Sunday, 9 October 2016

Annual Autumn Visit to Northumberland 2016

Northumberland never disappoints and we even had good weather for our annual trip. 

We like to find something new to see and, although we have been visiting the area for decades now, there is always a corner we haven't covered.

The picturesque, former fishing village of Low Newton is a familiar haunt.  In fact, the first time we came across it, terraced cottages in the square were for sale for £2,500.  With a mortgage on our home, there was no way we could access that amount.  You guessed it, these cottages are now impossible to get hold of and a week's rental in May is over £500!

We hadn't known about the bird hide behind the village, which  is part of a pleasant circular walk which takes you to the beautiful beach with its rock pools.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Procrastination is the thief of time

How true!  I recently decided to upgrade my phone and this meant purchasing a new cover for it.  I have spent ages online, checking the specifications and customer reviews.  Finally, I thought I had found the one but after seeing a woman at an adjacent table using her phone sporting this cover, it looked grubby and cheap, so back to the drawing board.
The decision on the new phone, which is a bigger commitment, took me very little time but selecting the cover is taking ages and will hardly break the bank if it proves to be a bad choice.  I say this in the present tense as the order has not yet been placed!
Does anyone else have this problem or is it just me?  

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Visit to Bolton Percy; a small village with much to see

I have had this village on my “to visit” list for a long time after reading about the All Saints churchyard in Roger Brook’s blog

The 15th C church itself was impressive with its Lychgate built by Robert Thompson, the Mouseman of Kilburn.  What I wasn’t expecting was a fully restored Grade ll* listed timber framed gatehouse which was built about 1474 at the entrance to the rectory.  Until recently, it had been used as a holiday let, but the owners have put it on the market, if anyone is interested. 

We took a picnic with us so even I was too full to take advantage, of the services of Doyly’s Tearooms.  This will have to wait until next visit, along with the wildlife area at the former station which is the habitat for many moths and butterflies.
 Our picnic spot

As you would expect from a Yorkshire village, Bolton Percy also has a cricket club, a pinfold and a pub,
the Crown, which sells Sam Smith's ales. The pub’s garden has a wooden bridge which spans the
beck and notices apologised for the state of them due to this winter’s floods.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Temple Newsam Park and Gardens

Although we took a long walk here on a cold day during the winter, on our visit his week we found the gardens completely transformed.  I know everything looks better in the sunshine, but the scenery was amazing and, although I have seen more inspiring walled gardens, the hothouses took my breath away.   
 The approach to the lake was lined with Rhododendrons in every colour 
 A section of the walled garden
 The first section of the hothouse you walk past pelargoniums of every colour including climbing varieties
 Next came a multitude of pots set out like this
 ..... and just when you thought the show was over there were the tropical plants, just like house plants but enormous including bird of paradise, lantana,


 we had our picnic in this circular seating area.  Just a pity the roses are late this year.

There is an exhibition to celebrate the tercentenary of the birth of Capability Brown, who designed these gardens, at the Mercer Gallery in Harrogate between 25th June and 11th September and entry is free.  For more information, go to

Best thing is that it is owned by the council and can be enjoyed by all!
I have blogged about Temple Newsam House earlier here and here  
Note to self:  Learn how to insert links 

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Preview of the Victoria Gate complex in Leeds city centre

After our social enterprise, Yorkshire MORE jams and chutneys , applied for funding, the developers were so impressed with our products and ethos that we were invited to visit this project.
 James Rogers of Hammersons with our jams and chutneys on the table
 James Rogers of Hammersons plc, who already own the Victoria Quarter in Leeds, gave eleven of Yorkshire MORE’s regular volunteers a presentation of what was to come in the first of two phases of this vast development which is due to open in Autumn 2016.  There is the biggest John Lewis store outside of London, a multi-storey car park, an ellipse shaped arcade housing shops, cafes and restaurants, a casino with rooftop restaurant and public toilets.  Victoria Gate will be connected to the Victoria Quarter by a walkway.
We were then appropriately suited and booted to visit the site.  We were shown round by the contractors, Sir Robert McAlpine, and were amazed by the logistics of the project, the amount of scaffolding and concrete used and the self-cleaning and bombproof glass.
 The arcades which are paved with polished tiles imported from China

 To go on site, we had to wear hard hats, goggles, hi-vis jacketets, gloves and steel toed boots

 Top of the casino

 The structure with the diamond shapes is the John Lewis store
 Board of Directors for Yorkshire MORE
I can’t wait for this shopping experience.  James requested sample of our jams and chutneys to show John Lewis and the management of the Victoria Quarter to see if we can sell our jam there.  Not bad for a dedicated team of volunteers and it follows on from a successful weekend selling at the BBC Good Food Show at Harrogate.

Yorkshire MORE jams and chutneys.  The process and profits help people with mental health issues