Even the traffic cone gazes up in awe at the Angel of the North. As some of you will know, I occasionally post some of my (strictly amateur) photography on the blog. It's a really important creative outlet for me (so much of what I do in and out of work is verbal rather than visual) and takes me into a completely different place. I particularly like collaborating with friends on portrait projects (see here for example), but this post is different, 'looser'. Mrs Specs and I went to Northumberland for something like the 7th time last month. This is a casual but heartfelt photographic love letter to the place, one of our favourite parts of the world. I always have a high old time with the camera - some of these are just phone snaps, others involve ludicrous self-indulgence with both filters and alcohol... but they all remind me of just how fanstastic we feel when we're there. I hope you enjoy them.
A quick shot of the interior of Barter Books in Alnwick, one of the largest second-hand bookshops in the world. It's an old station building, and something akin to heaven on earth. Where else would I find four old Penguins full of operatic source material?
The columns of Brizlee Tower, an Alnwick folly hiding in plain sight.
There was a running theme throughout the holiday of 'coming across frankly scary pieces of art in the middle of nowhere':
Which brings me on to our 'border raid', into Mrs Specs's homeland to visit Abbotsford - residence of Sir Walter Scott. The kind of chap who liked to relax in his armoury, the walls were full of macabre delights...
but the environs were stunning, and the library a symphony of brown (and sometimes reddish) shades, leather and wood, as though he read in a permanent indoor autumn.
The county's new landscape feature, 'rejoicing' in the name Northumberlandia, is designed to represent a shapely damsel in hillock format. Which is why the Instagram below features one eye, a nose and two breasts. I suppose that's only one eye short of an actual woman. Realism.
And some of the viewpoints could have been more helpful.
Coast and river walks.
The abandoned farm Blawearie (near Old Bewick) had an eerie, desolate atmosphere that we'd not really felt anywhere else in all our trips to the region. Such was its magnetism that, even though we were on a walk, we stayed there for ages, still and silent one minute, fooling around with the camera the next. (Hence the horror film still at the end of this sequence.)
Mrs Specs is not quite as scary in real life.
Finally a view of Cragside, a property close by to where we stay - home of inventor-engineer and pioneer extraordinaire, William Armstrong, who made it the first house ever to be lit with hydroelectricity. A much-loved haunt (of the harmless variety) on quiet days close to the cottage.