Raby Castle Revisited Again! – August 2019

The thing with some places, like Raby Castle, Alnwick Castle, and a few other sites not part of English Heritage or National Trust but run privately, is that you buy a ticket to get in to the place, which isn’t always cheap, but allows you to visit as many times as you like within a year of buying it. Raby Castle is well worth a few visits and though we’d been back in May, we wanted a return trip to do the butterflies in the beautiful gardens there, always a spectacle. This year was the year of the painted ladies…

A Geordie – China connection.

After our washed out morning at Dunston Staiths,we crossed the River and went to visit St.Johns Cemetary. We came across some Chinese tombstones, not a usual find when we’re traipsing through graveyards. So I did a little research….. Back we go to the late 1800’s and to the later part of the Qing dynasty, which, as I’m sure you all know, was presided over by the Empress Dowager Cixi, a formidable and capable lady who had a fascinating life, having started out as a lowly concubine, but ending up as head Missis to the Emperor.  The Chinese had four modernized…

Dunston Staiths – July 2019

On a wet day in July Sophie and I went to the outdoor market held once a month on Dunston Staiths.   The History Bit  The Staiths are believed to be the largest timber structure in Europe, maybe the world, but who knows?  It is also a Grade II listed scheduled monument and is owned by registered charity Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust (TWBPT).  The structure is made of North American pitch pine timber, no longer available, from the once unlimited forest. Most of the timber used was 20 metres long, 14 inches deep and 14 inches wide. The total weight…

Aln Valley Railway – July 2019 – part 3

Part 1 HERE   Part 2 HERE There was plenty of interesting train and WW2 paraphenalia to look at and photograph   I thought this would make a nice biscuit tin! There was also a concert and these ladies were called the Seatones and did a cracking job of singing 40’s songs This chap was a bit of a character and I had to get a shot of the rear parcel shelf of his car So that’s the end of our day out at the Aln Valley Railway. All pictures by me and embiggenable with a click. Full album can be…

Aln Valley Railway – July 2019 – Part 1

While Sophie and I were visiting the Stephenson Heritage Railway, (post on that HERE) a gentleman saw us taking pictures, and came over to tell us we might like to visit the heritage railway that he was involved in, the Aln Valley Railway.  Great idea we thought, and we decided to go when they also had a war re-enactment thing going on. The aim of the volunteers is to reopen the Alnwick to Alnmouth railway line.  The original station in Alnwick is now home to Barter Books so a brand new railway station and visitor center has been constructed by…

Cragside – Rhododendrons June 2019

It’s cold here in the UK, the summer flowers have gone and the autumn leaves blown away, so let’s take a walk through the estate at Cragside and remember warmer times. “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” Rachel Carson   “Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature”. Steve Maraboli “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” Laura Ingalls Wilder “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”…

Stephenson Heritage Railway – June 2019 – Part 3

Part 1 HERE  Part 2 HERE After we finally gave up going for rides, we got to look around in the workshops,with the lovely gentlemen explaining things to us. Some fab old tool boxes in use They had had some Thomas the Tank faces made for the front of the big steam engines to make the kids smile, but the people who own Thomas the Tank wouldn’t let them use them, so they just hang in the workshop. I mean, what harm would it do really? ‘Bait’ up here is Geordie for lunch They let you drive a train up…

Stephenson Heritage Railway – June 2019 – Part 2

Part 1 HERE Sophie and I enjoyed the train ride so much we went on it twice 🙂 as the ticket covered you for as many goes as you liked. They are still renovating the carriages, so they do look a bit shabby, but it didn’t matter to us, it was easy to ignore that and imagine being in Brief Encounter 🙂 Of course we and all the other kids ignored that! On the return journey we were just in normal class as someone got to our first class carriage before us (gits 😀 ) Good job we didn’t need…