Tag Archives: Cumbria

Tips for Travellers: The Seacote Hotel, St Bees.

The Hotel that DIY Enthusiasts have been crying out for.

Cumbria affords the tourist a multitude of seldom seen pleasures. Whether it’s landscapes and seascapes, birds and butterflies, or trains and wind turbines it’s impossible for the visitor not go ‘wow’ at least three times a day.

These feats of genetic and human engineering bring a particular type of visitor to the county’s shores: the enthusiast. It’s impossible to spend a day out and about without tripping over a sweaty couple in the sand dunes who are stalking the lesser spotted horny rimmed owl, or overhearing earnest young women discussing the consequences of the recent disruption on the line between Rowrah and Cleator Moor due to a misplaced 40566 travelling in the wrong direction.

Enthusiasts from all over the world travel to delight upon the treasures of Cumbria and need a hotel which reflects their enthusiasms and the Seacote Hotel in St Bees near Whitehaven is such a hotel.

The Seacote caters for a particular type of enthusiast: the DIY Enthusiast. They have left no stone unturned, no unmade bed made up and no fixture permanently fitted to ensure that the DIY enthusiast who finds themselves on holiday, perhaps pining for a wobbly wardrobe to stabilise or a dripping tap to stop, has plenty to delight themselves with. Simultaneously allowing the DIY enthusiast to both rest from and fiddle with some unfinished DIY, the Seacote provides the perfect work life balance for those of us whose idea of heaven resembles spending the weekends wandering the aisles of B and Q in search of that holy grail, the missing whatsit which will fix the thingamy to the doodah.

The hotel’s policy of enthusiast encouragement is evident in every nook and cranny of the hotel and the management team have been enthusiastically thoughtful in catering for the range of every DIY obsession.

If you want an iron and ironing board, you go and collect it yourself from reception. If you want a functioning iron that doesn’t leak all over your suit, you fix it yourself and hope you’ve remembered the correct colour coding for the wires in the plug before you switch it back on.

Crockery is left uncleared away in the bar, encouraging you to tidy up after someone else; bath fittings are left incomplete, encouraging you to pick up a nearby screwdriver to tighten up those loose screws on the bathroom mirror; exit signs on the doors are left half attached, allowing you to finish off the attachment with aplomb, confident that you have added to future visitors’ enjoyment of the Seacote experience; the TVs are placed so awkwardly on the walls, you’re encouraged to pick up a hammer and relocate the TV yourself in the nearest waste paper basket.

So if you’re a DIY enthusiast, the Seacote Hotel is just for you. Just watch you don’t trip over the twitchers wrestling their way along the seashore on your way in.

Shedding the Past: how you can help re-grow Barrow in Furness.

Art Gene want to build a shared community growing space on the Island of Walney in Barrow in Furness, UK, based on permaculture principles, ensuring a holistic approach to sustainable, ecologically sound horticulture, art and design.

They have undertaken many community consultation events which have demonstrated the need for a new, inter-generational self-managed community growing space in the town: and they have been given a 1.5 acre site by Barrow Borough Council for a pepper corn rent to base the project upon.  They have also identified over 50 Barrow residents, some with multiple health and social needs, who are interested in leading and participating in the project.

They now want to deliver a community engagement strategy through which we will grow the community’s knowledge of, and skills in, permaculture by:

* Delivering a two day training programme for up to 20 adult volunteers;

* Host three public ‘growth’ weekend events in April, June and September led by volunteers.

* Organising two day long visits to other exemplar wild flower sites in the North West between April and June for the volunteers;

* Organising a one day celebration event in October which celebrates what they have achieved.

The project will result in:

Providing permaculture skills and knowledge for local people;

Animating a local barren green site with horticulture and design;

Developing a cluster of community architectural spaces on the site.

And they’re getting it done by:

Employing local artists, designers and architects to provide the visual elements

Employing local horticulturalists to support the permacultural elements

How can you help?

You can help in a lot of ways:

Volunteering Team Building skills in how to build and sustain teams,

Volunteering marketing and promotion skills in promotion and communications,

Volunteering to assist with the site development by providing advice on how to sustain a wild flower sanctuary.

Making a pledge to our crowdfunding site which is collecting donations from people from all over the world.  Just click here to see how easily you can help

if you’d like any more information, just drop me a line – and thanks for helping us re-grow Barrow in Furness.

Tips for Travellers: The Furness Railway, Barrow in Furness, Cumbria.

Revisting Old Haunted Haunts.

The Furness Railway is perhaps one of the most evocative, curious and welcoming pubs in Barrow. Seemingly open at all times to all customers, I’ve never heard them say no to any customer, whatever the time of day or nature of the request.

The food is cheap and cheerful; the beers cheap and surprisingly good and the staff welcome unfazed by some of the more feral members of the community who might inadvertently tip their beer over your head.

It might be a part of some large anonymous chain, but the Furness Railway is a unique experience at all times of day to all types of customer. It’s a ‘must-go-to’ haunt in one of England’s most haunted towns.

RIP Lanternhouse, Cumbria. Lest we forget.

Like a cantakerous old Uncle, I’ll remember Lanternhouse in Cumbria as a somewhat distant relative – but whose influence over my professional growing up was always keenly felt: hovering over my shoulder, whispering exhortations, yelling out criticisms and the ocassionally deranged epiphet which caused the rest of us in the extended community arts family to look at each other in that modern, knowing way. Uncle John was clearly not on form we might mutter; he’s seen better days someone else would offer.

What we shouldn’t forget that without Uncle John, we would not be stood where we are now. Sometimes the shoulders of the giants we stand on start to tremble– and its at that point we’re obliged to stand up straight and take the load off them rather than castigate them for not being who they have been, and for what they’re not doing any longer.

Farewell Lanternhouse and everyone who was fortunate to benefit from your lights. They’ll continue to shine into the darkness of this recession long after the politicians who put you there have faded into miserable obscurity.

If you have a memory of Lanternhouse – or indeed any of the arts companies that are now fading away in the cultural freeze of this recession, please feel free to send them in and we’ll post them up here.

From Paul Kleiman:

Lanternhouse magical moment: a beautiful midsummer’s evening concert, with the band starting in the streets of the town, a tower of instruments and bells, and at the climax, a hot-air balloon flying right over the top of the tower. (the balloon was pure coincidence!!)

For an ongoing list of companies MIA click here.