Posted by: brigid benson | March 26, 2017

More Music To My Soul

Home made mini movies from favourite places…definitely music to my soul!

Welcome to my world!

Posted by: brigid benson | March 25, 2017

Music To My Soul!

❤️Short ❤️Sweet ❤️Magical…

…inspiration from some of my best places on earth!

Welcome to my home made mini movie!

 

Posted by: brigid benson | January 29, 2017

Flying Above The River Mersey

The River Mersey is a mighty waterway in northwest England with an extraordinary history. John Lennon airport sits on the Liverpool bank, facing the shores of Wirral, where the Manchester Ship Canal transports shipping inland.  Here’s a glimpse of it all, from an easyjet flight on the runway into the sky above the clouds on a beautifully clear day, with low tide in the river below.

Posted by: brigid benson | January 29, 2017

Mute Swan Magic

This is my friend, an extraordinarily kind woman who has been visiting the swans of Liverpool’s glorious Grade 1 listed Sefton Park on a daily basis since 2010, forming an incredible bond with the resident adult pair and the cygnets they raise each year.

Feeding them only healthy food, especially sweetcorn, she is trusted absolutely by the swans. They recognise her from afar and it it is astonishing to see them fly or swim some considerable distance to reach her.  On summer days, after feeding, the family group will often gather beside her on the grassy bank, to sit peacefully in the sunshine.

This young male cygnet is less than one year old and will soon be departing with his siblings to establish his own territory elsewhere. Meanwhile his parents will prepare the nest for this year’s young, all being well.

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Posted by: brigid benson | December 30, 2016

Adieu 2016!

Burning up the old year, welcoming the new: the hogmanay bonfire of Biggar

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The extraordinary hogmanay bonfire of Biggar

The Scottish ritual of hogmanay ushers out the old year and welcomes the new.  And while there’s much tradition around whisky drinking with neighbours and taking a sod of peat or lump of coal for their fire, the South Lanarkshire town of Biggar celebrates hogmanay in a wildly pagan way.

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Holding their breath! Homes and public buildings close by the Biggar bonfire

In awesome annual spectacle, the citizens build one of the biggest bonfires imaginable on a public highway, using Manitous to reach the upper heights!  The mountainous pyre is lit on New Year’s Eve and burns for days; the street party begins  early evening December 31 2016 and ends sometime in the afternoon of January 1 2017.

Pagans consider fire to be a purging force; cleansing the air of evil spirits, cleansing the ground of disease and making way for fresh new growth.  The good folk of Biggar are purging for the world!

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Burning up 2016!

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While many tourists visit for the beauty of the local landscape, and especially the Pentland Hills, the mighty  bonfire is becoming an attraction of international renown. For those who can’t make it, there’s live  webcam coverage.

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Posted by: brigid benson | November 15, 2016

The Supermoon High Tide Effect

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Supermoon high tide washes over the Dee estuary marsh

Last night the moon came closer to the Earth than it has done in 70 years, appearing 14% bigger and bouncing 30% more light around the heavens.  Most of us struggled to get the full impact through cloudy skies.

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Almost submerged by floodwater, two huge anchors that usually sit on dry land

The super high tides that follow the supermoon cause flooding, and on the Dee estuary marshes it is spectacular. Birds of prey swoop upon unfortunate creatures feeling from the marsh as the water rushes in. Leaky old boats that have lain about mud bound and abandoned get a chance to part float again. Often there’s an eerie sensation in the air, a calm stillness where Nature is just doing her thing silently, strongly. The migrating geese in this video clip were a moment of squawky magic!

 

 

 

Posted by: brigid benson | October 23, 2016

On the Monet: a postcard from Giverny

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From the front door to the garden, Monet’s famous alleyway

Talk about in your face! The paintbox chaos of artist Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny is exhilarating. Under cloudless blue skies, October’s scarlets, yellows and deep mauves clashed unabashed. A spectacular visual experience.

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Primary colour daisies

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Horticultural impressionism

Impressionism reigns here; throughout his 43 years in residence, from 1883-1926, Monet’s planting scheme was about the colliding colour more than the plants themselves, though  he was passionate about finding the perfect plant for his palette.

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Claude Monet’s home for 43 years

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Many of his water lilies came from Latour Marliac nursery in the southwest of France, established in 1875, the nursery is still a thriving business and a beautiful visit. Monet’s fervour for water lilies was inspired by Latour Marliac’s exhibition at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris.

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Dahlias and cleome

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Full on colour!

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Clashing with panache

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A glorious jungle

How to visit:

Easy! Take an SNCF  train to Vernon Station 45 minutes from Gare St Lazare, Paris.

From Vernon station there’s a regular shuttle bus to the garden.

Posted by: brigid benson | June 8, 2016

How to Make Magic Memories

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On my writing desk, my personal copy of my book 52 Weekends by the Sea, stuffed with inspiration and discoveries all around the British coast.

I show you perfect places to make magic memories, all backed up with tried, tested and trusted tips: where to eat, where to stay and who to check out, because meeting the locals is a great way to experience any place!

Take yourself away:  experience breathtaking moments, like the romantic vision that appeared at the end of a glorious day on the vast sands of West kirby, with Hilbre Island and the mountains of Snowdonia beyond. I managed to capture it with my phone. Simply wonderful…

Discover West Kirby and the Wirral peninsula in Weekend 14 of 52 Weekends by the Sea. Buy it now from Amazon.

 

 

Posted by: brigid benson | May 10, 2016

Beside the Seaside on Whitley Bay

Whitley Bay! You only have to say the name and I conjure up that great swathe of sand, racing north sea waves, iconic St Mary’s lighthouse and a long, long  promenade currently undergoing regeneration as part of a £36 million project to improve facilities along the North East coast.

Bracing! Whitley Bay

Ahhh! Bracing! Whitley Bay

My book 52 Weekends by the Sea reveals an unexpected delight in Whitley Bay: the fabulous skate park in the Panama Dips. Designed with the insight of young people who knew exactly what they wanted, the skatepark a big success much loved by locals and visitors. Watching the action on skateboards, scooters and BMX bikes makes for great entertainment.

 

After the exertions of the skate park, pop into the Rendezvous cafe on the prom for a traditional nut sundae and views across along the prom and out to sea.Family run since the 1960s, the unfussy yet cheery Rendezvous is a family and dog friendly Whitley bay institution.

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The simple pleasure of a traditional nut sundae at the Rendezvous Cafe

For coffee and art, pop into the neighbouring Links Gallery, where tables are decorated with old postcards of traditional Whitley Bay scenes including this wonderful helter skelter on the sands.

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Thrilling helter skelter rides at Whitley Bay

Posted by: brigid benson | April 10, 2016

Shipping News!

IMG_1027River Mersey south bank drama

The wonderful Wirral peninsula oozes maritime history. Viking invaders liked the place so much they moved in; Thingwall village became their great meeting venue, the first parliament to be established in Britain.

Medieval Benedictine monks from Birkenhead Priory made the first Mersey river crossing. Rowing 90 minutes to Liverpool, their route was made more famous by the iconic Mersey Ferries that ply daily between  landing stages at Seacombe and Woodside on the Wirral, and the  Pier Head in Liverpool. While the monks are long gone, the 850 year old priory remains and is a fascinating visit.

Shipbuilders at the Cammel Laird yard have launched many famous vessels that contributed to significant world events including  the CSS Alabama, a ‘commerce raider’ sloop built in 1862 for the Confederate states of America to do battle with Union merchant ships.

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CSS Alabama sloop-of-war

For the Royal Navy, the yard built two Ark Royal  aircraft carriers, the first in 1937 and the second in 1950, this legendary warship was the largest vessel to be commissioned by the Royal Navy.

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The Queen launches  Ark Royal at Cammell Laird, May 3 1950

The great tradition of the Navy’s Ark Royals began in 1558 with the English fleet’s flagship in the Spanish Armada campaign.

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CSS Alabama sloop-of-war

Grabbing the headlines in 2016 is a polar research ship named in honour of Sir David Attenborough, though it made a narrowly infamous escape from the more jolly moniker of  Boaty McBoatface in a public poll.

In a diplomatic resolution to the delicate problem of what might be deemed an appropriate name for a Very Important Ship,  a lucky sub sea vessel operated remotely from the Sir David Attenborough won the Boaty McBoatface title. David and Boaty are due for completion in 2019.

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The best view of the Liverpool waterfront is from Birkenhead docks; go and be astounded. If you are lucky, you might see one of the famous road bridges across the Great Float, a vast inlet of water, rise to allow ships passage to or from the Mersey, the event is especially spectacular when small and mighty tugs are called upon to assist.

This video reveals some of the drama.

 

 

Discover Wirral in Weekend 14 of my award winning book 52 Weekends by the Sea, published by Random House Virgin Books and available from booksellers and Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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