Kagyu Samye Ling: A little piece of Tibet in Scotland

The Haunted Palace

Wat Po Thailand, image by Lenora Wat Po Thailand

A number of years ago (more that I care to remember) Miss Jessel and I had the good fortune to go traveling around the world for a year.  Our peregrinations took us from the familiarity of the Classical world as expressed in the temples and architecture of Greece, Turkey and Israel, to what was for us at that time the less explored and more ‘exotic’ world of Asia.

I recall being captivated by the fantastical temples of Thailand, India and Nepal.  The shapes, colours and fantastical beasts and carvings. These structures made a lasting impression on me in a way that the safe and over-familiar iconography and structures of European Christianity did not.

One of my regrets was that at the time my budget would not extend to a trek from Nepal to Tibet, little did I know that many years later I would find a small…

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Holkham Hall: an English Arcadia

The Haunted Palace

That an Englishman’s home is his castle, is a well used phrase about the English love affair with their own bricks and mortar.  But in the eighteenth century it might as well have been stated that an Englishman’s home was his own classical Arcadia.  During that century countless English gentlemen were sent off on the Grand Tour to finish their education and many came back with a passion for all things classical, and quite often they came back with a treasure trove of antiquities as souvenirs (both authentic and fake).

One such Grand Tourist who returned to England with a particularly spectacular classical vision was Thomas Coke (1697 1759) 1st Earl of Leicester (fifth creation).

Coke set off on his grand tour between 1712 -1718 and came back not only with an extensive new library, an enviable collection of art and classical sculpture, but also with a BIG idea.  He…

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Holkham Hall: an English Arcadia

The Haunted Palace

That an Englishman’s home is his castle, is a well used phrase about the English love affair with their own bricks and mortar.  But in the eighteenth century it might as well have been stated that an Englishman’s home was his own classical Arcadia.  During that century countless English gentlemen were sent off on the Grand Tour to finish their education and many came back with a passion for all things classical, and quite often they came back with a treasure trove of antiquities as souvenirs (both authentic and fake).

One such Grand Tourist who returned to England with a particularly spectacular classical vision was Thomas Coke (1697 1759) 1st Earl of Leicester (fifth creation).

Coke set off on his grand tour between 1712 -1718 and came back not only with an extensive new library, an enviable collection of art and classical sculpture, but also with a BIG idea.  He…

View original post 383 more words

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Haunting Halloween Reading: Ghosts and other Supernatural Guests by PJ Hodge

Want some creepy Halloween reading – look no further than PJ Hodges new collection of classic ghost stories…

The Haunted Palace

Finally the first installment of the Freaky Folktales Collection!

I have been a keen follower of PJ Hodge’s excellent website Freaky Folktales for some time now.  Many a lunch hour at work has been whiled away with some deliciously creepy offering from the Freaky Folktales Vaults – and I have been impatiently waiting for the collection to be published – and here it is – just in time for Halloween!

Ghosts and Other Supernatural Guests by PJ Hodge

Ghosts and other supernatural guestsGhosts and other Supernatural Guests is a collection of twelve tales of terror and suspense.  Ranging from intimate first person narratives, to the traditional omniscient narrator; each tale is wonderfully crafted, precise in language and detail and very much harking back to the classic age of the ghost story.

PJ Hodge invites you to step outside your everyday world with tales that subtly entice you into a more  liminal world, a world…

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Saltwell Park Saunter

Saltwell Park is a 55 acre award winning park, opened  in 1876 and set in the heart of Gateshead, designed by Edward Kemp. It is situated on the south bank of the river Tyne.

It boasts a large Victorian boating lake; vast picnicking areas; a bandstand; tennis courts; children’s playing areas; a rose garden and it even has a dog park. One part of the park is set out as a country stream, meandering through the trees and shrubbery; liberally dotted with rustic bridges and sporting paths on both sides.

Throughout the park you are given many choices of which path to take and which green compartment to visit. This means that you can visit regularly and always choose a different path!

It is easy to spend a day here and have a nice picnic when you feel like it or perhaps visit the Saltwell Towers for refreshments. Saltwell Towers is a delightful mansion house that also houses the visitor centre.

The park is on a hill and this is most noticeable on the area beside the stream where it enhances the view dramatically.

 

There are three war memorials, A Boer War Memorial – a bronze angel on a granite plinth;  a modern memorial to the Durham Light Infantry – a sandstone wall with flanking walls bearing three plaques with the names of men who died between 1900-45, and small ornamental garden;

The third War Memorial is a bridge connecting the grassy area of the central portion of the Park to the Walls of Saltwell Tower. It commemorates the men who died crossing the Plimsole Bridge in World War II.

The original bandstand can now be seen in Beamish Outdoor Museum.

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North Gate view on the lake

North Gate view of the lake

The lake from the north entrance

The lake from the north entrance

Saltwell Park Picnic Area

Saltwell Park Picnic Area

Picnic area and lake

Picnic area and lake

Road to the lake

Road to the lake

Wildlife

Wildlife

Lake and picnic area on a (rare) sunny day

Lake and picnic area on a (rare) sunny day

Pedal boat

Pedal boat

Family boat ride

Family boat ride

The Saltwell FlyerThe Saltwell Flyer!

Bowling Green + bystander (!)

Bowling Green + bystander (!)

The Plimsole Bridge Memorial to the mem of the Durham Light Infantry who died crossing it in WWII

The Plimsole Bridge Memorial to the men of the Durham Light Infantry who died crossing it in WWII

Plimsole Bridge

The Plimsole Bridge

One of the many small bridges crossing stream in the woodland

One of the many small bridges crossing stream in the woodland

The stream

The stream

Gunnera Manicata plant in background. It can reach 8 feet high

Gunnera Manicata plant in background. It can reach 8 feet high

Two Bridges

Two Bridges

Saltwell Towers from the front.  (Photo by Sylvia)

Saltwell Towers from the front. (Photo by SYLVIA)

The Charlton Memorial Drinking Fountain

The Charlton Memorial Drinking Fountain

Close-up of the Charlton Memorial Drinking Fountain

Close-up of the Charlton Memorial Drinking Fountain

Saltwell Towers from the formal garden

Saltwell Towers from the formal garden

Saltwell Towers - Cafe and Visitor Centre

Saltwell Towers – Cafe and Visitor Centre

A garden to relax in... and have an ice-cream from the cafe.

A garden to relax in… and have an ice-cream from the cafe.

The sandstone belvedere walls and battlements

The sandstone belvedere walls and battlements

The battlements

The battlements (Pic by SYLVIA)

Staircase and battlements

Staircase and battlements

View of the Towers

View of the Towers and budding gymnast!

The boer War Memorial from the  wooden bridge

The Boer War Memorial from the wooden bridge

Boer War memorial - Winged Victory

Boer War memorial – Winged Victory

Winged Victory on the Boer War Memorial

Winged Victory on the Boer War Memorial

Bridge and Saltwell Towers

Bridge and Saltwell Towers

Saltwell Tower and BridgeTowers, Bridge and Walls

Model of the Tyne Bridge, from the Gateshead side.

Model of the Tyne Bridge, from the Gateshead side.

Model of bridge from the Newcastle side (another viewpoint!)

Model of bridge from the Newcastle side (another viewpoint!)

The new bandstand

The new bandstand

The Bandstand

The Bandstand

The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden

Bridge in the Japanese garden

Bridge in the Japanese garden

Monument in Japanese GardenA Japanese Sculpture

Picknickers shelter from the hot sun!

Picknickers shelter from the hot sun!

SAM_0991_edited-1Saltwell Towers through the wall doorwaysTowers and GatewaysSaltwell Towers and the Boer War MemorialSummer In Saltwell Park

The Seedling Stone - sculpture

The Seedling Stone – sculpture

The Language Stone

The Language Stone

The Language Stone - another side

The Language Stone – another side

"I LOVE YOU" in many languages

“I LOVE YOU” in many languages

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The Foliate Stone - sculpture

The Foliate Stone – sculpture

Shelter from the rain ... (not today!)Rain Shelter (There’s usually a lot about!)Grade II listed statue of Alderman John Lucas on the BroadwalkGrade II listed statue of Alderman John Lucas on the Broadwalk.

Saltwell Park "Hut"

Saltwell Park “Hut”

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Kelso to Kirk Yetholm Common Riding July 20 2013

The 'Laddie' leads the riders across the fields

The ‘Laddie’ leads the riders across the fields

The Scottish town of Kelso has a mass horse-riding event, established in 1937 by JohnScott provost of Kelso, as part of Kelso Civic Week.  It was inaugurated so that Kelso like many other Scottish Towns can have what is known as a Common Riding.

A ‘Laddie’ is nominated to lead the huge train of riders, and he and his followers ride from Kelso to Heiton, Stichill, Hume and Ednam, Floors, Morebattle and to Yetholm where they meet the Yetholm Principals, the Bara Gadgie and the Bara Manashee.

DSCF4415I happened to find myself in Kirk Yetholm on Saturday right in the middle of this rally.  Not knowing what was going on, I asked a local and he explained that the ride commemorates the return of the Scots from the Battle of Flodden with the news that the Scottish King and nobles had been killed in battle by the English armies.  As 2013 is the 500th Anniversary of Flodden, it felt particularly poignant to find myself part of this commemoration.

The riders snake down off the hills outside Kirk Yetholm

The riders snake down off the hills outside Kirk Yetholm

Crowds greet the Laddie and his followers

Crowds greet the Laddie and his followers

The gallop past 1

The gallop past 1

The gallop past 2

The gallop past 2

The gallop past 3

The gallop past 3

The gallop past 4

The gallop past 4

The gallop past 5

The gallop past 5

Local TV on the village green at Kirk Yetholm

Local TV on the village green at Kirk Yetholm

The Mayor waiting to greet the riders

The Mayor waiting to greet the riders

The Riders reach Kirk Yetholm

The Riders reach Kirk Yetholm

big horse, little horse!

big horse, little horse!

Heading for the village green

Heading for the village green

Gathering on the green for speeches and a traditional song from the Laddie

Gathering on the green for speeches and a traditional song from the Laddie

Local TV crews

Local TV crews packing up

The end!

The end!

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SEGEDUNUM ROMAN FORT

Main site

Main site

SEGEDUNUM the Roman Fort at Wallsend is where the Roman Wall commences its journey through Northumberland and Cumberland. Also Known as Hadrian’s Wall it was built to keep out the Scottish raiders. The first part of the wall was built at Pons Aelius (modern day Newcastle Upon Tyne) and continued in a westerly direction and it was not until a few years later that it was extended east to the river Tyne. Hadrian built the wall of Turf but later it was replaced with stone when Antonine took over, so I suppose it should be called Antonines Wall. At regular intervals along the wall Hadrian built milecastles and every so often, a larger fort where soldiers and cavalry were stationed. Segedunum was the first of these larger Forts, built at the eastern extremities of the Wall. Segedunum is now a museum with only the foundations visible at this time but there is also a rebuilt portion of the Wall, just as it would have been in the second century C.E. The garrison of 600 was comprised of 480 infantry and 120 cavalry. Excavations have found evidence of a vicus or civil habitations to the north of the fort that would probably be the origin of the village of Wallsend. The Romans were forced to leave the fort around 400C.E., leaving it to the local inhabitants, who of course aquired the stones used to build it for their own buildings.

The photographs show the iconic 123 foot  high viewing tower and views from the tower as well as museum exhibits and the reconstructed Roman Bath-house (fully working) and the tiny Roman Garden. Segedunum is a ‘Learning Museum’ and regularly hosts bus trips from schools in the area.

Bibliography: Wikipaedia and my own knowledge

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Reconstructed Wall

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Main site and Bathhouse

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View Of Wallsend from the Tower

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Reconstructed Roman Wall

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Museum 1

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Model of the Fort

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Museum 2

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Bust of Emperor Hadrian

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Museum 3

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Museum 4

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Viewing Tower 1

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Monument containing three Roma Plaques

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Viewing Tower from the front

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Roman Bathhouse

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The Roman Garden. It would be mainly used for growing herbs

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In the Roman Garden

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In the Bathhouse

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The Bathhouse ceiling

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Bathhouse 2

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Site of the fort with the viewing Tower in the background

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Close up of the viewing area of the Tower

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The reconstructed Wall 2

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Reconstructed Wall 3

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Reconstructed Wall 4

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Walking on the Wall (Roman soldiers only!)

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Wall Walkway

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Viewing Tower – You can see the people viewing

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Viewing Tower and entrance

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Wall and Milecastle (courtesy Sylvia Blakeley)

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Segedunum Roman Fort, as it would have looked in its heyday.

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Museum: Scull found locally

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Roman Standards

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Roman gold and silver plate

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Roman wall paintings

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In the Bathhouse

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Bathhouse changing area

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Front view of the Roman Garden

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Relax on a seat in the garden

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Emperor Hadrian

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Museum 4

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Museum 5

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Close up of the standards

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Museum 6

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‘Alas poor Yorick’

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Altar stone

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Egyptian Exhibition 1

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Egyptian Exhibition 2 – Mummy

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Pharoaoh Tutankhamun

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The four canopic jars.

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Inside the sarcophagus

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Preparing a body for mummification

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Another Bathhouse room

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The Bathhouse

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A religious niche on the wall of the bathhouse

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In the Bathhouse

   

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BUY ME – PIMP ME

Granny Irene’s Guide to the Afterlife by Ingrid Hall

My really good friend Ingrid Hall has just published a serialised and revamped version of her novel Granny Irene’s Guide to the Afterlife. Its a rip-roaring tale filled with Viking gods, reincarnation, murder, mayhem and brothels, all told from the viewpoint of one feisty (and slightly deceased) Geordie Granny! It’s available on Amazon as a paperback and kindle edition. If you fancy a summer read you won’t forget in a hurry – buy it! You will never have read anything like it!!!!

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Alnwick Gardens Revisited

Here are a few more pictures of the beautiful Alnwick Gardens. Visit my previous post for more information about the gardens.

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Warwick Castle Views

A Wander Through Warwick Castle

Pictures captured when visiting Warwick Castle, during a three-day bus-tour of warwickshire  in 2005.

This is a very imposing castle, towering hundreds of feet into the sky. We start with interior pictures, followed by shots of the  walls surrounding the courtyard then we ascend to the dramatic upper walls that give an almost aerial view of the courtyard. The upper walls gave some stunning views of the surrounding buildings of Warwick.

Links to googlemaps for Warwickshire can be found at the foot of this post.

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Googlemap links:
Warwick Castle
Warwickshire

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