Sunday, 1 May 2016

Northumberlandia, Lady of the North - 22nd April 2016

As regular readers of this blog will know, I have some mental health issues.  On this particular morning I got up feeling pretty low with my head screaming loudly.  I was not a happy woman that morning.  But I was a determined woman.  I wasn't going to go back to bed and snuggle under the duvet for the day.  I wasn't going to sit in front of the television all day.  I knew though that if I stayed at home my productivity levels would be zero.  I wouldn't be able to write or play music or do anything useful.  So I was determined that, at least for a little while, I'd leave the house.

The plan was made.  I'd catch the Metro into the city centre and wander a bit and then come home.  At least I'd be able to say I'd been out, been active.  I'd be able to pretend I hadn't almost wasted another day of my life.

But on the way to the Metro my plans changed.  I had an idea.  A spontaneous, unplanned idea.  Totally unstereotypical for a good autistic person!  I'd just get the Metro to Regent Centre and from there I'd get a random bus, the first that came and I'd go somewhere.  I thought, "Who knows, I might get as far as Morpeth.  I've not been there before."

The first bus to arrive only went to another part of Newcastle so I rejected it.  I looked at timetables to see what might come.  The next bus to arrive was the X21 to Newbiggin.  I could see it stopped at Ashington on the way and I knew there were charity shops there.  The Ashington charity shops were to be my spontaneous adventure for the day.

But then the plans changed again.  The X21 buses often announce the name of the next stop and it said "Next Stop:  Cramlington Lane End - Northumberlandia."  How could my plan not change.  I watched as the bus passed by Northumberlandia herself and took the next turning left where I could see a bus stop.  It was time to get off the bus and wander.

I'd been to Northumberlandia once before, on a day out with my child and my parents during the only week in which my mother was both healthy and saw me living openly and freely as a woman.  I am so glad that week happened.  She saw me happier than I'd been in my life and I know she was totally accepting and proud of what I was doing and who I was being.  My mother posted about our trip to Northumberlandia, and in other posts about most of what we did that week.  That day also took in Ashington for lunch, Druridge Bay, and Amble.

So what is Northumberlandia, the official website says:

Northumberlandia is a unique piece of public art set in a 46 acre community park with free public access and 4 miles of footpaths on and around the landform.

The centrepiece of the park is Northumberlandia, a stunning human landform sculpture of a reclining lady. Made of 1.5 million tonnes of rock, clay and soil, she is 100 feet high and a quarter of a mile long.
Far from being a rigid manicured art form Northumberlandia is a living part of the countryside that will mature over time and change with the seasons. What you see when you visit is only the start of something that will evolve through generations.

I don't know that she is maturing well.  Comparing my mother's photos to mine I note that she has gone blind - the pupils of her eyes having pretty much faded or been worn away.  And there was a sign saying not to go up the path to the top of her head any more due to unstable ground.  They must have meant it.  They must have done.  Because I had to climb over three barriers to get to the top!  And yes, the ground is not as good as it was in late 2013.

Some of my photos follow.  I've been really lazy.  I haven't edited or played with any of them.  They're all just as they were on my phone.

The bus stop is across a field from the park but there's a solid path and it takes only a few minutes to walk.  Half an hour after getting on the Metro I was in the park.  It felt good.  With a bus pass it hadn't cost a penny to get to and here was somewhere I could escape to and wander in whenever I needed to.

I enjoyed the park for a while, very glad to have caught a random bus, and then walked back to the bus stop.  The charity shops of Ashington still awaited me.  I didn't know it at the time but the day was going to get much worse for me.  And then - because I refused to feel too bad - it got a lot better.   The bus to Ashington passed some pretty places and a few minutes past Northumberlandia I spotted a sign, "Plessey Woods Country Park."  Something for another day.  That's what I thought at the time anyway.  But, as I say, the day was going to get a lot better.  I'll write about it soon.

Well, it was very cold and windy standing exposed on her nipple.

Shotton opencast mine, next door to the park.

Panorama of the mine - not sure if you can click and zoom in.

From front to back:  Nose, breasts and knees.

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