30 August 2021

Can we go to walk on the lady?

That was the question my little great niece asked me when she was staying with me a few weeks ago.  I knew where she meant, Northumberlandia and that it was near to where I live, but hadn't been yet so I was happy to go. The website explains its history and why it was made.

A view of the 'Lady' from the entrance. We were going to walk up there, its her face.

We made it and a view across the 'Lady' from the top.

Still much activity near by

Can you see the steep paths up the mounds?  My little great neice was up and down them and I was worried that was the only way up and thought I would not be able to do that.  But then found if I followed the paths around they led to the top so I was able to get there - eventually. 

We ended by getting an ice cream, for her and a cup of tea for me and sat in the car - I let her sit in the front seat, she loved that - and watched the planes arriving at the nearby airport.  Aeroplanes were arriving every five minutes or so, so business must be getting back to normal.

She fell asleep on the way back and even slept for another 15 mins in the car when we got back.  She usually wakes up as soon as the car stops. We bought that little hedgehog from Northumberlandia, as we haven't seen the one in the garden at all.

This is a map from the Northumberlandia website and shows the 'Lady'.  It is a wonderful place and is free to access, they ask for donations which I was happy to give.

27 August 2021

Two trips to Alnmouth

 I am sorry you  have not heard much from me lately, but I have had my little great niece to stay.  She is only 6 and inbetween, playing, going on trips out, playing, talking, playing, reading, playing and nearly constantly feeding her, there just wasn't time to write here. 

Alnmouth Estuary
One of the main reasons for my move up here was to get to know my little great niece and to hopefully be able to help with care for her during the school holidays. Last year I formed a 'bubble' with them and she came to stay with me a couple of nights a week during lockdown. So for me that was a wonderful thing about lockdown. 

We made two trips to Alnmouth during the week she was with me, the first with my nieces, and they went for a walk in the estuary, when the tide was out. They did have to walk in some soft sand and through some streams - I was glad I didn't go - so all came back with wet feet. 

Alnmouth beach is lovely, has wonderful views, a good carpark which is only a few yards from the beach.  I have been there a couple of times and it is the nearest to me, about 10miles away but takes nearly 30 mins to get there, across country and I even have to go on the A1 for about a mile then trun off it and then more across country.

I saw these big blocks all along the edge of the beach and thought they must be some kind of sea defence and was surprised to read they were first put there during the Second World War as anti tank cubes.

I think that these ones may have been made into gun placements.

There are lots of photos and information on the internet but I think this article pretty much gives a lot of detail.  And as he says at the end of the article, an important part of our history that should be recorded.

Our second visit of the week was so my little great niece could collect some shells.  We had a lovely walk along the waters edge, well she did and me telling her not to go to far in!!  We ended with her burying herself in the sand. We did get lots of shells and some sea coal too.

24 August 2021


Today is the start of the 2020/1 Paralympics in Japan and this morning my Echo Show included the following photos. 

Flame Pontoon
Needham Market was the only Suffolk town to be part of the Paralympic Torch Relay on 24th August prior to the start of the 2012 Paralymics in London, and planned celebrations at the Lake. They were asking for people to help on the day with car parking, stewarding etc. and I volunteered. 

On the Bench, 2012

Amy Nettleton

On the Bench is a series of three site specific installations commissioned for the Mid Suffolk Paralympic Celebrations via Mid Suffolk District Council and the Arts Council.

On the bench consists of a series of three benches across Needham Lake that have been altered to represent a lesser known Paralympic sport. The installations are family friendly, interactive, and light hearted but also aim to encourage the public to learn more about Paralympic sports. 

I was very privileged, on the day, to hold the flame that was carried by Mary Hills through Southend on Sea on 6th July 2012.  

I am looking forward to two weeks of fantastic sports.

16 August 2021

Iron Age Settlement

Geocaching takes me to some fascinating places. This is part of the description of one I attempted to find a few weeks ago:

Iron Age Settlement at Chester's Cottage. A defended settlement north-west of Chester Cottage (Denwick).  The Iron Age was from 800BC to 43AD and this settlement was most likely a farmstead rather than a fort.

The cache is not on the monument but on Open Access Land near the ramparts. There are great views (on a clear day!) over to Brizlee and Alnwick Moor. There are often cows in the field but don't worry they scamper away when you get to within 10ft of them!

I found the location following the GPS on my phone and was able to park next to the field, which had cows in it. There was a stile to go over.  I got out of the car, the cache was only 100metres away, BUT there were the cows. They started looking at me and walking towards me. I know it says in the description that they would scamper away, but they were getting nearer than 10ft to me.  They kept looking at me - I am not keen on going into fields with cows, they can run pretty fast you know and I cann't.

So I decided to contact my Suffolk Caching Friend - she is a farmers daughter - to ask her if she thought it safe for me to go into the field with the cows, bearing in mind she is over 300 miles away.  Her advice was 'probably not, that one is Male!!'  I always take her advice so that was that, no getting that one today.

I have added it to a list of caches to get when she next visits, these also include ones that may involve climbing trees!!

A few days later someone logged their visit on the website, and said there weren't any cows that day, so I will have to try again.

There were no signs or notices to say this was a iron age settlement so without geocaching I would never had known it was there. 

14 August 2021

Another intruder to the garden?

This morning when I checked the wildlife camera - no sign of the hedgehog - I had this photo.

Oh no I thought, I have an intruder, or is it a ghost, or just a trick of the light?  I knew the camera would be good for taking other things than hedgehogs, cats, birds and mice.

I then noticed the time it was taken, 10pm, I was still up then - was there someone in the garden when I was getting ready for bed?

I took a closer look, they have my slippers on!! I looked at the film and it was me taking the rubbish out!! 

When I first saw it, it did make my heart race a bit, but thank goodness it was just me. 

12 August 2021

Are hedgehogs mind readers?

 I have not captured the hedgehog on the camera, nor has any of the food I have been leaving out been eaten for the last three weeks. The only overnight pictures have been of a mouse once or twice over that time.  I have had lots of sparrows and blackbirds bathing and looking for food during the day. 

So I had decided that today I would give the feeding station a good clean and put it away, BUT look who's back

I am glad to see it back as there had been lots of snail and slug trails the last fews nights.

It did go into the feeding station, but only seemed to have tipped the dishes over.
So are hedgehogs mind readers??

11 August 2021

What was the new visitor?

So what was the new visitor to the garden?  

I sent a photo to my niece, she googled 'UK black caterpillar with eyes,' which I thought was pretty clever of her. And she sent me this link Elephant Hawk-moth larvae. I also sent the photo to a friend and she said she thought it was a baby crocodile!!! I'm glad she was wrong. 

I had seen the moth last year, and took the photo above but had never found out what it was.  The larvae and the moth were near my honeysuckle and they like to feed off that plant.

Yamini knew what it was, but I wonder if she had to google it too, and if so, what she put in the search box.

10 August 2021

Second full day and more geocaching

The second full day staying with Yamini, started off pretty overcast. We watched the Olympics had a light lunch and then we headed south in search of three caches. 

The first stop was a picnic area, but as it was raining, there was only a couple walking a dog there, it took us a few minutes to find the cache, but we did. We moved onto Innellan, a village that has an active community spirt. They have a great Facebook page so have a look if you can.

Secret Bay and we found a cache here too. Two out of two. 😀😀
Those 'windows' on the building are infact paintings.

Our third stop was at a village called Toward.

The building that holds the foghorn mechanism is now a private house.
The lighthouse.
We then moved onto the church, which again was locked and the church hall next to it. The church hall use to be a church - The United Free Church in Tayvallich - it was taken down and moved here in the late 1940's. There is more information about the history of the church here, you will need to go to about half way down the page to find it. 

These gates were next to the church and I wondered if they were the entrace to the church yard.  If it was, and as it was so overgown there was no sign of headstones. I did some investigating and found some maps on the National Library of Scotland website.  This OS map is dated 1900, there is nothing in the field but there was a burial site behind the church as mentioned in the history of the church. 

The history also mentions: Also in the adjoining ground there are still to be seen the remains of a circle of stones believed to date from the iron age and marking an area of pagan worship. 

I wonder if that field is where the stones are?

I left the next morning, the couple of days of excerise did me good, I wonder if I can keep it up when I get home? I am making plans to return, soon, hopefully later in the year. 

09 August 2021

Another garden vistor

 I was mowing the lawn on Saturday when I spotted this on the paving. 

It was about 2inches long.  Looks pretty scary to me.

At first I wasn't sure it was real so I gave it a little poke with a stick and it moved. I carried on mowing and kept an eye on it and it moved a little. By the time I got back to where it was it was gone. 

Anyone seen one or know what it is?  I'll tell you on Wednesday.

PS sorry something has happened to the comments for today.  I'll see if I can find out what I have done and put it right.  

08 August 2021


Our final stop of the day was at Sandbank to see the Lazaretto Point Memorial

I think this bench was put here to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.  There are also three benches on the shoreside, which are there in memory of three local people that died in a boating accident in 2005. They have designs on them that show their interests.  Yam did take a photo of them and you can it here, it's at the end of the blog,  their interests - music, guitar, and sailing, aren't they lovely and a great way to remember someone. 

When I visited here in 2014 there was a cache here and I found it, but it has been removed now.

This is Holy Loch and by the time we got here, it was starting to get a bit chilly and the clouds were coming down over the mountains. Hard to imagine there was once a US Naval base here. We only stayed a few minutes to take photos and enjoy the scenery. We headed back to the flat for a treat of a takeaway pizza for tea.

07 August 2021

So what's geocaching?

I have been talking about geocaching and I expect you may not have heard of it so I thought I would explain a bit about it.

Wikipedia describes it as:

an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.

Sounds exciting, right?

The cache can be hidden in or on a variety of 'hosts' including any of these. 


The cache itself has a log (sheet of paper) inside it so that anyone finding it signs their name and date.  There is a website where you also log a find.


They can be disguised in a variety of items

 Sometimes you may have to go in a ditch or climb a tree or go head first into a hedge to find the cache.


Please note this is not me doing any of these activities, but my Suffolk Caching friend.
It is fun, isn't it?  
I found my first cache on 15 April 2013, I only got another 5 that year and it wasn't until April 2014 - when I visited Yam -  than I really got going, her dad was a cacher so she knew all about it.