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!


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.

No time like the present

Seaham's burgeoning marina

Seaham’s burgeoning marina

I was pleasantly surprised, on Saturday, to come upon the view above.  Seaham Harbour, as I’ve always known it, is a former mining village, whose pithead once dominated the landscape. Regeneration has taken place, and the marina and visitor centre for the RNLI now lie in the old harbour, with its iconic lighthouse banished to the distance.

Come and take a closer look at these galleries with me.

There’s a great cafe called “The Lookout” pointing right out to sea, and below that some exhibition space.  I really enjoyed the visitor centre for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.  It’s full of photos, nautical maps and stories of heroism. There’s no entry fee but it’s a pleasure to slip a few coins in the boat.  The bravery required on these sometimes stormy seas is worth every penny, and the staff were informative and very pleasant.

I gave a little history of the town, and it’s rather surprising connection to the poet, Lord Byron, in Windswept in Seaham.

There was a nice breeze blowing on Saturday, but not one to bend you double.  It’s raining again today so I’m using my normal walking time to look back at sunnier skies.  I almost forgot to mention the delicious pana cotta and Swiss chocolate icecream I indulged in.  I know there are a few of you with a sweet tooth.  “Leaf, bark and berries” was my cafe of choice.

A last look at the lighthouse

One last look at the lighthouse

Black and white photo challenge : Neighbourhood

Hartlepool marina

Hartlepool marina

I didn’t really expect to take part in Sonel’s Black and White photo challenge again this week.  Then I saw the subject matter and just couldn’t resist having a little play around.

I have an awful lot of shots of my neighbourhood, so the real challenge was in finding out which ones might best convert to black and white.  I find I have a preference for sepia.  How about you?

I love the hunched shadow at the rails on this photo.

I love the hunched shadow at the rails on this photo.

The sky on this particular day was practically black already!

The sky on this particular day was practically black already!

How wild and angry does this look?

How wild and angry does this look? The houses are huddled against it!

I can watch the sea leaping the pier all day

I can watch the sea trying to leap the pier all day.

But this is undoubtedly one of my favourite shots from Hartleppol Headland.

But this is undoubtedly one of my favourite shots from Hartlepool Headland.

Thanks again, Sonel, for getting me to look at my world a little differently.  I rather like what I see.  This challenge business is a little addictive, isn’t it?  I’ve seen some wonderful entries already.  Come with me to Sonel’s Corner and take a look.  How about these for a start?


Six word Saturday



a blessing or a curse?

The Museum of Hartlepool, reflected in the Mecca bingo hall

The Museum of Hartlepool, reflected in the Mecca bingo hall

Some of you may remember a photo of the Museum of Hartlepool in my Sunday Post : New Year 2013?  After I’d taken that shot and was walking towards the marina, I looked across to the Mecca Bingo hall, and guess what I saw, reflected in the windows, but the Museum?

The marina and me

The PSS Wingfield Castle, and me

My first shot wasn’t quite so successful, because I forgot that I would be reflected in the photo too!  But perversely, I quite liked it.  Earlier that morning I’d been exchanging New Year greetings online, and reading the latest posts of many of my favourites.  It just so happened that the topic for the month on East of Malaga’s CBBH photo challenge was Reflection.

Not just in the photographic sense, but in the sense of looking back at the year that has been.  And so you see that my six words this week refer not just to me forgetting that glass reflects whatever you put in front of it.  Like every other year, 2012 had its share of good memories, and bad, to reflect upon.

Sunset on my favourite bridge in Tavira

Sunset on my favourite bridge in Tavira, reflecting in the river

I thought it might be fun to bring together these two challenges, and I hope that Cate of Show My Face, and Marianne at East of Malaga will forgive me taking liberties.  It is a tradition with Marianne’s to share details of two blogs that you have commented on in the past month.  I think this is a lovely idea so I’m delighted to introduce you to Barbara at JustaSmidgen.  If you love food and good conversation, you can’t fail to be impressed with Smidge’s blog.  And keeping relations truly international, meet Sam at Two Black Dogs.  Warm hearted Sam celebrated her 5th wedding anniversary on New Year’s Eve, so pop down to Australia and say “hi”?

Meantime Cate has celebrated her 1000th post!  Congratulations, and thanks for letting me share my six words (and photos), Cate.  Follow the links for an interesting Saturday, folks?  Catch you next week.


Six word Saturday

“A Day” project- did you participate?

I’m not sure where I first saw details of the A day project but it seemed like a fun idea- people from all over the world recording their day for posterity, on May 15th.  The day dawned cold and wet, but undeterred off I went with my camera.  Take lots of photos, it said on the website So I did, but then discovered that I was only allowed to upload 10!  You just know I’m going to share a few more, don’t you?

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Did anyone else submit photos?  I’d love to see the results.

Can I also use this space to say how very much I am going to miss the support and participation in the blogging world of my dear friend Sonel of Sonel’s Corner.  She has decided to take a break from blogging but I very much hope that she will be back soon.  Her blog was a real source of inspiration for me.

Thanks are due as usual to Cate of Show My Face for encouraging us to share our week in Six word Saturday.  There’s always room for new members, so why not join in?  Just click on the link or the banner above for more details.  You can read my previous posts on my Six word Saturday page.  See you next week.


Six word Saturday

Flat Ruthie lights up my week

I always loved playing with cardboard cutout dolls when my daughter was small, so I was enthralled when I came upon the website Cardboard Me Travels, while indulging in a little armchair travel myself.

Flat Ruthie meets Snoopy and Old Bear

I hastened to to find out more, and in no time at all a pink envelope was slipping onto my doormat, all the way from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  My introduction to Flat Ruthie was complete.

This young lady doesn’t like to stay in one place too long, her restless nature being on a par with mine, so it was off to Hartlepool marina on the first sunny day available.  Just look at that blue sky!

Flat Ruthie boarding PSS Wingfield Castle in Hartlepool marina

And "hanging out" with boats

I had great fun with “the shoot” and it made a lovely post. I couldn’t help but notice there were Six Words in the title.  Hmmm!

It didn’t end there.  Through the week Ruthie accompanied me to t’ai chi, Nordic walking (no suitable miniature poles for her, alas) and even zumba, making fans along the way.  She was even responsible for introducing me to Flat Stanley.

Flat Stanley, from Wikipedia

She also tweaked my memory and caused me to seek out another awesome blog that takes me back to happy days playing with Fuzzy Felts.  The child in me is reluctant to take a back seat, and I am a lifelong Snoopy fan.  What better way to end this post.  Huge thanks to Flat Ruthie for brightening up my week. (And to “Big Ruth” of course- I’m sure she’s really not!- without whom none of this would be possible)

"Oh Snoopy, I love your nose"

Thanks also to Cate at whose blog I am just about to visit.  Why don’t you come too?  You might just get hooked.  Follow my other Six word Saturdays on the logo below.

Flat Ruthie captures hearts in Hartlepool

This week I played hostess to an inquisitive young lady who hailed all the way from Pittsburgh, USA.  An impressive-looking city on the Ohio River in Pennsylvania, I kind of worried what I could show her in my humble little home town Hartlepool, on the north east coast of England.

Duquesne Incline, Pittsburgh, by Wikipedia

I needn’t have worried.  Flat Ruthie knew her manners and had been impeccably brought up in her website home

Our town has a strong maritime heritage so it was off to the marina and Hartlepool Historic Quay Cameras swinging nicely in tune we checked out the paddle-steamer PSS Wingfield Castle.

Hello sailor!

And Britain’s oldest fighting ship, HMS Trincomalee, built in India in 1817, was restored in Hartlepool over a 10 year period.

Pirates lad? Where be my cutlass?

A pirate party was about to break out on board so I steered Ruthie away to admire some smaller craft.  I’ve seen what a cutlass can do to a cardboard lady!

The Customs Office! Any smuggling still going on in these parts?

Let's just hang around a while

Whoo, I'm dangling!

Swiftly on to the lock gates, I think.

Tickets anybody? No? Oh, you can cross over for free- great!

Ah, now we're talking! You know I like monkeys.

Knowing Ruthie has a fondness for monkeys I didn’t like to share with her the Legend of the Monkey Hanger!  But you might like to read it- it’s just a bit of folklore.

Tired with our efforts and beginning to attract a crowd of admirers, we decided to save the beach for another day and head home for a cuppa.

Is this a seahorse, Restlessjo? No dear, just a bookend.

Very grateful thanks are due to Ruth of for creating my little friend and allowing her to travel with me.  I’m hoping she just might accompany me to the Algarve sometime, and there I really can promise her a beach.

I absolutely love Ruth’s idea.  You can read all about it and follow Flat Ruthie’s travels by following the link.  Maybe some of you would like to escort Ruthie on a little trip yourselves?  The gal loves to travel- we’re kindred spirits.