Thursday, 2 April 2009

Skywatch Friday - 3 April 2009

Crook Hall Gardens
This is a lovely peaceful place to visit right in the heart of Durham City. Hard to believe it's just a few minutes walk from the Market Place. I worked in Durham for years and didn't know it existed. If you like English country gardens this is just up your street!

Crook Hall is a Grade 1 listed Medieval Manor House. It has a 13th Century banqueting hall, and a 17th Century Jacobean room. Not large but very charming. It is supposedly haunted by the ghost of the White Lady. You are advised to avoid the Jacobean Room if you are sensitive to ghosts. I mustn't be as I didn't sense anything. It was rather cold in there on one of the hottest days of the year, but old stone buildings were designed to be cool in summer and warm in winter.
13th Century Banqueting Room

Children can leave messages for the White Lady and there were lots there! When we visited there were lots of pieces of art there, stained glass balloons and kites, butterflies in a net, ceramics and a strange metal object like a bottle in the centre of the maze!
There were lots of things for children to look for such as gnomes and bear heads and a maze to get lost in. Not for too long though as it is quite low.
Alan Titchmarsh described it as "A tapestry of colourful blooms" and it certainly is. You can wander through different gardens such as the Secret Walled Garden, the Shakespeare Garden, the Cathedral Garden and the Silver and White Garden.

Cathedral Garden

The Moat Pool is very tranquil, hard to drag yourself away from it. There are lots of little tables and chairs around the various gardens if you just fancy relaxing, taking in the wonderful scents and the peace of the place.
Moat Pool

If the weather is fine you can enjoy a cream tea out in the gardens and if it's not, just go into the Georgian Dining Room.
The "delightful views of Durham Cathedral" from the gardens were unfortunately spoilt by a huge crane, but luckily just a temporary thing! It's an absolute gem of a place if you like gardens and it's as the leaflet describes, "an oasis of peace in the heart of Durham City".

There are various events going on throughout the season and although it's open mainly from late May to early September there are other activities going on at Bank Holiday times, Halloween and Christmas. For more detailed information about the gardens, opening times, directions, parking, prices and special events
check out the website

Crook Hall Gardens
Frankland Lane
0191 384 8028

Like to join Skywatch Friday? Just go to the Skywatch website and post your pictures. It's easy and we'd like to see them.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Remember, the Clocks go Forward Sunday at 1.00am!

On Sunday 29 March 2009 at 1.00am, Greenwich Mean Time ends and British Summer Time begins. So you need to move your clock forward one hour to 2.00 am.

Well it's now over 100 years since British Summer Time was first proposed. Why you might ask.
Well the idea of British Summer Time (BST), sometimes known as Daylight Saving Time, was first proposed by a keen horse-rider, William Willett, who was incensed at the 'waste' of useful daylight first thing in the morning, during summer. Though the sun had been up for hours during his rides through the local woods in Chislehurst and Petts Wood, people were still asleep in bed.

In 1907 he published a pamphlet called The Waste of Daylight, outlining plans to encourage people out of bed earlier in summer by changing the time on the nation’s clocks. He spent the rest of his life fighting to get acceptance of his time-shifting scheme. He died in 1915 with the Government still refusing to back BST.

Britain first adopted William Willett's Daylight Saving Time scheme in 1916, a few weeks after Germany. For years, the British Government had refused to introduce Daylight Saving Time, but by then, Britain and Germany were fighting each other in the First World War (1914-18), and any system that could save fuel and money was worth trying. The Summer Time Act of 1916 was quickly passed by Parliament and the first day of British Summer Time, 21 May 1916, was widely reported in the press.

Within a few years of its introduction, most countries reasonably north or south of the equator had adopted Daylight Saving Time. But it has been controversial since the day William Willett first proposed it back in 1907, following his rural rides through Petts Wood.

Permanent summer, 1968–1971
In 1968, the clocks went forward as usual in March, but in the autumn, they did not return to Greenwich Mean Time. Britain had entered a three-year experiment, confusingly called British Standard Time, and stayed one hour ahead of Greenwich until 1971.

This was not the first experiment to shift the clocks in winter. In the Second World War (1939-45), Britain had adopted Double British Summer Time, with the clocks one hour ahead of Greenwich in winter and two hours ahead in summer.

When the British Standard Time experiment ended, the Home Office carried out an exhaustive review to find out whether it had been successful. The answer was both yes and no. There were ‘pros and cons’ to having the clocks forward and, on balance, the Government decided to return to the original British Summer Time.

After a century of daylight saving, we still cannot agree on whether it is a good thing or not. When proposals to extend the system are occasionally made in Parliament, protest soon comes from those affected by its disadvantages. Daylight Saving Time tries to treat a complex network of symptoms with one solution. But not everybody sees it as a cure. So the debate continues.

Extract from the National Maritime Museum, Greeenwich website

My Singer 338!

Well here it is my very first sewing machine, the one I got for my 21st birthday in 1966! I know it cost my Mam  a lot to buy it for me...