It’s been a long week of work and politics, after our holiday in beautiful Northumberland last week, so I thought it would be nice to welcome in the weekend, though not the next British government (which will take a little longer to arrive), with some images from the gardens at Cragside. Unfortunately I can’t also import the roar of RAF jet fighters practising their low-flying techniques that accompanied my picture-taking – but at least your ears won’t hurt while you enjoy the flowers.

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A sign at Housesteads Roman Fort in Northumberland – everybody is welcome here.  ‘Wat fettle?’ is Cumberland dialect – you can read more on that subject here.

Bottles in the window of a barber’s shop on Dean Street, Newcastle.  As we walked by, the barber came out, helping an elderly client navigate his wheeled walking aid out of the shop and up the steeply sloped pavement.  A drunken passerby called out ‘hello’ to him and he replied ‘All right, bonny lad?’

I thought this sculpture in Newcastle referred to Britain’s part in the slave trade, but I discovered this evening that he’s a River God, by Andre Wallace.

A walk in the woods in Curbridge, with fresh new green leaves and plumes of white hawthorn blossom in the hedgerows.  A dose of Spring on a peaceful Sunday does a weary soul good.

I walk or cycle past this little nature garden every day on my way to and from work.  I think it must have been a little park once, as it’s a neat rectangle surrounded by old terraced houses, but now it’s fenced off and reserved for plants and birds.  It’s on Kings Road, a busy street that nearly always roars with traffic, in an area where not many properties have gardens, so I think it must be an important haven for some of the city’s wildlife.  I like the polite tone of the sign, plus its jaunty angle.

The iron sits on the kitchen windowsill when I’m not using it (so, quite a lot of the time, then), and just in front of it sits a big cyclamen in a pot.  I liked the distorted but somehow still pure and clear flower image in the shiny hotplate of the iron.  There are beautiful things all around us, and sometimes they’re very easy to miss.