Friday, 27 June 2008

Still here

We’re still hanging out in Lindisfarne. It’s such a lovely peaceful place it’s been hard to drag ourselves away, that and the fact that my OH is watching a couple of specific birds in the sand dunes. One’s a Meadow Pippit with eggs and the other is a Stonechat with chicks.

Meadow Pippit, needless to say, my OH's pic


I spent a glorious afternoon at the Lindisfarne Centre on Tuesday, studying a facsimile of the Lindisfarne Gospels, which are the gospels of Mark, Mathew, Luke and John that were originally written and illustrated between 698and 721. The following explanation explains it better than I can, and I was rather awed by the second piece I found at the exhibition, which I thought was a wonderful sentiment.

The illustrated plates are wonderful, with such vibrant colours and attention to design, which of course features the beautiful Celtic patterns.

Here’s just one example of St John ‘……holding a scroll symbolising the Book of Life in which the names of the blessed are inscribed’.

The exhibition also had two large Celtic quilt on display, which are beautifully made.

As the weather was lovely on Wednesday morning we took our walk on the beach before breakfast again and this time I remembered my camera, and just as Diedre had once commented you always find one shoe, how is possible not to notice you’re one shoe short?

And then of course there was this lovely bit of driftwood with this fantastically weathered bark.

On Thursday we woke up to awful weather and it was no good at all for photography so as soon as it was low tide we set off for Chillingham Castle, which is supposed to be the most haunted castle in Britain. Sadly though, the ghosts must have all been on holiday the day we went.

The castle was built as a 12th century stronghold, and remained occupied continuously until the 1930’s. when it went into decline until it was bought in the mid 80’s and has been undergoing restoration ever since. It’s definitely a WIP, but that gives it its charm plus the present owner uses it as a family home. He also has a very large collection of what I can only describe as miscellaneous ‘stuff’.

One of the things I found amongst the collections was this American late 19th century quilt which was apparently made by a cowboy’s wife from bits of left over cloth and is an unusually large piece for it’s type.

This is one of the bedrooms.

And I found this spinning wheel complete with wools and a bit of rather grotty knitting, loitering on one of the landings.

It was a very good second visit for me as there’s very little restriction in the way of photography and most of the collections are easy to view, I would recommend it as a great place to go as an alternative country house.

The way they make sure that no-one steals any of the artefacts is to put several letters and articles on show explaining what bad things have happened to anyone who takes things and this is only put right by their return! Quite a novel deterrent.

I think this will be my last post now till I get home as I don't know when I might be able to connect to the internet again, so many thanks to all who've commented on the trip so far and I will definitely catch up with you all when I get back.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


We came up to Lindisfarne last year on the same Puffin quest, so this time I knew exactly where to retrace my steps.
We woke up to brilliant sunshine so decided to take a walk on the beach before breakfast. What a treat, the whole beach was empty, sorry no pic I forgot to take my camera, but here’s one from the day before just so you can the see the scale.

I decided to go to the castle first, as it had fascinated me last year and I wanted to get another look. It was turned into a holiday retreat at the beginning of the 19th century by a private individual and then it was taken over by Lutyens who was involved with the Arts and Craft movement, so it’s a very strange mix of attempted homeliness in a castle shell.

They had a lovely walled garden designed for the house by Gertrude Jekyll, which has been restored and had a lovely selection of flowers and veg on show.

I also discovered this lovely decorative well cover, I think it has been designed in the A&C style.

On the path across the field to the castle I found this very obliging sheep who thought the whole idea of having her pic taken was hilarious!

Being a castle Lindisfarne still has its ramparts, where I believe the family used to have breakfast on fine days, which would have been wonderful when you’ve got a view like this. You can see the walled garden in this view.

Now a post form me wouldn’t be complete without the textural shots, so the first one is an upturned boat that is being used as a shed. This is a tradition on Lindisfarne and these shed/boats are known and photographed world-wide.

Here’s a close-up of the peeling fabric as the boats gradually deteriorate.

And finally couldn’t do without the rust, this boat ring has been in situ since the mid 1800’s.

My OH is getting decidedly figety and whisling in a vain attempt to distract me so better sign off for now.

Moving North

On Monday morning we moved North to Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, as it’s also known. The Island is reached by a tarmac causeway which floods at high tide, so we had to make sure we had a tide timetable, and luckily for us low tide was at about 9.30 am. We planned to stay on the island over night, so didn’t need to worry that high tide would come around again at 5.0pm.

It’s a very beautiful place and if you wait till the last high tide when all the visitors go home it’s wonderfully peaceful.

The weather was still unsettled but we were getting the most glorious cloud formations.

I spent the morning blissfully doodling in my journal that I’d made before we left home and am continuing my investigation into Traci Bautista’s methods of working, not too successfully at the moment, although I do like the front and back cover of my journal. I think I will try to use some of her methods for this holiday but if I’m still struggling I may decide to just give up trying to be loose and go back to the restrained style I feel happy with.

Anyway in the afternoon we took a stroll amongst the dunes and came across these delightful holiday lets, at least I think that’s what they were although they did look a bit basic.

My OH found a large oil drum around the back of one of the cottages with a sign on it that read ‘pee water for the garden’, hmmm, very smelly I would think!!

Finally we popped into the church and I found this beautiful painting, I have no idea what it represents, but just loved the content and the composition.

Before turning in for the night my OH telephoned me to say there was a beautiful sunset in the harbour that I ought to see, and he was so right.

On my way back to the camper I saw this one too on the other side of the island looking out towards the causeway.

Buoys and ropes

Just a quick note to say thank you to all who have been keeping up with our journey so far. As you guessed internet access is not easy, so I'll be posting up three posts at once and will catch up with all of you when I can or when I get home.
Thanks for dropping by, it was lovely to see all your comments there.

Before we left Sea Houses, which is the main town in Northumberland that the Puffin excursion boats sail from, I did a bit of a photo shoot on the textures in the harbour and this is what I came up with.

The first pic was of a load of buoys and ropes tied onto the back of a fishing boat, I thought the colours looked really vibrant and I liked the quiet tones and patterns of the ropes, they seem to complement the composition really well.

The next pic I saw was the reflection of those fishing paraphernalia in the harbour, the patterns and the colours were lovely.

I then saw these great chains and ropes all mixed up together and couldn’t resist having a go to see how they’d look in a composition.

In the same box there was this winch type piece of equipment all beautifully rusted, just the way we like it in textile art land!!

There were lots of other exciting things to photograph but it had started to rain by this time and we decided to retire to our camper for a cosy night by the sea.

Well actually the wind howled and the rain lashed all night long, but we stayed dry and warm thank goodness.

We woke up to a slightly dryer day and so decided to move on to Holy Island, which I will write about in my next post.

Monday, 23 June 2008

The Puffin run

We had a fantastic day on the Farne Islands on Saturday, the outward journey was quite calm, and we were able to get some lovely views of the basking seals. Our skipper was brilliant and brought us in really close to them, even making sure that he turned the boat around so both sides got a good view.

We landed on Staple Island at about 11.0 and had two hours before the boat came to pick us up. The puffin’s nest in burrows that they’ve appropriated from the local rabbit population, I’m not sure what the poor old rabbits do for a home in the meantime.

Of course the puffins were not the only inhabitants of the island and as you can see from this pic the Guillemots shared their home, but in a much more precarious habitat.

I also spotted this pair of Kittiwakes doing some pair bonding, which of course I didn’t know until I asked my OH later what they were up to.

These two characters are Shags and it looks like the one on the right certainly had an issue with the other one, judging by the evil look it was giving it! I took this from the boat so there’s quite a bit of camera shake, but I liked the pose.

We passed this cottage on our journey to the Inner Farne island on the tour and our skipper explained that the building on the left used to be a beacon that was lit every night to warn ships of the danger of coming too close to the islands. I think this was succeeded in the late 1800’s by the Loongstone lighthouse (on Longstone island) in the next pic as so many lives were still lost using the beacon. I really wished I’d taken notes on the skipper’s talk as I‘ve forgotten a lot of it

Longstone lighthouse

By the afternoon the weather had deteriorated to squally showers, so I gave up on the photography and just observed the birds on Inner Farne island, and tried not to get attacked by them as they protected their babies against the flow of the public visitors.

Inner Farne

The islands are managed by the National Trust and strict visiting times are adhered to, but I still felt as if I was intruding into the bird’s territory and disturbing their daily round of feeding and caring for their young, especially as many babies were almost on the boardwalks.

The trip back to the main land was very choppy and the skipper had to use all his skill to get us back without too much bouncing around and spray soaking his passengers.

We were very glad of a cuppa and a piece of cake on our return, not to mention a change of clothing, but it was a very good trip for my OH who’s got some great shots from the day.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Arrived safely

Arrived safely at this beautiful end of the country. We started out at 5.30 and arrived here at about 2.30. We have a lovely hotel for the one night looking out over to the main island that we shall be visiting tomorrow. The hotel has internet access but only on the 3rd floor and we’re on the second, so guess who’s got to sit on the landing to post, that’s dedication for you!!

Just a few pics of what we’ve seen so far.

One of the Farne Islands

Bamburgh Castle

And of course the compulsory pattern shot

The secret doorway(Bamburgh)

Will post again when and if I can access the internet.