The GardenDespatches from The Satyrs’ Forest

Posts tagged as “photos”

Hey, wanna see the most beautiful thing i’ve ever seen?

I don’t know if it’ll come across too well in photo form. I was lying on the grass, as one does, and lo and behold, there in the sky appeared what i could only describe as a double-backwards-double-rainbow:

Two iridescent arcs intersect in the sky, a smaller version of the same phenomenon playing out below

I’ve never seen anything like it. Maybe that makes me a shut-in? I don’t know. Some quick prodding around revealed it to be not a rainbow, but a halo: a circum-zenithal arc, its iridescent colours made by the low sun’s light filtering through the icy clouds above.

The Sagrada Familia. The view from a Pennine peak. My home town from above, caught by pure chance on a flight to Turkey. The first sight of the Tyne Bridge down Grey Street. And now this. That’s the top tier — sights i’ll never forget in my life.

A minor pause

Hello. You’ve probably figured this out by now, but my personal life has been getting quite busy at the moment, and postings on the site will be taking a back seat until, hm, let’s say the end of June or thenabouts. Don’t call it a hiatus — it’s just a minor pause.

Please enjoy these filler photos in the meantime:

A despatch from Ashington

I’ve been hammering away at a big ol’ 2022 recap post, trying to get it ready before it’s irrelevant. It seemed cruel to leave you all with nowt over the new year, though, so i thought i might send you some photos from a recent evening walk.

A quixotic signpost for the National Cycle network, done up in rainbow colours and pointing towards destinations in elaborately decorated lettering

Ashington1 is a poor erstwhile mining town at the very tip-top of the local conurbation, Newcastle’s last gasp before coal and collieries give way to princes and pastures. It takes pride in two things: one, its mining history, and two, the fact that two Ashingtonians delivered England the world cup in a final remembered by ever fewer people.

The moon glistens over a large pond in the evening sky; to the right, there's a lifebelt in the foreground and a strange purplish pinprick of light in the background

This is the Queen Elizabeth II Country Park — not to be confused with the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park down in that London — a marvellous regeneration project which has turned a spoil heap into a lovely lake complete with a Premier Inn. That purple light off in the distance is the Woodhorn Colliery Museum, a whistle-stop tour of Northumberland’s mining history which apparently fancies itself the Blackpool of the North.2

A closer look at the museum reveals that a cutter-like building is lit up in purple, while two old mining rigs have their spokes illuminated as if they were neon

And that’s all i wrote. Tune in next time for either another bashed-together filler postcard (by Gods, am i going to have to make Blyth sound appealing next?), or the first annual Horny Awards™. We’ll see how far the Procrastination Monster lets me progress. :‌-)

A walk down Bedlington Country Park

Hello again. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I went on a nice riverside walk and thought i’d send you some photos. (Look, i was getting desperate and it was either this or a post about why seven is my favourite number.)

Our scene today is the southern end of Bedlington, a reasonably sized and — if i’m to be honest — terribly mediocre town right in the middle of that conurbation in the southeast of Northumberland. Thankfully, we’re not going to concern ourselves with the town centre (a place whose selling points are a Greggs and a void that used to be a Tesco) — no, we’re going down a steep and heavy slope until we wind up on the steep banks of the river Blyth, where the local parish have kindly set up a path. Won’t you join me?

Seeing this, i was simply overcome by the androgynous urge to stomp and plod around in a stream. (It’s what Hermaphroditos would have wanted.) Alas, my shoes were terribly unfit for such activity, and i had to call it off for another day. A national tragedy!

Four or so ducks swim peacefully down a rocky stream, flanked on their left by a small islet overshadowed by leaves.

About halfway down the river, there’s this small leafy island that some ducks appear to have claimed as their home. I would have admired it further, but i was being shadowed by by a couple with some particularly yappy and aggressive dogs and really just wanted to get the whole predicament over with.

A view from the middle of a river — water pours down a dam on the right, while in the dead centre, a pillar is visible in the distance.

I’m not 100% sure what’s going on with the pillar in the middle — it’s about where the path on the opposite side comes to a sudden stop; perhaps it used to be the support for some kind of railway bridge.

I did, i admit, have to trespass on a dam for this view — the ducks, i hope, would never be grasses. It’s just not in their DNA.

A fencepost crudely vandalised with some sort of four-way grid, an owl saying “Peace”, and the burnt-in initials of one “R.C.”

Some incredible visual storytelling here. Someone’s drawn an owl saying “Peace!”, then someone else has come and vandalised it with a swastika, then someone else went and turned the swastika into something resembling the Windows logo. I don’t know where “R.C.” comes into this, but if they were the last fellow, i salute them. Truly, one of the heroes of our time.

(I was somewhat tempted to scribble over it myself and turn it into Loss.jpg…)

A walk down to the Quayside
This article comes equipped with its own optional soundtrack for those who want to follow along with my listening habits as well as my walk.
A decaying building’s brick-arched frontage contrasts with a concrete underpass.
We begin at the Holy Jesus Hospital, whose site served as an almshouse for the poor for seven hundred years.
More brick arches, trailing off into the background.
The current 17th-century building now serves as office space for the National Trust. No noseys allowed (shame!)
The frontage of a shop by the name of “Tile World” (with a globe replacing the O), its shutters now covered with graffiti.
Anyone need some tiles?
I’m pretty sure this is either “Hallelujah” or “Jerusalem”, but i have absolutely no idea which.
A hulking grey concrete building scrapes the sky.
Only a scant few BT-branded trucks occupy the parking lot of this hulking concrete husk, surely far too big for its intended purpose.
Four floors of brick flats.
Ahhh — reminds me of home, back in Hoorn.
A worn European Union flag hangs over a balcony.
The tragedy of Brexit.
Quayside Pharmacy
An advert for Greggs’ all-day coffee, reading “Every Hour’s Happy”.
Is it, Greggs? Is it?
Leafy trees and paths cover another brick flat.
A diagram of the flat of St Ann’s Close has been vandalised with a hammer and sickle, a blurred-out website link, and “1312”.
There’s a lot of commie graffiti scattered along this road, though all of it seems to be by the same person — you can tell because they can’t draw a hammer and sickle.
Walls upon walls absolutely covered with artisan graffiti.
Bloody showoffs. (That reminds me — i have a massive unpublished gallery post of a walk down the full length of the Ouseburn, but never did get around to finishing it… maybe soon?)
Your author’s hand holds a nice ice cream.
The most important meal of the day.1
A ticket to see “Top Gun: Maverick” at the Tyneside Cinema.
I’ve decided to join the Sea Org and give my life’s savings to the military-industrial complex. (In all seriousness, it was a bloody brilliant film — everything a blockbuster should be!)

Photos from around Lower Northumberland

A building demolition in progress around a busy intersection.

It’s the end of an era in Newcastle, however short it was, as the temporary shipping container food court–cum–public square–cum–shopping centre Stack comes down after three years. The former site of an Odeon cinema was set to be turned into a mixed-use development, but the pandemic caused a change of direction from the developers. The plans have since been slimmed down to just comprise what lockdown proved was truly, 100% necessary:


A grassy path surrounded by bright green bushes and trees and a clear cerulean sky.

You’d never guess it, but this luscious green path (carefully cropped so that you don’t see the yawning gravel service road behind the camera) is on the former site of a colliery in Bedlington. There’s not much left to see — the neighbouring pit town was bulldozed in the ’70s, and the farmers have done a bang-up job of hiding any traces of the mines that lie underneath.

An old-fashioned railway station.

After 2.3 million pounds and a skyscraper’s worth of scaffolding, Morpeth’s central station has finally been restored to its former Georgian glory, red fences and all. The locals will be pleased to know that Lumo, a sparkly new Ryanair-ified third-class train service from Edinburgh to London, have no choice but to stop here thanks to a sharp bend in the track.

Dispatches from a coastal walk

I had some time to kill after buying my mam a present from Tynemouth’s station market and decided to spend it by taking a walk in the golden hours of the day, now that spring is coming around and the weather isn’t quite so permanently miserable. I thought i might show you some photos.

These are not the warm, jade waters of the Mediterranean — the North Sea is (usually) grim, cold, and trying to kill you.
St Mary’s Lighthouse, off the coast between Seaton Sluice and Whitley Bay. Fond memories of many a school trip.
A very long series of public benches
Oh shit i took both pills and now i’m stuck in the Bench Dimension