Thursday, 18 December 2014

Spooky tale

Advent Ghosts 2014 is the sixth annual shared storytelling event at I saw lightning fall. Every year writers and bloggers come together to celebrate the old Anglophile tradition of swapping spooky tales of just 100 words.
Finding the Christmas tree in the cluttered attic was hard enough but made all the more difficult when the light bulb went out.  Relying on the moonlight from the dormer window, I made my way to where I imagined the tree to be.  A sudden cold draught in the semi-darkness caused the hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end.  My fears increased when something flew close to my face.  Rooted to the spot, my eyes became accustomed to the gloom and, with great relief, I saw the bird which had flown in through a broken pane.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Vanity of Small Differences

As I was attendng the AGM of Yorkshire in Bloom at Temple Newsam, I took advantage of visiting the Grayson Perry exhibition while I was there.  I am so glad I did.  

The exhibition, The Vanity of Small Differences, depicts Perry’s thoughts on taste and class in six incredibly detailed tapestries. These were created from the findings of his Chanel 4 documentary All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry when he visited different social groups in Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and the Cotswolds.
Just as Hogarth told the story of the Tom Rakewell in A Rake’s Progress, the tapestries tell the story of the upwardly mobile Tim.  I could have spent hours in front of each tapestry, so intricate were the works, new features kept becoming apparent as did snatches of text.  If you get the opportunity, do go and see these pieces to which the camera cannot do justice.
 The Annunciation of the Virgin Deal 

 Here you can see the Guardian newspaper in which the organic vegetables were wrapped, the cafetiere, which Perry calls the middle class icon, along with the Aga and the Penguin mugs.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

End of the Season

 Last visit to the coast until Spring

Paid a quick visit to Harlow Carr where bird ringing was happening, which is not like bell ringing which was the first thing that came to mind!

 Carved detail of a new summer house

 Willow pigs

 and seals on bicycles?

 Halloween display in Betty's window

and here comes Winter
leaving us with our memories of Summer

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Reading and Writing

Our local writing group and radio studios have now been re-housed in a renovated chapel which is now a wonderful dedicated arts venue.  See for more photos.

At the official launch this month our radio programme went out live but this time, a first for us, in front of an audience.

Other performers included a storyteller, poets and musicians.

The chapel, or ChapELFM as it is known, is a great place which encourages both young and the more mature to get involved with reading, writing, performing, producing as well as on the technical side using the state-of-the-art equipment.  It’s all very exciting after meeting in a back room at a local library and an office above a parade of shops where noise frequently caused problems when recording

This month I was able to meet a Facebook writing buddy, Leigh Russell, when she came to a book signing of her latest novel,  Race to Death, at the local Waterstones.

I have had a couple of short stories accepted this month, one at CafeLit

I am currently doing a free on-line Open University course Introduction to Journalism which is time consuming but most interesting and useful.  They have an amazing range of courses available.  Check them out at

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Annual Trip to Northumberland 2014

Although we usually visit a little later in the year, we decided to bring the holiday forward to take advantage of the forecast for good weather.

We have been here countless times and always seek and find something new to see.  We used the village of Seahouses as our base, with wonderful views of the harbour and Bamburgh Castle enhanced further by the binoculars which came with the room.  My husband even spotted an Oystercatcher.

On the way to Seahouses, we visited Alnwick Gardens.  We enjoyed the visit and there was a pleasant ambiance with live music, the sound of the water features and the ornamental gardens.  However, it cost £3.00 to park the car and the entrance for the ground only (not the castle) was expensive as I had thought RHS members could still go free. 

 We had an interesting tour of the poison garden

 One of the ever changing water features

 The tree house for grownups is a restaurant

We have visited the picturesque, model villages of Ford and Etal before, but this time we visited the Standing Stones to the north of Etal.  It’s a mystery to me how the stones were transported to this place in the Bronze Age, also how such a setting from which you can see for miles around was found. The stones were a circle (a henge) but a couple of them have disappeared over the years.
Pub in Etal with its picturesque thatched roof

 Etal Castle

 The standing stones at Duddo

We continued to Berwick-on-Tweed, a town surrounded by ramparts on the Scottish border, wondering if we would need passports to travel further North in future!  We went to see an exhibition in a restored granary of L S Lowry’s work depicting this area. 

All too soon it was time to leave but not before we stopped at various other places en route.
 Early morning sun coming through the mist at Alnmouth

 Warkworth Castle


I can thoroughly recommend this beautiful part of England and guarantee that you will be smitten by the dramatic scenery, the like of which my camera cannot really capture.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

A family holiday at the seaside can be fun with the older members reminiscing about bygone times while the younger members are experiencing those activities for the first time.

The weather, as always in the Yorkshire coast, is variable to say the least; we can have all four seasons in the space of an hour!  We had a glorious Summer earlier on and the forecast wasn’t great for the last part of August but we were treated to some lovely days and the heavy showers waited for night time. 

Sand, sea and all the S’s


Sleeping in, Swimming Pool, Swings and Slides, Skating at the Roller Disco, Skimming stones,

Scarborough Day Trip

 Open top bus

Peasholm Park
 Sailing (on a pedalo)

Sewerby Hall and Gardens
The Hall has just been refurbished but no photographs can be taken

 Shiver me timbers
 The walled garden

 A new born Alpaca with mum
  Over the years, we have entertained visitors from as far afield as Sweden, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Italy and Rumania and it occurred to me to begin a visitors’ book.  I found a suitable one in a charity shop.  It is actually a Hebridean one, but it is beautifully illustrated and does the job.

 Bet you're wondering what Hello Kitty wrote in the book