In this blogposting…
* The Lady of the North
* Washington

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It’s been quite a while since I posted a blog so, now that everyone’s had plenty of time to absorb all that fascinating information about Azerbaijan, it’s time to turn our collective gaze closer to home…

My old friend Kathy made one of her rare excursions to the north-east a couple of weekends ago and, because it was a such an uncommonly fine few days, we spend almost all day, every day, outside.  I took her to Durham City (naturally), Tynemouth, Sunderland and Seaton Delaval Hall, which the National Trust have made a superb job of restoring to its former glory and enhancing its user-friendliness.

A celebration of the Queen’s coronation was in full swing, complete with cream teas, children’s games and a brass band.  It was lovely.  Maybe we should have an AGM there.

Not far inland from Seaton Delaval, we made our way to one of the area’s more bizarre sites - Northumberlandia, ‘The Lady of the North’ or, perhaps unkindly, ‘Slag Alice’.  She’s the largest human-form earth-sculpture in the world - although I’m not sure how many human-form earth-sculptures she’s in competition with.
She’s 34m high at the nose, 400m long, is made of over 1.5m tonnes of earth and is set in 19 hectares of public open parkland.  The bald statistics, though, don’t really prepare you for what you see when you get there.

She is sensational.  Not even ground-level or aerial photographs do her justice.  She reclines in her glory right next to an open-cast mine ( - hence her unkind nickname - ), whose owners (Banks) partly funded her.  The Blagdon Estate coughed up the rest.

A woodland walk brings you to her.  You see her in silhouette, bounded by lakes and laced with footpaths that wind their way up to her forehead.  Wander round the watersides and climb slowly to the top and you’re rewarded with the only view there is of her whole body laid out below you.  Nearest to you, her eyes gaze forever to the sky and the stars.
It’s breathtaking - it really is.  Her form and contours seem to be formed of the earth rather than made from it and I can easily imagine her acquiring an almost mystical significance, in much the same way as the Angel.  I’d love to be there early one morning, or perhaps at dusk, when long shadows and low light must add to her beauty and her mysterious majesty.

The Lady of the North would make a great place for a Truckshunters Summer Picnic.  Any takers?
In any case...if you haven’t been - go!

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Kathy’s a keen birdwatcher, so the Wetlands Trust site near Washington was also a must-see.  And it, too, was a delight from beginning to end.  From the rare cranes, geese and ducks, via the dozens of garden and woodland birds at the feeding stations, the herons and the oystercatchers, the pink flamingos and the frolicking otters. 

It’s always the same, isn’t it?  You take for granted the wonders that lie on your doorstep and only visit them when you’re hosting a guest.  So I’ve decided to formulate a ‘mid-year resolution‘ - to visit Slag Alice, Seaton Delaval and the Wetlands Centre MUCH more often.

And yes - we now have three sites for AGMs or outings as a result of Kathy’s visit.

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Speaking of which…
I think we should, as it were, resurrect our series of AGMs from oblivion.

The next one - number 41 - will take place at 1100 on Thursday 4 July.  Bearing the date in mind, I suppose a good venue would be Washington Old Hall.  Any takers?  Or am I whistling in the wind, as usual?

* *
...that today, June 13, has been Paul Wappat’s birthday.

Modesty, and several thinly-veiled threats, prevent me from telling you how old he is now.

So all I’ll say to my dear not-so-old friend  - from all of us - is…


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Post comments on this blog or email me:  truckshunters@googlemail.com

1 comment:

Bentonbag said...

So far I'm free on 4th July