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Friday, 25 June 2010


A lot of people went to Shildon on Wednesday to see...The Tornado pull the Mallard all the way from York, with some help up the rear end from the Prince William!The Mallard holds the world steam traction record (1938) and is usually housed at the Railway Museum in York. The overflow from York is housed at Shildon, a couple of miles from home, and the Mallard will be there for a while.It has super, sleek lines. Art Deco in Transport.

The Prince William was needed to add a bit of oomph and diesel power to the procedings,and the gallant Tornado gushed steam, whistled, tooted and shunted the whole procession into the yards at Shildon.

Leaving the Mallard behind to be admired by all those around.

Cheers Gillian

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


We took visitors to the Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in England on top of the Pennines. It was such a lovely day, it was hard to get a table outside for lunch. Some people had to share!
Seats inside were full up too.

And others were eating off the carpet in the lounge bar.

Picnickers were short of space.

But eventually we settled down on the leather sofas inside and tucked into a giant yorkshire filled with cumberland sausage and chips and gravy.
We spent the rest of the day driving back down the Dales to sea level and home via Archers Jersey Ice-cream parlour for a spag bol tea.
Badly need some exercise and today's stroll around Durham city has not had much aerobic impact. Watching the footie this afternoon won't help and neither will a meal out tonight, so there will have to be some catching up this weekend. I hope the lovely weather lasts.
Cheers Gillian


My sister had been given the use of a beach hut on the Mudeford Sandbank at Hengistbury Head in Dorset.So we caught the ferry over from Mudeford Quay. And walked along the spit and betwen the huts. The Isle of Wight could be seen in the distance.
And spent a wonderful day lazing and sunning ourselves and enjoying a barbecue. Such beach huts are highly sought after and beautifully situated for sailing, swimming and other seaside pursuits. We probably had the best weather so far this year. What a grand day. We had to catch the last ferry back at 6 pm and waited on the quay, drinking more wine, while M cycled off to fetch the car to carry us and our goods and chattels home.

Thanks T and M!
Cheers Gillian

Saturday, 19 June 2010


Much of the south coast of England is chalk, sandstone and limestone. These rocks are the result of ancient seabeds which have been formed from the remains of shellfish and sediments. The visitors centre at Seven Sisters displays also, the flints which formed as concretions in the sedimentary layers. One side of the building is the whole flint pebble, the other side is the smashed flint boulder pieces. Both of these are used to facade buildings in this area. They are weatherproof and decorative.We walked from the CarPark, along the river bank and out towards the incoming tide. I chose NOT to walk along a path with large heifers and some cows and calves lingering. I am not easily soothed by people saying...."don't worry it will be all right, we'll walk near the bank and if necessary we'll go in the water". I hate going in the water and those animals were much larger than me. I worry if they move towards me.
I said that I would go the other way and catch them up. So in the end we all went that way and I was much happier.It was a long haul to the top of the first Sister but the view was splendid. I don't know if this was the first or last sister but here are the others. I knew that people from all over the world had written their names and origins on Uluru/Ayers Rock in Australia because I have been there but I was shocked to find that they had all been to the top of the Seven Sisters and done the same. Why am I shocked? We picknicked at the top and enjoyed the view and the day.
The previous day we had walked along the Lancing Beach Path.

We found some delightful cygnets in the lagoon behind the beach,
Lovely sunny days .
Cheers Gillian

Tuesday, 8 June 2010


When I left Oz, I made everyone promise, that if they came to England , they would visit me. P reckoned that it would be unlikely, because of the children and anyway if she is going to go on a long haul flight it will be home to Canada. But M was 40 today, so they all travelled with him to England and Europe while he was on a business trip.
P and I worked together at Northcote High School in Melbourne for many years and were very close.
So I travelled south to meet up and took DJ. It was important to me that they all get on and they did.

The girls are delightful and were so good all the time. On the first day we walked across the centre of London, from Mayfair, to Princess Di's waterfall, where the girls paddled and dipped in the water with many others and we then headed off back to Mayfair for a lovely Italian dinner. The next day we met and went by bus from Mayfair to Charing Cross River Bank but we were advised by the driver to alight just after Trafalgar Square because there was a grid lock due to a burst water main. The day before we had been lucky enough to catch one of the last ten Routemaster red double decker buses still operating in London. Buses are fun for most but DJ loves Routemasters so it was a special ride. It lasted for ages too, because there was so much traffic trying to get round Hyde Park Corner.
Anyway we walked down Whitehall, past the Horse Guards, Downing Street and protestors and on to the quayside just beyond Big Ben.

The boat ride was to Greenwich and return and many famous sights were seen on the way.

Tower Bridge is still awesome. Much of London seems to be an art installation wrapped in paper, but it is simply the new "health and safety" measures on scaffolded buildings.
A Great Time. Here we say Good Bye.
Love to P,M, A and S.
Hope to see you next year.
Cheers Gillian


Footpath markers criss-cross the British countryside. They point the way across fields and stiles. This stile is a wooden climb through a drystone wall and it was easy to cross. Others on this walk were wonky, well hidden by thorny bushes and/or covered with nettles. DJ discovered that shorts are not always a good thing on a warm sunny day.
Butterknowle is at the western end of the old coalfield. At this high spot on the fells of the Durham Pennines, the coal seams were nearest the surface. The coal was found early and many mines were dug down and into the hillsides. The coal finished quickly because the seams dipped down and away to the North Sea to the east.
Our walk took us past several old pits but the above is evidence of the waste slag and an old building.

The area is now agricultural. The meadows were full of buttercups, the trees were blossoming and the burns were trickling through the trees. The foals are everywhere and the horses are pleased to see you.
The Appleby horse fair is on this time of year, so gypsies, tinkers and other travellers abound. There are horses, waggons, carts and big caravans. Nearly every paddock has a few foals sun-bathing out-stretched on the ground or prancing around. It's lovely.

After marching ourselves through a couple of buttercup meadows we noticed that our boots were showing the effects.

The yellow pollen from the flowers had filled the cracks and crevices in our footwear.
Cheers for now Gillian