Thursday, February 28, 2013


Baltic Warehouse Art Gallery. Tyneside.

I like art galleries. I like looking at pictures and sculptures.
Art is almost always interesting and tells a story - not always an obvious story to the viewer.
As with most people, "I know what I like".
I prefer that the pictures are not too accurate a copy of a scene.......a camera and a sensitive photographer  can do that.
I like the painter to have interpreted mood and emotion and character. That is also something a sensitive photographer can do, but in a different way.
But some of today's art leaves me with a question..."What is the point?"
The artist has failed to convey whatever it is they are trying to say.....and I refuse to concede that it is my fault for being too thick to understand.
This is especially true when I look at a work of art and not even see skill. If I could have done it (had I chosen to) then I wonder just why the work has been selected to be exhibited at all.
The Baltic Warehouse Modern Art Gallery on Tyneside provided us with clever art, even quite attractive art; but it also gave us what felt like pointless art.
And we found art in strange places.....the stair well for example.

Here are a few snapshots taken inside the building.

I interpreted this in my own way - maybe it was as the artist, Jim Shaw, intended.
That is another important criteria of art.....the viewer has to make some response.
I wondered if we were being directed to decide if we can tell the difference between snakes and American Presidents!
Skilfully painted.

Laughter is a good response.

And the lamp on the wall made me laugh - especially when Bill sat on the chair underneath.

This art left me unmoved and confused.
The white blocks are rough concrete. Were they strategically placed to say something?
In the corner, on the floor, is a sort of 19th century magic lantern projector and a digital projector surrounded by odd paraphanalia and leaves.

I liked the bold lettering, high on the building. Seen from a viewing platform.

There were galleries for children to create art and to play.
Fun painting on the window.

Another gallery was set aside for children - it was half term week.

Scores of them, with parents, were creating fun animals.

Grand daughter views the video telescope, showing how the view would have been in different centuries.
Mostly we used the lift to go up and down - it is on the side of the building so you whizz up and down with tremendous views over The Tyne.
Thank goodness we used the stairs too.

We are nearly at the bottom of the stairs - looking down on a mirror.
Maybe there was a mirror at the top too.

The indoor viewing pod is at the top, on the right.
There is an outdoor platform level with the lettering.
At the very top is a smart restaurant.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Snap shots by The Tyne

Rivers are special, be they big or small.
There is life by the river and on the river. The nature of that life evolves over the centuries....some things go and others are born; but always there is vibrancy.
Even on a dull, cold February day.
On the dull day in question we were beside The River Tyne - the life blood that both unites and divides Newcastle and Gateshead.
Our destination was The Baltic Warehouse - now a modern art gallery; it is on the Gateshead side of the river.
Here are a few of the snapshots taken that day.

Taken from the viewing pod at the top of The Baltic.

This is not a telescope. It shows videos created to reveal how the view would have looked at different times in history.

I love reflections - but this picture of reflections is rather eerie.
It suggests that the bed of The River Tyne is a resting place for dead cars.

My grand daughter framed by The Millennium Bridge.

Bill and the bridges.

"They love their athletics on Tyneside" - Brendan Foster's words.
I wonder how many of these people warming up with a lunchtime jogging group will be taking part in The Great North Run in September?

There is gym equipment, free to use, on the Newcastle side of the river - opposite the art gallery.

Exercise and culture.
Next time we will take a peek inside The Baltic. And later I have some quirky sights in the back streets close to the river to share with you.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Seaton Sluice and Lighthouse.

It was a cold grey morning.
We drove east, skirting the northernmost parts of Newcastle.
It was bitter and bleak on the east coast - but beautiful.
We had a little walk at Seaton Sluice.
The word "sluice" conjures up images of mucky drains - but not in these parts.
The Seaton Burn flows into The North Sea and in earlier times formed an important harbour. There were salt from local salt pans, coal, and bottles to be transported.
The bottle works was  a village in itself, with breweries, granaries, pubs, shops, a chapel.
The little estuary silted up easily and  Lord Deleval created a pier and sluice gates trapped water at each high tide. These were opened at low tide and the force of the water flushed the sand out of the harbour.

There is hardly a sign now of the manufacturing and industry of earlier times.
The coal trade was badly hit when 204 men and boys perished after the beam of a pumping engine fell down the mineshaft. A lesson was learned and from then on mines had to have 2 shafts.
The bottle works closed in 1872.
The salt trade ceased earlier - in 1798 the salt tax put an end to the trade.
 Bigger harbours were developed at Tyne and Blyth.
Seaton Sluice is now a quiet backwater.

The sands stretch northwards to Blyth.

The Cut. Lord Deleval had this cutting made - facing the sea in an easterly direction. It was an easier approach for the ships.

It was not a day to sit and relax and enjoy the view.

Son and grand daughter stride out to the modern pier.

Looking back to the village.
The Deleval stately home is a little inland and is now a National Trust property.

My man looks cold.

I was determined not to look cold.....and I was protected by many layers of clothing.

Son and grand daughter look out to sea.

The moods of the sea.

St Mary's Lighthouse.
This would be our next destination. It can only be reached when the tide is low and the causeway is uncovered.

Playing on a relic of the old harbour.

Sadly, I didn't make it to the lighthouse.
Stupid me - I tripped over a kerb stone and went flying, flat on my face; fortunately onto grass.
I bumped my knee and my right hand took the full weight of my body landing on it. Was it broken? I didn't think so, though it hurt like anything.
I was quite shaken and went to sit in the car, whilst the others went to explore.

This is from a BBC website - and was almost my view from the car.
The men folk went to the top of the tower.
The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1984.

View from the top to Witley Bay.

Witley Bay was our next destination. I needed a nice cup of tea, painkillers, a crepe bandage and to get warm.
As a result, Witley Bay was very welcoming!
We did a little shopping afterwards - charity shops and the Christian Centre.
Very satisfying finds for one and all.

By the time we thought to photograph my hand over 48 hours had elapsed - so not very dramatic.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Shock on the radio.

Exhausted again this evening.
Maybe it was a bit foolish to walk out of the antiques centre to hunt for boots.
Foolish for me - burdened with cold......and well, just plain foolish!
I grabbed some old boots this morning to wear - OK for sitting around in, but big and floppy for walking in.
Time for me to get some replacement boots.
But no, this is not the time.
I walked to M and S, for I had recently seen they had some at a reasonable price.
But it is not boot is sandals and sun hat time!

We had people in the shop today - not very many sales, but a good one for Bill.
I spent very little time looking at my section - just too cold at that end of the shop.
Anyway, I didn't need to.

The journey home provided a shock.
It will come as a shock to at least one of my readers - sorry Stella.
We had local radio on in the car and heard the 5 o'clock news.
We heard how a man had been found lying in the road by his bike in a quiet close near to his home.
The man was Dave O.....a man we had been timekeeping with for over 30 years; well until he decided to give it up.
We saw him reasonably regularly because he lived close to us.We'll never know why he decided to call on us one Christmas Day afternoon, many years ago!
He had always been a cyclist - did track cycle racing when young. He felt that his bike was his way of beating some of the health problems he was having. He told Bill quite recently that his heart was causing real concern.
The air ambulance landed and took him to the hospital in Brighton - but he didn't survive.
His head had been badly injured in the fall and one presumes that he might have had complete heart failure whilst peddling out on a cold early morning.
His family will take some comfort from knowing he died whilst doing something he loved. He was 76.

Puts my cold and fall into perspective.....though both are still bothering me.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Half term holiday.

It was our half term holiday.
It was really good except for one or two things going wrong.
Last Wednesday I tripped and went flying - landed flat on my face and my right hand presumably somewhere underneath my body which smashed down on top of it.
Ouch! Ouch! and Triple ouch!
I was pretty shaken up and hurting.
No way I was going to walk across the causeway to the lighthouse.
My hand is much improved now - still a bit blue. And blue has developed round my eyes.....where my glasses dug into my face. Thank goodness the glasses didn't break.
My health felt OK that day - I had enjoyed a walk in the biting wind at Seaton Sluice....much prettier than it sounds.
The others had already developed colds.
Mine came a bit later.
I am just hoping that today has been its peak.....throbbing headache, sneezes and coughs dominate.
But despite colds we had plans for Saturday.
The snows thwarted us.
It wasn't so very much......about 3 inches on Saturday morning.
But we took it as an omen that we ought to stay home in the warm and rest.
Apart from a trip to Curry's and then Homebase - better for A and L to be able to buy needed things when a car is available.
We watched Skyfall at home - the latest James Bond film. More interesting in concept than some.
We had already enjoyed two days exploring before the snows of Saturday (and Sunday). We visited the Baltic Modern Art, not art from the Baltic. It is housed the the old Baltic flour warehouse.
Liked some of it.
Walked along The Tyne to Ouseburn and then climbed to Byker.
On Friday we went to Woodhorn - a museum and art gallery featuring the coal mining of the area.
Enjoyed Northumbrian bagpipe music in the cafe.
Found a great farm shop on the way home.
Journey back snow south of York.
Journey took just a few minutes over 6 hours, including a stop for a bite and a drink.
I look forward to sorting photographs on Tuesday.
Tomorrow is a shop day. Wish it might be warmer!
Now for a hot drink and bed.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Solving confusion.

I jumped to a conclusion - and the conclusion was wrong.

Where do you think this photograph was taken?

Cuando el sol brilla nunca estás solo. When the sun shines you're never alone.

The caption suggested the photo was taken in Spain or some other exotic place.
The photographer is Ian, somebody I had in a school class many years ago. I know he has lived in Spain.

It is a beautiful picture......a beautiful picture of somewhere very interesting, but not exotic.
It is a place I know so well.
I spent many hours on that beach when I was young.
Yes, It's Newhaven in Sussex.

My childhood holidays were not exotic, but bless my parents for finding a way of taking their children on an annual holiday.
We had tents on the South Downs - in a field with a glorious view.
We had no car (camping equipment was taken and collected by a local haulier). Our bikes went too.
We cycled everywhere.
Newhaven was about 6 miles away - up and down hills and then flat along the River Ouse valley. 
It was on that beach, aged about 10 that I met my first nudist! And I had dreams of becoming a marine biologist.
It is quite run down these days.....who actually owns the harbour and the beach outside the harbour is not exactly clear. I do believe the French own it!
Nevertheless, Newhaven holds magic for me.

Today has been a fusion of being very busy (with my own things) and being less than busy with customers.
I don't think I like my new display as much as the previous way of doing it.
But it is fresh and different.
I had an average week for sales last week....sold that metal bottle carrier that was for Corona fizzy pop bottles.

Tomorrow will be busy in a very different way - sitting down for much of it, whilst hurtling north on the motorway.
There may or may not be a blog posting tomorrow - we might be attending the local history society that Ashley goes to....learning about a mid 19th century tree survey.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Sunday - day of rest.

What a lovely tempting to think that winter is behind us.
It seemed strange not to go anywhere to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and fresh air.
But we had things to do at home....above all we needed some rest.
I have written up most of the things I bought on Saturday and have evolved a little plan in my mind for a fresh display in the shop.
Bill was out for a while, cleaning the car.
We have also packed as much as we can for our Newcastle trip.We will be busy all day tomorrow, so it seemed wise to sort out medications and my wee bag requirements whilst we we had time to spare. Most of my clothes are in the bag as well.
I enjoyed some time writing another random Crawley blog.

I have seen a clip today of The Kidz....Jess singing and John on guitar. They performed at the Phuket Old Town Festival yesterday night.
I have threatened Jamie that I might make a visit on my own this time next year so as to be there.

Ashley was also "performing" today - preaching. I forgot to phone to ask him he felt about it. I am sure his listeners must have felt awestruck at his expertise.

It looks like it was very similar weather on this Sunday 5 years ago.
We had been there early for a car boot sale.
This is a look at Harveys Brewery under a brilliant blue sky.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Saturday routine.

Saturday routine.
I feel that the weekly exact repetitions should be rationed.
Going to Ford is part of my business....we go there so that I can find things to sell in the shop and thus keep the mildly profitable hobby going.
I shall not give that up.
I just yearn for some different experiences afterwards - a cup of tea somewhere different maybe?
There were a lot of people at Ford. Bill doesn't like it crowded......he is even less likely to give any thought to buying things.
I found it hard to get going today too. I have come home with more West German pottery - I found the German couple selling it at a good price; they have got to know me now.
They also sold me a continenetal washboard.
I also bought 2 photographs of a bride - wedding photos are collected.
These are superb quality and beautifully framed. They were produced at the studio of Karl Vandyk of Buckingham Palace Road in the 20s or 30s.
Vandyk was one of the top society and art photographers of the day - and he was chosen by royalty for sittings.
My first buy had been a book about Haigh, the acid bath murderer - it contains more pictures of the workshop at the bottom of Bill's garden where bodies were disposed of.
Then we went to Littlehampton - of course.
But Wetherspoons were not serving Eggs Bendict this morning.
Now, I have been having one of those grumpy days - feeling awkward and pernickety. We all get them sometimes, I guess.
If Wetherspoons couldn't give me what I wanted, I would go to somebody who could.
So we joined the diners and coffeee drinkers in The Harbour Light Cafe instead.
And then we took our customary walk.
Of course I took a few pictures - photographs which I played with when I got home; just to make them feel different.

The tide was out and the raised spit of pebbles that stretches out to sea was uncovered - so water on both sides.

Tiny waves on a gentle sea.

Crocuses in the park.

The afternoon was spent resting - some of it watching athletics on TV.
I have unpacked my purchases - but that is all.

This evening we watched a film - getting routine for a Saturday evening.
The star was Jim Carrey - known for romantic comedy, particularly the comedy.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind had some comedy, but was weird - several stages too weird for Bill who likes films to have a beginning, a middle and an end.
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett had been in a relationship, which she thought was damaging her. In this science fiction world she could make an appointment to have all memories of her man erased from her brain.
When he found out he decided to do the same.
But as his brain went through his memories in the process he realised he loved her.
It was mostly his memories and perceptions that dominated the film.

Tomorrow will, I think, be an at home day. We have things to sort out before we go to Newcastle.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Slaugham Sussex.

Sunshine - not a heat wave, but it didn't feel cold.
A morning for a walk.
We parked the car by Slaugham church (pronounced Slaffum).
We walked through the churchyard and enjoyed snowdrops.

The land adjacent to the church now belongs to the village, bought by public subscription in 1995.
The fields and woodland are cared for and a picnic table has been put in.

The path was taking us to Slaugham Place.
Four hundred years ago an Elizabethan mansion stood - now ruined.

The land and the ruins are privately owned.
To one side of the ruins is a large well kept lawn.
This can be a venue for a wedding, with a large marquee on the lawn and the facilities to provide a formal meal for 250 people.
There is room enough for a helicopter to land.
So, not a cheap venue - but beautiful.

But we were not dressed for a wedding.
"What, in these shoes?"
It was very muddy indeed in places.
Even in wellington boots, Bill attempted to creep along the edge of paths to avoid the mud.

I was content to squelch!
Had to take care though - didn't want either of us sprawled in the mud.

We were squelching through the mud to the lake.

This is the stream flowing from the lake.

The tall trees are not yet showing signs of life. I guess that close up we would have seen small swelling buds.

Teasels in abundance by the lake - presumably the same ones we had seen when we were last there in the summer.

Lots of life.
Catkins, little buds - blue sky.
Spring is on its way.

Back in the village we were feeling warm.
What better than half a pint of Sussex beer to refresh us.
I chose the Arundel beer - and very good it was too. Bill had The Laines ale from Brighton.
We sat in huge leather sofas by the open fire with today's papers and a bowl of superbly cooked chunky chips.

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