York England: History everywhere

After lunch we wandered around the historic centre, discovering this delightful sign for the street of Swinegate. It’s not about gates as such, but about passageways, or access, so, a bit like a gate as we know it.

The old Barley Hall was not on our ‘must see’ list, but we couldn’t resist exploring when we stumbled across this sign. Without any date, it was still easy to work out the approximate year as Susanne’s head almost touched the top of the passage that led to the ancient hall. I hope you can read that the owner was a former mayor of York. By today’s standards the residence was relatively simple, but the gentleman had servants, a ‘study’ and all the necessary ‘stuff’ to show that he was a person of importance in the area. The house was narrow with rather unsafe ( by our standards) stair cases and I was confused by the layout as  the rooms seemed to be all over the place instead of following a logical plan.

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York England 2016: Day Two

Our travel editor for the West Australian newspaper, Stephen Scourfield, wrote about touring around England in last Saturday’s travel lift-out. I feel that I could qualify for having similar tales published, particularly with all that we saw and did in York last year.

Stephen even mentioned the squirrels – see the little fellow that we met, along with pigeons (or are they doves? I never know the difference.

One of the things I love about England is the abundance of parks and the fact that they are well cared for, with  well-placed trees and clusters of shrubs and flowers, especially when you arrive in spring, as we did.






The Museum Gardens are situated about two minutes walk from our accommodation and are the most direct route to the centre of town, so, whenever possible (the gates are closed every night) we walked through it, coming out at Museum St on the other side.









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Spring in the Hills

Spring is here again, and my camera has been busy, so today, instead of York in England, I have to write about my garden in Glen Forrest.



The view from my bedroom, into a private courtyard which is now finished, is already a delight and in a few weeks, when everything blossoms, it will be heavenly. From my study, where I write these blog posts as well as my short stories, poems  and the latest novel (about halfway there), I am inspired by nature, which often includes a friendly goanna and lots of birds.

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York in England 2016

One of my favourite places in the UK is York. Like Bath, it is a large city with a very interesting history and the architecture (much of it dating from the middle ages)  begs for camera action at every turn.

York Minster, visible from most parts of the city

The famous York Minster requires at least one visit, as the foundations go down to Roman times with so much to see and absorb from then on. The Vikings settled there during their raids in the Dark Ages, giving it the name of Yorvik, evidence of which is still to be found (when not closed due to flooding as it is for several years, but more of that later.)

We travelled there by train on the 30th May last year. From Banbury this is very easy as, provided you catch one of several direct journeys, it should only take about three hours with none of the awkward darting about with luggage to swap from one train to another. However, as we came into Derby, (which puzzled us as that wasn’t on the original route) we were informed that an incident on the track ahead of us had forced the closure of that section of the line. We were then advised to stay in our seats while a group of passengers from the affected train were loaded onto ours. Everyone closed gaps


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London 2016: The National Gallery

This week I am at last back to presenting my thoughts and images of The National Gallery in London. Although I love the French Impressionists and therefore, the famous galleries in Paris, some of my favourite artists are to be found in this London landmark. I generally like to have lunch in the small restaurant near the entrance, but as we had already eaten at the V&A and we wanted to catch our train back to Banbury ahead of the crowds, we went straight up stairs to the grand galleries where even the walls and timber work are impressive.

National Gallery where even the walls are impressive


When searching through my photo files, I couldn’t find any from this visit, so we have Susanne to thank for the images you see here. I guess that, having stood in front of the same paintings so often, and having many photos of them from precious visits, I must have decided to not bother taking more that day. The main purpose in going there was for me to show my sister the amazing skies produced by Turner.

Turner is famous for painting skies like this








Amongst his other works, this view of the steam train crossing the bridge, is well known to all followers of English art. Again, the sky is an important feature of the painting. Susanne was suitable impressed.

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