Jo’s Monday walk : The Butterfly Trail

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It’s almost unreal, isn’t it?  You cannot imagine the delight I shared on Good Friday.  A planned expedition to Preston Park did not start out well. Why, oh why, had I not factored in Bank Holiday crowds and full to bulging roads on this warm Spring day?  It almost sabotaged my plans.

But, not quite!  My daughter learned to drive just a few years ago, and is not familiar with the roads in the area.  I am a self-confessed terrible navigator.  A winning combination, with no Sat Nav?  Not really, but we managed somehow.  As we crept along in dense traffic towards the gates of Preston Park Museum, my heart was in my mouth.  So many cars were turning in to the park.  Were we even going to be admitted, or find parking?  I had never seen this volume of traffic!

We were almost shrugged in, with a ‘You might find a space.  You’re welcome to look’.  Even the overflow parking had overflown!  It transpired that the miniature steam railway had opened for Easter, and everyone in the north east knew about this, except me.  But we were meant to be there.  As we crawled around the parking areas a space presented itself, in the nick of time.  Heaving huge sighs of relief, we got out of the car, and headed away from the crowds, down to the serenity of the river.

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A peaceful stroll along the boardwalk, in gentle Spring sunshine, soon restored our equilibrium.  Hearing the soft puttering of an engine, I was delighted to see the Teesside Princess rounding the bend.  No passengers.  She must have been on her way to an engagement.

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There was no shortage of eager dog walkers, and a few children, along the path, but there was space to breathe.  Most people had gone to the main event.  We exchanged smiles and greetings and patiently examined the verges, collating evidence of Spring.

Suitably calmed after our ordeal, it was, of course, time for tea.  There is a beautifully ornamental conservatory attached to the museum, where once you could take tea in complete refinement.  Sadly this is now reserved for private engagements, but I knew that we could still get a cuppa in the Victorian tearooms.  We weren’t the only ones to have this idea, so peace and quiet it was not.  But still a fun place to sit outside, watching the children attempting to bowl Victorian hoops, and down a skittle or two.  The spice cake disappeared very rapidly!

Well fortified, it was time to venture further.  Leo is perfecting his blacksmith skills and was interested to see the large forge. Tools and ironware weighed down the walls, but the forge itself was not in operation.  On quieter days, I have spent time in the Victorian shops chatting to the assistants, but the museum was obviously at full stretch today.  A sign announced discreetly that if you found a store unattended it was due to the lack of volunteers.  I wished that I lived a little closer, so that I might.

An enviable array of beautiful and fascinating objects are to be found in the museum, and we had a brief look around.  You may remember this post from last year, when I showed you inside.  Today we had a different agenda, but first I couldn’t resist a peep at the Egg Exhibition.  One of the reasons the museum was so busy was the Easter Egg trail.  Laid throughout, the vibrant eggs sitting in the display cases, a magnet for small eyes.

An ‘eggshibition’ from local schools was mounted in the grand hall.  It raised a smile or two.  Then it was back into the sunshine.  Past the new skate park and the sky walk, both wildly popular with the youngsters, we approached our destination.  Butterfly World. Closed November through February, the butterfly house had only reopened on 4th March, and I had no idea if there would be butterflies to see.  Was I in for a treat!

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Slipping cautiously through the plastic curtains, we had barely taken a few steps into the enclosure when the flutter of wings caught our eye.  We gazed, and gasped!  They were everywhere!  The steamy heat enveloped us in a green world.

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Their wings beating frenziedly, they clung to the flame-coloured flowers, extracting the nectar and flitting swiftly to the next.  I was wearing a pink and black checked jacket, and rapidly I became a part of the attractions.  Little girls with bows in their hair were easy targets too.

The tropical flowers, with their flamboyant hues, magnetised butterflies and humans alike.  A waterfall splashed into a pond full of Koi.  It was a completely magical experience, standing there as the butterflies swooped and glided all around us.

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There was a good variety of butterflies, in every shape and size, but they moved so swiftly that many were hard to capture.  A large species with vivid blue wings was particularly elusive, and a tiny one with completely diaphanous wings was simply a blur in my photos.  I was so impressed with the experience that I would recommend it to anyone.  We withdrew reluctantly when the heat became overwhelming.

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Amazing, aren’t they?  The Preston Park Museum website is full of information about the house and grounds, including a page dedicated to Butterfly World.  I hope you have enjoyed my Easter special.  We certainly did!  Do you think Jude might like my Wildlife too?

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Thanks everybody, for your company and your wonderful contributions to my walks.  Anyone with a walk to share can join in, be it gentle potter or 20 mile hike. (now I’m getting carried away!)  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.

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First stop- a beach with a view from Smidge.  Do bring a jumper!

Tyninghame, East Lothian

Whizzing off to the other side of the world, and some fun sculptures next, with Ellen :

Going for a Walk : Auckland Botanic Gardens

Waiting to be awoken for the Summer season :

The sleeping fairy tale

St. Albans looks a really interesting spot.  Must look up Debbie there one day!

A Roamin’ Walk through Roman St. Albans

Like to add to your vinyl collection?  Lee Ann knows just the place :

Wellington- A stroll along Cuba Street

Fancy riding a funicular?  Join Becky and she’ll show you the back streets of Lisbon :

Off the tourist track

My lovely friend, Gerry, has joined us this week!  Please don’t miss this look at his home town :

Lymington-Keyhaven walk

Jackie’s back home in Toronto but can’t resist one lingering look back :

Monday Walk- Puerto Vallarta

I could be happy strolling on the Piazza Navona- couldn’t you?

What caught my eye in Rome- part 2

Please welcome another newcomer, Kathrin, with a fascinating museum walk :

San Jose Downtown 

And a lady called Sim, who likes to walk the London Underground routes.  That’s different, isn’t it?

Above Ground on the London Underground- Day 23 : So this is Knightsbridge?

Miriam’s walking away all the angst on the beach this week.  Great idea!

Coastal walking – from wild to mild

Just a little inland but with wonderful views- join Susan for a gentle stroll!

Black Hill of Morro Bay

Murals with a message from Jill, and very beautiful so don’t miss!

Sea Walls in my hometown

That’s it for another week!  Some great walks there to keep you busy.  Looks like a very wet and dismal Easter Monday here, but I’ve still got great company and I really can’t complain.  I don’t know if I dare suggest a walk though.  After a mighty Sunday lunch yesterday we ventured as far as the local park.  Bright sunshine turned to driving rain and hailstones!  The ladies at Monday Escapes are out and about again this week, and maybe you’ll find some sunshine there.  If you’d just like some smiles, have a look at Lany Poniedzialek (Wet Monday) in Poland.  See you next week!

193 comments

  1. I want to take a ride on the Teesside Princess! Love the eggs, teacakes, and flowers, but those butterflies were tops in my book. Odd but true. When my best friend passed away in 2010, she said that she that if she could be reincarnated, she wouldn’t want to come back as a person. She never said what she wanted to come back as, but ever since, whenever I see a lone butterfly, I always think its her. How wonderful to spend time on this earth as a beautiful butterly.

    1. Fleeting but beautiful! That might suit Lisa very well :) Not that she plans leaving yet awhile. That is such a scary thought! Hope the news is good where you are, darlin’? :)

  2. That was just magical Jo made even more so for you to be sharing it with your family. I have been AWOL from my blogging buddies for a few days and now have so many delightful posts to catch up with. I have even started walking again now the weather has cooled down a bit. Here it is, very late for this week but a couple of days early for next week, you might say betwixt and between… https://pommepal.wordpress.com/2016/04/03/7-day-nature-photo-day-1-a-walk-in-the-national-park/

  3. Orchids and butterflies – I am mesmerised with the before last photo. Love them all the boats, the Easter eggs, and your hairy ones:). It looks like an energizing time for you.

    1. My favourite too, Paula :) :) Thanks for finding time to return. It was so very nice to have Lisa and James together, appreciating each other’s company. James said we’ll have to make it happen more often, and Lisa is a lot more tolerant of baby brother now that he’s finally grown up. :) The butterfly day was a very special one, but we did have a good weekend. I was tired and a little ‘flat’ at the end of it. Ready to start again now though :) :)

  4. Butterflies … and flowers, the most beautiful things on earth … wonderful and delightful post, Jo! And all those FAB creative eggs. I didn’t know that you have the wood anemone in UK: the little white flower. I think that was a Scandinavian flower. They are not blooming over here yet.Thanks for sharing your day of spring. Just lovely.

  5. What a great day out and lovely to have your daughter with you. I took my Mum to see the baby lambs at a local farm and we had a lovely time too. Love that little penguin Jo:)

  6. I’ve made the mistake of underestimating holiday crowds. It’s good that you could find relative peace. The “eggshibition” is so cute, especially the penguin egg!

  7. I can see you had a treat and more Jo. Those butterflies are just gorgeous and the easter eggs are just so adorable! Love the shot of your daughter and her other half and their beautiful hair. I do love her hair colour. 😀

    Thanks for this wonderful tour and treat darling. Around here we stay at home on holidays like this as the roads are a nightmare. My nerves won’t make it.😆

    1. I don’t know what possessed me, Sonel! If my husband had been driving the air would have been multi coloured! :) But it turned out well in the end and we loved it. Thanks for your lovely company, hon. :)

      1. I am the same Jo. I also only trust hubby to drive me. If it’s anyone else I am a nervous wreck. But I am glad it all turned out well and you are very welcome. 😀 ♥

  8. Glad you found a quite spot down by the river for your walk Jo! I love the Easter egg exhibits and you’ve taken some gorgeous photos in the butterfly house! Hope you had a lovely Easter with the family:)

      1. I felt like that after Christmas Jo when Mlle went back to London. We’d had such a wonderful time with the family being altogether again – took me a few days to get my bounce back so to speak! We had a lovely Easter with the family (sans Mlle of course) and also caught up with friends. Gorgeous autumn weather this week though Friday and Saturday poured down (it was more like England). Getting a bit frazzled as we leave a week today for the UK – always thinking of something else to add to the “to-do” list! We have lovely houser and pet sitters staying here the whole time so I must not worry! Hope you feel a bit brighter soon and have a lovely weekend (well I know it’s not for a couple of days yet!):)

  9. One of my biggest fears is arriving somewhere to find hideous traffic and parking conditions – so you did very well, Jo! It was certainly worth it by the look of those beautiful flowers and butterflies. What a fabulous day you had!😀

    1. I felt so blessed when we found that parking slot, Dianne! I didn’t have a contingency plan- or indeed a thought in my head when we set off! And it was wonderful :0 :)

  10. It’s a shame you had such a struggle to get there and to park up. But it sounds like seeing those beautiful butterflies made it all worth while. I hope you and your family had a lovely Easter.😉

  11. Hi, Fab blog! I have just set up mine, but still in the very early stages! Just making efforts to link in with fellow bloggers to improve our followers and get the word out there for us both. I would appreciate you having a peek at my blog, as I have just published my second post. Feel free to like, comment, follow or just take a peek. Thank you:)

  12. Oh I really love this..that butterfly is super! Lovely colors and those Orchids are so dreamy. Your photos takes me to Nature’s dreamland. You are truly inspiring Jo..thank you for taking us into your wonderful world and sharing these beauty from your eyes.

  13. What a beautiful butterfly experience, Jo. One of our local natural history museums offers this opportunity once a year and I’ve never been able to coordinate my schedule. I think I’ll start planning now. And the picture of you and your daughter hand-in-hand–I think I’m identifying you correctly?–is absolutely stunning. It almost looks like a painting! You definitely know how to share a lovely day together.:-)

      1. A productive Easter, not an especially fun one. I spent all four days clearing the giant backlog of photos that need editing (and deleting whole swathes of them). I feel quite virtuous now! I hope your Easter was more enjoyable.

  14. I was just at a butterfly garden a few days ago too, in FL, and agree – it was amazing..especially of the ones that are 5 minutes old like in your last photo. I was cracking up reading about girls’ bows being an attraction for them because I have the most classic photo of a huge butterfly just sitting on my two year old (at the time) daughter’s bow on her head forever. She was completely spooked!

  15. So glad the day ended up so well. I have learned the hard way to plan well ahead if we are traveling during holiday weekends. I also check for festivals or special events before deciding on a place to visit. Those special events can bring thousands to an area.

    1. I’m usually much more ‘together’, Ruth, but I’d been wanting to take Lisa to Butterfly World for years, and everything else just went out of my head. :) I don’t see her often enough.

  16. Crowds flock to the Gold Coast too at holiday times.
    So one should never feel lonely these days, is a nice way to think of it.
    Going by your photos it was worth the effort getting to Preston Park and those fantastic Butter flies.
    Focusing on all the wonders through your eyes makes your blog a pleasure, thanks Jo _/\_

    1. Thanks so much, Ruth! I spotted this yesterday evening but didn’t really have time to respond. It was my last with the youngsters. My son went late last night and Lisa and Leo go today. Hope you had a good Easter? :)

  17. What a lovely intro to spring! We have a butterfly house – a huge glass walled building at the NC Museum of Life and Science. It’s a wonderful experience.😉

  18. Well, those gorgeous shots give no hint of the Good Friday madness. It looks a gorgeous spot, Jo, and i’m glad you had a lovely day in the end. I think it was extra mad on Friday because everyone had been warned it was the only decent weather day for the weekend. And oh so true! I actually gave up on a walk yesterday – I could barely find my path in the wind and rain so coffee and cake won the battle!

    I have a walk for you now – a short one from my Belfast trip. https://travelwithintent.com/2016/03/28/from-narnia-to-albert-bridge/

  19. Butterflies and exotic tropical flowers are pretty hard to beat Jo, what a beautiful place to visit. I would love to see it myself; never realized there were so many interesting places to discover in and around that part of the world – you are showing me England in a new light!

      1. Lovely thanks, spent lots of money, didn’t paint the living room or book a holiday though! All back to normal for you now? i don’t want to go to work tomorrow, year end though so at least the week will go quickly!

  20. What a lovely walk Jo. Pretty spring flowers and then the eggs (love the penguin) and finally the butterflies! You did well with the photos, they are so hard to photograph and the humidity doesn’t help either. Wisley do butterflies in the glasshouse in February and it is always lovely to visit then, though gets far too busy nowadays. Looks like you had a great weekend with Lisa and Leo. Hope they have a safe journey back home – do they come by train to you then. or did Lisa drive up? It was chokka on the roads on Thursday, but very quiet coming back on Sunday
    Keep fingers crossed for tomorrow for me – removal van arrives!

    1. Hi Jude :) Just finished our evening meal. Lisa drove up from Nottingham, and they’re setting off home tomorrow.
      Last lap, hon! Soon be a permanent resident of Cornwall. There’s a thought! It’ll all go well. Sending hugs :)

      1. Give me a week Jo and I will hopefully be back to normal (?) although BT insist we need an engineer visit (£130) to install a line that is already there! If I mention moving again please remind me how bad this has all been!

  21. So glad you and your daughter returned and safe back…😀

    Wonderful mood captured, beautiful colors – the ship seems very interesting to me, have a weakness of ships and water…😀

  22. I don’t see how Jude could fail to be impressed, Jo.:) Butterflies, orchids and pretty little decorated eggs. What a lovely combination…….not to mention the Spice Cake. A perfect place to go walking.:)

  23. Another beautiful walk I enjoyed to go on with you, Jo. I love the butterflies and the tropical heat you are describing. I am still amazed about the many parks, museums and exhibits there are to see in your area… I have been looking for benches on the walks we have been doing here in Connecticut. Unsuccessfully. But, there are a lot of rocks around where one can sit for a breather or a snack, like on the walk we did last weekend: http://www.roamingabout.com/a-walk-in-housatonic-meadows-state-park/

    Rainy here today as well, while we wrap up our three month house sit in Kent, CT. I might have another walk in store for you of this area – if I ever find the time to write about it in super busy April, might have to happen in May – and then it is on to new territories!:-)

    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

    1. Hi Liesbet :) Thanks for walking with me again, and for your walk. Good luck with your move. :) You’ve done it a time or two so you probably have it to a fine art.

  24. What a wonderful walk! Thanks, Jo, for sharing. :) Here in Fredericksburg we don’t have as many butterflies as we used to have in Karnes County [http://tinyurl.com/zyexxcw].
    Have a great week,
    Pit

  25. What a wonderful walk Jo, butterflies are just amazing creatures to photograph and be amongst, really magical. Thanks for the pingback also, I enjoyed another walk on the weekend which I’d love to include, if I can get my act together in the next day or two! Have a happy week.

    1. Thanks, Carol. :) It’s always traumatic when I look at the photos. There were a couple I really wanted to come out well that didn’t, but I did get some nice ones. Good Easter?

      1. I know exactly what you mean. They just move so fast. I had a very quiet Easter – lunch with a friend, a surprise 50th birthday party, went to the movies with my sister. Mr ET was working all weekend.

  26. Enjoyed this amazing post , so varied and complete!
    Adore the boat tour and the eggsibition , but the butterflies’ photos enchanted me!
    A BIG THANK YOU , dear Jo , for taking us through your Monday walk, once again…

  27. Wow, danke Jo für diesen wunderbaren Beitrag, der mir diesen Ostermontag versüsst. Ich gehe jetzt in den Garten um die Beete zurecht zu machen für die erste Pflanzung. Grüess Ernst

  28. I’m off for a walk so I’ll come back and read this properly later (scrolling through, it looks amazing). I should have just pinged my latest to you, but since a software update (doncha just love ’em) my iPad seems to have forgotten how to deal with links in any way at all. A fix might be on the way…….anyway, will try to paste the link here too:

    Bothwell and Blantyre – The Glasgow Gallivanter
    https://anabelsblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/28/bothwell-blantyre/

    Seems to work! Have a great day.

      1. And now caught up, both with your post (which was, as expected, amazing) and the ones in your list – nice to find some new ones! Not that there’s anything wrong with the old ones of course…

  29. I love those styles of boats,,, when in Florida I travelled on several of these paddle style boats and loved it. And Jo thank you for the mention and pinback…I feel honoured. I am getting accustomed to your high standards of walks and love every step…

  30. Phew! Glad you found the lone parking space and had an enjoyable time….can’t believe you ventured out to join the Bank Holiday crowds! 😀😀

    1. It really didn’t occur to me until we were sitting in the traffic, Sue! Stupid, or what? Mick would have been really grumpy but Lisa was very tolerant of it all. And all’s well that ends well :) Did you have a good weekend?

  31. I adore butterflies, they are the most beautiful! i enjoyed your walk so much. Surroundings are so peaceful and relaxing! I wish I could live closer to join you for one of your walks, it could be such a delight!

  32. What a fun time despite the crowds. I love Butterfly farms – they are such an incredible insect. Look so delicate and yet some fly over 3000 miles to migrate.

      1. And a Happy Easter Monday to you – what exciting things do you have planned for today?
        We made 1 of the 2, Sao Bras and it was amazing 😊 I took 180 photographs in less than 90 minutes!!

      2. So glad you enjoyed it! I hope to be there next year. :) Wet and miserable today and I don’t really have a plan. We may have a meal out just to break up the day (and keep me out of the kitchen for a bit :) ) but Lisa and Leo haven’t stirred yet. Got my son for company though.

  33. Oohoo! I’m in your hemisphere and on the ball so I get to comment, if not first then early! What a treat this post is, although there’s one thing missing – you garbed in butterflies attracted by your jacket. I’m very glad you found a parking space.

    1. Hi Meg! :) :) Did you see the Wet Monday post yet? I thought of you. :) We had the loveliest day and I’ve hardly stopped smiling all weekend, even in the rain. How are the kidlets? Happy Wet Monday to you all! :)

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