Tag Archive | postaday

Waiting in London

Exploring England #41

Waiting to board the special shuttle bus from Watford Junction to Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden…

Waiting for the traffic to move across Westminster Bridge before continuing on our walk…

Waiting in anticipation for the theatre to open…

All these were worth the wait!

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Waiting

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So Much Yarn!

Exploring England #34

Some visitors come to the North Yorkshire market town of Skipton to immerse themselves in history; Skipton castle, surrounded by 12th century stone walls, was once the home of the aristocratic Clifford family, while the beautiful Parish Church of Holy Trinity houses their resplendent tombs.

Others enjoy Skipton’s natural beauty or use it as a base for exploring the hills and woodlands of the Yorkshire Dales. On Thanet Canal, pretty houseboats compete for space with families of swans and ducks.

But on one weekend in September, people come from far and wide to see something else altogether – yarn!

Celebrating creativity, colour and “all things woolly”, Yarndale brings together producers, designers and textile artists in a festival dedicated to yarn in every imaginable form.

More than a kilometre of crocheted bunting decorates the ceiling inside Skipton Auction Mart, where exhibitors display their yarns in all the colours of the rainbow.

Beautiful finished works create a collage of colour and texture. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of treasures for any crafter, and the possibilities are only limited by their imagination.

Even the creatures who provide the yarn are represented!

Yarndale 2017 takes place on 23rd and 24th September.

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Collage

One Family’s Heritage

Exploring England #28

When Lady Anne Clifford came to stay at Brougham Castle in the autumn of 1670, she was continuing a long family tradition dating back to the 13th century. Located near the River Eamont near the Cumbrian town of Penrith, the castle was one of four owned by the Clifford family and even then, it had an impressive history. Built in the early 13th century, it played host to Edward I in 1300 and was an important strategic site in the wars with the Scots and during the English Civil War. After restoring the castle in 1643, Lady Anne stayed many times and died here in 1676.

The centre of Brougham Castle has always been its magnificent stone keep, a three storey tower with spiral staircases, hidden passages and stylised carvings.

On the third floor, a walkway inside the walls circumnavigated the entire building, joining one room to the next. After climbing the narrow steps to the top, we followed in Lady Anne’s footsteps as we walked around the tower. Inside we could see the structure of the building, and from the outside windows we looked out over the remains of later additions and the surrounding countryside.

Back down in the paved courtyard, we were awestruck again by the sheer size of the castle keep. It was easy to imagine how happy Lady Anne must have been when she passed through the gatehouse to her family home on that long ago October day.

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Heritage

Searching for Romans

Exploring England #27

We knew there were Roman ruins at Ambleside – they were clearly marked on the map. There was just one problem. We couldn’t find them!

Driving north on the A591 we passed by the spot where we thought they should be but we didn’t see any signs. We doubled back and looked again, but there was no indication of their whereabouts from the road.

We spied a small tourist information centre, so we parked the car and went in to seek help. A friendly man said there definitely was a Roman fort and pointed vaguely towards Borrans Park. We set off on foot in the direction he’d indicated, walking through spacious parkland at the northern end of Lake Windermere.

We came to a rocky outcrop which looked a little like a wall – could this be the remains of the fort? It didn’t look quite right, but we climbed up and over and took some photographs just in case.

From the top of the rock we could see small groups of people in a field at the far end of the park, eyes down and looking very intent. Perhaps we hadn’t gone far enough. We continued on, until an information board confirmed our suspicions. This time we had found the ruins.

The foundations are all that is left of the stone fort constructed here at the start of the 2nd century AD. We wandered around each part of the fort, joining a herd of contented cows who seemed oblivious to the curious visitors in their field.

In one corner of the field was the start of a public footpath – a country walk beckoned and we couldn’t resist. We said goodbye to the the cows and headed off on a raised boardwalk over marshy land on the bank of the River Rothay.

The lush greenery of the woods was mirrored in the calm, shallow water of the river, and we stopped several times to enjoy the beautiful reflections. At the junction with the River Brathay the water was so clear we could see dozens of tiny fish swimming downstream.

Leaving the river behind, we passed through a turnstile and crossed another field before joining the footpath on busy Borrans Road.

As we walked back to our starting point in the park we checked once more for a sign to the fort. Had we missed it on our drive?

No, there weren’t any signs. Lucky we found the information centre or the Romans would still be undiscovered!

Join Jo for more Monday Walks

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Reflecting

Unrivalled Views

Exploring England #25

At the top of the hill where the busy A591 enters the Lake District village of Windermere, a small sign publicises a walking track – a footpath leading to views of the surrounding area. Set back from the road against an old stone wall, it’s easily missed. We were lucky to see it, and even luckier that we returned after our cruise on the lake to investigate.

A “20 minute walk with unrivalled views” seemed like the ideal end to a perfect day. The wide footpath, doubling as the road to local homes, was level and even – we looked forward to a gentle country stroll.

We hadn’t gone far when the road was replaced by a broad leaf strewn path leading into the woods. A weathered sign post pointed the way past old dry stone walls overgrown with moss.

After the bustle of the crowds at the lake, the shady woods were quiet. Even the birds seemed to enjoy the peace.

After passing through a rusted turnstile, the incline was more noticeable, and a simple wooden bench offered a few minutes’ respite. Our gentle stroll was turning into a hill climb.

The path became a stony track muddied by yesterday’s rain, but we were spurred on by tantalising glimpses of the views beyond the farm gates.

The further the path went up the hill the more it deteriorated. Wooden steps dug into the hillside gave way to a rough track up the last steep stretch.

We clambered up the last few metres, leaving the woods for the open hill top of Orrest Head.

A few more upwards steps revealed what we’d come to see – 360° views of Lake Windermere surrounded by the Lake District Fells and the Pennines. In the late afternoon sunshine, the lake was dark and silvery. Little boats left sparkling trails in their wake and the waters of Morecambe Bay glistened far away on the horizon. In the opposite direction, farmhouses were dwarfed by the rolling hills of the Fells.

After meeting no one on the path, we were surprised to see others on the hill. Like us, they were silent – awed by the spectacular view, and perhaps also like us, glad they hadn’t missed the sign on the A591.

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Earth

Join Restless Jo for more Monday Walks

The Sum of Its Parts

Exploring England #3

Think of beaches and images of never-ending sand, wide blue skies and brilliant sunshine come to mind. But Chesil Beach, on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset is anything but sandy.

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The beach, formed at the end of the last ice age, is 28 km long, up to 12 metres high and completely composed of pebbles. The size of the pebbles varies from one end of the beach to the other. At West Bay in the north the pebbles are tiny while south at Portland they are much larger. It’s said that fishermen landing on the coast at night can pinpoint their location according to the size of the stones on the beach.

Fleet Lagoon runs parallel to the ocean behind Chesil Beach between Portland and Abbotsbury. The lagoon is tidal and at low tide there’s just a puddle of brackish water left. A boardwalk across the tidal flats is decorated with wooden carvings of local wildlife.

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After the bridge crossing, the pebbles begin. It’s an arduous climb to the top of the mound and the slope on the other side, down to the water’s edge, is just as steep.

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The beach may be vast, but each of its parts is tiny.

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Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Tiny

Imaginings

I love London…

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…and when I visit London I like to pretend I live there. In my imagination I don’t have to go to work; I have the freedom to wander day after day, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. If the weather isn’t great, I can stay in because there will always be another day, and my inner city apartment is modern and spacious with a glorious view of the river.

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In reality, we never have enough time in London to do everything we want. We like to stay in Bloomsbury, an area we’ve come to know well. Each time we arrive in Cartwright Gardens, it feels as if we’re home.

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The studio apartment we always book is the size of a matchbox and it’s on the third floor, so we get our daily exercise going down the staircase in the morning and up again that evening. Instead of the Thames, we can see the pretty garden between the buildings if we lean far enough out the window.

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But the location is marvellous. It’s just around the corner off Euston Road, yet the traffic noise can hardly be heard. From Kings Cross tube station in one direction or Russell Square in the other we can go anywhere in the city. We buy our fresh fruit and vegetables from the friendly man at the little stall on Marchmont Street. There are several grocery stores nearby and even more pubs. Our favourite is Mabels Tavern on Mabledon Place, and in the evening we walk around the corner to join the after-work crowd for dinner and a drink.

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I will probably never live in London, but when I visit I like to imagine I’m a local!

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Local