Monday, 24 November 2014

DIY: Netbook decal

I've had my current netbook for two and half years; it is has been around half  the planet accompanying me, travelling .It's not the flashiest thing; however, it continues to work, despite its hard life It  accompanies  me everywhere, it's my most precious possession, along with my hard drive. If I ever had, a fire it's the only item I would save. 

When I first got it a friend recommended getting a decal to protect the front lid.  I originally had a white tiger decal on the screen to protect the front of it and after a while I got sick of looking at it . Only after removing it, I realised that the screen was getting damaged. So, I wanted a new decal, but I have looked everywhere for one and can't find one I like. I was browsing on the Internet, and I got the idea to purchase sticky back plastic and covered the back of the computer screen with it.

I was looking  on the hobby craft website, a chain of stores in the UK, that sells a range of craft items. I found a role of patterned sticky back plastic; the product was called Fablon Craft Sticky Back and the pattern is Classic Ornament, it cost £4. 

The plane blue HP screen of my netbook 


I laid the netbook lid on the sticky-back plastic, I traced around the screen using a pencil and cut it out. I carefully positioned the sticky plastic into and I trimmed the excess from the edges.  


 I love the final result of my new lid it looks magnificent, and  it has more of a Gothic appearance, I was after.  It will assist in protecting the front from further damage . 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Gateshaead's Oxfam charity shop

I came home from my Boyfriends, and I went to look in Oxfam charity shop. Normally, I avoid going into Oxfam shops because I tend to find they can be overpriced for the quality of items they're selling; especially in more affluent areas they tend to charge extortionate prices. Oxfam shop in Gateshaed is reasonable priced, and I always get amazing finds. Generally, I prefer to support more local and animal charity shops, but if I can find a great bargain and support a good cause, I can't argue.

Oxfam background information 

Oxfam was first established in 1942, and the name originated from the Oxford committee for famine relief. The committee campaign
ed for food donations to be delivered to Greece  because The Allies established a Navel blockade; preventing supplies to be delivered to the enemy country, leading to the population to starve. In 1995, Oxfam became an international charity  providing aid and reducing injustice along with poverty. It's implementing long term strategies in the worst effected communities to assist them, to become self sustaining. Oxfam is also campaigning to stop global climate change, promoting fair trade, demanding a decent standard of education and health services (1).

For the United Kingdom, Oxfam was one of the first of charity shops to open. Later this started a booming charity industry in the UK.The first shop opened in 1949, and it was founded by Joe Mitty. He was Oxfam's first paid employee. Originally, he was charged to manage and oversee the cloth distributions to war torn Europe. Mitty suggested that the clothing could be resold to generate revenue and developed the motto "if you donate it we can sell it.". During the 60's the Oxfam shops became popular resulting in several more opening over the country. In 1971 Oxfam shops were a'house hold' name and made one million pounds in 
profit. (2).

My finds

Today, I brought a gorgeous pair of black sheepskin boots for £7.99. They're not Uggs, but they are real sheepskin by a company called hotters. I used to own a pair of sheepskin boots, which never got took off my feet. I've always wanted another pair, but could never justify the cost. But for £8 I can't argue, and they look in excellent condition 

I purchased a book called the Heart of Darkness written by Joseph Conrad. I first heard about this whilst watching The Art of Gothic: Britain's Midnight Hour; on the third Episode Blood for sale: Gothic Goes Global. Presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon The third episode uses Condrad's book describes the darker side of colonialism and relating the book to the real horrors of the 19th and 20th century.After watching this show it very much inspired me to read the book and when I found it for £2.

Previous finds 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

An Afternoon in Hexham

On Tuesday, I was sick of being indoors, so I decided to visit Hexham. In previous a post 
Shopping In Hexham  . I sojourned in Hexham for an afternoon, and I completed my usual Charity shop rummage in forty minutes.  To be honest I spent most of time looking around Hexham Abbey, I have fallen in love with. Recently, I watched the Gothic season on BBC Four, which has lit my passion for Gothic Architecture, and I'm intrigued to learn more about the subject.

These are some various photographs of Hexham :


My charity Shop Finds 

I found this beautiful  wool jumper by M&S for £3, from Tynedale Hospice, it's Hexham's local hospice,  a complete bargain. 

I got this amazing gothic pvc waist cincher and buckle studded belt. It a little worn, however looked amazing on. I bought this from the RSPC charity shop for 99p, it by Dorthy Perkins, which do something fantastic styles of gothic clothing considering it high street shop.   

Hexham Abbey. 

This is background history of the Abbey. I must admit I spent a good part of my afternoon. I feel my pictures doesn't do any justice to show the spectacular majesty and grandeur of this place. Previously, I've stated I love looking around churches, despite not being religious. I adore the craftsmanship only their hands and limited technology to built the Abbey. The age of this building astounds me, considering it has stood for over 1200 years and even after I've gone it will be standing. Whilst walking around the grounds and interior, I developed a serene, peaceful feel. I wish I could articulate my feelings these buildings generate, it's indescribable

Hexham Abbey was built between, 674 - 678; established in 673 AD and dedicated to St. Andrew. It was built to house to Benedictine order of  Monks, to further the spread of Christianity, and a place of pilgrimages for Christians. The Abbey was built by Wilfred, Bishop of York Hexham Abbey is decorated to St. Andrew and on Wilfreds' trips to Rome it's believed he may have brought some relic, e.g a piece of cloth that touched the saint's bones, venerated from St. Andrews in Rome, where he worshipped. This was kept in the crypt for pilgrims to worship . 

Originally, Hexham Abbey held substantial amount land known as Hexhamshire and it remained so until the 16 century. Æthelthryth, Queen of Northumberland donated the land for the Abbey to build on and use it. Historians believe that the original church was built in the Roman basilica layout and was one the first to utilise stone,which is possibly reused stone from a Roman fort from Corbridge.

 Wilfred was banished from Northumberland due to disagreements between Wilfred and the king of Northumberland, as Wilfred persuaded the King's wife to devote herself to Monastery life. Twice Wilfred made trips to Rome enlisting, it's supported the council found in favour in 679 and was rejected in 703, and was granted his title for Hexham and Ripon, where he died shortly after. Wilfred implemented Benediction, practice's emphasised study and copying of scriptures.His friend and successor Acca improved the church,through adding paintings, sculpture, and wall hangings. He created, a library and introduced a music ten Europe.

In 821,the Church was no longer a cathedral, and the monks abandoned their monastery. Due to the Northumberland King's loss of power through invading Vikings and their attacks damaged the Cathedral. However, the church survives serving as place of worship for the locals and one priest.

In 1083, the priest Elaif obtained grant to rebuild from the church from the Archbishop of York, who was Norman and in the Archbishop of York installed Cannons to restore Hexham's monastery and church. In between 1180- 1250, In 1280 the cannons changed their plans wanting to enlarge the church with changing the layout of slype and cloister layout. The cannon were influenced by new emerging Gothic style incorporating stonework, rich decoration, pillar shafts and pointed arches .



In 1296, Tynedale were involved in the Scottish dispute for the throne as William Wallace and his army marched to Hexham, set it and it's priory ablaze.

In the 15 century Roger Thornton had left money to for building churches, the personal belief if they donated money to the local parishes,and helped to design, along with building chantey chapels where prayers were said for their souls.

These are carved stone work of the Leschman chantry chapels and traditional devotion scenes. Then contains the tomb of Rowland Leschman, Prior, between 1480-91. The carving with both crude, satirical and almost humorous faces. It contrast with the more traditional devotions carving of faces of Saints, Jesus Christ and Mary, even St. Geogre fighting the Dragon, I get the impression the Prior was very worldly experience with a sense of humour, but with strong faith of the church

During the reformation of Henry VIII, in 1536 commissioners tried to close to the priory down the cannons refused and fought to prevent this from happening. In 1537, the Priory was closed; the younger cannons were chucked out, and the elder ones were given a gown along with forty shilling to act as a pension.

The Priory continued exists only as a Parish church with a single priest. The priory buildings became home for Lord of the Manor. In 1625 Worshipful company. By the 1700's the Nave was abandoned and became graveyard. In 1830, the east in disrepair and the East part was disassembled and rebuilt on designs replicating the Whitby Abbey, work began in 1858. A lot of the stain glass is from the Victorian era as well.

Rev. E.S Savage persuaded Thomas Spencer, to endow £12,000 to rebuild the east side of nave. Savage obtained Temple Moore, to build (he primly utilised) the Victorian Gothic revival style and built the appearance subtly different from the Medieval style and the work was finished in 1908.
The new east extension

Victorian & Edwardian Stained glass
Even today Abbey still envisages Wilfred's and Acca legacy still live on as the Abbey is utilised for the local population to worship, community uses as place of meeting, displaying local art and producing harmonious choirs.

This cross was believed to be the at the foot of St. Acca's grave, Wilfred's successor.. He was one of the early bishops of Hexham between 709AD -732 AD and died in 740AD

This is a Roman tombstone, dedicated to Flavinus was a standard barer, who died at 25 years and old ready served seven years in the legion, The tomb stone depicts Flavinus' and his horse trampling a native Britain. It from Roman Tomb stone found in the Roman miltary cemtary in Corbridge

The crypt

For me one of the most exciting time, as it was my first time visiting the crypt. The crypt is original foundations existing are from the seventh century. It was rediscovered in 1725 a builder who was working check on the arch way on the North side of the church started to bow. Believed this may of have been caused by subsidence. Builder was digging down and fell into a large hole. He rediscovered the original passageway of wilfred's crypt which had been lost over centuries.As the part of the church had been blocked up by Monks during the a Scottish invasion of William Wallace.  


It's believed that a Monk would sit hear and ask for donations from Pilgrims to fund the running of the Abbey and to assist the poor.

These are Roman decorative Roman carvings found in the walls of Crypt. 

This is a curved arch of the alter tomb in the wall. made in the 13th century 


This was my favorite part of the church I love the three story arches, which offer complete difference in characteristics. This part was built between in 1180 and 1215 and was built in the early English Gothic style.Formed of finely detailed pointed arches accompanied by a semi-circle aches separated with smaller delicate arches. It was built allowed light into the building which in both physical and spiritual allowing God to come through in the essence of light creating a divine feeling amongst worshipers.  

The are the remains are decorative arches called lavatorium within the cloister where monks washed before entering the refractory  for meals 

This is the Abbey shop where I purchased my book about Hexham Abbey. Originally, would of been the Monk's dormitory and at midnight cross the Vestibule to attend prayers.    

All information provide - by Hexham Abbey book, by the Reverend Canon Graham Usher, 2008

Yum food 

I found this little local cafe opposite the bus stations,  the Coffee cup. It was kindly recommended after talking to the customer assistants, who worked in Hexham Abbey shop. It was reasonably priced along good selection of menu. As I get older I prefer to support local businesses, rather than mass cooperation owned, I tend to find that the price are more expensive and the quality of the item is substandard.   

I opted for scampi and chips,  priced at £5.95 it included handmade potato chips, salad, coleslaw and my favorite scampi, it was gorgeous,I getting hungry thinking about it. Yum 

I also got some homemade carrot cake, it was £2.50 the cake was deliciously moist with beautiful layering of cream icing found on top of the cake and in between the middle layer. 
In comparison to when I  purchased a piece of cake from a major American coffee chain shop, I was  disappointed, finding the cake was dry and tasteless. Besides I adore cake, my favorite is carrot cake,   

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Places of the Interest Newcastle and Gateshead : The City Hall - Mini Mayfair

In recent years, the Newcastle rock scene, has slowly been strangled and squeezed to death leaving very few decent rock nights left to attend especially, on a Saturday night. Newcastle once had a one of the most prominent rock communities in the UK. It was home to the Mayfair Ballroom, which provided a home for Newcastle's rock community on a Saturday night, and a venue for a whole host of gigs. I know many people who've attended the Mayfair, and I have heard them talking about their fantastic experiences; this makes me feel as though I've missed out.The Mayfair shut its door in 1999; I was eleven years old, at the time and too young to attend.

The Mayfair was hailed as both Europe's biggest and longest running Rock venues.(1). The Mayfair ballroom, first opened its doors on the 12th September 1961, and the last event was held on 21st of August 1999. It's estimated over 5,000 rockers turned out for the event to say their goodbyes, despite the building able to safely host 1,500 people. The Mayfair was closed down because the land it stood on, was purchased by Land Security, the UK's largest property developer; the land was purchased to build the Gate, a modern entertainment complex.(2,3,4 & 5). 

A local journalist, Nic Outterway, who at the time worked for the Sunday Sun was given the task by his editor to start a campaign to save it. Outterway worked with promoter, Sue Collier, who started the campaign the 'Ballroom Blitz' informing people of the potential demolition threat. They gathered support from musicians like, Dave Stewart, Alan Price, Chris Rea, Lindisfarne, Jimmy Nail, Bryan Ferry, Danny McAloon, Toy Dolls, Venom, and Mark Knopfler. Despite all efforts the Compulsory purchase order was finalised sealing the execution warrant for the Mayfair(5).

Over its forty year life span, The Mayfair hosted some major performers during their early careers. These have included; AC/DC, The Who, Pink Floyd, Queen, The Police, The Prodigy, The Cross, Kylie Minogue, Tin Machine, U2, The Clash, Iron Maiden, Faith No More, Judas Priest and Nirvana

However, the Mayfair claimed as Europe's largest rock venue in regards to records  concerning the Mayfair, there's limited information available. One man, Marshall Hall, has tried to compile information to write his book the 'Ballroom Blitz'. He has researched by interviewing gig and commercial promoters; he's strenuously researched bands who played there trolling through four decades worth of local newspapers.  
Hall is also  interested in anybodies personal memories of the Mayfair; he wants to include in his book and website. He has asked people to kindly share copies of tickets, posters, or photos (5).

The City hall was built in 1927, and the Harrison organ was added in 1928 hence becoming Newcastle's first music concert hall. Until the sixties the venue hosted mainly large orchestras, choirs, and recitals. During the sixties this changed with the spread of the music revolution; the venue hosted The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis. 

For decades the venue has hosted many large names like Bruce Spingsteen, who considered  this one of his best performances during his career, along with Dire straights and Motorhead . Over the years, the venue has developed a reputation for being an excellent venue for comedy performances (7). 

However, Newcastle council in 2012 , were considering closing the venue as way of saving money, but over 13,000 people signed a petition to save it from closing down. One the larger supporters for the petition was the North East Music Group,  
Hazel Plater of the organisation comments,  "the venue represents a place of History for the City". Currently, the council is now undecided for the venues future(8). 

During the 2000's decade, Legends filled the gap of the Mayfair along with Krash, which was more for the teenage rockers both were held on Saturday nights . Legends was sold  and the new owners decided to they wanted to cater for a different clientele.

 In recent years, there were individuals who wanted to bring back the Mayfair alive.The Mini Mayfair was created back in 2010  from the dreams of Dianne, who felt that there was nothing to cater for the mature rockers and decided to resolve this by creating the Mini Mayfair. However, it's been a challenge for her to maintain the night as it's moved venues and finally found a home at the Newcastle's City Hall. They mainly specialise in rock music from the 70's, 80's 90's and occasionally some early 2000's (6). The venue is held in the basement in Newcastle City Hall and is a great night, with reasonably priced drink. It's one of the only places that plays Nightwish, which is an added bonus.   

Entrance of the City Hall 

Entrance to the theatre

The DJ's one hiding because he knew I am taking photos

People on the dance floor

My boyfriend and his friend, 

Me and my out fit 
1.Roger. (2014). Mayfair Ballroom. Available: Last accessed 15/11/2014.

2. Chronicle. (2009). Rock fans revive the spirt of the Mayfair Ballroom. Available: Last accessed 15/11/2014.

3. Chronicle. (2013). Remeber when: Rocking times Mayfair. Available: Last accessed 15/11/2014

4. Outterside, N. (2013). ' Stay far from the fence with the electricity Sting. Available: Last accessed 15/11/2014.

5. Marshall Hall. (2014). Mayfair Ballroom . Available: Unable to find . Last accessed 11/11/2014

6.Mini Mayfair. (2014 ). About Us. Available: Last accessed 15/11/2014

7.Newcastle City Hall. (2014). Visitor Information. Available: Last accessed 15/11/2014.

8.BBC. (2012). Newcastle City Hall: petition launched to protect venue.Available: Last accessed 15/11/2014

Life Update.

Hi, it's been a very long hiatus, not to say the least. Since my last post, a lot happened in October. I had a death in the family ...