Travel

Playing with patterns

Water is the most fascinating thing.  The gentle drizzle didn’t even matter too much.  Being in Alnwick Water Gardens was still a very nice way to spend an anniversary.  Just look at the fun you can have if you’re wearing wellies!

Watching the liquid patterns, an idea came to me.  I have no patience with selfies, but a little distortion might be fun?  Thanks, Debs, for constantly providing inspiration.  I love the quote in this post.

Ann-Christine’s Patterns are very different, and very beautiful.  I hope you’re following the Lens-Artists.  I will be returning to the Alnwick Garden in a future post.  See you soon!

Jo’s Monday walk : Cotherstone and the Teesdale Way

If you saw my shabby summerhouse last week, you’ll know that I’m a fan of the Open Garden scheme.  Sometimes it throws up a real jewel.  It’s a bit of a bus man’s holiday for my husband, but you can always get him to go and look at a garden.  Me, I’m just happy to go somewhere new.  Not that Cotherstone is new, exactly.  We’ve driven by this village en route to Teesdale and the falls beyond, and scarcely noticed it.  Discovering that the whole village opened its gardens for charity gave us a golden opportunity to explore.

Map in hand, off we went!  There were 15 or more gardens to delight in.  You’ll note that we didn’t get very far before the coffee stop, but we’d had a longish drive from home.  Looking over the garden wall of The Limes was just too tempting. (and the homemade rhubarb slice was tart and delicious!)  A perfect summer’s day, it was easy to sit in the sunshine and smile at the super keen youngsters of the household.  They were Sunday smart and performing waiting duties, with impeccable manners.

When I did stir myself, I was gifted a fine zucchini plant, much to my astonishment.  Never having mothered such a specimen before, I was a little anxious for its survival, but I’m happy to report that it has since thrived.

The Methodist Chapel was open and I paused long enough to admire the stained glass, and wonder briefly if I should turn my talents to rug making?  Back into the sunshine, I dodged a fearsome looking farm machine, before dipping into another garden.

Each garden had its own character.  Some manicured to within an inch of their life, others far more casual; one devoted to recycled goods, another fragrant with a nosegay of sweetpeas.  Their common factor?  A gardener with a smile, and time to chat.

Midway through the village a narrow lane led down towards a river I hadn’t even realised was there.  I was about to meet the River Balder, which joins the Tees at this point.  On the far shore, a river beach, perfectly sited for cooling tired feet.

It’s an enchanted piece of woodland, leaves dancing in dappled shade over russet waters.  The moss covered bridge must surely have been there in Merlin’s time.  I followed the Teesdale Way just far enough to satisfy my curiosity, and then retraced my steps.  A steep clamber up a stepped path brought us to the top of the village, and what was probably my favourite garden, Glensleigh.  Beautifully terraced, the views were far reaching, and the lovely Norwegian owner didn’t seem to mind in the least that a public right of way ran right through her garden.

A bee-keeping demonstration next, the lady keeper, outfitted like a spaceman, fearlessly handling the honeycomb.  A glance over the allotment walls- time is pressing on!  I’ve lost count of the number of gardens we’ve seen.

Back on the main street, we were offered a celebratory prosecco, and took 10 minutes to admire the owner’s beautifully presented patio.  I can’t say that this is common practise at Open Gardens, but it was very much appreciated on a warm day.

On the village green children were dangling toes in the stream and eating icecreams.  Just a few more visits.  Opposite the magnificent church an aged gentleman sat on a bench in his lovely small patch and exchanged pleasantries.  He’d never left his home county.  ‘Why would he?’ his gentle smile seemed to say.  In the stream at the bottom of his garden, two American crayfish seemed content to end their wanderings too.  Wouldn’t you?

While looking for a few facts about Cotherstone, I came upon this 6 mile circular walk from the Fox and Hounds at West Green.  It covers some of our outing today.  Next time I’ll go looking for the ‘fairy cupboards’.

Apologies to anyone whose walk I haven’t included here today.  I’ve scheduled the post because I’m up on the Northumbrian coast for our anniversary, and I haven’t got my laptop.  They’ll appear in next week’s walk- promise!  Meanwhile, please do read and enjoy….

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My nautical friend, Drake, shares a mutual passion – water!

Sailing

I can’t keep up with Jackie!  Can you?  Wonder what’s to eat?

Bed and Breakfast

How about Niagara, looking floral and lovely, with Alice :

Floral clock, Niagara Parks

Some very personal memories shared by Artfulinguist :

A UVic Stroll Down Memory Lane

Not something I associate with beautiful Norway, but Rupali has set me straight :

A tour to Norwegian cherry farm

Nowhere better than our very own Lake District, with Melodie :

Randonnee/Hike Nether Wasdale

I’m home at teatime (earlier if the weather misbehaves too badly  🙂  ) so I’ll catch up with you all then, if not sooner.  Have a great week!

Six word Saturday

It wouldn’t be Summer without Saltburn!

I’m sure they need no introduction. (6) The yarn bombers efforts for 2018. (6)  I’ve never seen it so busy! (6 more)

Awesome, aren’t they?  Every year they pull it off!  Recognise a few characters?  Sorry I’ll not have much time to chat this weekend.  We have a house viewing then we’re off up the coast to celebrate our anniversary.  Don’t forget your Six Words, will you, and have a great weekend!  See you Monday!

Feeling blue

Everybody feels a little blue sometimes, don’t they?  This summerhouse is enough to make your heart sink.  It sits forlornly in the corner of a large and overgrown garden at Loughbrow House in Hexham.  It wasn’t always like this but the owner is now aged 92, a proud, upright lady who loves and manages her garden to the best of her ability.  It was opened for charity at the weekend and I’m sure lots of money was made.  A highlight of the garden is the Lutyens inspired rill with grass topped bridges.  Here’s a peep.

This week Patti is sharing a surreal shade of beautiful Blue in the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.

Jo’s Monday walk : Alte and about

Fonte Pequena at Alte

One of the great things about our Algarve walking group is the knowledge we can share.  Walking one day in Spring I was talking to a lovely lady called Stephanie.  She mentioned a favourite walk which included an abandoned, ruined village, and later sent me an email with a map.  So it was that, heading west for a wine tasting, we decided to seek out the village.  Just one problem- I didn’t have the map with me.  But I did have some scribbled instructions, which I thought should do.  The start was in pretty as a picture Alte, which we know well.

I always want to linger by Fonte Pequena, the smaller of the two natural springs, but my notes said to cross over the bridge and follow the signs for Julia.  Not paying attention, as usual, I turned left instead of right.  When the track became perilous and tangled with scratchy shrubs, I realised my mistake.  Back down and turn right.  Boa Vista beckoned, from the top of a seriously steep hill.  Lovely views, and a stunning passion flower.

A sign at the hilltop indicated that it was just 1.6km to Julia.  Being June it was a little too hot for hiking and I was grateful for any shade I could find.  At the edge of the village I hesitated, unsure of which way, but a villager pointed us in the right direction.  So far so good!  Down through the small cluster of houses we went, scrambling a bit as we hit some loose rocks.  Just as I was beginning to get in a lather, we came to the main road, N124.  An accusing look from the other half!  ‘Couldn’t we have driven here?’  An all too familiar scenario.  ‘But where’s the fun in that?’

The road was empty, but shade was non-existent.  A cowardly decision was about to be made.  Or should I say, good sense prevailed?  The signpost indicated 4km down a dirt track to Esteval dos Mouros, the ruined village.  Neither of us fancied getting hotter and stickier, and we still had the wine tasting venue to find.  The ruins would have to keep for a cooler day.

Back into Alte, hugging the sidewalk for shade.  The spring gurgled down the hill, vivid lemon cactus flowers blinking in the sunlight.  A relief to enter the cheerful pastelaria.  There’s just time for a morsel of cake.

Back on the road, Quinta do Francês proved tricky to find and we arrived with minutes to spare.  A very pleasurable time was spent wine tasting, but I was reluctant to bring an end to such a lovely day.  Our route home took us through Silves, where a striking mural caught my eye.  A quiet stroll by the river and beneath the jacarandas brought the day to a perfect close.

Linking this to Sami’s Monday Murals, where a bunch of like-minded people love to share.  I hope she won’t mind.  I had hoped to see Stephanie when the Algarve walkers met at Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire this week, as she lives nearby.  If she’s reading this I can assure her that we’ll be back to complete her walk this Autumn.  In the meantime I shall be sharing some English walks.

Next weekend is our wedding anniversary and I’m dragging him off up the Northumberland coast.  I hope to schedule a walk for next Monday, but my response rate may not be great as I’ll be in transit.

Many thanks to all of you who contribute and comment to keep my Monday walks alive.  I appreciate your company so much.  How can I possibly quit with you folks to spur me on?  Join me here any time.  Kettle on now, and settle in for a read :

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How fascinating is this, our starter from Rupali?

Monday walk to “the Norwegian book town”

And these botanical gardens are rather special too.  Take a look with Miriam :

Jo’s Monday Walk : Huntington Library 

If I was looking for a piece of real estate, and I had lots of money in my pocket… I’d join Alice!

A walk on Queen Street

The things Janet gets up to in Wyoming!

Monday walk…to the phone booth

Lady Lee has been gadding about again!  🙂  🙂

Our long weekend in Cologne and Bonn

Time to write : Picture Prompt 19 (Creative Writing Prompt) – Gin, Rex and Niki

And as for Jackie, what’s on the menu this week?  Sounds good!

Jambalaya Crawfish Pie and File Gumbo

Melodie takes us hiking and then for a swim, in a quieter part of the English Lake District :

Orthwaite

Or you can enjoy a glorious splash of colour with Drake!

Color Inferno

Koalas and kangaroos!  This is a very cuddlesome post from Carol, though maybe not the echidna!

Feathers and Fur

Eunice is definitely an animal lover too, and she likes a good ramble :

Jumbles Reservoir – a long walk

‘Far from the madding crowd’ with Cathy, in the most beautiful scenery!

The Devil’s Garden Hike at Arches

I’ve watched TV coverage from the Algarve these past couple of days, and am horrified at the fires engulfing swathes of the countryside that I love.  What sad times for so many!

Six word Saturday

Tasting the fruit of the vine

One of our loveliest days on our recent Algarve visit took us to Quinta do Francês, on a wine-tasting tour.  ‘Awful!’ I hear you exclaim.  As the visit was a present from our son and partner, we felt duty bound to attend, and to sample the produce.  It really was rather nice!

The winery is owned by French pathologist, Patrick Agostini, and the wines grown locally in the Odelouca River Valley.  Our guide Tania was knowledgeable and interesting.  We toured the machine room and the cellar, where barrels of new and aged oak are kept.  And then, the tasting!

I could just fancy a glass…  Six Words, of course!  Debbie has cash in pocket and another brilliant six words this week.  Don’t forget to join her.  But first I would like to say a huge thank you to all of you who commented on What do you want from me? this week. The response was simply overwhelming.  I guess I’ll carry on, doing what I do.

What do you want from me?

The salt pans at Tavira, with an unusual pink tint

Maybe this is a question I should have asked long ago.  But to ask it, you first have to think of it.  Browsing in WordPress Discover I found lots of articles dedicated to improving your blog.  The suggestion that your focus be more on the reader than on yourself was one that made me think.  I tend to think of myself as someone who likes the sound of her own voice, and this is certainly true of my blog.  My scribbles are mostly anecdotal and in diary form, and they help to keep my travels alive for me.  They are my ‘unique voice’.  But is that enough?

The marshes come alive with colour in the summer

Is this really what the readership wants?  Is it too much of me, and not enough about them and what they want to read about?  It’s quiet around the blogs at the moment, and I start to wonder if I’ve become boring.  Have I assumed that my style of writing will carry me through, when people are hoping for more facts/more fantasy/more information?  Do I give enough?

I look at the bloggers I admire and it’s true that many of them have a more factual basis to their blog.  I can protest that I’m an individual and that this is my space, but is that sufficient for you?  I am sometimes approached to work with marketing companies.  Would this result in a loss of identity, or might it benefit the reader?  Am I right to stick to doing things my way?

I love this light over Tavira

So, what do you think?  Now is a good time to ask, because I’m not sure that this blog will continue after I move to Tavira.  Most certainly there will be changes to be made, but I would like to take you along with me.