Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Goodbye February!

And there you have it - February done and gone.

The last day of looking at another of my favourite pictures...

One of the most photographed spots in the whole of Northumberland, this is Sycamore Gap.

Made famous by the blockbuster film Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves back in 1991, it's been a place I've longed to visit since my teens.  When I finally got around to it a couple of summers ago, it was certainly well worth the wait!  Early on in the walk from Housesteads is the only place you are permitted to walk actually on the wall (which feels wrong, but you have to do it) and then you follow the path with the most beautiful scenery all around you before dropping down into this little valley with it's world-famous tree.

Depending on where you begin, it's not an easy walk, it can be rough under foot as you're just walking along the trodden grass and steep in a few places:  it really makes you think about the poor workers and how they got all of the supplies etc in place and built the structure itself.

I'd absolutely love to take night pictures up there as there's hardly any light pollution and you can capture the most amazing starscapes like these from Paul Flannigan.  I follow Paul on Facebook and can only dream about taking such stunning pictures as he does.

There are a few different websites with links for Hadrian's Wall and Sycamore Gap in particular, but here's a good one.

And a couple of extra pictures...

Thursday, 23 February 2017

February is flying by

Even though it's only 2 days "short" of an average month, February always seems to disappear in a flash.

Earlier in the month I went to a crime writers event at Gateshead Central Library.  I've been a keen crime reader since my teens (fact and fiction) and although it can be a bit gory and scary at times I still keep coming back for more.  The evening was based around 2 authors and their professional partners:  Margaret Murphy (or A.D. Garrett as she is also known) writes psychological novels and her forensic expert Helen Pepper and Mari Hannah alongside her partner Mo Dowdy who is a retired Detective Inspector.  Is was really interesting to hear how they worked together to build the characters and plots, with the "experts" adding to the mix to make it more realistic.  I learned a long time ago that crime work is a long, slow and laborious task and certainly not like it is on TV, the big screen or on the pages of a book but I still have a hankering for all that searching and analysis.  Maybe in another life - there's no way I'm brainy enough or rich enough to start again lol
As a result, I bought Mari's first novel and have spent this week flying through it, stopping occasionally for a bit of crafting! Loved it, need to get the next one :)

I spent my weekend off with friends, enjoying a fab Thai green curry and overdue catch up time (not to mention, some delightful gin as well) Sunday morning came and it was glorious, it was almost as if Spring had arrived: beautiful blue skies and even the wind was warm (ish!). We walked from Whitburn round past Roker lighthouse to the newly developed area at Marine Walk where we stopped for a drink and a seat in the sunshine.  I loved this piece of sculpture - just framing the end of Roker pier in a rather James Bond-esque fashion...

We made our way back through Roker park so the boys could hunt down Pokemon and savoured the last of the blue sky before heading home for a well earned brew...

The damned hat has finally been finished and I still have no love for it, maybe if I hide it in the back of the cupboard until next winter I might feel differently.  Or maybe I'll just make another one in a crochet-friendly wool and be done with it.

Sock number 2 is pretty much finished now I've closed the book and I got the heel and best part of the ankle finished in crochet class this week.  It was the lovely Janet's 70th birthday at the weekend and she brought some beautiful raspberry and rose cakes for us to enjoy...

Once I get this sock finished it's back to my list of makes and next on the agenda: a penguin to go down to Bristol with me next month and then 2 rabbits :)

A crafters life is never quiet!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Sock it to me

I've kind of "frogged" my messy bun hat at the moment; despite the fact I'm almost finished, the fluffy black yarn is driving me mad!
Another rabbit is done and dusted and before I start the next 2 I wanted to get a start on my socks!

I've wanted to make socks for ages and there seems to be a bit of a renaissance for hand made socks at the moment - lovely Lucy from Attic 24  is always showing off her gorgeous fluffies and it's making me want them even more!

I'm not ready for knitting them yet - the thought of 4 needles fills me with fear but I thought I'd have a go at crocheting them.  I bought this gorgeous Opal yarn from Ready Steady Knit my local shop (and where I go for crafty chit chat on my day off) and after much deliberation I decided on a pattern from Simply Crochet magazine issue 24

Not done anything unusual yet so not bad for a first attempt if I say so myself...

Let's see how I get on when I get to the heel!

Will keep you posted :)

PS:  "frogged" in crafty terms means to leap-frog the project and go on to the next one before finishing!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Goodbye January!

There we go, first month of 2017 gone in the blink of an eye!  Tomorrow when I'm back at work I get to turn over on to the next page of my own calendar.  We get loads of free calendars at work from suppliers but none of them were what I wanted - too big, too small etc so I made my own with my own pictures, I chose 12 of my favourites, loaded them up into the Asda photo website and tah da...

January's picture is of Souter Lighthouse which was built in 1871.  I've visited a couple of times now and the view along the coastline is absolutely beautiful from the top and it's not a bad climb either...

The stretch of coast between the Tyne and the Tees has 43.8 shipwrecks per mile, confirming it as the most dangerous area around the British Isles and the rocks at Whitburn Steel were particularly dangerous, making a lighthouse essential.  Souter was revolutionary, being the world's first lighthouse to be purpose-built with electricity; due to technology it was decommissioned in 1988.

When the visibility dropped to less than 2 miles during daylight or the pier lights were not visible at night, the huge foghorn would sound (and wow, it's loud!) 

Home to the best coal in the whole of the North East, the area has links with author Lewis Carroll and the nephew of our local heroine Grace Darling was the lighthouse keeper for 24 years. 

I was lucky enough to be there on an open day and was up beside the huge lamp when it was switched on. The whole system looks brand new, it's so well kept and lovingly looked after by the National Trust volunteers. The lamp itself is sat in mercury and can be moved with one finger - I know as I've moved it!

The main lighthouse keepers cottage is kept as a museum and is a little a step back in time with furnishings from days gone by.  The other cottages at the Leas can be rented out - something I'd love to do during the long summer days.
The little garden is full of pretty flowers and attracts loads of birds and butterflies...

The perfect place to watch the sun go down with a g&t once all of the visitors have left for the day :)  roll on summer eh?!