Monday, 29 October 2012


I don't know if I really want to blog about Northumberland.  You see, it's one of the UK's best kept secrets.

Tucked away at the top of England, just before you get to Scotland is the most wonderful county.

Spectacular beaches, amazing castles, Roman ruins, fabulous scenery, an island you can only reach at low tide and Hogwarts!

Not only that, not many people know about it, so it's peaceful and quiet as well as breathtakingly beautiful.

Hence why we love it and had looked forward to our trip since we booked it last January.

On our way up to Alnwick we stopped at High Force:

On Sunday we hit Bamburgh beach in the shadow of magnificent Bamburgh Castle:

I looked for Crystal Jigsaw along the beach, but didn't see her, maybe these are her sheep:

How cold is the North Sea?!

We were going to go to Lindesfarne, but our car was playing up and I didn't want to risk breaking down on the causeway and having to be rescued by the Seahouses Lifeboat, so we just visited the lifeboat instead.

The next day we dropped our car off at a garage in Alnwick and went to 'do' Alnwick Castle only to find that it had closed for the season (usually it's open until the end of October, but this year they closed on 30 Sept).  No riding on broomsticks for us!

So we visited Northumberlandia, Lady of the North:

(Not to be confused with the fabulous Anthony Gormley sculpture "Angel of the North" which is a bit further down the A1)

It's difficult to describe, but it's a piece of public art set in a public park; a woman made of 1.5 millions tonnes of rock, clay and soil and covered in 4 miles of footpaths.

On Tuesday we enjoyed a trip back to Edwardian Times at Beamish Open Air Museum:

And on Wednesday we imagined what it was like to be in Hadrian's Roman Army stationed at Housesteads:

We had to return home on Thursday, but we will be back!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Big Black Cloud

For the last three months I have felt like there has been a big black cloud hovering over me and my family.  August was awful with MIL's sudden illness and death, then September started with her funeral and continued with husband and I trying to cope with work and sorting out MIL's estate.  Both of us have been ill (hubby is never ill, so it was full blown Man Flu!) and we've been exhausted.

The light at the end of the tunnel was a week in beautiful Northumberland at half term, which we had booked last January.  I'd booked a lovely little cottage near Alnwick that slept 5 so my  mum and dad were coming along too.

All half term we'd looked forward to this.

If only we could get to Northumberland.

Fresh, sea air, a change of scenery and a good night's sleep.

Then, the week before we were due to go, my uncle died suddenly.  My lovely Uncle Les, who I grew up with (he and my aunt live around the corner from my parents, have no children, so my brother and I were always round there).  He and my aunt had gone on a coach holiday to Sussex, but on the first night he fell ill, an ambulance was called and took him to hospital.  My mum (his sister) was called at 3am and my parents dashed (if you can call a 5 hour drive a dash) to Sussex, but were too late. That was Mon 15 Oct.

We did go to Northumberland last Saturday, my parents followed the following day and we had a few days there, returning early for my uncle's funeral yesterday.

The big black cloud is still over us.

I'm going to look forward to Christmas.

Normal blog service will be resumed soon.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

I could sleep stood up

You know that saying, I could sleep stood up?  

Well, yesterday, I almost did.

The last six weeks have been so busy and hectic with work, daughter, clearing MIL's house, fighting off a cold, being a third of a head of department, etc, that I could virtually drop.

Yesterday, I had to be up at the crack of dawn to take hubby's car for its MOT (he took my car to work and left me to sort it out, naturally), then I took daughter to Decathlon to buy warm clothes for our up and coming holiday in Northumberland (beautiful place, but a rather chilly east wind), made a harvest box for the Harvest Church Parade today, made a Roman costume (when will the costumes stop?), did four lots of washing and various other things, then, at 2.30pm I made myself a cup of tea and sat down at the kitchen table.

The next thing I knew it was 3.30pm!!

I had fallen asleep in a kitchen chair............... sitting up!

How tired do you have to be to fall asleep sitting up in a rather uncomfortable oak kitchen chair?