Author: restlessjo

Hi! I’m Jo! Johanna when I’m feeling posh, Jan to my Dad, and Joasiu to my Polish family. A bit of a mix-up, that’s me. The one constant, however, is my restless nature. I love to travel and to explore our world. It doesn’t have to be the big wide world. I can be ridiculously happy not too far from home, so long as I’m seeking new horizons. Of course I have a wish list, and it was to help me fulfil my dreams that I started to write travel guides for a venture called Simonseeks. I’d always kept a travel diary, and it was hugely satisfying to share my experiences and to make new friends who shared my passion for travel. Alas, Simonseeks hit a few troubles, but I still find myself writing about my travels. I’ve become addicted. I’d love to share them, and to make more friends. So, it has to be a blog- right? Or do I mean- write?

Jo’s Monday walk : Rufford Abbey and Country Park

Rufford Abbey in Nottinghamshire looks very inviting on a warm Summer’s day.  Nestled on the edge of Sherwood Forest, in Robin Hood territory, the abbey dates back to 12th July, 1147. Founded by Gilbert de Gant, it was populated with Cistercian monks from Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire, a place that I know well.  They were known as ‘white monks’ because their habits were made from undyed wool, and they lived an austere life of prayer and hard work.

When my daughter suggested that I would love these abbey ruins, now part of a large country estate, I was more than happy to accompany her. She always makes excellent company.  Why don’t you come with us?

Did any of you ever hear of a heliochronometer?  That’s what Lisa was studying in the rose garden.  According to a complicated explanation in Wikipedia, it is a precision sundial first devised by Philip Hahn around 1763.  We struggled to set it, rather unsuccesfully.

Only the west wing of the abbey remains.  The rest was demolished in the 1670s, following the Abolition of the Monasteries.  The pink-tinged stone has a delicacy I love.  A country house replaced the abbey, alleged to be haunted, most appropriately by a skull-bearing monk.

The formal gardens have a lovely hint of playfulness, entrancing to children large and small. Had it not been so hot we could have navigated the fortune maze for much longer.  Spinning the wheel to choose our destiny.  The metal gates and sculptures were intricate and beautiful.

Shade was a valuable commodity, with Lisa fluttering her fan and wishing she’d brought the delightfully dilapidated parasol I’d managed to poke another hole in the previous day. Accidentally, of course.

The Oil Patch Warrior, a sculpture by Jay O’Meilia, a Navy artist in World War II, commemorates American oil workers who drilled over 3 million barrels of oil in the heart of Nottinghamshire, between 1943 and 1945.  He is one of many varied and interesting pieces throughout the grounds.

Hidden in the depths of leafy shade we find an immense ice house.  Sadly, the ice is long departed.  Hoping to catch a breeze over by the lake, or maybe even an icecream, we saunter down through the trees.

There’s a small cafe, but it’s melting hot inside, so we opt for that icecream- tangy lemon for Lisa, pistachio and almond for me.  Lovely!  The path winds on around the lake and we follow it back to the start.

Time to twirl that imaginary parasol homewards.  All good things come to an end, and it was beautiful while it lasted.  I hope you enjoyed it too.  Rufford Abbey is now managed by English Heritage, and full details of how to get there are on their website.

That’s my couple of days in Nottingham accounted for.  Thank you for your company, and for the many and varied walks I’ve received this week.  Join me any time.  You’ll be most welcome. Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Time to put the kettle on now and settle in for a good read.

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I was delighted to be introduced last week to Theresa, by Becky.  Another birder, of course!

Little Orme Level 1

For a glimpse of breathtaking beauty, you often can’t beat Drake :

Nowhere highland

One I missed from last week!  Please have a catch up with Denzil :

The Valley of the Hermeton

A beer by the Spree and/or a bit of wall?  Nice choice from Debbie :

Walking the Wall

A look at a place Jackie knows well- street art and stairs! :

Bonjour Montreal!

A bit of sadness with Woolly :

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But Geoff stays determinedly cheerful :

Cake not Hate – a walk and some thoughts

Meg gently meanders, looking in crevices, twice!

Two wordless walks

While Jude is mildly disenchanted with walking in Truro.  Can anyone help?

Truro – the UK’s most southerly city

Lady Lee offers a superb look at another of those places I’ve always wanted to visit :

Our Malta experience

A good friend has been to the falls at Plitvice and Krka.  They look magnificent!  Here’s proof positive from Paula :

Transience of Water

Do you know Ting?  She’d love to escort you around these beautiful gardens :

Exploring RHS Gardens, Wisley in Surrey

Becky just knew I’d love this post!  Distinctive boats, canals, sunshine… can’t go wrong!

Exploring the many canals of Aveiro

While Carol takes me somewhere very familiar indeed.  I do like a Shambles!

A Walk Around York

You might need a bit of stamina for this long walk, with Eunice :

Ambling round Anglezarke

I am enamoured with Savannah.  Take a look at Cady Luck’s post and you will be too!

Jo’s Monday Walk : Savannah, Georgia

Sssh, but the sun still seems to be shining a little bit up here, and I’m off out for a walk.  Catch you all soon.  Have a great week!

Six word Saturday

As transient as a reflected image

I hate goodbyes.  The weekend in Nottingham with my daughter came and went all too swiftly. Transient, you might say.  As she returned to work, I took one last disconsolate stroll by the canal.

Share your six words this Saturday?  Debbie will be pleased to see you.  Or you might want to try the Weekly Photo Challenge. There’s still time.

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 :

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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!