A couple of weeks ago we went to Darlington in County Durham to visit Matt’s mum Barbara. She recently moved there after living in London for most of her life.
A bit of a change from Bermondsey to wake up to this view every day!
We arrived on Saturday morning and after a hearty home-cooked breakfast we ventured out to take a walk by a nearby river.
There was a tree with a face.
Then we drove to the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle. It’s a very impressive building!
And the inside has a collection of painting, ceramics, furniture – all seemingly more or less randomly thrown together.
The main attraction is this Swan automaton. It is like a massive wind-up toy which includes a music box. When the swan is wound up (daily at 2pm), it moves its head from left to right and then moves it down to pretend-catch a fish from the area in the front.
It was kind of weird and cool at the same time. Certainly a very eccentric piece of the collection. Apparently the only other automaton of this kind is located in the Hermitage museum in St Petersburg. It’s a giant peacock clock that is only wound up once a year.
When we had finished looking at the weird and wonderful things in the Bowes Museum, we explored the town a little bit.
Then we headed back to Barbara’s cottage where her little dog was waiting for us, ready to go for another walk.
We walked around the fields just near her house and it was so beautiful! The evening light made for some dramatic views.
The next day we drove to a town called Richmond, went for another walk by another river (possibly the same river…?) and around Easby Abbey.
In the afternoon we had a Sunday roast in a pub and that concluded our short stay in the countryside. I’m looking forward to going back in Summer and spending more time outside.