Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Honey Farm and a Chain Bridge

Whilst in Northumberland we had a lovely day out to the Chain Bridge Honey Farm which sits right at the edge of England in the north east. The honey farm was opened in the 1940's and is a great place to visit, especially for vintage vehicle fanatics like my beloved as there are lots of old vehicles dotted around the place.

There is also a big shed with lots of old things inside - this is an old butter churn.

One corner was set up like an old shop with very old tins which I'm sure would not be pleasant if you opened them.

On the counter was this original copy of a magazine from 1912 which had things in it that today seem very odd for us but must have been very normal back then.

This is one of the adds in the magazine and my favourite thing in it is that there is a chapter on answering the door.

Lots of different things that you would find in an old kitchen - love the old pots and pans but most of them I can't even lift up because they are so heavy.

American number plates.

Old bikes.

Old tractors - you can feel my husband getting more interested now. It was about at this point that another couple that were wandering around stopped and spoke to us, well me to start with. The couple were from Yorkshire and to me they may as well have been from outer Mongolia for all that I understood - I just nodded and smiled and then became very distracted by an old tractor, leaving Ken to talk to them. Typically we kept running into them as we walked around the farm and I had to trust that Ken would do the talking as they had the broadest Yorkshire accent that I have ever heard.

This large painting was in one of the sheds - the reason I took a photo of it was that the cat reminded me of Tiddles who was my cat growing up.

This was one of the honey farm working vehicles which was covered in bees! There must have been remnants of honey on the trailer as there were lots of bees all over the back. This led us to wonder how often the workers get stung by the bees and if visitors get stung very often?

The cafe for the farm was based in this lovely old double decker bus with tables upstairs and the kitchen downstairs. There was one table downstairs so we sat there - to enjoy the view of the cakes.

Very, very scrummy cakes which all had honey incorporated into them.

In the visitor centre there is lots about the history of honey making and there were lots of really interesting facts. I liked this collection of honey pots as I've seen a few interesting ones over the years and in different countries.

The facts on this poster really did my head in - one litre of honey requires 10,000 hours of flying!! The bees wings must be very tired. Typically the worker bees are females and the males (drones) are back in the hive getting jiggy with the queen.

Look at this fantastic knitted chain bridge (you'll see the real one shortly) - if you look closely you'll see that there are swans and canoeists in the river which is great attention to detail.

One of the doors in the visitor centre has this beautiful scene painted on it - it looks like a really nice place to sit and have a cup of coffee with the friendly cat keeping you company.

This is a traditional bee skep, which have been used for centuries to keep bees in.

Being an avid reader I really loved this quote by James Russell Lowell.

After our look around the honey farm we walked down to the Chain Bridge which connects England to Scotland.

'The Union Chain Bridge spans the River Tweed between Horncliffe, Northumberland, England and Fishwick, Borders, Scotland.........When it opened in 1820 it was the longest wrought iron suspension bridge in the world with a span of 137 metres (449 ft), and the first vehicular bridge of its type in the United Kingdom. It cost £7,700 to construct...' (http://www.visitnorthumberland.com/historic-sites/union-chain-bridge&ssid=827)

View from the bridge - you can't see him but there was a man standing in the middle of the river up to his waist and he was bothering the fish (fly fishing).

The next two photos demonstrate something that Ken wants me to point out. As you walk across the bridge into England this is the sign that greets you - just the word England.

As you walk across the bridge into Scotland these are the signs that welcome you, which to Ken reaffirms his belief that the Scots are much friendlier than the English. I'm staying neutral as I'm not from either country, but it definitely felt nicer walking into Scotland.

Pretty house over the border into Scotland.

Ken and Bramble on the bridge.

After walking across we went back and got the car to drive across the bridge on our way to Dunns and a visit to the Jim Clark Rooms - future blog post. As you can see, Monkey had a prime position for the crossing.

That was our day out to the honey farm and chain bridge. Until next time, be good, stay safe, and have a really lovely week.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: Final picture is a very tired Bramble (Jelly Sassy Pants) when we got back to our holiday cottage.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Top Ten Thursdays - Talents

Top ten Thursday and this week it's all about things we're good at. Okay, I'm going to be totally honest and say that I was very close to not doing this weeks top ten as I'm not very good at thinking what I'm good at, but far be it for me to avoid a challenge. So after much brain racking and regularly thinking I'm not good at anything, this is the list I've come up with.

1. Navigator: this is one that my beloved tells me regularly as I don't drive so I'm always the one with the map. He doesn't want a satnav because he says that I'm his satnav - the only problem is that sometimes when we're travelling my batteries go flat and I shut down on him (go to sleep).

2. Baker: I love baking but don't do it often enough. One of my favourite things to bake is cupcakes and the ones below were made for my mum's 80th birthday - the bright pink icing is because I love pink. We had a bake off competition at my work in London and after many heats, and semifinals, I came second, which was fantastic.

3. Listener: 30 years of nursing has taught me that one of the most valuable things you can give someone is time and to actively listen to them. By that I mean that when you are listening to them you give them your full attention and make them feel that you have nothing else in the world you'd rather do than hear what they have to say. 

4. Furbie Slave: I am a slave to two cats and a puppy dog!! They're our little family and we are always doing things to make their lives easier as they lighten up our lives in so many little ways.

This is an example of how good I am at being a slave to their needs. Muffin Monster has really bad renal failure and two months ago we were told by the vets that we were going to have to prepare for her to die soon. Because of that we moved her upstairs and allowed her into our bedroom at night to spend quality time with her - well, we now think she was faking and had convinced the vet to tell us bad news so that she could be even more pampered at home. The picture below shows how I usually go to sleep and often wake up like this as well (please excuse the scary early morning face and hair - remember Ken has to wake up to this).

5. Hugger: I think hugs a fabulous things and have been told that I give very good hugs - I think it has something to do with my extra padding making it a nice experience. I love this picture of me and my youngest nephew Jarod, even though it looks like I'm trying to stop him from getting away (he's a little bit bigger than this picture now).

CIMG0952 - Click to view full size photo

6. Persuader: I'm really good at getting my beloved to put silly hats on his head and then letting me take a picture of him. He has to be the most patient husband in the whole world and he goes out of his way to make me smile which is one of the things I love most about him.

7. Selfie taker: I try and take a picture of the two of us together whenever we're out and about, despite my beloved trying to avoid it. The reason is that I like to have pictures showing our life together - we don't do that silly pouty thing that you see girls doing when they take a selfie. The picture below is one of the rejected selfies, but I still like it as it shows my gorgeous man's smiley eyes.

8. Releasing my inner child: I can be a little bit silly and some people might call it immature, but we call it releasing our inner child. A really good example of this is the album I made for one of my friends from photos I took in Australia of our office mascot Halloween Cat. I posed him in lots of different places for his holiday album - I've included a selection below.

Enjoying Coffee & Chocolates
Considering a tattoo

9. Creative: I love doing different crafts and also love writing, whether that be poetry, free writing, or art journalling. Whether I'm good at that is a bit subjective but it is something that I enjoy and get a sense of wellbeing out of.

10. Wife: This is the talent that I will work the hardest to be good at for the rest of my life and thankfully my beloved says I'm very good at being the perfect wife for him (I did have him in a choke hold at the time). For someone who said they never wanted to get married (me), it is the part of my life that never stresses me and my beloved husband is always on every gratitude list I write.

That's it, my talents for what they're worth. What do you think you're good at? Why don't you pop over to Tamara's blog, Confessions of a part-time working mom, and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with in their top tens - click HERE to visit.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and have a wonderful week.

Pamela & Ken

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Top Ten Thursdays - Famous People

It's time for Top Ten Thursdays, which is hosted by Tamara over at Confessions of a part-time working mom, and this week the topic is famous people which is a huge category. To cut it down I decided to think about it as the top ten famous people that I would invite to a dinner party with me and my beloved, and I should add that they can be either dead or alive. I love hearing who other people would invite to dinner and can be a really good way of getting to know someone.

I did my best to cut it down to just ten but found it too difficult so I'm going to cheat slightly with two lists - one is my dinner party for people who have already died, and the other for famous people who are still alive.

Starting with the dead list.

1. Joan of Arc (1412-1431): I have always been fascinated by this amazing girl - as a teenager she led an army against the English, defeated them and enabled the then Prince Charles to be crowned King, and then was captured, tried as a witch, and burned at the stake at the age of 19. Incredible but tragic. It is only fitting that in 1920 she was canonized by Pope Benedict XV.

2. John F Kennedy (1917-1963): A reputation as a womaniser but actually quite an incredible man who overcame being badly injured in the war to go on and be a man who fought for equal rights and world peace. On a trip to the USA in the early 90's I got to visit JFK's grave in Arlington cemetery.

3. Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993): Classic elegance, great actress, and UNICEF ambassador for children - who wouldn't want her at their dinner party. It might be slightly awkward between her and JFK as apparently they dated briefly but I'm sure they'll get over it. I thought I'd include my favourite clip from Breakfast at Tiffany's where the poor cat must have been drugged for it to allow itself to get so wet and then be squashed between Audrey and George (dishy) Peppard.

4. Jim Morrison (1943-1971): The quintessential bad boy, Morrison lived the life of sex, drugs, rock and roll. I love so many of the Doors songs with my favourite being Riders on the Storm which was the last song that Morrison recorded before taking time off to go to Paris with his long time love Pamela Courson, where he died a few weeks later. He's buried in Pere Lachaise cemetery and yes I have visited his grave.

5. Maya Angelou (1928-2014): An amazing woman who overcame adversity and did so much with her life and whose poetry and quotes I absolutely love. She was awarded over 50 honorary degrees and President Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom which is the highest honor a civilian can receive in America.

6. Michael Hutchence (1960-1997): Lead singer of INXS and so sexy (don't worry, my beloved knows I think that).

7. Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928): A really inspiring woman who was a leading figure in the suffragette movement for equal rights for women including the right to vote. Emily did see this achieved before her death. One of my favourite quotes from Emily Pankhurst is:

 “Well, they little know what women are. Women are very slow to rouse, but once they are aroused, once they are determined, nothing on earth and nothing in heaven will make women give way; it is impossible. ”

8. Errol Flynn (1909-1959): Incredibly handsome movie star who was born in Tasmania (where I'm from) and was a bit of a lad both on screen and off. Flynn claimed he slept with 10,000 women and when he died at the age of 50 the coroner said that he had the body of a man at least 30 years older.

9. Anne Sullivan (1866-1936): Who?? Anne Sullivan is the amazingly incredible woman who taught the blind, deaf, and dumb Helen Keller how to communicate with the world. When I was young I read the book Helen Keller's Teacher and I was so moved by what Anne Sullivan achieved with her life despite her own eyesight and health problems that I still think of her on a regular occasion.

10. Freddie Mercury (1946-1991): The flamboyant lead singer of Queen who died way too young. Slightly quirky looking but in a mesmerizing way and with an incredible voice. The clip I've included is the last video that Freddie filmed before his death and I remember the first time I watched it as it made me cry - it's incredibly poignant.

There you have it, my top ten of deceased people I'd invite to dinner. Have you noticed that all my women are very strong and have really made an impact on the world in ways that have inspired me. The men, well they would definitely liven up any dinner party with their outgoing personalities, great music, and a little bit of womanising from JFK and Errol.

Onto my dinner party list of famous people that are still alive.

1. Hugh Jackman: Gorgeous and Australian - what more could you want. I was so pleased when he was cast as the lead in Les Miserables as he was perfect for the role.

2. Ruby Wax: American comedian who campaigns for better mental health. I love her comedy and I love her even more for how she has coped with her own depression and now wants to improve things for others.

3. Michael J Fox: I loved him as Alex P Keaton on Family Ties as he saw me through my teens and I wanted him for a best friend. He's a great actor but I love him even more for the way he has handled living with Parkinson's. His book, Lucky Man, is the best autobiography I have ever read and I would recommend it to everyone.

4. Melissa Etheridge: Amazing woman and fantastic singer and so glad I got to see her perform live last year. She has been through breast cancer and famously performed at the Grammy's with no hair, singing Janis Joplin's Piece of My Heart. Melissa's response to the Orlando shooting in the Pulse nightclub was to write an amazing song - please listen as it's beautiful and the words are so true.

5. Robert Downey Jr: Another bad boy who went off the rails big time but has come back even better. He starred in one of my favourite films of all time, Heart and Souls (1993) - watch it if you haven't seen it, and I loved him so much in Ally McBeal. I've never seen any of the Iron Man films because they're not my thing but he's perfect as Sherlock Holmes.

6. Ellen Degeneres: Another strong, incredible woman who does so much good with the money she earns from her fame. She campaigns against bullying, global warming, and is speaks out about inequality in a way that ordinary people can understand.

7. Simon Le Bon: Lead singer of Duran Duran and his face used to be all over my walls when I was a teenager, so he would have to be at my dinner party. Simon is one of those rare creatures in the world of popular music who has stayed married to the same woman, celebrating 30 years of marriage to Yasmin last December.

8. Jane Goodall: A woman who has spent her life caring for and campaigning for animals. Jane has worked with chimpanzees for most of her life but also speaks out for all animals and encourages everyone to do what they can as "everyone can make a difference".

9. Dalai Lama: The 14th Dalai Lama, born Lhamo Dhondup, was recognised as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama at the age of two! He's now in his 80's but still such a figure for peace and unification in the world and I think the world needs more of that and the Dalai Lama loves chocolate which makes him even more human. Here is one of his quotes that would be good for us all to remember:

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. 
If you want to be happy, practice compassion." 

10. Michelle Obama: Some people might think this a really odd choice for an Australian living in Scotland but I think Michelle Obama is an amazing woman in the way she supports her husband, the obvious love they share, and for the initiatives she has backed whilst in the position of first lady. Also, she has the ability to reach the everyday person in how she acts - in other words she's not a snob. If you've never seen her on the Ellen Degeneres show then you should google her as she's amazing, especially the episode where she does press ups.

What do you think? Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? It's a fun thing to think about, so give it a try. Now, pop over to Tamara's blog, Confessions of a part-time working mom, to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for the top ten of famous people.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and make sure you practice compassion this week.

Pamela & Ken

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cute Northumberland Villages

There are so many lovely little villages to visit in Northumberland that it's difficult to choose where to start. One of the first we went to this week was Low-Newton-by-the-Sea which according to the info in our cottage "is one of the most picturesque villages on the Northumberland coast". You can't drive into the village, instead there is a large pay and display car park up the hill from the village.

When we parked we spotted this fabulous campervan and when I took a picture of it two lads near me said they'd taken pictures of it as well - probably a very photographed vehicle.

The village consists of an open ended square with a pub, The Ship Inn, being at the top of it. I love this photo looking over the green as every group of people sitting on the grass has got a dog or dogs with them. We've found that it's a very dog friendly area, so if you've got a furry member of the family then this is a great place for a holiday.

Bramble made a new friend, Loki, who lives in the village - his parents were telling us what a great place it is for him as the beach is a few steps away and in the summer he meets lots of other puppy dogs.

Loki did get a little familiar with our little girl - thankfully he's had his manly bits removed.

The Ship Inn is the larger building on the right - we sat for a while at a table outside it to have a drink - several people came over to meet Bramble Jelly as they all think she's very cute.

Cute little corrugated iron church that is near the carpark.

Love this sign that is on one of the side roads - we didn't see any frogs but I'm hoping people look out for them when driving up this road.

Bramble was having a great day making new friends - this beautiful pony was very friendly.

Leaving Low-Newton we headed towards Embleton and on the way discovered the fabulous Eleanor's Byre which is a gift shop and cafe, so of course we stopped.

It's a beautiful space that has been built into a very old farm building.

 Whilst we were there the most amazing thing happened. Anyone who has read my Top Ten post on RULES will know that my beloved doesn't believe that vegetables should be in cakes, but all it took was one pretty young female waitress to convince him to give chocolate and beetroot cake a go. The faces below say it all really - his verdict, what's the point as he couldn't taste it so why bother. When I told him it was meant to make the cake more moist, he said it hadn't worked - well at least he tried it.

There are some beautiful things in the shop and yes I did buy a couple of things - a new notebook for my poetry and a small blue bowl for my dresser. We loved these light shades which are made out of old bottles.

There were lots of dogs sitting outside with us but this one was chancing his luck of trying to get into the shop.

In the field next to the shop there lives a donkey and a very big pig - a strange friendship if ever I say one. They were both very friendly and came over to have a chat to us and let us scratch their noses.

Lovely old shepherds hut in the carpark.

Our next stop was Craster which is named after the Craster family that has owned the local estate since the late 1200's. The town sign has a sculpture of a lobster pot with various crustaceans attached to it.

We found a lovely pub garden to sit in for a while - what could be better, great company, great view, and a lovely white wine spritzer.

In the distance over Ken's shoulder you may be able to make out Dunstanburgh Castle which we visited last time we were in Northumberland. Please ignore the fact that Ken is trying to eat Bramble's chew toy.

My two gorgeous ones enjoying the sunshine.

Craster is famous for the production of kippers, which they do in the traditional way of oak smoking. On the building below you can see the stains of the smoking process and you could definitely smell it.

The harbour at Craster was built in memory of one of the Craster family - the memorial plaque is below.

Arty shot of lobster pots.

A lone fisherman sitting at the end of the harbour.

Slightly odd statue that I think is missing a few bits - we think it's a fisherman wrestling a sea creature.

I have done a whole post on DOORS before and can never resist taking pictures of nice ones. Here are two very different but equally gorgeous doors that we went past in the village. The first one is a funky colour and has a lovely horse door knocker whereas the second one is quite plain in itself but they've made it look very pretty by what's around it.

The end of a very long day for our little one and she was out like a light next to her daddy on the couch. It's such a rare occurrence as Bramble is so full of energy that we really enjoy it when it happens.

That's it for today so until next time, be good, stay safe, and I hope you're having a great day wherever you are in the world.

Pamela & Ken