If you have ever wondered how a penny managed to find its way into an impossibly small bottle then the answer lies in the city of Sunderland.
Sunderland’s association with glass goes all the way back to the times of the medieval monk Benedict Biscop, who introduced glass to Britain when he hired French glaziers to put windows into his nearby newly built priory in 674 AD. Then in the 18th century the glassmaking industry boomed on the shores of the river Wear as the great shipping links brought in a large amount of good quality sand from the Baltics plus there was abundant cheap local coal. It was even the British centre of revolutionary bakeware Pyrex for over eighty years. The National Glass centre in Sunderland is not only a celebration of the area’s importance in the history of making glass but also provides a learning zone and a creative hub for artists that love to use glass.
‘The history of York is the history of England’ remarked King George VI. Since its founding as a garrison for the Roman army, this northern city has featured in many important prominent moments, from the marauding invaders the Vikings to warring Kings and Nazi bombings. The town just oozes bygone times, with its Norman churches, Medieval shops, and Cold War bunkers. As a former busy port that rivaled London York was and a centre for spiritual study and worship, York suffered under the new religious regime of the Tudors but later found new purpose as the centre for the railways. At every corner, York has a heap of heritage to explore.
“The dance between darkness and light will always remain— the stars and the moon will always need the darkness to be seen, the darkness will just not be worth having without the moon and the stars.” The quote from C. JoyBell C. perfectly sums up why light festivals are the perfect start to enjoying long dark northern European nights. Popping along to the UK’s largest light festival ‘Lumiere Durham’ in North East England was a wondrous winter treat.
Blake’s words and paintings have been immortalised in a series of mosaics that inhabit the railway tunnels of Waterloo in South London, just around the corner from the former site of the artist’s residence. It’s one of many art exhibits that provide a lovely adornment to the streets of this large metropolis and one best experienced as part of an alfresco walk. The Southbank Mosaics group of artists took over seven years to create the seventy works that decorate Centaur Street, Virgil Street, and Carlisle Lane.
I entered the sixteen-degree water using a little-known technique named the ‘not too slow so your body doesn’t realise what’s happening but not too fast as that’s just pure pain’. It worked but I was not alone; there were other… Continue Reading →
“Glasgow and Edinburgh, how do you tell them apart? One has a castle, one has a heart.” I learned this and much more whilst taking a peek into the cultural nucleus of Glasgow. The industrial capital of Scotland, ‘where even the grass had… Continue Reading →
Outside 69A, Murdoch is surreptitiously guarding the street wares. Apparently, he likes mushrooms, tomatoes, and cucumber, which is unusual for cats. He’s pretty good at jumping out and scaring the customers too.
Once synonymous with ship building, coal mining, flat caps and whippet dogs, the north-east of England’s main city of Newcastle has managed to migrate into a modern metropolis whilst still retaining its character. It hasn’t shed its party town image, nor its reputation for producing great musicians, comedians and sports players. We jumped at the chance to experience some of the new cultural highlights and also the traditional passions of this full of character city.
The Big Smoke. Nodnol. Londinium. The capital of the United Kingdom. A hectic mash-up, where big business, high-class art, ancient history, urban fashion, aristocracy and international cultures all meet and mingle freely. It’s a festival of human awesomeness disguised as a city. Famous wordsmith Samuel Johnson managed to put it succinctly: ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford’. Too true.