Hartlepool, on the north east coast of England, isn’t the loveliest place in the world, but it is home, and over the years I guess it’s grown on me. It’s very different now to the Hartlepool I remember as a child. The development of a marina changed the town’s fortunes to the extent that in August 2010 we were able to host the final leg of the Tall Ships Races. Never have I felt so proud, and the camaraderie on our streets for those 4 days is unlikely to be equalled.
I love to walk and whenever I possibly can I get out along the coast. We have some superb local beaches, though you wouldn’t always want to put your toe in the water (brrh!) Just down the road the Yorkshire Moors roll off into the distance, and further afield there’s beautiful Wensleydale. (cheese, Gromit lad?)
The city of Durham is a great place to be in November. “Lumiere 2011” was a feast of light installations :
“Lumiere 2013” was different, but just as wonderful.
It’s a lovely city, with plenty of historical sites to explore :
A first visit for me to the Grassington Dickensian Festival, down in the Yorkshire Dales, made a wonderful festive day out :
And then I spent a little time with my daughter in Nottingham :
Not too far from my own home, on the north east coast, I uncovered another Byron connection, at Seaham :
It’s a developing community these days, getting over its mining past.
Of course, my home town is often in the blog. Hartlepool marina was great fun with Flat Ruthie :
A sunny Summer day had me up the clock tower in Church St., looking out to sea and down on the town centre.
You can’t have too many steam trains, can you? Not if you live in my part of the world! The scenery of the North York Moors is especially beautiful :
In 2013 I managed the Scarecrow Festival in both Elwick and Castle Eden villages.
The Yorkshire village, Robin Hood’s Bay, is a real beauty spot if you’re in the area :
While the city of York always provides plenty of entertainment :
Richmond in North Yorkshire is another of my favourite places, especially in Autumn :
But come Winter, there’s no nicer place to be than St. Mary’s Church in Whitby :
2013 began with a very special event for me- my daughter’s wedding at Thrumpton Hall. I think you’ll agree, it’s grand! And so was she.
Northumberlandia was a revelation, as well as providing the opportunity to meet a lovely blogging friend. But chilly wasn’t the word!
Now that you have a good idea of where I get to in my local roamings, I’d better tell you a little bit about “Abroad”.
Since leaving home for London as an 18 year old, I’ve always wanted to be “somewhere else”. I loved the big city, but it soon became clear to me that there was a lot of world out there. Over the years I’ve covered a fair bit of ground, though never as much as I would like. Isn’t it funny how some people are “home bodies”? I’m married to one! When we were younger he was happy to hop around the Greek Islands with me. We both had a love affair with Italy, and it was so easy to feed our small son pasta. A couple of trips to the States were followed by Canary Islands and Madeira. Having a Winter birthday, but loving the sun, these islands had a strong pull for me.
I’d always watched “A Place in the Sun” and the idea of retiring abroad had huge appeal. On a first ever visit to Portugal, an impulsive decision was made. My husband is in no way an impetuous person, but something about the gentleness and old-fashioned values of the Portuguese made a big impression on him. My research had led me to Tavira in the Eastern Algarve, and I was delighted to find that we both loved it. My Personal A-Z of Portugal will introduce you to some of the beautiful places we’ve found since.
Life can be very strange sometimes can’t it, and we hadn’t made any serious plan to move abroad when something quite extraordinary happened. I discovered that I had aunts and uncles, of whom I knew nothing, living in Poland. Not to mention 26 cousins! The story of my family and travels in that country are the subject of My Personal A-Z of Poland.
I sometimes wish I could curb the wanderlust, but it’s very much a part of me. Just occasionally I manage to persuade my husband that an exciting trip is necessary. Imagine the thrill of Barcelona! I loved that city so much! Gaudi and the Sagrada Familia will always have a special place in my heart.
The trip far exceeded my expectations and I have written numerous posts about it, including a day trip to delicious Girona, with its bridges and many cloistered arcades. If ever you go, consider the Flower Festival in May.
I’ll try to keep you updated on what comes next. I have a plan or two. In the meantime, I hope you’ll find something within these pages that you like. Feel free to browse, won’t you?