Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Barnard Castle - Tuesday 8th December 2015

My diary

With Wednesday and Thursday looming I decided I would take it easier today, and I did get some time off. The morning was busy and I did have to make a dash out for food (I shop the old fashioned way - buy fresh and when you need it). I processed two new listeners and took delivery of some more media players. We're OK now for a couple of months at least.

After lunch I had another go at the stamp collection. I'd put it on one side a long time ago because the albums weren't up to date. Having rectified that I was surprised at how many stamps need to find a home. Three albums down, three more to go (not counting the First Day Issues albums, of which there are at least seven).

Still, it's nice to have a hobby.

My meanderings

Barnard Castle is a small town in Durham that is as famous for the people who visited it as it is for anything else. When the Normans installed Bishop Walcher at Durham Castle they were hoping for some stability in the region. When the bishop was murdered they reacted swiftly, splitting the entire region into manageable packages and imposing a stricter rule. A fortification was established where the town now stands and eventually it became a full blown castle. The town grew around it.

The castle's demise began a lot sooner than most and it has been a ruin for several hundred years. Now maintained by English Heritage, there is enough left to make you appreciate its size and scale, and the beautiful views it commanded over the River Tees. The town is worth a visit and the castle does still have attractions, and there is a pleasant sensory garden.

Barnard Castle

The Bowes Museum is probably the main attraction in the area. It was built later than many people perceive. John Bowes married the Countess Josephine Chevalier and together they planned a magnificent French Chateau in the north east of England. Sadly both died before the building was completed in 1892.

The Bowes were very wealthy and left at least 800 paintings. The chateau became a museum and now displays clocks, costumes, ceramics, tapestries and textiles, but the stars of the show are the magnificent paintings by the likes of Canaletto, El Greco and Goya.

Bowes Museum

My teacher taught me everything I know. Sadly he couldn't teach me everything that he knows.