Vision of loveliness

Where better to have a vision than in a church?  But this is no ordinary church.  The Pitcher and Piano in Nottingham is a deconsecrated Unitarian church, saved from dereliction in a rather spectacular fashion.

Meeting me from my bus journey on a balmy afternoon, my daughter proposed a refreshing drink.  To me, she was a vision of loveliness.  You could say that for our surroundings too.

Last week I was too excited at meeting my daughter to settle to a Thursday’s Special.  This week I’m home again, and able to share some of the magic.  The little girl in Paula’s Vision is beautiful too.

Jo’s Monday walk : Lovely Llandudno

The Great Orme, from Llandudno pier

The last expedition that my Dad made was to Llandudno.  He loved his little mini-breaks with National Coaches, where the driver did all the work, bringing bite-sized chunks of our island within his reach.   He did his share of gallivanting, but as the years wore on he was more focused on a bit of company and a pint.  ‘Did you go up the Great Orme?’ I asked him, on his return.  Turns out he spent most of his time in the British Legion Club.

On our way back from Anglesey earlier this year, the coast road through North Wales took us past Llandudno.  I knew I’d have to take a look, for sentimental reasons.  Did I manage a trip up the Orme? Come with me and see.

Being truthful, I had little idea what to expect of Llandudno, and I was very pleasantly surprised.  In March it was without the throng of seaside crowds, and the chill in the air didn’t matter too much when faced with a long promenade and an empty beach.  And look- a pier!

A flat calm sea, and not a boat trip in sight!  It’ll have to be the pier then.  That’s Little Orme, far out across the bay.

There’s something about a pier, don’t you think?  That sensation of water all around and below. It’s like being out at sea but with a foothold on dry land.  Built in 1878, this one is a Grade II listed building, and is 700 metres long.

There’s lots to learn about Llandudno if you have the time, but I was simply passing through.

Marine Drive stretches for 4 miles around the foot of the Great Orme, and there’s a former lighthouse, now a hotel, part way round.  I was itching to set off, my husband not so keen.  You can drive around the toll road, but what I did want to do was reach the summit of the Orme.  I had read that the flora and fauna are unique up there, and just imagine the view!

Up above my husband had spotted the cable car.  The chances of it running were slim, but naturally we had to go and check.  Up the hill we went.

Of course, it wasn’t running, but the views as we climbed higher were magnificent.  I was also to discover the Alice in Wonderland connection.

Alice Pleasance Hargreaves (born Liddell) inspired the children’s classic by Lewis Carroll (the pen name of Charles Dodgson) when she asked him to tell her a story, on a boating trip in Oxford.  She and her family regularly spent holidays in Llandudno at ‘Penmorfa’, later to become the Gogarth Abbey Hotel.  Had I called at the Tourist Information office, I could no doubt have picked up a leaflet for the Alice in Wonderland Town Trail.   “Oh, my ears and whiskers!”  55 bronze White Rabbit footprints!

Nevertheless I was happy with the sweeping views of both bays as I climbed the hill from the Happy Valley Gardens.

Still optimistic for the tram ride up the Great Orme, I had an anxious eye on the weather as the clouds rolled in.  It had been raining lightly when we left Anglesey and I was sure it was on it’s way.  In the nick of time I spotted the tram station, with tram no. 5  waiting at the platform.

But it wasn’t to be.  The ticket office was firmly closed and, as I watched in dismay, the tram pulled away, with only the maintenance crew on board.

It seemed such a waste!  I really wouldn’t have taken up much space.  Nothing to do but seek consolation in food and drink.

Llandudno has been dubbed ‘Queen of the Welsh resorts’ and there’s an aura to the place that I loved.  Byegone elegance in the architecture, I could conjure the twirl of parasols and the cool sweep of a crinoline just by half closing my eyes.  Perhaps Dad and me were never meant to climb the Great Orme.  I’ll have to leave that to the imagination, too.

The Llandudno website offers a wide variety of things to see and do.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I’ve scheduled this walk because I was spending the weekend with my daughter, in Nottingham. Apologies if you’ve sent me a walk and it’s not included below.  You’ll find it here next week. Many thanks to all my lovely contributors.  It’s always a pleasure to share your walks.  Details of how to join in are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Pop that kettle on now?

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A walk with Debbie is always a treat, even if there’s no icecream on offer :

A Magnum walk

A great-looking bridge and other interesting architecture, from Eunice :

Roaming round Rivington

Indra brings us more tales from the Indo-Chinese border :

Sikkim Odyssey 2- Nathu La… the pass that wasn’t there

That lucky Drake is down on the Mediterranean coast this week :

Azur and gold

French temptations

Jackie’s back home in Toronto but reliving a few memories :

Fishy!

I do love a Tall Ship!  Lady Lee takes us to Portsmouth :

HMS Victory

While Woolly makes a sad trip in France :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk24

And Hanna a poetic one, in beautiful Denmark :

A Poem is a walk

Just use your eyes, and you can enter Meg’s world :

Wordless walk : Swamp Trail

I’m traveling home this afternoon so I’ll probably be slow with my responses, but I’ll get there. Thank you for your patience and continued support. Have a great week!

A sequence for Sue

I don’t generally do requests, but when a lovely lady asks it would be churlish to refuse.  Our capricious English weather has produced wonderful gardens this year, as you might have seen in my Open Gardens walk this week.  There’s currently a bee fest going on in my own garden, where the foxgloves are rampant.  An oriental poppy, planted last year, has just decided to swirl its skirts and join the party.

A fan of faded glory and all things derelict, when I mentioned it Sue surprised me by saying ‘I love pink oriental poppies.  Take a photo for me!’  So here we are.  I’m easing off the brake pedal a bit this week.  There won’t be a Six Word Saturday from me as I’ll be in Nottingham, enjoying my daughter’s company.  Before I go I’ll schedule a walk for next Monday, and catch up with you as soon as I can.  Enjoy the sunshine!

Jo’s Monday walk : Little Ouseburn Open Gardens

During the Summer months I like to visit an Open Garden or two, if I get the chance.  The promise of a whole village in an area I know not at all was simply too good to miss.  Situated just 5 miles from Boroughbridge in Yorkshire, Little Ouseburn was ripe for exploring.

It wasn’t an especially nice day, weatherwise, but at least it was dry.  A field had been set aside for parking and a minibus was available to transport you through the village- helpful for the less mobile as it proved to be an extremely long village, but an easy walk for the fit.  A £5 donation to the village charity bought you a map and details of participating gardens.  Time to head for the bridge!

Beneath the bridge flowed a little stream.  A connection to the River Ouse, I wondered?  But before I could speculate more I came upon the Holy Trinity Church and its mausoleum.  A Grade 1 listed building, I was charmed by the interior.  Maps and newspaper articles were laid out, detailing the history of the village.  An exhibition of lace making was taking place, and the ladies were more than happy to chat about their accomplishments.

In an alcove, steps mounted precariously to the bell ringers hideaway.  It brought to mind Bath Abbey and my ascent of the tower.  It was quite hard to tear myself away from the church, but there were 9 gardens to visit.  Over a field and a right turn brought you onto the main street of the village. Ever wanted a cottage with roses around the door?

Opposite the village hall, where you could partake of everything from a pot of tea to a three course Sunday lunch, delightful Plantation Cottage.

A tumble of clematis were the star of the show, while stately lilies looked on.  The lady of the house relaxed on the patio with her toddler, keeping a wary eye on the clouds.  Back on the street there were floral distractions aplenty.

Broadlands Bungalow delivered a stunning iris or three, an array of coleums and a confusion of wisteria, poppies and a sparkling rhododendron.

At Broadlands Farm a tea party was in full swing on the back lawn.  I couldn’t possibly be a party pooper but I can’t show you the evidence.  It was a little tricky balancing the tray and eating the cake.  In fact, apart from the chirpy robin at the beginning of the post, I took very few photos there.

I looked wistfully toward the book stall in the doorway of The Old Chapel, but time was pressing on. Orchard House next, for a lovely old stone wall with alliums, more, sumptuous irises and beautifully burgeoning peonies.

The village green had a plant stall, BBQ, icecream and cupcakes.  Nobody was going home hungry!  At the very far end of the village, Hazel House had a modern garden, with a sunken circular dining area.

Broomfield Cottage had bags of personality and a very friendly owner.  A tree surgeon by trade, he sat feeding his log burner, happy to chat about his collection of rare trees and his vegetable garden.

Paddock Cottage had a rather Zen feel and a number of metal sculptures, the aspect to the rear of lawn tennis courts and open countryside.

Just two to go, at Hill Top Cottage the lawn is sheltered by a scintillation of colourful shrubs, some of my favourites.

Lastly, the ‘big’ house, The Old Granary.  Approached by an imposing drive, it had the feel of a grande dame.  An ultra modern extension had been added and a hedge of pleached horn beams. Not really my cup of tea, but then, I wasn’t invited in.

Value for money and a good afternoon out?  I think so.  I almost forgot to tell you that the name Little Ouseburn does have associations with the River Ouse.  The original source of the Ouse is marked by a stone in the neighbouring village of Great Ouseburn.

Visit Little Ouseburn Open Gardens for details of how to get there.  The homeward jouney I found intriguing because we crossed the toll bridge at Aldwark, at a cost of 40p!  I didn’t even know it existed till then, but there’s a neat little story about the ticket collector here.

Dashing around trying to fit all the walks in this morning!  There are heaps and some wonderful ones, so please try to visit as many as you can. Many thanks to you all!  Details of how to join me are over on my Jo’s Monday walk page.   Definitely time for a cuppa now!

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We all need a weekly smile, don’t we?  74!  That’s more than a year of smiling.  Thanks, Lady Lee!

Weekly Smile 74 

Miriam can always find words of encouragement, even in troubled times :

Music in the Air

I remember having mottoes on the wall, in the ‘good old days’.  So does Jackie!

Toronto Textile Museum

Drake has both feet on the ground this week, but there’s magic in the air :

Completely down on earth

Please go and meet Sheri, and learn a little more about Vancouver :

A Walking Tour of Vancouver’s Hidden Past

Dawn has been lingering by some lovely windows this month.  Don’t forget her challenge!

A Lingering Look at Windows- June Bonus Week

Amanda takes us back in time, in Norway :

Roros – A Walk back in ‘Mine’

Join Jolandi in the Spanish mountains- it looks blissful!

Walking in The Alpujarras

Or how about the little known Jura area of France, with Food is Travel?

The trail of the perched cat in Dole, France

Wonderful memories of a city I love, brought back to life for me by Becky :

Porto – a walking city

While Carol solves a mystery or two in the Lake District :

What the Devil’s Going On?

Beautiful blooms from Susan, in New York City :

Central Park’s Conservatory Garden in the Spring

And a fabulous seven-arched bridge in the company of Eunice :

Roaming round Rivington

Ending on an absolute high with a garden post that puts mine to shame.  Stunning work, Jude!

Garden Portrait :  Dartington Hall

Phew!  Just about made it this week!  Thanks again everybody.  Take good care and I’ll see you soon.

Six word Saturday

It’s that time of year again!

Very cute, our seahorse, isn’t he?  Yet again the good folks of Saltburn by the Sea have decorated their pier with yarn bombing.  It’s a Summer tradition.  Are they in good Order?  I think I should let you be the judge of that.

There are some wild hairdo’s, aren’t there?  You can probably tell that there was a fresh breeze that day, but still lots of people.

Let’s end with a bit of a gallop, down by the sea.  Such skilled handiwork, as well as being completely adorable.

That’s it for another year.  The next day it simply poured, and has continued to do so.  The shopaholics amongst you will adore Debbie’s Six Word Saturday this week.  Me, I just want to go to Madrid!  Wishing you a happy weekend!

Restless by name, restless by nature

Restless?  Who me?  You could say that.  I don’t know quite when or where it all began, nor do I know when it will end, but I hope to enjoy it while I can.  It’s not as though I don’t have beautiful places to wander to.

It’s sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse.  How is it that some people never have the urge to roam? (my husband being one of them)  I only have to see a boat moored up to be champing at the bit.  Take me with you!

Debbie set the theme Restless on her One Word Sunday challenge this week.  How could I possibly not join in?

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Blast Beach, orchids and P’s in a Pod

Just south of Nose’s Point at Seaham, on the north east coast, lies a stark, uninviting stretch of beach.  I’ve walked along the cliff top, looking down on it, many times.  On a warm and hazy May day, I was somewhat surprised to find myself descending steps that led directly to Blast Beach.

It was a day of surprises.  Up on the cliff top I had already met Devon sculptress, Louise Plant , watering her P’s in a Pod.  The art installation was being newly installed and my first thought was that she was reviving the grass surrounding the P’s.  Not so!  The pieces were being watered to enhance their patina.  You can read the story of the P’s and their journey on the link.

They represent a new approach to exhibiting art in County Durham.  The cast iron structures will be displayed at 4 different sites in the region, the idea being that a different backdrop will enable us to respond differently to them.  The reclaimed coastline at Seaham is the start point for their adventure.  After chatting to Louise for a while, it was on with my own mission- to seek out a few orchids. Around this time of year wild orchids sparkle in the long grass of the cliff tops like incandescent fireworks.

It’s always hard to find the first of the orchids, but many follow in its wake.  Continuing along the cliff, I noticed a pathway I hadn’t previously taken much notice of.  It could only lead downwards to the beach.  Why not take a look?

It’s not an inviting stretch of beach but the stacks do add interest, and close to the shoreline the rocks begin to develop an iron colouration.

Blast Beach was once the scene of coal production on a massive scale and the waste from that process defiled this beach and much of the surrounding area.  Bleak though it may still look, huge efforts have been made to clean up this stretch of coast and restore it to nature.

End to end, this is a long beach.  I circle both stacks and head back slowly towards Nose’s Point.

Ahead lies a steep climb up to the cliff top.  Let’s take a deep breath and go for it.

Made it!  I bet you’re in need of a cuppa now.  Actually it’s a good place to bring a flask and a picnic, but if you’ve come unprepared you can head into Seaham.  There are a couple of good cafes.  Back at the cliff top a young man was busy taking photographs of the P’s.  I moved aside to be out of shot but he waved me back in.  He was taking promotional shots and wanted a willing admirer or two.  Myself and husband duly obliged, but so far I’ve been unable to track down his work.  Maybe just as well…

I wrote most of this post while watching the concert in aid of the victims of the terrorist attack on Manchester.  It gave me hope for our future.  The love was palpable and I was proud of our young people.  Just 24 hours before I had been watching as horror unfolded at London Bridge.  I feel blessed, because my son had been at London Bridge station at 9pm that evening, but was out of range and blissfully unaware when the nightmare hit.

 

Many thanks to you all for your continued support.  I love sharing walks with you. Details of how to join me can always be found on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Definitely time for a cuppa now!

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Becky goes her own sweet way in the Algarve this week :

Serra de Monchique

A double dose of delight from Drake, in the beautiful village of Èze :

High level of atmosphere 1/2

High level of atmosphere 2/2

Fun and beer with Lady Lee :

Cycled to Waldwirtschaft

All singing, all dancing, with Jackie!

Bloomin Vegas

And something a little more exotic from Indra :

Sikkim Odyssey 1… Rumtek Monastery

Say hello to Gina!  She takes us walking in one of my favourite parts of the Lake District :

Ullswater Way

And if you’ve been waiting for Susan, then Part 2 is definitely worth the wait :

East Harlem Jane’s Walk 2017 (Part II) : Community Murals

A bird watching walk next, from Mari- Becky, are you paying attention?

Bird watching in Malaga

An amazing dawdle or two with Meg.  I just can’t choose :

Following my nose 

Last day in Melbourne

Three friends and so much more!  The delights of Venice, with Paula :

Tra Amici

Then a very English stroll with Carol.  Such cute bunnies!

Meeting the Locals

Yesterday I came across a lady called Anne-Marie and a series of walks you may not have heard of.  Please say hello :

Portuguese Camino in May

And we’ll finish with a rather interesting sculpture trail, from Cady Luck Leedy :

Jo’s Monday walk : Mainz, Germany

That’s it for another week.  I hope this one brings you some happiness.  Take care, and God bless!