Saturday, 28 November 2009

The Dark Side

Yet again, a day of photo-lethergy,  I took the camera with me early this morning when I took No1 daughter out beating but ran out of time on the way to the yard and home, which was a pity as the light was interesting, with lots of fog in the Tyne Valley.

Too many distractions later, so it wasn't until evening, after putting the horses to bed that I made an effort to find something to photograph.

The telegraph post doesn't work quite how I wished but I still like something about it.

The Black Bull is a popular pub in Corbridge, our nearest neighbour.

Friday, 27 November 2009

The Cold Front Cometh!

It was dry here today!

Horses, a few repairs to do at my Mothers cottage then a short walk in Slaley Forest with the dogs.  The sky was clearing all the while from the north as the forecast front approached.  It could be a chilly few days.

Back to the cottage to feed the donkeys and put the hens to bed.  A quick cup of tea with my Mother then off to the yard to bring the horses in for the night.

And so to bed children!!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Little Angels?

Oh, about eight or ten years ago, I used to travel to Slovenia quite often.

The manager of the hotel I stayed at, (an old friend of the then family),  used to give us bottles of alcohol as a gift. This stuff was a form of Slivovica made by his butcher! (It was always referred to as "Janis's Fluid!) God only knows what he put in it but it tasted as if scraped his shop floor, poured in a quantity of neat alcohol and left for an indeterminate period! Definitely an acquired taste but out of three households I was the only person who would not only drink it but enjoy it too,  not too great a stain on my good  character I hope?

The work of the devil produced by an angel!!!

I was reminded of this the other day when The Children's Mother's son produced a bottle of vodka and invited me to partake of a tooth-full.

"Cheers" said I "Just the one, to be social you understand!)

"That's all your getting!"  We (I forgot to mention his friend in this) just want to make some room in the bottle"

Turns out that the plan was to then top the bottle up with Skittles, of all things, and let it brew.  My protests about the waste of a finite resource (the vodka) were met by blank gazes and the Skittles were tipped in.

Well, a couple of days ago the concoction was pronounced almost fit to sample, would I like a taste.

Two days on, the fact that I am able to sit here and write this testifies that I live on, minus a few more of my limited brain cells.

The work of Angels, produced by Little Devils...!

(ps, I noticed tonight that they haven't tried it yet!!!)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Light Pollution!

Another dreary wet day here, not conducive to taking pictures.

From the yard where my horses are kept, you can see the edge of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne urban sprawl in the distance (thankfully!)

It is only on nights like this that you can really appreciate the amount of light pollution we produce.  This is still about twenty miles away!

The wilds of Allendale and Bellingham beckon.....

Or even southern France!!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Blessings to Count?

After a week of wingeing about the rain here in Northumberland, perhaps it is time to think about the poor souls in The Lake District.

I know Keswick very well and Cockermouth and Kendal reasonably so.  The conditions over there must be dreadful.  We can only speculate as to how the family of the drowned policeman are coping with their personal tragedy.

Yet more rain here this morning, the clouds sweeping over from the West and the Cumberland Fells.

My day was brightened not only by this rainbow but by meeting my cousin, his wife and one of his daughters for lunch.  We only seem to meet up every few years so it was good to catch up.  They are off to a 'Yes' concert in Newcastle tonight before heading back to Manchester over the weekend.

Remember 'Yes'? now that is going back rather too many years, to my days at college!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

More Rain, Back to the Woods

Just as I arrived at the yard this morning, the next wave of rain clouds began to sweep over the Tyne Valley.

So it was off to the woods again to walk the dogs.

Calocera viscosa or Jelly Antler Fungi

I have seen this fungi several times but this is probably the best specimen so far.

Just liked the colours in this mound of moss.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


I took the girls to school today and on the way home, I stopped at Haydon Bridge to have a look at the river South Tyne, (yes just to be clever, we have a North and South Tyne, they join just below Haydon Bridge).

All I can say is that if I got soaked last night, I pity the poor souls that live in the hills further up the valley!

On a brighter note, when I got to the yard,  I found this little fella, a pedigree, organic, Aberdeen Angus calf.

Any vegetarians turn away now...

I buy my meat from this farm, so yum, scrumptious!!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

After The Rain

After two days of rain we woke to a sunny if windy morning.  It stayed bright after I had finished the horses, for a change, so off to the woods we went.

A new type of fungi has appeared since my last visit, I must get my hands on a decent fungi book!

I saw these trees and just had to get a picture out of them.

Off to collect No1 daughter from school.  She went to see Arctic Monkeys last night and is shattered but euphoric!

Oh to be young again.  (Who are the Arctic Monkeys?)  I remember "The Monkeys", have they caught a chill?

Saturday, 14 November 2009

November Evening

What a wet night and we got off lightly!

A rushed morning as we had to recover the Landrover from the garage, it has been having it's MOT. Thank goodness I don't have to have one!!  There followed a quick dog walk round a very boggy field and lunch.  The Children's Mother then spent the afternoon on the internet, planning next year's holiday (not yet resolved!)

Next thing we new it was time to put horses to bed.  Still two separate yards but one of these days we will end up with everything together.  On the way up to the yard I remembered that I still had no pictures, so today it is wintery skies again.  This time evening ones!

Looking west up the Tyne Valley towards Hexham.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Sunny Morning

Well, it was while I was seeing the children and their mother off to school and doing the horses.  Then as soon as it got to dog walking time, the sun disappeared!

Never mind, off to the plantation, it was going to be another day for the flash.

No idea which this tiny fungus is called.

Or this slimy looking specimen!

A few minutes later, a crashing fall courtesy of a wet root, (an impressive mid-air manoeuvre and I managed to land under the camera!) found me lying next to this lovely fern.

The things you do for art!

Now where did I put the arnica?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Another foggy morning in the Tyne Valley.

The Children's Mother was on a course today, so I had the school run at both ends of the day.  Sandwiched in between, the horses were to do, collect one of the terriers from my Mother's and bake some bread.  Yes, I cheat these days and use a machine but so what, it still tastes and keeps ten times better than bought!

As soon as she got home this evening, The Children's Mother had to turn straight round and drive No1 Daughter back into Newcastle for her Grade 5 Music Theory exam.  A GCSE equivalent, studied for in about 4 months!  All seemed to go well, now we wait......!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

St. Andrews Church, Bywell.

Twice a day en-route to the horses, I drive past a tiny hamlet called Bywell.  This morning it dawned that I have never been there.

Bywell is an estate village in the grounds of Bywell Castle, the seat of Lord Allendale, a large and in general, immaculately maintained estate here in Northumberland.

This is St. Andrew, the smaller of two churches in the hamlet.  No longer  used as a church, it is still consecrated and owned by The Churches Conservation Trust.

The morning was really dull, so I will have to make another visit on a better day.

Monday, 9 November 2009

The First Frosts

The girls left the house this morning ready for the car journey to their school fifteen miles away.  Two minutes later they were back.

"Warm water for the windscreen please!"

Yes the first frosts had arrived and the car was frozen.  Fortunately,  as the clear sky brought frost to our sheltered part of the valley, it also brought some welcome sunshine.  In most other parts of the Tyne Valley, the cold night air left the valley dense fog hanging around.  This could only mean one thing.


Friday, 6 November 2009

Tyne Valley

I have been struggling a bit of late, just trying to get pictures. Another day of just a handful of shots, three today!!

The Children's Mother has gone to Leeds to collect No1 from the airport.  It will be gone midnight when they get back.

Off to bed to read for a while.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

A bit of a quiet day today, the usual round of school runs, horses and a grand total of two pictures!

Not the most exciting photo but it gave me an excuse to play with the 'Aperture 2' trial photo software and see if it was worth buying.  Seems quite good for pure photo working so we shall see.....

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

It was so good to see some proper sunshine this morning, the last few days have been quite dreary.  At the yard where the horses now live there is a small flock of Peacocks, most traditional but some 'White' ones too.  I will try and get some shots of those but they are a little elusive.

After horses it was still nice enough to take the dogs for a much needed run in the woods.  Both now filthy, they had a great time variously chasing rabbits and sniffing every tree in the woods. 

On the edge of the track I found this Buddleja growing wild.  It would have been nice to have seen it a few months ago when it was in flower but I haven't been this way for ages.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Moonlight and Silos

A mixed day today, bright spells and pouring rain!
We moved our pony to the same yard as my horse at the weekend and my routine has fallen apart!  No photos till tonight when I went back to the yard to put the horse to bed.  I missed the best shot by faffing about doing jobs, so not the best but tomorrow is another day?