Sunday, 22 December 2013


I have mulled over whether or not to write my blog tonight- literally! I went to a mulled wine & games party last night and laughed myself silly (after a family Chinese meal- a tradition to us and a Newcastle match which was smashing to watch) . This morning I served (& drank some) mulled wine and sweet mince pies; this afternoon we relaxed at a neighbours' house with mulled wine and mince pies so I am celebrating the return of the sun and longer days with family, friends and food and drink!

I am struggling to find time to scribble - well- type- as life is so enjoyably busy.

One of the friends I met last week gave me Philippa Gregory's new book 'The White Princess' which is finished already! I don't buy books in hardback but wait till they come out cheaper in paper back- but H did so I devoured it- my period of history at 'A' level. H also gave me 'The Kingmaker's daughter'- but I think I have read it already- must check- though with my memory these days I could probably read most of it as though it was new to me. Then the third book awaits......

You will gather I have put Nelson Mandela aside  for a while- friends reassure me they had to do the same as it is heavy going- whereas Elizabeth's problems with Henry VII and other pretenders were pageturners so the book was grabbed at every opportunity.

Wrapping mainly done; the house needs a good hoover- but the  recorded final of 'Strictly ...' and a cuppa await before somebody tells me the result- my money is on Abbey (or is it Abbi?) so when you've got to go, you've got to go.......

Monday, 2 December 2013


 Last  Saturday we decided to blow the cobwebs away by visiting Northumberlandia; she is an earth sculpture created from the debris of the Shotton surface coal mine by the Banks group on land donated by Blagdon Estates. There are innumerable paths to walk round the parkland, hillocks and lakes.

Entry was free; Northumbria Wildlife Trust were in evidence selling postcards from their small hut. The base of the new Visitors Centre has been erected- upon completion the cafĂ© will be manned by Azure.

The afternoon was that of typical northern December; blue sky, cold wind and sunshine; the cloud formations were magnificent- like sand ripples left on the beach by a departing tide.

We climbed first to the viewing points, placed like trigonometrical points at the top of circular paths.

Oh Lady of the North what will you look like from a plane above you?

We clambered up the breasts of this female figure and took the gravel paths most carefully on the way down! Erosion was evident. So where was the Angel of the North that was directed to on the pointer at the top? Next time we will choose a crystal clear day in order to see Lindisfarne and the Angel. We identified other landmarks- we think! Urban lights began to switch on below us like the lighting up of a Christmas tree.

Ye Gods and little fishes! Circling up the approaches to the face, the temperature dropped; agh! it was so bitterly chilly. Gloved hands pulled my hat further on to stop earache... I hugged myself to keep warm while viewing....

From her forehead we were taken aback by how large the opencast site below is. H1 took off in descent before D3 and I- like a cat on hot bricks- to get back to the car, courtesy of the cold and to get to a Newcastle United football match; the Toon has this effect on us Geordies! the stoic pair left uptop took in the 360 degree panorama (First to see the sea!) then we too scuttled back to the warmth of our car.

The photographer was illdressed for the cold but I could see why he was waiting patiently for the sun to set behind Northumberlandia. We left him to it and viewed the winter evening from a snug kitchen.