Friday 18 April 2014

Town and country

So I've finally caught up on all my favourite blogs.  In fact I spent so long reading through them that my foot, which was tucked underneath me, went to sleep.  When I stood up it was like having an uncooked sausage for a leg with the result that I just fell over sideways and my husband had to run downstairs and pick me up off the floor.

I've also edited the holiday pics and thought I would show a bit of what North East England is like.  I really love the little glimpses of round the world that you get from blogs, so hope you won't mind lots of pics which of course you will skip if you do, so that's okay too.

Anyway, first we had some culture. An English museum in the French style:

This is the Bowes Museum, built by the illegitimate son of an English aristocrat, and his wife, a French actress.   They spent their life together making a wonderfully idiosyncratic collection of objects and paintings, possibly as a kind of 'up yours' to the society which wouldn't accept him, and had this built to house them.  Tragically neither of them lived to see it finished.

The building below, also in the town of Barnard Castle, served a variety of functions, including butter market, fire station and court house.  It also had two bullet holes in the golden weather vane as a souvenir of a target shooting competition between two chaps in the early 1800s.

This sign was high up on the wall, so I had to look up Corn Returns on the internet.  Apparently each town had to declare the amount of grains sold in the local market, and the selling price.

In total contrast this was a typical local stone barn with slit windows and dovecot in the eves.  Although it has a corrugated iron roof some of them were tiled with massive split stone slabs (rather than slate). I think they are beautiful.

Being Britain the weather was variable. We walked to the waterfall with the longest uninterrupted drop in England on a very cold and wet day: photo taken in the two seconds we took to make the most of waterfall before turning back and does not show grumpy children. It was worth it though!

There was a lot of lovely sunshine however and the countryside was full of blossom.

How can anything as energetic and characterful as a lamb turn into something as stolid as a sheep?

I was so excited to see a hare - they are not a common sight in urban Scotland:-):

This is the kind of scenery lower in the valleys.

Higher up, it's much wilder.

Lots of beautiful walls.  I think I have a bit of a trainspottery nature, but I think the variety of styles of dry-stone dyke work is totally fascinating.

There's also something completely awe-inspiring about a dam - I suppose it's partly to do with controlling the natural environment, but there's also something surreal about them.  We walked across one:

and drove across another to reach one of the houses we stayed in.  That drop to the left was quite hair-raising.

A lapwing.  Love the fascinator.

Back to reality, and school, after Easter.  Then perhaps some quilting!


  1. I truly enjoyed looking at your pictures, the landscapes are so different yet so beautiful, and look at all these stone walls? I can almost hear the sound of the water falls...
    I, like you, love to see glimpses around the world that you get from blogs...

  2. Wow, beautiful photos! I just posted on someone else's page about how much i love it when quilt bloggers go on vacation, haha. Thanks for sharing :)

    Emily at

  3. Thank you for this lovely post. I love the stone walls too - just been reading a little book on geometric patterns in brickwork by Robert Field - great patchwork inspiration!

  4. I enjoyed your pictures, thank you for taking us with you through your photographs. I have never seen a dam, it does look quite awesome close up and the waterfall is nature at it's best :-)

    1. Thanks Linda - it's such a beautiful part of the world!

  5. so beautiful! Looks like you were lucky with the weather

  6. Looks like you had a lovely time down here in the NE - you were (relatively!) close to me!! And yes, it's a beautiful part of the country but we don't tell people as they'd all want to live here *winks*

  7. There is nothing like the British countryside. Thanks for sharing and glad you had a good time away :-)

  8. What a coincidence! DH and I were stayed in Barnard Castle last month, and visited the Bowes Museum. We had glorious weather and enjoyed it so much we are going back in May and planning to visit Durham too. Lovely photos, Catherine

  9. What a lovely li'l holiday you have had. Gorgeous photos. I love all those stone walls and that waterfall...just glorious!!

  10. Oh my - I had to do a double take whjen I opened your blog as we had a trip to Bowes Museum the first Monday of the school holidays! Did the children find the two headed calf? (That is my most vivid memory after the silver swan from my childhood visits)

  11. Fabulous holiday shots -that museum looksl ike a beautiful place to visit. Love your blossom and wildlife photos too.

  12. Seems like you have had a wonderful little holiday. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos with us! The landscapes are absolutely beautiful. Love the waterfall!

  13. Did you get to see the Silver Swan at the Bowes Museum in action, if you blink you will miss it! I am sure that I have driven across that reservoir in the dark taking our boys to Scout Camp, only realised how close the drop was when we collected them in the daylight :)

  14. Slowly getting around to reading blogs ... this post of your trip is fabulous ... I pass one of these barns just outside of Elora, ON, Can., on a regular basis ... it has been deemed 'heritage', thank goodness.
    And I love the dry wall ... we have many left behind by our pioneer ancestors.
    Thank you for the little tour !


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