Six word Saturday



What to do when seeking inspiration?

For me, it usually means a trip to my photo files

For me, it usually means a trip to my photo files

On a recent visit to Durham, I decided to seek out Old Durham Gardens.  I had known of the existence of these 350 year old gardens for a long time, but they’re a little off the beaten track. When I arrived, on a warm and sunny Wednesday morning, I discovered that the gardens only open between 2 and 4pm on Thursdays and Saturdays in Summer.  After initial disappointment (and a peer through the gates), I discovered that there was more than enough to keep me happy from the outside.

Fragments of colour were everywhere

Fragments of colour were everywhere

The old walls themselves are full of characterful whirls and sworls, causing the eye to drift from the gentle planting.  The place has a past and the walls reflect that.  In the 12th century this was a rectory.  The walls were added in the 1700s to enable the cultivation of south facing fruit trees, and in the 1750s music concerts were held within.   Glamorous times were ahead when the gardens were owned by an artist and icecream maker, Victor Mazzini Walton.  The gardens were described in 1921 as having tennis courts, putting green, running track and a tea garden, and dances were held at weekends.

After the Second World War, Mr. Walton sold up and the gardens fell into decline.  Happily, in 1985, Durham City Council purchased Old Durham and began a programme of restoration.  When this lapsed, Friends of Old Durham was born and the gardens today are run by this group of volunteers.





After wandering the boundaries, it’s down the steps, and a gentle meander back to the river.


Always a source of inspiration!

Always a source of inspiration!

I hope you enjoyed my Saturday amble.  Next weekend I’ll be in Bristol for the Hot Air Balloon festival and I suspect I’ll be too busy to join you.  I hope so, anyway!

Meantime, there’s Cate at Show My Face to visit with your six words.  I was browsing my photos wondering what to show you today and looking for inspiration.  I think I found it.



    1. This was about 3/4 weeks ago, Cathy, and it was lovely. We had to be in Durham because Mick was getting some car repairs done, so we used the time rather nicely, and then I met up with my friend Lynne for a picnic (and wine 🙂 ) on the river bank. The weather’s changed a lot since then.
      Today has been jam packed full of washing/ironing/cooking Sunday lunch and watching Rafa. Got James packed to go back to Leeds and I’ve just sat down with 5 mins to myself. 🙂 Happy Sunday, Cathy! All ok with you? I’ll try and get to you later because I haven’t even decided what walk to do for tomorrow’s post yet. Better get to it! 🙂

      1. All is well; I’ve just been busy getting Alex moved to Richmond and trying to get organized around here! This place falls into disarray when I’m gone. I wonder why? Glad you had a nice picnic (with wine!) on the riverbank. xx

  1. I snatched a quick look at this on the way to bed last night, and lay under three doonas and the full moon holding the images of flowers against that beautiful stonework in my mind. I’m so glad you couldn’t get into the gardens. I like the narrative structure of this post – the ending those wonderful reflections.

    1. 3 doonas!!! Still bitter cold then? I never associate that with Australia. Perhaps I’ll stay here, after all 🙂 🙂 Goodness knows what this winter will have in store for us! Hibernation might be a plan. 🙂
      Lovely gardens-I’m glad you liked them! We were there about 4 weeks ago and I’d quite forgotten about them. It was part of a wonderful day when I left Mick at the Botanic Gardens (to follow, whenever I can fit it in 🙂 ) and met a friend for a picnic by the river.
      I was sitting staring at the screen and thinking ‘goodbye six words- it was fun’ and decided to have one quick look in my photos first. This was the result 🙂 Funny old life! And, thank you…

      1. Maybe our doonas are a bit threadbare. One belonged to my mother who died 20 years ago. Cold at night, but warm as spring during the day.
        I’m eager for the Botanic Gardens.

      2. You’ll have to wait, lovely lady 🙂 I have no sure idea yet what I’m doing for tomorrow’s walk and then that’s it for a week. My Inbox is overflowing despite my best efforts and I need to spend some time looking at Bristol and what I hope to do there. Not blogging while I’m away, partly because I need a break from it and partly because I’m staying with friends and have a full agenda. 🙂

  2. Jo isn’t it wonderful when initial disappointment leads to wonderful discoveries. Your post is symbolic of life and having a positive attitude and eye.

    1. Thanks for that, Sue 🙂 This almost became my last 6WS because I’ve had a deadly dull week and couldn’t think what to post. (can’t possibly admit that in 6 words, can I? bad for the image 🙂 ) Anyway, ‘inspiration’ struck. 🙂 How’s Mum- has she settled to the new place?

      1. My Mom will move in October so this was a trip to help with packing. When I returned I helped Dave’s Mom move and she is doing so well. Wonderful to see her positive attitude!

      2. Unusual that you’ve got them both at the same stage of life, Sue. I can’t imagine anyone better suited to helping them cope with the move than yourself 🙂

      3. It is quite the coincidence that both de used to leave their long time homes within such a short time frame. So proud of them for making the decision while they are healthy and happy rather than being forced to do so at a later time. You are so sweet Jo. I’m doing what I can to be helpful in the transition.

  3. Your post was my inspiration for gardening tomorrow – wow, if only we had gardens like that in North Texas in the summertime. Wonderful post!

    1. It’s quite funny Mary, because our own garden is currently undergoing renovation! It used to be a peaceful space to sit in but since we had new fences put in, much of the planting was wrecked. Mick’s reworking it and currently I sit beside huge bags of compost 😦 I think I’ll have to move to Durham 🙂

      1. 🙂 so funny. Our local rabbit destroyed so much of our garden that it’s not even close to being what it used to be. Yeah for Mick, before long you’ll have a gorgeous place to sit again – Durham is wonderful though, so I’ll second that!

  4. It had to be water with you :). These wall fragments look amazing. I hope that Tish gets to see them. Will you be hopping on one of these hot air balloons or just watching them from the ground?

    1. Just watching I’m afraid. 😦 It’s an expensive game riding in a balloon. But it’ll be a great weekend. I’m seeing a friend from way back, who lives in Bristol, and meeting up with Viveka of My guilty pleasures. Hope you’re being restful? 🙂 My best watery post for ages was Seaton Sluice. Horrible name but wonderful water.

      1. You are right about the name. I hope you and Viveka will have a nice treat together. I’m very restful; thank you 🙂

      2. I’m kind of nervous- but then, you awesome bloggers are all a bit intimidating to a quiet lass like me 🙂 🙂 Sweet dreams, Paula!

    1. This was the outside of the wall, which was planted with a border, Mlissabeth. There wasn’t much to see within the gates so I didn’t mind too much that it was closed. 🙂

  5. Oh you clever thing, combining the two challenges so effortlessly 🙂
    I’m always popping up at places only to find I’ve arrived on the wrong date or at the wrong time 😦 but I am glad you found plenty to occupy your camera – I’m not inspired to join in this week, seems a little too similar to the recent muses theme and anyway I have to go and sort out some roses 😀

    1. Mick knew these gardens were closed but they were in an area of Durham we didn’t know well and it made an interesting walk. I left him at the Botanic Gardens afterwards and went for a picnic by the river with my friend who lives in Durham. It was a lovely winey afternoon 🙂
      I had no idea what I was going to post this morning but when I spotted these I thought I might as well use them and it didn’t work too badly. They were going to be part of a walk post but I have a couple in hand. No idea what Monday’s will be! 😦 Not Moors!

      1. If this ever makes it into a walk, I will do! Or maybe even if not. I left Mick in charge of the camera! I had intended to stay but the picnic opportunity was too good to turn down. We’ve been before but not for quite a long while. It’s rather nice- if you Google Botanic Gardens at Durham you’ll find it. 🙂

  6. Ahh the balloon fest, that should be fun! Love the stone in this garden, I could just reach out and stroke it. Thank goodness the place i sbeing looked after 🙂

    1. Full of hot air, Sue! That’s me 🙂 I had a wonderfully wrinkly, sad old poppy I was going to dedicate to you but it’ll have to sneak into another post now 🙂

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