29 September 2021

Cornish Serpentine

I don't know when mum got this, Cornish serpentine barometer, I did check her wedding present list and it is not on that.  They did go to Newquay in Cornwall for their honeymoon so maybe they bought it then. 


I'd like to get the glass replaced and get it back in working order, but think it would cost a lot of money and I have no idea where to go to get that done. 

We bought the little lighthouse on a more recent trip to Cornwall, (I say recent, most probably over 25 years ago).  The last time I went to Cornwall was in 2014 and it was a long enough journey from Suffolk, 6-7 hours, from here I think I would have to add another couple of hours, but I'd like to make the journey again one day.

Serpentine was created millions of years ago when peridotite, a rock rich in iron and magnesium, was thrust upwards from beneath the earth’s crust.

It is found at the foot of the Lizard peninsula, Cornwall's most southerly point. Although it occurs elsewhere, the Cornish variety is uniquely coloured; dark green, red or grey, run through with contrasting seams, and it polishes like marble to a wonderfully deep sheen.

It was first used to build homes and farm buildings in the Lizard, but in the early 19th century a man who was repairing the peninsula’s lighthouse developed a polishing technique to buff it to a fine lustre and opened a business.

However, it was not until Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, on their honeymoon, called at the town aboard the royal yacht and they saw the polished serpentine and ordered some pieces for their Isle of Wight home that it became fashionable.

Nowadays it is holiday makers that keep the serpentine trade alive.

24 September 2021

Should I be worried about the state of crime in Northumbria?

I have been watching on catchup, the police series Vera starring the marvellous Brenda Blethyn, (can you believe she is 75?), which started a new series, of only two episodes, at the end of August beginning of September, with more coming in the spring.  Filming of the series was held up because of Covid. 

St Mary's Lighthouse from Old Hartley Bay

I have always enjoyed Vera as I try to recognise the locations, several have been filmed in Whitley Bay and show the Spanish City, there was one in Alnwick, the Archives centre at Woodhorn has been on it too and of course lots in Newcastle. They also mention lots of the landmarks, towns and villages. One of the new series was filmed at Thrunton Woods apparently it is the second time they have filmed there, which is only a few miles up the road from me.  I only read about it after the event. 

I have read some of Ann Cleeves Vera books and Shetland Books, there is a new series of Shetland coming soon too, again filming was paused because of Covid. I have read the first book of her new  Detective Matthew Venn and see that is being made into a TV series too.  I think she is a wonderful writer and would recommend her books.

Now then after all that crime I have also been listening to L J Ross's books which are also set in Northumbria. The main protagonist is Detective Chief Inspector Maxwell Finlay-Ryan. I have listened to the first ten of the series on BorrowBox audiobooks, and all the rest are available there too, but some have a few months waiting time.

Alnwick Castle

The title of each book is linked to a place in Northumbria, for instance the first is Holy Island and is set on the island. The next, Sycamore Gap, which is on Hadrian's Wall footpath, a body was hidden in the wall in that one.  It is suppose to be one of the most photographs trees in the country and I would love to go there. The third is called Heavenfield, and set in the church there, another wonderful place to visit. 

The books are crime thrillers with a bit of romance and humour thrown in.  I think it is best to read the books in order as there are links in them and the lives of the characters build in each book.  They are a quick read, but full of twists and turns, but for me it is the local history and local descriptions that I enjoy the most.

Warkworth Castle

Jonathan Keeble reads the audiobooks, he has a wonderful voice.  I have no idea what he looks like and I am not going to find out, but I imagine that he looks like Ross's description of Ryan in the novels!!

So should I be worried about the crime in Northumbria? All I can say is thank goodness for Vera and Ryan and their colleagues for solving all that crime. 

On the plus side I am learning about some wonderful places to visit. 

Sorry about all the links, but if you are interested in any of the books, places or authors you can read more, or if not just ignore them

22 September 2021

Blackbird bathtime

Last week I put some pictures and films of the sparrows enjoying a bath, today I have some of blackbirds doing the same.  They don't like sharing the bath with the sparrows. 

20 September 2021

Mobile Library Service

I have mentioned before that I use the mobile library that comes to the village once a month.  I started using it during the first lockdown last year, after the libraries closed and when they were allowed to start calling again. The driver, Simon is very nice and helpful and interested in how his customers were coping during the lockdown.  We weren't allowed into the van and I haven't seen his face yet as he of course, wears a mask. 

During the second or it might have been the third, lockdown, the mobile library had to stop calling again and one day during that time there was a knock at the door and it was Simon bringing some books to me.  He didn't rush off and stayed a few minutes chatting and asking how I was managing and if I had any family near by to help out if needed.  I think that was wonderful and am so so grateful to the Library Service for doing that.  

He was due again the week my little great niece was staying and I didn't think I would be able to make it to see the mobile library visit, but as I had booked for her to make a bug hotel and butterful feeder at the library so knew I would be able to take my books back then.  

The butterfly feeder, when it was all coloured in and cut out, had a stick attached and put into a banana.  She and the other children wanted to eat the bananas!!  The bug hotel was made out of a plastic bottle with both ends open, coloured with crayons and filled with twigs etc.   We were the first to arrive, nearly half an hour early and the last to leave.  (My mum was always late for everything and I developed a hatred for being late).  She loved doing this activity, and it was free too.

I didn't make it to the mobile library and was surprised to find two books left in the porch.  How much more could I possibly ask from Simon and the Library Service. 

17 September 2021

The Red Notebook

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain, is one of the books chosen by the Duchess of Cornwall on her Instagram bookclub. I requested the book from the library and collected it from the mobile library that calls every four weeks just down the road from where I live, (in fact I can step onto the path outside my house and see if the van has arrived so I don't have to hang about on the side of the road waiting for it).

Laurent owns a bookshop in Paris and one day he finds an abandoned handbag, he trys to take it to the police but they aren't interested so he ends up taking it home. He then decides that he wants to return it to its owner and so this love story begins. The redbook, he finds in the bag, gives him the first clue to find the owner.

It is a short novel of only 159 pages, but it is funny and poignant and certainly worth the time to read it, I loved it.  It is translated from French, but if I hadn't known that I wouldn't have thought anything about it. 

I use to collect spoons, I would buy one as a souvenir from places I visited, people gave them to me too.  I had them hanging on this, in my bedroom with a selection of the spoons on it. I haven't got around to hanging it in my new house. I bet you can guess where I got it from??

15 September 2021

Bath time for the Sparrows

The sparrows love their bathtime.  About 15 -20 house sparrows have been coming to the garden to get food and also have a bath.  They are fun to watch and do seem to enjoy the bath.  I have seen them have a dust/mud bath too, but unfortunately the camera in not pointing in the right direction to get that. 


13 September 2021

Getting ready for winter

The hedgehog hadn't appeared after the visit at the begining of the month and I didn't think the mouse needed me to provide it with extra food. So I decided to stop putting food out at night. 
Then over the weekend it came back. 


I love the first film of it drinking, I wonder if it got into the bowl?  There are stones in it to help it climb out if it wanted to. And glad it found something to eat in the second film. 

Well as the weather is starting to cool and I read that hedgehogs will be starting to look for extra food to bulk up ready for hibernation, I thought I  had better start putting food out again.  

So first job was to give the feeding station a good clean. Sorry you can only see half the job but you will get the idea.

Here it is drying ready for lining it with paper and then putting the food and water bowls in. 

 The camera didn't work last night so didn't get any images, but the food was partly eaten. 

And finally a new visitor having a bath, is this a sign that winter is on the way???

10 September 2021

Tour of Britain

The nearest the Tour of Britain comes to me this year is on the Carlisle to Gateshead stage today, but on 4 September 2017 it came to Morpeth.  I was staying in my nieces house while they were away and happened to notice the bikes etc would be passing by just a few hundred yards away, so I had to go and have a look.

I was there for ages and the crowd kept growing.  There were lots of police motor bikes, other motor bikes, lots of police cars and support cars and then the bike riders arrived....

And then they were gone.  
Well I can cross that off my bucket list.

08 September 2021

Hedgehog calling

 After the hedgehogs long visit and many pictures and films of it overnight 31 Aug-1 Sep it came back briefly on the night of the 1st September 2021

Then again on the night of the 3rd September 2021

And no sign since.

06 September 2021

The hedgehog is back

The mysterious hedgehog came back nearly three weeks after its last visit during the night of the 31 Aug-1 Sep.  It stayed for over an hour and I got over 50 photos and films of it.  It took all morning and several cups of tea to look through them all, but I enjoyed every minute. Hope you enjoy the films, each is only 20seconds long.



03 September 2021

Feeding the wildlife

The hedgehog hasn't been for over two weeks, so I decided to clear the feeding station away, (maybe it is hibernating early. 😞 It has turned really cold and wet here, hardly August weather more late September early October).

The  night camera showed the poor little mouse trying to find the food, he didn't want a swim anyway.  I felt a little bit guilty.

Usually any left over food I soak in water and a blackbird comes to get it. The blackbird came looking for the food and I did feel guilty so I put some out especially for it.  I knew it was the same one as it  has a bit of white on its head.

01 September 2021

Platinum Anniversary

Today is my parents 70th wedding anniversary and I am sure if they were still both with us we would be having a big party to celebrate.  I know that's Platinum as there has been a lot of talk about how The Queen's Platinum Jubilee will be celebrated next year.

A few weeks ago another blogger wrote about her dinner set and that reminded me that I still have my parents dinner set.  

I have:
10 dinner plates
11 dessert plates
10 side plates
11 dessert/soup bowls
I expect there was at least a dozen of each orginally, but still not bad after 70 years.
1 Vegetable dish
1 gravy jug
2 meat platters
Of course there maybe more in, as yet, in unpacked boxes!!

As a child I only remember it being used for special occasions. I did consider giving it to a charity shop before I moved, but have since started using it. 

The only problem with them is that they have a gold rim so I must remember not to put them in the microwave. As long as I am careful they should last me the rest of my life!!

Another blogger was talking about making lists, mum loved making lists and I still have her wedding guest and present list.  I wanted to look at it to see who gave them the dinner set.

It turned out that several people gave them parts of it, an uncle and aunt of my fathers, 2 of his cousins and 2 of his sisters. I love seeing my mums handwriting too.

My father died when I was young and I don't really remember him, mum died over 20 years ago and I still think of her and miss her everyday.