Birkheads Secret Gardens ~ May 22, analogue edition.

Over on the Universe Blog on the last and next sundays are my close-up digital shots of the flowers Sophie and I found at Birkheads Secret Gardens. I also had my Contax Aria loaded with Kodak Gold 200 film, and used it to do wider shots of the gardens, and to photograph the quirky decorations that you come across when walking through the gardens. So to accompany the Universe posts, I’m doing a Film Friday post with the results from the Contax.

In one of the corners there’s a nod to pirates

Pirates Corner
Jolly Roger

There’s also an oriental kind of place

buddha

and you can sit by a pond and look for the fish and the newts.

Sophie sitting

Walking around you come across mini statues

fake cat
fairy town
gnomes & fairies
Big Gnome

the owners have a sense of humour

dead & buried, nearly.

They’ve left an area to become a wildflower place, with it’s own not-a-scarecrow and fake geese 😃

wilderness

More to come next week, so stay tooned!

all pictures are clickable to embiggen.

📷 🎞 🙂

Film Friday ~ Craster May 2022

Sophie has been home from Spain for a couple of weeks and we’ve been out and about with our cameras. We spent a Sunday up in Edlingham and Craster ~ the Edlingham shots are mostly with the FujiXT2 so will be appearing on Sundays over on the Universe blog, but we also went over to Craster and had a windy walk up the coast to Dunstanburgh Castle, and I employed the Contax Aria for the visit, loaded with Kodak Gold 200 film.

Craster is a small fishing village on the Northumberland coast. It has a small harbour and a grassy path leading up to the castle which is the only way to get to it. For many years, the village has had a herring-curing business: Craster kippers are well known around the world.

Dunstanburgh Castle was built on an epic scale atop a remote headland along the coast. It was built at a time when relations between King Edward II and his most powerful baron, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, had become openly hostile. Lancaster began the fortress in 1313, and the latest archaeological research indicates that he built it on a far grander scale than was originally recognised, perhaps more as a symbol of his opposition to the king than as a military stronghold.

Unfortunately the earl failed to reach Dunstanburgh when his rebellion was defeated, and he was taken and executed in 1322. Thereafter the castle passed eventually to John of Gaunt, who strengthened it against the Pesky Scots by converting the great twin towered gatehouse into a keep.

The focus of fierce fighting during the Wars of the Roses, it was twice besieged and captured by Yorkist forces, but subsequently fell into decay.

Before we arrived at Craster we had lunch at our favourite café in Rock, which readers of the Universe blog will have heard me bang on about.

The Rocky

It was a really blowy~blustery day so walking up the coast was a bit like being beaten up, we didn’t get right up to the castle before we’d had enough and turned round, wimps that we are, but far enough for a long shot of it.

flower pots line the roads coming out of Craster car park
Mermaid with a big fishy thing.
Flowery things and harbour

There are quite a few holiday cottages to rent, or maybe they are second homes for posh people, along the sea front, and the have their own little gardens to sit in with views of the harbour, castle, and sea.

enjoying an ice cream and wrapped up warm.
bluebells
Gorse bushes along the coastal walk.
Dunstanburgh Castle

Film Friday ~ Contax Aria

Finishing up with the last pictures from a roll of Kodak Ultramax 400, as I’ve just sent off 2 rolls of Kodak Gold for developing.

Firstly three from a trip to Newcastle

Premium Parking
Smiley Texter
Pigeon Puddle

Phil wanted to go to a vinyl fair which was being held in Byker, and I took a few shots on our walk from the metro station.

Byker
Byker Wall Estate
House of Holland…and Istanbul.. and New York…and….

Finally, my old man 🙂

Phil Rolling

all pictures embiggenable with a click 🙂

Film Friday ~ Contax Aria

Over on the Universe blog, I’ve been posting my outings to Northumberland churches, but I also took a few shots along the journey.

Sophie spotted this tree whilst I was doing my Ben Hur around the country roads, think it could be an oak.

Sophie’s Tree

We had late lunches and afterwards travelled home via the scenic route. Going through and out the other side of Warkworth there are parking spaces on the A1068 which runs along side the River Coquet. Looking back towards Warkworth you can see the medieval castle on the hill that dominates the landscape.

Warkworth

Looking forwards and ahead is Amble marina, you can just see the boat masts next to appartment blocks called ‘Coquet Cottages’. Pfft. Like no cottage I ever saw.

Coquet Cottages 🙄

Further along towards the coast we came across a stone gateway which seemed incongruous all alone on a country lane.

Craster Tower Gateway

It was built in the late 1700’s and made of whinstone rubble, and belonged to Craster Tower. The tower was a 14th century pele tower and is referred to in a survey of 1415 as in the ownership of Edmund Crasestir. When Edmund died the tower remained in the Craster family and a two storey Manor house was added to it in 1666 by another Edmund Craster. In 1769, George Craster erected an impressive five-bayed, three-storey Georgian mansion adjoining the south side of the Tower, which was reduced to three storeys and recastellated at this time.

 In 1785 the estate was in the hands of Shafto Craster who changed the appearance of the pele tower, to give it a gothic style. It was at this time he also built the coach house and the gateway. Shafto was also responsible for starting the kippering industry in Craster which still thrives to this day. 

And now onto cats and sunsets!

Winnie doing Winnie things.
Lord Vincent
Shepherd’s delight
Tango sky

And that’s it this time.

Laters Gaters 🐊 😊

📷 🎞

Film Friday ~ Contax Aria (4)

Not much point in numbering the posts really as the Aria is now my go-to camera for shooting film with, and all my others stand forlornley on the shelf gathering dust.

I’ve recently been shooting some more Kodak Ultramax 400 and got the results back. A fair few I’ve taken when on outings with Sophie, so they’ll get incorporated in to the Sunday Fraggle reports over on the Universe Blog. I made good use of spring and summer which came the week before last, and took the Aria on walks around the neighbourhood. Sadly we’re back in winter now and it’s a bit miserable out there. Anyhoo here are a few from my walks:

The path that leads to the Hebburn Quarry Nature Reserve (or Wardley Lake as it’s known chez Fraggle) is lined with hawthorn trees, and is lovely to walk down in spring.

Hawthorn arches

The arch isn’t natural, Storm Arwen made it, and though some of the trees got broken and uprooted, somehow they’re still flowering.

Sidelined

This young one is quite exposed but managed to survive.

survivor

Their branches gently reach out for the light and their buds open one by one.

It was so nice to walk in sunshine, and hear the miriad birds warning each other of dogs and humans in their territory. A flash of red here and there across the sky as the bullfinches go about their nest building and the ubiquitous pigeons crash landing in the tree branches.

I turn back towards home at the end of the path and walk back through the houses. Cherry blossom trees are a favourite with the inhabitants of our estate

the pink blooms glow in the sunshine and you can’t help feel uplifted at their promise of warmer times ahead.

I have to say our resident graffiti artist(s) are a bit lacklustre, could do better I think.

pfft!

The oak tree I once spent a whole month photographing is still standing, though it doesn’t look any bigger considering that was 6 years ago now. Wow, where did those years go??

old friend

Last bit before home, and it made me smile to see this couple holding hands, still love’s young dreams in their hearts.

♥️

And home, where my favourite blossom tree lives.

The Happy Eater Tree

Friday Film ~ Contax Aria (1)

I’ve now completed 2 rolls of film on my Aria, had them developed by the wonderful Analogue Wonderland people and sorted them out ready for posting. Not all have turned out well and mistakes were made, but I’ll be leaving those ones in the dustbin of posterity and just posting the ones I like. I am on a steep learning curve with the Aria and though I’ve worked in manual mode before with the Rollei’s it’s been a while so that’s an ongoing refresher too.

The first roll I put through was a Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400 135/36 Color film, and I started that at the back end of December. These shots are test shots mostly around the house and a few from South Shields. I haven’t faffed with any of them other than to crop or straighten where necessary, I save all that malarky for my digital work. It’s nice just to have them as they are.

King Street, South Shields

like a lot of small coastal towns in the North things have gone downhill, with shops closing down, the shoppers going to Newcastle or Sunderland instead of local. In (a vain~ sorry- cynic) an attempt to regenerate the town centre, the council are demolishing buildings in King Street, which housed Mothercare, and Thorntons (chocolate shop) amongst others. This is in order to ‘clear the way for further development’ and according to Councillor Dixon, “We know that for our town centre to thrive we need to move beyond retail and create a more vibrant environment”. More details HERE.

Demolishing
Demolished

Back at home we had a snow day. I say snow day but I really mean a snow 2 hours. The picture isn’t so good, I was hanging out the bedroom window and camera shake was a thing, but I had to document the only snow we’ve had this winter so far. 2 hours I ask you? What’s the point in that?

Snow. A bit.

We had Livvy and Matty to stay over one Saturday night, another dodgy shot as I didn’t get the exposure right so the shutter speed was too slow for a crisp shot, but I like it anyway, makes me smile.

Livvy, Matty.

Of course I had to turn the Aria on the cats..

Winnie on Phils window sill soaking up some rays.
Winnie being snug
Lord Vincent being snug

I have always taken images of the sunsets I see from the bedroom windows, I have an ongoing series of Wardley Sunsets, so I had to see if the Aria would be able to contribute.

Wardley Sunset
Wardley Sunset

So that’s enough for this week. Out of 36 frames I got 19 I was happy enough with, so thats 50%, considering how expensive film is that percentage needs to be improved, but that’s fine, I’m at the beginning of this journey and I’ll get better with practice. Stay tooned for next time when I shot a few frames in Newcastle. 🙂

all pictures clickable and embiggenable, but don’t, they look better smaller 🤣

Film Friday ~ Minolta Riva Mini

Back at the end of 2019 I’d decided that 2020 was going to be a year of shooting film, from instant to 35mm and 120mm and using many of my funky film cameras. Ah well, I managed a few posts before the plague lockdown and a post in July when we were allowed out to walk when I tested out the Canon Sureshot. 2020 was a bit of a washout for me photographically speaking, but I did a digital 365 throughout 2021 on the Universe Blog and that has at least fired me up for shooting film again. I put a roll of Fuji Experia 35mm I had knocking about in the film drawer into my Minolta and stuck it in my bag when Sophie and I started going out again at the end of 21, and did some shots with it when I remembered it was in the camera bag. I’ve since had it developed and will do some posts with the pictures. The Minolta Riva has been my favourite point and shoot and I rarely use the other ones I have as the quality of pictures from the Riva always surpass the results. I’m currently getting to know the Contax Aria and will be posting those in the next series, if any come out!

In October Sophie and I revisited one of our favourite places, Belsay Hall & Castle. We first visited back in 2019 and it is such a great place for photography. I did a history post regarding it HERE if you want to know about it.

Belsay Hall was commissioned by 6th Baronet Sir Charles Miles Lambert Monck in the early 1800s, he was inspired by Greek architecture.

Belsay Hall
down the side of the hall
looking back at the hall on the way to the castle
onwards..
Belsay Castle ~ built 1390
in the grounds of the castle
monkey puzzle tree
returning back towards the hall.
manicured lawn.

I did take many pictures with the fuji as it was full of autumn colour in the walled garden, so look out for a post on the Universe blog at some point.

Le Clic, Revolog Kolor 2020 (1)

Back at the end of 2019 I got a new old camera, the 35mm Le Clic LC21 BV, and popped in a roll of Kevolog Kolor, according to the Analogue Wonderland website Kolor film is “Revolog’s top-selling film and for good reason! When put through your favourite 35mm camera, this film will add a rotating rainbow of different colours to your images for an unique and creative view of life.  Each roll is hand-made with processes that will create beautiful overlaid colours or shapes on your final images. Based in Austria this small firm (Hanna and Michael!) are passionate about giving film photographers new options and opportunities to experiment and create”. Sounded like fun to me so I carried it around with me and took some images with it along the way. Of course we all know what happened next, so I didn’t get to go out as much as usual, so it’s taken a long time to use up the film. I finally finished it and sent it off to Digitalab (THE best ever developers) and got the results back. A bit of a mixed bunch and 3 of them were completely either bright green or red and I couldn’t see beyond so they had to be deleted.

I took these in July 2020 in Newcastle, a lovely sunny day and no evidence of any rainbow colours.

Newcastle Upon Tyne

In August we managed a quick weekend away for my birthday weekend, and stayed in a self contained flat (appartment if you’re my American reader) in Jeburgh, which is at the bottom end of Scotland. Would have liked to visit the Abbey but it was closed because of Covid. Here we go with the rainbow colours. I am thinking it was quite overcast so maybe that’s what affects the film.

Jedburgh Abbey
The Abbey
Phil on our walk around Jedburgh.
Remnants of a Franciscan Friory and too much of the rainbow!

Phil and Shelley clubbed together and bought his son Carl a parachute jump for his 40th birthday (40!!!! 😳 ) and this is a shot of the family waiting for it to happen.

September 2020 ~ The Jump.

That will do for this week, more to come so stay tooned!

Bishop Auckland on film, February 2020

The first part of our trip to Bishop Auckland and the historycan be found HERE.

As well as the fuji I had my Canon EOS 1000FN loaded with some kodak portra so shot a few frames around the castle and town.

Entrance to the castle.
The walk to the deer park

Below the windows of the castle just before the entrance there are coats of arms carved in stone, one is for Bishop Ruthall and the other for Bishop Tunstall, both of whom were Prince Bishops during Henry VIII reign. Not sure which is which. If you embiggen the first one with a click you can see carved skulls above the main design.

You may remember that Bishop Lightfoot had the oak panelling installed in ST Peter’s Chapel, this is one of the stained glass windows he also had installed with lots of bishops portrayed, that’s him in the centre with a red scarfy type thing on. Am sure there’s a correct Bishopy term for that but google wasn’t helpful this time).

Just inside ST Peter’s Chapel there is a marbel homage to Bishop Trevor.

Auckland Tower, part of the Auckland project, has all the information you need to explore the Castle, grounds and local area. It also has some great viewing platforms!

Auckland Tower
Restoration of the clock tower commissioned by Bishop Trevor and designed by Sir Thomas Robinson of Rokeby. 
View up the main street

Well that’s about it for the film shots, but we’ll be back next time on the universe blog for other bits and bobs, so stay tooned!

St Wilfred’s Church & Kirkharle ~ Dec 2019

Regular readers may remember from a previous post about All Saints church in Newcastle, that a medieval font was rescued from being destroyed by the marauding, pesky Scots, and ended up in St.Wilfreds Church up in Kirkharle. Sophie and decided to hunt it down on a mixed weather day on our last outing for 2019. First, as always, get your ☕️ and 🍪 at the ready, we’ll do

The History Bit.

Kirkharle is a hamlet in Northumberland. First recorded back in days of yore (1177) it was called Herle back then and comes from even yorier Old English words for a place of worship such as  “Herela’s Grove” or “herg-leah” which means “temple-grove”, for pre-christian Angles. The origin of the church dates back to 1165 when Walter de Bolbec founded Blanchland Abbey, and linked the Herle church to it. Most of the church that stands today was built in 1336 by Sir William de Herle who founded a chantry for priests to pray for his soul, especially after his death in 1347. Not much to say about Wills, he was a British justice, appointed as an attorney to the Common Bench (a common law court dealing with common pleas that didn’t involve the King) and there’s little information on him or his family. His wiki page doesn’t mention his involvement at Kirkharle but he is mentioned in A History of Northumberland by John Hodgson published in 1827, “1240 – Little Harle Tower – ‘This mansion in the capitol seat of the manor of Little Harle, otherwise called East Harle, which in 1240, was beholden of the baron of Prudhoe by Hugh de Herle.’ 1284 – ‘Sir William de Herle, knt., was one of the great lights and worthies of Northd.’ He or his son Wm. was made ‘LORD CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS’ in 1317.” His father Sir Hugh de Herle is mentioned on the People of Medieval Scotland and People of Medieval Northern England sites as both a juror in land disputes between Scotland and England and as a plaintiff and defendant in other land deeds disputes. Anyhoo I digress.

In the 14th century the Kirkharle manor was passed into the Loraine family who came over from France not long after the Norman Conquest where Robert Loraine served under William the Conqueror. By this time the Tower, Manor, village and 1900 acres of arable land was in the hands of William del Strother, and passed to William Golddigger Loraine when he married the daughter Joanna Del Strother as it was her (very substantial!) dowry, and it stayed in the Lorain family for 400 years.

In 1664 a Baronetcy was created for Thomas Loraine, High Sherrif of Northumberland. Another William Loraine, the 2nd Baronet, built a new manor house to his own design between 1718 and 1738, replacing Harle Tower as the family home. His Grandson the 4th Baronet also called William (sigh) (1749-1809) added a couple of wings and replaced the roof. This sketch shows how it looked after Willy 4’s alterations.

Will 4 also had the original gardens removed which were attributed to Capability Brown. (More on him to come!)

The 6th Willy Baronet (1801-1849) like a lot of local landowners, went to the assistance of the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne banks which were suffering from the cost of the Napoleonic wars, and when the North Tyne Bank collapsed Willy 6 had to sell the Hall due to the declining wealth of the family. In 1836 Major Thomas Anderson, who lived in Little Harle Tower, bought the Hall, but as he didn’t need two houses promptly and exasperatingly demolished most of it except one section which he renamed Kirkharle Farmhouse. By way of compensation to posterity for this vandalism, he designed and built major extensions to Littleharle Tower, which were carried out in 1860-61. The Anderson family are still in posession of the estate.

**

There’s a handy carpark when you get there, and we were happy to see there was a cafe and some artisan shops using the farmhouse, but first wanted to walk up to the church. The first thing we came across was a stone monument. This was erected to commemorate Robert Loraine, a border reiver who was murdered in 1483. Robert was, according to a Loraine Family History of 1738, ‘a zealous prosecutor of Robbers, Thieves and Moss-Troopers’. (Actually Moss-Troopers didn’t exist back in 1483 but were brigands of the mid 1700’s who operated between the borders of Scotland and England, but as the book history was written in 1738 I presume it’s their word for persons of unscrupulous morals and the like. Much like the reivers!)

Robert lived at Harle Tower, (which we didn’t visit as it’s in private ownership), where he kept ‘a number of Horses and Arms, always ready…suitable for his estate to pursue the Scots Excursions and Depradations into Northumberland.

Erected in 1728 by Willy 2, replacing an earlier one that fell into disrepair.

He had a terrible death, having been waylaid between his house and the church by a party of men. Sir Lambton Loraine the 11th Baronet was interviewed by a journalist of The New York Times in 1874, and said the killers “determined to strike terror into the hearts of his allies, the Fenwicks,Wallingtons, Shaftoes, by the brutality of the murder”. Robert’s body was cut up “small as flesh for the pot”, then placed in the saddlebags of his horse, which was then left to make it’s way home.

We had a wander around the outside of the church

St.Wilfreds

St Wilfred (633 – 709 or 710) started out a Northumbrian Nobleman, did his training at Lindisfarne, then in Gaul and Rome, returning to Northumberland in 660 where he became the abbot of a newly founded monastery at Ripon. He became famous for a speech he gave at the Synod of Whitby, advocating that the Roman method for calculating the date of Easter should be adopted. He was successful and the King’s son Alhfrith had him promoted to Bishop of Northumberland.

Back view.

Wilfred went off to Gaul to be consecrated and in the meantime Alhfrith seems to have led an unsuccessful revolt against his father, Oswiu (who you may remember in this post) and before Wilfred returned, Oswiu had put another chap, Ceadda, in the Bishopric, so Wilf went back to Ripon.

Tree & Tomb

In 668 Theodore of Tarsus became the Archbishop of Canterbury and deposed Ceaddur, restoring Wilf to the Bishopric, where for the next 9 years he worked hard establishing new churches, founding monasteries, and improving the liturgy, but Theodore wanted to break up large diocese like Wilf’s, and make them smaller. Luckily for Theo, Wilf had a barney with Ecgfrith, the King of Northumberland, who expelled him, so Theo got to implement his reforms and Wilf went off to Rome to see the Pope, Agatho, who ruled in Wilf’s favour. But old Ecgfrith wasn’t having it, and on Wilf’s return banged him up in prison, then exiled him.

Graveyard

Wilf went off to Selsey, a town by the sea in West Sussex, where he converted the pagans to Christianity, poor sods, and founded an episcopal see (a bishops eccleiastical jurisdiction). Theo and Wilf kissed and made up, and Wilf was brought back to Northumberland where a new King Aldfrith was head honcho, but in 691 Wilf was expelled by him too after quarelling over land acquisition. This time Wilf went off to Mercia where he was bishop to the Mercian King Æthelred. Yet again Wilf petitioned the Pope about his expulsion and the Pope ordered that an English council should be held to decide the issue. 

View between the church and the Farmhous, with evidence of medieval farming.

The council meeting didn’t go well for Wilf as the members decided to confiscate all Wilf’s possessions and so Wilfrid hot footed it to Rome to appeal against the decision. His opponents in Northumbria excommunicated him, but the papacy upheld Wilfrid’s side, and he regained possession of both Ripon and Hexam Monasteries. Wilfrid died in 709 or 710 and after his death, he was venerated as a saint.

Well now, we English are bonkers for our gardens, and the most famous English gardener was a chap called Lancelot Brown (1715/6 – 1783). Known as Capability Brown because he would tell his clients that their property had “capability” for improvement. He designed over 170 parks, many of which still endure. Lancelot was born in Kirkharle, his parents both working at the manor. He worked as the head gardener’s apprentice in Sir William Loraine’s kitchen garden until he was 23, when he toodled off down south, first to Lincolnshire, then Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, working for head gardeners for Lords and Ladies, and getting his own commissions to landscape gardens for the landed gentry. He ended up as King George III’s Master Gardener at Hampton Court Palace.

Apart from being born in Kirkharle, he was baptised in the Church but from the age of 23 never had anything more to do with the place, but he’s mentioned so much in all the history bits around the place you’d think he’d lived worked and died there! No wonder everyone else of import is reduced to a few lines! However, before he left he designed plans for a lake and stunning parkland at Kirkharle Hall, which never came to fruition. So the plans have now been updated and and his lake and associated planting were completed in 2010. It will take ages and ages for it all to grow into a fully fledged beautiful garden, but here are some photo’s of what there is so far.

The Temple (of doom??)
Tree
The Lake
Other side

Can’t say we were overly impressed, but it’ll probably look great in 50 years time!

Stay tooned for next time when we’ll look inside the Church.

refs:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkharle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkharle_Hall https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfrid https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moss-trooper https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capability_Brown https://www.poms.ac.uk/record/person/9957/# http://www.pone.ac.uk/record/person/785/ https://one-name.org/name_profile/harle/ https://landedfamilies.blogspot.com/2014/07/130-anderson-of-newcastle-and-little.html

Film Friday

We are still on the sea front at South Shields, and as always, I have to photograph the Weebles when I go there. 🙂

I’m quite impressed with the Canon’s close up facility.

I think this is my favourite weeble

tick tock
don’t cry

I saw a seagull having a barney with a crow

fight club

there’s the beginning verse on the other side of this, but the view through the iris isn’t as nice.

eye piece

so that was the end of my day out at Little Haven beach. See you next week!

Film Friday

I’ve had a couple of scares with the Rollei SL35, twice the film jammed after 20 frames, and on the last outing I got strange effects on some of the shots. As I’m doing a year of film I needed a back up SLR so managed to purchase a Canon EOS 1000F N for £19.99 on EbayIt came with a 35-80mm zoom on it, which isn’t the best lens in the world but does for now. Apparently even newish canon lenses will fit on it so I might treat it to one at some point. I haven’t had a canon before, well I did have a compact canon once but lost it. I took it out with me incase the Rollei jammed again (it didn’t) and quite like it. It’s clunky but easy to use. I had a roll of Kodak Portra 400 in it when I took it to South Shields, and here are some of the photos.

Herd Groyne Lighthouse

The pictures came out grainier than I expected considering it was a sunny day.

Frondy things

There are a lot of these frondy things by the beach, I got a bit carried away with them 🙂

more frondy things

OK enough with the frondy things.

footprints (mine 🙂 )
Look out post
Biking by the beach

Yep, the lens isn’t great, I can see a 50mm in my future 🙂

Stay tooned for Weeble week next time!