Monday, 26 May 2014

Afternoon tea

While D1 is off work we have been trying to take her to places she has not been to before. Mainly for afternoon tea! This phenomenon used to be common in Britain- but faded out only to enjoy a revival in the last few years.
We received vouchers for afternoon teas in various places eg hotels so have started to grade them as we visit.

In the past I have been with friends to

Horton Grange- the worst afternoon tea I have imbibed in. Dry madeira cake I remember!

Hilton (Gateshead)- great view over the Tyne and Quayside; reasonable price for a pleasant tea.

More recently I have nibbled at........

Eshott Hall- Ok value with beautiful snowdrops, stained glass windows on the stairs, red squirrels, and tiny cakes (which were much of a muchness- maybe because there was a group of about 12 of us)

The Grand (Tynemouth)- currently £10.50? lovely views over the sea, good sandwiches (you choose out of selection of fillings on offer). not such good scones!

Beamish Hall Hotel- large, beautiful dining room. reasonable price; fillings and cakes change each month.

Jesmond Dene House- more costly than the others above and put an automatic 10% on your bill which I will not pay unless I choose after considering the service! However 3 good scones(plain with cream & jam, cheese, fruit), tasty sandwiches (& like Grand and Beamish, staff are helpful when it comes to allergies to ingredients) and 'different' (if rather sweet) cake selection.

We did not 'do' afternoon tea at Bayberry Hollow in Tanfield village but loved their food.

I have had mixed reports of afternoon tea at Doxford Hall;
Eslington Villa does not do such delights.
I hear I should try the White Monk's teas in Blanchland but I need to space the teas out or my waistline won't fit into my waistbands and they are tight as it is.

Washingwell Woods

How many times do I visit someplace and whilst wandering I think of all the things I am going to say on my blog- then time, activities, visitors take over and I forget what I was going to write about?

I remember walking up and down the same piece of path in the heat while trying to work out which way the map was showing- while the paths did not agree with the cartography!
We eventually got directed through woods which fortunately provided shade; there were not as many bluebells as in the woods along the banks of the Wansbeck but there was none of the mud either.

We circled the lake before heading to meet another friend at the Community café in Whickham; I do like the garden in which it is set ; lots of groups in the area each plant up a patch of this hillside Hermitage garden.

H1 and I dashed down to the Customs House to watch 'Get up and tie your fingers'; an excellent sung/acted tale of the lives of women who cut and packed the silver darlings as the shoal travelled down the North Sea coast of Scotland and England. I remember seeing the lights of the herring fleet off the coast when I was up in Seahouses; I don't think the herring fleet exist now. The story of the storm and subsequent impact on the fishing village reveals just how dangerous sea fishing is.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Wandering along the banks of the river Wansbeck


It has been hot and gloriously sunny; normally I sleep with my windows locked on the sneck so there is a wee bit of cool air drifting in to the room; for the last few nights I have had to get up around 4 a.m. and close the windows tight as the birdsong has been so loud.

Last week the ladies plodged through the circular clarts fromHartford hall via Humford Mill (in the woods at Bedlington) swinging from branches to stay out of the mud on the footpath.

The River Wansbeck was high; the valley sides were carpeted in bluebells while the air was filled with the pungent smell of wild garlic


It is a good job I walk to accumulate my 10000 steps as I am having an 'eating out' spell; we heralded the summer sun with afternoon tea at Tynemouth's Grand Hotel (would you believe it was the former hunting lodge of the Duke of Northumberland?); we've been out to celebrate a friend's retirement with an Indian meal; the sunshine tempted us to have the family round for a barbecue- we played boules and garden quoits at which I admit to playing a thundering last round! I was as proud as this peacock which we met at North Acomb Farm when we went to buy supplies at the farm shop.

Our walk at Linz Ford raised a hot sweat which needed that glass of Fentiman's Rose Lemonade..... The buildings around the medieval fulling mill and leat have been updated yet hold their history.

It seems the weather forecast is going to be accurate- an early morning sea fret through which the sun will eventually nibble through..... I think I will go back to bed and see if I can sort out my biorhythms.

Monday, 12 May 2014


After 9 weeks my visitors have gone; I confess to being a bit sad but I am getting my life back again. My visitors were D1, her husband and new baby- and due to having a baby who entered the world traumatically and who refused to lie down-  life was hectic as we all did shifts through the night in particular to hold her up asleep. I felt privileged to watch her change, focus, smile and establish herself in the world. At last they have left us (sob) and I have cleared up the house and now what?

My garden is a tangled overgrown mess so..... I went into attack mode.  I did not have the time to put in my spuds- which apparently should be in by Good Friday; I wouldn't care but organic homegrown potatoes taste so much better than shop bought veg. The daffs and tulips are over and dead headed; Bluebells fill the borders and the hedgehogs are unseen but something is gobbling up the hedgehog food I am putting out. Probably blinking horrible magpies!

We were invited to a night-time barbecue by D3 recently- and while drinking Pimms and noshing homemade burgers and salads I watched a fox running along the top of her fence; this dog or vixen was a healthy golden brown with a bushy brush- not a grey, mangy urban fox.

I filled the garden  bin so much that we had to make special trips to the 'tip' and 2 days solid work by H1 and myself has tidied it up a bit- but I really wish the stotting rain would stop so I could get out there and get cracking on the borders.