A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Monday, 17 August 2015

Bamburgh Castle Again

Here's that silly old fool Max Foy pretending to fire a big carronade. Ironmongery in
the background includes a 32pdr mortar and some 18pdr iron cannons - all Napoleonic
period. It is instructive to consider what serving one of these things would be like - you
have to wheel it back to load it (unless you have a very tall colleague outside the
walls), run it forward, then fire the damn thing, then reload and run it back into
position. A lot of work. I wouldn't fancy it at all - most especially if some beggar was
shooting at me while I was trying to concentrate. 
This week's problem is a lack of electricity. Because our power travels some distance via overhead lines, some work is scheduled to update the kit, and we have two days in the diary - Monday and Friday - when we have what is described as a Planned Outage (or "outrage" in our terms) from 9am to 4:30pm.

Since we seem to be totally dependant on electricity, wifi and TV and are rather lost without them, we took advantage of the good weather and went for a trip to Bamburgh Castle (on the Northumberland coast not far from Holy Island), which is just 75 minutes down the road from where we live. We got there not long after the doors open, but it was quite busy. We spent about 2 hours there and then retired for lunch to the Blue Bell, at Belford, for fish and chips, and very good too.

Back at home, power was restored only 30 minutes later than the scheduled hour, and we had had a good day out, but it is faintly depressing that we are at such a loss without a mains supply. Now the precedent is set, we'll have to think of something worthwhile to do on Friday. Hmmm.


  1. Thinks: "Hmmm, Alnwick's only a bit further south. Castle (Harry Potter, Downton etc.,) very good second hand book shop (Barter Books), missed the folk festival, but worth a punt." Just seen the admission prices for the castle: £40 family ticket - nebuliser time . . . >8¬O

    1. That is a bit steep - family ticket at Bamburgh £25. The little Armstrong engineering museum in the castle is a bit creepy - it's full of engines and structural bits rescued from crashed Mosquitos, Spitfires, Vickers planes of various types, a Heinkel, complete with details of the crew members killed in the crash, usually with photos. I was pleased to see a canopy from a Hurricane, in pretty good condition, which had been rescued from service as a cloche in a vegetable garden somewhere in Northumberland.

      Scottish schools start the new term this week (not our lad - he's at school in England), so some of our local sites might be a bit quieter this week. Might go and visit Floors Castle at Kelso. If it rains I might get on with fettling my Spanish dragoons, ready for painting...

  2. I suggest taking the walk out to Lindisfarne Island. There's the inherent risk of the causeway, then the family will no doubt enjoy a walk around the island while you explain in detail everything Vikings the TV show got wrong. If you're lucky it will drizzle and there will be a cold wind, and you can eat your sandwiches in the lee of the castle.
    Good times!

    1. Good shout - we've also thought of going to Seahouses for a couple of days, and taking the boat trip to the Farne Islands. This requires some pondering, since it is heavily weather-dependant, and since the Contesse has to be drugged up with Stugeron to go in a boat. I'm working on it.

      "...if you're lucky it will drizzle..." - that's right, because if it drizzles there's less chance of wind-borne grit in the sandwiches.

    2. "Wind-borne grit in the sandwiches" ... it could be a lot worse. Picnicking in Oz always comes the possibility of sitting on a bull ant, and you still get the grit.
      Seahouses and Farne Islands sounds good. I love working ports and boat rides. I feel sorry for the Contessa though, as I do for all the chronically seasick. It looks like the torture of the damned, and robs them of one of the most magical experiences there is. The only thing better than a boat ride is jumping off the side of one.

    3. The Farne Islands are a mixed blessing. It was the only time I've ever seen my son sea sick. The actual cause was the aroma of guano down wind of the islands, so I suppose he wasn't actually sea sick per se.

      Seahouses certainly gets my vote, but the weather for the next few days isn't promising.


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