During my last trip offshore I was watching the weather forecast and thinking I was missing the Summer. Evidence from the last couple of years suggests that the British Summer can easily be missed in a two week absence. But, to my relief, it was still Summer when I got back, though not spectacularly hot and even the occasional day of rain which saves my father a little time garden watering. During my current time at work it seems to be the same, everyone on the mainland is being roasted but this time I feel more confident there may be some left for me when I get back later in the week. Summer's on catch up.
Here's a pleasant and shadyish corner.
Kirkcudbright has a Jazz Festival every June, this year was the 16th one. Can't say I'm big on Jazz and we spent the Friday night playing our usual session of folk and mixed acoustic music in the monthly session at Masonic Arms (we also have a monthly session in the Gordon House Hotel as well as other sessions and open mics - a week without tunes is a rare thing indeed). On the Sunday though, I went to see Rose Room playing in the Gordon House on some reliable recommendation. They play in the Stephane Grappelli, Django Reinhardt style and are quite stonking - here's a little that appears on Youtube. They have a Myspace channel which I can't call up offshore and may have a website that I can't find - you'll have to look it up yourself. Interesting, to this guitarist at least, is the double bass player - he's Jimmy Moon, who's Scotland's best known guitar maker.
Somewhere between looking at the Angel of the North and dropping in on Hardraw, I visited Durham Cathedral. The current building dates back to Norman times - construction began in 1093 though with the usual alterations over the centuries. There was a church on this spot to house the Shrine of St.Cuthbert, and his remains are still here, with the head of St Oswald tucked into the same box. It has been mentioned here, many times I think, that it is Cuthbert that Kirkcudbright is named after and he is on the town crest holding on to the hear of Oswald. I thought considering all the mentions, it was only polite to pop in and see him. For those collecting holy relics, Durham Cathedral not only has one and a bit saints at one end of the church but you can tick the Venerable Bede of the list as he is buried at the other end of the church.
The entrance to the cathedral.
This tremendous door knocker is a sanctuary ring. In the middle ages, anyone who had committed a serious crime could come to the North door of the cathedral where they would be given 37 days sanctuary, after which they had to choose between trial or voluntary exile. The original is from 1170 - 1180 AD and is in a box somewhere - this is a 1979 replica (humph!)
There's plenty to see inside but there are no photographs allowed - it's probably saving you another deluge of stained glass (it's got is fair share). They did allow photographs in the cloisters of the attached abbey.
The wooden roof over the cloisters looks ancient - the link from Google to the cathedral website page seems broken but the extract suggest it is medieval and restored in the mid 19th century.
One of the bosses in the roof.
I found my way down to the Market Place. That's St. Nicolas' church at the bottom of the picture.
This is Charles William Vane Stewart who was the 3rd marquis of Londonderry
I hope Neptune has an eye on what he's doing with that thing - I can see the trident and toes and the impending accident just seems to leap out at me.
The gargoyles and carving on St. Nicolas' church look a good deal older than you'd expect on a church built in 1858. Perhaps they were saves from the previous church - there's been one here since the 12th century.
A path along the River Wear at Durham. All that green is a relief after a dreary winter.
I liked this park bench along the path which has snakes at either end.
I paid a very brief visit to the museum when I was in Edinburgh last - it was nearly closing time. I thought this fellow was trying to lick my face but he turned out to be stuffed. His neighbour could do to eat a little more.
The standards of taxidermy here is very high. The exhibit label tells me that barn owls always close their eyes when sweeping down on their prey to avoid getting twigs and stems stuck in them.
A pair of blue tits, a common sight in this country, but will they sit still for a photograph?! Certainly not but the museum has solved the problem.
The Yorkshire Dales museum I visited a couple of blogs ago is situated in the town of Hawes. They had their bunting out for me.
I looks as if the local council has been cutting back rather in the sculpture budget.
What do you think, sheep? sheepdog? Babe the pig???
The River Ure runs through the town.
This iron bird sits on a set of railway buffers outside the museum. The sculptor, Michael Kusz, has named it, between a rook and a hard place.
I spotted this piece of knitted graffiti just outside the parish church in Kirkcudbright. Is this example of the yarn bombing the first of many to hit the town? - I hope so.