There’s more than one alma mater, you know: way up North to Durham

I suppose Cambridge is easier to get to from London. And it is quite pretty, I guess. And a *fairly* good university… [I’m not going to rise to any of this. Some people are just jealous.] Nonetheless, I was very excited to give the tour of my own university, way up at the other end of the country in the tiny city of Durham.

Even more special to me, though, was a visit to my old college, University College, or Castle as it’s known. It is, indeed, a castle, built in the 11th century [although the keep was rebuilt in Victorian times] to defend against marauding Scots, and was lived in by the Prince Bishops before the students took over.

I lived in the keep, with a very lovely roommate:

University College, Durham

Sang (often hungover) in the tiny Tunstall Chapel, built in 1540:

Chapel at University College, Durham

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The land of Shakespeare

So I was taken away on a special weekend trip… A lucky girl indeed. Although English Lit courses at uni are a distant memory, I was excited to be taken to Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of Mr William Shakespeare himself.

We bought the Five House Pass [2-for-1 if you’re a Direct Line customer! or 10% if you book online], a combined ticket that gets you access to all the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust sites, which we think is good value if you visit two or more. We started with the cottage he was born in. It is a lot bigger now, though…

Shakespeare's Birthplace

Below is one of the two downstairs rooms original to the time of Shakespeare’s birth. There is a real sense of history as you experience the house, although it is pretty packed with tourists like us!

Inside Shakespeare's Birthplace

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A trip to Bradford

While I was back North, I spent a day in Bradford, which has a variety of free museums run by the council. Being a bit of an engineering nerd naturally meant that the Industrial Museum was first on the list. They have a variety of machines, many of which are kept in working order and run throughout the day.

Industrial machine oil

After exploring the steam engines, there is a section dedicated to the evolution of the printing press, and how the process was gradually automated and optimised.

Bradford Industrial Museum sign

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Trip oop North

My sister and I aim to go on a walking holiday every year. As we had (ashamedly) not spent as much time in the Yorkshire Dales as we should have, having grown up so nearby, we decided to head to Swaledale this year.

On the first day we headed to Aysgarth Falls, along the River Swale (the falls themselves are behind me in this picture!)

Aysgarth Falls

Our cottage in Reeth had a lovely garden looking down into the valley. 

View from cottage in Reeth

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Bath – guest photographer

[Normally I’m the one behind the camera, but in our “guest photographer” posts, I take a back seat while my other half upstages me using my old camera… these are the results]

…And my shots of Bath, with some different topics this time; maybe I’m getting more of a photographer’s eye?!

The stunning Royal Crescent, blurred behind one of the last summer roses:

Royal Crescent with rose

A typical Bath street.

Row of Georgian terraces

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A weekend away (or, Bath time!)

Last weekend we wanted a fun time away, so we decided to head to Bath. Not too far from London, and with plenty to see, it was an ideal place to spend a lovely weekend. We arrived, and went for a wander around the city. So much beautiful Georgian architecture:

Brock Street - Circus

We then went to the Assembly Rooms; although they were closed for an event we managed to sneak a couple of photos… [I might have been ushered out soon afterwards]

Ballroom - Assembly Rooms

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A brief trip to Wales

Recently we jumped in the car and headed off to visit some friends in Wales. They live in Cardiff, but we were more adventurous than this suggests…

On a rather grey day we headed up Pen y Fan. Spoken of by our local friends as a bit of a stroll, we discovered it was a fairly substantial hike – I for one was extremely glad when we reached the top! (And I definitely wasn’t pulled up the final stretch… [ahem]) It was a stunning view, despite the lack of sun, and allowed us to see the Brecon Beacons in a new light.

Pen y Fan

Even hiking gets arty, if you cross a stream…

Walking through a river

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Tour to Dublin

[I didn’t fancy carrying around the DSLR on this trip, so these pictures are from my trusty compact, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS35]

My first visit to Dublin [I’d visited before, but a few years ago] was in the form of a choir tour with some good friends. We decided to get the ferry from Fishguard, which made for a ridiculously long day’s travelling [never again], but at least we could admire the wildlife on the ferry crossing!

Seagull

Once we arrived, after a spot of singing and a lot of pubbing, we had a day to explore the city. We went on a brilliant river boat cruise, which took in some of Dublin’s famous bridges, including the striking, modern Samuel Beckett bridge.

Samuel Beckett bridge

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Trip to the Isle of Wight

[My Canon 600D was unfortunately out of action for this trip, but my flatmate kindly lent me his Nikon 3200, so all was not lost]

We recently had a wonderful trip to the Isle of Wight for a weekend away. Expecting rain, we were pleased and surprised to have hot, dry weather and beautiful blue sky for all three days. We visited beautiful, unspoilt beaches like this one and paddled (although the pebbles were painful!).

Isle of Wight beach

Walking down to another beach, we found a stream of little notes, taped to branches and fenceposts, and sometimes to the path itself. So romantic! [She gets excited about these things.] We decided it must be for a husband or boyfriend returning from the army.

Returning love notes

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Black Country Living Museum

A little bit geographically removed from our usual stomping ground, we headed up to Birmingham for a family Easter weekend. One of the activities on the agenda was a trip to the Black Country Living Museum. A fan of similar setups like Beamish, we were very excited to see what this museum had to offer. And we weren’t disappointed!

An old fashioned fairground to start – one of us [I think you can guess which one] *may* have been busted with a sneaky hand over the side to slow the helter-skelter pace a little bit…

Helter Skelter

Some gorgeous old trolleybuses to excite the Northerner (plus we’re both secret [and not so secret] transport geeks…)

Trolleybus

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