Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!

What is it about something that makes you just stop and have to take the photo?  I’m not sure, but this little guy and his crab friend have it.  I was heading into our railway station when the mural caught my eye.  I’ve created a small square to fit Becky’s challenge, In the Pink.  It’s such a very nice representation of Hartlepool Headland, with its pastel houses.  Below you can see the whole.  Am I pushing my luck to say Small is Beautiful?

A festive Sunset

I love a bit of drama in the sky

I love a bit of drama in the sky

Walking home after a lovely lunchtime with a good friend, I was full of Christmas cheer. The sky was a blaze of fire but the chill was nipping at my toes.  As the Christmas lights came on in our town centre, I just had to stand a little while and admire.

It only needed a few minutes

It only needed a few minutes


For the colours to fade

Paula has chosen a spectacular way to say ‘farewell’ to the Thursday Special until the New Year. If you like a bit of drama too, that’s the place to be.



Follow the herring

A coat for a boat

A coat for a boat

I really shouldn’t be here this evening but today I found a “must share”.  The ‘Follow the Herring’ exhibition of knitting and crafts is travelling down the east coast of England and today I caught a preview in Hartlepool Art Gallery.

How do you knit a coat for a boat?  The coble boat, made by the North East Maritime Trust, will be at the centre of each exhibition, brought to life with locally made artwork.

A travelling show, ‘Get up and Tie your Fingers’, uses the background of the 1881 Eyemouth Fishing Disaster to tell the story of the ‘herring lassies’ who followed the fishing fleets down the coast to meet the catch at each port of call. With knives at the ready and strips of cloths tied around their thumbs and forefingers to protect from the blades, they gutted, salted, and barrelled the ‘silver darlings’, the bountiful herring that were destined for markets across the world. Sometimes at the cost of their menfolk’s lives.

The herring!

The herring!

A friendly gull

A friendly gull

Safety first!

Safety first!

The wave of herring

The wave of herring

A wooden ‘wave’ has been constructed and at each venue a section of local handiwork is added. The exhibition set off from Musselburgh in Scotland and the shoal will be beautifully and creatively increased by the time it reaches Hastings on 3rd July.

Departing from Musselburgh

Departing from Musselburgh

More details about the exhibition and the show can be found on this link to The Customs House.

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Sea glass

Sea glass window contributed by students at Catcote Academy

An amazing collection of work, isn’t it?  You can even download a ‘Follow the herring’ knitting pattern and join in on the website.

But my favourite exhibit has to be the boat

My favourite exhibit just has to be the coble

I probably won’t be able to respond to many of your comments until I return from the Algarve next week.  The laptop is going into rehab, but I thought that this was a nice way to leave you.


Jo’s Monday walk : Nesbitt Dene

Thorpe Bulmer Farm

Thorpe Bulmer Farm

This week I’m going to take you for a simple little stroll from Hart Village, through Nesbitt Dene and back again.  Hart is only 2km north of Hartlepool, and if I’m not walking on a beach, the chances are I’ll be somewhere near this village.  It’s not very big, but has 2 pubs, a village hall (where I do t’ai chi on Wednesday mornings) and a lovely little church.  More of this later.  Time to put on the walking shoes.

From the main street, a public footpath sign directs you through a gap in the housing, down to a little stream and round to St. Mary Magdalene’s Church.  Sometimes it’s open and you can take a look inside, but if the sky is blue we’ll keep on striding.  A right turn onto Butts Lane will lead you out of the village, towards farm land.  You’ll usually pass a nosy sheep or two on the way.

Today they look like teddy bears and are busy 'tucking in'.

These two look like teddy bears, busy ‘tucking in’.

There's an old barn, of course

There’s an old barn, of course

And maybe some hay rolls in the fields.

And sometimes hay ‘rolls’ in the fields.

The sea is over on your right, across the fields

The sea is over on your right,in the distance

The road heads gently up an incline, and you should carry on until you see Thorpe Bulmer Farm ahead of you.  It’s a large white building and not easy to miss.  When you reach the farm a path splits off to the left, taking you around the side of the farm to the lovely view in the top picture.

I was surprised by the bright yellow of the seats by the duck pond.  Last year they were a more soothing duck egg blue.  Either way, the ducks don’t seem to mind, and wouldn’t it be a nice spot to recline?  But not for us!  We’re going to the woods.

The leaves are unfurling nicely and there are hens in the farmyard

The leaves are unfurling nicely, and soon there will be a canopy of green

But the woods are still breathing quietly

But the woods are still a little sparse, and breathing quietly

Wood anemones flourish

Wood anemones flourish

Pine cones litter the path

Pine cones litter the path

And a twinkling or two might catch your eye

And celandines sparkle amid the green

Following the path to the side of the farm, you very soon come to the woods, on your right.  There are a number of paths leading through them, crossing a little stream, and back out again.  Take the steps down and over the bridge, then continue straight ahead.

Emerging from the dene you will see Nesbitt Hall across the fields ahead of you.  It is a Grade ll listed building, dating from 1697. Keep it on your left hand side and follow the edge of the field.

Nesbitt Hall and a lot of clouds!

Nesbitt Hall, and a lot of clouds!

The fields are full of rape seed at the minute

The fields are full of rape seed at the minute

And great heaps of rolled hay

And great heaps of rolled hay

And rusty old bits of farming equipment

With rusty old bits of farming equipment

Not good for pollen sufferers, I’m afraid!  Take the path to your right, away from the Hall, and continue downhill, back into Nesbitt Dene and the woods.

I cannot resist a blossom shot along the way

I cannot resist a blossom shot along the way

Or even two!

Or even two!

Then back under the feathery leaves

And then you’re back beneath the feathery trees

Beside a stream, primulas thrive, liking the mossy surround

Beside a stream, primulas thrive, liking their mossy surroundings

The trees reflecting in the shallow water

The trees, reflecting in the shallow water

Then you are climbing back out of the dene and retracing your steps to Hart Village.  Here you might want to linger in the churchyard.  Or try one of the village pubs.  I can personally recommend ‘The White Hart’.  If you have driven to the village there is a car park conveniently beside the church, signed Butts Lane.

St. Mary's and the churchyard

St. Mary Magdalene’s and the churchyard

A peaceful scene inside the church

Inside the church, a peaceful scene

I can guarantee you peace for a week or so, because I’m heading off to Poland tomorrow.  I hope to have time to respond to your comments before I go, but if I miss anyone, my apologies in advance.  I’m hoping you’ll join in and share a favourite walk with me.  If not this week, then maybe when I return?  You have a little extra ‘think time’.

As usual, you can leave a link to your walk post in my comments, or you can link back to me from the post.  I really don’t mind, and any day of the week will do.  It would be lovely to have some walks to cheer me up when I return.  I’ll try to entertain you with a Polish walk in exchange.  Seem fair?  Great!  I’ll see you then.  Take care in the meantime!

Just got time for some shares before I go.  Don’t miss Amy’s lovely River Walk :


And Yvette, being zany 🙂


And you simply can’t miss Sonel taking a Mantis for a walk, in her own inimitable style!


Bluebell woods, anyone?  Thanks, Elaine!




Jo’s Monday walk : Hartlepool Story Trail

Fish Annie's song

Fish Annie’s song

I’ve been promising this particular walk for quite a long time.  I hope you like it!

The Hartlepool Story Trail follows a sequence of 18 signs, crowned by a monkey.  You’ll see why later.  It traces the history of Hartlepool back to AD640, highlighting local landmarks along the way.

It’s a walk that I often do, paying no particular attention to the signs because my eyes are focussed on the sea.  Hartlepool’s history is irretrievably mixed with the maritime and the walk starts midway along the promenade.  Why, I really don’t know!

It all begins with the 'Island of Harts'

No. 1- the ‘Island of Harts’

The hart is a symbol of Hartlepool and appears throughout the town

The hart is a symbol of Hartlepool and appears throughout the town

It will be fairly obvious, I think, that I took some of these photos on different days.  The sea is always a magnet to me, whether it’s thundering against the sea walls or softly licking the shore.

No. 2- Fairy Cove

No. 2-  ‘Fairy Cove’

A calm blue background today

A calm blue background for the monkey

This point marks the north eastern end of the town wall.   The ‘Fairy Coves’ were man-made circular excavations, 5 metres in diameter, about 12 feet above the shore, and intended as ‘places of concealment’ for humans.

No. 3-

No. 3-  Beacon and Town Moor

Today's beacon, on a better day!

Today’s beacon, on a bluer day!

No. 4-  Bandstand & Elephant Rock

No. 4- Bandstand & Elephant Rock

Elephant Rock, which collapsed in 1891

Elephant Rock, which collapsed in 1891

  • The bandstand still exists, though in rather dilapidated condition.  Gone are the days when it witnessed street theatre, boxing matches and even motor bike racing time trials. Elephant Rock, sadly, is no more, but there are still numerous smaller stacks along the shoreline.
  • No. 5-  Lighthouse and Heugh Battery

    No. 5- Lighthouse and Heugh Battery

    The first lighthouse on this site dates from 1847 and was one of the world’s first to be operated by gas.  It was dismantled during the First World War because its position prevented retaliatory fire from the Heugh Gun Battery, in the Bombardment of Hartlepool on 16th December, 1914.

    The current lighthouse dates from 1926

    The current lighthouse dates from 1926

You may have noticed the darkening sky, and my wonky photo, above.  Rounding the lighthouse one day last week, I was met by a storm of hailstones, and this!  Happily I wore a waterproof.

The sea was having fun!

The sea was having fun!

Lots of fun!

Lots of fun!  These photos are not in black and white.

As the sea lashed the promenade, I made a dash for the next sign, no.6- Cliff Terrace.

Some of the signs are quite weather worn, too!

Some of the signs are quite weather worn.  It’s no wonder!

No. 7,  just off the seafront and a little more sheltered, rather strangely comes in two parts- ‘a’ and ‘b’.  Billy Purvis, the subject of 7a and something of a jester, is buried in the grounds of nearby St. Hilda’s Church.

No. 7a-  Billy Purvis

No. 7a- Billy Purvis

7b is, of course, the church itself.

7b  of course, is St. Hilda’s church, dating from 1190.

Pretty in snow, isn't it?

Pretty in snow, isn’t it?

So far this year, there’s been no snow in the north east.  Hush!  Don’t even think about it.  Neither has it been paddling pool weather, but that’s where we’re going next.

No. 8-  the 'Paddling Pool'

No. 8- the ‘Paddling Pool’

One chilly monkey!  What's that saying?  Brass monkeys?

One chilly monkey! What’s that saying? Brass monkeys?

As the sign says, we once boasted a handsome paddling pool set into the rocks beneath this promenade.  I dimly remember it from my childhood, but in 1953 a tremendous storm hit the north east coast, and the damage was irreparable.  There is a much tamer version of the paddling pool set into the lower promenade, and it continues to delight small persons in Summer.

No. 9-  'Hartlepool Lifeboats'

No. 9- ‘Hartlepool Lifeboats’

Unthinkable that we could have a town without a lifeboat, and one has been in existence since 1803.  The first cost just £300 to build locally, and was propelled by 10 oars.

No. 10-  'Fish Sands and the Monkey'

No. 10-  ‘Fish Sands and the Monkey’

This is a crucial sign, and the one I started this post with, seen here on a hazy summer’s day.  The sign includes the tale of the monkey-hanging, which no self-respecting Hartlepudlian can fail to know, though it doesn’t reflect well on us.  Allegedly, during the Napoleonic Wars, a severe storm hit a French vessel off the coast of Hartlepool.  Following the wreck of the ship a sole survivor, a nautically attired monkey, was washed ashore on the Fish Sands.  Being unfamiliar with monkeys and naturally suspicious of the French, the people of Hartlepool decided to hang this “Frenchman” as a spy, and have been trying to live it down ever since.

No. 11-  'The Croft and Sandwell Chare'

No. 11- ‘The Croft and Sandwell Chare’, with St. Hilda’s in the background

The Chare- the prettiest bit of the town wall

Sandwell Gate, leading to the beach- the prettiest bit of the town wall

The Croft Gardens now sit below St. Hilda’s Church (but beside Verrill’s Chip Shop- another famous landmark!)  This was the site of the former old town, which was demolished in 1938.

'Chalybeate Spring' was a thriving Health Spa

No. 12-  ‘Town Wall and Chalybeate Spring’

Amazing to think that our pretty Town Wall, which has often been admired as my former header, has stood firm against elements and enemies since 1322.  ‘Chalybeate Spring’ was a thriving Health Spa, said to cure indigestion and other ailments.  Must have been the bracing sea air!

No. 14-  'Middleton & Ferry Crossing'

No. 14- ‘Middleton & Ferry Crossing’

Sadly I don’t remember the ferry, which stopped running in 1952, but I well remember Middleton and the dockland area.

The alert amongst you may have noticed a leap in the signs.  No. 13 is absent because I simply couldn’t find it!  Having got this far, in spite of inclement weather, I decided to terminate the walk.  I already have more information than you can readily digest and I don’t want to bore.

If you are interested and stop to read every one of the signs, the walk will take you no more than an hour or two.  There’s a map at the bottom of each sign so you can’t get lost.  On a nice day there are plenty of spots to linger and just watch the sea, and the boats heading for harbour.  If it rains I could recommend you to Mary Rowntree’s tearooms.  A former chapel, it has been beautifully converted, and you will pass it on your route.  Or you may be lucky enough to find St. Hilda’s open, and step inside.  For background history, if you can’t get here, this is an excellent article.

So what did you think of this week’s walk?  And, more importantly, do you have a walk you’d like to share with me?  If you do, I’d be delighted if you could leave a link in the comments below.  Or even link back to me from your post, if it’s a new one.  I look forward to an evening’s reading.

You can join in too!











Jo’s Monday walk : Crimdon beach


First of all I need to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all of the people who joined in on my Monday walk last week.  I was so happy with the response I got that I really can’t wait to do it again.  Let’s take the walk first, shall we, and I’ll explain a little more later.

Crimdon Beach

This is another local walk, and probably comes in the ‘ugly’ category.  I can’t just show you pretty pictures can I?  It wouldn’t be truthful, or fair to the area.  Crimdon lies just north of Hartlepool, on the north east coast of England.  It is one of my childhood beaches.  A day trip to Crimdon was exciting in those days!  To this day, a caravan park sits atop the beach, and you can wander through it playing the ‘I’d like this one’ game.  Front facing the sea, naturally.

How about this one? A few tubs on the deck and it would be perfect!

How about this one? A few tubs on the deck and it would be perfect!

But I’m getting away from the subject.  This is a circular walk which includes the beach and Crimdon Dene.  Our start point is the cliff top car park.

Here you have it!

Here you have it!

As you can see, it’s part of the Durham Coastal footpath, very easily accessible and with some excellent cliff top walking.  Hartlepool was once a part of Durham County, but that is history.

But I cannot always offer you the blue skies!

First drop down the stepped boardwalk and onto the beach

Today a watery sun glints in the rockpools

Today there’s a watery sun, glinting in the rock pools
You'll maybe recognise this view from a previous post?

You might just recognise this view from a previous post where I got wet!

There go the walkers, striding up the beach!

There go the walkers, striding up the beach!

In places the sea is trapped at low tide

In places, the sea gets trapped at low tide
The patterns formed in the dune a mystery

The patterns formed in the dune, a mystery

And looking back, some walkers in outline, at the top

And looking back, tiny walkers in outline, near the top

With the tide out, you can walk right along this beach to Hartlepool.  In the distance you can still see the disused pier that is all that is left of a former magnesium works.  In Summer you might observe protective fencing along the dunes, where a nesting colony of Little Terns make their home for 4 months every year.  They spend Winter in West Africa, lucky things!

But today we are going into Crimdon Dene.  A wooded valley cutting through cliffs of magnesium limestone, it forms the boundary with County Durham.  The Dene’s dominant landmark is the lofty railway viaduct, completed in 1905, over which the north coast railway service periodically rattles.  I remember being hugely excited by it when I was small.

Hartlepool Headland just visible in the distance

Hartlepool Headland just visible in the distance

Safeguard the Little Terns

Safeguarding the Little Terns

Crimdon or Hartlepool?

Crimdon or Hartlepool?

Underneath the arches of Crimdon railway viaduct

Underneath the arches of Crimdon railway viaduct

Leaving the Dene from beneath the viaduct

Leaving the Dene from beneath the viaduct

A steepish climb will bring you back up to the cliff top car park.  The distance is little more than 2 miles but you can extend it as far along the beach as you wish.  There are no facilities as the club house on the caravan park is ‘members only’.  Hard to believe that back in the 50s this was a thriving resort.  A Six word Saturday post from about this time last year will show you the area from a slightly different (and sunnier) aspect.

And now it’s your turn!  Last week I suggested that I would love to hear about walks in your area. I can never cover as much ground as I’d like to, so I would really appreciate sitting back in my armchair for a virtual walk around your neighbourhood.  If you have a post about a favourite walk that you’d like to share, please leave a link in my comments box.  You can do this any day of the week, and it can be a full walk or just a few photos- I’ll be delighted either way.

In return I will tweet or post it on Facebook for those of you who use social media.  I usually share when I like a post anyway, but sometimes I forget.  Age, you know!  I don’t know if you’ve found my Restlessjo page on Facebook, but I’d love to see you there.  Happy walking!


The simple kind

The simple kind

Ready to go!

Ready to go

As far as you can take me

As far as they can take me!

Edited by Viveka Gustafson

Or maybe something grander?  (Edited by Viveka Gustafson)

With a little more style

With a bit more style
And panache!

And oozing panache!

Some elegant wood carving

Perhaps some elegant wood carving

And a figurehead to charm the world

And a figurehead fit to face the world!

Jake has asked the question this week- how do you like to travel?  You might have noticed that I’m very partial to boats- all shapes and sizes.  How about you? The last five shots were taken when the Tall Ships Race came to Hartlepool in 2010.  My lovely friend Viveka admired them but it wasn’t a bright day and one of them needed a hint of brightening up.  She was kind enough to do it for me, unasked.  Isn’t that what friends are for? I think my husband may have taken some of the Tall Ships.  My memory’s not so good these days! But I do remember to join Jake in his Sunday Post challenge whenever I can.  The subject this week is Transport.  Come take a look!


In search of threes

For those of you who think I spend my life languishing in the Algarve sunshine, here’s a look at Restlessjo’s everyday world.  Let’s start at the railway station, shall we?

If the weather’s good, I don’t need to travel far.  Many of my shots are taken on Hartlepool Headland.  There are always boats, or some form of activity.  Now we have a fleet of windmills out at sea.  Look closely at the middle photo.

The promenade wraps around Old Hartlepool, as the Headland used to be known.  A brisk walk along it will surely blow the cobwebs away.  In the distance, signs of former industry.

The town wall is probably the nicest part of the Headland, and certainly the warmest.  These were taken on a warm but strangely foggy day last Summer.  The fog disappeared as rapidly as it came.

Not such a bad old place, is it?  This is my entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge.  Did I tell my story in threes?

Six word Saturday


Today I’ve chosen a Header Photo

And it has a nautical theme

With a nautical theme, you may notice.

Those offshore windmills will be turning

Those offshore windmills will definitely be turning today

Because it's a bright and breezy day

Because it’s bright and breezy (you could substitute the word “cold”)

One of these days I'll take you on the "Monkey trail"

One of these weeks I’ll take you on the “Monkey trail”

More properly known as the "Headland Story Trail"

More properly known as the “Headland Story Trail”

But it's a little cold for lingering today

But not today- it’s a little cold for lingering.

Much more suited to the marina

And much more suited to the calm of the marina

Maybe you remember that last week my Header was a plain, bold black?  During the week I’ve tinkered about a bit and come to a few conclusions.  In the main, I’m happy with the plain Header, because I usually start my post with a photo, and there’s more impact this way.  But for a post like this, where I start with a logo, I think a photo looks better.

This generates its own problems, because the writing on the Header is white, and I cannot change the colour unless I pay to customise it.  So, I need to use a fairly dark toned photo for the writing to show up.  This limits my choice a little, but I’ve enjoyed playing with the Headers, and I expect you’ll be seeing more.  I’ll have to change it with each post or it won’t match, and if you visit another of my posts after this one, that won’t match either! (for anyone missing my old Town Wall header photo, it’s now consigned to my Flickr photos, in the sidebar)

Next week, the problem of Menus and Categories.  Do many of you use them?  If not, how do you go about finding posts?

As often happens, I’m using my Six word Saturday in a slightly unconventional way.  But it’s interesting, isn’t it?  Well, I hope you think so.  Cate at Show My Face will have lots of variations on the theme, so don’t forget to click on the link or the logo to join in.

Just one last sunset!

Sea defences softened by   sunset

Hartlepool sea defences, softened by the setting sun

All of my life I’ve been a diarist and a chronicler.  There’s nothing I like better than to tell a bit of a story.  And these days, to illustrate it with a photo or three.  How, and when, did it happen that my camera became an extension of my arm?  I don’t really know, but I do know that I love putting captions onto the images of my life.

So maybe it’s no surprise that, in blogging, I feel as if I’ve come home.  I’ve found an audience with whom I can share a smile (and the odd reflection).  I try to keep it light.  The world has enough sorrows.  But I’m happy to listen, to encourage, and to give and receive lots of hugs.  This walk around Hartlepool marina, as the sun sets, is my way of saying thank you, to all of you, for a wonderful year in your company.

I love the shape of the breakwater

I like the shape of our breakwater

Its arms stretch out in a great hug!

Its arms stretch out to the sea in a big hug!

The boatyard is gloriously backlit

The boatyard looks great, backlit by the sinking sun

And the Headland is within touching distance

And the Headland is just out of reach, in the distance.

The light just gilding St. Hilda's church

The light gently gilds St. Hilda’s church.

The boats are peaceful at their moorings

The boats are peaceful at their moorings.

But in the Hrabourmaster's Office, a surprise!

But who’s that, up by the Harbourmaster’s Office? He’s a surprise!

The boats are undisturbed by his presence

Those boats aren’t the least bit disturbed by his presence.

The deer seems to sniff the air

The deer seems to sniff the air

And then the sun goes, in a blaze of glory!

And then the sun sinks, in a blaze of glory!

This is the last Hartlepool sunset of 2013 that I’ll share with you.  On Thursday I’m up, well before the lark, and flying south to the Algarve.  Naturally the camera will be as excited as me, and we’ll do our best to bring you back some lovely images.

I hope the New Year will be kind to you, and thank you again, for sharing, and enriching, my world.