Clifton windows, Bristol

Who'd live in a house like this? Me, please!

Who’d live in a house like this? Me, please!

I probably shouldn’t, but I never did have any willpower, and I know you’ll want one last Bristol stroll with me.  You do, don’t you?  I promise to keep it short.

The plaque, Sir Abraham Roberts, a distinguished Indian general, in case you wonered

The plaque, Sir Abraham Roberts, a distinguished Indian general, in case you wondered

We seem to be in a very genteel and affluent area of Bristol but, as I stroll, people are going about their every day, and we nod and exchange smiles.  It’s good to be here.

I am purely following my nose, and hoping that I will arrive somewhere I recognise.  I hadn’t realised that Clifton had such mighty architecture as Royal York Crescent.  Adjoining Clifton Village, it is a Grade II listed terrace of 46 houses.  Allegedly the longest terrace in Europe, building began in 1791 but was not completed until 1820.  What is indisputable is that the views from up here are far reaching.

Next, a treat for shoppers

Next, a treat for shoppers

Clifton Arcade is the very height of temptation.  Small, but perfectly formed, it has ’17 unique shops set in Victorian splendour’. Originally opened in 1878, it then fell into disrepair. Beautifully restored, you can even take a virtual tour on the link I have enclosed, and pop in for coffee at the Primrose Cafe.

I have a daughter who would adore this window

I have a daughter who would adore this window

A veritable Aladdin's cave of nostalgia

A veritable Aladdin’s cave of nostalgia

I promised to be short, so maybe this is a good time to leave you browsing.  There are modern items alongside the nostalgia.  Have fun, won’t you?  I really do need to go.

For those of you I have confused (sorry, Meg) I have a 2 week laze about in the Algarve, then am home for 6 days before gallivanting off to a wedding in Poland.  Sigh!  The things you have to do to be Restlessjo.  But first I must link to Dawn, who loves lingering at windows.

No more Bristol!  Toodle pip!

 

Jo’s Monday walk : On the Waterfront, Bristol

Harbourside in Bristol

Harbourside in Bristol

Everywhere looks better with blue skies and Bristol’s waterfront is no exception.  I thought my luck had changed on the last day of my visit, as the skies turned to steely grey and the damp stuff arrived.  But Bristol didn’t let me down.  One cappuchino and a visit to the cathedral later, a walk along the waterfront became a distinct possibility.  So, what are we waiting for?

I have to confess that the photo above was taken from on board the Bristol Packet.  Everything doesn’t always go to plan, and when I turned up for a guided walking tour of the city I was told that it had been cancelled.  ‘Too many people in the city’, due to the Balloon Festival, was the reason given.  Nothing for it but to take to the water.  No hardship there- but I digress!

Bristol’s Floating Harbour is a huge tribute to the resourcefulness of man.  In 1809, 80 acres of tidal river were impounded to begin the taming of the estuary.  Bristol had developed at the most downstream point at which it was possible to cross the River Avon, 6 miles inland.

The tidal range of the Bristol Channel is the second greatest of any in the world.  The tide can rise and fall as much as 14 metres twice a day.  This was an advantage and a disadvantage for sailing ships in the old days.  They could be carried all the way to Bristol on the current, but equally well they could be stranded in the mud when the tide turned.  Bristol merchants had to think of a way of damming the river, allowing the ships that were in the river to stay afloat.  Thus, a ‘floating harbour’.  I found a fascinating video which explains in more detail.

The cathedral is just beyond the Floating Harbour and I headed for Watershed, a good-looking building which now houses the Tourist Information Office.  A series of cafes and restaurants line the harbourside, and behind these are Bristol Aquarium and the Science Centre. Plenty to do on a rainy day, and interesting exhibits outside too.

The water feature was first to attract my attention

The water feature was first to attract my attention

But something interesting was going on in the background!

But something interesting was going on in the background!

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There was a solar energy project, and sculptures I rather liked too.  Black and white, for Paula.

A little damp to be a scribe!

Rather damp to be a scribe!

The sky still a little heavy, I returned to the waterfront and continued to follow it inland.  Modern and stylish apartments sit back from the promenade, interspersed with cafes and bars.

Heading around the waterfront

Heading around the waterfront

Life on a narrowboat?

Life on a narrowboat?

Beside the ruins of a former mill

Beside the ruins of a former mill

And in the background, the 'SS Great Britain'

And in the background, the ‘SS Great Britain’

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, designer of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, was one of the engineering giants of the 19th century.  At age just 27 he was chief engineer of the Great Western Railway, linking Bristol to London.  He then turned his attention to trans-Atlantic travel, and his steam ship ‘The Great Western’ crossed the ocean from Bristol to New York in 1838, a journey of 15 days.

Her successor, ‘SS Great Britain’, was the world’s first iron passenger liner.  At the time of her launch in 1843 she was the largest ship in the world, and had an innovative screw propeller in place of conventional paddle wheels.  She had a long and illustrious career, sailing the world as a passenger ship for 30 years, before converting to cargo.  Old and tired, she was finally recovered from the Falklands and returned to Bristol as a hulk in 1970.  Restoration has seen her take pride of place today as a first class visitor attraction, in the dock in which she was originally built.

'SS Great Britain'

‘SS Great Britain’ visitor centre

Maybe you remember 'On the Waterfront'

Do you remember my friend, ‘On the Waterfront’?

Junction Lock Bridge

Junction Lock Bridge leading to Cumberland Basin

Is anybody hungry?

Is anybody hungry?

I had promised myself a visit to ‘The Pump House’ when I passed it on my long walk home from the Balloon Festival.  The building housed the original hydraulic pumping system for operating the lock gates, and is a beautiful conversion.  As luck would have it the rain was starting again- the perfect excuse.

When the rain eased, I continued on towards the lock into the Avon Gorge.  The current lock was opened in 1873 and can accommodate the largest ships that can navigate the Avon.  From here it is 6 miles by water to the mouth of the river, where it joins the Severn estuary. Ahead you can see Clifton Suspension Bridge, but beyond this point a busy road runs close to the river, and it becomes less appealing to follow.

A tour boat passes through the lock

A tour boat passes through the lock

The logical thing to do, if you have the stamina, is to cross over the harbour and return along the opposite shore of the waterfront.  You could call in at the SS Great Britain or visit the Museum of Bristol in M-Shed.  The wharves here were wiped out during heavy bombing in the Blitz and this free museum tells the story of the city.

Another alternative is to catch a ferry.  There are numerous ferry stops along the river, and you can travel all the way round to Temple Meads station (another Brunel wonder) if you wish.  It was my last day in Bristol and I wanted to see a little more of Clifton Village, so I rather foolishly clambered back up the steep side of the gorge.  Maybe we’ll have time for a look at the village another day, but for now I’m going to amble back along the quay, in my watery element.

Making the most of the sunshine

Making the most of the sunshine

Now I’m back at my start point on St. Augustine’s Reach, named for the abbey church of St. Augustine (now Bristol Cathedral).  The Reach was the course of the River Frome, diverted into this man-made trench in 1247.  You will see from the Floating Harbour video that the water once continued into what is now Millenium Square and the heart of the city.  I have still to mention Pero’s Bridge (a reference to an enslaved African boy) and then our walking tour is done.

And all ends peacefully

And all ends peacefully

I expect you’re a little tired, but the good news is that I’m missing from the walks for two weeks so you can have a lovely rest.  I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at Bristol as much as I did. And now it’s surely time to put that kettle on!

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Before I go I have some more wonderful walks to share with you.  Thank you so much for all the support and encouragement I receive. If you have any walks that you would like to link up, now or in the future, the details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo.  Do, please!

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I think I spotted a friend on the beach at Le Havre, with thanks to Drake!

Walk on water or almost

Not quite so cheery trawling a graveyard but the company is good.  Cheers, Jude!

Discovering St. Leonards

Nobody does reflection like Suzanne!  Or Impressionism, come to that :

A walk in the gardens

You will not believe how gorgeous these shoes are in stained glass!  Thanks, Jackie!

Bata Shoe Museum

But you can believe that when Amy posts photos of Banff they are fantastic!

Monday walk : Exploring Banff Lakes

Equally beautiful, even with a hint of snow, Ruth tiptoes along a mountain path :

A Walk on Mount Wellington 

Jaspa is back this week with a South American saga :

Exploring Lima’s Historic Centre on foot

And, responding magnificently to the WP weekly challenge….  thank you, Gilly!

Things you see on a good day

Becky has shared a wonderful reminder of why I’m looking forward to the Algarve this week :

Strolling in Silves

Thanks everybody, and that just leaves me to say that bright and early on Thursday I will be heading south.  I hope to catch up with all of you before I go, and there might even be another post.  Look after yourselves, happy walking and I’ll see you soon.  While I’m gone you might like to try a Monday Escape?

Six word Saturday

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Let’s count ‘Shauns’ in the City!

Jarsberry Ram

‘Jarsberry Ram’, at The Pump House

In my Monday walk this week we had a smile at ‘Wish ewe were here’.  Throughout the city of Bristol, for the rest of this month, 70 endearing sheep sculptures are to be found.  The Shaun in the City  trail, in aid of the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity, has brought joy to young and old alike.  The detail and humour in the sculptures raises many a smile, if not a giggle!

Let me introduce you to a few more Shauns.  Just click on a photo to open the galleries.

I had gone to Bristol to watch the hot air balloon festival, in the grounds of the Ashton Court estate.  Naturally there was a Shaun overseeing the restaurant, but I had more of an eye for the lovely gardens.

Meet 'Buttercup'

Meet ‘Buttercup’

Looking back to the house

Looking back to the house

I wish now that I’d carried my ‘Shauns’ map around with me, like many of the eager-eyed children (and grandparents!) I saw.  Looking back I find that I’ve blithely walked within metres of a few of them in all ignorance.  Never mind- the show must go on!

After I left my lovely friend Viveka, I went strolling canalside.  Boats, bridges… the lure is always the same for me.  And sheep, of course.

Valentine's Bridge- isn't this a nice one?

Valentine’s Bridge- isn’t this a nice one?

Temple Meads Station was a great venue.

Are you starting to feel a little sleepy?  Not long now!  The cathedral was beautiful but I haven’t time to take you inside or we’ll never get there.  I did feel sheepish when I put my donation in the collecting box for children’s drawings of Shaun by mistake!  I expect it’ll find a good home.

'Air Fleece'

‘Air Fleece’- still raining a bit, but brighter

'on the Waterfront' I was in my element

‘On the Waterfront’ I was in my element

I have shown you only a taster of what is available to see and do in Bristol.  So what are you waiting for?  Grab a map and go!  If by any chance you can’t make it by the end of this month, Shaun will be gathering a few more friends and meeting at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol from 12-20th September.

Don’t feel hard done by if you live in our capital!  There’s a ewe-nique opportunity to see the whole flock together at Covent Garden in London, from 24-27th September.  And if all else fails, perhaps you’d like to bid for a Shaun at auction?  Go on- you know you want to! Register here.

It’s a bit grey in Hartlepool today but looking at these has made me smile.  I hope it’s done the same for you.  Don’t forget your Saturday visit to Cate with your ‘six words’.  I hope to see you on Monday, when I will be taking one more walk in Bristol before I disappear off to the Algarve for a week or two. (it will be SO peaceful while I’m gone)

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Cabot Tower in Bristol

Cabot Tower, Bristol

Cabot Tower, Bristol

Just in case you thought I’d been idle in my time in Bristol, I’m here to reassure you.  I was heading into the city from Clifton, with half an eye open for Shauns, when I saw a sign for Cabot Tower.  Curiosity impelled me.  Though I knew little of John Cabot, I invariably make a beeline for towers as potentially good viewing points.

Situated on Brandon Hill, this 105 ft red sandstone tower was built in the 1890s, to commemorate the 400th year anniversary of Cabot sailing from Bristol to discover the country that was to become Canada.  In a pretty park overlooking the city, I thought it the perfect venue for a Summer’s day.

It doesn't look too high, does it?

It doesn’t look too high, does it?

Just add this little bit on at the bottom

Just add this little bit on at the bottom

Rather a nice sentiment

Rather a nice sentiment

I could hear voices inside, and from time to time a head popped out on the balcony.  Nothing for it, I was going to have to mount those narrow circular stairs.  No, of course there’s no lift!

One more look, and up I go!

One more look, and up I go!

That wasn't so bad, was it?

That wasn’t so bad, was it?

But I can climb higher!

But I can climb higher!

John Cabot definitely appears to have been a bit of an adventurer.  Christened Giovanni Caboto (1450-1500), this Italian navigator and explorer was commissioned by Henry VII, and was the first European since the Vikings to reach North America. (believed to be at Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland)  He spent 15 years or more in Venice, acquiring the citizenship which would enable him to engage in the maritime trade, and then sailed in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Cabot seems to have got into financial difficulties in the 1480s, and left Venice, an insolvent debtor, to seek work in Spain as a civil engineer.  He was involved in a couple of building projects which did not come to fruition, and then unsuccessfully sought funds for an Atlantic expedition. Persistence paid off when he moved to London, and then Bristol, as the second largest seaport in England.  His first voyage in 1496 appears to have been aborted due to bad weather, but in 1497 the landing was successfully accomplished.

Time to mount a few more stairs.  Narrower this time but fortunately I can soon see light above.

And here I am!

And here I am!

The cathedral- another lovely buildong

The cathedral- another lovely building

It seems to me a fine memorial.  Savouring the day on top of the world, I reluctantly climb back down to earth.  The paths wind back down through the park and I observe benches and quiet places to sit.  Following a trail through the wildflower meadow, my eyes alight on a speck of distant colour.  Hooray- it’s another Shaun!

Meet 'From dusk till Shaun'

Meet ‘From dusk till Shaun’

Isn’t he handsome?  You can meet my collection of Shauns on Saturday, but for now it’s time to join Debbie on her Look Up, Look Down challenge.  Come and see.  You won’t be disappointed!

Jo’s Monday walk : Clifton Suspension Bridge and Observatory

Clifton Suspension bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

You may remember in The Time of my life I wished I could be in two places at once?  I was watching the hot air balloons launch at Ashton Court in Bristol, but wishing I could be up at Clifton Suspension Bridge to see them float overhead too.  The bridge has a spectacular location at the head of the Avon Gorge and I thought I might take you there this week.

I left home on an early morning flight, bound for The Washington Hotel in Clifton.  The receptionist there very kindly pointed me in the direction of the bridge and I did what I do best- follow my nose!  I was extremely pleased to turn a corner and see before me the Avon Gorge Hotel.  It has a highly recommended sun terrace with views out over the bridge.

And towards Bristol!

And towards Bristol, in the other direction

A good place to start our walk, I think.  I had rather a surprise when I turned to look at the suspension bridge.  A sheep was keeping his watchful eye on me!

That’s put a smile on your face, hasn’t it?  And a good thing too because I should warn you, there’ll be a bit of ‘uphill’ involved in our walk today.

‘Wish Ewe were here’ is one of 70 Shauns liberally scattered around Bristol’s many attractions this Summer.  You can follow the Shaun in the City trail around Bristol until 31st August, after which the flock will be herded in the direction of Covent Garden in London. Aside from delighting adults and children alike, the sheep are raising money for charity.  I did spot quite a few, which I’ll share with you in another post, but today you might like to take a look at Viveka‘s.

A look out at the bridge and we're on our way

A look at the bridge, and we’re on our way

Turning left out of the hotel, you can see the bridge ahead.  I was a little disappointed that one pillar was swathed in white, but repairs were necessary.  Clifton Suspension Bridge was opened in 1864 and is a Grade 1 listed toll bridge, though foot passengers can cross for free.

Initially we are going to climb the hill to Clifton Observatory.  I promise you, the views are worth it!  Site of a former mill, 337 feet above the Avon Gorge, the cliff top was used as a look out post as far back as the Iron Age.  Today the building functions as a camera obscura.  William West, an artist, rented the mill as a studio and installed telescopes and the camera obscura to facilitate drawing the gorge and Leigh Woods on the opposite bank of the river.

Looking down from the Observatory to the bridge

Looking down from the Observatory to the bridge

A plant lovers paradise

A plant lover’s paradise

I think you will agree that the view is magnificent

I think you will agree that the view is magnificent

Samuel Jackson's watercolour from 1825

Samuel Jackson’s watercolour from 1825

Looking down into the gorge

Looking down into the gorge

Having gazed our fill, it’s time to head back down and cross the bridge itself for still more magnificent views.  I hope you have a head for heights?  Suspended 75 metres above the Avon Gorge, it is an awesome feat of engineering.

Looking up!

Looking up!

The Observatory seen from the bridge

The Observatory seen from the bridge

The River Avon below twists and turns into the distance

The River Avon below twists and turns into the distance

One of the things I’d hoped to do was to take a boat trip through the Avon Gorge, to see it properly from the river.  The gorge is home to many rare plants, in particular the whitebeam trees, some of which grow nowhere else in the world.  Amongst these are Bristol whitebeams, Wilmott’s, Houston’s and Leigh Woods varieties.  Rock cress and Bristol onion can be found clinging to the cliffs and in late Summer the delicate lilac flowers of Autumn Squill.

An evening visit would find the bridge beautifully illuminated, and in the dusk, Jackdaw and horseshoe bats swooping from their homes in the caves.  The Visitor Centre on the Leigh Woods side of the bridge will provide you with a full and fascinating history, and on Summer Saturdays and Sundays you can take a free tour of the bridge itself.

The supporting tower on the Leigh Woods side of the gorge

The supporting tower on the Leigh Woods side of the gorge

Looking back through the tower

Looking back through the tower

Although similar in size, the supporting towers of the bridge are not identical.  I was unable to verify this as the tower on the Clifton side was under wraps.  The visible tower stands 85 feet tall. Roller-mounted ‘saddles’ at the top of each tower allow slight movement to the chains when loads pass over the bridge.  I was amazed at how ‘solid’ the bridge felt beneath my feet, despite the fragility of its appearance.

The bridge is credited to a design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, but has a colourful history.  I was interested to find that its predecessor was a stone bridge, built in the 13th century, on which were built houses 5 stories high.  Wikipedia is very informative on the subject if you would like to know more.  Our little walk can be completed with a return over the bridge, and maybe lunch at the Avon Gorge Hotel with those wonderful views.  Or you might like a wander through charming Clifton Village for a wider choice.  I’m going to head down beneath the bridge for a different view, but you don’t have to follow.

The bridge in silhouette

The bridge in silhouette

Looking back up

Looking back up

I hope you enjoyed my Monday wander as much as I did.  Perhaps you can see now why I would have liked to see those hot air balloons above the bridge. Maybe another time?  For now let’s get that kettle on, relax, and put our feet up.

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Grateful thanks, as always, to my many contributors this week.  I love walking with you all and sharing your company.  For anyone wishing to join in, my Jo’s Monday walks page will give you the details if you just click on the logo.

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The first two lovely ladies had to wait patiently while I was away last weekend, so please do visit :

In our topsy-turvy world- fabulous snow shots from Ruth in Tasmania- brrrrh!

A walk in the snow

And a gentle piece of reminiscence with Jill.  Stories beautifully told- don’t miss this!

The Old Custom House : a photographer’s delight

If you’d like to be transported to an Impressionist world, Drake will take you there :

Heaven on earth, a paradise

Debbie always stops to admire interesting architecture.  Take a look!

On Emerald Hill

Just what I could do with right now- a stroll in beautiful botanic gardens.  Many thanks, Anabel!

Dawyck Botanic Garden

Can I count this as my entry this week, Jude?  Only joking!  Thanks a lot, Amy!

Monday Walk : Banff Springs and Bench Series

Geoff is prone to a bit of a ramble :

In search of an identity- one walk, one dream

Planting acorns seems like a nice idea.  Find out how with Denzil :

Erezee: A breath of fresh Ardennes air

Drake tugs at my heart strings with a second walk this week :

Wondering walk in Paris

While Meg showers me with the most delicious orchids!  And that’s not all!

Gilgandra Flora Reserve

Still in Australia, Rosemay shows us just why Perth is the perfect home for her :

Our Adopted Home- Perth and South Western Australia

I’ve had some beautiful shares in the 18 months of Jo’s Monday walks but none lovelier than this. Thanks, Jude!

I promised you a rose garden

I hate for it to end in tears, but I’m afraid it rather does for Pauline and Jack!  Get well soon, sir!

Ups and downs in Brisbane

That’s it for another week!  Next week I think I’ll take you harbourside.  Don’t forget, those folks at Monday Escapes have lots to entertain you too.  But the main thing is to have a happy week ahead.  See you next time.

Six word Saturday

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Saving the best till the last?

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Most of you will know that I had the most amazing time at Bristol Hot Air Balloon Festival last weekend.  I shared my best photos in The time of my life but I did want to give you a little flavour of the spectacular Nightglow and fireworks that ended the show.

My little digital really wasn’t up to the task but to my surprise my smartphone was capable, despite the wobbly, excited hands of the photographer.  Trouble is, I haven’t found a way to upload it to share with you.  Well, there’s always a way, isn’t there, so I spent some time this morning searching through YouTube.  I don’t think that this video fully captures the electric atmosphere, but maybe that was just me getting over excited.  It starts slowly and is quite long, so I would suggest you fast forward and watch snippets.  You do get to see the fireworks at the end, though, which is more than I managed.  I was taking a long walk home!  Hopefully next time I’ll be a little wiser. Still I was lucky- the event was so popular that some people were stuck in traffic and didn’t even make it.

It just remains for me to say ‘thank you Bristol’ and hope to see you again.

Have a great Saturday and don’t forget to visit Cate with your six words.

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The time of my life!

You are about to see penguins fly!

You are about to see penguins fly!

There must be something about August!  Apart from it being the height of an English Summer and my wedding anniversary month, I seem to have some of my very best memories from then. You have no idea how ridiculously excited I was to be going to the Bristol Balloon Festival!  And I wasn’t even flying (maybe someday?)

I won’t share with you the whole saga right now.  Sufficient to say that it was a very long walk home (even by Restlessjo standards), and that the people of Bristol are some of the nicest folk I’ve ever met.  Are you ready for this?

It all starts with the moment that life is breathed into these beauties

It all starts with the moment that life is breathed into these beauties

Look Mum! I'm surrounded by balloons!

Look Mum! I’m surrounded by balloons!

Even a square one!

Even a square one!

I had arrived at the showground early, and been royally entertained with flying model aircraft and the beautiful gardens at Ashton Court- all in radiant sunshine.  But there was no doubt of the spectacle that everyone wanted to see, and excitement began to build as the teams drove out onto the field.  The baskets were tipped inelegantly on their sides and the balloons draped around them.

As the first one juddered and stammered to life, a thrill went through the crowd.  And then it was proudly erect!  Pink, white and perfect, it waited patiently while all the other balloons performed their own ballet.

Faster and faster they rose!

Faster and faster they rose!

As the baskets were righted and the excited passengers climbed in, it was the job of one man to hang on to a rope for dear life to stop the balloon plunging away.  In moments they were airborne, one after another, amid the gasps of spectators.  Necks craned and we waved as the passengers waved back.

Against a mackerel sky

Against a mackerel sky

Who could help but smile?

Who could help but smile?

And wave!

And wave!

Although the skies were clear and bright there was still some doubt as to how many balloons would be able to take off.  The occasional gust of wind across the airfield gave no real sense of how breezy it might be in the skies overhead.  But one by one they pulled away, and the excitement never faded.

A certain twosome were eagerly waiting

A certain twosome were eagerly waiting

And then there was Swatch

And then there was Swatch

Anyone know these guys?

Anyone know these guys?

Airborne at last!

Airborne at last!

Don't forget the polar bears!

Don’t forget the polar bears!

In minutes they were clear of the trees and gone, in the direction of the city and Clifton Suspension Bridge.  Part of me wished I was waiting by the bridge, but there is no guarantee in which direction they will head, air currents being vital to this.  On the field, the numbers of balloons dwindled, but I remained rapt.

Two red letter days?

Two red letter days?

But look whose turn it is next!

But look whose turn it is next!

Totally adorable!

Totally adorable!

'Balloons' was one of the last to take to the sky

‘Balloons’ was one of the last to take to the sky

And then it was over, for a little while.  Wilkinson Cup began to be deflated and the balloonists were off being collected from their respective landings.  That would be fun to see too!  Then began the wait for evening and Nightglow.

The cup takes a curtain call

The cup takes a curtain call

Without ever seeing Paula’s Guest Challenge this week, I knew that the subject was Time, and that with Debbie in the driving seat there wouldn’t be much of it to spare.  Mine is rather a large ‘snippet of time’ but a very special one, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it with me.  Please click on the links to see Debbie’s wonderful post, and Paula’s interpretation of it.  I hope I can play my part in making Thursday special.

And I musn’t forget a mention of a very special friend, whom I was lucky enough to meet in Bristol.  Viveka, this one’s for you!

Jo’s Monday walk : sea glass at Seaham

The outlook at Seaham Beach

The outlook on Seaham Beach

This week I’m taking you back to the north east coast of England, with a bit of a purpose.  I’ll explain more later but I need you to keep your eye open for sea glass.  The beach at Seaham is one of the best locations I know for finding it.

Between 1853 and 1921 Seaham was home to Europe’s largest glass bottle works, supplying millions of hand blown bottles.  Enormous amounts of waste glass were left at the end of each day, and this was generally thrown over the cliffs and into the sea.  More than a hundred years later, scrubbed smooth by the power of the water, we have sea glass in many shapes and colours.  Are you ready to hunt?

With more pebbles than you could ever want

With more pebbles than you could ever want

And among those pebbles, the precious bits of sea glass.  You can follow the beach round to the small harbour and the lighthouse, if you like, but I’m going in the opposite direction- north towards distant Sunderland.

There's a lot of beach to examine!

There’s rather a lot of beach to examine!

Rusted groynes litter the shore

Rusted groynes litter the shore

Filling up with pebbles too

Filling up with pebbles

Incongruously, some have been mended

Rather incongruously, some have been mended

Overhead, the cliffs menace!

While overhead, the cliffs menace!

Let’s get up close and personal with a few stones.  You never know what you might find.

We're looking for a hint of glitter

We’re looking for a hint of glitter

Unconcerned, a man walks his dog

Unconcerned, a man walks his dogs

What's this?  Look at the shimmer!

What’s this? Look at the shimmer!

I simply love the textures

I simply love the textures

You might remember we did something similar just south of here on Crimdon beach, a while ago, and ventured into some caves beneath the cliffs.  I’m drawn on along the endless beach, intrigued by my surroundings.  Dog walkers pass me by, with a nod and a smile, and occasionally children ferret on the beach.

Mindful of the dangers these crumbling cliffs can pose, still it’s hard not to be lured closer.

The cliff formations fascinate

The cliff formations fascinate

Torn and twisted as they are

Torn and twisted as they are

And here a table, nicely laid

And here a table, nicely laid

You know that I’m not going to be able to resist some close ups, but I treat the cliffs with due caution and the respect they deserve.  So should you!

I know that some of you are claustrophobic so I won’t linger.  The fascination of the shapes and vistas can keep me endlessly there on the shore, forgetting my purpose.  That morning a lady was standing, her dog patiently at heel, gazing out to sea.  After the briefest of smiles, I carried on my exploration.  As I turned to retrace my steps, she spoke to me.  “Did you see the dolphins?”

Crestfallen hardly describes it!  I would have loved to see them and wished she had spoken sooner.  We stood a while, hoping for a return, but they had gone.  And so I climbed, regretfully, back up the steps.

Depending on the tide, this walk can be as long or as short as you want to make it.  If you are free the next few Sunday lunch times, you will assuredly have company on the beach.  My husband, who designs gardens, does most of his work with CAD (computer aided design).  He was more than pleased to be contacted recently by Stuart Langley, a local artist, in connection with a light installation to appear at this year’s Lumiere, in Durham.  It’s an imaginative and exciting event, and Stuart has been a previous contributor with his Stained Glass Cars.  The project he is working on requires a substantial quantity of sea glass, and so he’s hoping for some help in gathering it.

If you can help in any way the Lumiere site gives details.  The event itself takes place from 12-15th November, and if you can be there I can promise you a delightful evening.  It takes place on alternate years, and this was my post for 2013.  It was a magical occasion.

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No putting the kettle on today!  I will still be in Bristol for the Hot Air Balloon festival when you’re reading this, and not back till very late in the day.  As usual, I will catch up with you all as soon as I can, and apologies to all those who are sitting unattended in my Inbox.  There’s plenty to keep you busy till then because once again I have some wonderful walks to share.  Many thanks to all of you who have joined me and, if you would like to do so next week, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just hit the logo above.

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Gardens with rhodies have always been irresistible to me.  Bogs, not so much!  Thanks, Anabel!

Geilston Garden and Tom na h’Airidh

Hitting the heights with Drake!  Don’t we always?

Mountain high

A revelation for me about Toronto! Totally changed my thinking…  thanks, Jackie!

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More city madness with Pauline!  The inevitability of change :

Gold Coast Icons

If you’ve come to expect beauty from Amy, you won’t be disappointed here either!

Monday Walk : Banff Rocky Mountains

One of the best things about blogging is sharing magical posts such as this.  Many thanks, Suzanne!

Killarney x 2

Too good at speaking my mind, sometimes!  Hugs, please, for Jude :

The Levant Mine

A little bit of fairy dust, anybody?  Sure to find some with Violet Sky!

Wishes and dreams 

While anyone seeking inspiration should surely make a visit to Lucile :

The Quest for Inspiration

And anyone wanting to recapture childhood only needs to visit Gilly!

I Wish I was Ten Again

Debbie’s back from exotic Singapore with some cracking good sights!

Arty Stroll along Orchard Road

And to finish, from Laia, what could be better than?

A beautiful, pleasant walk in Abel Tasman National Park

Fantastic, aren’t they?  Nothing more to say than ‘have a great week’.  Hope to see you on the beach at Seaham, or failing that, at Durham in November.

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Bellingham and Hareshaw Linn

Hareshaw Linn, or waterfall

Hareshaw Linn, or waterfall

If I told you that today’s walk takes us to the site of two former blast furnaces, you could be forgiven for being less than enthusiastic. But you might remember lovely Hareshaw Linn from a previous post.  I was in the company of two friends with whom I go back a long way, so I had a smile on my face, even in the uphill stretches.

Ian and Pam have a caravan on a small site on the edge of Bellingham, a neat little market town in Northumberland.  It just so happens that it also sits right beside one of that county’s best walks. I hadn’t been to Bellingham for more than 30 years, but I have an enduring image of waking up there one morning to a winter wonderland.  The railing of our hotel balcony was delicately traced with snow, of which there hadn’t been a sign the night before.  No snow on our walk today!  It might make the going a little slippy, but wouldn’t it be pretty?

This is where we'll start

This is where we’ll start

This area was once the site of an iron works, established in 1833.  At the height of operating, it contained 70 coke ovens, 24 large kilns for roasting the iron ore, a blacksmiths, stables and stores.  It remained in production until 1848.  The dam in the photo above supplied water to power the works, and is one of few reminders of the past.  Nature has taken this valley back to herself, and it’s hard to imagine now the roar of those ovens.

Let's follow the path down into the woods

Let’s follow the path down into the woods

And look what we find!

And look what we find!

Growing right up into the tree

Growing right up into the tree

There are six bridges to cross, but for some reason only the first is numbered.

Looking for fish!

Looking for fish!

The trees are laden with moss

The trees are laden with moss

Tangling with ferns and water

Tangling with ferns and water

Which gurgles on its way!

Which gurgles on its way!

There’s an element of fantasy to this woodland setting.  It feels somehow lost to the real world.

And look!  Someone's been wishing on a penny!

And look! Someone’s been wishing on a penny!

A last dramatic curtain before the grand reveal

A last dramatic curtain before the grand reveal

Isn't it lovely?

Isn’t it lovely?

And below- peaceful today!

And below- peaceful today.  Before the rains!

There’s only one way out of the valley, and that’s to retrace your steps, so you can’t get lost even if I rush on ahead.  You might want to pause to examine a few flowers.  The trail is one and a half miles long, so that’s a round trip of 3 miles, with a few ups and downs.

The path brings you out by the old bridge.  If you cross over the road and take a few steps back the way, you will see evidence of former times and the power of water.

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I’m pretty sure you’re ready for a bite to eat by now, and the Rocky Road cafe will give you a warm welcome.  Or there’s the ‘Rose and Crown’, just as friendly, next door, if it’s open.  The houses are largely built from the local grey stone, enlivened by troughs of flowers and hanging baskets.  I continue past the village hall to St. Cuthbert’s Church, consecrated in the 12th century. Unlatching the door, I step briefly inside, then leave quietly again.  St. Cuthbert’s Well (Cuddy’s Well) is easily missed, down by the river.

A wooden nativity outside St. Cuthbert's

A wooden nativity outside St. Cuthbert’s Church

I couldn’t leave without a quick look at the hotel where we stayed so long ago.  There was still a lovely view down to the river, but agreeably, no snow!  A footpath beside the river will bring you back into town, where you might want to visit the Heritage Centre.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s walk, in the company of my lovely friends.  This link will take you to the Northumberland National Park site, with a map and full details of the location.

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Time for a cuppa and to share some more brilliant walks!  Many thanks to all of you who’ve submitted walks, and to those of you who are simply armchair readers.  To join me, you’ll find details on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or just click on the logo above.  Here we go!

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Got to brave the weather when you’re in the Hebrides.  Well done, Geoff!

A walk around Luskentyre

Still learning new words this week!  Thanks a lot, Anabel :

Torwood Castle and Tappoch Broch

I just know how much I would love Corsica!  Look at this!

A walk in shadow of history

Amazing share from Violet- the most incredible Junk Art!

Junk Art

For those of you who didn’t see it on BBC2, here’s Laura’s version of the Pennine Way :

Peaks and troughs

I am so privileged again to feature Suzanne’s beautiful handiwork.  Don’t miss it!

Walking in Tower Hill

Henry Moore sculptures a-plenty from Jackie this week :

Monday Walk- Toronto

Did you ever see anything lovelier than this?  I know Sue S will approve!  Many thanks, Amy!

Monday Walk : Bow River

You have to applaud the sentiments of the next one, as well as the beauty!  Cheers, Jesh!

Friends Walk Together

And if you’d like, share some reminiscing with my beautiful friend, Meg?

Walking a memoir

It wouldn’t be Monday without Jude in Cornwall, now would it?

St. Just in Penwith

For something a little wilder (and spectacular!) grab your poles and join Ruth :

A rocky walk to Bicheno Blowhole

First the water spouts up, and then it flows down!  Thanks to the Eternal Traveler!

Over the Cliff

That’s it for this week!  Next week I hope to schedule my Monday walk, as I will be in Bristol gazing at hot air balloons.  Pinch me, somebody- I must be dreaming!  I don’t get back until late on Monday evening so I may be rather slow with my responses, and I will be all in a daze.

If you have any spare time, pop in to see those lovely folks at Monday Escapes, won’t you? Meanwhile, have a great week!

 

Six word Saturday

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What to do when seeking inspiration?

For me, it usually means a trip to my photo files

For me, it usually means a trip to my photo files

On a recent visit to Durham, I decided to seek out Old Durham Gardens.  I had known of the existence of these 350 year old gardens for a long time, but they’re a little off the beaten track. When I arrived, on a warm and sunny Wednesday morning, I discovered that the gardens only open between 2 and 4pm on Thursdays and Saturdays in Summer.  After initial disappointment (and a peer through the gates), I discovered that there was more than enough to keep me happy from the outside.

Fragments of colour were everywhere

Fragments of colour were everywhere

The old walls themselves are full of characterful whirls and sworls, causing the eye to drift from the gentle planting.  The place has a past and the walls reflect that.  In the 12th century this was a rectory.  The walls were added in the 1700s to enable the cultivation of south facing fruit trees, and in the 1750s music concerts were held within.   Glamorous times were ahead when the gardens were owned by an artist and icecream maker, Victor Mazzini Walton.  The gardens were described in 1921 as having tennis courts, putting green, running track and a tea garden, and dances were held at weekends.

After the Second World War, Mr. Walton sold up and the gardens fell into decline.  Happily, in 1985, Durham City Council purchased Old Durham and began a programme of restoration.  When this lapsed, Friends of Old Durham was born and the gardens today are run by this group of volunteers.

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After wandering the boundaries, it’s down the steps, and a gentle meander back to the river.

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Always a source of inspiration!

Always a source of inspiration!

I hope you enjoyed my Saturday amble.  Next weekend I’ll be in Bristol for the Hot Air Balloon festival and I suspect I’ll be too busy to join you.  I hope so, anyway!

Meantime, there’s Cate at Show My Face to visit with your six words.  I was browsing my photos wondering what to show you today and looking for inspiration.  I think I found it.

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