Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Alice's Adventures in Anglo-Saxon Land!

WARNING: this blog post will contain lots of photos, and many of them will have dangerously high levels of pretty! Proceed with caution! Due to the rather extreme amount of photos I've made them all small, but you can click though to see them bigger on my Flickr. :)

So, as I mentioned in my last blog, it's my 'spring break' type thing from university and I went to stay at my mum's house in Newcastle to perform various daughterly duties, and was (yay!) joined by Gavin after a few days, and we've been having lots of exciting adventures in the North East! :D

The Reason for my Flickr Neglect...

As you may know... I'm a bit of an anglo saxon nerd. I think 'nerd' is probably the best term, as I'm not particularly good at it or extraordinarily knowledgeable or anything like that, just embarrassingly enthusiastic and a bit of a snob. (Probably best just not to mention the 2007 Beowulf film. Sorry Mr Gaiman, but WHAT WAS THAT?!?!?!) The North East is a pretty cool place if you're interested in the Anglo Saxons, but I've never really taken advantage of that... so decided it was finally time. :)

Bede's World!

First up was Bede's World, which is a museum in Jarrow (a short and exciting hop on the Metro!) I insisted we sit at the front of the front carriage next to the driver, like a child. :D) which involves a bunch of exhibitions about Bede (who was a local) and a reconstruction (working!) Anglo Saxon farm! Bede is kind of a big deal for mediaevalists (and anglo saxon nerds, as he wrote a whole bunch in the vernacular!) and he very thoughtfully wrote a big ol' history of England which is all kinds of useful. I'm sure wikipedia will do a far better job of explaining it than me. Of course, none of the manuscripts that would have been in Jarrow are still there, because London bloody steals them all, but, urr, not that I'm jealous or anything...

St Paul's Ruins

Part of St Paul's priory where he would have spent a lot of time is still standing across the road from the museum, near to the river Don. We picked a lovely day for it and it was really pretty. Jessica got her anglo-saxon on and joined us on our rambles. :) The part of Jarrow this is in is very industrial, if that's the right word, and so it's a lovely little pocket of pretty history, which tickled my pickle. :)

The museum itself was pretty cool, but mostly aimed at kids. There was a school group walking round all dressed as monks, which was pretty surreal! The part that got me all excited was the reconstruction farm, though! :D

Reconstruction Anglo Saxon Farm

They had a bunch of animals, including these funny cow like things with stupid short legs that I laughed at, which ur.... turned out to be oxen. Learn something new every day! (I'd never met oxen before!) I assessed the lambs in terms of how much I wanted to make yarn from their wool, which is a new reaction. Crochet on the brain much?

Reconstruction Grubenhaus

Some of the reconstruction buildings were ace! This is a grubenhaus, complete with investigative Gavin!

Reconstruction Grubenhaus

It was so incredibly windy that day we went, but I was suitably impressed at how much of the weather they kept out. Pffft who needs central heating?

Reconstruction Anglo Saxon Farm

I also experienced proper wattle-and-daub for the first time! My only, er, previous experience was a history assignment I was given when I was about 11. We were to bring in our own home-made wattle-and-daub sample. Everyone produced a plastic bag full of mud and twigs. It is SO much harder than it sounds! :P I think that piece of homework was not terribly appreciated by all the parents, hahah!

Day out to Bede's World!

Jessica was my little anglo saxon companion. :) She could be Scandinavian, don't you think?


Another building I decided was the mead hall, as it had a place for a fire and a whole bunch of benches, but mostly just because I wanted to say I had been in a mead hall. :D We all got a shot of ourselves in there. ;)

Mead Hall Gavin!

Gavin -

Meduseld Alice!

- and me -

Mead Hall Jessica!

- and Jessica! :P

The second installment of our Anglo-Saxon adventures was a trip to Lindisfarne. :) This involved me driving 60 miles up the A1 (I know, a terrifying thought :P) and then driving across the sea. :D It was AWESOME. I felt like Moses. Only without the terror of pursuit. Lindisfarne is linked to the mainland by a causeway which is blocked off by the sea when the tide is in, so we crossed over before high tide and stayed until it sank again. :)

Lindisfarne Priory

First, we visited Lindisfarne priory ruins, which were so pretty! This being where the Lindisfarne Gospels were created - but of course, they're in London. Rawr.

Lindisfarne Priory

Here is Gavin underneath the 'rainbow arch' which is still intact. :) This is just after he gave me a physics lesson in how arches work heheh!


The Brewhouse - an essential part of any monastery. :P My little lalaloopsy agrees! (I am definitely a fan of pocket dollies! They're so handy and cute. Even if a rude woman laughed at me for playing with them, pffft, ignorance D:)


I really wished I could have found a St Cuthbert's bead while I was there, but no such luck! Me and Gavin did however, rediscover the art of skimming stones. ;)


We also walked out to Lindisfarne castle, which is of a more modern time, but still really pretty and interesting! It's a bit of a hodge-podge of a castle, as some guy in the 1900s decided to build a whole bunch of extra stuff onto it, so it's a weird mixture of an actual military castle... and a rich holiday home.

Lindisfarne Castle

Gavin keeping watch from the castle walls. ;P

Lindisfarne Castle

The weather was so so so gorgeous, we had expected it to rain, but take that met office! :D We even caught the sun a little bit. Everything was just beautiful


I swear I have never taken scenery photos anywhere near as stunning as these, and I refuse to take any credit whatsoever for what a beautiful place it is - I don't think I could have taken a bad photo!

Viking Raid on Lindisfarne! Noooes!

We needed change for the car park, so I had to pick something to buy... and well, really, what more excuse did I need than that to buy myself a finger puppet viking? :D Here he is, raiding Lindisfarne castle, just like the old days. :P

Viking Raid!

As an anglo-saxon nerd, I'm supposed to hate the Vikings. Grrr burning all the books! *shakes fist* But... could you resist that little cutie? :3

Lindisfarne Castle

And to think the weather forecast had predicted rain.... :D

Lindisfarne Mead!

As an anglo saxon nerd, it is my duty to like mead. Imagine how disappointed I was when I tried my first mead and hated it! :( DON'T WORRY! The story doesn't end there. :P I had made the stupid (student) mistake of buying bad mead from my local supermarket, and it is deeply deeply gross and inferior. The aftertaste was just OH GOD so bad. I eventually tried some good mead and YAY it is soooo yummmy! My favourite mead so far is definitely Lindisfarne mead, so it was exciting to see where the MAGIC HAPPENS! :D

Lindisfarne - Mead Tasting!

Beth is a fan of these developments. :P I should add that the mead tasting was not actually open when the tide was high, so we missed out... but I was driving anyway, so it's probably a good thing! Besides, I have a whole bottle at home waiting to be drank. ;) Still, it provided a good photo op for my own cheeky little Goldie. :)

Eeeee exciting times! :)

I also had a little non-Anglo Saxon adventure where I got to meet up with the loooovely Christin and talk dollie! :) It was lovely to meet her (and her dolls!) properly! :)

The Girls! (and one boy!)

Here are our little ones! Meeting a littlefee was a very dangerous decision... heheh. :D

We also discovered an anime store in Newcastle I had NOO idea existed, and I was able to contribute to my growing toy loot situation... bearing in mind I had already swiped a couple of lalaloopsies from Tesco last week...


Ooops! :D And watch this space for better photos. ;) I am actually a little bit in love with my LPS petite Blythe, she's really really cute! Never had a petite before. :) (FYI - found them in both Fenwick and John Lewis! Also spotted one in Travelling Man, so get shopping. :P) I restricted myself to just one but could easily have bought two once I saw them in the plastic, hehehe.

Anyway, sorry for the massive entry! Hope everyone else had a lovely week :)

alice xox

ps. been keeping up my blanket! Perhaps some photos soon! Also, I am not talking about how much yarn I bought.... it's shameful!


  1. I have to admit, I've never properly sorted my anglos from my saxons, or really understood at what point in history they merged... ^^; So your travel description is entertaining and informative! ;)

  2. phew. looks like you had fun!

  3. As a reconvering Anglo Saxon nerd myself I found this all darn interesting, adding dollies to the equation made it even more interesting! I'm also now totally jealous because I've wanted to go to Holy Island for flippin' ages! :)

  4. I am jealous of your trip like whoa.