A weekend away for my wife and me ( nearly wrote “my wife and I” but you can’t have “for I”) to the village of Warkworth in Northumberland, where we stayed at the very classy Roxbro House, which has ornately decorated rooms, excellent staff, an excellent breakfast menu (including delicious half peaches with raspberries) and complimentary cheese and wine between 5pm and 6pm – great value for money. It is situated just opposite Warkworth Castle with its magnificent stone walls and hilltop location, ensuring that the Percy family, which owned the castle and most of the land as far as the eye could see in the 14th and 15th centuries, could see their enemies approaching. Warkworth is a lovely village and you can walk around the village along the Coquet River, where I counted 27 swans in one group, gliding along this slow-moving river.
One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to The Alnwick Garden, probably best known for its grand cascade, a huge man-made waterfall, with intermittent weirs, down which thousands of gallons of water fall each minute. It’s a very extensive garden, with many different sections, such as the rose garden, which has an outstanding variety of roses of different colours, sizes and perfumes. Photos 1-3 show some examples of the roses on display. The garden also includes a cherry orchard, woodland walk and serpent garden. It’s fairly expensive to get in but you could easily spend a few hours here, especially on a warm sunny day.
I was downloading a BBC Radio 4 podcast this morning, to listen to on my bike ride, when I noticed at the bottom of the screen, an icon for a programme on Radio 3 called The Verb and discovered a new place in which you can listen to people talking about words and literature and music. The show is presented by the excellent Ian McMillan and it covers, in its own words “Exploring different worlds of language, dialects, rarities and curiosities and how spoken and written language interact”. The programme I listened to today came from Derry/Londonderry (the correct reference to this once very divided city) which is the 2013 City of Culture) and featured a writer’s description of days during which he cannot write with any conviction, partly because his brain is full of porridge which has been left to harden in a pot, an exploration of the song Danny Boy and 2 songs by an up and coming singer. An excellent find and worth checking out – it is available worldwide.