Thursday, 26 December 2013

Sedgefield Races

Today, Boxing Day, we went to the races at Sedgefield race course. It's a good thing to do on Boxing Day as we're ready for a change of scene after a few days of Christmas food and activities and a good walk. It is usually very cold there in the winter and today was no exception. It was misty as we walked up there and the sun was trying very hard to break through.

Luckily when we got there it did brighten and the sun was shining.

We went in the course side rather than the grandstand side which I like better as it is less crowded but you don't get many facilities (just the hut which has toilets and drinks - it used to be the 'smoky hut' before smoking was banned which was good at keeping other smells at bay). I put my bets on online rather than with the bookies. We didn't win but it was a good afternoon with a great atmosphere.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Barter Books, Alnwick

Barter Books is a brilliant second hand bookshop in Alnwick. It's in the old station and is fantastic. There are lots of books, miniature railway, open fires, places to sit, a cafe in the waiting room. Quirkiness and efficient friendly service. I bought to penguin 40s crime books. It's well worth a visit.

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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Illuminate York

Light Festival at York
York Minster - it was impressive seeing the Minster without seats (pews). It is a vast space and a very intricate building compared with Durham. Much more detailed and elaborate. Not sure about the graffiti art work. Good to see the stained glass restoration work.

Liked the All Hallows' candles.

Clifford's Tower

Viking Stories
Museum Gardens

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Durham Cathedral Lego

We went to Durham Cathedral today. I visit quite often as it's an important place.
Today there was a Lego model of the cathedral and you could buy a brick for £1. I contributed a £1 for a green brick which is part of a window in the Galilee Chapel.
It's a good idea to use Lego as part of a fundraising initiative as it's appealing to a large audience especially in a slightly unexpected context.

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Monday, 29 July 2013

Latitude Festival

Last year we holidayed in Suffolk and saw posters and signs for the Latitude Festival. We jokingly said that we should go the following year and then gradually over the months we decided that we should definitely do it, check it off our bucket lists.
I'd not really been camping before apart from once in France as a teenager - it doesn't appeal and I like my bed and bath. So we booked a podpad (a little hut) situated within the pink moon campsite.

It was a beautiful part of the park with old trees. The toilets and showers were surprisingly good so that was a relief :)
We arrived on the Thursday evening and the weather was good. We explored a bit but didn't go to the main site.
Friday morning was sunny and hot so we went to explore - I was surprised how big the whole festival site was, much bigger than I had expected. Lots of 'shops' and bars and cafes. The security was very good and the organisation in general.
In the arena area there were a variety of venues - the main stage and grassed viewing area, the Radio 6 tent stage, a comedy tent, a cabaret tent, literature tent, poetry tent etc. There was a waterfront stage where we watched dancing and various stages in the woods. It was picturesque in parts and awesome in others.
We saw a variety of performances and although planned a bit we also just meandered and watched whatever was happening. Some of the highlights were ALT-J, Bobby Womack, Chvrches, Marcus Brigstock, Robin Ince, Nina Conti, Germaine Greer etc etc

There was a wide variety of people there of all ages and everyone was considerate and well behaved. It helped that we were on a smaller part of the site but even in the big arenas it was all good.
We took food and a camping cooker thing but I'm not sure that I would bother if doing it again apart from stuff for breakfast (tinned peaches and digestive biscuits). We found a great pizza place. There was free tea and coffee at the podpad reception which was very much appreciated.
The only thing was that my phone broke, just wouldn't charge so I lost some of the photos that I took the first couple of days.
Also no wifi but that's probably good as forces you to disconnect and chill out.
It was a great experience....I'm not sure whether I would do it again but I'd definitely recommend it.

Monday, 10 June 2013


Aquilegias are some of my favourite flowers and I have quite a few in my garden. They are very easy to grow and self seed. They look beautiful and colourful. They're very hardy yet look pretty and delicate.
Here are some that are in my garden at the moment.

And this is my old garden bench in the corner which I like escaping too.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Our night at The Late Shows 2013

This is our 4th year attending The Late Shows in Newcastle / Gateshead and it has become a must do in our calendars.
It's an evening when lots of museums and art galleries and other culture places are open with themed interesting events. There are loads of places open and I plan an itinerary and route beforehand. (My friends humour me with this as you do need to pack in as many places as possible)
This year our first stop was the Hancock Museum (Great North Museum). There was an Indian theme and we made bracelets, watched dancing and ate samosas.

The most exciting part was getting our hands henna'd. I've wanted to do this for a while so was pleased.

Next stop was the City Library which had a beach theme.
(Impressive modern library which is worth a visit at any time). The best part was the seagull racing which we really enjoyed.

Then onto the Laing Gallery - jungle theme and we made exotic flowers from sticks and plastic bags.

We had a brief rest in the cafe and a glass of wine to revive us then onward.
Next stop was Commercial Union house which is being let out as art spaces and was full of weird and wonderful installations and people. There were 6 floors of stuff so we started at the top and worked down.
Some exhibits were better than others - this is Geoff looking quizzically at a variety of items....

There was a room where you could make 'pictures' from Lea and Perrins!! We went minimalist then over the top

There was a candy vortex tunnel which I can't even begin to describe so here are pictures....

and dancing

As you can tell we were getting further away from reality as we descended the floors but it was cool.
Scalelectrix provided a bit of normality.
A room of butterflies a bit of serenity.

Then onto the funniest part of the night. The balaclavas. It was supposed to be that you wore one of the balaclavas, wrote an I Love You message which would be posted to Facebook (or something along those lines).

Anyhow the artists seemed to be worn out by the time we got there at 10.45 so we asked if we could try the balaclavas and take our own photos.....

It was very funny and bizarre and a great thing to do with friends.
It was now 11.00pm and we were cultured out so started to head back to the car.
But one last stop at Quilliam Brothers Tea Rooms - open 11.00 - 1.00pm - tea and cake. A perfect end to our Late Shows.
I would recommend it to anyone and encourage you to support it.