'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Monday 21 July 2008

Journey to the North Country - fit the third and last

The last bit of our trip was more for nostalgia’s sake than for art’s sake – although we did manage to fit in a castle, and two very different museums. Oh, and another Anthony Gormley, in passing.

We used to live in the north east and decided to break our journey back from Glasgow by spending a couple of nights in County Durham. As it was a relatively short drive, and Wensleydale had never been to Bamburgh, we diverted on the way down to go to the Castle. You may never have heard of Bamburgh Castle, but if you like historical films you will probably have seen it. It has appeared, often in the background, in several films, including Becket, and Elizabeth.

The day we went was the best weather of the holiday so I got some good photos of the views from the castle. These are the Farne islands.

The castle was ‘restored’ circa 1900 and the interior is probably of most interest if you like Victoriana and porcelain [I have never seen so many plates!] Unfortunately we didn’t have time for a walk on the beach – like most beaches in the area it is stunning.

On the way round Newcastle we passed Gormley’s ‘Angel of the North’ but didn’t have time to stop. I found it more impressive in situ than I have in photographs.

Our two museum visits were to Bowes and Beamish.

Bowes Museum and most of its contents, like the Burrell Collection, were a gift from rich philanthropists [called Bowes, not surprisingly].

Unfortunately the building is undergoing roof repairs – and the famous ‘silver swan’ [an automaton] was also being repaired. However they have some good textiles, and there was a Sisley exhibition, which I enjoyed much more than I expected to. They are not paintings which yell ‘look at me!’ but when you do there is a lot to see, including his use of colour. There was a little painting of a vegetable garden which had the most lovely greens, turquoises and pinks in it. Unfortunately I can’t remember what it was called to Google it and, as we had discovered before on this trip – no postcards.

Our final trip was definitely nostalgic. When we lived in the North East we went to Beamish Museum so often that we became ‘Friends’ [unlimited free entry in return for an annual fee]. Cheeses Major and Minor loved it. It is an open air museum with trams and buses [which you can ride on], trains [which you can ride on], old fashioned fairground rides [which you can ride on], odd lumps of machinery lying around to look at [but not climb on] – and 400 acres to run around in to get small people tired. [One or two of my readers may remember this, which has featured in family photos before.]

Well – it is 25 years since we were there last – and I think there is 3 times as much to look at. We were the ones who were tired and we only looked at the bits that were new to us. I found some quilts and samplers to look at amongst the machinery, including this wonderful representation of Adam and Eve, and I bought a book on North Country quilts.

Then home through really heavy rain - why is it that people in grey cars will not put their lights on when driving through grey rain and spray? We are both quite tired and all the things I was going to do when I got back have not got done. We did go into Southampton shopping yesterday – big mistake as the traffic was horrendous. [Which is why this is late.] And they are building an Ikea so it can only get worse!

No comments: