smart phones, the children clambering over the ruins.

they didn’t seem to be going anytime soon so I took my shots with them in it as the light was going. I suppose they give it scale 😀

The River Don runs along the side of the Monastery, so we wandered down to the river to take a few shots before going home (and to escape the shouty brats)

and were lucky to find a bevy of swans on the river

and it was lovely and peaceful, until guess who turned up and started yelling and throwing sticks in the water, not at the birds at least, the swans and us  made a rapid exit and Sophie and I went home.

Over the past 3 posts I’ve used the following pages for reference

Jarrow Hall




and there are extra photo’s from all 3 posts on my site HERE 

Hope you stay tooned for the next adventure when we’ll be visiting the Diwali Festival in Sunderland.




Hardwick Hall Country Park ~ June 2017~finale

Part 1 HERE

More pictures from the country park, well worth a visit.

Canadian Geese


Willow Fence and arch


moorhen chick on a lily pond




Wood witch




Owl House


Sailing with Mum



another week

As always work was busy, lots of problem solving and gnashing of teeth. Didn’t get chance to take any photo’s on Monday or Tuesday, but Wednesday I was able to have a quick lunch break at Woodhorn, and got to see the swans

swans at Woodhorn
swans at Woodhorn  

I was going to get out and take some shots, but this one decided to have a lie down by my car door, and I didn’t want to upset him!

Guard Swan
Guard Swan


Thursday was one of those days off I have that I end up working, but when I got home Phil and I went to our fave restaurant in South Shields, Pierro’s and had potato skins and Pizza for dinner, not the healthy option really but it was yummy!


and on the way home stopped by the sea. This is my favourite place to be for peace and tranquility, but it was a bit chilly and Phil didn’t have a coat so we didn’t stay long.

Peace & Tranquility
Peace & Tranquility

Friday was a good day off as I didn’t have to see any clients, so I cleaned out my worky office, took ages and engendered a lot of recycling of old paperwork.

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Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset

really that IS loads tidier!! 🙂

On Saturday my lovely hubby cooked us breakfast

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset
lovely hubby cooking

and after more sorting out of recycling, we got our glad rags on and went to see a band called Blue Diamond at a pub in Sunderland called The Saltgrass. No ordinary band though as 2 of the chaps in the band are also from Phil’s past life as a rock god. Before he became an Op.theatre technician back in the 70’s he was in a local band called The Showbiz Kids, and they were destined for great things, they even cut a record and were on the TV! But it didn’t work out, and after a few years it all fell apart. Still he had a blast and still plays bass guitar in our living room. He hadn’t seen Bob or Pat (the 2 guys I’m on about) in over 20 years, so a reunion was had and they were really happy to see him and reminisced about the olden days. We enjoyed listening to them mainly doing covers of harmonic bands like The Eagles, Steely Dan & Fleetwood Mac etc, with a strange Jethro Tull moment as well. They’re pretty good musicians, though some of the vocals were a bit dodgy now and then, and also a feedback issue was really annoying. The Saltgrass is not a great venue for live music, it’s very small, low ceiling and I couldn’t see a thing of the band. But a good night out nevertheless.


The Saltgrass
The Saltgrass

gee they got a band
gee they got a band

That’s Pat setting up before they started, after that loads of tall people stood in front of me.

There was some great graffiti on the wall next to the pub.

Graffiti Elephants
Graffiti Elephants

Today Phil has been working 8am-9pm so I’ve been doing washing, getting ready for work tomorrow 😦 and of course doing a photo for the Sunday Challenge, which this week was ‘1,3 or 5’.  I went with 5, and had a steep learning curve in photoshop to make the image below. The rest of my shots were done with VSCO cam on the Iphone and I do like how the sea shot came out. Now for some dinner and then… ta dah, the ironing!!

Five film cameras.
Five film cameras.



Another  long long drive today, but the sun was out for a little while and I was in the beautiful Northumberland.  I managed a coffee break by Woodhorn Lake and took a couple of quick snaps, can’t beat swans for a 365 moment!



The focus went a bit squiffy, but I like it anyway.

I think this one though is my fave, I spotted him/her swimming away, sails up and in sparkly waters, lovely to watch.