Monday, 10 August 2015

Beamish - Living Museum of the North

A lovely visit to 'Beamish - Living Museum of the North' last week.  The museum covers several periods of north-east life from the 1820s to the 1940s.

Of course we arrived hungry and had to visit Davy's Fried Fish Shop in the 1900s Pit Village - where the fish and chips (no other options) are cooked in beef dripping and served in paper cones.  The three cooking ranges are coal-fired.
A visit to the colliery and a trip down the mine came next.  
There are many homes to visit - the more affluent properties in the town...
...and the poorer homes in the pit village where families of up to twelve would live in small two up, two down terraced cottages.  A proggy mat being made from rags was being demonstrated in this home, but would really have been a woman's task.
The 1900s town boasts a dentist, music teacher, Barclays Bank, stationer and printer, garage, stables, bakery Jubilee Confectioners, Sun Inn Public House, Masonic hall and Co-op stores.
An assortment of sweet rollers (including policemen and fish) - put to use several times throughout the day to shape traditional boiled sweets.  The sweet shop always has the longest queues outside.
All transport on site is by foot, tram, period buses or by steam train.
We also went further back in time to the 1820s to Pockerly Old Hall where we saw candles being made for use in the buildings for this era.
Pockerly Old Waggonway representing 1825 was our final port of call.  
The 6 ft weather vane illustrates a story about George Stephenson, who when asked what would happen if a cow got in front of a steam train replied that it would be 'very awkward indeed - for the coo!'

We were warned that our train journey would be bumpy - they were right!
Buth the waiting room had the most warming and charming fire that I've seen for a long time.

Saturday, 1 August 2015


It's August so we should be thinking sandy beaches, sunbathing, picnics, barbecues, ice-cream and outdoor games.
But this is the UK so in reality we're thinking log fires, steamed puddings, wellies, umbrellas and thermal underwear!  A weather forecasting stone would probably be most helpful in deciding the level of wrapping up we need!

Friday, 31 July 2015

bran loaf - a simple recipe

This recipe for Bran Loaf calls for cups of ingredients, you can use a mug as long are you are consistent and use the same 'cup' for all measurements.  If you would like to make more than one loaf then just multiply the quantities.
  • One cup of mixed dried fruit (sultanas/raisins/cherries, etc)
  • One cup of milk, semi-skimmed or full cream
  • One cup of All-Bran (or supermarket own brand)
  • Half a cup of sugar 
  • One cup of self raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Mix the fruit, sugar, bran and milk in a large bowl and leave for six hours (or overnight).
  2. Add the flour and salt to the wet mixture and mix throughly.
  3. Lightly oil the bottom and sides of a 2lb loaf tin and line with greaseproof paper.
  4. Pour the mix into the loaf tin and bake in a medium hot oven for one hour.
  5. Remove, cool, slice, butter, enjoy!
Bran loaf keeps very well for a few days, and dare I say it even improves after a few days.