Monday, 24 May 2010


My computer is poorly so blogs may be intermittent especially if it gives up the ghost & needs to go to hospital....

I was so excited this morning to hear A & I are running a global reading club- that she has read & enjoyed 'The Taxi Driver's Daughter' over in Australia.

H1 had a meeting here this week; later we had an envelope put through the letterbox asking us to ask our guests not to park on the neighbour's grass (on by 6" and by a newcomer to the group-) we have paid to have underlaid our other side of grass with dolomite & plastic holey stuff to keep grass growing while being able to park on it -block paving causes flooding); I was so disappointed they couldn't ring the bell & mention their concerns. We laughed the next day when H1 couldn't get his car off the drive because they (as they often have- & do we ever complain? NO) had 2 cars at the back of their drive and a visiting car on the road blocking our exit. NO we didn't do what lots of folk said-we didn't stick the note back through their door!

I eventually dropped off at midnight the other night inspite of a loud party still going full belt in the garden behind us; D3 was sleep deprived and couldn't believe the parents would be there to allow the earthquake like base - is D3 getting a little older or was she jealous she wasn't invited to the ball?!

Almost as good as 'Pitman Painters' was 'A Northern Odyssey' at the Live Theatre about painting in Cullercoats; a bit condescending inferring that northern folk were not willing to get into mainstream culture- and stereotyped Tynemouth weather as always inclement; the pub scene was vibrant & the whole thing was excellent. Don't sit in seats C12 & C13- restricted view with no warning.

We walked from Close House- lovely but the owning Wylies need to bring their prices down- I am no fan since they are closing the lovely Chester's walled garden to the public.

We had a poorly car when visiting friends upcounty; the AA even allowed us to go to the Angler's Arms for our meal before sending a great mechanic to sort us out.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Spick and span

If Pope Benedict is looking for saints to canonise then I will nominate myself! It had to be done .... the job I hate most..... on the hottest day of the year it has to be done.....all the beds were stripped right down to the mattress & bases....all bedding including blankets & mattress protectors washed & dried outside in the sun while vacuuming & turning matresses etc....agh! I am sweating cobs.....the house is adorned with piles of sheets, valances either to be washed or to be is moved to get at underbed drawers wherein H1 & I swopped rolls of summer duvets for autumn ones.... the washing machine has throbbed away all we will sleep well for one night then frost will hit the North!! We did manage a barbecue, boules and quoits amid the sheets drying white & crisp in the sun.

The berberis, clematis and lilac are beautiful. We have had a beautiful week- in fact yesterday saw temperatures of 28 degrees in the north east.

I forgot to mention last time I blogged that if you do go down to Eden Camp then stop at the village with the little bakery on the bend and with outside tables beside the wee ford- buy the pasties, sausage rolls fresh out of the oven and bring some bread home with you to slice & stick in the freezer ready just to pull out & pop in the toaster.

Did I also tell you when I mentioned walking from the White Monk Tearoom in Blanchland last week - they had charged one of our group £1.50 for the hot water she ordered to drink- frugal Friars or mean monks?!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Blanchland, Belsay, Brinkburn, blossom and a Ball

Life is dashing past as speedily as an elderly man on his Harley belting across the Pennine country lanes, dementedly trying to catch up on teen years.

Walking group took us past the Blackett family's Hunstanton Castle and tea at the Errington Arms..... and also week 2 took us to Blanchland & the White Monk tearoom's scones. The moors are coconut scented from the gorse in flower. Lawns are sprinkled with daisies and cherryblossom is drifted in every nook and cranny like bloodied summer snow.

I took advantage of yet another raffle prize win to have my hair done in Bedlington- Had I remembered I would have had it coiffured so beautifully for the PTA Ball at the Gosforth Park.

H1,D1, D3 and I picnicked at Brinkburn where an organ resounded through the priory and a vintage traction engine (Brinkburn Lass)came steaming through.

I have dined at the Pitcher and Piano and Newcastle Arts Centre with 'The Ladies'; lunched at the Piper with H1,D3,P&A, all hoping to see the Newcastle match but to no avail. So we played dominoes for ages & with much hilarity- we are now on a mission to bring back dominoes into pubs.

We have been geet cultured attending the Playhouse (now hidden behind new Newcastle University buildings)to see 'Ministry of Fear'; an excellent production of the '39 Steps' type of genre and method- few actors, basic strange scenery, open wings wherein actors stand motionless till they don yet another guise and take on their 5th or 6th character role.

Eden Camp welcomed us 70years after it welcomed POWs! I will have to go back as I got to a point where I couldn't take in any more. If you have relatives who experienced World War then they would love this place amid Spitfires, ships, submarines, shelters and tanks.

Belsay Hall is holding ' Extraordinary Measures' a series of strange, scaled but really interesting pictures and 'sculptures' amid burgeoning rhododendrons,bluebells and wonderful tulip displays standing to attention to the sound of croquet hammers on the lawn.

Saturday, 8 May 2010


I think this is such an opportunity for coalition; using people from all the parties, putting them in places appropriate to their skills eg Vince Cable as Chancellor. I think the nation has spoken; all of the politicians should forget party dictates & work in the national interest genuinely; no one party has been given a mandate. People do not accept the history or fully agree with all the policies in every manifesto- so we have voted in recognition of some beliefs/courses of action of each party. Other countries eg Germany & Israel operate coalition government.

David Cameron is not going to play the game- he is going to Con the LibDems & sell them down the river;is he listening to the nation? If the LibDems get nothing out of this position of 'power' for a future 3 party system , they & we need proportional representation; it can be done with a geographical allocation.

Exciting times!

Did I tell you I have temporarily shelved 'Cold Mountain' in favour of Vanora Bennett's 'Portrait of an Unknown Woman'?

The food at Jesmond Dene House has improved( the lunch offer is excellent); Zizzi's special offer (look on line) is also worth while. Mmmm!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election 2010

Aagh! I am typical , I think, of the UK population at this point; floating voter indeed; we are drowning in posted & hand delivered literature (mainly Lib Dem)(Is the Amazon forest still standing?) and media coverage. All the offspring have been brought up with the mantra 'Women have died to get us the vote - so you must use it'. The media keep saying Joe Public is not interested in voting-especially the young; WRONG!! As D3 said to me 'None of these people are worthy of my precious vote'. We all want to vote and have watched debates, read literature, listened to speeches, looked at the history of each party nationally & locally.... I have never in my life seen so many people interested in politics.

I would like the Whip system to go. Belong to a party if you want but MP's shouldn't have to tow the party line but can vote on issues dictated by their knowledge, conscience, and most importantly by their constituents' requirements as they voted them in. Naive? That is what happens in the European Parliament we discovered when we went to watch the procedures there.

In our constituency the LibDems are desperate to get the seat as Newcastle Council went LibDem; however the LibDem candidate is from Gateshead & has not answered any of my (or D3's) emails requesting help over an issue regarding trees in our back neighbours' gardens which overhang our land; whereas the departing Labour MP has visited, taken photos, sent us copies of letters to & from him in support of us. D3 contacted Diane Packham a LibDem ward councillor, regarding the cost & state of public transport in Newcastle (twice the price of London travel) & received a dismissive, rather arrogant reply.

As I speak (3a.m.)ours is the only light still on in houses around us! there is little pattern to the results coming in; there is some swing to the Conservatives but will there be enough to give them a majority in Parliament? Considering the hullaballoo over Nick Clegg, where have the LibDems disappeared to? I am pleased Lembit Opik has gone as he fancied his chances as a 'star' rather then a serious politician methinks! There has been a high turnout and some polling stations could not cope ; some ran out of voting slips or did not allow people to vote as queues had formed & didn't get in when the polling station doors closed at 10pm.

I still think tomorrow will see us with a 'hung' Parliament.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Flodden Field

OK . I know I am over zealous with the photos especially of my passions - flowers and Northumberland- I'll get over it soon! What, I hear you ask.... No pictures of chocolate yet?

The intrepid 3 went up to North Northumberland to walk; we ate our picnic before setting off!but after we inspected the monument & start of the Flodden Battle Trail; in 1513 the English under Lord Surrey came up from the south, went around Flodden Hill whereon the Scots had a well established position & came down on James IV 's army, surprisingly, from the north; the Scots moved to Branxton Hill THEN moved down from their position of height and got dragged down into the muddy morass at the bottom of the hill and lost 10,000 men including their King and nobility. 4000 English lives were lost too. This is one of military history's big 'What if' s- why did the Scots move from their advantageous position? Our 5+ mile walk from the AA book of walks included a visit to Branxton Church- the parishioners from which are reputed to have tended the wounded from both armies. We saw a stag and wonderful views of the Tweed Valley from Cheviots to coast.

Remembering previous year visits to Norham Castle I went to see the primroses on the banks of the moat. The thatched Black Bull at Etal afforded us grub before we wended our way south.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Merry Month of May

I can not believe it! My life is so busy May has crept up on me and I have misplaced M's birthday; I thought May Day was Monday and in fact it was Saturday of this UK Bank Holiday weekend. I need to include some flowers for M.

First though- I didn't make it to Trinity for a talk on the magnificent Theatre Royal (on Grey's Street)as my car cracked a bulletlike bang as I started out and the front was almost on the ground; undriveable according to the neighbours who dashed out to check the noise; B. my mechanic was my knight in shining armour and came down to check then fixed it good as new.

Walking this week took us to Meldon Park and a 6 mile varied and beautiful walk in the Angerton area- some lovely houses...

The trees are heavy with cherry blossom; aubretia is hanging over rockeries and stone walls; the first box of chitting potatoes have at last reared their green heads above compost level & I have earthed them up; I have planted up box 2 of chitted spuds; my patio pots and troughs are filled with predominantly purple pansies. The Bank Holiday weekend was heralded by a sunny day with temperatures of 21 degrees and a breeze- washing lines were filled and billowing in the sun. My tulips were standing like guardsmen on duty among the towels.

We drove down for yummy fish and chips on the Fish Quay- what is happening down there?

A group of us were wedding singers extraordinaire!! Then we all repaired to a local hostelry for lunch. The Falcon's Nest food is not up to much.

The daffodils are going over now on the Golden Mile along the Town Moor; my father always told us he could remember that as a little boy he planted some of those bulbs; apparently St Charles schoolchildren were among the children selected to plant daffodils- that must have been in the early 1930's.

D3 has patiently taught me to import photos on to my blog..... hopefully I can do this when she is not here now!!! Here goes.......