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After surviving the 'season to be merry' for another year it's back to normal again but you can guarantee that one by one family members will start to feel all aches and pains, tired, clammy and get the shivers. Most of us over indulge during the festive season, too much to eat, too much to drink and too little sleep resulting in a weaker than normal immune system. In most cases we shrug off the lousy felling and get on with things, but it's always better to be safe than sorry. Is it just a case of over indulgence or could it be you or one of your loved ones is actually running a high temperature and needs medication. Some early indications of high temperature include a red face and a sweaty, clammy feeling at the back of the neck. all doubts can be dispelled if you have a reliable thermometer and you know that the normal temperature in the mouth, ear or underarm of a human is between 38º and 38.8º C or 98.6º F (97.7ºto 99.1º F is acceptable). For many years I made do with the plain and simple mercury thermometer. Now this is great if you have pretty good eyesight and are able to accurately read the temperature and if the patient is an older child or adult, but try using one of these thermometers on a small child and you don't stand a chance. We've moved on a fair bit since my children were small and the only type of thermometer available was the simple mercury thermometer, that was made of glass and you couldn't safely put it under a small child's tongue for fear of them biting it. Walk in to most reliable pharmacists now and you'll find at least three different types of thermometers; there's the type shaped like a dummy with a thermometer in the teat and a digital read out, then there's the strip thermometers that you place on the forehead again with a digital read out, of course you can still buy the simple mercury thermometer and if you really want to splash out you c
an spend anything between twenty and forty pounds for an ear temperature reader. I invested in a Boots digital thermometer, they cost £8.49, a pretty reasonable price to pay for a little peace of mind. My thermometer casing is part transparent, part blue tapering down its length with a small metal tip, there is an LCD screen on the widest part and it is stored in a wipe clean clear plastic case, some of the thermometers were in a solid white casing. To use the thermometer you place the part with the metal tip either into the mouth or under the arm, if you have a small child it might be easier to place the thermometer under the arm and cuddle the child while taking the temperature, in that way the thermometer shouldn't get knocked out. Once the thermometer has been in place for the required time it gives out a bleeping noise and the body temperature is easily readable from the LDC display. I've always been pleased with my Boots digital thermometer and wish they had been available when my children were younger. It is simple to use, accurate and easy to read. The long life battery for the LCD display comes included with the thermometer and there is an automatic shut off, there is no glass or mercury in the thermometer and the thermometer also has a memory. All in all and even though I no longer have small children I'm really pleased I invested in the Boots digital thermometer, it's very safe and offers peace of mind to young and old. Available from most Boots stores and from www.boots.co.uk Have a happy and healthy 2004! © ks.h
All right, hands up who's got one? I've got one, my three kids had a family when they were young but I'm not sure if they've got any at all now. Have you got one? I think they're brilliant and they're usually one of the first gifts most children receive. "What is she going on about?" I hear you asking. Obviously I'm talking about one of the great symbols of political freedom to be invented during the Twentieth Century - the good old, plain and simple rubber duck. Until around the late 1940's leisure was decadent, it was a rude gesture of superiority from the upper classes to the working classes. Leisure was a symbol of derision, it said 'look at me, I can afford to do nothing and I'm going to flaunt it.' Today life is so different and leisure is no longer thought of as wasteful, it has become an important part of everyday life. It is a method of participation, an expression of growth, a way of net working and a symbol of our freedom. So what's this got to do with a rubber duck? Just hang in there, and all will become clear. You see nothing sums up the growth of the leisure industry and our right to leisure time more than the rubber duck. Initially we took a bath as a way of fighting of death by keeping clean and therefore free from germs and infection, it was a necessity for healthy living. Today the bathing ritual is all part of our leisure activities - it's 'me time', we light candles, drink wine, read books, listen to music and play with our rubber duck. We close the door on the world and our worries. We are taught at an early age to love our rubber duck, babies splash around in the water playing with their duck, toddlers love to keep throwing them out of the bath for poor old mum and dad to constantly pick it off the floor and throw it in the bath, older children drift away from their bath-time playmate but rediscover it as an 'executi
ve toy' when they get older. What exactly is a rubber duck? Well it's made from rubber or PVC, shaped like a duck, comes in all sizes, can cost anything from around one pound upwards, is usually yellow but not always and floats in the bath, so why are we attracted to them so much? That's easy - it's because most small children love toys that resemble things from every day life, cars, dolls, little animals, etc. Who didn't like feeding the ducks in the park when they were little? In recent years our great symbol of freedom has however been coming under attack. In the past some rubber ducks were made from PVC, which contains chemicals that could be harmful when released into the environment. The PVC helps make toys more flexible but laboratory studies have shown that some of the chemicals could be poisonous and may cause cancer, kidney damage and reproductive disorders in later life. Spain and Denmark have banned all toy,, including rubber ducks, made from PVC and Greenpeace has urged the British Government to introduce legislation on this problem telling retailers to remove soft PVC toys from their shelves. Not all rubber ducks are made from PVC, check yours out. Get yourself a safe rubber duck and enjoy bath time with an old favourite, they're not just for the kids. Don't let this great symbol of our heritage die!
---malu's blurb--- "this is my christmas prezzie for you, my dears, I've posted it now so that you can complete it. I can give you only the first half, the second half must come from you. do it before Christmas day so that you can fill your coffers and have some dosh for your next holiday!another reason for posting it before Christmas is that I want to read some of your answers; I'll be away during the festive season on an excursion for travel guides, expenses covered by dooyoo.* this challenge does not compete or interfere with the official guides' challenges. * "only kidding" *** we all like these challenges don't we? not too difficult to write but seem to pick up quite a few reads and in the run up to Christmas the extra cash can't hurt! merry Christmas and a happy new year - wherever you are! *** q: how many times a year do you travel? a: We try to get away a couple of times a year, usually Spring and Autumn and when possible a weekend break in Summer. Him indoors works for a Spanish company and we also go to the Costa Blanca for the conference every September, we get a five-day break at the companies expense, and we also have the opportunity to go for two of three long weekends or mid-week breaks throughout the year. I also try to get away with my sister for a few days, after all Mick usually gets a few days away with one of our sons. *** q: for how long do you go away? a: I've always been tied to school holidays, so because we don't go away during the Summer break we can't get away for longer than one week, ten days at the most - I actually love my home and garden so during the holidays I also want to spend time enjoying them. *** q: do you stay in your home country or do you go abroad? a: Spring and Autumn we go abroad and if we get a weekend break in the Summer I
like to go to Scotland, the north of Northumberland or the Lake District - all within two hours drive. *** Q: Do you organise your holidays yourself or do you go to a travel agency? A: Well this is a bit of a mixture, the working holidays we book our own flights and the company books us in to a hotel in Santa Pola, our weekend in Summer we normally book on the internet and our holiday in Spring and Autumn is normally booked through a travel agency. *** Q: Do you prepare your holidays in advance by reading guidebooks and studying maps? A: Yes - we like to try and get a taste of the way of life of the locals and culture of the places we visit. I don't see the point in just lying by the pool or on the beach, I am very fair skinned with red hair so I've never been a sun worshipper because I just burn. If we go away for the weekend in Summer we have lots of good food and drink, it,s entirely for relaxing. *** Q: Do you travel alone/with family or friends/with an organised group? A: I usually travel with the other half, and occasionally with my sister. When we go to the conference there are five of us and we get complimentary passes into the VIP lounge of the airport, it's great. *** Q: Do you prefer the sea / mountains / plains / cities as destinations? A: I have no real preference, I'm more of a country person than beach or city, but I base my holiday location on the cultural activities first, scenery second. *** Q: Do you mainly relax or are you an active holidayer? A: It depends what you mean by relax, I find it relaxing looking around old churches, museums, art galleries, and other places of interest. I don't lounge around the pool reading a book and soaking up the sun. My days of active sports holidays are a thing of the past. *** Q: If you go abroad do you learn at least some words of th
e foreign language? A: I try to learn a few words of the local language - in Spain it's expected because the company my husband works for employs people from all over Northern Europe as well as Spain so we have to find a common language; this is normally 80% English and 20% Spanish. I know a few Italian phrases and I was taught French at school but that is pretty basic. *** Q: Are you interested in the cuisine of a foreign country? A: I try to eat local cuisine but I'm a vegetarian so it's often quite difficult and I have to settle for salads. *** Q: Which means of transportation do you prefer? A: Generally I fly because I have no option but given the choice I would sail - I love ships and have travelled to Denmark, Norway and Guernsey by sea. I keep promising myself a cruise but just never get around to it. *** Q: What kind of luggage do you take with you? Have you got problems packing? Do you tend to take too many / too few things with you? A: I pack one case and a small bag for hand luggage. I always take too many things and come home with at least half of my clothes unworn. My hand luggage is taken up by my camcorder, 35mm camera and digital camera - I love photography and do use all three. *** Q: Do you send picture postcards to your family and friends? A: I send a couple of postcards to friends and family who don't live near me but those I see regularly don't get a postcard because I'm usually home before it arrives. I send a text message to my children to let them know I've arrived safely, etc. Other than that the holiday is for me to unwind so I don't keep in close contact with home. *** Thanks for reading!
Bamburgh in Northumberland typifies most peoples ideas of an idyllic country escape. The village is located in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful coastal areas in England and its enormous white sandy beaches stretch for miles. In Anglo-Saxon times Northumbria was a mighty Kingdom and a formidable opponent. It started north of the River Humber past the River Sheaf at Sheffield, across the Pennines and through Carlisle to the Irish Sea, then northeast across country, through the Border Region and Edinburgh (known at the time as Edwin's Borough) as far as the Firth of Forth. The village was a natural fortification because of its massive rocky outcrop, and recent excavations by Newcastle University suggest that until as late as the 12th Century Bamburgh was actually an island linked to the mainland by a causeway. Founded in 547 by King Ida, the village became the seat of Northumbria. King Ida's grandson gave the village to his wife Bebba and it became known as Bebbanburgh, later to become Bamburgh. About a century later it was the seat of the Northumbrian King Oswald, who built a fortification on the rocky outcrop, and this became the base for his Celtic Mission on Iona to develop Christianity. Aidan and the Irish monks led Oswald's mission. In the 12th Century a magnificent castle was built on the rocky outcrop where Oswald's fortification had stood. Today the castle dominates the village and towers over the sea; it was built using magnificent red sand stone and is indeed an impressive sight. It has been the home of the Lords Armstrong since the 19th Century and is open to the public during the summer season. Bamburgh Castle is one of the most recognised landmarks in Britain and a major attraction for visitors to the village. Visitors can not fail to be impressed by the stunning mix of the medieval castle and stately home although only a few of them will actually be aware of the great historical assoc
iation the castle site has with the history of the northern region (and that's another opinion). Bamburgh and York were the two most important centres in Anglo Saxon Northumbria. Other interesting places to visit in Bamburgh are the Grace Darling Museum, the museum commemorates the life and times of undoubtedly the world's greatest lifeboat heroine, her fame is due to a single act of courage. In 1838 the paddle steamer 'Forfarshire' was wrecked on the Farne Islands across from Bamburgh and Grace Darling and her father rescued nine men in a small rowing boat. The Museum can be found in a small cottage near the village green and is looked after by the RNLI. St. Aidan's church stands across the road from the Museum, the church was built on the site where Aidan died. Grace Darling was buried in the graveyard and her memorial is of interest to visitors, she was buried facing out to sea so she could forever watch over the brutal coastline. History is not the only claim to fame that Bamburgh has. There are miles of sandy beaches for those who like to walk, or just sit and watch the world go by. The relatively quite roads make cycling a pleasant prospect and bike hire is available in the village. Bamburgh, Seahouses and many of the other villages up and down the coast have excellent golf courses. There is also the stunning picturesque coastline. Bambrugh boasts one of the finest beaches in England with its vast expanse of fine sands at low tide - stretching down the coast to Seahouses and a few miles up the coast to Budle Bay, a world renowned bird-watchers paradise with many unusual and interesting species of waders. There are a number of good hotels and guesthouses in the village along with tearooms and shops catering for both local needs and those of visitors. I have always only been a day visitor to Bamburgh so I could not really recommend a place to stay, but they all look well kept and comfortable.
Under the shadow of the castle in Front Street is a row of stone built cottages and nestling in the centre is The Copper Kettle Tea-room, now recognised as one of the finest tearooms in the UK. It is very cosy and captures the atmosphere of the traditional English tearoom. Hand carved oak panels complement the beams in the ceiling from which hang a collection of original copper kettles. The patio garden provides a colourful suntrap for sun worshipers. Bamburgh is one of the most popular tourist sites in the North East of England. With its tranquil rural setting, just off the beaten track off the busy A1 trunk road it is an ideal base for visitors who want to explore the region. Towns and villages such as Berwick, Anlwick, Warkworth, Amble and Rothbury are all easily accessible as are the Borders of Scotland. Take the short drive down the coast to Seahouses for a trip across to the Farne Isles or go a little way up the coast and drive over the causeway to Lindisfarne. If you are thinking about a golfing, bird watching, touring, historical or just relaxing break in the North of England there are numerous lovely little villages with very reasonably priced accommodation but not many have as much to offer as Bamburgh.
Today Chillingham Castle is one of the most important examples of fortified domestic architecture in England. It is a stunning medieval fortress with Tudor additions and has been the home of the Lords Grey and their families for over six hundred years. During the 13th Century it was little more than a tower with mansion house used as a resting place by Henry lll in 1255 on his return from the Borders, and in 1298 Edward I stayed at Chillingham on his way to Scotland. In 1344 Sir Thomas de Heton was granted a Royal Licence to fortify Chillingham Tower and he extended the building and erected battlements around the perimeter to create Chillingham Castle. The work was completed in 1348. The Castle played an important part during Northumberland's bloody border feuds, and was often besieged. During the reign of Elizabeth I it underwent extensive alterations; the main entrance was moved to the north, where it is still found today and the fortification was strengthened. Sir Jeffrey Wyattville who was also responsible for the grounds of Windsor Castle originally designed the Estate. Its 300-acre wooded park is noted for its unique herd of fierce creamy-white cattle. The beasts are descended from prehistoric wild oxen that lived in the nearby forests and are believed to have become trapped here when the park was walled in 1220. Other features of the Estate include an Elizabethan topiary garden, private lake, lawns and beautiful woodland. There are breathtaking views of the surrounding Northumberland countryside and the Cheviots. Since Elizabethan times alterations have taken the form of adapting rather than rebuilding, resulting in the old buildings remaining behind the new, creating a house of many secrets. Some of these secrets are only now being discovered thanks to very patient research. Old stairwells have been found in the deep walls of the southern towers, original floors have been traced behind the old east hall. A
ncient windows and fireplaces, long lost behind plaster have been retrieved, and one walled up Tudor fireplace has been found containing over one hundred documents, letters and the oldest writ in Northumberland, dating from 1540. Some of these documents are currently on display in the Castle Museum. After 1933 the Castle stood uninhabited, neglected and decaying until recent years. Sir Humphrey Wakefield Bart and Lady Mary Grey took over the estate and began the task of restoring it to the ancestral home of the Grey family. This massive undertaking has been going on for a number of years now and it is hoped that within the next few years Sir Humphrey and Lady Mary will have restored the Castle to its former glory. Visitors to Chillingham Castle are allowed to rummage around its disordered rooms, filled with furniture, possessions and ancient documents. You have the opportunity to view exposed walls and beams from earlier building work. You can view active restoration of complex masonry, metalwork and ornamental plaster going hand in hand with a family enjoying everyday life in a remarkable building. The tour of the castle allows you to experience just how onerous and courageous a task it is restoring a property over 700 years old, but also how bewitching the restoration work is - a true labour of love. In 1344 the owners of Chillingham were granted a licence to crenellate, in other words to build battlements, this was something that was not often granted because it meant royal troops would find it difficult to mount an assault. William Wakefield, secretary to King Edward III, drew up the licence, and it is on display in the castle along with 13th Century armour, furniture, weapons and other implements of the time. Some interesting rooms include The James I Drawing Room, named after the king who visited Chillingham in 1617. The room has a recently restored Elizabethan ceiling with gilded ribs and pendants. All of the staterooms
are a magnificent mix of antique and modern furnishings and the walls are lined with patterned silk screening, paintings and enamels. The Library is as interesting as the staterooms with the addition of a very elaborate chimneypiece and a display of family memorabilia. The Great Hall is the venue for Mediaeval Banquets and it has a stone flagged floor, tapestries, armour, weapons and heads of deer and wild cattle, not my idea of something decorative although it all adds up to making an ancient mediaeval atmosphere. The Hall also houses many valuable paintings of historical interest. Probably the most alarming part of Chillingham Castle is the Dungeon and Torture Chamber. The only light in the Dungeon is from a narrow slit in the thick wall, the wall itself is marked with crudely cut scribbled letters from previous inhabitants - not a happy sight. There is a trap door in the floor through which you can see what looked to be very genuine bones of a child in the vault below, a horrible thought. If the Dungeons were not bad enough the Torture Chamber is definitely not for the faint hearted. There are some very gruesome implements of punishment on display, including a stretcher rack, bed of nails, nailed barrel and a spiked chair - with a label on warning you not to sit down! There is also an Iron Maiden with a serene face and larger than life hinged metal casing for a live body, thumbscrews, chains, leg irons, cages, mantraps and branding irons. A real insight into how barbaric we once were. Chillingham Castle is also thought to be one the most haunted buildings in Britain and regularly holds all night ghost vigils. Some of the ghosts said to haunt the castle are The Blue Boy, it is said there are cries and moans of a child in pain and fear and sightings of a boy dressed in blue. The bones of a young boy and fragments of blue cloth have been found close to these sightings. Lady Mary Berkeley, the wife of a previous Lord Grey,
is said to wander the corridors of the castle and the rustling of her dress can be heard. There is the White Pantry Ghost, the Ghost in the Chamber, and numerous Ghosts of War, plus many more tales of psychic experiences. Open January to December for Groups at any time, by appointment - Tel: 01668 215359 Open from Easter weekend until 30th September Grounds and tearoom open 12 noon - 5:00pm Castle open 1:00pm, last entry 4:30pm Closed every Saturday Entrance Fee varies depending on time of year - for details please Tel: 01668 215359 Directions: Take the A697 3 miles south of Coldstream; at Longframlington stay on the A697 12 miles north towards Powburn; at Powburn continue on the A697 6 miles north; turn right onto the unclassified road 5 miles east through Newtown to Chillingham Castle.
So many challenges are going around at the moment so I've decided to offer my contribution to Aefra's challenge about a motor that brings back memories. For me cars are a means of getting from 'a' to 'b' and not much more, I'm not really bothered what it looks like, how fast it can go or how much it cost, however I do remember a time when our car was my pride and joy. In the late fifties my parents bought an Austin 12, Austin were still building pre war model cars until about 1947 when they introduced their new model, I think that was the Austin 16, so our Austin 12 must have been about ten years old when my parents acquired it. I was just starting school and our car was a dream, we were the only family in the street to have a car, there was one other family who had a motorbike and sidecar but that didn't carry the same prestige, and all of my friends thought we must be very rich - this made me very popular. Susie, that's what we called her, was a big shinny bottle green monstrosity with plush brown leather upholstery, running boards along the side and amber indicators that flipped out like little arms. She was built like a tank. I was one of six children and the car easily sat four on the backseat and there was room for two stools between the back and front seats so we fitted in with ease - no safety belts in those days, but then most of the roads around us were more or less country lanes and we didn't know what a motorway was. Susie used to take us everywhere - outings to Scotland, Seahouses, Holy Island, Durham, the Lake District and many more places. There would usually be one of my brothers, my younger sister, myself and a couple of friends in the back with the boot full of bats, balls and a picnic hamper. Although we all loved Susie dearly, and actually thought of her as human - one of the family, she was probably nothing more than a rust heap. I have memorie
s of many breakdowns when Dad would get out of the drivers seat, open the boot and rummage around for the starting handle - yes if the ignition didn't work you could crank up the engine. I'm terrible at remembering car registration numbers and out of all the cars my parents had and I have had Susie is the only registration I still remember, KVK 247, even now I would have to go out to the drive to look at the registration on my present car. I can't remember how long we had Susie, I know she was with us for a good few years and I do remember the feeling of loss when she eventually gave up the ghost and went to car heaven - my younger sister and I cried for days, well at least until Dad came home with our next car! So there you go that's my fond memory of a car for Aefra - if you have one then get writing about it.
this q&a challenge can help newbies find out what dooyoo is about and, if many established members participate, what the community is like and will hopefully convince them to stay and become active. to be sure, everything has been said before, but has it had any impact? only for a limited time until the opinion disappeared from the front page. by presenting the tips on helping new members in the form of a questionnaire which can be done by several members the impact can perhaps be prolonged. several members, better: many members, to show that many roads lead to dooyoo. q: when did you join dooyoo? I joined dooyoo in mid July 2001 although I didn't get round to posting an opinion until August 2001 q: how did you discover dooyoo? my youngest son came across a link on one of the freebie sites and signed up. He emailed the link to his Dad, brother, sister and me so he could make some extra money through the referrals. q: why did you join? I really joined because my two sons were writing travel opinions and it was giving me an insight into what they were experiencing during their travels. I had intended only writing ten opinions so my son would get the extra money for the referral. I decided to stay around and write a few more opinions because I felt there were some really interesting members writing good opinions, there was also a good enough community spirit to make me want to stay. q: what was your very first opinion on? Oh embarrassment (going red at the thought of it). My first opinion was a good moan about how long it took the postal service to deliver post cards. It wasn't very good at all - took all of ten minutes to write. I wrote it because I had been locked out of dooyoo because I was only reading my two sons opinions (with the odd exception) and it was thought that one of my sons had a fictitious membership. I contacted the dooyoo police and explained the situation, got m
y membership unlocked and thought I better write an opinion to keep everyone happy. I was really surprised to find I received mainly useful ratings with a couple of somewhat useful and a handful of very useful - to be honest if I had been rating it I would have giving a somewhat useful. The comments left for me were very encouraging and I decided to put some effort into my next opinion and to read and rate everyone who read mine. q: did you find it easy to get the hang of dooyoo? I had to ask for help finding categories at first but I only had minor problems and they didn't put me off. Most of the members were happy to help me sort out my problems. Q. Did you read other opinions before you posted your first one? I read both of my son's early opinions before I got round to posting myself and a handful of opinions by other members - probably about twenty opinions but I didn't read as much as I should have. The best advice I could give new members is to read as many opinions as you can in categories that interest you before you write your first opinion, although I had read mainly my sons reviews before posting my own I had positive comments from other members because they could see on my profile I had been reading other peoples work. Q: Do you write no/some/many comments? I don't write as many comments as I should but I often find everything there is to say has already been said by other members and I feel it sounds quite patronising at times just leaving a comment saying good op, etc. The best way to build community is by leaving positive or constructive comments and I do try. Q: When you click on the list of Newest Reviews, do you read your friends' opinions no matter what they're on/according to subject no matter who has written on it/preferably the opinions of new writers? I don't get notified when any of my friends write so when I click on the list of Newest R
eviews I go down and read theirs first although there are one or two topics I don't read no matter who has written the opinion. I then look at the new writers and I click on their profile to try and find out a little about them and to see if they are reading opinions as well as writing. After that I look for opinions that interest me. Q: Do you write your opinions in one sitting? No, I write my opinions over two to three days and when I've finished I leave it for a while then read through to make sure I'm still happy with it. I find it better to write opinions that way because I have a proper read through before putting it on the site. Q: How often do you post a new opinion? Well this is my fifty-seventh opinion in over two years so I'm obviously not the most prolific writer on dooyoo. I normally write in fits and starts, I'll write two or three opinions over a couple of weeks and then only log onto dooyoo to read opinions for perhaps two months before writing again. It depends on how busy I am and whether I feel I have anything worth writing about. Q: Do you use a spell check? I always type my opinions on Word, spell check and then cut and paste on to dooyoo; no matter how good your spelling is no one is infallible (nor is the computer). I also look back through the text and edit out all the question marks before I post an opinion. I'm happy doing it that way and it gives me another chance to check that I'm happy with everything, I also read my opinion as soon as I've posted it. Q: Do you think you can improve your chances to get a crown if you suck up to a guide? I think you can improve your chances of a crown by reading opinions that have been crowned and getting an idea of what formats certain guides like and what information they are looking for but not by sucking up to them. Q: Are you a member of a forum or a chat room? No. I'm a mem
ber of tooyoo and drop in there occasionally but when I'm not on dooyoo I use the internet to book flights, keep in touch with my son by email and work. Q: Does it get to you when members praise or condemn you? I've never really been condemned by other members but I don't think it would bother me that much - I wouldn't get into a spat with them about it, I'd probably just ignore them. It's always good to get a nice comment or two and constructive criticism shouldn't harm anyone. Q: What did you do in your spare time before you joined dooyoo? I'm a youth and community worker so I have a fairly active life and don't have much spare time. Q: What do you wish for the future? I'd like to see a few more members and the problems with the first few hundred words of opinions sorted. If you want to participate, please add: Please don't take this challenge to ciao without asking MALU, she'd rather decide herself what to do with a text she's written, when to take it there or if at all. Thank you.
St. Paul's Church and Monastery in Jarrow is a working living church with daily worship, however its history dates back to the 7th century. It was home to St. Bede who was medieval Europe's greatest scholar and his extraordinary life (673 to 735) created a rich legacy of learning that is still celebrated today. In 681 AD the Anglo-Saxon monastery of St Paul's, Jarrow was founded and in 685 AD the church was dedicated. The land on which the monastery and church were built was originally owned by King Ecgfrith of Northumbria and given to a Northumbrian nobleman, Benedict Biscop. Less than a decade earlier, in 674 AD, Benidict Biscop founded St Peter's Church and monastery in Wearmouth (now Monkwearmouth, a district of Sunderland). St Paul's was built on the understanding that it worked with the monastery of St Peter and "be bound together by the one spirit of peace and harmony" (Lives of the Abbots - Bede) and that they functioned as a single monastery: "the monastery of the apostles St Peter and St Paul, one part of which stands at the mouth of the river Wear and the other part near the river Tyne in a place called Jarrow" (Ecclesiastical History, V.21 - Bede). At this time the Anglo-Saxon building tradition was to build in timber; the monasteries of St Peter's and St Paul's were amongst the first stone buildings in Northumbria since the days of the Roman empire, and would have created an impressive statement on the landscape. Ready cut stone was brought from the Roman fort at South Shields, just about two mile along the Tyne and some of the stone still shows evidence of Roman writing. Building skills had been lost following the Roman withdrawal so Benedict Biscop brought glaziers and stone masons over from Gaul, cement was made by burning stone until it was reduced to ash, then by adding water a substance was formed that was able to bind individual stones. The craftsmen were able to erect s
tone buildings with both plain and coloured glass windows and also teach their skills to the local community. When the monastery and church were first built they were only accessible by a raised causeway across the salt marshes and a bridge over the River Don (a subsidiary river of the Tyne). Today the church is the most popular Anglican Church in the area for marriages because it has an extremely long tree lined path from the road to the door and the monastery ruins make an excellent backdrop for photographs. The seven-year-old Bede entered St Paul's in 680 AD and remained in the monastery until his death in 673 AD. His writings, particularly The Lives of the Abbots of Wearmouth and Jarrow and The Ecclesiastical History of the English People give a unique insight into life in the monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow in the late 7th and early 8th centuries. He came to Jarrow around the time that St Paul's was being dedicated. In his History of the English Church and People Bede writes: "I was born on the lands of this monastery, and on reaching the seven years of age, I was entrusted by my family first to the most reverend Abbot Benedict (Biscop) and later to Abbot Ceolfrith for my education. I have spent all the remainder of my life in this monastery and devoted myself entirely to the study of the Scriptures. And while I have observed the regular discipline and sung the choir offices daily in church, my chief delight has always been in study, teaching and writing. I was ordained deacon in my nineteenth year, and priest in my thirtieth, receiving both these orders at the hands of the most reverend Bishop John at the direction of Abbot Ceolfrith. From the time of my receiving the priesthood until my fifty-ninth year, I have worked, both for my own benefit and that of my brethren, to compile short extracts from the works of the venerable Fathers on Holy Scripture and to comment on their meaning and interpretation."
St Bede was a genius, his books, some of which have been in continuous circulation for more that thirteen hundred years, tell us how he understood complex scientific principles, as well as explaining the bible for others and this was in a time when most people could not even read. He wrote what is considered to be the definitive history of England from the coming of Christianity to his own time, the Ecclesiastical History of the English People and he solved the biggest scientific problem of his day in calculating a basis for setting the date of Easter, which is still used today. Bede also wrote about the world being round when it was commonly believed to be flat and he knew about the effect of the moon on tides before gravity had been discovered. People all over Europe looked to Bede for answers and his ideas still influence many people today. Thirteen hundred years ago Jarrow was one of the most important places in the world, the monastery was the home of some very accomplished craftsmen who produced beautifully illustrated manuscripts for use all over Europe, one volume of the bible written in the monastery measured twenty seven inches by twenty inches when opened and weighed seventy five pounds. Excavations of the monastic site were undertaken in the 1960's and 70's under the direction of Professor Rosemary Cramp of Durham University. I was fortunate enough to spend many happy weekends helping on the archaeological dig during my late teens. The excavations revealed the central buildings and the layout of the Anglo-Saxon buildings at St Paul's, which have been marked out and can be seen on site. Amongst the finds were finely carved stone, large quantities of coloured window glass, imported pottery and Anglo-Saxon coins. The chancel of St Paul's is the original Anglo-Saxon church built as a separate chapel and dedicated to Our Lady. A large Basilica was built on the site of the present nave and dedicated on
23rd April AD 685. The present nave and north aisle of the church are the work of the Victorian architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. The monastery next to the church was were St Bede lived, worked and worshipped and in the seventh and eighth centuries it was a thriving monastery however in AD 794 the Vikings sacked the church and monastery. In 1074 the church was repaired and the monastery re-founded by Aldwin, Prior of Winchcombe Abbey and it became a daughter house of the Benedictine Community of Durham. What to look for in the Church Seventh Century Foundations Exposed in the main aisle of the church you can see part of the north wall of the larger Anglo-Saxon Church. Anglo-Saxon Cross In the centre of the North Nave Exhibition you can see the foot of an Anglo-Saxon Cross and read its Latin inscription, which when translated reads "In this unique sign, life is restored to the world". The Dedication Stone The original dedication stone has now been re-sited and can be seen high above the Chancel arch. Dated 685 AD this stone remains the earliest firmly dated document from the history of Anglo-Saxon Northumbria. According to an anonymous plan of 1796 now in the British Museum, the stone was built into the eastern part of the north wall of the old nave, which was demolished in 1782. The Dedication Stone reads: "DEDICATIO BASILICAE SCI PAULI VIIII KL MAI ANNO XV ECFRIDI REG CEOLFRIN AABB EIUSDEM Q ECCLES DO AUCTORE CONDITORIS ANNO IIII." "The dedication of the church of St Paul on the 9th of the Kalends of May in the fifteenth year of King Egfrith and the fourth year of Ceolfrith, abbot, and with God's help, founder of this church." The Anglo-Saxon Chancel In the Chancel there are three splayed Saxon windows, the middle window still contains Saxon glass made in the Monastic workshops. An ancient chair, which is believed to have been S
t Bede's, is on display here and on the north side of the Chancel you are able to sit in the late fifteenth century choir stalls. Exhibition of Sculpture There is a unique collection of Anglo-Saxon Sculpture on display in the North Aisle of the church, the three wooden sculptures 'The Risen Ascended Christ', 'The Venerable Bede' and 'St. Michael and the Devil' are the work of the local and well-known artist Fenwick Lawson. The Monastic Site Outside of the church are the remains of the domestic buildings of the Monastery. The standing ruins dating mostly from the eleventh century. Visitor Information about St Paul's Church As I wrote in my opening paragraph the church is working Parish church with daily worship and everyone is welcome to join the service however it is also open daily for visitors. Visitors to the Church and Monastery are welcome free of charge however there is a small Piety Stall in the Narthex of the church selling books, pens, postcards and other small souvenirs and all donations are gratefully accepted (it is hoped that all visitors donate £1 towards the upkeep of the buildings). The monastery is one of the best-understood Anglo-Saxon monastic Sites, it is owned by the Church of England, is in the guardianship of English Heritage, and is managed by Bede's World Museum (Tel: 0191 489 2106 for details) approximately three minutes walk through Druids Park from St Paul's, members of English Heritage receive discounted entry to Bede's World. You could become a member of "The Friends of St. Paul", annual subscription is £5 (concessions and under 18 years old £3) a year payable on 1st January and all membership money goes directly towards the upkeep of the buildings. Opening times are: Monday to Saturday 10.00am to 4.30pm Sunday 2.30pm to 4.30pm Special services can be arranged in advance for Parishe
s or Groups who make a Pilgrimage to St Paul's For Information about St Paul's contact: St Andrew's House, Borough Road, Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, NE32 5BL Telephone (0191) 489 3279 or (0191) 489 7052 How to get there: Jarrow lies on the South Bank of the River Tyne and approximately seven miles from Newcastle. To find St Paul's Church by car from the South take the A19 and exit right at the roundabout at the Tyne Tunnel entry, follow the signs for South Shields and take the first left onto Church Bank, St Paul's Church is located half way up Church Bank. Coming from the North take the second exit of the roundabout as soon as you come out of the Tyne Tunnel, follow the signs for South Shields and take the first left onto Church Bank.
In the northernmost reaches of England lies the beautiful county of Northumberland and at its heart, standing on the banks of the River Aln, is the bustling small town of Alnwick (pronounced "Annick"). The town's crowning glory is the castle, home of the Duke of Northumberland, whose family, the Percys, have lived there since 1309. The castle, described by the Victorians as "the Windsor of the North", is now a marvellous mix of the old and the new. History A castle of some kind has stood on the site since the 11th century when William the Conqueror's standard-bearer, Norman Gilbert Tyson, acquired the land and built an earth and timber fortification. However, nothing of this original building survived. In 1093, Robert Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, killed the king of Scotland, Malcolm Canmore, less than a mile away from the castle and the Scottish army was pushed back northwards. Two years later, Tyson joined Mowbray's unsuccessful rebellion against William Rufus, King of England, and his land and castle were taken from him. Ownership of Alnwick passed to Yvo de Vescy the following year, and Vescy started the first building program at the site. Descendants of Yvo de Vescy retained ownership of the Castle until 1297; however the loyalties of the Vescy family fluctuated between the Kings of England and Scotland ensuring Alnwick Castle remained the focal point of ongoing conflict between Scotland and England, which culminated in the unsuccessful attack in 1297 by William "Braveheart" Wallace. In the same year, William de Vescy died leaving no legitimate heir, and the castle was placed in the care of the Bishop of Durham. In 1309, the bishop sold the castle and accompanying estates to Henry Percy. Alnwick Castle now passed into its most notorious, and dramatic, period. The Percy family were one of the most powerful in England and their legacy has been chronicled by many including William S
hakespeare, (Harry Hotspur, son of Henry fourth Lord Percy of Northumberland was made famous in Shakespeare's Henry IV). Their history is one of tumult and intrigue, conflict with the monarchy and with the Scots, the first Lord Percy led a revolt against King Edward II resulting in the loss of all his possessions, which he later regained. In 1314 Percy fought with the king at Bannockburn, was taken prisoner, and then ransomed back by the English. As owner of Alnwick Castle, Henry Percy made extensive repairs to the structure and modified its design, much of which remains in fine condition to this day. The descendants of the first Lord Percy continued to try and bring down the English monarchy and the castle continued to be an important fortification and strengthened over the ensuing centuries; however from the mid-17th century until the mid-18th century, the Earls of Northumberland abandoned their castle at Alnwick, and it became severely decayed. Sir Hugh Smithson became the first Duke of Northumberland in 1766, and was responsible for the castle's restoration and the introduction of the fantastic interiors. From then onward, the Northumberlands made their mark in the courts of their monarchs and the affairs of the nation. The Dukes of Northumberland continued to maintain the grandeur of their castle as well as extend the exteriors and in the mid 19th century, the fourth Duke, Algernon, carried out a new restoration, and it is the result of this work that is now visible as the castle. Having traced my family history back to this date I find an ancestor of mine, Alan Bell, master stonemason of the Parish of Alnwick, was employed on this work. The Castle in the 21st Century Today, Alnwick Castle is an impressive stately home, and relics of its initial military origins are clearly visible in the basic design, battlements, and massive fortitude of the structure. Having survived many battles it now peacefully dominates the pic
turesque market town. Gazing at the stern, medieval exterior you are given no warning of what lies within the walls, the interior is a wonderful house and also an obviously well loved home. As you wander around the many area open to the public you come across rooms that are simply awesome, furnished in palatial Italian Renaissance style. There are magnificent paintings by Titian, Van Dyck and Canaletto, fine furniture and an exquisite collection of china, in effect something to take your breath away in every room. Some outstanding features to look for include the beautiful Grand Staircase, lined with marble and embellished with a vaulted ceiling and stucco-work; the Guard Chamber, with its gilded furniture and ceiling panels, mosaic flooring, marble statues, and other fine artwork; the stunning Library, with an even grander panelled, gilt ceiling, double-tiered bookcases, and impressive fireplace; the lovely Music Room, decorated in hues of gold, and an intricately carved panelled ceiling covered with gold, fine fireplace, and gilt furniture; the incredible Red Drawing Room, which dazzles the beholder, containing wonderfully gilded panelled ceilings and another remarkable fireplace, this time flanked with ebony cabinets and intricate gilding; and the grand Dining Room, once the site of the medieval banqueting hall, a bit subdued in comparison to the previous rooms, although there is a finely carved wooden ceiling, another impressive fireplace, and other exquisite examples of sumptuous living. Other attractions within the castle walls include the Percy state coach, which I sat in many times as a child although you were not allowed to, but my father's friend was the castle caretaker so rules were flaunted, the dungeon, which even now after many visits gives me an uncomfortable eerie feeling when I enter, the gun terrace and the grounds that offer peaceful walks and superb views over the surrounding countryside. Capability Bro
wn originally designed the tranquil garden, and today the upkeep is lovingly overseen by the Duchess of Northumberland, who is restoring the twelve acre walled garden to its former glory. The Duchess started the project in 1996 and the first stage is now complete; the garden reflects the glory and spirit of earlier gardens on the site but it is not a recreation of the past it is a garden that uses 21st century state of the art technology and is a place of beauty and learning relevant to future generations as well as our own. The Regimental Museum of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers is housed in the Abbot's Tower of the Castle, the Postern Tower contains an archaeological museum and the Constable's Tower has exhibitions on the Percy Tenantry Volunteers 1798-1814. The castle has been impressively restored and is maintained in outstanding condition both inside and out. The vision is simply dazzling, battlements adorned with life-sized stone sentinels who still dare unwelcome access, interiors teeming with vitality. Not only is Alnwick Castle an architectural masterpiece, the fortress also belies the active, influential history of its owners. There are many thousands of people who have experienced the splendour of Alnwick Castle, although they might not realize it, because it is an extremely popular site for film and TV location work; some of the many films that have used the castle are: Becket starring Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton, Mary Queen of Scots starring Vanessa Redgrave, Ivanhoe starring Anthony Andrews and Sam Neill, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner, and recently it has become known as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in both Harry Potter and the Philsopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Some of the television productions filmed on location at Alnwick are: Robin of Sherwood starring Michael Praed in the first series and Jason Connery in the se
cond, Blackadder I with Rowan Atkinson, Dracula with Louis Jordan and Frank Finlay, Festival Films, Newcastle upon Tyne - several shoots within the Catherine Cookson series. Useful Information Open Daily 1 April to 31 October 2003, 11am to 5pm (Last admission 4.15pm) Tearoom and Gift Shop open from 10am Admission Prices: (Castle and Garden joint prices in brackets.) Adult - £7.50 (£10) Concession (e.g. student, pensioner) - £6.50 (£9) Child (aged 16 years and under) - free with accompanying adult Discounts for pre-booked groups of 14+ persons: Adult - £6.50 (£9) Concession - £6.00 (£8) School groups - £1.20 per pupil (£2) Free car and coach parking. Baby changing facilities The castle is not fully accessible to wheelchair uses however there are accessible toilets. Location and Directions: Alnwick Castle is on the outskirts of Alnwick town, 35 miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne, and 30 miles south of Berwick upon Tweed and the Scottish Border. The Castle is just over a mile from the main A1 road, which goes from London (300 miles) to Edinburgh (80 miles). Newcastle International airport is 35 miles from Alnwick. There are rail services from London King's Cross, Newcastle and Edinburgh, which stop at Alnmouth (5 miles from Alnwick), the 518 bus to Alnwick leaves Alnmouth Station at 23 minutes past the hour from 09.23 until 22.23. The 505 bus service from Newcastle Haymarket stops at Alnwick. The Castle is two minutes walk from the bus station. Contact: Estates Office, Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1NQ Tel: 00 44 (0) 1665 510777 Mon - Fri. Tel: 00 44 (0) 1665 511100 24 hour information line
Gateshead lies on the south bank of the Tyne and until recently was probably considered the poor relation of Newcastle. However, the town has suddenly been thrust on the map by projects such as the stunning Gateshead Millennium Bridge - fondly referred to as 'the blinking eye'- a pedestrian and cyclist bridge that links Gateshead Quays with Newcastle Quayside, closely followed by the opening of the Baltic art gallery. The Baltic Centre, which is housed in a 1950's grain warehouse (part of the Baltic Flour Mills) opened in July 2002 and it is a major international centre for the production, presentation and experience of contemporary art; it has been described as an 'art factory' rather than an 'art gallery'. Three thousand square metres of arts space is housed in the original industrial brick building, there are five galleries, artist's studios, cinema and lecture space, media lab as well as a library and archive for the study of contemporary art. The interior has been designed with sharp clean lines and floor to ceiling windows offering magnificent platforms to view the river and its bridges; the staircases are all constructed from matt finish stainless steel so there is no reflective glare through the huge windows and there are three glass sided lifts offering panoramic views across the surrounding area. Baltic offers a constantly changing programme of events and exhibitions with no permanent collection; it places great emphasis on commissions, invitations to artists and the work of artists-in-residence. I visited the Baltic a couple of weeks ago and at the moment there are exhibits from Antony Gormley (who is well known in this area for his Angel of the North) on floors two, three and four, Sirkka-Liisa Knottinen on the ground floor, and in the cinema on the first floor a film was being shown explaining the making of one of the exhibits - the Domain Field by Antony Gormley. Also i
n the Baltic Centre there are three different food and drink outlets including the Rooftop Restaurant with stunning views of Tyneside and a small (rather expensive) shop selling books, art materials and Baltic merchandised goods such as Frisbees, stationery and shopping bags. The main entrance is on Baltic square where you gain access to the six main floors by the main staircase in the southwest tower of the building or by using the glass lifts that travel continually up and down the west façade.I'd recommend taking one of the three lifts up to the fifth floor (the sixth floor houses the Rooftop Restaurant), then walking back down the stairs from Gallery to Gallery, leaving your visit to the bookshop until last. Outside the lift on the fifth floor is a large viewing box, on one side you have panoramic views over the Tyne and you can easily see the bridges, the new curved Sage Music Centre designed by Sir Norman Foster and St. James Park Football Stadium among other landmarks. On the opposite side of the viewing box you find yourself overlooking the art space on the fourth floor, offering a very different perspective on the exhibits below. At the time of my visit I found myself looking down on Antony Gormley's Domain Field; basically two hundred and eighty six local volunteers were covered in plaster to make moulds, metal rods were then inserted into the mould and stuck together to form the shape of the person. Many artists were involved in this work and some used more rods than others creating different looks. After looking at the Domain Field from the viewing box you can go down to the fourth floor and walk around the gallery, looking at the exhibits you can easily distinguish different postures, some of the models have obviously tried to alter their stance to make themselves stand out by holding an arm in the air or standing slightly bent over for example. Also on the fourth floor there is another external viewing ter
race offering stunning views over the Tyne. In keeping with the Baltic's ethos of offering a constantly changing programme of events and exhibitions with no permanent collection, the views from this external viewing terrace will also be constantly changing depending on activities on the banks of the Tyne and the river itself, weather conditions, and of course the time of year. It offers some of the best unrestricted views of the area, in my opinion only bettered by the views from the Castle Keep in Newcastle, and it is a photographer's dream. The third floor offers another extremely large gallery, at the moment housing Allotment by Antony Gormley, three hundred tiny concrete rooms, each one made to fit individually around three hundred volunteers and exhibited in a type of maze that you walk around. I found it very amusing wandering around and listening to visitors comparing the size and shape of each one with themselves and people they knew. On the second floor the gallery is approximately half the size of those on the upper levels but still fairly large, again this gallery was exhibiting work by Antony Gormley; Body Fruit and Earth are large-scale cast iron sculptures resembling ripe fruit. Inside each sculpture there is an imprint of Antony's own body, he used plaster casts of himself in a crouched position, made a frame from the centre point and then covered the frame with the cast iron skin. The chrysalis like forms emanate a strong sense of gravity and two of the sculptures, Body and Fruit, are suspended from the ceiling in the gallery; the third sculpture, Earth is exhibited outside the Baltic's main door. The gallery on the ground floor is around the size of that on the second floor; during my visit there was a stunning exhibit of photographs by Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen depicting the North East Coal Coast and showing images of the beaches after the closure of the mines. I found these photographs extremely thought pro
voking, they depict the eerie aftermath of the pit closures, with old structures and pitmen's boots littering the blackened sand. For me Antony Gormley's three exhibits were equally about interacting with your fellow visitors as with art work itself, although they are stationary pieces you are encouraged to walk around them and explore them without actually touching them, this seemed quite impossible for a lot of visitors, who found it very difficult keeping their hands off the Body, Fruit and Earth sculptures in particular. The Baltic project cost nearly forty-six million pounds, a National Lottery grant of nearly thirty-four million million was awarded to Gateshead Council through the Arts Council of England and contributions from Gateshead Council, English Partnership through One North East, European Regional Development Fund and the Regional Arts Board, Northern Arts made up the remaining twelve and a half million pounds. It is estimated that the annual running cost should be in the region of three million pounds per year. However, the Baltic is the first lottery funded project to be awarded revenue funding, which amounts to one and a half million pounds per year and is guaranteed for the first five years. Northern Arts and Gateshead Council have also guaranteed contributions for the first five years; it is hoped that the remainder of the annual funding will be raised through corporate sponsorship, support from individuals and charitable organisations who directly contribute to its programme and education work. A dynamic public community programme works closely with the people living in the North East as well as with national and international audiences. Baltic has just launched an MA in Fine Art and Education, which is being run jointly with Northumbria University, the Master?s course is offered as a flexible part-time programme enabling artist lecturers, comprehensive and primary school teachers, who have their own a
rt practice to do so within a supportive, innovative and balanced environment. Due to the unique collaboration between the Divisions of Fine Art, Pre School and School Learning within Northumbria University and the Baltic extraordinary opportunities are beginning to open up to plan and deliver this distinctive Master of Fine Arts programme. The Baltic is fully accessible with a range of mobility facilities available on request however it is advisable to contact the Centre in advance of you visit to reserve a wheelchair, tri-wheel walker, motorised scooter or if you require information in large print or Braille. If you require any help during your visit there are members of the crew available on every level that are only too happy to assist in any way. There are easily accessible toilets on every floor and baby-changing facilities on the ground floor. The use of photographic equipment and mobile phones is not allowed in the art spaces. Admission to the Baltic is free, open daily 10.00am to 19.00pm (closes 22.00 Thursday and 17.00 Sunday). The easiest way to get to the Baltic is from Newcastle Central Station, which is served by national trains and local metro services. It's about a ten minute walk following the signs for the Millennium bridge. For more comprehensive directions take a look at the web site: www.balticmill.com Baltic The Centre for Contemporary Art, South Shore Road, Gateshead, NE8 3BA Tel: 0191 478 1810, Fax: 0191 478 1922
Newcastle International Airport is situated just north of Newcastle and it has come a long way since its humble beginnings. The airport started life on July 26th 1935, with a grass runway, a club house, a hanger, workshops, an ambulance room, a hose for petrol and a garage; the initial cost of all this was £35,000. Over the years the airport was extended and improved, in 2000 it under went a major revamp and passenger numbers have now reached 3.3 million. The airport is not large having only one terminal, however there are two check in halls, one caters for charter flights and the other schedule and domestic flights. Both check in halls are bright, large and clean with an abundance of luggage trolleys and an obvious presence of security guards and airport staff; you have facilities for changing money, there is a Tourist Information desk, a branch of W.H.Smith and a branch of Costa Coffee. The national car hire operators Avis, Budget, Hertz, National and Thrifty all operate from the passenger terminal and arrangements can be made to collect or leave hired cars at the Airport. The second floor of the building, reached by stairs, lift or escalator, has a large lounge with ample seating, branches of W.H.Smith, Boots and a manicure parlour. Refreshments are provided by Costa Coffee, a fast food outlet, two restaurants one of which is Latinos (serving Italian food), Baxters (serving mugs of soup) and the continental style Café Rapide. Entrance to the departure lounge is on this level. Again the departure lounge is large and bright with ceiling to floor windows along the full length of one wall looking out over the runways and tarmac. Here we find another branch of W.H.Smith, Boots, the Duty Free Shop, Latinos, Costa Coffee and a bar called Cushie Butterfields. Seating is plentiful and spacious although most seats have arm rests so if you have a long flight delay there are not many seats you can lie across. The large baggage collecti
on lounge has ample public phones, seats and public toilets. On the whole I have found baggage collection to be quite speedy at Newcastle. There are plenty of TV screens and information boards keeping you up to date with flight arrivals, departures and delays throughout the Airport. Public telephones and public toilets are located throughout the building; for parents there are nursing and baby changing rooms supported by a bottle warm heating service at the cafes. Newcastle Airport also provides an extensive passenger charter flight services to all the popular short haul holiday destinations and some long haul destinations and charter flight freight service to destinations all over the world. A sixteen-acre freight village at the airport is the base for three handling agents and twelve forwarding agents, providing a comprehensive service to importers and exporters. Newcastle Airport Worldwide Destinations: Andorra, Austria, Balearic Islands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Channel Isles, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Madeira, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, USA, Canary Islands, Tunisia and Turkey. The Airport provides both long stay and short stay car parks. You have to pre book for the long stay car park (at least one working day before departure), the cost is £3.80 per day and you have to book a minimum of three days; free transport is provided for all passengers and their luggage from the long stay car park to the terminal. Short stay parking for three hundred cars is provided directly outside the terminal building, to get into the car park you collect a ticket from the machine at the barrier, before returning to your car insert the ticket into one of the numerous parking fee machines found around the terminal building and in the car park, the machine will indicate the parking fee and once you insert the money your ticket is indented to allow you to insert it in t
he barrier and drive out of the car park. The first fifteen minutes are free in the short stay car park, it costs £1 from fifteen to thirty minutes and then the price goes up by 30p every fifteen minutes. The metro runs to Newcastle Airport and the station can be found just outside the terminal, the journey time from Newcastle Central Station is approximately twenty-five minutes and costs around £1.40. In front of the terminal there is a stand for Newcastle Taxis and uniformed drivers meet all inbound flights. Newcastle Airport has changed dramatically over the last few years and now EasyJet have secured a base at Newcastle low cost no frills flights to Alicante, Barcelona and Belfast will be available from April 2003 and flights to Paris, Prague and Bristol from August 2003, although you are able to book your flights now on the internet – my husband and son have booked return flights to Prague in August including airport taxes for £50 per person and my other son has booked a return flight to Barcelona in June for £40 per person again including taxes. Ryanair are due to start a daily service to Dublin on the 4th of January 2003. Useful Telephone Numbers/websites; www.ryanair.com www.easyjet.com Newcastle Airport General Information 0191 286 0966 Air France 0845 0845 111 Braathens 0191 214 0991 British Airways 0845 773 3377 KLM UK 08705 074 074 Airport Freight Manager 0191 214 3218
Mdina, also known as the Silent City, is a unique city, the ancient capital of Malta has been in existence as a fortified citadel since Arab times and there are few other cities that can boast a history so long or such an abundance of magnificent architecture. It is one of the few remaining medieval fortified cities in Europe and is built on a two hundred and thirteen metre high hill in the central region of Malta. The Island’s oldest city remained the capital of the Maltese Islands until 1568 when the Order of St. John took over the Islands and built Valletta, the present capital city. The city is situated next to the town of Rabat; Howard Gardens and Mdina’s fortified walls separate Mdina and Rabat from each other. There are only two ways into Mdina either through Mdina Gate or Greek Gate, both situated on the south wall of the city and you approach these gates through Howard Gardens and over one of two bridges spanning the drained moat, which is now a popular area for local youngsters to play ball games. Home to Malta’s nobility the city withstood a Turkish attack in 1565 and it was in Mdina, in 1798, that the Maltese conspired against the French and massacred the garrison. Heavily fortified, the city exuded an air of mystery, the reason for its unofficial name “Silent City” and the legacy of Mdina’s long history lives on in the narrow streets lined with imposing buildings and the majestic walls that once played such an important role in its defence and now serve as an ideal vantage point for panoramic views of the island. There is a calming atmosphere as you walk along the narrow streets and passageways of this tiny city and you have the opportunity to view some of the best Norman and Baroque architecture on the island, several Palaces are situated here and most now serve as private homes. Stroll through the winding streets and visit Vihena Palace (just inside Mdina Gate) home to the National Museum
of Natural History housing a modest selection of fossils, insects, birds, fish and shells, entrance fee converts to about £1.20. Next to Vihena Palace are the Dungeons and I would highly recommend a visit here, entrance fee converts to approximately £1.80 and the Dungeons contain many very lifelike waxwork models in realistic settings with background music, information boards and in a lot of cases taped stories of the events being depicted; I found these a little too lifelike at times and must admit to feeling a little eerie in the knowledge that a lot of the realistic scenes I was watching actually happened right where I was standing; it was money very well spent even if I did feel rather uncomfortable. Outside the Dungeons there is a set of stocks offering the opportunity to take photos of your companions. If you head for St. Paul’s Square you will find the majestic baroque Cathedral dedicated to St. Paul, the twin towered Cathedral with three doors was built by Lorenzo Gafa and is widely considered to be his finest work. There are two 17th century cannons on either side of the main entrance of the Cathedral. The Cathedral has floor to ceiling gates made from what looks like about inch wide metal posts in front of the Lady Altar and main Altar, these gates are painted black and our guide told us the gates are actually made of gold that was painted black to protect them during World War II in case the Islands were invaded, although we don’t know if that story is actually true. Entrance to the Cathedral is free however if you wish you can pay to take the guided tour (approximately £1.20). To the right of St. Paul’s Cathedral is Archbishop’s Square housing Archbishop’s Palace and the Cathedral Museum, entrance fee to the Museum converts to approximately £1.80, the Museum was built in the 18th century as a seminary for priests but now houses a splendid collection of works of art including woodcuts by Durer, eng
ravings by top European artists including Rembrant, Piransesi, Van Dyck and Goya, a magnificent coin collection, religious icons including silver statues, an ivory crucifix that belonged to Pope Pius VI, vestments, books as well as Punic and Roman artefacts. St Paul’s Square and Archbishop’s Square really run into one and this is the only open area inside the walls of Mdina. It only takes a few hours to wander the streets of Mdina, it is such a tiny city and has a population of approximately three hundred and in the height of summer it does attract a lot of tourists, however it still remains a quiet city and the narrow streets give welcome shade from the sun. On the whole Mdina is a pedestrian city, delivery vehicles for the few restaurants, cafés and small shops are only allowed to enter the city walls at certain times of the day and other than that the only vehicles allowed to enter are emergency vehicles and those belonging to inhabitants in specified areas. Visiting Mdina is like travelling in a time capsule, transporting you to another era, tucked away in the narrow alleyways there are an abundance of churches and buildings of architectural interest as well as a few good restaurants and cafes, we chose to have a snack in one of the cafes behind St. Paul’s square, situated right on the bastion wall to the north of the city and as we sat enjoying our cool drink and apple pie we had tremendous views to the Grand Harbour at Valletta, Mosta Dome and the National Football Stadium and Craft Village at Ta’Qali. If you travel to Mdina by car there are ample parking spaces on the Rabat side of Howard Gardens and Mdina/Rabat is well signposted from all the resorts in Malta however the number 80 bus runs regularly from Valletta to Rabat and the 81 bus to Dingli and 84 to Mtarfa from Valletta both go through Rabat, Mdina Gate is about five minutes walk from the bus stop. No visit to Malta is complete with
out a visit to the Silent City, there is so much to see and while you’re in the area have a look around Rabat where you will find the Grotto and Catacombs of St Paul (where it is said he took shelter when he was shipwrecked on Malta) and of equal interest are the catacombs of St. Agatha. I have used the conversion rate of 0.60 Maltese Lire equals £1.
I have to confess to not being one of the most avid readers of Dame Catherine Cooksons books but I do appreciate her work and I believe her to be one of the twentieth centuries great ladies of literature.
The young Katie McMullen was born illegitimate and into poverty in 1906, she was brought up by her grandmother Rose and step-grandfather John McMullen at 10, William Black Street, Jarrow, County Durham (now Tyne and Wear) and Kate Fawcett, who Catherine believed to be her sister was in fact her mother.
Unlike many of our leading writers, Catherine started life with many disadvantages, she had only the minimum of education and from the age of thirteen she suffered from a hereditary blood disorder however the stigma of her illegitimate birth, which left emotional scars and her harsh upbringing became the dominant tableau of her amazing output of one hundred and three novels over fifty years.
From an early age Catherine was determined to become a writer, she was an avid reader and wrote her first short story The Wild Irish Girl when she was eleven, and sent it to the local daily evening newspaper The Shields Gazette, the Gazette returned it unpublished after three days (I cant help thinking they must regret not keeping it in their archives).
In later life Catherine was once quoted as saying I was a story-teller from the time I could talk, and if I could get an audience, if I could get someone to listen to me. I used to pass the time telling myself wonderful stories about us living in a nice house with lino on the stairs, one of the best ones Ive ever told was about the wee folk, the little green men talking to me.
At the age of thirteen Catherine left school and began working as a maid in the houses of the rich and powerful, witnessing the great class barrier inside the wealthy society. In an attempt to find security and respectability Catherine left the North
East at the age of twenty-three to manage a laundry in Hastings and within a few years she had scrapped together enough money to buy a house where she took in gentlemen boarders.
One of Catherines boarders was kindly, mild-mannered school teacher Thomas (Tom) Cookson who she married in 1940 at the age of thirty-four. Tom became Catherines staunch companion and support during years of physical and mental sickness and the heartache of numerous miscarriages.
On the advice of her doctor the well read and largely self-taught Catherine took up writing again and her first novel Kate Hannigan was completed in 1948 when she was forty-two; Kate Hannigan is partly autobiographical and in the story Kate, a working class girl becomes pregnant by an upper middle class man, the child (a girl) is born and brought up by Kates parents, the child believes them to be her parents and Kate to be her sister.
Catherine wrote her first sixteen books longhand, but after this she used a tape recorder, acting the parts of the characters she was writing about, Tom worked as her private secretary and helped with the grammar and spelling.
Catherine was not afraid to tackle social issues or class tensions, her book Colour Blind (1953) is the story of a woman who marries a black man; they have a daughter who suffers at the hands of classmates and a bitter uncle. The background is realistic and offers an understanding picture of the British working class; The Black Candle (1989) is set in the nineteenth century and depicts a clash between two families from different social classes.
Many of Catherines novels are centred on the poverty in the North East of England and are set in mines, shipyards or farms and the surrounding countryside in various periods from the nineteenth century onwards. She carefully researched the historical background for her writings as well as drawing on her own experiences as material and recollections of her family and friends.
Several of Catherines novels are serialized and trace the life of an individual character or family such as the Mallen Family and Tilly Trotter. Catherines characters usually cross the class barrier by means of education, Tilly Trotter is taught to read and write by the parsons daughter.
Catherines characters are often outcasts, Tilly is thought to be a witch by the local villagers, the story begins during the reign of the young Queen Victoria and Tilly moves up and down the social scale; she becomes the mistress of a wealthy man, the wife of his son, and later she moves to the United States. The Tilly Trotter series of novels, Tilly Trotter (1980) Tilly Trotter Wed (1981) and Tilly Trotter Widowed (1982) inspired the film Tilly Trotter (1999).
The Mallan Family trilogy began with The Mallan Streak (1973) continued with The Mallen Girl (1974) and ended with The Mallen Lot (1974), the saga was set in the nineteenth century and depicts the affairs of the family against the background of hidden sins of the past.
Catherines autobiography Our Kate was published in 1969 and other autobiographical works include Catherine Cookson Country (1986), Let Me Make Myself Plain (1988) and Plainer Still: A New Personal Anthology (1995)
Novels by Catherine Cookson have been translated into twenty languages, in 1988 one third of all fiction borrowed from public libraries in the United Kingdom was by Catherine Cookson and in 1997 nine of her works were on the list of the top ten most borrowed books.
It was inevitable that many of her compelling storylines and powerful characters would become major television dramas and film crews have used authentic backdrops like South Shields Town Hall, Marsden Rock, Jarrow Hall and the still to be seen cobbled streets of the riverside at Mill Dam, South Shields along with many local people as extras; my mother and sister are seen as extras in the opening scenes of the televised version of The Cinder Path largely filmed at Beamish Open Air Museum and one of my sons (hudso_a at the age of fifteen) was employed as a double of the young Stephen in The Glass Virgin, the part he was in was filmed at Alnwick Castle and Jarrow Hall, unfortunately in one of the scenes he had to ride a horse and prior to this he had only ever ridden a donkey as a small child, which he fell off, however he took the part of Stephen so well it is difficult to tell that he was a double.
Catherine Cookson also wrote under the name Catherine Marchant (The Slow Awakening and The Iron Façade both written in 1976 are two of her books written under the name Marchant). She was made a Dame, received the Freedom of the Borough of South Tyneside, an honorary degree from the University of Newcastle, the Royal Society of Literatures award for the Best Regional Novel of the Year, the Variety Club of Great Britain named her Writer of the Year and she was voted Personality of the North East among countless other awards and literary honours during her long career, her books are available in both hard back and paper back in all major book shops as well as small outlets and newsagents, you can also buy her work online, click on amazon.com to check out their selection of Catherine Cookson works.
Dame Catherine Cookson nee Catherine Ann McMullen was born on 27th June 1906, she died at her home in Newcastle upon Tyne on 11th June 1998, days before her ninety-second birthday and her novel Kate Hanningans Girl (1999), which continues the story of her first novel was published posthumously.
Perhaps an even greater romantic drama than any of those found in the pages of her books was contained in her own life and the love and devotion shared between her and Tom, so bereft and distraught was he that he died three-weeks after his beloved Catherine.
Dame Catherine is known to all in her hometown of Jarrow and throughout the North East simply as Wor Kate, her generosity was legendary and many charities and individuals still benefit from her kindness today.
I’ve eventually reached my fiftieth opinion on dooyoo and a momentous occasion it is for me so I’ve thought for quiet a while about what this special opinion should be about and really feel it should reflect who I am. Well I have a very keen interest in all things historical, I enjoy visiting or re-visiting places of interest or local beauty spots in the area, as those of you who are regular readers of my opinions will have gathered and I adore my home city Newcastle so what better topic to write about than the Castle Keep and City Walls, there historical, local and in Newcastle. Newcastle has always been a river crossing and the Romans originally built a castle, Pons Aelius, on the banks of the Tyne, this Roman fortification is thought to have been the original starting point of Hadrian’s Wall, however the city’s name derives from the “new” castle, which overlies Pons Aelius and was built in 1080 by Robert Curthouse, eldest son of William the Conqueror. Nothing now remains of this Norman Castle and the Castle Keep we see today dates from 1172 when Henry II ordered the destruction of Robert Curthouse’s castle and the building of another castle with a gate house and city wall to strengthen defences against the Scots. Newcastle had always been a part of Northumberland however in 1400 it became an independent county but the castle remained a part of Northumberland and the Great Hall of the castle served as the assize courtroom with the castle dungeons used as the county gaol. Felons from Newcastle were able to gain refuge in the castle because Newcastle authorities had no power of arrest there due to its status as part of Northumberland. During the thirteenth century further building work took place to enlarge and strengthen the castle and city walls and add further gate houses, two of which were Black Gate and Gallows’ Gate, and the Great Hall were added but by 1589 the Cast
le was described as being obsolete and in ruins and to ensure no more law breakers from Newcastle were able to escape being brought to justice Queen Elizabeth I issued a charter to put an end to this situation. In 1810 Newcastle Corporation acquired the site and private dwellings, shops and the derelict bailey were demolished to make way for the present Moot Hall; “Moot” is an old English word meaning “meeting” and this new building served as the Crown Court house and is still used today as an overflow for court cases when the Quayside Law Courts are very busy. The architect of the Moot Hall was William Stokoe and the style reflects the vogue for recreating a fanciful version of ancient Greek building style. Newcastle Corporation used the Black Gate as a “poor house” and planning permission was submitted to the Corporation to demolish the remaining ruins of the castle and build a city abattoir on the site. The Society of Antiquaries objected strongly to these plans and Newcastle Corporation, not having the foresight or funds to restore the remains gave the Castle to the Society. The Society of Antiquaries restored the Castle Keep and added the turrets to the top, what we see today is in the main Victorian restoration work and not a great deal of original thirteenth century architecture but it is still a majestic site largely hidden within a modern city. Enough of the history, time to get down to what’s at the Castle Keep now and how to get there. Well the best way of visiting the Castle Keep is to arrive in Newcastle by train or metro and get off at the Central Station. Turn right as you leave Central Station and follow the street, the street curves to the right, after walking for about five minutes you’ll reach the site of the Castle Keep. Visitors to the Castle Keep are able to see displays about the history of the castle and exhibits of artefacts discovered during restora
tion work on the site. The castle is rich in history and when you wander around you get the feel of what has happened over the centuries on the site ranging from the arrival of the Romans, Anglo Saxon burials, Civil War fortifications to the neglect of our city forefathers. You can climb the steep steps of the Castle Keep and admire the Victorian Turrets as well as gaining a good vantage point for the views of the quayside. The original Great Hall of the castle is now buried beneath the Moot Hall and you are able to gain entry to the Moot Hall at certain times of the day. The Castle Keep is open from 9.30am-5.30pm (4.30 in winter), Tuesday to Sunday. Across from the entrance to the Keep, and just to the left of the Bridge Pub, are a set of stairs which wind down through some of the remains of the castle to the Quayside. During the Victorian era the High Level Bridge was built, this was the world's first road and rail bridge and was designed by Robert Stephenson son of George Stephenson, the railway pioneer, a great feat of engineering but unfortunately it was positioned right through the centre of the Castle fortification and walls. The bridge was opened by Queen Victoria in 1849 and today rail passengers entering Newcastle from the south have a magnificent view of the Castle Keep as trains and metros cross the Tyne For a view of the West Wall, the best remaining section of Newcastle’s medieval defensive fortification (built in 1265) walk from the Castle Keep towards St. James’ Park football ground, passing Old Eldon Square and the Cenotaph on your right, cross Percy Street, follow the road to the left of Barclays Bank and take a left immediately in front of Gallowgate Coach Station you'll see a pub called Rosie's standing at the entrance to Stowell Street, which is the city's Chinatown area, you will have walked under the arch of Gallows’ Gate between the Coach Station and Rosie’s pub, the
West Wall runs parallel to Stowell Street. At the bottom of Stowell Street and opposite Friar Street junction you can see one of the remaining Wall Towers. Friar Street itself is distinguished by Blackfriars, a former monastery dating from the 13th century. The complex has been renovated and now features several craft shops, restaurants and a small tourist information centre. Probably the most peaceful spot in the city centre, Blackfriars is well worth at least an hour or so of your time. It's open daily (except Sunday and Monday in Winter) admission is free and you can quiet easily feel as if you have been transported back in time as you walk along the cobbles. The Castle Keep is a listed building and therefore any work or modernization is carefully vetted and because of this it is not yet suitable for people with mobility problems however plans are in the pipeline to open the ground floor of the building and install ramps, video and computer equipment to allow limited access for those with disabilities. Admission to The Castle Keep is £1.50 for adults and 50p for children and concessions. Further information about the Castle Keep can be obtained from: The Society of Antiquaries, Castle Keep, Castle Garth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ Telephone (0191) 232 7938
They say holiday romances don’t last and once you get home no matter how good your intentions and no matter how much in love you think you are you will forget all about each other. Well I have only really had one holiday romance, we met about eight years ago and I can remember our first meeting as if it were yesterday. My husband, Mick and I were sitting outside a little street café in Spinolla Bay, Malta, it was very hot and Mick ordered our drinks. I was in an experimental mood and asked Mick to choose my drink and surprise me. The waiter brought our drinks, a glass of hop leaf for Mick and a long cold drink for me. I looked out over the deep blue Mediterranean Sea, raised my glass and took a long slow drink of the most beautiful, thirst quenching drink I have ever tasted. That was the start of my holiday romance with Archie, a romance that is rekindled every year. Archie’s real name is Archers Peach Schnapps and it is present on the shelves of most supermarkets, it is usually found in 70cl size white glass bottles and the bottle is semi-opaque allowing you to see the level of the liquid in side the bottle but nothing else, each bottle is 23% volume but has the ability to trick the drinker into thinking they are drinking a soft drink. The fresh peach aroma is very pleasing and far from overpowering and it has a subtle peach taste although it is quite sweet, but also very clean and crisp. There are many ways of drinking Archers and it is one of the main ingredients in many cocktails, one cocktail is “sex on the beach” and it is made with a bottle of Archers, a bottle of Vodka, a carton of Cranberry Juice and a carton of Orange Juice; you can also drink Archers neat or mixed with various fruit juices, tonic water, soda or fizzy soft drinks but all taste best chilled. I like to chill a tumbler in the fridge, quarter fill it with Archers, fill the glass with lemonade and add a slice of lemon then
drink. You could add ice cubes instead of chilling the glass but I find this slightly dilutes the taste. I think of Archers as my summer drink, it is so cool and refreshing and you can easily forget you are drinking alcohol; it just goes down so smoothly. You can buy a 70cl bottle of Archers in most supermarkets for under £10 but I always pick myself up two or three litre bottles for about £5 each when I’m abroad, after all holiday romances usually only last the summer! Archers does have a web site but there really is not that much of interest on it unfortunately and you have to enter your date of birth and the country you live in before you can get into the site. The web site address is www.archers.com there are a few competitions, photos and promotions on the web site. "Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just write about one of YOUR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August." Here’s to the next four years Jill – I will be having one or two glasses of Archer’s and lemonade in you honour today.