The best portion of a good man’s life -
his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.

William Wordsworth

Alnwick Garden Gate

1 Comment CherryPie on Sep 25th 2016

Alnwick Garden

We were staying right next to Alnwick’s Catholic church and I loved hearing the chime of the church clock overnight. Breakfast was enjoyable and we got chatting to another couple about local history and Hadrian’s Wall. After breakfast we went straight to Alnwick Garden arriving just as the gates opened. This meant the garden was quiet and we could enjoy it in relative peace and quiet. We particularly enjoyed visiting the poison garden, the cherry orchard with its swing chairs, the serpent garden and the labyrinth. We watched the grand cascade as we took lunch outside the restaurant.

Alnwick Castle

After lunch we visited the state rooms in Alnwick Castle. There was an excellent exhibition on the 200th anniversary of Waterloo where we saw and learned things that were new to us such as Major Henry Percy,  ancestor of the Duke of Northumberland, who was tasked by the  Duke of Wellington with the great honour of carrying news of the victory at Waterloo to the English Prince Regent. There was also an exhibition on WWI.

Church View

After the castle we made our way to Barter Books so that we could have proper look around. It was then time to return to the B&B so that we could put our feet up before dinner. We dined in a local pub which looked promising but didn’t quite deliver and my Dover sole wasn’t up to scratch. After this slightly unsatisfactory experience we stopped off in a nearby pub before returning to the B&B.

Church View

4 Comments CherryPie on Sep 23rd 2016

Jesmond Dene House

After one last sit on the roof terrace I went down for breakfast where I chose French Toast which I don’t often see on the menu. We checked out of the hotel and put the cases in the boot of the car before having a quick look at the hotel garden. We then caught the Metro into Newcastle centre. First we visited the Cathedral Church of St Mary where I picked up a couple of books from the Cathedral book shop.  I noticed that the nice tea shop we visited last time we were there was shut and I overheard someone being told that it was a family run tea shop and they were currently on holiday. It is a good job we hadn’t arranged to meet JD there!

Jesmond Dene House

After the book shop we went to the Laing Art Gallery because Mr C wanted to see the Alice in Wonderland exhibition but he was slightly disappointed by it. Whilst we were there we had a cup of tea and went to have a look at the John Martin son et luminaire entitled The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. When we left the gallery the bright sunshine had turned to rain and as we neared the hotel (and our car) there was a sudden torrential downpour. We sheltered under a tree to see if it would ease up but eventually Mr C left me under the branches of the tree whilst he went to pick up the car. As soon as I got in the car it stopped raining and the sun came out again.

We headed away from the city to a pub where we met JD for lunch; he came bearing mini gifts. The pub had a Tapas menu which we elected to try but the food that arrived I wouldn’t really class as Tapas. We chatted for a while and then JD took us to see his gallery of paintings, which Mr C and I enjoyed seeing. All too soon it was time to head off to the Courtyard Garden in Alnwick so that we could book in for our stay there. We arrived a little too early so we had a cup of tea in Barter Books whilst I looked at a book on Northumbrian prehistoric rock carvings. I decided not to purchase the book and put it back on the shelf as we left.

A Room with a View

At the Courtyard Garden our hostess provided us with a cup of tea and some cake. She then proceeded to suggest some places we could visit and said she could help us with suitable places for evening meals. When we told her we were meeting friends in the Alnwick Tree House for dinner, she told us the best route to get there. It was lovely to meet Leona and Toby again and we spent all evening chatting and reminiscing over old times. They used to run the guest house that we have always previously stayed at when we visited Northumberland. All of a sudden it was midnight and they had a forty minute drive to get home after they very kindly dropped us off at our B&B (which was welcome as it was quite a trek and uphill!!)

Church View

12 Comments CherryPie on Sep 21st 2016

View from the Roof Top

The weather was warm and sunny so, before breakfast, I sat on the roof terrace planning places to visit during our stay ‘up north’. Breakfast was enjoyable and we had the pleasure of sitting in the garden room being warmed by the sun.

Vindolanda

After breakfast we headed to the Roman site of Vindolanda and to the Roman Army Museum. Our journey took us through some lovely scenery and as we left the city we saw parts of Hadrian’s Wall in front of modern housing. Vindolanda is an amazing site. It really gives an insight into the size of a Roman garrison and town and how the buildings, walls and streets were arranged. There is a permanent team of archaeologists excavating the site and also volunteers excavating in other places on the site. We were able to talk to some of them and find out what they were looking for.

Vindolanda

Next to the Roman ruins is an excellent museum showing exhibits of objects that have been found at the site. The main attraction of the museum however is the Vindolanda Writing Tablets which are on loan from the British Museum. They have been voted as ‘Britain’s top treasure’. They give an insight into the day-to-day lives of people living and working at Vindolanda near Hadrian’s Wall nearly 2000 years ago.

We had lunch in the coffee shop before leaving Vindolanda and making our way to the Roman Army Museum. This was also a good display which included a 3D film showing Hadrian’s Wall from above and what it was like to be a soldier in the Roman Army. It was then time to return to Jesmond Dene House but not before checking out Walltown Crags, a portion of Hadrian’s Wall that is next to the museum. On this occasion I chose not to walk up to the top of the hill.

Peace & Loaf

One again I enjoyed the roof top terrace before we caught a cab to take us to where we had chosen to dine that evening. Whilst waiting we saw a double decker bus trying unsuccessfully to enter the hotel car park. It blocked the road until the driver managed to reverse back out into the small lane. The restaurant, Peace & Loaf was excellent; good food, good service and a good atmosphere. After the meal we found out that it had recently been voted best restaurant in the North East and that they are hoping to get Michelin stars. After this delightful experience we returned to the hotel for a night cap and to pack our bags for the next leg of our journey.

Residents

8 Comments CherryPie on Sep 20th 2016

Jesmond Dene House

We had packed our bags the previous day and I had pre programmed the Sat Nav so we were able to set off more or less on time. We stopped off for a late breakfast in one of our favourite tea shops which is near to Dorothy Clive Garden. When we were suitably refreshed we made our way to the M6 so that we could enjoy the views over the lakeland moors. We didn’t have the usual spectacular view as we were travelling through low cloud, which however had a beauty all of its own.

No 11 Jesomond Dene House

Stairs to the Roof Top

We stopped for lunch in Kirby Steven and by the time we had finished the cloud had lifted and we drove the final leg of our journey in perfect sunshine. We easily found Jesmond Dene House, checked in and went to find our room. When we opened the door and entered the room, gentle music was playing and another door was open leading us invitingly to a roof terrace. We decided to save this delight until later and after we had unloaded the car we headed off to the Metro station to catch a tram into Newcastle centre.

Roof Top Terrace

We had a drink in the tea shop in Waterstones before browsing around the bookshop. I didn’t see any books I was interested in but I did see a board game which I went to pick up later before we headed back to the hotel to freshen up.

Welcome

We found a welcome note, personalised, from the hotel duty manager wishing us a pleasant stay then we then enjoyed a glass of sherry on the roof terrace. When we went down to dinner, there was a bit of a mix up with the pre-dinner drink order. Mr C was advised that they did not have any Sherry so I said I would have a tonic water instead. He ordered a G&T for himself. Then a sherry arrived at the table, followed by a large tonic water but no G&T. Mr C took the tonic water back and then sat down to wait for his G&T. When it arrived he wasn’t very impressed, he thought the glass was like a vase; it had a slice of orange in it and a straw!

Over the drinks we perused the menu which left me spoilt for choice but Mr C didn’t find quite as much to interest him. When our order had been taken we were taken to our table which was situated in a lovely alcove overlooking the garden. The food was enjoyable although we thought it was pricey. After dinner we retired to the former billiard room to relax in the comfy chairs before it was time to go to bed.

A Place to Freshen Up

10 Comments CherryPie on Sep 19th 2016

Above all, let us never forget that an act of goodness is in itself an act of happiness. It is the flower of a long inner life of joy and contentment; it tells of peaceful hours and days on the sunniest heights of our soul.

Count Maurice Maeterlinck

Let there be light...

4 Comments CherryPie on Sep 18th 2016

Mindful Colouring

A colouring book and pencils in the room was just too hard to resist ;-)

6 Comments CherryPie on Sep 17th 2016

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