Saturday, 26 November 2011

Penshaw Nursery & Tea Rooms

In late 2008 I began exhibiting and selling my work in Penshaw Tea Rooms, Tyne & Wear. I have sold dozens of framed prints, canvasses and mounted prints, as well as postcards featuring Penshaw Monument, which overlooks the Tea Rooms from nearby Penshaw Hill. This place does a roaring trade throughout the year and especially during its two peak seasonal periods of Spring and Winter. The site was originally opened to the public as a Nursery, offering many plants and hanging baskets as well as garden ornaments like oak tubs and bird tables. Business was extended to include an on site Tea Room, which was something of a coup for the owners who have never looked back since getting the go-ahead from the local council. Situated off the main Penshaw to Sunderland road, and opposite Herrington Country Park, Penshaw Nursery & Tea Rooms is a very busy passing place that attracts visitors from far afield. Here is a brief insight, cut and pasted from the brand new official web site...

Converted 3 years ago from an old stable block, Penshaw Tea Room & Nursery are a family-run business located adjacent to the Penshaw Monument. The Victorian monument is designed in the style of a Greek Temple, and has been a muse for many a local artist over the decades. Some of the artwork of the Monument by local photographer Ashley Corr is exhibited and sold in the tea room. The tea rooms sell fresh, homemade fayre and many of their ingredients are locally sourced. Their traditional scones are notoriously popular. Set in a beautiful, airy converted barn, exposed beams and large windows create a warm and friendly atmosphere, truly making the most of the stunning surroundings of the tea room.

Penshaw nurseries have been selling homegrown fruit and veg since 1988, and now brothers Robert and Tony sell a range of perennials and roses. They also pot their own hanging baskets on site.

Visit the official web site -

Penshaw Tea Rooms – A room with a view

A large range of my work is now available to buy in Penshaw Tea Rooms, including a selection of seasonal prints which feature Penshaw Monument after last years snowfall. Seasonal prints tend to sell very well at this time of year, especially when they can be given as Christmas presents to those who maybe have a special affinity to this well know iconic landmark. Tony Green, co-owner of the Nursery & Tea Rooms, told me he'd had interest from as far as Australia since the new web site went live recently. A midnight phonecall from down under came as a surprise when he was told how the caller was due to visit Sunderland with her family and how excited they were at the prospect of visiting Penshaw Monument after browsing the new web site. No doubt they were also planning to stop off for a coffee and a fat chunk of gateaux whilst relaxing in the room with a view. It has to be said that the food is top notch - all prepared freshly, using locally sourced ingredients. I tried the steak sandwich with caramelised onions and it certainly hit the right spot - that's another freebie you owe me Tony, for the free plug, he he.

In Summer 2011 Penshaw Nursery & Tea Rooms was featured on Radio Newcastle. A live broadcast was aired during a busy mid-week morning at the site, and presenter Sue Sweeney commented on the 'Lovely pictures adorning the walls'. A nice piece of exposure for Ashley Corr Photography - can't be bad, eh.

So, if you're in the region and fancy taking the weight off ya feet, pop into Penshaw Tea Rooms - A room with a view. Oh, and don't forget to check out those frames on the wall (wink).

Later, Chaps and Chapesses

Friday, 25 November 2011

More Autumn Colours, 2011

As Autumn passes and December draws nearer, I'd like to share a few more colourful photo's that I took during a recent run-out with my camera. Four shots have been added to today's blog entry and they were mostly taken in Durham City, with the exception of one - St Peter's Church, Sunderland.

Haway then, here's the first one. Nowt special, just a random shot that was taken as I walked through a wooded area in Durham City, in search of a vantage point on Whinney Hill that overlooked Durham's dramatic Cathedral. The sun shone brightly through the tree's as I headed up a steep wooded bank towards the top of the hill, on the outskirts of a built up residential area. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the Autumn colours were well and truly on display, so it was now a case of leaving the woods behind and hunting down that vantage point. Before that though I took a couple of shots in the woods, especially as the floor was a carpet of golden brown. There were squirrel's everywhere, but photographing them was another matter of course - these creatures were hard to pin down with a lens, so I gave up the ghost after five minutes or so. Back to the task in hand - up the bank, over a stile, and into the pasture that became the place I'd been hunting down for the past 30 minutes or so.

And here I was. Three Sycamore tree's lined the top of the hill beyond me as I made my approach, wondering what view would greet me at the top of the hill. The wait was soon over and I stood there for a short while, admiring Durham Cathedral from a totally new viewpoint for the very first time. The shot was right there in front of me and I paused for another moment to tell myself that although this place was totally new to me, it would be somewhere that I would be visiting a lot more in the near future. My regular vantage point to photograph Durham Cathedral is over the other side, near the railway station, but this one was equally as impressive and I could only imagine what it would offer at night time, when the Cathderal is lit-up. Aye, I promised myself I wouldn't have to wait too long to see that one, and you won't either as I plan to get back up there very soon so watch this space. Photographing Durham Cathedral at ground level is one thing, but capturing it from afar and from a modest height is something else. As I fired off a few frames I composed to include the Autumn colours in the foreground. The third shot (shown here) was taken from Whinney Hill and includes the roof tops of the nearby estate. I imagine a similar shot after a heavy snowfall would be one worth grabbing so I'll add that to the memory bank for future reference. My third shot was taken from my usual haunt near the Railway Station, and again features Durham Cathedral. A ten minute drive from my last stop-off at Whinney Hill - the views across the city are something else. There was no-one else on the hill while I was there so it was nice to have the place to myself. It is what it is - the money shots are here, it's a simple case of picking the right time to get them. Ten minutes later and I was out of there.

Finally, AC was back in God's Country and in the grounds of an ancient Anglo-Saxon church - St Peter's at Monkwearmouth. St Peter's Church, founded in 674AD, is one of the UK's first stone-built structures with the tower and west wall remaining as fine and rare examples of Saxon building. Fragments of the oldest stained glass in England are on display, dating from the 7th Century. The Venerable Bede, who lived and worked here, wrote an account of its foundation. St Peter's along with St Paul's has been short-listed as a World Heritage Site. The sun had risen only twenty minutes before I took this shot and I remember waiting as it rose above the trees to cast it's early morning light across the ancient stonework. I like this shot as it typifies Autumn in a picturesque fashion, although I wish there was more colour in the overhanging leaves that I used to frame the top of the shot. Ah well, baking my cake and eating it wasn't on today's menu so I settled for what was on offer.

And on that note I shall disappear. Until the next time...ta ta!


Thursday, 3 November 2011

Autumn Colours, 2011

Autumn shots have been few and far between this year, but I did manage to grab a few last week during a recent trip to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. It was a bright, sunny day and the seasonal colours were on display in Leazes Park, near the local football ground, (St James' Park) and as I was in the vacinity of SJP I was afraid I would break out in a nasty rash at any moment, but luckily that didn't happen. Maybe this was due to good preparation the day before - I visited my local GP who administered the necessary jabs! Infact, the only thing that did break out in Leazes Park was the Autumn colours. This was my first visit to the park and I was quite impressed with it - very tidy and well maintained, although I couldn't help but notice a stone eagle with its beak broken off due to obvious vandalism - evident signs of charver intervention, me thinks. You wouldn't witness such things in Sunderland mind you - No, because the whole eagle would have been smashed in, never mind its beak! Joking aside, Leazes Park was fairly quiet during my brief visit, give or take a few 'Student-y types' passing through. A barney broke out on the lake between a couple of Mute Swans and a cackle of Canada Geese, seemingly at odds over a slice of bread thrown to them by an Andy Capp lookalike. The drama was swiftly over when one of the swans clouted a goose over the head with its outstretched wing - it and the rest dispersed, quite sheepishly it must be said.

Whilst walking back through the park in the direction of the RVI Hospital, my eyes were drawn to a rather odd looking tree bark. Its yellow leaves were shining through the sunlight and a good shot suddenly appeared there and then. Overhanging branches give the shot some edge as I composed to suit. Just then a couple of 'Student-y types' ran up to the tree and swung from the branches in front of me as I was about to take some shots. Ignorant tw*ts (that's twits, by the way...wink!). Then one of them climbed up the tree and stood there looking down whilst his mates sparked up a conversation about nowt. They were obviously blind or taking the pittle, as they had total disregard for me being there, taking photo's right in front of them. Ah well, there's nowt as queer as folk, eh. I bided my time until they'd moved on before continuing with what I'd started. I got there eventually. There are plenty of photo opportunities in Leazes Park, and although the inclusion of the football ground wasn't part of todays plan, it probably will be the next time I visit. It dominated the top end of the park near the bandstand and the nearby tree lined paths added to a potential panoramic shot. I'll have to keep that one in mind for future reference.

After leaving Newcastle I headed home along the A1(M) past Team Valley Trading Estate. It was at this point I decided to stop off at the Angel Of The North, which was literally a couple of minutes drive away from this point of my journey. I was after another Autumn shot and as the Angel is almost surrounded in tree's I was hopeful that some would offer the colours I was looking for. When I arrived there were a few people taking photographs of their own so I had a scout about for a good spot and took it from there. I walked through a break in one of the wire fences and positioned myself near a small tree, facing the Angel. This was as good as it got - the leaves were on the turn and I used fill-in flash to give that extra punch to them in the foreground (shot 3, shown here). Nice blue sky and broken cloud filled the top of the frame and overall this was a decent shot as the sun bounced off the rusty structure that towered in front of me. The obligatory extra or two was added in the shape of passers by, which once again gave a sense of scale and finished the shot off quite well. And that was that, as they say. Back into the car and a stop-off at Washington B&Q for Chicken Curry & Chips. Well, it was mid-day and my stomach was dropping subtle hints that it had been neglected for a few hours. Time to compromise. Slightly miffed that the folks on the snack van hadn't replenished their stocks of 'Bick's Extra Hot Chilli Sauce' that I usually add to my Curry & Chips - now that stuff puts hairs on ya teeth! Last time out I over-indulged and the following day my arse was like the Japanese flag! He he, a gluton for punishment, you may claim, and I couldn't disagree, to be honest.

See ya next time,