My Blog List

Friday, 29 July 2011

Go Home Crowds!

Earlier this week Bishop Auckland was reported in the papers and on telly for having the cheapest fuel in England!
Until then not many people even knew where Bishop Auckland was.
Half the county and some of the rest of the country is now queued up for it.
The new Sainsbury's and Tesco's, which have been built to the west of us on the old coalmine site and some other wasteland, are having a local fuel price war in an attempt to lure the greater number of new shoppers to their site.
Well it has sort of worked and the cars/vans/caravans and lorries are all there stretching nearly all the way back to our house. I don't know that many of them are also shopping for food or whether they are just filling up and driving on but it has reminded us what much of the traffic in central and southern England is like. And we don't like it. We have spat the dummy and won't take our car out again today. We might have to go to the farm shop for meat supplies on our bike.
Got that off my chest!!!
Cheers Gillian

Monday, 25 July 2011

Even More Seasides

It has been a dry summer up until last week. Then it poured down for a couple of days. Enough rain to deserve a visit to High Force up in Teesdale. Some of the smaller valleys have been shaded enough to maintain their green velvet look and the main waterfall was indeed splendid. The brown colour from the upland peat shows in the rush of water over the Whin Sill and onto the sandstone below.

Then when the weather brightened up we took off north to find puffins. Boats travel out from Seahouses to skirt and land on the Farne Islands offshore. The season for puffins is about over and fewer seals are to be seen too, but it was our last chance for this year so we booked a trip the next morning to the Grace Darling Lighthouse Museum and a tour of the islands.

The next day, the sea was a bit choppy and it was with smile of relief that DJ was informed that there would be no boats that day. We headed off to "do" Bamburgh castle instead. The puffins will return next year and so shall we.

The sparrow hawk hunted happily in the dunes as we walked along. The tide was out and another enormous expanse of British beach spread before us with the castle in the background.

The UFO in this picture is the sparrowhawk again, or maybe one of its relatives.

The weekend was spent in the mobile conservatory at Seaton Carew. Sunshine, big waves, picnics and the weekend papers! DJ even got the TV working so that he could watch the Grand Prix.

It's a great life... if you stay on your bike. I rode my new one along the promenade. I did well until I was two metres from the van. I glimpsed a section of kerb and panicked. (I can only ride in straight lines on flat surfaces).

I jammed on both brakes and came to a very abrupt stop. My bike was unhurt except for a broken bell. But my knees are still sore and there are bruises on most arm and leg corners.

Cheers for now Gillian

Friday, 15 July 2011

Florida Fell Off

The pebble resembling North America also had a small piece, shaped like Florida, but it fell off. I then looked for the other continents but only the South American pebble came close. I shall continue the search next time we visit the same beach. The lovely limestone and marine fossil pebble was washed up in the same area. These pebbles are really dark grey, not blue like in the picture. The area is the delightful Sandsend village and beach just north west of Whitby. We took the camper and parked on the coast road overlooking the lovely beach. We walked around the village and then went back to the beach and walked along it to Whitby for a fish and chip lunch at the "Quayside". It was a really lovely day.

A lot of the village of Sandsend seems to belong to the Mulgrave Estate which has a large logging plantation behind the pretty cottages.

It was all a very idyllic spot and we plan to return again....and again. It is less than an hour and a half from home and an early start will ensure a pretty parking spot. Next time I hope to catch a really low tide so that can explore the cliff to the north which is famous for fossils and I also need to find out how to identify jet as opposed to other small bits of black rock which litter the beach.

A walk along the footpath at the base of Brussleton Hill provided us with a feast of raspberries and a visit to the farm shop on the way home for some eggs gave us these enormous double yolkers which we had for tea last night.

The one at the bottom is a normal extra large egg!!!

Cheers Gillian

Monday, 11 July 2011

Bits and Pieces and Out and About

We have just got back from visiting friends for a couple of days. Apart from the lovely time we had, we also acquired a few kilos of fabulous cherries from their tree. We received bounteous amounts from them last year as well and it inspired us to plant a cherry tree in our yard. There are fourteen cherries on it. One branch has half of them and I nearly pruned it off! It stuck out a bit and I will need to espalier the tree as it grows. This branch will now be carefully trained.

Yesterday we went to a Country show at Raby Castle. These lovely alpacas were first past the entrance gate and stopped us all in our tracks. The Suri at the front has just been shorn and their babies are so very adorable. There was plenty on to do with "Huntin', Shootin' & Fishin'" and almost every dog in Durham was there on a lead. We watched the Springer Spaniels and Labradors find, fetch and retrieve, all with their tails wagging non stop and enjoying it so much.

Then the Scurrie racing was more exciting to watch than I had expected and the beautifully matched pairs of ponies a delight to see.

Last week we went to Binchester with P and M. They were up north for a week and Sunday was so lovely we needed an excursion. Binchester is the remains of one of the Roman Settlements on the Roman road from York to Hadrians Wall and it is just up the road from us. These remains have only recently been exposed.

The main dwelling on the site had a bath house with under floor heating as shown here.

And last but not least this is Tittybottle Park in Bishop Auckland. It is a short walk from the hospital and was used in the "old days" by the midwives from the hospital who took the babies out for some air and sat here to give them their bottles. The old double ended glass feeding bottles gave their nick-name to the park.
The weather is still mild but unexciting so the next good day will be a day out in the campervan. I hear Sandsend near Whitby has fossils on the beach at low tide.

Cheers Gillian