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The Gallery

#TheGallery – Adventure

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All the best adventures start with a journey. Some of the very best start with a train ride. Even if the train is electric rather than steam, there’s something special about it that still gives me a thrill after years of commuting by train. Someone else is doing the hard work, you sit back and concentrate on everything else around you.
I’ve been on long train rides with happy prison officers, celebrating a new job with many beers, with generous ex-pats recently returned from abroad, with an actress playing the short-lived victim in a tv drama. You never know who’s going to be travelling with you.
Trains take you right to the heart of a place, unlike aeroplanes. In Newcastle, you’re 2 minutes from the fantastic Life centre and a short Metro ride (an adventure by itself) from the Hancock museum and it’s resident T-Rex. York station is a stone’s throw from the NRM. And King’s Cross, well…
The station in the picture above is Corbridge, the kids are mine and the wonderful lady is my late mother in law. She was a woman who had more than her fair share of adventures over the years. But they’re stories for another day.

Now I’d be ever so grateful if someone could link me up to The Gallery linky as I’m writing this on the train and the wifi is rather dodgy.

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The Gallery

The Gallery 125 – Beginning to look like Christmas

Is it me or does Christmas start earlier each year?  Is it just me that’s getting annoyed by this?  Probably not, but what can we do about it?  The earliest I’ve seen Christmas stuff this year was during the summer at a superb English Heritage pile near Hexham – they were setting out their Christmas cards by popular demand!  People actually spend their summer picking up bits and pieces they’re going to need at Christmas!  Why can’t they do what normal people do and get them in the January sales, stick them in a box and forget about them for 11 months?

Anyway.  Now that we’re well into December I feel I can allow myself to get a little festive.  What with one thing and another, our Christmas tree went up a whole week earlier than last year, giving me a whole extra week to pick up dropped needles, keep the kids from trashing it and stop the cats from pretending they’re ornaments.  Normally, it’d be this weekend coming, less than a fortnight to go, before the tree went in but I’m glad we got it early this year, the garden centre was starting to get a bit low on stock!

Have to admit I do love having a real tree, there’s something powerful about the smell that triggers all sorts of memories – the enormous tree we used to have at mum and dad’s when we were growing up, the one you needed ladders and climbing gear to decorate – and don’t forget to put the star on top before standing it up otherwise it ain’t getting one.  Just smelling the pine (and the tinsel, the baubles, etc) makes me feel warmer, like I’ve got a roaring log fire to settle down beside.  It makes me think of old movies on TV, classics that everyone gathered round to watch.  Makes me think of the Christmas edition of the Radio Times, the only issue I buy, and going through it with a marker pen to circle all the things I’ll be watching – in my imagination!

So.  For me, the proper start of Christmas is when the tree goes in.  And here it goes:

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The Gallery

Colour – The Gallery, Week 125

One of the advantages of living on a Godforsaken rock in the middle of nowhere is the view you get.  As I may have mentioned before, it was the view from the lounge window that sold us the house in the first place, almost a decade ago.

With winter well and truly upon us now, the sun rarely rises very high for several months of the year but we’re graced with sunrises like this…

A few minutes later, all change as the sun makes it over the horizon and we get this…

Five minutes after that and the sky will probably be grey all over, the clouds thickening and the day digging in to be grey and miserable.  But for the duration of the dawn, it’s a truly magical sight.  And that’s what greets me every morning.

Sure, it’s cold, windy and dark through most of the winter.  Sure, the temperature doesn’t get much into the 20s during the summer – but it doesn’t drop much below freezing over the winter, the sea’s a great insulator.

Right now, I’m looking out of the office window over a steel-grey choppy bay, the snow-covered hills blending into the grey-white sky in across the water.  But tomorrow morning I’ll see that sunrise again.

Now.  Other people, far more talented and with better cameras, have all joined in with The Gallery.  So go take a look.