Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Northumberland..Great Casles,Great Beaches and Great Chips!

Leaving Edinburgh I decided to drive down to Berwick upon Tweed for first camp. Berwick had always looked lovely from the train but driving through,although pretty it was full of the usual shops,and I'm really not a shopping sort of person. We passed a Haven site then quickly drove past another that was in the middle of a housing estate. off we travelled south.
Following a side road we arrived at the causeway over to the Holy Island, where a film crew were reporting on the amount of tourists that had driven across paying no heed to the tide times. Like a lemming I followed all the other cars across, also not knowing the tide timetables...thinking that perhaps everyone else had looked.

. I didn't mind the thought of getting stuck over near Lindisfarne because it was very beautiful and I had a tent, juice and bread and butter ! The car park was packed so having set off knowing that we were going to move everyday we set off back towards Bamburgh.
What luck, we found a lovely friendly, pretty campsite with simple ammenities, perfect The chap running the site was happy , helpful and told us that we should visit Bamburgh, we will be blown away !..I also found that everyone camping  were also friendly, it makes such a difference.  After setting up the tent we set off to Bamburgh, not knowing quite  and what to expect.
Bamburgh is famous for being the Home of Grace Darling, The famous Victorian Heroine. In 1838 Grace Darling and her father a lighthouse keeper on the Farne Islands rowed out in their small open boat into raging seas to rescue nine men from the wreck of the SS Forfarshire.There is a memorial to her in the local churchyard.
We walked around the corner and Wow! blooming amazing.. Bamborough Castle rises into the clouds above the little town. in spectacular fashion...we had to visit The Royal Seat of the Kings of Northumbria Well worth the visit we were not be honest my photos don't do The Castle justice.!


Wow! blooming amazing Bamburgh Castle rises into the clouds above the little town...we had to visit The Royal Seat of the Kings of Northumbria
Alongside The castle are big sand dunes and a wonderful sandy beach...bit bracing but great....working up an appetite it was soon time for a visit to a chip shop.

Cottages on road between Bamburgh and Seahouses..I love them.

Seahouses wasn't the prettiest of places .probably looks better in the sunshine..but it had a big selection of least five within a minutes walk of each other.
 We eventually chose the shop that was a favourite of one of The Hairy Bikers...a couple of bearded chaps that are very interested in food off the telly.
Full of chips we set off back for camp... ending a lovely day by having a little walk along Budle bay listening to the curlews.

After a good nights kip falling asleep to the sound of the small stream next to the tent we packed up and set off for our next port of call......Beamish.
I have opened a shop on Etsy

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

David Mach and Elizabeth Blackadder

During my visit to Edinburgh I visited quite a few Exhibitions, one of which was David Mach: Precious Light at The City Art Gallery. I really enjoyed it. David Mach is a Scottish artist who makes large scale collages and sculptures. He was born in Fife and trained in Dundee and London.This Exhibition was based on the Anniversary and Celebration of The King James Bible. There were five floors of his work including a studio where you could watch his team making a huge collage called the Last Supper, complete with flowered tablecloth. He has moved his London Studio to Edinburgh for the duration of the Exhibition.David Mach: Precious Light

His large sculptures are made from metal coat hangers and show men in pain on large crosses. Upstairs there were two heads one of the Devil and one of Jesus all made of coloured matches
I now want to have a go myself but probably not to such a large scale ! One tip I learnt about doing Collage or Decoupage was to lightly sand the edges of the cut paper on the back before gluing down. It gives a much smoother surface.
Another Exhibition I visited was Elizabeth Blackadder at the National Gallery in Edinburgh. To be honest I'm not really her greatest fan but I was interested in seeing her actual work as apposed to the printed variety. I prefer her watercolours to her oils but I was surprised at how smudgy her paper was around her pictures. I'd imagined that they would have been very clean .Southern Hemisphere Plants

Years ago when I worked at Beckford Silk Mill I helped work on a colour separation of one of her Iris pictures for a silk scarf. I worked in the top studio with a friend Carolyn Morgan. She now produces lovely leaded glass ornaments, selling them in Cirencester and Ledbury.
While I worked there we worked on many designs for Buckingham Palace, Guinness, Famous Grouse, Imperial War Museum and many others. When the building was first opened I painted lots of signs for their interior.
cafe sign and print room sign

Anyway, back to Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, It was a good show and I'm pleased I saw it..I think you can always come away having been inspired in one way or another even just by the way colours are put together or even the framing !
I have opened a shop on  Etsy

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Braid Burn

The Dovecote, built in the late C17th with 1965 nest holes.. It used to have five stone urns decorating it.. I carried on walking along the left of the river and saw some little buildings in the distance.
 Out in the open and there was The braid Hermitage, it was finished by architect Robert Burn.

The following is an old description of the Hermitage. Braid House "Plantations also ornament the eminences which rise at each side of it; while the naked rocks, which pep in different places through the trees, certainly add considerably to the romantic nature of the scenery. These works of nature far transcend those of art; the artificial plots and little niceties of botanical ingenuity dwindle into nothing and  and insignificance before them. The walk along the Braid is romantic in the highest degree.

The admirer of nature's work will find many things justly worthy of his contemplation. Blackford Hill rises near it on one side,Pentland Heights overhang it at a small distance on the other. On the south west are Braid Crrags, and a tract of open pasture grounds.
(Ref. Edinburgh Public Library. Accession 42374 )

The Gate into the Ice House, a circular well with a domed ceiling.
Finally a steep walk up a wooded bank and out into the sunshine, the summit and the great views of Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills.

Up on the Blackford Hills were Thistles, Yarrow and Harebells. Yarrow used to be known as 'devils plaything', Itit was dedicated to the 'evil one' and was used in many spells. It can also be used  to both suppress and cause nosebleeds. 
Harebell was called this because of the belief that witches used juices squeezed from the flowers to tun themselves into Hares. Its also known as the Scottish Bluebell, and Goblins, Witches or Puck's thimble.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


Today I came across The Witches Fountain. It is very near the Castle walls in Edinburgh on an area called Castlehill. Near this site over 2000 witches were burnt at the stake. More witches were burnt on Castlehill in the C16th than almost anywhere in Europe. 
The fountain was designed by John Duncan R.S.A.,There are two heads one looking wicked the other serene.They are Hygeia The Goddess of Health and Aesculapius The God of Medicine. The Serpent and a Foxglove show the two sides of the story , Good and bad.

The North Berwick Witches sparked the start of witch hunting in Scotland. Over 3800 people were accused of being a witch with over 2000 of them being put to death. Mary Queen of Scots brought the Witchcraft Act from Europe which meant that witches would be strangled ( 'werrit' ) first before being burnt. Many were also tortured in the most horrid of ways. They were also thrown into The Nor'Loch, now Princes Street Gardens. In the well known way if they floated then they were guilty ,if they drowned they were Innocent.  This is known as 'Dooking' in Scotland.The North Berwick Witches with the help of 'Ould Clootie' the Devil at Halloween, confessed under torture of causing hurricanes off the coast, trying to prevent Anne ,Princess of Denmark, King James V1's future wife,from reaching Scotland. Dame Euphane MaCalzean accused of being one of the witches.
Men were burnt too. In 1702 James Reid of Mussellburgh was burnt alive on Castlehill. He was accused of throwing enchanted stones into a field farmed by David Libberton,thus destroying his crops and by making a wax image,melting it in the fire and causing the death of the farmer.Janet Home was the last person to be executed as a witch in 1722. The law was abolished in 1736.
I was in for a witchy day,The National Museum had a small section on charms which include a few stones with natural holes in and a witches rope. The Holey stones were used as charms against witches and elves. They were often threaded with red wool or ribbon and hung over stables and cattle byres to protect the animals. Traditionally after seven years the stones were taken down and thrown into a river or running water before being replaced with a newly found stone. Whatever badness the stone had gathered in the seven years would be washed away.
By the late afternoon I went for a walk through the Braids and there was some Enchanters Nightshade. The Enchanter was Circe the Witch whose spells turned the shipmates of Ulysses into pigs. This was the plant that was thought to have been used and its botanical name is Circaea.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Olympic Torch

Today we visited Queensbury to see The Forth Railway Bridge. A local said that you could walk along it but after ascending goodness knows how many steps then walking along a forested path we found ourselves on Platform 1. A railway worker then told us its the road bridge that you walk along ,only workers and 'jumpers' walk along the Forth Bridge. So we descended and walked along the pier to take photos of the Lifeboat that was moored up along the Pier.
I suddenly realised that the small group of people by the Lifeboat were carrying the Olympic Torch...I didn't think we would ever see it. I asked if Johnjo could hold it and the Chap said Yes but I couldn't take a photograph...Brilliant. It did look like it was made of sequin waste but heavier. The 8000 holes represent the amount of people that have held the torch..we were very lucky ,what chance and good timing on our part!

Please have a look at Flicr for more photos of Queensbury and the Forth Bridge.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Marvelous mechanical clocks

Today I had a great day walking around The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. In the discovery section is an amazing ten metre high clock tower. It shows the best and worst of the twentieth century, rather more of the worst but quite amazing. It has four sections, The Crypt, The Nave, The Belfry and The Spire. The Crypt shows an ancient spirit and an Egyptian monkey. The nave has the figures of Lenin, Hitler and Stalin. The belfry has Twelve figures each showing the months of the year but also showing the hardship and human tragedy. The Spire has a female figure holding a dead man in her arms. It is the Pieta  from the Italian for compassion and pity.
  It was made by the Millennium Clock makers Trust.
Annica Sandstrom- Glass Artist
Tim Stead- Furniture maker
Eduard Bersudsky-Kinetic carved figures
Jurgen Tubbecke-Clock maker
Maggy Lenert- Ilustrator
Tatyana Jakovskaya- Artistic direction and the Coordinator of the Project.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Trip to Edinburgh

My morning started at 8.30, it was a grey start but the Malverns were bathed in a golden light. .In the first 50 miles as I overtook a car I smelt burning rubber, I quickly went into the slow lane and found that luckily it wasn't me. Then lots of pieces of metal bounced onto the road from under a coach just before it pulled over to join quite a few other cars on the hard shoulder. Initially I wanted to stop at a few places on route but decided I had better keep moving!..with fingers crossed. I'm afraid the landscape from the road doesn't do much for me until just after Preston., but there are little pockets a great little sawmill on the left, a strange yard with a huge painted signboard with a mobile number on the right. Then I start seeing places that bring back all sorts of memories.
Knutsford-Where I worked with Miles painting many fine and fancy houses. Lymn where I buy a lot of my paint and gold leaf ..
.Over The Manchester Ship Canal where we used to keep horses,Golbourne where there was a Horse drawn Rag and bone yard....his horse used to kick over cement mixers and sit on the bonnets of cars !,
Wigan its Pier and the saying I kept hearing people's pigging this and pigging that...not a favourite of mine.
Past Chorley and it's lovely Chorley cakes..a bit like Eccles cakes  ..The following link has  a recipe for them
Whittle le Woods where there used to be carriage sales, I remember a lovely journey to it on the back of a dray in the sunshine. Bamber bridge and Blackpool...too many stories !
Garstang where there is a great team of cloggers, breeches and huge hats full of flowers.
Then past Scorton church a regular stopping place on the way to and from Appleby Horse Fair.  . Kirby Lonsdale, Sedbergh all Wagon stopping places. Over The River Lune where I used to do my washing before hanging it on the hedges to dry...everyone else travelling would know I wouldn't be moving that day.
As the journey goes on the landscape is beautiful, beautiful cottages and farms with smoke coming out of their's the middle of August !
Tebay services, time for a stop and petrol top services go it's really lovely..actually a tourist attraction It was warm in Winchcombe when I left a bit of a shock getting out at Tebay, I must have been the only one in a skirt and short sleeved blouse ! Then back on the road before turning off at Moffat, by the way the road surface on the motorways around here are amazing, so smooth and new looking . Moffat was packed maybe everyone was queuing up to buy Moffat balls !
One place worth stopping at for the view is the Devil's Beef tub's_Beef_Tub
Theres a feel of Spain going through Romanno Bridge and passing a heavy plant company called Rose of Lamancho !
If you are a fan of corrugated iron like me then on the right was an amazing farm full of very tall barns all made of corrugated iron, sheets and sheets of it..I wish I'd stopped and taken a photo of it but I was so close to Edinburgh I felt I should keep the engine moving. Finally reaching the city, Ikea and asda...etc then the road leading me to Morningside ( where they filmed The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie ) and a lovely cup of tea...and an eccles cake all the way from Coleford in The Forest of Dean.


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