After last year’s very mild winter, it was good to see sparkling sunshine and frost again this week. Last winter, frosts were few and far between, and there was hardly any snowfall here in Northumberland. Given the climate change data reported everyday in the mainstream media, this is no surprise, and there should be no doubt that we are in a climate emergency. So it was with some pleasure that I was able to enjoy a winter walk and to take some new photos, this time not with a camera, but a new mobile phone. In the five and a half years that I have used a so called ‘smartphone’, the technology has certainly moved on and the new phone is very easy to use, very responsive and has a very good camera. This gave me some glimmer of optimism that with our knowledge of the world’s processes and our rapid technological progress, there is hope. It must be possible to respond to what is happening, apply our minds to the climate emergency and start to really make a progress towards an ecological age, a new era of looking after our planet and its life forms. Time for change…and fast.
Another great session this week in a Business Northumberland workshop on wordpress with John Allan. These fully funded workshops are invaluable in helping small businesses develop their range of skills in many areas asuch as digital marketing. As a relative newcomer to this topic, I now realise how much there is to learn but I hope the benefits will be added to this website in the months ahead. Meanwhile, it’s worth taking a look at https://www.businessnorthumberland.co.uk/ if you want to receive expert advice and tuition for your business development. And they also provide great lunches!
Yesterday’s Christmas Fair at The Sill was a great success, with beautiful weather in the morning (sunny and frosty), lots of visitors, choirs, snowy owl, lots of great products on sale and a very happy and enthusiastic atmosphere. Many thanks to the organisers!
The Sill is the UK’s National Landscape Discovery Centre at Once Brewed in the Northumberland National Park. The building is the result of an innovative partnership between Northumberland National Park and YHA England and Wales. Named after the nearby Great Whin Sill, the centre is the result of a partnership between Northumberland National Park, Youth Hostels Association (England & Wales) and the Heritage Lottery Fund, which supported the development with a £7.8m grant.
This image shows the River Coquet from the bridge at Hepple, and is available to buy as Christmas card from the website.
Early days yet, but for those who are looking out for distinctive Christmas cards, there are more than forty designs available in the Northumberland Winter card range. They are supplied in packs of ten cards, with subjects ranging from Hadrian’s Wall to the Northumberland Coast, Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh and Alnwick Castles, the North Tyne, South Tyne and Coquet valleys, Kielder, red squirrels, and winter scenes across the Northumberland National Park.
Well it’s not really a ‘new’ site – much of the content is the same, though some superfluous content has been removed, and some new content will be added in the weeks ahead. The aim is to make the site as easy to use as possible so that buying a card or a calendar will not be a complicated and frustrating ordeal trying to work out the next step! And also to try and make an attractive website that is a pleasure to use and interesting for the viewer, whilst keeping it simple and uncluttered. There will soon be some new products beyond Northumberland, such as new greeting cards based on the sea, and on India. Meanwhile, all the regular products are available: Seasons of Northumberland calendars, Northumberland greetings cards, Northbumberland Winter christmas cards, Mindful Moments, Cherish the Earth, Earth Light and Time cards, and the notelet cards of Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland National Park, nature, Northumberland Coast and Hexham Abbey.
As always Terry Walsh (twda.co.uk) has been really helpful in giving advice and doing all the technical bits and making it all look so easy. Thanks Terry!
We have just finished the honey season with our bees and have a modest amount of heather honey – the best for many years – and a good amount of flower honey from earlier in the season. The bees are a very good barometer of the weather as they only fly (and therefore gather pollen and nectar) when the weather is pretty good. Unlike bumble bees they stay inside when it’s raining. And every year the bees do something unexpected so that as a beekeeper, you never stop learning.
One of my bee photos has now been produced as a greeting card in the new Cherish the Earth card series. The theme of the cards is to highlight the global environment through photography, and specially written quotations by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage and one of the most eminent figures in Tibetan Buddhism. The Karmapa is well known for his interest and commitment to environmental issues, as well as social justice for all. There are twelve cards in the series, ranging from honeybees to Himalayan mountains, wildlife to oceans.
These are supplied in packs of eight cards depicting Northumberland National Park through the seasons of the year. The cards are 115 x 110mm, and the set includes the River Rede, Housesteads Crags, Hadrian’s Wall, River Breamish, North Tyne valley, Falstone Moss, Dove Crag (Simonside Hills), Coquestdale and the Cheviot Hills.