Thursday, 8 May 2014

Auckland Castle in the centre of Bishop Auckland, is fast becoming a museum rather than the home of the Bishops of Durham as it had been for centuries. Yesterday as part of their Tudor exhibition they presented a lecture on costumes worn by Henry the Eighth and the ladies of the Court.
Julia with her husband
The Grandeur of Queen Elizabeth 1st
 It turned out to be a spell-binding account of their clothes and their lives, given by Julia Soare-McCormick, a real enthusiast who had graduated in Theatre Design from both Sunderland and Nottingham universities and had also sewn every garment worn by the four manikins as well as by her husband playing the role of Henry the Eighth; who at 6’1”tall had towered above the rest of the population.
Anne Bolyn's Blue Dress with Elaborate Sleeve Details


 The clothes were all magnificent; perfect in every detail from the jewels and gold-thread that decorated the rich top garments to the cotton chemises worn against the skin.  Interwoven with all this, Julia told of their lives and executions with details surely not heard before.
Mary Queen of Scots on the Way
to her Execution
The Cloak Removed Reveals
A Scarlet Gown indicating that she died a Martyr.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

I can now recommend two more delightful cafes.  One in Craster; the other in Alnmouth, two beautiful villages on the Northumbrian coast.

Even on damp spring days these places are picturesque and entrancing.
The Fish restaurant, overlooking Craster’s tiny harbour, offers unusual and delicious meals.  With a view of the harbour outside and artists’ impressions of the sea inside, it is well worth visiting.  


Dandelion café close to the sea at Alnmouth is light and cheerful and serves tea in individual green pots complete with strainer and striped cup all on a wooden platter. Also soup and sandwiches and light meals. Another special place.



The Tiny harbour opposite the Fish Cafe.

Craster Village