Hardwick Hall UK

Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire is an architecturally significant Elizabethan country house in England. It’s a leading example of the Elizabethan prodigy house. Built between 1590 and 1597 for the formidable Bess of Hardwick, it was designed by the architect Robert Smythson – an exponent of the Renaissance style of architecture.

Hardwick Hall is one of the earliest examples of the English interpretation of this style, which came into fashion, slowly spreading from Florence. Its arrival in Britain coincided with the period when it was no longer necessary or legal to fortify a domestic dwelling. Ownership of the house was transferred to the National Trust in 1959. It is fully open to the public and received 298,283 visitors in 2019 (including us!).

Sited on a hilltop between Chesterfield and Mansfield, it overlooks the Derbyshire countryside. Ordered by Bess of Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury and ancestress of Devonshire’s Dukes, her descendants owned it until the mid-twentieth century.

Bess of Hardwick was the richest woman in England after Queen Elizabeth I. Her house was conceived to be a conspicuous statement of her wealth and power. The windows are exceptionally large and numerous at a time when glass was a luxury. Hence the saying, “Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall. The Hall’s chimneys are built into the internal walls of the structure. This provides more scope for huge windows without weakening the exterior walls.

The house’s design also demonstrated new concepts in domestic architecture. Also, a more modern way in which life was led within a great house. Hardwick was one of the first English houses where the great hall was built on an axis through the houses’ centre. Rather than at right angles to the entrance. Each of the three main storeys has a higher ceiling than the one below. The ceiling height is indicative of the importance of the room’s occupants. Least noble at the bottom and grandest at the top.

A wide, winding, stone staircase leads up to the staterooms on the second floor; these rooms include one of the largest long galleries in any English house. There is also a tapestry-hung great chamber with a spectacular plaster frieze illustrating hunting scenes; the room has been little altered.

Hardwick was but one of Bess’s many houses. Each of her four marriages had brought her greater wealth. She was born in her father’s manor house on the site of the later, now old Hall at Hardwick. Today this stands as a ruin beside the ‘new’ hall.

… source Wikipedia

Our Experience

We visited Hardwick Hall in December 2019 with our Sheffield friends Fred and Sara. Unfortunately, we didn’t take many photographs, but these do give an overall perspective. We’ve vowed to revisit the hall sometime to see all of the interior.

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Chester UK

Chester is a walled cathedral city in Cheshire, England, situated on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales. With a population of 79,645 in 2011, it’s the most populous settlement of Cheshire West and Chester county. The whole county had a population of 329,608 in 2011. Chester serves as the unitary authority’s administrative headquarters.

Chester is the second-largest settlement in Cheshire after Warrington. It’s also the historic county town of the ceremonial county of Cheshire.

In 79 AD, Chester was founded as a ‘castrum’, or Roman fort. It was given the name Deva Victrix in Emperor Vespasian’s reign. One of the main army camps in Roman Britain, Deva, later became a major civilian settlement. In 689, King Æthelred of Mercia founded the Minster Church of West Mercia. This later became Chester’s first cathedral. The Angles extended and strengthened the walls to protect the city against the Danes. Chester was one of the last cities in England to fall to the Normans. William the Conqueror ordered the construction of a castle to dominate the town and the nearby Welsh border. Chester was granted city status in 1541.

Chester is one of the best-preserved walled cities in Britain. It contains many medieval buildings. Most of the black-and-white buildings within the city centre are Victorian restorations, originating from the Black-and-white Revival movement. Apart from a 100-metre (330 ft) section, the Grade I listed walls are almost complete. The Industrial Revolution brought railways, canals, and new roads to the city, which entailed substantial expansion and development. Chester Town Hall, and the Grosvenor Museum, are examples of Victorian architecture from this period. Tourism, the retail industry, public administration and financial services are important to the modern economy.

… source Wikipedia

Our Experiences of Chester

Having visited Chester many times both on and off the boat, it’s one of our favourite cities in the UK. We’ve also traded here from the boat at a couple of floating markets.

Barry had his citizenship ceremony at the Town Hall here back in February 2020, presided over by the Sherriff of Chester and the Queen’s Lieutenant. Chester’s also a handy place to reach Sandra’s eldest daughter Lisa and her family at Malpas by bus.

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Motueka Beach NZ

Motueka literally translates to ‘The Island of Weka,’ the home of New Zealand’s native weka bird. This seaside town in the north of New Zealand’s South Island is one of the country’s most important agricultural hubs. The production of hops, fruits, and green tea brings Motueka a huge portion of its income.

This town attracts many local and foreign travellers. Mainly due to its proximity to important sites like Kahurangi National Park and Abel Tasman National Park. This small, lively city possesses a unique vibe. The area is also home to an abundance of the arts and artists.

Once the main tobacco-producing town, it still bustles during the months of harvest. The beaches of the town are also impressive, offering you an adventure of a lifetime.

The story goes that in the early 1920s, Motueka beach was too dangerous to bathe in after some sharks decided to call the bay their home. Locals, not wanting to miss out on refreshing dips on hot summer days, decided to raise money to enclose an area on the foreshore. Then they wouldn’t have to worry about the marine life underfoot. What started as a galvanised wire enclosure in 1926 has become a popular all year round saltwater pool for locals and visitors alike. During the warmer months, you’ll see families paddling, swimming and sunbathing on the decking.

A highlight is the Janie Seddon Shipwreck. This iconic ship has a rich and unique history. With a diverse career as a submarine mining vessel, a military ship and a fishing boat. Many years ago, Janie was purchased by the local Talley’s fishing group as the first in their fleet. She earnt the title of the last surviving military ship to have served in both world wars. However, in 1950, she was laid up on the Motueka Wharf. After sinking at her moorings a few years later, she was stripped of anything of use and left to the elements. To this day, she still lies off the coast of Motueka, a short walk along the foreshore.

… source Wikipedia

Our Experience

We spent two nights here in the freedom campground, provided by the Tasman District Council, enjoying the bay’s scenery, peace, and serenity.

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Tolaga Bay Wharf NZ

A drive around the East Cape of the North Island of New Zealand will reveal the crumbling remains of three massive piers at Tolaga, Tokomaru and Hicks Bays. They are remarkably close together. Tolaga, the southernmost, is just over 50 km from Gisborne and less than 40 km from Tokomaru. These are relatively recent 20th-century structures.

Before modern sealed roads, road transport was impractical, and the huge piers were vital lifelines. Out went meat, wool and livestock, and in came cased petrol, kegs of beer and general merchandise.

Earlier in the 20th-century, farmers erected a small wharf in the mouth of the Ūawa River to load cargo into lighter servicing ships anchored in the Bay. It had silted up by the end of the First World War when moves to establish a freezing works and reluctance to pay rates for Gisborne’s harbour works revived local interest in a port. Marine engineer Cyrus Williams drew up plans for a 100-metre wharf connected to the shore by a 500-metre jetty. He estimated the work would cost a staggering £60,000 – equivalent to more than $5 million in 2013. The tiny community approved a £100,000 loan, raised £70,000 and gave builder Fred Goodman the contract.

Work started in January 1926 and soon confirmed the doubters’ misgivings. The approachway had to be shifted during construction. The final wharf offered just 5.2 metres depth instead of the 6.4 metres expected. Storm damage in 1928 forced the harbour board to borrow £20,000 more. Nevertheless, everyone smiled on 22 November 1929 when the Minister of Marine turned up to open the wharf. The farmer-owned firm Geo. H. Scales, broke ranks with the British-owned Conference Lines that controlled trade with the UK. They loaded directly from Tolaga Bay, sending its ‘Conference buster’ Bencruachan in December 1929 to tranship from coasters. In 1936, 133 ships worked the port. But that was the high point. Scales continued to send ships until wartime centralisation ended calls from the big ‘Home boats’.

After the war, only coasters called, and too few of them to pay for maintaining the deteriorating ferro-cement piles. Richardson & Co.’s Kopara made the last call in 1966, five years after the harbour board was wound up. Now only pedestrians use the wharf. Although they do it in such numbers it’s become one of the area’s biggest attractions. In 1999 locals formed the Tolaga Bay Save The Wharf Charitable Trust to preserve the wharf. Much remains to be done, but the two stages of repair work have made noticeable improvements already this century.

… source NZ History

Our Experience

We’ve stayed by Tolaga Bay Wharf a couple of times recently and parked on the driveway of friends leading to their workshop nearby.

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Anton Teutenberg (1840-1933) NZ

The Supreme Courthouse in Auckland, New Zealand, features the stone carvings of Anton Teutenberg. Anton was Barry’s great grandfather and emigrated to NZ from Germany back in 1866.

Ferdinand Anton Nicolaus Teutenberg was born in Hüsten (Neheim-Hüsten), Westphalia, Germany, on 4th December 1840. He was the son of Franziska Koppeins and Ludwig Teutenberg, who was a gunsmith to King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia.

Anton (as he was known) learned his trade as an engraver from his father and served two years as a military conscript. His brother Frederick, said to have been a mercenary who travelled to New Zealand with Gustavus von Tempsky, encouraged him to leave Europe for the South Pacific. On 11 March 1866 Anton, with his sisters, Ida and Franziska, and a nephew, Carl Jansen, left Hüsten for England and New Zealand. They arrived in Auckland on the Rob Roy on 19 July 1866.

Carved Heads

Soon after his arrival, he received a commission to carve heads for the Supreme Court building being erected under architect Edward Rumsey’s supervision. He’d carved a piece of filigree woodwork for the captain of the Rob Roy, who’d shown this work to Rumsey. For 15 shillings a day, he carved six major heads in stone – a medium he had never before handled – and several gargoyles, along with a series of wooden heads for the gallery of the courtroom. He was next invited to sculpt heads for the post office building in Shortland Street but now asked and received 20 shillings a day. He carved 11 heads in stone, five of them Maori, and a line of corbels showing the British Empire’s spread.

Other buildings in Auckland for which he received commissions were:

  • Pitt Street Wesleyan Church, originally opened in 1866, for which he executed about 20 woodcarvings
  • St John’s Wesleyan Church, Ponsonby (1882), where he carved filigree window decorations, an elaborate pulpit and a reredos
  • The Bank of New South Wales in Queen Street (1884), whose 15 lions’ heads were sculpted in stone by him
  • A statue of Britannia for the South British Insurance Company is also attributed to him, as is woodwork in the old Waiwera Hote


The greater proportion of his surviving work, however, is as a medallist. From July 1867, he shared business premises with his brother Karl, a gunmaker, in Wellesley Street East. They later advertised as A. & K. Teutenberg, ‘Engravers, Carvers, Gunmakers, and Naturalists’. They offered to make stamps, dies and presses quickly and in superior style. His best-known piece is the United Fire Brigades’ Association of New Zealand’s five-year long-service medal in silver. He won this contract in 1887 against competition from an English medallist. This was one of many fire service medals and pieces of regalia he produced.

Other work included chemists’ seals and goldmine seals (ingot stamps); agricultural society, art society and other prize medals; company seals; and commemorative medals for events such as the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh to New Zealand in 1869; the New Zealand jubilee in 1890; Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee military tournament of 1897; and the Canterbury jubilee in 1900.

Of perhaps greatest interest is a medal in copper that marks the visit to New Zealand in 1875 of the Gazelle, a German warship on a world oceanographic survey. The medal, which he made at his own expense and presented to each crew member, featured a Maori head on the reverse and a German legend on the obverse.

He cut an octagonal halfpenny postal embossing die in 1900 and also made three horse-tram tokens.

Jewellery & Personal Information

The least known of his works is his jewellery pieces. Several of these are now owned by his descendants, and a pair of silver and gold napkin rings are in the Auckland Museum collection. About 1915, he sold his business to W. H. Worrall, a manufacturing jeweller. In addition to his professional work, his interests included insects (which he collected with Karl), pencil sketching and woodworking. He worked with Anton Seuffert, assisting with inlays for some of Seuffert’s fine furniture pieces.

Anton Teutenberg had married German-born Nannchen Nicolai in Auckland on 28 September 1881, and they had three sons. He was naturalised on 3 November 1908. He died in Auckland on 2 October 1933, aged 92, 13 years after Nannchen, who died on 1 February 1920.

As an engraver and medallist, Teutenberg was without peer in New Zealand. His reliefs are always high, his strikings sharp, and his hand engraving remarkable in its fineness and beauty. As a sculptor, he must be especially admired. His heads are lifelike and recognisable; his gargoyles beautifully grotesque. A large collection of material from his workshop, including dies, waxes, tools and test strikes, was presented in the 1960s to the Numismatic Society of Auckland.

… source Wikipedia

Our Experience

We visited the courthouse in Auckland in October 2020 and photographed what we could of Anton’s carving on the exterior of the building. At the time, sadly there was a court proceeding inside so we weren’t allowed to explore for any other works inside.

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Banksy UK

Banksy is a pseudonymous England-based street artist, political activist, and film director, active since the 1990s. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams (intended to weaken or destroy a political system or government) combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stencilling technique.

His political and social commentary works have appeared on streets, walls, and bridges throughout the world. Banksy’s work grew out of the Bristol underground scene, which involved collaborations between artists and musicians. He claims he was inspired by 3D, a graffiti artist and founding member of Massive Attack’s musical group.

Banksy displays his art on publicly visible surfaces such as walls and self-built physical prop pieces. He no longer sells photographs or reproductions of his street graffiti. However, his public ‘installations’ are regularly resold, often even by removing the wall they were painted on. A small number of Banksy’s works are officially, non-publicly, sold through Pest Control. Banksy’s documentary film Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. In January 2011, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for the film. In 2014, he was awarded Person of the Year at the 2014 Webby Awards.

Who is He?

Banksy’s name and identity remain unconfirmed and the subject of speculation. In a 2003 interview with Simon Hattenstone of The Guardian, Banksy is described as “white, 28, scruffy casual—jeans, T-shirt, a silver tooth, silver chain and silver earring. He looks like a cross between Jimmy Nail and Mike Skinner of the Streets. Banksy began as an artist at the age of 14, was expelled from school, and served time in prison for petty crime.” According to Hattenstone, “anonymity is vital to him because graffiti is illegal”. For 10 years in the late 1990s, Banksy lived in Easton, Bristol, then moved to London around 2000.

Commonly believed to be Robin Gunningham, as first identified by The Mail on Sunday in 2008. Gunningham was born on 28 July 1973 in Yate, 12 miles (19 km) from Bristol. 

Several of Gunningham’s associates and former schoolmates at Bristol Cathedral School have corroborated. A 2016 study by researchers at the Queen Mary University of London, using geographic profiling, found the incidence of Banksy’s works correlated with the known movements of Gunningham. According to The Sunday Times, Gunningham began employing the name Robin Banks, which eventually became Banksy.

In June 2006, Banksy created Well Hung Lover. An image of a naked man hanging out of a bedroom window on a wall visible from Park Street in central Bristol. The image sparked ‘a heated debate’. The Bristol City Council left it up to the public to decide whether it should stay or go. After an internet discussion in which 97% of the 500 people surveyed supported the stencil, the city council decided to leave it on the building. Despicably the mural was later defaced with blue paint.

… Source Wikipedia

Our Experiences

Barry bought his daughter Jamie a Banksy book some years ago as a gift. In 2010, when she visited us on the boat in Bristol, she was keen to find Banksy works. After a bit of searching they found his ‘Well hung lover’ piece on a building wall.

In another image, the skeleton rower was painted on the side of a permanently moored ship. This was easier seen from our boat while cruising the harbour.

The rest of the images are from our trip to Amsterdam where there was a Banksy exhibition showing.

When we were involved with Calendar Club, Banksy calendars were some of the most popular sold. A percentage of the earnings went to homeless charities in Bristol.

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Amsterdam and Surrounds

With a population of 872,680, Amsterdam is the capital and most populous city of the Netherlands. Found within the province of North-Holland, Amsterdam is colloquially referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’, attributed to the abundance of canals.

Amsterdam was founded on the River Amstel. Dammed to control flooding, the city’s name derives from the Amstel dam. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, the city became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century. It was a leading centre for finance and trade. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded and many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were planned and built. The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam, are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Sloten, annexed in 1921 by the municipality of Amsterdam, is the oldest part of the city, dating to the 9th century.

Amsterdam’s main attractions include:

  • historic canals
  • the Rijksmuseum
  • the Van Gogh Museum
  • the Stedelijk Museum
  • Hermitage Amsterdam
  • the Concertgebouw
  • the Anne Frank House
  • the Scheepvaartmuseum
  • the Amsterdam Museum
  • the Heineken Experience
  • the Royal Palace of Amsterdam
  • Natura Artis Magistra
  • Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam
  • NEMO
  • the red-light district 
  • many cannabis coffee shops.

The city is also well known for its nightlife and festival activity; with several of its nightclubs among the world’s most famous. It’s primarily known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses with gabled façades; well-preserved legacies of the city’s 17th-century Golden Age. These characteristics are arguably responsible for attracting millions of Amsterdam’s visitors annually. Cycling is key to the city’s character, and there are numerous cycle paths.

… Source Wikipedia

Our Experience

We visited the amazing city of Amsterdam for three days in September 2019, travelling on the Eurostar from St Pancras under the Channel Tunnel through France and Belgium to Amsterdam Station.

It is a truly unique and vibrant city without too much of the highrise buildings and busyness you expect from a large modern city. There’s so much to see and do. Three days didn’t do it full justice.

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Northland NZ

The Northland Region (Te Tai Tokerau in Māori) is the northernmost of New Zealand’s 16 local government regions. It’s often referred to by New Zealanders as the Winterless North, due to its mild climate. The main population centre is the city of Whangārei, and the largest town is Kerikeri.

The region occupies the northern 80% (265 km) of the 330 km Northland Peninsula, the southernmost part of which is in the Auckland Region. Stretching from a line at which the peninsula narrows to a width of just 15 km a little north of the town of Wellsford, it extends north to the tip of the Northland Peninsula, covering an area of 13,940 km2. A little over 5% of the country’s total area. Bounded to the west by the Tasman Sea and the east by the Pacific Ocean, the land is predominantly rolling hill country. Farming and forestry occupy over half the land and are two of the region’s main industries.

During the 19th century, tragically many of the region’s native kauri tree forests were felled. Thankfully some areas still exist where this rare giant grows tall. New Zealand’s largest tree, Tāne Mahuta, stands in the Waipoua Forest south of the Hokianga Harbour.

Several long straight beaches dominate the western coast. The most famous is the inaccurately-named 88 km stretch of Ninety Mile Beach in the region’s far north. Located on this coast are two large inlets. The massive Kaipara Harbour in the south and the Hokianga Harbour’s convoluted inlets.

The east coast is more rugged and is dotted with bays and peninsulas. Several large natural harbours are found on this coast, from Whangaroa Harbour and past the famous Bay of Islands down to Whangārei Harbour. Numerous islands dot this coast, notably the Hen and Chicken Islands and the Poor Knights Islands.

The northernmost points of the North Island mainland lie at the Surville Cliffs, close to North Cape, although the country’s northernmost point is further north, in the Kermadec chain of islands. However, Cape Reinga and Spirits Bay have a symbolic part to play as the end of the country. In Māori mythology, it is from here the souls of the dead depart on their journey to the afterlife.

… Source Wikipedia

Our Experience

We visited Northland and the kauri coast in October 2020, and adored it.

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