Saying goodbye to Autumn


My last post, about Lumiere 2015 at Durham, is a hard act to follow.  I was tempted to just let it ride until I come back to the blog in December, but the Christmas ‘rush’ will be well and truly here by then.  There’ll be no opportunity to bid farewell to Autumn.  It’s been kind to us this year and I’m quite reluctant to let it go.  Just a week or two ago I was wandering through Durham.

On a bright Autumn day the shadows can be as beautiful as the blue sky.  I loved playing with them on my walk at Auckland Castle this week.  IMG_0777


It must have been about the same time last year that I was here, because there’s a poster advertising the Christmas Food and Craft Market on 20th November.  I well remember my ginger wine and mince pie, whilst looking at the palatial dining room, shared with you on this walk.  This year they’re going a step further, with an outdoor skating rink until 3rd January.  I might just have to come back for that.


Of course, it’s no good having a great view without a bench to admire it from.  And one bench invariably leads to another.  Let’s leave the Deer House and go looking for some more shadows, shall we?  I’d better catch up to those walkers too.


I think I’ve just about got Autumn out of my system.  And managed to share a few more benches for Jude.  It’s the last week of Festival of Leaves too and Verena has done a wonderful job.

If you do get the chance to visit Auckland Castle in the near future, don’t hesitate. It’s a beautiful setting and there are plans afoot to make it even more interesting.

That’s all from me for a week or two.  Take care of each other, please.

Jo’s Monday walk : Lumiere 2015


Are you ready for a little evening stroll?  I can’t promise you moonlight, but I think you will still enjoy the sights we’re going to see.  I’m taking you to the historic city of Durham, where Lumiere 2015 has been lighting the streets with enchantment.  This is the 4th event of its kind to take place here, and it attracts an international crowd.

I have my map in hand, and I’m starting off with light installation no. 1, but I may well deviate from the route shown in the programme.  There are so many distractions!  I’m on Framwellgate Waterside, beside the River Wear, which winds through the centre of the city.  Cloud, the work of a Canadian pair, is an interactive sculpture built from 6000 light bulbs.  Tugging on one of the dangling switches turns them on and off.  Rapt faces glow with pleasure as they look upwards and smile.

IMG_0583Behind me, flying the flag for the USA and swirling in the breeze like a merry kite, 1.26 Durham, installation no.2, is vying for my attention.  Such was the strength of the 2010 Chilean earthquake’s vibrations that it momentarily sped up the earth’s rotation and shortened the day by 1.26 microseconds.  Data sourced from NASA was used to turn this phenomenon into a 3D image, the basis for this sculpture.  Strong but delicate, it asks us to consider the interconnectedness of our world.  A specially designed app was created by a local company to enable you to change the light projected.  How amazing is that?  Far beyond me, I’m afraid.



It billowed about gleefully and I scarcely noticed the rain that was beginning to fall.  Not a good time for sitting on benches, but no. 4 in the programme, a German installation called Lightbench offered one in lilac and one in electric green.

Not a soul in sight!

Not a soul in sight!

Where is no. 3 you might be asking?  Over Milburngate Bridge and dangling on the side of a building, Big Knitting is a UK entry for which drain pipes had to be utilised as jumbo knitting needles.  Ever heard of ‘magic’ knitting?


Through Market Place and around the Castle and Cathedral a directional flow was in operation to control the crowds, but there was nothing to stop you lingering to admire a French entry, Les Lumineoles.  The gracefully gliding fish were one of my favourite installations.


I managed to capture a video of these sinuous and wonderful creatures, but alas, I can only display it sideways!  Lesson learnt for next time I use my phone camera?  Perhaps!  A short walk from here, across Elvet Bridge, you will find The Red House, created by France. The Old Shire Hall has been illuminated in warm shades of orange and yellow, with rainbow windows.  A pretty red brick building by day, at night it radiates colour.

Silver St. was all aglow with lanterns, but my next destination was Fowler’s Yard, where I hoped to see something rather special.

I first heard about Stu Langley’s Wave a few months ago when he contacted my husband for assistance in bringing his project to fruition. A giant wave, fully clad in sea glass, was designed by Stu as a tribute to East Durham’s industrial heritage.  Seaham, on the north east coast, was once home to Europe’s largest glass bottle works.  Waste from this was dumped into the sea, and continues to be washed ashore today in the form of sea glass. An artist who works in stained glass, Stu was enormously enthusiastic about his project, and the involvement of the local community.  Soon we too were gathering sea glass to cover this 2.9 metre high wave.


The sea glass had to be affixed to the wave by hand.  Definitely a labour of love.  Stu was standing there proudly beside ‘his baby’ when we arrived. He was so pleased that Seaham are interested in buying his creation for display after Lumiere. One more step in the regeneration of this former mining area, which suffered large scale unemployment with the closure of the pits.  Stu has another installation on display in North Rd.- Wheels of Industry, a Robin Reliant with themed stained glass windows.  Sadly, in all the excitement, we didn’t get to see it.

The lanterns lure us on towards Palace Green and the Cathedral, not quite sure what to expect.  The previous two Lumiere’s had featured the Lindisfarne Gospels, marching with great drama across the front face of the cathedral.   This year the son et lumiere was to be The World Machine – the story of the birth of modern cosmology from 12th century until the present day, and a collaboration of UK and Mexico.  I really can’t do it justice with photographs,  but there is a short video at the end of my post to give you a better idea.


Let’s continue into the cathedral itself.  Complex Meshes is another French installation, clinging colourfully to the ribbed vaulted arches, whilst music floods the vast space.  This was an opportunity to take a seat, and simply wonder.  IMG_0675

The cloisters , for me, are one of the cathedral’s most beautiful features.  I was spellbound by them during Lumiere 2013, but this year it was my husband’s turn to get excited.  Litre of Light is a replica of the cathedral’s own rose window, made from thousands of plastic bottles.



Leaving the cathedral, further delight awaits.  Garden of Light, another French installation, brings a hint of fantasy.  Giant illuminated plants bring a tropical vibe to a wintry English November.  Smiling faces abound, and selfies too!




From this garden of delight, you are directed down to the river bank.  At Prebend’s Bridge you find Rainbow River, a prism casting coloured patterns over the Wear.  Crossing to the far shore the path rises quite steeply and you are treated to a view across to the cathedral.


20151113_222637Just for Lumiere, fog swirls mysteriously above the river, rising through the woods .  Fogscape #03238 is a collaboration of the UK and Japan, conjuring up the spirit of St. Cuthbert in the mists.

South St. takes you past some lovely old Durham houses and back to the centre.  There are other installations in the surrounding area if time and your tired legs permit.  When I passed by Elvet Bridge early in my walk the crowds were quite dense, and so I came to miss one of the stars of the show, Mysticete by France.  This company was responsible for Elephantastic in Lumiere 2013 and amazed all of Durham.  Unfortunately the last showing was at 10.45, and unaware of this I barely managed to see the flip of the whale’s tail from the riverbank.

Durham can be subject to flooding and on the last night Mysticete had to be cancelled due to rising water levels.  I do recommend that you watch this short video, which brings to life all the 3D effects and drama that I cannot hope to replicate.

What more to say other than ‘hope you enjoyed the show’?  Terrible to think that, whilst I was there, horrific events were unfolding in Paris.  The last couple of days have been harrowing.  I would like to end on a positive note though.  The future looks bright for young Stu Langley.  He will be featured on the “One Show” in early December.

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That’s it for another week.  I’m exhausted, aren’t you?  But exhilarated too.  Please find time to visit all these wonderful walks I have to share, and huge thanks to all my contributors.  If you’d like to join me with a walk, details can be found on my Jo’s Monday walk page. The logo takes you there.  I will not be posting walks for the next two weeks however, as I take myself off to the Algarve.  Kettle on and here we go!


Gilly has out-bedazzled  all of us with her Autumn scenes this week.  Don’t miss!

A Stourhead Stroll

Elaine found a few leaves to kick too, and a companion!

Wendover Woods

Why not share a few beautiful moments with Drake, at St. Pancras :

Started with a kiss

Back to the South of France, where Phoebe finds some leaves in the loveliest setting :

A (short) walk for all seasons

An upbeat neighbourhood stroll next, with Amy for company :

Monday Walk : SoCo, Austin

What do trees and the Spanish Armada have in common?  Visit Jude to find out!

Ancient trees and the Spanish Armada

And you can never have too much of a good thing, can you?  Jude’s other blog :

Garden Portrait : Croft Castle Walled Garden

Jackie finds some more interesting spots to show us :

Monday’s Walk- Toronto

From Toronto to Montreal seems a natural progression, doesn’t it?

Four Cities and an Island… Montreal

In Tasmania, Ruth finds us ‘another’ Richmond :

The oldest bridge in Australia

Join the energy debate with Anabel!  Do you like wind turbines?

A walk at Whitelee

I always like a touch of the exotic.  You’ll never believe what Kaz found me for ‘lunch’ :

Summit Gardens, Vanuatu

Here we go, scaling the heights again, in Snowdonia!

Flashback Walks : Tryfan 15/11/2014

Pauline is briefly home, with some more deliciousness in tow :

New Zealand Highlights

And lovely Lisa is enjoying all that Sydney has to offer :

Bondi Beach and Sculpture by the Sea

Still Down Under, I meet a Queen’s Tree, in Perth :

A Walk in the Park

That’s it for now.  Once again my thanks to everybody.  I don’t leave until next weekend so I will still be scurrying about visiting you all till then.  In the Algarve I switch off from the world.  Take good care of yourselves, please.

Six word Saturday


What an end to the week!





Tilting tipsily!

Idling till another storm

Thrashes their branches


I think I’d better dedicate this to Festival of Leaves, while a few still linger!  It’s been a wild one, but not quite so bad as expected in my part of the world.  Good enough anyway to let me visit Lumiere at Durham last night without getting soaked.  If you get chance, do go! It’s on until Sunday evening and our sea glass wave was beautiful.  Then I came home to yet another horror story from Paris on the news.  What is our world coming to?

I hope you can enjoy a peaceful weekend.  These are the last of my photos from the Lakes.  On Monday I will be sharing one last walk and then taking a couple of weeks off. (the Algarve and a visit to my daughter beckon)  Please say ‘hi’ to Cate and the folks at Six word Saturday if you can manage it.  See you soon!6wsButton



I suppose this could be a Monday walk, but I really just wanted to share my experience of Glenridding with you, before it fades like the leaves.  It’s many a long year since I spent a night in the Lake District, and I wanted to savour every moment.

If you walked with me this week you’ll know that after my visit to Aira Force the rain hit hard, and I was ‘forced’ to eat cream scones and bide my time.  I should maybe apologise if you were sitting in the Orangery.  Once the scones had disappeared I took to pacing up and down, waiting, not so patiently.  Lake Ullswater needed filling and was supremely disinterested in my desire to be out exploring, so I had to contain myself until morning. Very early morning, so it was really no surprise that I had Glenridding all to myself.

I was staying in a guest house immediately across the road from the lake

I was staying in a guest house immediately across the road from the lake

You may have observed that it was rather misty!

You may have observed that it was rather misty!

But I was optimistic!

But I was optimistic!

And I could see the boats moored at the landing stage, beyond the trees.  Enough incentive to venture further.

I crossed the stream

I crossed the stream

Ad looked back at the sleepy village

And looked back at the sleepy village

And there was the lake! Not much mountain though...

And there was the lake! Not much mountain to see though…

There's the steamer

But there’s the steamer

And two wonderfully curious swans

And two wonderfully curious swans

I imagined it to be brightening a little, and turned from the water’s edge to head back into the village.  I tucked my camera into the comfort of my pocket.  Mistake!  At just that moment the swans decided I was a tad boring and, with a graceful flurry of wing, lifted off from the lake’s surface and glided away to the distant shore.  I gazed after them, bereft!

Back to the village, which was just waking up

Back to the village, which was just waking up

I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere with so many options for walking.  I saw at least 4 signs pointing out different routes, including one for Helvellyn.  Curiosity prevailed and I had to follow the latter a little way, finding a couple of pretty little cafes and a fine letterbox as I did.

I continued a little way along the trail, upsetting a little black dog in the privacy of his morning walk.  My shoes were totally inadequate for the task, and breakfast was calling.  Enough adventure for an early morning.  The rain began in earnest soon after I reached the guest house.

Back via the village 'green'

Back via the village ‘green’

I never did manage that steamer ride to Howtown and the walk back to Glenridding.  I guess that means I’ll have to go back another day.  Let’s look on the bright side- I did find a couple of Autumn benches for Jude.

Jo’s Monday walk : Aira Force

Beautiful Aira Force

Beautiful Aira Force

You have no idea how delighted I was to be able to visit Aira Force!  The forecast wasn’t great and, as we approached the English Lake District, a swirl of damp cloaked the mountains.  But a waterfall’s no good without the water, is it?  And in Autumn, the canopy of leaves radiates!  Driving through a tunnel of flame and gold, the senses are filled with wonder.

I had planned to walk to the falls from the nearby village of Glenridding, our base for the evening, but the road south from Pooley Bridge bypassed them.  Carpe diem had never seemed so appropriate.  A pocket of opportunity, as the drizzle ceased momentarily.

The National Trust car park

The National Trust car park

The car park was not as deserted as I might have expected, though the picnic tables were definitely unoccupied.  There were just enough people to exchange smiles with, in a ‘good to be alive’ sort of way.  A celebration of our good fortune.

Those coins get everywhere!

Those coins get everywhere!

Treading carefully on the damp leaves underfoot, I could hear already the gurgle of water.  The stream chuckled merrily on its way to the lake.  Not far to go!  But for me, it was upwards by a series of steps, pausing often to admire my beautiful surroundings.

Onwards and upwards!

Onwards and upwards!

I was eager for my first sighting of the waterfall.  Suddenly, through the trees, I caught a glimpse of its magnificense.

It looked wonderful!

So alluring!

Just a little more bracken

But first a little more bracken

And a few steps

And a few more steps

Beneath the bridge

And we’ve reached the bridge

The sound of rushing water has reached a crescendo.  Steps lead down to the bridge and I cannot stop myself from descending.  I lean over and gaze in worshipful awe.  From beneath me, the falls tear away to join the calm of the lake.

The falls tear away to the lake from beneath me

Leaping joyfully down to Ullswater

Leaving the lower bridge behind, I head on up to the top of the falls, the water my constant companion.  That and the moss and leaves. It’s possible to continue up to Gowbarrow Fell and the trig point for views all along the lake, but on a murky day like this the visibility would be poor.  And I’m so loath to leave the water behind.

My constant companion

My constant companion

And always the water

Chirruping water

And my other companion

And my other companion

The air feels increasingly damp and we decide to retrace our steps and cross over the upper bridge.  The descent on the other side of the falls is down yet more steps, but they are well spaced, and not too slippy in stout shoes.

We can now look back at the full 65 foot height of the falls, which I found very difficult to photograph.  My little camera has its limits, and I most certainly do.  I have too much ‘white light’ in the shot.  I tried different angles but it didn’t help.  I’m sorry!

But I was much taken with this aged log

But I was much taken with this aged log

A certain person was getting rather impatient.  I suspect you might be ready for a seat somewhere too.  I spotted a lovely one but it was a bit damp.

What do you think?

What do you think?

He's wondering when we're going to get to cake!

He’s wondering when we’re going to get to cake!

I think we’ve had enough exercise, don’t you?  I hope you enjoyed it, despite all those steps.  This link will give you clearer guidance on how to negotiate the various paths, and National Trust can help you to get here.

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Many thanks to so many of you who have again contributed to making my Monday walks a great place to be.  Shall we get the kettle on, ready for a good read?  If you’d like to join me you’ll be made very welcome.  Full details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.


Introducing Phoebe, in the lovely South of France, with not a drop of rain in sight.  Please say hello :

Coast Walk : the Cap d’Antibes

Tobermory says Scotland to me, but this one’s equally beautiful.  Thanks, Violet Sky!


Sounds like a good book?  And you’ll enjoy Anabel’s company, in Scotland!

Two Towers

Amy has something pretty spectacular for you this week :

Monday Walk : Cascade Caverns

The cutest giraffes!  Thanks for taking us to the zoo, Jackie  :

The Living Desert, Palm Springs CA

Photos do not come any more beautiful than this first one!  Many thanks, Lucile :

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge : Nature

Jesh always has an interesting take on life.  And there’s an apple cake recipe too!

Apple Hill

I know you’ll all be waiting for Part 2 of Rotterdam.  I was!  Bring on the windmills, Elena!

Rotterdam in a Day (part 2)

Denzil finds some strange things in the Belgian countryside :

Outrelouxhe : Just because… I like the name

If you’re seeking entertainment you can’t do better than join Badfish!

Treats and Tricks in Oman

And as I’ve pointed out before, Tobias has a very different take on life :


Wonderful variety again this week so thank you all very much.  It’s going to be a wild one, I think, so hang onto your hats!  Have a happy one and I’ll see you all soon.

Six word Saturday


Damp and disheveled, but not disheartened

Cream scone, anyone?

Cream scone, anyone?

The day was not perfect, but there were compensations.  If you like jam and cream, of course.

Let it pour! I'm inside.

Let it pour!  I’m inside.

And there'a lovely fire

There’s a lovely fire

And the promise of better to come

And maybe those clouds will blow away

After a good night's sleep

After a good night’s sleep

Maybe tomorrow

Tomorrow’s another day!

Thank you so much, everyone, for your good wishes!  The gift of glassware from Meg was especially appreciated, but with or without presents I had a splendid time.  Yes, I did make it to that waterfall, but the trip on the lake steamer didn’t happen.  My own fault, as usual.  Willful, headstrong, but mostly happy, if sometimes just a little damp.

Have a great weekend, won’t you?  I’m just going to pop in on Cate at Six word Saturday.  See you Monday at the waterfall?


Musings at sunset


Ponte Romana, Tavira

How many times have you seen this image, or one very like it, on my site?  I make no apologies.  It holds for me many happy memories and I hope to return to Tavira later this month to make a few more.  Today’s photo was prompted by Sylvain who asks for something classic and simple- a sunset- for this week’s challenge.  He has some beauties, so do go and look.


It was a beautiful evening

This month is very busy for me.  Today I’m heading to the Lake District.  I thought I might capture a little window of sunshine but the forecast is wet! wet! wet!  So, that waterfall I planned to see will be full! full! full!

Next week Lumiere comes to Durham.  The last show in 2013 was fabulous.  This year I’m excited to see where Stuart’s sea glass wave fits in.

And then Tavira!  No matter what the weather throws at me, I’m determined to enjoy November.  I hope you do too.