31 January 2022

Home improvements

I haven't done any 'improvements' in the house since I moved up here, but I have done a few things in the garden, first I bought this trough.  I have grown some vegetables in it, but this winter I put some pansies in it.  They were given to me by a friend, so whenever I look at them I think of her and hope she is ok. 

Then a greenhouse, when it was being built, and last week on the right. 

That was it for 2020, apart from pruning and moving shrubs/plants.  Last year I decided to clear the front garden and have it all turfed, easier to mow.

Feb 2020, I took that shrub out as I didn't like          May 2021, the humps are not molehills, they                        mowing around it.                                                 are where I dug up some daffodil bulbs. 

All cleared, only took about 30mins, he did have       And all finished complete with lines, they did it
              that little digger.                                                                      it all in a morning.

So what shall I do this year, I have a couple of things I would like to do, First of all, I haven't got any wardrobes and in November I decided it was time to do something about it. This is the wall I want to put the fitted wardrobes on.  The metal frame is where I had hung my clothes, but lots are still inboxes. I have cleared the room ready for the wardrobes to be fitted. The unit is on the other side of the room now, but I may move it to the second bedroom.

The wardrobe was delivered on Wednesday.πŸ˜” Doesn't look very much, considering it is supposed to fill the whole wall and right up to the ceiling, hope it is all there.

Today, (Monday), the wardrobes are being fitted, so am expecting it to be stressful and exciting.  I'll let you know how it goes.  

The fitter arrived at 8.30 this morning and said it is going to take three days for him to build the wardrobes!!!! One day for each wardrobe. 

28 January 2022

Great Customer Service

Do you get annoyed with the adverts that keep appearing when you are surfing on the internet or looking at your emails?  I do, but sometimes I click on them.  Last weekend an ad came up for Dunelm with a sale and many things up to 50% off.  I like a bargain.  And if I spent £49 I could get free delivery.

 So on Sunday the last day of the sale, I had a look at the site. I soon got near to that amount as I needed some new under blankets and fitted sheets for my bed. I then looked at the kitchen items and got a new frying pan.  It says it is healthy as you do not have to put oil in the pan, we will see.  

A Microwave saucepan.  I like that it has a lid.

And these, cute aren't they?


One of the rice bowls has a chip in it,πŸ˜’ you can just see it at the right of the picture.  I tried to find how to get a new one and using the online chat they said they would send me a replacement and asked me to dispose of the chipped one responsibly. All done within five minutes. I am really impressed with Dunelm's customer service, I had fully expected them to say if I wanted a replacement, I would have to go to a store. 

It was only a small chip so decided I would use it as a plant pot holder. The replacement arrives this morning, again great service from Dunelm. 

In case anyone is wondering about the hedgehog in the garden, I still have the camera going, no sign of the hedgehog, so hopefully, it is having a good sleep, but there are still birds visiting and the mouse and the cat!!

26 January 2022

Gordon, Berwickshire

On Monday I took a trip to Gordon, Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders.  A village hall geocaching meet had been arranged as it is Village Halls week this week. The screenshot below shows where meetings are being held during the week, the one in Gordon is the nearest to me and the only one in Scotland.

They have been arranging the meetings to mark Village Hall Week for several years.
There are geocaches at over 1100 village halls all over the country, I only have four, better make a point of visiting more.

I arrived early so decided to go and look for a cache near Greenknowe Tower, which is just on the outskirts of Gordon.
I had read that the Tower was not open at the moment, but was able to walk around the site.

The lintel is over this door, if you enlarge the photograph you can just make out the coats of arms and the Courtyard in the right photo.

Parking was available near the kirk, unfortunately, it was locked, but it has a well-cared-for churchyard with some unusual and large headstones.

View across the churchyard 
No photographs of the village hall I am afraid as it was midday when we met up and the sun was shining brightly and I couldn't get one.

After the meeting finished I went to find some more caches, I got seven in all.  I am afraid there wasn't much opportunity for many more photographs but I did take some at the Gordon Community Woodland.

The woodland was purchased in 2001 and is run by a community trust.

Path down to the lake at Gordon Community Woodland. The lake, it looked so beautiful and peaceful.

This cabin is near the edge of the lake and is open for people to use.  
Do you like the benches on the porch?

Part of the disused railway line. I should have studied the map instead of just taking a photograph of it and I could have walked along the line to see the Bronze Age Burial site. 
I wonder what I would have seenπŸ˜€

24 January 2022

Herrington Country Park

Last weekend I had a day out with my nieces and little great-niece. My eldest niece, J, said to find somewhere where I could get some geocaches and I found Herrington Country Park in Sunderland. It is about an hour's drive from where J and I live but we had to do a detour to pick up my other niece, H, and my little great-niece. 

The Park is built on the former Herington Colliery, which closed in 1985.  The colliery waste heap was made into 2 square kilometres of parkland and opened in 2002.  

Penshaw Monument overlooks the Park.  The monument was built in 1844 in honour of the first Earl of Durham and gifted to the National Trust in 1939 by the 5th Earl.  It is thought that the Monument is a half-sized replica of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens.  I first heard of Penshaw Monument in a book by L J Ross, part of her Detective Ryan series of books.

You can just see the path going up to the Monument, it is in fact steps all the way up  We didn't go up that day, but I at least plan to return.

H and my little great-niece at the start of our adventure in the Park.

There is an amphitheatre built on the site, it looked amazing.  They hold events and concerts there so,
  I am going to look out for something to attend in the future.

The Miner's Memorial Garden, they all got there before me and had time for a rest!!!

The Garden is where the mineshaft used to be.

There was a geocache on or near these old pit wheels, so they didn't have time to rest once I got there.  In the end, my little great-niece found it.  She is a star.  I am holding the cache in my hand and explaining to her that I have to sign my name on a piece of paper in it. She was ready to get going to find another one.

We found 6 caches, before going to find somewhere for some food.  A wonderful day out with three beautiful ladies.

21 January 2022

A Pelican and pomegranates

On Wednesday I posted the last few photographs of my visit to Durham Cathedral and mentioned at the end, the lectern in the Cathedral has a pelican feeding its young on it. This reminded me of a monument in St Peter's Church, Baylham, as it has a pelican and some pomegranates on it.

The Acton Memorial, St Peter's Baylham

The Acton's had been Lords of the Manor of Baylham from the early 17th century until the male line died out in 1826.  This monument on the north side of the chancel is dated to the 17th century and is a memorial to John and Elizabeth Acton and their children. 

The pelican is at the bottom. She is sitting on a nest with her chicks in it and the pomegranates, one on each side on the bottom at the left and right.  I said on Wednesday why pelicans are often seen as a symbol in churches, but what about the pomegranates, well they symbolise several things:

Pomegranates signify a number of Christian concepts.


The seeds bursting out of a pomegranate are likened to Christ bursting out of the tomb after his crucifixion, so the fruit represents resurrection and the promise of eternal life. The Pomegranate’s many seeds can also represent the Church, unity in faith, and a community of believers. Pomegranates appear in depictions of the Virgin Mary as ‘Mother of the Church’ and can also symbolise royalty.


Some of the symbolism harks back to the myth of Proserpina (Persephone), the Roman goddess of fertility, wine, and agriculture, who was abducted by the god of the underworld and then had to live with him for six months every year after eating six pomegranate seeds in the underworld. (St Marie's Cathedral)

As a fundraiser for the church, we invited author Roy Tricker to talk about the church.  He talked about the symbols on the monument as well as the church building itself.  Roy has written many guide books for churches in Suffolk and books on churches. He is a wonderful speaker and I remember he was talking about the roof of the church and said the best way to view the ceiling was to lay on a pew, which he did and encouraged the audience to do the same, which many did, and continued his talk.  

19 January 2022

Durham Cathedral - Rose Window, Screen, Pulpit and Lectern

Final blog and a few more photographs from my trip to Durham Cathedral, just after Christmas. 

Looking up the Nave to the Rose Window.
The circumference of the piers is exactly the same as the height.

     George Gilbert Scott's crossing Screen, looking through the quire, 
to the High Altar and the Rose Window.

The Advent Scene in the Crossing.  
The Crossing is where the east-west and north-south axes meet.

The Pulpit 
the decorations are the same as the great pillars, 
and at the bottom, there are carved lion cubs. 
George Gilbert Scott designed this too.

The lectern, also designed by George Gilbert Scott, as was the floor. 
The lectern has a pelican feeding it young.

It is not unusual to see a pelican as a symbol in a church.
 It was believed to show that if the chicks were starving then
 the pelican pierced its chest with its beak to feed the young with its blood. 
A symbol of Christ sacrificing himself for man.

17 January 2022

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Sheringham Station 
(nothing to do with the book, but it is a station and 
I went there the same year the book was published)

Station Eleven was published in 2014, a 'post-apocalyptic story of love, loss and survival', and is listed as science fiction, not my favourite genre, but I will give most things a go. 

'Set in the days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be saviour, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theatre troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet
'. (Good Reads)

I am not sure why I borrowed this book, if I had seen it was science fiction, I may not have picked it up, but it wasn't too 'sciencey' for me!!  I did like the idea of a 'Museum of Civilization' which was set up by Clark, the actor Arthur's friend, at an airport soon after the 'Georgia Flu' pandemic started, and it is still there 20 years later.

The story jumps from the 'present' - 20 years after the pandemic, Year Zero - the year of the pandemic and 14 years before Year Zero.  The story is terrifying, especially in the times we have been living in for the last two years, but concludes with the idea that there is always hope.  

I listened to this on Borrowbox, borrowed from the library.  I have just seen that it has been made into a TV series, there is a trailer on there. Not sure how to get Starzplay, I will have to investigate.πŸ˜•

14 January 2022

Branxton Church

 Earlier this week I went to Branxton, a small village about 3 miles from the Scottish border and 30 miles from me. The main reason for going was to get some geocachers, on and around Flodden Hill, but also to see inside the church of St Paul's.  I visited in 2020, back then the church was locked because of COVID, but this time it was open. While I was there a man came in to clean the church and he said they had taken the decision to keep the church open again.  

The church was rebuilt in 1849, but the oldest parts of the church, are the 12th cent. the chancel arch and some low-level walls. Sorry, no photograph of the arch because the man was dusting the pews.

The Battle of Flodden was fought nearby, between the Scottish and English in 1513. The memorial, placed there in 1910, is in the distance.  The sky was a wonderful orange, which has not come out so well in the photograph, the church is to the right of where I am standing.

12 January 2022

Durham Cathedral - Prior Castel's Clock

Continuing our visit to Durham Cathedral we stayed on the West side and we came to the South Transept, where we saw this wonderful Clock. It could be as much as 180 years older than the Organ Case.

Prior Castel's Clock was installed during the time of Prior Thomas Castell (1494-1519), the clock was renovated by Dean Hunt between 1620 and 1638. It is the cathedral’s only wooden object known to have the survived the English Civil War, purportedly because it is embellished with a thistle, the symbol of Scotland, and was therefore spared being used as firewood by the Scottish army, who used the Cathedral as barracks in the 1640s.

In reality the clock's survival probably owes alot to the fact that it was an extremely valuable piece of technology.

The clock originally only had one hand, and has an unusual face with 48 (instead of the usual 60) markings.  

It's not a very good photograph, but the thistle can just be made out above the three dials at the top.  To the right of the clock is the entrance to the Tower, (centre in the photograph below).  There is a charge to go up the 325 steps to the top of the tower.  We didn't go up I am afraid.

P.S. This is my 100th post