Happy Saturday to you all!
We actually had a day of sunshine on Thursday That is the first time I’ve seen a blue sky up here since well before Christmas. So I had to go out for a walk……but I didn’t take the camera! However, I did manage to get a few snaps on my phone (which isn’t brilliant but you’ll get the idea).
I started in the sleepy park where all the trees and plants are slumbering and the ground is very damp.
This is a huge park constructed in Victorian times. It is on the land sloping steeply down to the sea and has woodland, terraces, a huge pond and a miniature steam railway maintained and run by volunteer enthusiasts.
When you get to the top of the hill, there are no trees, just a wide expanse of grass. To the east, there is the North Sea.
The two piers mark the exit of the river Tyne, where the ferries leave for Scandinavia. Also, the Nissan car ferries come and go every day, laden with new cars made in the nearby factory in Sunderland, bound for the European market.
This close-up picture of the priory is from http://www.english-heritage.org.uk.
Next, a stroll up river leads to a dead-end! If you crane your neck almost through the fence into the old boat-yard, you will find a sculpture of a hand. It isn’t possible to take a picture from any other angle. I have no idea why it is here, who made it or what it is called but I like it a lot.
About turn, back towards the mouth of the river and along the pier….
This is the 13 metre high lighthouse on Herd Groyne. There is a large bell just visible on the left of the white balcony.
The piers are subject to the ravages of the sea and in 1897 the North pier was smashed by the storms. The reconstruction took 11 years.
Now heading south along the dunes. The lighthouse on Herd Groyne is just peeping above the maram grass. Still blue sky!!!!!
Then….all of a sudden, a clearing in the dunes reveals these statues.
I think they are collectively known as “Conversation Piece”. There are 22 copper-bronze figures designed by a Spanish artist called Juan Munoz.
Some people love them, others don’t. There is often much controversy here regarding the spending of “public money” especially when Council taxes are so high. Personally, I love these “people in the dunes”. Almost everyone stops to look at them and they often get the conversation going between onlookers. I’ve also seen real humans talking to the statues, especially toddlers who stand and stare or dance around or sometimes hug them.
I wonder what this one is thinking…
Time to wander back up the hill and into the park. When you get almost to the top, you find the bandstand.
As we strolled through here before Christmas last year we heard the band playing Christmas Carols. As we approached, we were handed a song sheet and just had to join in other passers by who were singing. What a lovely surprise! The Westoe Colliery Brass Band consisted of only a handful of members. The numbers have rapidly decreased since the closures of the coal mines. I remember all of the colliery bands marching through Durham at the annual Miners Gala in the 70′s. That was a fabulous day out every summer. I love the sound of brass bands, particularly when they are outdoors. I used to play trumpet in my school band many moons ago
And finally, before we head for the gate towards home, I’ll leave you with some beautiful ironwork on the long row of identical park benches.
Thank you to the people of South Tyneside for keeping the area where I live so special and unique
Have a wonderful weekend