O come, let us adore him…
Our hotel room looked directly out on Leeds Cathedral. On Christmas morning the bells rang out, inviting us to celebrate a special birth. I hope you had a beautiful time, too. Happy Six Word Saturday!
Our hotel room looked directly out on Leeds Cathedral. On Christmas morning the bells rang out, inviting us to celebrate a special birth. I hope you had a beautiful time, too. Happy Six Word Saturday!
Just one more beautiful piece of English Heritage, before I move on. I’ve jumped counties this week, to Nottinghamshire and an Elizabethan country house, Wollaton Hall, dating from the 1580s. The sturdy old entrance gate looks anything but welcoming but, beyond it, 500 acres of parkland wrap gently around this elegant house on a hill. Lime Tree Walk sweeps gracefully upwards, but I’m diverted by the activity down at the lake.
An aloof swan or two, some cheerful coots and a waddle of ducks glide around the lemon and white water lilies, on a well nigh perfect summer’s day. The lake, just big enough to consume an icecream as you walk around it.
The park is also home to herds of Red and Fallow deer, some of whom astonished me by treading nonchalantly across the adjacent golf course. It must be a common occurrence, for the golfers appeared unperturbed.
There are formal gardens too, out of reach of the deer, but Wollaton is best known as Nottingham’s Natural History Museum. I’m really not fond of stuffed animals, but had to venture inside the hall out of curiosity. I was glad I did. In parts it was very beautiful.
It being the summer holidays, the hall was full of distractions for children. My daughter, long past childhood but a child at heart, still likes to twirl a bat cape alongside Bruce Wayne. Batman Forever! Wollaton regularly hosts events, and has been used as a film set on several occasions, understandably looking at this staircase. There appeared to be dinosaurs in residence, too.
I was interested to read of the behind the scenes tours available at the house, including a ‘descent to the depths’ to discover the Tudor Kitchen and the Admiral’s Bath! I averted my eyes from much of the taxidermy, but stopped to read Len’s story, and some history of the hall.
You can also access the roof for a closer look at the Pavilion Towers. Or how about a Bat Walk, or ghost tour? There have to be a few skeletons in the cupboards around here, wouldn’t you think?
We had some ace cake eaters in our company that day. Sampling is a public service, after all. Fortunately standards were met in the Courtyard.
Within the courtyard I also found something quite fascinating- an ancient knitting machine, on loan from the Framework Knitters Museum at Ruddington. All in all, a very satisfying afternoon out.
And there you have it! A bundle of very happy memories from an English summer.
Time to share this week’s walks. You have to admit, there’s variety here. And if you want to add something of your own, you know where to find me. Jo’s Monday walk explains it all. Join me here any time.
Let’s start with Debbie. I remember this place as being wonderfully atmospheric :
What is it about Cornwall that makes its gardens so beautiful? Jude might know :
More colourful characters from Janet this week :
Wonder what Jackie’s been eating?
Stroll round ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’ with Lady Lee :
Irene takes us to a beautiful place :
Step by step, Cathy crosses Northern Spain, meeting a few characters along the way :
And I made a new acquaintance in Marsi. The views are stupendous, but you need to be fit!
I’ve been back in the Algarve for 3 weeks now, settling into a rhythm of sorts. I hope you’ll hang around to enjoy it with me. Take care, all!
I’m still in garden mode today. That’s what inevitably comes from a visit to England. At the suggestion of two good friends a jaunt out to a rather wonderful Edwardian country estate took place. Celebrating 50 years of being open to the public, Lotherton Hall is a pleasant ride out of Leeds City Centre on the number 64 bus. Amazing how quickly you can leave the city behind and be surrounded by rolling English countryside and pretty villages. And wonder of wonders, the sun was beaming down! Gardens first, in case the weather changed its mind.
The hall was once owned by the Gascoigne family and the formal gardens were designed between 1893 and 1914. The rose terrace is overlooked by a remarkable bronze sculpture, ‘Peony Priest’. I didn’t take as many photos as I normally would because I was in excellent company, and there was much catching up to do. As well as that, a Vintage Fair had taken pride of place in the gardens. Stalls with all manner of garments, glassware, china and books filled the lawns. A little browsing and, to save the contents of our purses, you understand, it was into the Coach House for coffee (and a scone with jam and cream 🙂 ).
A tiny chapel in the grounds is dedicated to St. James and dates back to 1170. It was restored during the First World War for the use of soldiers recuperating at Lotherton. The serenity must have seemed a boon to them.
Elsewhere in the grounds a Beatles Tribute Band was tuning up. Serenity destroyed, but there were lots of toe tappers. Our visit to the hall was accompanied by the familiar strains of ‘It’s been a Hard Day’s Night’. It was all I could do not to join in the chorus as I looked through the window.
The hall itself truly captured my imagination. It brings to life another era, and tells the stories of the Gascoignes and the families that worked for them, in an ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ fashion. Sir Alvary Gascoigne had a highly successful diplomatic career and this is reflected in the exquisite furniture and fabulous chinoiserie throughout the house.
I’m sure that many people would enjoy this step back in time, but the Lotherton Hall experience doesn’t end there. An enormous range of birds, many of which I have never seen before, inhabit the aviary. Moving from one compound to the next presented continuous surprises. I’m not a fan of zoos in general, but there were lots of happy children and their parents in the park.
We’d done a lot of wandering and it was time for a substantial meal. My friend’s suggestion of the ‘Crooked Billet’ pub, just 1.6 miles away, was a huge success. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, isn’t it? And surely Eton Mess can’t be fattening!
Their only son is getting married this Friday. I wish him and his bride a wonderful life together, and hope they’ll be as happy as his Mum and Dad.
More walks to share this week. Thank you all for contributing and for reading. Join me any time you like, here on Jo’s Monday walk.
I’m stealing from a master this week. I’m sure most of you will know the work of Lignum Draco :
And, just over the water, Jude focuses on what she does best- a Cornish garden :
While Margaret does her best to cheer us, with a dash of ‘je ne sais quoi’ :
This lady never ceases to amaze me with the places she goes, and the resulting photographs :
While Lady Lee has the best holidays ever :
A challenging walk from Cheryl, but well worth it, I know you’ll agree :
While Irene takes us to some stunning heights in Hawaii :
And Teabee reminds me of the beauty of English heather :
Alice’s turn to take us through some locks this week :
Drake shares another snippet of his fascinating life :
And Janet demonstrates her fondness for animals :
If you’re just feeling lazy, Sandra has the answer :
But Cathy strides on with determination in every step :
Nothing left to do but wish you all a great week. See you soon!
‘How many kinds of sweet flowers grow in an English Country Garden?’ Who’d have thought I’d manage to squeeze in a visit to an Open Garden on my recent UK trip! Sleightholmedale Lodge, near Kirby Moorside, had a lovely hillside location. And cake! But I stoutly resisted. ‘
As usual, Debbie has the market cornered on six words. Why not join in? Wishing you a happy Saturday!
What could be finer, on an almost sunny day, than a little piece of English Heritage, topped off with a canalside walk? Numerous times I have passed by the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, with a backward look and a sigh. Founded in 1152, over 800 years ago, this Cistercian monastery is surrounded by greenery and sits on the banks of the River Aire.
All summer long Leeds City Council have provided activities to keep youngsters active and entertained. Kirkstall Abbey was one of the venues, in case you were wondering about the terrier. He was watching me with curiosity as I read the signboards and imagined how life must have been, back in those draughty days.
A short, sharp shower forced us across the road and into the Abbey House tearooms. Excellent timing for a huge slice of carrot cake.
I was astonished to learn that the main road into Leeds had once passed through the Abbey. Today it buzzes and hums alongside, but a far quieter route into town can be found just a few hundred metres beyond, along the Leeds-Liverpool canal.
Leaving the Abbey to its own devices, I meandered across the grass to join the riverside path. Youngsters were trying to span the river, with whoops of laughter, at a narrow point among the trees. Beyond the weir it wasn’t immediately obvious how to reach the towpath, and I ended up on a rugby pitch, with some rusty containers. Big hint- it is necessary to cross over the river to access the canal.
You never know what you’ll find on, or in, a canal. Discarded gaiety from the day before, an old lad and his equally old boat, nuts and bolts and bridges, and a dad, wheeling the pushchair in search of peace and quiet.
Waterside weeds aplenty, dappled shade, a pigeon under a bridge, looking wary, and a timely reminder of distance. Today’s walk, just a fraction of that. Suddenly welcome sunshine flooded the canal with brilliant light, and simultaneously I passed by a small marina.
Close by, the traffic thundered over bridges, but in this watery world all was stillness and calm, with patches of ugliness. Angled shots seemed to suit the confined space, reflecting the heavy girders with ease.
Approaching Leeds centre many of the old warehouses have been converted, but there are still sad facades with bleak-looking, shattered windows. A museum peers down from behind railings. Spare patches of wall host graffiti. The canal trundles silently, nurturing its wildlife.
The railway joins the canal and the road network, and gradually everything converges on the city. A sequence of locks steers you through it’s very heart. The conviviality of the canals always draws people together, and I love this about them.
I have to apologise for being a bit ‘all over the place’ right now. Many of you will know that I am back in my Algarve home, after spending most of August in the UK. Events have overtaken me, but I have a few ambles still to share from my time in England.
As always, many thanks to you all for following my wandering footsteps. I hope you can spare some time to visit my walkers. I can promise variety! Join me next time, on Jo’s Monday walk? You’re always very welcome.
Jude’s back with us this week, sharing beautiful Cornwall :
Denzil’s shifted his focus a little lately, but the details are, as always, excellent :
Debbie always finds such interesting subjects for her walks :
A beautifully written walk from Mel, with some great historic background :
And by contrast, Joanne shares some very English heritage and sights :
There isn’t any shortage of beautiful cities in Europe, is there? Thanks, Drake!
Janet shares a lovely picture storyboard this week :
While Natalie keeps our fitness in mind, in a beautiful setting :
And Jackie has a very different focus :
Ann-Christine reflects on our topsy-turvy world :
Lady Lee’s back from a fabulous holiday :
While poor Cathy just keeps right on walking!
There’s walking, and then there’s Lexie! This is an unbelievable effort. You will be amazed!
That’s it for another week. I plan a slow day today as the weekend was hot and hectic. Whatever you find to do, take good care of yourself.
Many thanks to Leeds City Council for bringing so much pleasure to small boys and girls this summer. And to some of us oldies! Debbie’s having fun today too. Join her with six words? Happy Saturday!
Didn’t we have a lovely time…
What a trip! I’m back from the UK now, adjusting to Algarve temperatures. My riverside walk in Otley was a total washout, but I couldn’t stop laughing. It coincided with a day when ‘rain stopped play’ at Headingley, and folk were queuing at bus stops dressed as sharks or Batman, or whatever else took their fancy. Totally bonkers! We spent a jolly couple of hours in the pub, and dripped home.
I had a new camera and, as you may have observed, forgot to remove the date from the shots so it is indelibly printed on my mind. Another, even wetter day, was spent in a pub in Knaresborough, again in excellent company. The British fighting spirit! On my last day my phone died. Was it the weather? I am attempting to familiarise myself with a new one…. slowly!
It wasn’t all rain and we had some wonderful times, but I have far exceeded my Six Words. Lots of stories to tell. I’ll be back on Monday. Have a great weekend and make the most of your heatwave! (in Britain)
It was a strange Christmas for me. How about you? I flew into Stansted, in spite of being destined for Leeds Bradford airport. Nine hours later than planned, a neighbour’s very kind son deposited me at my hotel, tired and somewhat bemused at the chain of events. It could only get better, and mostly it did. Christmas Day should be spent with people you love, and it was. Blue skies in Leeds in late December, however briefly, a bonus. Put your gloves on and join me in a sparkly, frosty walk. You know you need the exercise!
We’re starting out around Granary Wharf, near to the railway station. Underneath the arches, a neglected image of times gone by. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is sandwiched between remnants of the industrial past and modern apartment blocks, and on a bright day the towpath makes for a pleasant walk. Don’t forget to check out the view behind you, and keep an eye out for those demon cyclists!
A colossal undertaking, primarily to transport coal for industry in the 18th century, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal runs for 204km in total, with 91 locks. We’re only covering a tiny section today, right in the centre of Leeds. It was Christmas Eve and I was avoiding the bustle of the city streets, whilst still hoping to meet our son for coffee. In places the canal runs parallel with the River Aire, offering an alternate route. Ugliness is a close neighbour with beauty here. One moment I’m admiring lily pads and reflections, the next confronted with urban scrawl and litter.
All is redeemed when I round a bend and find a pair of swans communing with a family of ducks. The natural world is at peace.
I’ve always been fascinated by locks, and find them a welcome distraction from gloomy tunnels and ever-present graffiti. The combination of old mills and rippling reflections works like a charm, soothing with their beauty.
Remnants of once meaningful murals cling to tired brick walls. The water races headlong, a solitary swan seeming not to notice his drab surrounds.
Where the sun’s soft caress has yet to reach, a hard frost remains. I look back along the canal and know that I must retrace some of my steps. A coffee laced with Bailey’s awaits, but more importantly, my son.
The path continues on for many miles and I hope some day to complete the section from here to lovely Kirkstall Abbey, a short distance away. And just in case you thought I wasn’t keeping my eye on the time while I was in Leeds….
Time’s up, it seems! Thanks, Becky. Wishing you and yours lots of good times in 2019!
This visit was all about family, and we managed to unite son and daughter, and their partners, in Nottingham, after a tortuous journey by road. Worth it, of course! Now I’m back in the Algarve with my memories. And some more walks to share.
After a flying visit to England, I’ve embraced cold. Debbie too! She’s sharing Icelandic beauty :
Give yourself an after Christmas treat! Go walking the streets of Prague with Nicole :
Margaret knows the way to a woman’s heart! Walking in one of my favourite places :
Jackie has fun wherever she goes. And the lady eats well! Drinks well, too 🙂
I love poinsettias! They spell Christmas to me, and to Alice too :
Lady Lee shares a wonderful Christmas tree and a post-birthday celebration :
Fancy a swift walk with my mate Andrew?
Or something more contemporary with Tobias :
Cathy gives us sweeping plains, petroglyphs and a great house, Chaco style!
We’ve reached the last day of the year. Goodness knows how! It only remains to wish you all the healthiest of years ahead. Mine will start with a bang, beside the bridge at Tavira. A first for me, but not the last, I hope. Happy New Year!
“Imagine I’m in love with you, It’s easy cos it’s true…” It’s a bit of a crazy leap from Terracotta Army to Beatles, but the Cavern drew me like a magnet. I left the enthralling exhibition somewhat dazed and wandered in what I hoped was the direction of the Beatles’ old haunt. Alone, and beginning to feel weary from an early start, I hovered beside Cilla, trying to find the confidence to descend those steps. If in doubt, have a glass of wine? Perhaps not the best motto for life, but I retreated to a nearby restaurant, overlooking the comings and goings on Mathew St., and gathered my courage over a very nice chicken curry.
I needn’t have worried. It was early evening and the warm up ‘lad’, Tony Skeggs, was on, and what a very fine job he made of it. I was soon singing away, balanced on my stool, without a care in the world. Aside from getting back to the hotel afterwards, of course, but eventually I hummed my way ‘home’ without misadventure, and sang myself to sleep.
I had a rough plan for the following day, part of which included a Magical Mystery Tour. The forecast wasn’t great and I ‘imagined’ I might be better on a bus, but with a dry start I thought I’d do a little exploring on foot first. Restless always comes naturally. But first I had a bit of a treat. The lovely lass on reception in Sleep Eat Love informed me that their new bistro was opening that morning. Their first ever customer, I was greeted like royalty. Fortified with scrambled eggs and coffee, that smile still on my face, I ventured forth.
I did try to plot a course to the cathedral on Google Maps, but I’m a pretty hopeless case and soon ended up following my instincts. That can be disastrous, but I was lucky this day. Signs for Lime Street Station kept me on track, and right opposite, magnificent St. George’s Square.
Passing the busy station, I paused to gape at the frontage of a grand looking hotel. I was peering inside, with my usual curiosity, when a cheerful voice said ‘Come on in, love, and have a look!’ I can’t get over the friendliness of the locals. The cleaner was still hard at work and there was a lovely smell of polish in the air. I had entered an Aladdin’s cave of Art Deco, being transformed into, of all things, a food court! I know my daughter would have revelled in the extravagant curls and swirls of Barcelona Bar.
Seeing church spires ahead I thought I might have reached the cathedral, but it turned out to be the Bombed Out Church, a rather forlorn relic, whose railings were adorned with poetry. A sad looking tramp had made it his home.
Strange how such a very large cathedral can become invisible. I had to ask for directions, but soon I was gazing upwards at the rosy might of the Anglican Cathedral. Not sure if it was open, I noticed a couple coming through a narrow gateway and went to investigate. I’m so very glad I did because, for the next half hour, I wandered beneath the greenery of St. James’ Gardens.
I was intrigued to discover that the gardens had once been a quarry, from which the stone for most of Liverpool’s public buildings had been cut, in the 18th century. From 1825 to 1936 it became the city’s main cemetery. Today it wraps around the cathedral like an ancient skirt.
And what a cathedral! Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and built almost entirely of the local pink sandstone, it is the largest in Britain, and the largest Anglican Cathedral in the world. The foundation stone was laid in 1904 by King Edward VII and it was finally completed 74 years later in 1978. For me the Lady Chapel was the most beautiful part of the church, and I paused to light a candle in the gallery overlooking this quiet, lovely place. The stained glass panels depict women of significance from the bible, and important Liverpool women who were missionaries or worked for the poor of the city. The central space of the cathedral was vast, and laid out at one end was an array of beautifully dressed tables and chairs. I had read somewhere of a cafe in the cathedral and wondered if I was appropriately dressed to grace one of these tables. But first, the Tower!
I never can resist a view, even though it usually involves a climb. There are 3 stages to this one. First by lift, followed by a narrow corridor that overlooks the bells, then a second lift and 108 steps to the top. All worth it! You can, apparently, on a fine day see Blackpool Tower in the distance, but I was more interested in closer range. And yes, we’ve finally earned a cuppa, so it’s back down again, via the embroidery exhibition, and over to the mezzanine cafe. I was half disappointed to find that those grand tables weren’t for the likes of me, but I had a lovely chat with a young woman and her daughter, enjoying both the fruity Liverpool cake and listening to her wonderful ‘Scouse’ accent.
The weather had finally caught up with me and, as I headed down Hope St. towards the Liverpool Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, the first spots of rain arrived. Just time to scurry up the steps for a quick look. I remembered seeing it on TV when Paul McCartney conducted the Liverpool Oratorio from there. Originally the cathedral was to have been a Lutyens design but World War II intervened and in the 1960s ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’, as it is affectionately known, was completed, to the design of Sir Frank Gibberd.
All thoughts of a Magical Mystery tour had long since been abandoned and, as the rain began to pelt down, I headed back downhill to the Waterfront and a world class selection of museums. I was beguiled and saddened by John and Yoko in the Museum of Liverpool, and spent an hour or so absorbing modern art in Tate Liverpool. As I looked out on Albert Dock in pounding rain, I reflected on the brilliant couple of days I’d spent. I hope you enjoyed them too.
This isn’t officially a Jo’s Monday walk but, as I’m taking time off to get settled in the Algarve, I thought I’d do a round up of the walks I received this week. Please take a few minutes to visit if you can.
Lady Lee is sharing churches too. She says to make a wish in each :
We all need a little peace sometimes. Irene has a lovely spot too :
Murals are always popular. How about these?
You think I walk a long way? You should try accompanying Geoff and Dog :
There’s always food on offer at Jackie’s. And today’s accompaniment is…
Jaspa takes us on a wander in another beautiful city :
That’s it from me for a while. I’ll pop in whenever I can. Take care of yourselves, and bye for now!
You may have seen them on TV, but nothing can quite give you the frisson that accompanies your first sight of the Terracotta Warriors. Standing in the never ending queue, you wonder what can have brought so many people, over weeks and weeks, to this exhibition. Fully booked all summer until 28th October, the World Museum in Liverpool has tried to accommodate still more people by booking into the early evening. The atmosphere is charged with anticipation as you are beckoned into the cinema for a brief introduction. And then, you meet a Horseman, and enter the darkened arena where the story is told.
China’s First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, was responsible for the most extraordinary feat. In 246BC, aged just 13, he ascended to the throne, in a period of tumultuous conflict between warring tribes. As he grew in power and stature he managed to unify the tribes, but along the way he became obsessed with the idea of immortality. In 1974 a chance discovery by farmers digging a well in the Shaanxi province of China was to reveal an incredible underground army of life-sized Terracotta Warriors, 2000 years after his death.
The belief system of the time included an after life, provision for which the Emperor made in the most excessive indulgence. A mausoleum was constructed, modelled on the Qin capital Xianyang, with inner and outer cities, beneath an enormous burial mound. Buried in pits east of this, more than 8000 warriors for the Emperor’s protection. 130 chariots were found with 520 horses. I was totally mesmerised by the replica bronze chariots with their teams of horses, thought to represent the chariots in which the Emperor travelled across his newly unified lands. They were buried so that he could carry on touring his Empire in the afterlife.
No luxury was spared, and there were musicians, strongmen and acrobats for entertainment. The gigantic bronze cauldron above is thought to have been used in acrobatic performances. The kneeling stable boy below would have cared for the horses in the after life.
Sadly the Emperor may have brought about his own premature death. He ordered his alchemist to make potions to extend his life, some of which contained mercury. His unexpected death was most probably from mercury poisoning.
The exhibition defies description and it is amazing to think that these are but a fraction of the total necropolis. The Terracotta Army have traveled the world, inspiring awe and disbelief. The enclosed links will help you to understand much better than I can.