Itchy feet …… That old familiar feeling 

I left home at 18. It was the hardest and scariest thing I ever did but on reflection it was also the best thing I ever did. It gave me the courage to do things I don’t think I would have ever attempted if I had stayed in Barnard Castle.

It led to me traveling, I moved abroad, with a job offer, a plane ticket and £100 cash …… I just hoped for the best! It turned out to be amazing! But the only down side is, now that’s all I want to do, absorb as much of this beautiful planet as possible.

I am “settled” but I am lucky that my love of traveling has “rubbed off” on my husband Ben. If anything I have turned him into a monster! He no longer is happy with the package beach holidays by the pool he wants to see as much as possible!

The realities of being a grown up (I use the term loosely because I don’t believe I am that) mean that you have responsibilities, I think as you get older you are more aware of ties to your normal life and therefore the chances to pack up and go traveling six months at a time are limited. 

There are of cause pros and cons to both lifestyles things you gain, things you miss out on. So here I am trying to find a balance! Not every adventure involves a backpack and slipping off to Asia for half a year! While this is an amazing experience …..it’s such a long flight ….lol

Still….. every now and then I get this feeling, usually followed by frivolous spending!!! It’s one of the few things not having children has given us. The opportunity to just pack up and go (work permitting)!

 I realise how much beauty we have around us sometimes, I still have to give myself a kick up the bottom to get out and see what’s round and about – again NOT every adventure means traveling for miles, beauty is to be found everywhere if you look hard enough and I suppose that’s the point of this blog. Me proudly shouting to the world

“Look at where I live, isn’t it beautiful?!”

Here are a few recently taken shots and some from our travels near and far away, just because it is Friday and most of you will hopefully have time this weekend – GO HAVE AN ADVENTURE!!! Leave the SatNav at home, get lost, go down that road you might have wondered

“where does that go?”

Don’t worry about wifi or phone signal have a blast and then when you get home – Post me some pics 🙂

Follow me on FB, Instagram and Twitter 🙂 citygurlgonecountry

Rome Castle St Angelo
Rome Sunset
Coppola St Peters Basilica , Rome
NYC
Sunset, Lake District, England
Woodland near my house, looks Magical! I think there is a troll in there somewhere!
Inside the castle, Barnard Castle
View from the castle wall, Barnard Castle
Barnard Castle

High Force Waterfall, Teesdale.
Looking out of the castle, Barnard Castle
Yellow Cab, NYC.
Grand Central Station, NYC – early morning rush.
Memorial for 9/11, NYC.
Liberty Bell, Philadelphia.
Smithsonian, Washington DC.

Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC.

Top of the Rock, My husband photographing me as it turns out, while I am photographing him! sneaky! lol
Through Virginia, USA.
In the Blue Ridge Mountains, a beautiful farm!
Smokey Mountains.
Stormy day in my home town, start of a rainbow.
gonecountry

Sunset over Ulswater, Lake District, England.
Who’s that trip trapping over my bridge??
                        

Until next time xoxo

Passing time. Pulling myself together!

So it’s been a week. While I have been dealing with losing our baby, I have had a lot of time to kill recovering. I spent a lot time editing pics and I thought I would share them here. 

 

County Bridge Barnard Castle
 
 I have a couple of more meaty blogs but I am struggling to finish them at the moment, my concentrations not great so hopefully you can forgive me and they will be with you soon.  Until then hopefully you will enjoy these xoxo

woodland near to my house
Barnard castle, County Bridge
  

High Force, Teesdale
High Force, Teesdale
    

woodland next to High Force waterfalll, i always imagine fairies and woodland creatures
woodland near where I live
The castle walls
Inside the Castle
Inside the Castle
View point from the castle walls
The view from Barnard Castle walls

Teesdale through new eyes

My home town of Barnard Castle was the most boring place in the world to me as a teenager, since moving back here it’s like a totally different place. It hasn’t changed, the fact is the town probably hasn’t in generations. It’s me that has changed. 

We picked the house we are in because of the beautiful view  – where as in the city we picked a house that was close to the night life. How times have changed. 

 Our view from our garden. 

My husband added a bird feeder to our garden this week and was so excited by the birds, we also have a bird house with a family of blue tits in and I had to chuckle, if I could talk to  my 15 year old self about my love of this beautiful part of the world. I would die laughing!!

   
 My days of sitting in rush hour traffic behind me, well on the whole, replaced now by hours behind tractors and actually trying to get to anywhere on time! I have to say driving in the countryside is certainly fun, there’s always a question mark over if you get safely to your destination, but at least the view while I am driving is beautiful!

  

the view from the roadside

Often we are so quick to disregard what’s around us because it’s so familiar. But now I think it’s wonderful, I see my home town and area through new eyes and it’s so beautiful. I can’t wait to share it with you ….. Until next time xoxoxox

 

The Castle, Barnard Castle
  
The Buttermarket Barnard Castle
  
an old tunnel , in the old part of town
  
old tree in the grounds of Raby Castle
  
above the clouds, foggy day in Middleton
  
view of the castle , opp the river, Barnard Castle
  
Tyne Bridge
  
Egglestone Abbey
  
Egglestone Abbey
   
Graveyard at St Marys, Barnard Castle
  
By the river , Middleton in Teesdale
  
By the river and bridge, Middleton in Teesdale
  
Green Lane walk
  
fields of yellow, so beautiful
   
Green Lane
 

100 Guinea Pigs, 6 Cats, 2 Dogs and 2 humans!

My cousin Gavin is 26, he is mentioned in my previous blog, he has been a big influence on my decision to start to write publically, to feel confident enough to share. He has Burkitt Lymphoma it’s a type of Leukaemia. He was diagnosed in January this year and it has been a tough start to the year for all of us but no one more than Gav.

He has dealt with is better than I think I ever could have and is a true inspiration.

He had over 100 guinea pigs when he first fell ill and of cause he was unable to keep them on, for a start he was in hospital for two months because of the risk of infection, luckily he has a fantastic partner Shaun who has helped to keep some of them and my uncle who also cleans them out even now. Also some great friends who have actually taken some of them off his hands.

He has 6 cats, 2 dogs and some very strange indoor guinea pigs called skinny’s. The house you would think would be in a blanket of hair but proving how well they are matched Shaun is a neat freak and the only thing you can smell when walking in is flash and cleaning products!! I would love to know how they manage this.

Their animals are so loving and each has their own characters, being a dog lover I must admit a slight bias towards Riley and Ruby the dogs

Ruby10665207_10152453058348039_3529929304134466702_nRuby11012137_10152453041573039_1558010984409805953_nRiley

Riley

The cats are a little more allusive so I only have the beautiful Una Bean on camera;

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They also have a giant rabbit  and a couple of little ones =D

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From a really young age he has loved animals, and his mum and dad have encouraged it. He had a lot of animals growing up and that passion hasn’t ever left him. He finally got a job working at the local vets just before being diognoised, luckily they are keeping his job open. 

One of the many positive things he has done while he has been enduring his chemo it to set up site and Facebook for his breeding business.
Castle Valley Cavies http://castlevalleycavies.weebly.com/ and Facebook page

He loves these animal’s so much he knows all of their dates of birth, the names, which are from which family! He takes so much time and effort with these animals you would be forgiven for being slightly envious of their life.

The strangest of the collection are the skinny’s, so adorable, but strange! Vera the female is current pregnant and due any day now!

Vera

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Walter

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I love spending time with this little family, being able to help in some way even if it just is by taking a few pictures for him to use on the website.

complete two

complete one

Hope you have enjoyed the furry cuteness, until next time xoxox

Mini moment – my day! What inspired it. 

So just a little blog about my day, earlier this year I found out my cousin has leukaemia. It came from no where and was like a punch to the face. 

We are a very close family and we were all devestated by the news. I am not an emotional person but I am not ashamed to say I cried for weeks, trying to get my head around it. I couldn’t bare the thought of him going through the chemo treatment. Luckily it is treatable but it had been a long hard road so far and he isn’t done just yet. He is getting better thank goodness!

We are all so proud of him, he will not give in probably doing more than he should even now. But it’s that sheer determination that will get him to the finish line I am sure. I love him so much for that he truly is my hero.

It’s given me a wake up call, it’s inspired me to share my writing with you all, take photography a little more seriously and perhaps most adventurously for me, go back to singing. 

As a child I loved to sing, I never really considered that I was any good I just enjoyed it. As I got older more and more people started to listen and enjoy it. I traveled for a while doing shows and met some fantastic people. 

When I settled down, it became more difficult to work full time and sing with traveling so it became more of a hobby. But my cousins bravery and attitude to this crappy illness has made me rethink a few things. What’s the point in not doing the things you enjoy just because you don’t make time for it. 

So today I went over to Broadwater Studio in Gateshead and recorded three tracks, I was so nervous but soon settled back into it and loved every minute of it!

I guess the point of this post is to say, live your life to the fullest. I don’t mean go out buy a camper can quit your job and travel the world, (although do if that’s really what you want lol) adventure takes many different forms. It might be learning a new skill, taking the leap into a new career! Or just getting one full day to your self to do with as you please. Or like me finding time to be more creative, painting, drawing, acting, singing whatever it may be! Do it – make the time!!

Every day now I think about my cousin and how much he has had to come through and then I think about those other people in the world who are ill and would give anything for just one more day. So I’m trying to do something in honour of those people, doing things now not putting them off until later. 

What sort of things are you putting off doing? Be brave jump in and do them! 

Until next time xoxoxox

   
   

Topic of conversation….fertility and miscarriage 

A friend of mine recently told me “When it comes to writing, stick to what you love and inspires you. Always write from the heart” I am new to blogging but I have secretly been writing short stories for a while, I do truly believe that writing from the heart is sound advice, because at least if no one else loves what I am writing I do. As some of you know from my previous blogs, the reason that I started to do this was therapy. To be able to share my photographs, art and stories has given me a focus that has made dealing with not being able to have children a little easier. With the therapy in mind I wanted to share something with you. Earlier this week I read an article on miscarriage and the reasons why it happens, as much as I feel like I am over the worst this still upset me like it highlights my defects. The thing that upset me most were some of the comments on post. The story was on how most pregnancies end in miscarriage before the woman even is aware or very early, and then the justification from some of the comments was like that was ok because it was early so it’s not like they were too far along that it wasn’t as hard to deal with. It really annoyed me. For every month that we tried for all of the ten years that we tried, I visualised what our life would be like with that baby. I imaged rocking them to sleep, I imagined taking them to nursery and then school, helping with school work, singing them to sleep, teaching them to sing as they got older, the arguments, the cuddles, the tears, the laughter even the tantrums. My first Mother’s Day, bens first Father’s Day.  Something I haven’t shared with anyone, I am about to share now. The thing I visualised most was how I would tell my husband and family. I even went as far as buying a little baby grow that was a Newcastle football shirt. I had planned to give it to my husband with the positive test. I hid it in my bed side table draws for years. I only finally got rid of it in January this year.  I knew I would take that first healthy scan picture make it into cards to give to our family as an announcement. How excited they would be and how tremendously loved that baby would be.  Every month it didn’t happen or even when it did and it ended badly my heart broke a little more. The time spend with these dreams didn’t make any of my miscarriages easier to deal with or any of the months that ended with no pregnancy.  The hardest part each month when you are trying is the wait. The two week wait as it’s known. It’s a long time to fantasies in those two weeks. Through some of the worst moments, physical and mental pain of the last few years I kept this visual in mind: It’s early evening, baby would be sleeping in it’s Moses basket after being bathed and fed, my husband would be home and we are so happy.  That image got me through a lot and to say I am out the other end now, it still angered me that anyone would dismiss any miscarriage early or not, the people loosing that baby may have been carrying that dream a lot longer than a few weeks!!  I still have these moments and I know I shouldn’t read FB comments as you know there are always going to be negative ones, but every time I think I am over it something happens and I think nope still hurts.  Heartbreak is subjective, if a person feels it then it’s real no matter what the reason. Who has the right to dismiss it so easily.  I know mine can’t be dismissed or forgotten. It is better now, better than I ever thought it could be. There is light for any one reading this in the same position. Cling to those things in life that make you happy, focus on them. For me it’s my husband, my family and letting my creativity out.

St Ives Bay
lane near my home
stone henge on my birthday couple years ago
Mount Vesuvius, jan 2015 holiday
st ives
lane near my mums house, love these fields 
one of my paintings
some sketches
st ives
river by my house

Until next time xoxo

A little post about me…. My eyes are different colours!

This is a little silly but I just had a conversation with someone I know and have known for a while that didn’t notice I have different coloured eyes. I just changed a profile pic on Facebook and freaked them out!

They are for real, no contacts, just born this way. 

I always have a little chuckle when people are so amazed by it because it’s something that’s so normal to me sometimes I am confused when they stare. I’m like, “dude do I have something on my face?? ”

I hated them growing up, I wanted to have two the same colour it certainly made learning to do make up a problem – how does anyone do your shades? What colours work best! Was I meant to walk around with one we shut to make my eye shaddow even?!??  Not to mention filling out passport forms or anything official! Eye colour box you only pick one – RUDE , just rude!! Lol

Anyway it’s a fun fact, my lovely readers about me that I thought I would share. I have learned now be proud of what makes you different – who wants to be boring anyway?!

#bornthisway #lovewhoyouare ❤️❤️ 

 

The Lambs, and the birth of a calf part two……

At last we spoke, I had just arrived at my friends farm. I know very little about the workings of a farm I just know that I love animals so any excuse to spend time with them I will  and of cause my friend and her family, especially her farm-house cooking!

Over the last couple of weeks I have witnessed the birth of 5 lambs and 1 calf, I don’t think I can express the sheer excitement I feel when waiting for that new life to enter the world.

My first visit to the farm was a few weeks ago at the time I wrote my first blog, the barn was filled to the brim with little dancing lambs, Ewes, cows, calf’s and even a puppy!  My second visit was last weekend, we went for weekend boxing celebrations and more lamb cuddle’s the barn was a little less busy!!IMG_3075My friend Marie and her family live on this amazing farm, in the middle of no where…… I do mean no where…….

IMG_3029IMG_3043No main roads, No other buildings, in the middle of no where!

No main roads, No other buildings, in the middle of no where!

Marie was a townie like myself but has merged into farming life beautifully,  it’s always a pleasure to be around this family. Marie and I have been friends since we were babies, in fact along with my best friend Amanda I can’t remember a time we didn’t know each other, we all lived on the same street growing up. Marie’s Nana and my Nana were even best friends so it feels like being with family when we all get together.

The farm is so peaceful, there is a bitterly cold wind the type that gets down to your bones but even that couldn’t dampen my excitement!!

After a brief catching up we went into the barn and I was in animal heaven! I have mentioned before that snuggling one of those wooly jumpers with legs has been a to do list thing for a while, when I actually got my hands on one it was near perfection. With its little warm fuzzy body pressed to mine, at first I was worried I was stressing it out as its little heart pitter pattered against my hand, but the lovely snuggles and nibbles told me otherwise.

Within this cavernous barn there were lambs, sheep, cows and their calfs, pregnant cows and a baby sheep dog Billy hidden in the comfy corner, he is just a bundle of bouncy fur with eyes! Sorry Marie I had to steal your picture of him!!

Even Lewis the cat gets in on the action!

IMG_2954IMG_3005The Brown family all work to keep this farm running including the kids,  the freedom for the children out in the countryside is amazing. They are so independent and are able to be off out enjoying the fresh air, they are very aware of the dangers of farming life and seem to be more sensible for this!

There is something wonderful about watching the kids tend to the animals. Marie and Ian’s (Her Husband) children Ellie, Rose and little Florrie (who needs her own blog she is so hilarious, a little old woman trapped in a toddler)  get stuck in with the farming chores and have no problems getting dirty, watching Florrie toddling around with a lamb under each arm is unbelievably cute!

This last weekend was a family gathering and these little lovelies looked after their cousins who were up here also.

Florie and a lamb!RoseTeigan, one of Marie's neices.IMG_3082

Some of the pics here – Top left Florrie , top right Rose, bottom left Teagan (Marie’s niece) and bottom right Florrie and the lamb =D

Ian, Mary (Ian’s mother) and David (Ian’s dad) all work hard, so hard. I enjoy being around them very much, don’t get me wrong I would love to trade the stress of deadlines and sales targets for a slice of this wonderful life but it’s so tough I am not sure I am cut out for it. I don’t think there is much call for beautiful handbags on the farm!

By the time of our first visit the Brown’s were already a month or so into Lambing season, which is a 24hr job. Sleep is a luxury but you can clearly see the love and passion for the job in everything they do. By the second visit a couple of weeks later, they were looking a little zombieish =D

Although it was already quite late on that first evening, surrounded by the sounds of the different animals, they still found the passion when talking to us about their job. Showing us the various breeds of sheep and their lineages. Some descended from show winners! The examples of good ones and bad ones for resale and showing. David often joking about the leaping £ signs and their fate, he knows I would keep them all as pets given the choice. However I know they are all soft-hearted, and Davids teasing is just that. There were examples of their compassion all around me.

For example the below pic is of a little fella that was lame, he wasnt even standing, now a cold-hearted business person may have seen this as a waste of feed and time, not the Browns! Ellie, the eldest daughter, was determined to get him to walk! When I left after our first visit she promised me that he would be up and around no matter what! And guess what? On my second visit for the boxing party  – he was up and about!! I even got kisses off him!! see below!!

IMG_3067Watching David, Ian, Mary and Marie wandering round hand feeding orphaned lambs, the work involved in fostering the orphaned to a new mother, the time checking their little bellies are full, that they are warm and comfortable you can really see the dedication to their “job” and I word job loosely as I think it’s more of a lifestyle!

Ian told me of the terrible snow fall in April a couple of years ago that killed so many of those vulnerable little lambs out in the fields across the UK, they rounded their flock up into shelter and then spent all of the next day digging them out of drifts – they only lost one lamb! There is so much love, care and passion for the job and its evident from everything they do.

Now I am not getting into the vegetarian argument whats right or wrong that not the point of this post, but I will say this, for those of you concerned with where your meat is coming from, which I am, seeing the effort the Brown’s put into this stage of the process is a proud statement for British farming.

I am a complete hypocrite I will hold my hands up to it, I like my meat shrink wrapped and not resembling anything like the animal it came from, but I enjpy being a meat eater and I couldn’t do without it. But I also love the animals and don’t want them to suffer so to know there are farmers out there like the Brown’s, making sure their stock are well looked after, healthy and happy for the time they are with them makes it a little easier for me and I am proud to buy british products!

I had never, up until this first visit, witnessed any sort of birth first hand. As we were making plans to leave Ian already had noticed a Ewe starting to get ready. I find it interesting that they constantly have their eyes on the pregnant Ewes and know when they are close, of cause they can labour alone but its much safer for the farmer to be on hand as I witnessed.

The barn is a very organised system, so Ian knows who is about to birth and when they are in labour, there are signs the farmer recognises. The farmers also have the sheep scanned so they know how many lambs are being born and keep track of this by colour coding their backs or sides. The Ewe about to give birth had triplets inside her and she needed some help, sadly the first lamb out didn’t make it. It was a sad moment and again another example of the love and care given. I could see David, the very same lovely man who had been joking was a little quite, he doesn’t like to lose any of them. The other two were perfect and out safely, one boy one girl – named after me Sharron and my husband Ben. I am pleased to report they are both still doing well! The second Ewe went into giving birth soon after this and she gave birth to two perfect lambs. I was amazed by it! I could have stayed all evening, listen to those little ones barring playing.

Ian confided in me afterwards that the best moment for him is watching them hop skip and jump about in the fields, he feels like job well done, I have to agree job really is well done. Go on admit, when you see those little babies jumping and playing together with their little tails wagging – who can resist a smile?!

The second visit to the farm was to be a weekend of fun and I would like to say the animals were the main attraction but sadly the lads in our little party were raring to watch the boxing match that was being shown over night early hours of the morning. I am not a boxing fan but it was a fun night! We didnt get home until 7.30am and we were planning to go back to the farm to continue the fun later that day – I should point out that I don’t drink so was safe to do this!

I love this time of day and with the fresh air I was wide awake by the time we got home, made worse by the suicidal bunny’s intent on going under the van as I drove, sleep was a struggle – don’t worry I missed them all!!

The lads enjoying the boxing from left Shaun Mckie (Maries brother), Ian brown, Ben (my husband), Steven Mckie (Maries other brother) and Luke Mckie (Stevens son)

The next day, no sorry later that day……. we freshened up and headed back to continue the fun, Ian is again an example of a total legend, proving farmers don’t need much sleep! He had no sleep from saturday morning until 2am monday morning!!!

I had expected us all to be a sleep in our food on the Sunday evening, long gone are the days where I could party all night and survive on very little sleep to do it again the next night! We had so much fun, we laughed a lot, we ate some wonderful food cooked by Marie and at about midnight we decided we should make a move and start the 40 min drive home!

I wanted one last look in on the animals ………and a cow was in labour!! I couldn’t go home now, no sir! Ian predicted about another hour or so…..my husband was so pleased as he was able to have a couple more beers – beer monster!!

While we waited I spent some time with Caesar a calf that wouldn’t take to his mother so had to be hand feed, he would suckle on hands but not on his mother. Farmers often have to teach the little ones how to latch on but sadly Caesar just would not. Ian tried so hard with this little one, he even ended up with a broken toe from the mother standing on him!

He looked so little and lonely in his pen at the back, timid standing staring at me. He peeped out behind his feeding tray to say hello, then would bob quickly behind it again. All of the animals know the Browns smells, Ian was able to stoke and interact with them easily I had to work a little harder for it. I stayed with Caesar for about twenty minutes before we made friends but then after that it was amazing, he was letting me cuddle him, he loved the side of his neck stroking and most of all suckling on my hands! I am not going to lie it took a lot for me to leave him in that barn, I was wondering if he would fit in my back garden!!! Caesar and I are firm friends now….I might even be trying to smuggle him home with me! =D

Another calf on the other side of the room was one they had bought as sadly the originalcalf died during the birth, he was just too big for his mother to get him out and its testiment to the skill and quick thinking of the Browns that the mother survived, but she needed a baby. So they bought this little guy and to make sure the mother did take to him they had to use the hide from the original calf like a cloak so she would accept it, they are both very happy now and the calf is a little friendly one.

IMG_3141IMG_2935IMG_3060

The birth of the calf we were waiting for then begun, whom I think we had a mix of names for but Shauna (Stevens daughter) and myself liked Betty and as this was my nana’s name I am going with it. I can not describe the beauty of this moment, I loved it. The cow is held in place by fence type thing that traps her head, sounds a lot more medieval that it is, shes as happy as she can be with a big calf popping out!!

Ian and his father help her to deliver feet and nose first, up to his armpit Ian helps this little one into the world. With a litter picker looking contraption, times a hundred in size, they snugly fit the arms of this rig around the cows bottom. then it’s tightened and then propped under her bottom, they don’t want this cow to sit or lay down! Finally the little one drops to the floor and its done, Ian clears its airways and administers some medicine to help it along.

Other than Ian, I was the first one to touch this little one, so hot she was steaming, smooth and wet feeling a little like a dog covered in shampoo, I was totally smitten!!

IMG_3204Ian and David then cleared the pen, because of cause I was right in there along with the kids!! Then they let the mother free, she headed straight for her baby and got to cleaning her off. Ian tells me there is nothing better than the mothers touch to get the little one going and that was so true within a few minutes she was trying to stand. The mother, who has a stunning white love heart on her forehead, was so attentive to her little one. A mothers love translates whatever the creature, there is nothing better than that!

IMG_3221IMG_3241IMG_3220IMG_3242

 So a very weary crowd of party goers finally gave in after 2am on that Monday morning after an epic weekend we all went our separate ways. I was so excited that I didn’t sleep for hours after I got home!! I want to do that again!!!!

Until next time xoxox

An amazing weekend, starting with a random visit to Bowes Museum.

Barnard Castle is my home town, you have already heard from me a number of times that growing up in this beautiful little market town I longed to move out, I didn’t ever really appreciate where I lived, though to be fair show me a child that does.

I remember being involved in the bicentennial celebrations for the Bowes Museum and feeling a connection with the place, I romanticised the stories attached to it the most Famous being that John Bowes was building this mansion for this wife Josephine, sadly she died before it was completed she is buried within its grounds.

I viewed this beautiful building as a love letter, and I hoped one day to find someone who would love me so much they would want to build me something that wonderful, little did I know my prayers would be answered not in fact a house or mansion, but a man that can build Lego. Close enough!

Outside The Gates
Outside The Gates

I don’t want to make this blog a history lesson, the information about John and his beautiful building are public record and I fully suggest you taking some time to visit. I am particually excited for the exhibition coming to the museum in July for YSL the fashion house, Style is Eternal. To have this in my home town is beyond exciting to me!!

IMG_2751YSL advertising outside the museum entrance.

YSL advertising outside the museum entrance.

A little touch of city life coming to my home town. Fashion to me is art, there are some truly beautiful creations its more than just covering your body, it’s an extension of who you are and your personality. Who doesn’t like to dress up?!

Saturday morning my husband was having his hair cut down the road from this lovely building, so I decided rather than wander the street to visit the local coffee shop I would take my camera and get some shots of the building that was so important to my childhood.

I understand the attraction for tourists, who still flock to this museum it’s impressive especially as you first round the corner and there it stands.

I have always had an active imagination, even now as an adult when I people watch I wonder what is going on in those lives and often can start a story in my head. The Bowes Museum was full of possibilities for my imagination, not just because of the tragic love story at its beginning but the almost eerie exteriors lead my mind to create weird and wonderful stories.

A water feature under the steps to the entrance of the museum.
A water feature under the steps to the entrance of the museum.

This water feature would always scare me as a child, I believed this was a creature that had been stuck in this wall just waiting for a time when it would be free to roam the grounds and eat humans.

The story I made up……

At the time when John Bowes was starting to build this mansion for his beloved wife, there were disappearances happening in the town. Beautiful woman were randomly going missing, the towns folk were so scared that their daughters, cousins, friends would be next that they seldom left their houses, no woman was allowed to travel alone anywhere!

One brave girl who was deeply in love with a boy from a neighbouring town was so frustrated because it meant that she wasn’t able to visit her love and he was not able to visit her. She decided to seek the help of an old woman who was rumoured to be a witch, to ask her to find out what was happening and try to stop it.

The girl pleaded with the old woman until she gave in and cast a spell to reveal the identity of the kidnapper. It was a creature from the other side, half man, half beast. He had stumbled through a hole in the realities and was taking young women back to his world as his prisoners, the portal was right were the Bowes Museum would stand.

Now the girl who was so desperate to see her boyfriend decided to go herself and try to kill the beast, so in the dead of night when the moon was full so she had some light, she took her father’s axe and headed to the grounds. She was startled as she approached the gates by the old crone who begged her not to go, that it wasn’t worth it. The young girl refused and would not change her mind; she was so set on destroying this monster so that life could once again return to normal.

The crone knowing this was a lost cause, then gave to the girl a bag of herbs and a spell to seal the portal with the beast behind it and the two of them crept into the grounds.

Even with the moon light it was still dark, the building work had begun on the mansion so there were unusual shapes everywhere, the girl kept seeing things moving but just out of view, she turned in circles clutching the handle of the axe so tight she started to lose the feeling in her fingertips.

Then she heard it…… the snorting breathing sound close by, then she smelt it, wet vegetation with an underlying smell of sweet rotting meat her stomach lurched. She heard the slow footsteps behind her approaching, but when she turned nothing was there! The crone started to mumble under her breath and a bright light started to emerge from the centre of the grounds,

“There,” She said, “There is where the portal is, you must lead him there, I cannot go any further”

The crone fled, leaving the girl standing on her own clutching that axe, she decided to run heading for that light! The footsteps pounding behind her but the beast never showed himself. Standing on the very spot where the light was strongest she called to him,

“I am not scared, show yourself coward and meet your maker!”

She felt a hand on her arm, spinning her around she started to swing the axe and her other poised to throw the bag of herbs, stopping inches from her beloveds face.

“What are you doing here!?” she cried with relief “how did you even get into town….” She trailed off then she heard movement again, she shouted “We have to go there is a monster here!!”

“I came for you” he replied, running his fingers down her cheek, smiling even with imminent danger, he was calm “I wanted to see you!”

She tried to step back, confusion crossed her face, and she started to shake… it couldn’t be!

The smell of rotting flesh was too much to bear; it was so pungent she almost was sick, it was him she knew it right away her beloved was the monster she was chasing. She took two steps back, dropping the bag of herbs.

“No!” she cried, “Not you, it can’t be you” she tried to run but he held her tightly pulling her closer and closer into the light, closer to the portal and almost certain death.

“I must my love, you have to understand, and I need you all. Come with me” he crooned at her, his voice like warm nectar, and she wanted to go!

Suddenly she wanted to be there with him more than anything in the world; she had come here to fight for her love so why was she fighting him? The axe fell to the floor. She stumbled blindly behind him, closer and closer to the light.

Suddenly there was another bright flash of brilliant white light and swirling smoke surrounded them, and the image of her beloved disappeared in his place was the beast!

Through the smoke on the other side of the light the old crone started to chant, the beast screamed in pain and held on to the girl hard and dragged her onwards to the portal, she began to see the images of the lost girls on the other side, they cried and begged her to run. There was no turning back if she went through.

Like a slap to the face the spell was broken and she was screaming, she didn’t want to go with him, she pulled and pulled to free her hands! The croan’s shouting picked up in speed, not able to make out the actual words but knowing it was working as the beast screamed and started to lose his grip.

As they almost were touching the portal, hands reached out to pull him in, the girl managed to free herself of his grasp, the women on the other side held tightly to the beast pulling him closer to them. He turned to face the girl who had now joined the crone in her chanting, the smoke swirled and engulfed the beast and portal the cries were defining, mixed with the chants of the girl and the old crone. An explosive bang heard for miles around, a blinding flashing light and it was over.

In the spot where the beast and portal had been stood a stone wall, the only thing left was the stone face of the beast, who was struggling so badly to get to the girl he was now eternally stuck between two worlds, his face contorted in anger and pain.

The building went up around the wall, keeping the beasts’ stone face there in memorial to the lost women and their bravery. The young girl never left the town, she dedicated her life to making sure the beast never escaped from the wall until the time of her death……and even now she can be seen kneeling before his face, quietly chanting those words.

The End

That may the musings of a simple pre teen mind but visiting this spot on Saturday brought it all back, I had completely forgotten this story that I believe started as a creative writing exercise for school in a longer format, along with another one of a little girl who lived in the rooms at the top of the building and could often be seen peering out as we played below, that’s for another time =D

IMG_2841The roof where the story of the little girl came from. The window she looked out of.

The roof where the story of the little girl came from. The window she looked out of.

Some more of the photographs taken on Saturday.

IMG_2759 IMG_2831 IMG_2833 IMG_2834 IMG_2840 IMG_2830 - Copy IMG_2826Top of the gates at the entrance

IMG_2804 - Copy IMG_2814 IMG_2811 - Copy IMG_2812 IMG_2819 - Copy

Bye for now xoxo