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Friday, 29 March 2013


We stayed at an hotel a few miles out of Bath and travelled in by train from Chippenham for the day. The station is fairly close to the town/city centre and we soon walked into this view. Not very far from here you can get an enticing view over the walls into the baths. The next thing is to go and buy a ticket. If you are old enough, the cost is £11. Well worth it I say!
I managed to get a shot of the baths "sans" tourists.  We walked around with large mobile phones attached to our ears telling us all about the Romans who lived and bathed here. The goddess Minerva...
...Supposedly gold. The original must be in a vault somewhere. She is really beautiful.
DJ stopped for a word with a bloke in a cloak. "Are you really a Roman?" he asked. "No" said the bloke, "I'm a local tribesman from a village near here". It's true that the Romans sent their legions to places far from home so that they would not desert ranks easily and many eventually stayed and got married and added their Syrian DNA to the rest of the local stock around Britain.
After a couple of hours enjoying the Roman Baths and the Museum we went forth...... Upwards and Onwards...towards The Royal Crescent. A very grand terrace. Close up, I found it quite bare but I suppose there are rules and regulations controlling whether or not you can even have a window box.
Further into town is "The Circus". I think if I could own property in Bath, this would be it, in preference to the Crescent. It's close to town and you look onto likewise stuff.
Not sure if this clever tightrope artiste was also a clever violinist. The music continued after he did!
Glad as usual to be back home.
Cheers Gillian

Saturday, 23 March 2013


We bought a painting by Tom McGuinness. He was a coal miner from a village near here and is famous as one of the "Pitmen Painters". I was hoping that it was an old scrapyard from round here but someone local informed us that it was definitely Cargofleet Iron Works in the background, so that made it Middlesbrough.
So off we went.
This is it with one of the gas holders gone. It still has the Dorman Long name on the coke furnace (large building to the right). They were famous for the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Tyne Bridge amongst others.
This car yard might be the actual scrapyard site!
We ventured on to Redcar to have our coffee and cake while watching the seascape.
It was really windy. They are still putting up the wind farm out to sea. By the summer it will be all that can be seen. Twenty seven windmills all up.

Love those cupcakes is crocheting a lovely blanket and it made me get out my log cabin patches and see how far I have got.......not far enough. I wanted to do enough to make a full blanket but perhaps twelve and all the borders will do! It's not exactly interesting so I started a cotton/string bag for variety.
I have quite a bit of cotton in my stash so these may become the default xmas gift. If the weather keeps on the way it is there'll be plenty of indoor time for knitting.
It's not too awful here considering how bad it is reported to be only a few miles away. We are quite sheltered at the bottom of the Dales. Further up the snow has been blown into deep drifts.
Oh for some summer this year.
Cheers Gillian

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Home and Away

Now that we are retired we can go away whenever we like. Having been a teacher for all my working life, I also relish being able to travel during term times. But travel costs money so DJ keeps an eye on the internet travel sites and recently found an overnight trip to The Otterburn Castle Hotel.... dinner, wine, bed and breakfast in a glorious hotel for less than £90 per double. Only an hour away so not to be missed!
We started off with a brief stop at The Angel of The North. I've only seen it from a vehicle before. It is amazingly enormous close up. I reach just above his ankle.

We then travelled on to see the large statues out in the sea at Newbiggin-on-Sea. It was very misty and they were only just visible.
So you can see them better on this link.

Then we journeyed on to Rothbury. Quite a circuitous route because of flood damage to the main road from the east. It's a delightfully pretty village even on a grey weather day. Friends with us had been before and had  bought sausages from the butcher and had even had them sent south!!! We came away with bags of sausages of many flavours. There is a link here for Rothbury and here for the butcher.

A few miles more over the moors of The Cheviots and The Northumberland National Park and we came to Otterburn. We stopped first at Otterburn Mill for a sandwich and a cuppa but sadly the kitchen staff in the cafe had gone home after lunch and so we had to settle for a push-button coffee and some stale cake. The shop was no more exciting. Too much emphasis on microfibre and sportswear. I expected some wool and woven wool at that. I shan't bother you with a link.

Luckily the hotel was not far away. It was a grand looking place with a long and mixed history and lots of character.
We had a delightful room. Our friends, having booked later, got a family suite in the tower! Sometimes it pays to delay.
The food was really good, the wine was grand and we adjourned to a sitting room with a roaring fire and some crack with the other guests. The bed was big and firm, the bathroom full of white towelling robes and other goodies and the breakfast was everything you could want. I heartily recommend the Otterburn Castle Hotel.

On the way home we visited Kielder Water. We wanted to familiarise ourselves with the layout and the camping site access. It was miserable weather but the whole place still managed to be awesome. We shall return when there is some sun and milder weather. It will only take an hour and a half even in the campervan.

Back home and I'm returning to the 5/2 fasting regime and have found a new yoga group. I've only been once but it is close and comfy with a small friendly group so I shall get going again. It's a bit sad when you can't stand on one leg without wobbling.

A new me will be ready for the next bout of days away which is not far off!!!
Cheers Gillian

Monday, 4 March 2013

Pots of Pots and Pets and Pics

These pots were lying around on the beach at the hotel in Hammamet, waiting for the summer season to start. They will then be placed at each beach cabana as an ashtray. Smoking is still an acceptable pastime in Tunisia! and ashtrays abound. These pots are a metre high and will be filled with beach sand.
The hotel had a more environmentally friendly set up with other pots around the grounds of the resort.

And at the architectural reclamation yard at the end of the road nearby were what purported to be some very old pots.
And a very grand old door if you have a grand doorway to fit it!
As we travelled the country there were many shops selling pots of all shapes and sizes just like this. I'm not sure what they can all be used for.
We couldn't bring any home because they were a bit large. We didn't bring any of the cats either.
Pets are not treated as they are here (well! in this house anyway) and street cats lived in small tribes near food supplies.

Tinker has just celebrated her first birthday and after a bowl of chicken she inspected the wrapping of the gift the postman had just delivered.

What a difference!
A quick trip to Darlington today to check out the Crown Street Gallery in case I had a picture exhibited. I submitted four, but we were warned that there was limited space. To my delight, two had been selected.
These are two of my favourites and earliest oils. The top one is "Dave Daydreaming" and the bottom one is "Not a Cloud in the Sky".
A real artist at last!
Cheers Gillian