Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween

The house is staged, the sweets are ready and the trick or treaters have descended on the village.  Some fantastic costumes this year!

Happy Halloween x

♥ Chel ♥

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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Life Can Be Like A Rough Day At The Seaside

Firstly, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the lovely comments we have received regarding my hubby's health scare.  Tests have so far come back as nothing too serious, thank goodness, and the waiting should not be long now for the final results.
Last weekend we decided to brave the elements and visit Hunstanton, probably for the last time this year, and before the storm hit the UK shores!  As we walked along, my mind was full of worries and 'what ifs'.  The weather was stormy which reflected the way I was seeing things.  Life and relationships are constant, stable and strong at first with occasional ripples along the way.  Strong relationships, be they loving relationships or true friendships, are built to last and time continues effortlessly.
But then, occasionally, something will rip the ground from under us.
With dusting ourselves off and the power of positive thoughts and prayers, we see the parts that have broken in our lives in a much more constructive way.
Waves of good thoughts start to wash over us.
And our loved ones help take on the tide of life for us.
Picking us up when we feel so alone.
The skies feel bluer.
And life's journey doesn't seem so bad.
We then find we are not alone.
Life can be like a rough day at the seaside, but there are always people to help you ride the waves.
They are the ones that look at you at a distance to make sure you are ok, supporting you, loving you, cherishing every moment spent with you.
He is ok, that is all that matters.

Ok, now then, a completely different change of direction with this blog post, some Christmas cheer!  Have you visited Vicky at Life at Willie Mae Lane?  She has a beautiful blog and is now hosting a Christmas Ornament Exchange.  What an amazing idea!  I have put her link to this in my side bar.  Go on, put your name down, this looks so much fun and a great way to meet new blogging friends.

Enjoy your week!  We certainly will now.

Take care.

 ♥ Chel ♥ 

 (Remember that if you want to see a larger version of my photos just click on one and a slide will appear)

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Friday, 25 October 2013

So Where Shall We Go On Our Journey Today? The Beamish Museum, Co Durham Part 2

Your visits to my little corner of blog land last week were beautifully comforting and humbling.  Thank you so much for your sweet comments which I passed on to my hubby who is just going through some more tests to find out what happened.  Positive thoughts and prayers are paying off and also a good rest, so he was more than happy for me and the kids to go 'oop North' and let him spend a day recuperating.  So, I said last week that normal service would be resumed, and I have kept my promise to you by paying a visit to the Beamish Museum in Co Durham for part two (part one here).  You know the drill my lovelies, a piece of cake, a large cup of tea, feet up and come along for the second little trip around this amazing place.  Are you ready? Here we go on a picture heavy post (and that includes you Mr Spider who decided to be included in this shot)
After meeting my wonderful uncle at Durham Station we drove to the Museum in its magnificent surroundings.  The smell of coal fires was thick in the air and the sounds were of times gone by.  The crowds from the summer months were a distant memory and we felt as though we had the museum pretty much to ourselves.  The trams no longer had hoards of people wanting to ride to the different destinations within the museum, and there was time to enjoy the surroundings.
This time we didn't head straight for the town.  Instead we wanted to visit the Pit Village and the Colliery.  The walk was a happy one with Mumsy and my Uncle walking ahead catching up on their family lives and reminiscing, while me and my teenagers enjoyed the scenery of the changing season.
Shortly we came across the Pit Village with its school, chapel, miners cottages and famous fish and chip shop.
A short queue this time for piping hot chips, cooked in beef dripping on a coal fired fryer and served in newspaper... perfect!
Once fueled up with these beauties it was time for the tour.  Time for school to begin... now hang up your coats next to the hoops.
Wash your hands, but remember that these are very low to the ground, after all, we have all grown up now haven't we?!
Now, time to sit down on these tiny chairs and pick up your slate (it felt like I was in Goldilocks and the Three Bears about to sit on the little chair that was going to break!).
How much fun this would have been when I went to school... a rocking horse in the corner!
School is now over and it is time to go home for tea to the miners cottages.
The lady of the house (just through the door) told us that Monday's were wash days and Tuesday's were ironing days if the weather was fine and the washing was dry.  We shouldn't complain should we?

Especially when we have the power of electric and technology nowadays.  Just look at what we used to use.
In the next cottage the craft of rug making was set out next to the cosy coal fire.
And the thunder box was ready in case it was needed!  Just look at the newspaper remnants on the floor!
Now, further down was where the men and boys would work, the colliery.
We donned our hard hats and prepared to go down into the pit.
We didn't have to hand in our tokens to show where we were, unlike the poor workers that used to do this for their living.
The walk to the coal face was 100 ft down and meant that you had to bend to stop banging your head and also dodge the huge puddles (it had rained just before).  It was dark, and all encompassing.  When we got to the coal face, our guide explained the working conditions which were ten hours in near total darkness.  He then turned off the main light and just had the lamp on.  Darkness enveloped us and the true awful working conditions began to hit home.  No photos of this as Miss Teenager was in charge of my camera and couldn't bring herself to go down the mine so sat outside.  If ever you visit this place, do have the courage to go down as there is nothing like experiencing history when you can.

We walked through the woodland nearby with its beautiful golden fronds of the ferns.
And then to the tram to visit the town once again.
One of the places we couldn't visit the previous time due to the crowds, was the printers.  I loved this place with its functionality for the printed word.
And this gentleman was a great character explaining the workings of the preparation and printing.  So much knowledge in amazing surroundings.  Just look at the attention to detail on everything that surrounds him, right down to the original mirror.
He showed how the words would be set upside down and back to front.
This was such a beautiful place.  Full of words to tell different stories of lives gone by.  The smell of printers ink and old paper, just gorgeous.
I loved the large sheet of paper and the old font.
Next door was the confectioners and this time a lot less crowded!   I could even get to the back where they make the tempting tooth rot sweets and looked lovingly at the moulds.
And the different contraptions to mix all the sugary gorgeousness.
... mmmm, just dreaming...

Right, still with me?  It was time for a little walk to the Georgian farm.  What an amazing place.
and the views across the garden were spectacular.
Looking across the wonderful English countryside was a moment to savour.
Inside it was a hive of activity.  Butter being moulded.
Baking biscuits in a warm cosy kitchen.
The fireplace surrounded by all contraptions that each had a specific purpose.
The sheeps wool being stored in the upstairs rooms.
And grain keeping warm and dry.
The darkness of the house was illuminated with a cosy glow from lamps all around.
I could quite happily live here and look at this view each morning.
Time was moving on and we made our way to the ironworks with the heavy smell of the coal burning for the engine.
Can you imagine warming your feet on a cold day?
And so, it was time to head back home - hair and clothes smelling of comfortable wood and coal smoke, imaginations running riot and the longing of nostalgia flowing through our veins.  Passing some amusing original signs.  This particular one would have to be hidden from my little Coco!
The lights were on at Durham station and our goodbyes were said once again.
The Beamish Museum is an amazing place.  The attention to detail is unsurpassed and the dedication of the staff with their knowledge and appreciation of the history lessons they unfold is an absolute delight.  If you haven't been, make sure you do at some point whether you are visiting the area, or the country.
Well, if you got to the end of this post you deserve a platinum star!!  There are more photos on my Facebook page in case you wanted more visual delights on the trip.

Have a wonderful weekend and week ahead.

Take care. 

 ♥ Chel ♥ 

 (Remember that if you want to see a larger version of my photos just click on one and a slide will appear) 

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