Six word Saturday


Having fun on a murky day




It was one of those days when you just need a breath of air.  Salt spray, the wind in your hair…  Roker Pier.  Where else?  A stride across the sands, rain at your back…  Then back along the cliff top, past Bede’s Memorial.

No children in the playground.  It’s a bit damp, and the big brothers and sisters will be in school.


Jack Sparrow’s on his own this weekend.  Our first snow arrived overnight.

What did you get up to this week?  Got time to share six words with Cate?

Enjoy your weekend, whatever you have planned.  I’ll see you on Monday, for a walk?  We have a date with some waterfalls.


Lazy Poet’s Winter Garden

Hellebore 2

Hellebore, my friend,

Tilting up your Winter smile.

Stay with me, till Spring?


Use your imagination, said Jude.  I really didn’t need to.  They were just waiting for me to notice them, so I could enter the  Winter Garden challenge this week.  My Lazy Poet friend Gilly found some too.  We now have a chorus of hellebore!

Jo’s Monday walk : High Force and Gibson’s Cave


It’s almost like a watercolour, isn’t it?  The light was so beautiful on that late December day in Teesdale, and the sense of freedom was intoxicating. The days on either side of it had sheeted with rain, and there was little doubt in my mind that the Tees would be in full spate.  Where better to head than spectacular High Force waterfall, situated within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Beauty?


From the car parking at High Force, you can walk down to view the falls and then follow the river downstream to Low Force, pictured in my first photo.  A sign at the top of the path grabbed my attention- a reminder that the power of nature is nothing new at all.


High Force formed where the River Tees crosses the Whin Sill– a hard layer of igneous rock.  The waterfall itself is comprised of three different types of rock.  The upper band is whinstone, or dolerite- a hard igneous rock which is slow to erode.  The lower section is carboniferous limestone- much softer and easily worn away.  Between the two, carboniferous sandstone was baked hard when Whin Sill was molten 295 million years ago.  This combination means that the waterfall is slowly moving upstream as the rock wears away.

I had no sense of this, as I stood there, enveloped in a world of water.  The temporary fine weather, and the respite between Christmas and New Year, had brought the crowds to gaze in wonder.  I edged as close as I could, happy to worship alongside them.

As I walked back up the path, the rocks streamed with water, and the frailty of the trees was visible all around me.  It’s many years since I was last at High Force, and I had to ask myself why.  The countryside is so beautiful!


Looking at the map in the car park, I followed the river along to Bowlees Visitor Centre, and my attention was caught by a short walk to Gibson’s Cave.  Something new to me!  My husband knew from the glint in my eye that this was my next target.

I was delighted to find that the somewhat muddy path followed a tributary of the river, and that there were more waterfalls in store.

The route bypasses abandoned Bowlees Quarry and I stopped to read the signs.  It was too wet underfoot to do more.

The drystone walls and even the fences were covered in spongy, green moss, but it was the bed of the river that captivated.  The rock formation was unlike anything I’d seen before- an intricate scratching of patterns .




You can see the path, running alongside the falls.  It was a little slippy in places and I had to scramble through a fallen tree, but the end was in sight- Gibson’s Cave.  But who was Gibson?  A ‘lovable rogue’, apparently.




Did you read the explanation of the patterns on the river bed?  Layers of grey limestone, sandstone and dark shale, in a tropical sea about 330 million years ago.  Quite incredible!  And Gibson?  A happy, 16th century outlaw.

That wasn’t the end of my adventures for the day, but I think that it’s a good point at which to stop.  The Bowlees Visitor Centre is nearby and, if you’re lucky, it might be open.  Cake, or something more substantial?

Next week we’ll carry on to Low Force.  It’s just as lovely, so I hope that you can join me.

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First things first- let’s put the kettle on and get settled for a good read.  Huge thanks to my lovely contributors!  If you have a walk you’d like to share I’m always happy to have you along.  Details of how to join in are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.


Let’s start with Debbie, and some beautiful views of Edinburgh :

Up Calton Hill

Jackie is still enjoying Mexico!

Monday Walk- La Noria

And Amy takes me to a beach I remember from long ago :

Monday Walk : Clearwater Beach

There’s one thing my friend Drake has for sure!

Independent Mind  (And a love of beautiful places too)

Back to the rain forest with Lee Ann for two super walks, in quite different places!

O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk

MacRitchie Trails Rainforest Walk

Anyone ready for a snowy walk yet?  Not too much snow, I promise!

Alone in the Snow : Mynydd Mawr

Surely one of the prettiest walks from the festive season!  Many thanks, Jude :

Christmas Glow

Meanwhile, Richard is topical (and maybe a bit windswept!) :

There’s more to Boscastle than floods

And Denzil is eating blackberries :

Masbourg : How Green is my Valley

If you had a garden like Pauline’s, you would never mind coming home :

Back Home in the Garden

That’s it for another week!  My walking group will be out today, weather permitting.  First walk together after the New Year, and we’re sticking to footpaths- no boggy fields!  Take care of yourselves!



Six word Saturday


High seas and a happy family!





Something that I seem to have in common with my Polish family is a love for the sea.  My cousin Grażyna and husband, Jarek, have their own boat on the Norfolk Broads.  Remember Tilting at Windmills?  Mostly smooth sailing, but when my uncle Włodek came to England for the first time, with his lovely lady, Weronika, they were keen to stroll beside the bracing North Sea.  The fact that it was a cool, heavily overcast day did not deter them, so long as the rain kept off.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the above photos were taken in black and white.  Not so!  With whoops of delight we watched the sea pitch and twirl, as it put on a grand display, just for us.  It was spellbinding!

The statue in the square seemed to be vainly imploring the waves.  Somewhere warm and dry was called for and the Museum of Hartlepool, with its maritime theme, fitted the bill perfectly.  An exhibition dedicated to the bombardment of Hartlepool in 1914, and featuring the iconic poppies, was a welcome bonus, as was the gaslit cafe on the paddle steamer PSS Wingfield Castle.


Three German warships attacked our town on the morning of December 16th, 1914.  The attack left 130 people dead and more than 500 injured.


It was almost closing time so, after kawa and herbata, we trooped happily back to ours for food.

That was my week.  How about yours?  Have you got six words to share with Cate at Show My Face?  I’ll be back on Monday, with a different kind of watery walk.  Hope to see you then.  Have a good weekend!


Thursday’s Special : Robotic


I really wasn’t planning to post this at all, and nothing could be further removed from my recent highly genteel walk at Newstead Abbey, could it? One of the highlights of my Christmas was a trip to the cinema to see the new Star Wars movie, in the company of my husband and son.  I loved it!

I had already been introduced to BB8 on Christmas morning, when this small but endearing creature was rocking and rolling around my kitchen floor.  An unexpected present to my son.  Brings out the child in all of us!  Elegant though she may be, my daughter was always a Star Wars fan too, and I have fond memories of taking her to the cinema, all those years ago.

What triggered this post?  Why Paula, of course!  You know Thursday’s Special.

Jo’s Monday walk : Newstead Abbey


Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire is the perfect setting for a Victorian period drama.  Yet I was unprepared for the small characters chattering excitedly in the grounds.  The Abbey itself, formerly the home of poet Lord Byron, was closed to visitors, but I had come seeking fresh air and a stroll in the lovely grounds. I had company, and naturally my daughter was fittingly dressed for the occasion. To the manor born, without a doubt.


A long drive sweeps up to the house, thick with rhododendrons and camelia.  There are over 300 acres of parkland and gardens, and cars can park quite near to the house.  Let’s save a little energy and sashay straight into the gardens.  A former monastic residence, the priory dates back to 1274.  I showcased the house and the Byron connection on a previous visit (and got to meet Santa!) if you’d like to know more.

The Garden Lake swells out in front of the house, and you can walk all around it.  The lakes, ponds and cascades that ornament these gardens are fed by the River Leen.  Pass by the unappetisingly named Monk’s Stew Pond (probably once a fishpond for the monks) to delve into the Fernery.

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The grotto has an interior made from Derbyshire tufa, whilst some of the old carved stones used in the Fernery probably came from the ruins of the priory church.  Built into the wall with the alcove were terracotta stands, for the display of potted ferns.

Bright berries gleam from the foliage and a drift of lemon whispers its presence in among the shrubs.  For all that this is a garden in winter, there is no lack of interest.  The rolling hedges are clipped pleasingly to the eye.  It’s so easy to meander among them, beguiled by shapes and shadows.

The formal shapes of the Rose Garden and Small Walled Garden invite closer inspection.  Both were once part of a two and a half acre kitchen garden.  In heated glasshouses, now demolished, grapes, melons, peaches and winter cucumbers were grown.  Even in a mild December, roses were few, but I liked the quirky mesh gardeners who kept us company.


A willow sculpture catches my eye, complete with bench.  Too late for THAT challenge, I’m afraid!

Behind the house, the Great Garden is a formal garden of terraced walks descending to a large rectangular pond.  Two swans splashed each other playfully, just out of range of my camera.  The adjacent French and Spanish gardens are among my favourites.  Every Spring in the 1830s and 40s the gardener laid fresh red and white sand, in intricate patterns, directly onto the soil in the French Garden.  It was affectionately known as the ’embroidery garden’.

The Boatswain’s Monument sits mournfully at the centre of the lawn, Byron’s tribute to his beloved Newfoundland dog.  The inscription speaks of ‘Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man without his vices’.





Are you beginning to flag yet?  I believe the tearooms are open.  Muffins and gingerbread latte, before or after we tackle the lake?

The shadows are lengthening and there’s a hint of chill in the air.  Ominous clouds dot the sky so we won’t linger much longer.  It’s not the time of year to view the yellow water lily, wild angelica, water forget-me-not, corn mint and the many species that surround the Garden Lake, but it is still undeniably beautiful, don’t you think?


The Japanese garden with its lovely cascades is looking a little bedraggled, but we can still cross the stepping stones to admire the lanterns.  There’s one more feature I’ve left deliberately till the end, and someone’s waiting there to say goodbye.  Accompany me to the waterfall?

The gift shop, with its pretty things, was calling to my daughter.  We lingered just a shade too long, and came out into a deluge of a different kind! Brollies aloft, we scurried to the car.  The day ended with a magical double rainbow and I felt truly blessed.  I hope you have enjoyed our company today. (and that of the children from Woodthorpe school)

The Newstead Abbey website includes a detailed garden tour, which you might like to follow, plus details of how to get there.

You may already know that Jude has chosen to abandon her benches.  Sigh!  The challenge has run for a highly successful year, but it’s time to move on.  My Winter garden, though not quite what she was hoping for, is my first contribution to the new challenge.  I’ll definitely have to be honing my skills (or trying!)  Her first post is a stunner, but I won’t spoil it for you.  Go and look!

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Meanwhile, it’s time to get the kettle on and share a few more walks.  I hope that all of you, walkers or not, have enjoyed their Christmas break. Many thanks for all your contributions but, more importantly, your friendship.  Join me whenever you like.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or the logo above.


First, come beach combing with Drake on the lovely little Danish island, Samsø :

Stone-washed path

There’s a certain fascination about a lighthouse, isn’t there?

Cape Byron Lighthouse

Jackie was still ‘down Mexico way’, hopefully enjoying the sunshine :

El Quelite, Mazatlan

Let me introduce you to a Slovenian Girl abroad, in Switzerland.  Such pretty photos!

Zurich in December

And a lovely lady in another good-looking place.  Please welcome Mitza to my walks :

A walk through Hamburg in Winter

Debbie has found a nice little beach, somewhere you might not expect :

A Seaside Walk in Edinburgh

While Jaspa would have me galloping this week!

Best. Crossing. Ever!- Santiago, Chile

This next isn’t a walk, and might be better suited to Jude’s Garden challenge, but I want to share it with you, courtesy of Debra :

Huntington Botanical Gardens and El Nino Watch 2016 

Some people can just always be relied on!  Walk with Gilly.  She’s a sweetheart!

Another Quay Perspective 

Brisbane and the rainforest is my final destination.  Thanks Lee Ann!

Moran Falls – Sculpture by Nature

That’s it for now!  Breathes big sigh!  If I’m slow responding this week it’s because I have Polish family visiting for a few days (including a very special uncle) but normality (ha!) will be restored on Thursday.  Take care till then!

P.S  Those lovely ladies at Monday Escapes are back if you have 5 minutes to wish them Happy New Year.


Six word Saturday


How many circles can you count?


Fuzzy glasses

Just me, having a little fun and silliness with some glasses!  I hope you had a good Christmas.  It’s all a memory now, isn’t it?  Not blurred around the edges- honestly!  I only had a couple.

It’s Saturday again and time to find six words to describe your week.  Have you been going round in Circles?  I sometimes think I have!