Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday 23rd June 2010 Cragside

.Another bright and sunny morning so we went for a brief tour round to kill time till Cragside opened at 10:30.
Pat took this first shot to give an impression of the vast empty spaces around here and how isolated some of these houses really are

.This next shot is looking down onto the village of Earlsdon, a pleasant spot with a strange multi-story tower house (top right of the village) from the days when manor houses had to serve as fortifications at times.

.When you arrive at Cragside you can either walk to the right in the direction of the house, or to the left as we did to reach the Restaurant area and the Shuttle Bus (its’ free!) that will take you to any point in this vast property. As you do so you pass these huge Rhododendrons and trees tall enough to make you dizzy looking up at them, being on a steep slope increases the impression of great height
.In front of the Restaurant and Shop is this lovely lake complete with picnic tables, very popular with families at lunch time as the Restaurant is good, but cheap, it aint!

.The Shuttle bus came round within five minutes and whisked us over to the formal gardens, which were a little bit shall we say lacking in colour, as the gardeners were busy just setting out many of the displays, this one for instance celebrates the fact that Lord Armstrong (who had the house built) was born 200 years ago

.At least there were a couple of water lilies on the pond, and the fish were perky enough

.Here is a shot Pat took of one of the water lilies, aren’t they a sight to see? and Pat grows more confident in using her new camera with every passing day.

.She is very proud of this image, her first shot of a Damsel Fly, and she has a right to be as they are notoriously frisky little beasts and disappear in an instant if startled.

.The end wall of the garden was a real sight, with a display of poppies of types we hadn’t seen before, some really lovely colours and they were big flowers too!

.Look at the petals of this one, they look as if they have been all crumpled up, yet they were undamaged.

.I couldn’t resist this alien life form (sorry, flower) as I have never seen one like it before, talk about strange looking!

.Lunchtime and the Shuttle Bus whisked us back to the Restaurant, rather than sit outside under a soggy looking umbrella we had our lunch inside (much cooler!)
Cauliflower Cheese and locally made Bread and Butter, plus a Latte for me and a Cuppa for Pat. Excellent, and quite filling!

.This whole area used to be the stables, part of them are incorporated into the restaurant, and the rest are a permanent exhibition, explaining how the house was way ahead of it’s time, being the very first in the world to have Electric Lighting, and all the other things mentioned on this display.
Lord Armstrong designed and had built a Hydro Electric Generating Station on the Estate to power the house.
He was the richest man in the world in his day, and invented the hydraulic systems that power Tower Bridge in London, as well as practically owning Newcastle and building the Japanese imperial Navies Battleships (they were our allies back then)

We had a great day out at Cragside, then did some shopping in Morpeth, uploaded the previous day’s blog and returned to site for a well earned rest.

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