Pictures from our week in Northumberland.
Well, the dearth of posts lately will surely suffice to indicate that once again it has been a very busy time here. Since our holiday we have also had a memorable trip to Glasgow to spend time with the Whites and Burgesses, the main driver of which was to have a meal together at the Chip. Happily all those invited were able to attend and 75% of us bagged a hotel room overlooking the Clyde. Not content with that, we also took a power boat ride up past the Museum of Transport, and some of us tried on a posh frock, just to see….
After 8 Mince played three gigs in one week, each one unique and with very different audiences. Good experience all round. We saw this play which was excellent, and gradually came round to the idea that autumn is here. Dark evenings and glorious leaf litter abound.
The end of an era in Beadnell was announced as Mick and Allyson move on from the Beadnell Towers Hotel, I understand that a makeover is planned but I do hope they keep the objets d’art in the rooms, and the gold fish. We wish them all well.
Oh good grief, I was sure I had posted at least once in June, outwith Dad’s birthday, but I see the last one was May 28th. Poor old BTW always suffers the most appalling neglect in the summer, it’s shocking behaviour and someone somewhere needs a strongly worded email. In our defence I see that June encompassed the following activities: West Fife show with Rieko, Royal Highland Show, finding a spot to take pictures of HMS Queen Elizabeth*, at least three peregrinations** around Vane Farm, a trip to Beadnell with Team Discovery, three visits to the wonderful new museum and galleries in Dunfermline, and some catch ups with old chums, all the while working on new songs for the band and oh then there’s the day jobs. Photos below include the two statues resident in the gardens of (deep breath) Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries, they are of Tam O’Shanter and Souter Johnnie. And yes, we already know of interactions with traffic cones. The picture of the heron was an attempt to capture the beautiful yellow and blue flowers in the wetland meadow, mayhap they would show up better after some gentle photo massage.
We had a brilliant 9th anniversary visit to Beadnell – the girls won the quiz!! – and were the skies ever so big as viewed from Alnwick beach? Our 10th is obviously going to be a no holds barred, take no prisoners 72 hours of complete anarchic mayhem, I’m sure that’s what Roger said.
Some happy news of family and friends of which more anon, but huge and hearty congratulations to Emily Sanderson and Christopher White, who graduated from St. Andrew’s and Edinburgh Universities respectively.
Lastly, and most importantly, Paul’s astronomy club was written up in the Courier, with no mistakes or factual inaccuracies and some ace pictures. The photos were taken in March of this year.
Researching the subject of neglect, I found this rather lovely poem, and what do you know, it comes down to birds in the end after all.
Is the scent of apple boughs smoking
in the woodstove what I will remember
of the Red Delicious I brought down, ashamed
that I could not convince its limbs to render fruit?
Too much neglect will do that, skew the sap’s
passage, blacken leaves, dry the bark and heart.
I should have lopped the dead limbs early
and watched each branch with a goshawk’s eye,
patching with medicinal pitch, offering water,
compost and mulch, but I was too enchanted
by pear saplings, flowers and the pasture,
too callow to believe that death’s inevitable
for any living being unloved, untended.
What remains is this armload of applewood
now feeding the stove’s smolder. Splendor
ripens a final time in the firebox, a scarlet
harvest headed, by dawn, to embers.
Two decades of shade and blossoms – tarts
and cider, bees dazzled by the pollen,
spare elegance in ice – but what goes is gone.
Smoke is all, through this lesson in winter
regret, I’ve been given to remember.
Smoke, and Red Delicious apples redder
than a passing cardinal’s crest or cinders.
—R. T. Smith
Years ago I read or heard on the radio a spooky story about burning an apple tree, anyone recall that?
*a frankly massive aircraft carrier built in Rosyth.
** peregrination from the Latin peregrinus, meaning foreign, and also obviously that’s the root of the peregrine falcon, “young birds being captured in flight rather than taken from the nest”. Eh, thanks Chambers Concise Dictionary, is that one of those hidden jokes you lexicographers put into your oeuvres? Because if it is, I don’t get it.
Having spent two days doing A Thing That Had To Be Done, I now have some time of my own to pop some cheerier pictures on here. On Saturday we went to the badlands south of the the river, and firstly ascended Cairnpapple Hill, to find it full of some most interested cows, which were not in any way afforded the luxury of a fence, so we descended in jig time. Then we went up Cockleroy, just to prove we’re not scared of hills per se.
Then we went shopping. On Sunday we hied off to Vane Farm/Loch Leven because it had been at least a fortnight since our last visit, jings, whole continents could move in that time*. It turned out to be a bonanza day, I forswore a scone in the interest of having stuffed myself the day before, and we were amply rewarded with bar- and black-tailed godwits, a reed bunting, two peregrines and a wee thing which might have been a wood sandpiper but no-one was terribly sure. The usual suspects were there too, the far hide was tufted duck central, although not so many curlew as in previous years, and the presence of siskin was notable enough to make the special sighting board, along with marsh harrier. We met some nice people who let us look through their ‘scope at a coot chick, too faraway to photograph properly but that has never stopped me trying. The great crested grebes, which were nesting last time we were there, were out on the water with four wee chicks on mum’s back. I’ll stop now, but there is much more to tell, so if you are bored and can’t sleep, do call.
Our trip to Beadnell at the end of June was grand fun, inexplicably the men won the quiz again … but we had lots of chat, long walks and full tummies. (Little tern, ringed plover, sand martin and many jackdaw spotted).
So, lastly, a couple from the Royal Highland Show, a bloke uni-cycling on top of a tractor caught my eye, as did a white tailed sea eagle which was on display. You’d think that at such close range I would manage a better picture, but it was very busy (I was being shoved) and the light was very bright.
*that’s a joke, I am fully aware of the principle of continuous continental drift. I have been to Þingvellir, you know.
Just a brief update, back from our weekend in Beadnell with Team Discovery and although none of us have our woes to seek, it was a very pleasant time spent together. Due to a fractional split in the space time continuum coinciding with a wormhole, the men won the quiz. But the women were runners up.
Beadnell itself is in a beautiful site on the Northumberland coast, currently being touted by Robson Greene on Channel 10 (that’s ITV to you young people) and if you should fancy owning a des res by the sea, look no further. And yes we did go Alnwick and yes we did go to Barter Books. No, Dylan Moran was not there this time.
The night before we went to Beadnell found us through the west, at the brand new Hydro concert arena, where I went to see Peter Gabriel. The concert was brilliant, loads of back catalogue that I hadn’t heard for years, but I still knew all the words. Hydro is mossiff, how I managed to bag myself a seat right next to the stage is a mystery, to me most of all.
Mincers played at a top secret gig place in Leven last night, which was interesting, and we helped to raise £600 for the Dermatology Unit at the Victoria hospital in Kirkcaldy. The progress of the evening was marked en passant by the notable growing reluctance to say the word dermatology, not a problem for the stone cold sober singer but a game changer for those who did not think to employ the Scot’s linguistic chum, the glorious full throttle glottal stop. Try it.
So, home again after an epic weekend in Beadnell, Northumberland, seeing our chums from Discovery 2008. It was magnificent to pick up from where we left off in 2011, there are not many people with whom one may do this and it’s a true joy.
This year we stayed again at the Towers, and sallied forth to Barter Books in Alnwick, then to the Farne Islands this afternoon after being turned away yesterday because of flooding. It turned out to be a beautiful afternoon, with sun and hardly any wind, beyond a swell just grand enough to be interesting on the way out. Once we had landed, we all had to don hats and hoods as the arctic terns, nesting right up beside the board walks, took serious exception to any humans and flew up to peck us all on the heads. Carol mentioned that she has seen them draw blood on occasion. Glad that did not happen today(!) but I take it as a birdy badge of honour to have been nobbled. We also saw puffins cleaning out their burrows, razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes, cormorants, shags, gulls and one gannet.
Pictures just as soon as I work out how to load Paul’s, cos they’re better.
We missed the fuss over the derby footie match. Apparently Hearts won. That’s going to make for an interesting day at work tomorrow.
From l to r Carol, Ken, Jean, Paul, Kirsty, Rosemary, Roger. Birdy pics as soon as I can get this flipping blog to upload them, five unsuccesful tries tonight. (22.05.12)
Last weekend we met up with the chums from the 2008 (crikey) Norwegian cruise, down in Beadnell on the Northumbrian coast. Part of this journey involved the most sedate drive of ever down the A1, stuck as we were behind a slow moving something; despite the thirty minutes we spent behind it I never did work out what it was. But it was grand to see everyone again, especially all looking well. Trips included a walk on Carol’s beach to find teeny cowrie shells, and three hours easily and happily lost in this place – Barter Books of Alnwick.
Carol very kindly gave us a beautiful lantern designed and made by her daughter Poppy. Poppy sells her designs here and you don’t need me to tell you that Papaver is Latin for Poppy. All in all a most enjoyable weekend, it’s good to have a break in the dark days of late winter.
Back from another lovely weekend in Beadnell. We had a grand time meeting up with our chums from the Norwegian cruise in 2008.
New Doctor BBC1 3rd April. Cannot wait. Will not say a word until Carol & Roger are back from Oz though.
Just back from Beadnell, Northumbria, where we met up with everyone from the Discovery holiday. It was just excellent to be able to pick up from where we left off, after bidding our farewells in the Discovery Lounge back in August 08. (DL was the scene of our many quiz triumphs, btw.) Rosemary put us through our quiz paces again, after a terrific buffet chez Carol and Roger, and we had a happy time exploring even more of our favourite (my Lancastrian mother-in-law will argue with me on this point) English county. Next time we meet up we hope that Jean is fully recovered, but it was much appreciated that everyone was able to be there.
One picture of dinner last night :-
On Saturday we went here, to the Alnwick Garden. It’s brill. There are so many very interesting places to visit in the vicinity. We are taking Carol’s viewpoint though, we don’t want to tell you about them. Hmmph.