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Belsay Hall

In 2009, I completed a geriatrics rotation, during which I helped with clinics on the Belsay Day Unit at what was then the Newcastle General Hospital.

It’s only taken 15 years to get around to visiting Belsay itself—and specifically, Belsay Hall.

Built a couple of hundred years ago, and recently restored, it was an unusual and rather interesting experience to visit an old hall which hasn’t been stuffed full of period furniture; it feels more like its decay has been arrested, rather than like it has been restored to a version of its former glory.

The handmade wallpaper may be peeling from the walls in places, but it felt like a hall with real character. The Grade I listed quarry gardens were also spectacular.

This post was filed under: Photos, Travel, , , .

A bracing winter walk

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Here I am by Kielder Water, the UK’s largest man made lake. It holds 200 billion litres of water – that’s more than 3 million times what the average person drinks in their lifetime!

Wendy and I had a lovely walk through Kielder Forest – Europe’s largest man made forest – which stands on the banks of Kielder Water. It was a bit chilly, though! We also had a look at the dam and hydroelectric plant, which were quite interesting to see!

This post was filed under: Scrapbook, , .

Photo-a-day 259: Northumberlandia

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Today, I’ve been to visit Northumberlandia, a colossal sculpture of a woman, 100ft high and a quarter of a mile long. It’s made from the excavated material of the open-cast coal mine next door, leading to its more common colloquial name: Slag Alice.

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This is a closer view of the face from atop Alice’s right breast. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write!

As the sculpture is new, and still bedding in, it is only open to the public on selected days and at selected times. It’s expected to be fully open later in the year.

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This is, erm, Alice’s left nipple, with Shotton surface coal mine in the background, demonstrating where the material of her form was gathered. It is still very much operational. The coal mine, I mean, not the nipple.

The sculpture cost around £3m, and it was entirely privately funded. It was designed by Charles Jencks. As well as making lots of landscaped art, he co-founded Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, of which there are now fourteen across the UK. They provide evidence-based psychological, emotional and informational support to anyone affected by cancer – whether a patient, relative or friend.

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This is a slightly whimsical picture of Alice’s right hand, which points roughly in the direction of the exit…!

Admission to Northumberlandia is free. And here’s a mildly amusing unusual sign:

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This post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , .




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