Friday, 8 June 2012

The Jubilee in the Crown – Northumberland

Last weekend was a once in a lifetime weekend. Not only did Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrate her 60 years reign; but Wessex Reiver headed north out of Wessex and into the land of the Reivers. 4 days of plundering his homeland over the Bank Holiday weekend, or at least seeing what was in my parents fridge. I think there is something about a special event that means I feel closer to my parents, especially as they get older and the number of these events will understandable be few in the future. And they have a well-stocked fridge and wine rack, absolutely unrelated of course.

So as Friday arrived and I was working at home, one eye was on work, one eye on the Internet travel cams, and my other eye on the packing I had to do. All looked grim by mid-day, or was that because I had three eyes? The Great British Bank holiday get-a-way had happened. We all do it, but why? The motorways resembled slow moving car parks. Eventually by 4.30pm in the afternoon I made a decision, “Stop trying to second guess the traffic and just get in the car and go, put up with whatever happens”. At 9.20pm I arrived at my parents’ house. Somehow, I’d missed all the traffic; I joined the M5 at Weston super Mare and reaching 65-70 mph I never slowed down or sped up for 315 miles. The roads were so quiet, that along the A19 in North Yorkshire I seriously wondered if the road was closed, as I think I only saw half a dozen other vehicles for over 40 miles. A perfect journey.

So the weekend dawned and 4 days were spent just catching up with my parents, friends and a fair amount of watching television. It was only after returning to Wiltshire on Tuesday did I realise how bad the weather had been down south. The North East was by and large sunny and fine, especially on Monday, the one day we headed out into the hills to take in the air. And so dear reader this is brief, photographic record of that weekend.

Sunday we had a fantastic Sunday lunch at Homer Hill Farmshop, near Durham City. If you're passing that way I can recommend it. http://www.homerhillfarmshop.co.uk/

In the evening the sunset was stunning, all the more remarkable as in London the rain and low cloud had set in for the Jubilee river pageant

On Monday, off to Northumberland. Morning coffee at the Milkhope Centre, Blagdon where I watched a blue tit pair in and out of a nest hole, to the right of that sign. Actually there's a blue tit on the hanging basket bracket on the corner of the barn

Later in the afternoon we were at Barrowburn, http://www.barrowburn.com/ right up at the end of the River Coquet, not far from the Scottish Border. We went for the wildflower meadows, but were just a bit too early, but what a view....

My father being served tea by the farmer - I loved taking this inside looking out

Later the pet lambs needed feeding, so I went to watch

One little fellah thought I had milk

After this my parents went for a stroll through the wildflower meadow

I walked up the hill.....

.... and took in the fantastic view - home is where the heart is

Time to go but not before one last view of parents by the teashop

Back down the Coquet Valley I spied a very handsome male wheatear - okay I know, its on the fence, third post from right

The Coquet looked magnificent in its upper reaches

We then stopped at Rothbury, which was having a Jubilee Street Party. The church had a fantastic flower display (and I'm not even in to flowers) all based on a Jubilee theme. This was was Royal Music.

In the churchyard I paid homage to a conker tree I used to beat up every autumn as a young boy trying to find the best and of course biggest conkers (the one on the right)

Finally it was time to head home, but not before a last photo of the mid section of the River Coquet at Rothbury, looking fabulous

Looking back to Rothbury from Longframlington area

And finally back in Wiltshire..... why my car was packed with plants is another posting


  1. Lovely photos Andrew - sounds like an idyllic few days in a beautiful part of the country. The lamb is rather cute and the wildflower meadow looks a picture!

    1. Thanks Robin, it is a special part of the World, mind you the UK has many such special places

  2. It seems that you went in the right direction for the weather, nice pictures of an area I don't know very well. Waiting with bated breath to see the flowers growing in your garden in your next post!

    1. I spend my whole life these days thinking about bedding plants - not for me but the OH. More soon.

  3. Hi Andrew - I'm sorry it's been ages... but have just finished doing a posting after what seems like many v. busy weeks gardening - hope you enjoy my owl pics! The scenery around where you were looks so beautiful - not an area I know v. well but def worth a visit if we're up that way... still haven't made it to Bristol yet... I keep hoping to get over the water to catch up with friends but there never seems to be enough time!

  4. Thanks Miranda, I know how you must feel, Julie is also flat out with gardening, it's that time of the year. Loved your owl posting this week btw.