Difficult to choose pictures which represent such a varied trip. The west coast of Ireland is full of stunning scenery and this area, Dog’s Bay, is just one example. We were staying nearby, north of Clifden at a beach campsite in Renvyle. Not far from there is the tourist attraction (we counted 22 coaches as we left) of Kylemore Abbey. The building is striking but the main attraction for us was the garden. If you’re going to have a formal walled garden, this is how to do it!
Further north we stayed on Achill Island and called at the Stone Age site Ceildhe Fields: not so much of a tourist hub but well worth a visit. Then inland for a while, to Boyle and Carrick-on-Shannon (memorable alone for Lena’s café) before heading back up to Donegal and one of my favourite views of all. Portnoo. You can just see our friends’ house if you look carefully…
The view from the front steps as you take your morning sup of tea outside… And below, one of the most charming gardens we’ve seen. It’s called the Herbarium and it is in the old part of the town of St Valery sur Somme. It’s approached along old stone walled lanes which have flowers growing between the walls and the roadway: rightly called les Rues Fleuries. The walled garden was once managed by the nuns from the local convent and has been beautifully restored.
This is the entrance to Lea Gardens, near Matlock in Derbyshire. But first you have to get past the café and its display of cakes, which must be one of the best for miles. This gem of a garden was created out of a quarry by the local mill owner many years ago and was inspired by Bodnant in North Wales. This was the right time of year to be there as the azaleas and rhododendrons were in full spate. The winding paths lead you in unexpected directions but there are beautiful views whichever way you go. This was on the way home from Carsington Water, another lovely spot for a relaxing weekend.
Look, here’s the train approaching Barmouth, on the coast of Wales. The line runs through some wonderful scenery and has made us think about a rail trip next time. Lots of small steam railways running inland from this line, too, though mostly closed until Easter. Up the road a little way is Harlech with its very imposing and well worth visiting castle and then there’s the Lleyn peninsula to explore. On the way, there’s the curious Portmeirion and Clough Williams-Ellis’s equally interesting Brondanw garden – which alone made a trip to this area well worth it.
You often don’t appreciate what’s on your doorstep – and the museums in Hull are a case in point. The Wilberforce Museum, the Streetlife Museum and the East Riding and Hull Museum are all within a very short distance of each other – and all well worth visiting. The last in the list has, among many other well-presented and curious exhibits, some stunning Roman mosaics. The picture above is just one small sample. Below is something completely different: one of the carriage scenes from the Streetlife Museum. This section of the building even smells horsey!
First of all, Berny and Steve’s 40th Wedding Anniversary. You can see it was an occasion for joy -and for many cakes. (To get an idea of the cakes you’ll have to go to Shuttercal or Blipfoto.) Of course, December is a time of visiting for – or to be visited. So, off to Staines (on-Thames) for the first leg…
Then to Clent, to catch up with the cats – and hats:
And back to Barrow for Christmas. Nice to go visiting – but always good to be home.
Faces near the entrance to the Choir at Lincoln Cathedral. Not saints – though maybe sinners, who knows? – these characters still look bright and mischievous after all the years that have passed since they were carved. They hint of the ‘other lives’ unremarked in history books or the cathedral rolls of honour. Meanwhile the low sun plays with lovely patterns on the north wall…