Saturday, 28 July 2012

Bird Tables, Birthdays, Bands and Boat Trips

Pine Tree on the Right - Spring 2011

We'd had the big old pine tree felled last November and we'd kept enough of the trunk to make a 'feature' out of it.  I was so upset when the tree had to go that I needed something to help me celebrate its life.

We couldn't keep it any longer - it had been destroying the earth beneath and around it for years and years, no matter how hard we tried to nourish it, re-shape it to let in more light, mulch its surroundings over the winter-time - you name it, we did it!   Anyway - it's gone ...

Before the Bird Table!

So I asked Dave to make a bird table (plain and olde-worlde is what I wanted).

Mr Jim - Get Down From There!

And once he'd finished the fence and the trellis, he set about making the table.  And it's a real rustic beauty!

The garden's been a real torment this summer, what with the wind +++ and the rain in torrential downpours +++ - but finally, after many weeks of blood sweat and tears, it's starting to look pretty neat.

My wall planters, tubs and baskets have a predominantly blue, blue, blue theme - with lots of sprinkles of bright colour here and there.

I'm pretty pleased - but there will be even more delights to come when the fuschias and the asters are blooming in all their glory. What beauties!

Passion Flower

And there are passion flowers and briar roses galore, all mixed in with montbretia and lavatera all over the garden.

Briar Roses

Our little 'tub' Rosie in among the TUBS

It's beginning to look quite spectacular with the changes we've made to the design.


It was Dave's birthday a few weeks back - and his mum had a cake made for him in the shape of a bass guitar. It looked gorgeous and it tasted heavenly - a real yummy beauty!

Then Dave, Phil and I went off to our local Indian restaurant in North Shields for a birthday treat. It's called 'Aramee' and produces the most amazing authentic Bangladeshi food.

We had a ball, the three of us.  Such a super night. What a beauty!

Accolades for the Gatecrashers

I went to see the Gatecrashers play a blinder at the Seven Stars in Ponteland.  The band are so highly acclaimed in Ponteland that the Seven Stars have signed them up to do a gig a month at this cosy, atmospheric pub, beating the Diamond pub up the road by a whisker! 

You see, the Diamond in Ponteland want the band too!  They're a popular 'catch' for parties of all descriptions in Darras Hall, Ponteland. 

Me and Boneshaker Ronnie at 7 Stars
 In fact, this band are worth all the accolades they receive - and they receive lots and lots, believe me! What a beauty!

I also called in to the cutest little wine bar in the North East - the Sour Grapes in Morpeth to see both the Gatecrashers and the Boneshakers: my two favourite bands - on seperate nights, of course, constant readers.

You can see the review of the fabulous Boneshakers amazing gig on my 'Rockin' with the Boneshakers' blog at the link below.  It's a beauty!

Sweet as a Nut at Sour Grapes

Gatecrashers sock it to 'em at the Sour Grapes

...and the review of the Gatecrashers rockin' an' sock-it-to-'em gig at the Sour Grapes will be published soon on North East Life Magazine online.
Gatecrashers Find Salty Nuts at Sour Grapes

 I'll give you the link when I've got it ... so,  



On a drizzly Sunday morning in July, we motored up the North East coast to Seahouses, to catch the Billy Shiels (MBE) boat out to the Farne Islands to see the grey seal colony - and the plethora of birds that come here to nest and rear their young, every year between May and July.

 It rained a bucketful as we boarded the boat.  I was just thinking that this might be a miserable day out on the islands - but then the sun came out! 

And the grey seals came out to play.  Ah, what a sight. And when we disembarked from the boat for an hour to walk around the nesting colonies of birds, the sun stayed put, bright yellow in a blue, fluffy-clouded sky. What a beauty of a day!

We walked among the Arctic Terns who sure told us who was boss - and it wasn't me! As we passed by their nests on the edges of the beaten tracks, they reared up, wings and tails outstretched to squawk in our faces and peck our heads.  I nearly lost the bobble in my hair, trying to sidle past them!

We came across family after family of puffins, taking care of their young in holes dug into the ground around the bright clumps of white campion flowers.

We gazed at cormorants and shags feeding their young in nests of bracken and twig, pushing small fishes down the gullets of their babies.  Quite horrifying to watch but so effective! The mums and dads preened each other and their young happily unconcerned about their human audience.

We came across hordes of razor-bills and penguin-like guillemots, flapping their wings on ledges of the sheer cliffs of the island.

We even saw a Mallard duck with her two fluffy ducklings in a tiny natural pond on Inner Farne.

I can't for the life of me understand how I could have lived in this beautiful North East corner of England and never been on this trip of a lifetime. 

Well, I plan to rectify this - and visit at least once a year. That's my promise to myself - a firm promise!

It hasn't been a particularly fruitful writing time since last I spoke to you, constant readers.  I'm still fighting with my novel - fighting against a strong desire to get way-laid and go online, visiting my writing buddies at Triond and Hub Pages, RedGage and Experts Column - and more!

I badly need to edit my chosen pieces for submission to  various publishers and get them sent off: badly need to get my novel completed and into the editing stages: badly need to get together a collection of short stories and flash fiction for Amazon publication - and a collection of poetry too.

So I decided, a few days ago, I needed to take a break - retreat from the cyber world, the great blue yonder, whatever you want to call it - and get stuck in to my writing.  So that's what I've done!  Denied myself the right to go online -apart from a couple of days a week, to call in and say hello -  check, write and answer my emails - and read through my writing friends' publications.

I'll leave you with a few bits and pieces I've written and published lately - mostly about the fabulous puffins and terns that caught my imagination on our trip to the Farnes.  Here are some links:

The Parrot of the Sea
Puffin Billy

Huffin’ ‘n’ Puffin

Ah! Look at the Ba-Ba Chick!

Chick-Time in Bird Land
Star Tern

These links to the RedGage site are published here especially for my online writing buddy, poet and photographic hero, Eddy, who follows this blog and also my website.  Thanks for everything, Eddy.
You can take a look at Eddy's online portfolio of gems at:

Talk to you soon, constant readers. I'm already collecting a bunch of goodies to tell you about next time I write my blog.



  1. Hi Sheila as always thanks for the mention and needless to say for this wonderful blog of yours .
    I tend to have a read of blogs and then even though I mean to read constantly but sadly things go adrift. However your blog has inspired me to carry on with mine too;I can relate to all your posts and it's almost like I am there with you.
    Thank you so much Sheila you have inspired me no end and here's to so much more to share for a long time to come.
    Take care and enjoy your week ahead.

  2. Hi Eddy - thanks for the comment. I wrote on one of your Triond posts that our gardens have so many similarities. We have a great deal in common, you and I. And you keep the blog going, honey. Blogging's a great way to keep your writing 'fit' !!!

  3. Great blog Sheila, have a great night

    1. Thanks so much for reading, Lauralu. You're a lovely friend to have.

  4. Hi, Such a nice blog! I'm venessapaula of myLot.I just followed your blog...

  5. Thank you so much for reading -and following - my blog. I'm so pleased. I must try and catch up with you soon on myLot. Haven't been there for ages. Take care - and thanks again Marie.