What’s New and What’s Old in Runcorn and Widnes

Yesterday I picked up friend Ann from her home in Widnes and we’re now spending a few days ‘Sleeping with Books‘ at Gladstone’s Library. After my two-night stay last year I thought it would be interesting to spend a few days in the area and in particular to visit Chirk Castle, which has been on my ‘list’ for a long time.

Widnes is only just over half an hour from Hawarden (home to Gladstone’s Library) and Ann wanted to show me a few sights in her local area. Our first stop was to view the new bridge, The Mersey Gateway Bridge, currently edging its way across the River Mersey.

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Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age, Hermitage Amsterdam

As I’d decided to spend most of the day at The Hermitage I bought the full price ticket (no reductions for pensioners!) and after a tasty lunch of pumpkin soup and apple pie I headed for the other show. There’s no permanent collection, as far as I understand but the Golden Age portraits are showing for an extended period.

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1917 Romanovs & Revolution at The Hermitage, Amsterdam

Last weekend I made a short trip to Amsterdam. My Dutch friend, Monique, who joined me on my Irish trip last year, had invited me to her 60th party and I joined up with two Swiss friends (also called Barbara) for the weekend. We all met when I worked in Cambridge and they were at Language School. That summer (1977) Monique and I went to work at a Hotel in the Bernese Alps. We met up with the Barbaras during our time there and have met up over the years ever since in Boscastle, Italy, London, Grindelwald and Amsterdam. Later this year Tenerife is on the cards!

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The Hermitage Amsterdam

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Autumn Visit To The Galleries of Manchester

Back in June I received notification of this locally organised trip and, October being a pretty ‘clear’ month, I decided to book the day out. In the end it came hot on the heels of the Edinburgh 48 hour ‘day out’.

“Autumn Visit to the Galleries of Manchester.
Wednesday 12th October 2016

Manchester, or “Cottonopolis” was one of the great cities of Victorian England. That wealth is reflected to-day in the magnificent art collections housed in the city galleries.

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Lanercost Priory

On our way up to Scotland in June we travelled via The Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle and Lanercost Priory. At The Bowes we looked at the latest exhibition Shoes : Pleasure and Pain; saw the famous automaton Swan in limited action and enjoyed a lovely selection of portraits of English women: English Rose – Feminine Beauty from Van Dyck to Sargent. Our Art Fund cards gave us free admission to everything and the Museum – a French Chateau plonked down in the Yorkshire Dales – has a good cafe and well-stocked shop.

Bowes Museum

The Bowes Museum

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The Geffrye Garden of Smells

Time flies! It’s already over a week since I was in London and Surrey and at home we’ve been busy, busy, busy. And now it’s nearly time for me to reopen the pages of My Irish Times. This year I’m going Dutch for the first ten days and working my way from north to south.

Anyway, that’s for next week, in the meantime last Friday (13th) I was in London and on Saturday and Sunday in Surrey … and beyond.

Geffrye Museum

The Geffrye in January this year

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