Friday, 30 June 2017

Hull 2017 - Part II

The concert was great. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott performed many of their hits, as well as a lot of Housemartins and Beautiful South material. I sang along and danced to my heart's content with every song (my kids weren't there to tell me that I was embarrassing!).
The following day could have been a let-down after the big build-up to the concert, but it was a perfect day. We travelled up the coast to Bempton Cliffs, a nature reserve run by the RSPB. Bempton Cliffs is best known for its breeding seabirds, including northern gannet, razorbill and common guillemot. We were lucky enough to see Atlantic puffin too, which made me happy after our big disappointment over a planned birdwatching trip in Scotland. It was a really lovely place to spend a little time just enjoying the majestic cliffs and the marvel of the seabirds clinging to the chalk cliff face.
Afterwards we drove to Flamborough Head, a chalk headland with sheer white cliffs. The cliff top has two standing lighthouse towers, the oldest dating from 1669 and Flamborough Head Lighthouse built in 1806. The older lighthouse was designated a Grade II* listed building in 1952 and is now recorded in the National Heritage List for England. The cliffs here also provide nesting sites for many thousands of seabirds, and are of international significance for their geology.
Our next stop was Bridlington, a seaside resort where we used to spend many holidays. Bridlington is a minor sea fishing port with a working harbour and is also a popular place for day trippers. We walked through the harbour area and past the amusement arcades, then stopped to look in the new leisure centre, before wandering onto the beach and then along the promenade. I had a great time photographing the seagulls, the lines of wooden posts of the groynes holding the sand of the beach in place, and the weathered walls of the seafront.
My concertgoing friend was still with me and together we decided to head back into Hull the following day, giving Dad a day off and time for a nap. The weather let us down but we anyway joined a walking tour of the Old Town of Hull. Though I grew up in Hull, I haven't visited that area of the city for many years. Our guide took us around the Old Town, down Humber Street to the pier, past the Millennium Bridge and around the Museum Quarter. I enjoyed seeing and hearing about the many buildings, both old and new, and learning about historical events in Hull, the Land of Green Ginger, William Wilberforce, and much much more.
Later we dropped into the Ferens Art Gallery which was showing Skin, a dramatic exhibition of major works by Lucian Freud, Ron Mueck and Spencer Tunick. Reflecting the city’s maritime history, the stunning and hugely anticipated images from Spencer Tunick’s 'Sea of Hull' were being shown for the first time since the commission, which took place on 9th July 2016. Over 3,200 participants from across the world painted their skin with blue body paint and took part in the largest nude installation in the UK to date. The Ferens has had a really good make-over for Hull 2017 and the Skin exhibition was well worth seeing, especially the 'Sea of Hull' photos.
The weather had taken a turn for the worse by now and so, with just one more day in Hull, we decided to make it a museum day. Dad and I went off to visit the Streetlife Museum of Transport, a lovely little museum with carriages and bikes, trains and trams, with shops, a railway signal box and more, all arranged in a street-like setting. My Dad enjoyed reminiscing and I was happy to hear his tales.
As far as I can tell, Hull 2017 has been a roaring success so far, with a few transport and other teething problems along the way. I certainly enjoyed my visit. It was nice to spend quality time with my Dad, it was good to see my hometown with fresh eyes, and it was especially nice not to be moving from one place to the next, as we usually do when we visit the UK. My friends here in Israel think that the only place to visit in the UK is London. Of course London has a huge amount to offer, but I had a brilliant time in Yorkshire too!

California Globetrotter

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

19th Anniversary

Mister Handmade in Israel and I recently celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. There wasn't a "Romantic Ride" planned this year. In fact, we weren't even in the same country on the day! As you know from my recent post, not long ago I went to visit my Dad in the UK and it worked out that I was away for our anniversary. Not to worry. I left this papercut card and a bag full of chocolate in the care of my eldest son, so Mister Handmade in Israel still received some treats on the day.
In return, I arrived home the day after our anniversary and was greeted at the airport by Mister Handmade in Israel holding this colourful balloon. The Hebrew greeting says יום נישואין שמח, or Happy Anniversary. The following day some beautiful roses arrived, along with a very large tin of delicious Max Brenner chocolates, and the day after that we ate in our favourite Italian restaurant in Jerusalem, Al Dente.
Being away for our anniversary wasn't so bad after all!
While we're on the subject of flowers, I made these cards for a customer last month. The flower vase is one of my older designs but still a favourite!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Hull 2017 - Part I

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that I took a short break from blogging recently. At the end of May I went to the UK to stay with my Dad for a couple of weeks. This was a big deal for me. It was the first time that I have travelled on my own since the kids were born. My eldest is coming up to 17 and is always busy with his own stuff. His younger brother still hangs around at home a lot more but, with the freezer packed full of homemade meals and plenty of invitations to friends, I knew they could definitely cope without me, even if it meant an little more work for Mister Handmade in Israel.
Off to the UK I went!
Kingston upon Hull, or  Hull, as it is more commonly known, is a city in the East Riding of Yorkshire. I was born there 47 years ago (yes, I recently celebrated a birthday!) and my Dad still lives there. When we visit the UK as a family we usually end up travelling around quite a bit. Mister Handmade in Israel's family live in London, so we have to spread ourselves thin, running between London and Hull. Hull is UK City of Culture this year and so I decided that I was going to spend my whole trip there on this occasion. It was a good decision.
The sun shone for quite a few days of my visit. Now, I will be the first to agree that the north of England in the rain can be a bit miserable, but in the sunshine my hometown looked wonderful! Dad was keen to show me the city centre and the pier. We saw the excellent Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition, and passed by The Deep (I have visited it several times previously). He pointed out the recently renovated Zebedee's Yard, the site of the old Trinity House Navigation School, and we spotted the Spurn Lightship in the Hull Marina. 
Another day we travelled to Lincoln and walked around its pretty medieval town. Lincoln was once home to one of the five most important Jewish communities in England, before the Jews were expelled en masse in 1290. We stopped to look at the mid-twelfth century Jews' Court on Steep Hill and went into the beautiful cathedral too, though we didn't spot the cheeky little Lincoln Imp there but on another building's wall.
Of course we ate fish and chips (twice!) and I fitted in some clothes shopping too. My Dad wins the award for the world's most patient dad since he sat in his car reading his newspaper for three hours whilst I chose clothes in the Kingswood Retail Park.
Then it was back to Hull. There was more to see. Holy Trinity Church was until recently the largest parish church in England by floor area. In May of this year it became Hull Minster. Renovations are currently taking place on the building and it is already looking rather wonderful.
We spotted the smallest window in England in The George Hotel on Land of Green Ginger, a narrow street in the old town area of Hull. Can you see the window in the photo above? The new memorial for lost fishermen in Hull, below, a 9 ft tall steel sculpture depicting 13 trawlermen standing in an overlapping line, was created by local artist Peter Naylor. Around 6000 fishermen from Hull are believed to have died at sea. The city has been a major British fishing port for centuries.
I couldn't visit Hull without popping down to the Humber Bridge. I watched the bridge, a 2,220-metre (7,280 ft) single-span suspension bridge, being built as a child. It opened to traffic on 24 June 1981 and, when it was opened, it was the longest of its type in the world. The Humber Bridge Country Park, which we accessed from the bridge car park, has really been developed since I was last there. Set amongst woods, meadows, ponds and cliffs (the area was once quarried for chalk, and the old quarry cliff terraces now form the edges of the reserve), it was a lovely place to visit to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and to enjoy a walk amongst the trees.
Then it was time to get ready for the reason I had travelled to Hull in the first place. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott were performing their Beauty In The East show at Hull KR's Lightstream Stadium in Craven Park. Mister Handmade in Israel had surprised me with a ticket last Chanukah, and my best friend had come up from London for a few days to join me. We were very excited...