Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Life begins again

Thursday 20th March to Friday 21st March 2014

Life begins again for us and naturally we think about Banjo almost constantly – the things that we would have been doing with him and where we would have been going and how he would have enjoyed things along the way, but also we are learning to live without him being there.

There was a very bright and pleasing bit of news come to us via SMS on Thursday morning – it seems that the marina had to back down from not refunding mooring fees for a boat that they wanted gone.

The marina definitely doesn’t like people in the marina on their boats.

All eight of us decided to have a seaside visit on Thursday – well it was ten of us, including Bombo and Sammie.

So off we were to Whiteley Bay which is just north of Newcastle – a fine sunny day was in-store for us -  not likely – the clouds settled over very quickly after we set off – in 2 cars – the wind came up even more and rain was in the offing.

now off you go and think about what you have done

Paul had done so much walking that his boot finally gave
up the ghost - a blow out
It was the tonic that we needed and we did have an great day out – walking along the beach with the tide out – stepping over the rocks and watching the surf as the wind whipped up the sea; being entertained with Paul’s impersonation of a Geordie accent – he has a great knack of being able to get most of these down pat (or is that pet!).

A fine meal at the seaside café – the food was satisfactory – the attentions of the owner were perhaps a bit too attentive.

Paul once again upset one of the locals in photographing the two toilet doors that each showed a “Gents” sign – one woman was getting ammoyed with him disappearing behind one which she saw quite clearly as being the ladies (it was also the entry for the disabled gents toilet).

The rain eventually made an appearance whilst we were having lunch as well as reading the newspapers – a great deal of discussion was taking place over the relative merits of an item appearing on page 3 of one of the papers. Something else to upset our lady friend.

With lunch behind us we then focussed on finding the location of “The Angel of the North” – rain was getting heavier; our satnavs (or is that SatNags) were striving to direct us through the Newcastle road system – with wet windscreens front and back and two cars of general colour – one white and one red – we didn’t always keep track of each other as clearly as we would have liked – I only had to go round the one roundabout again on one occasion when I lost Andy in the other car.

Who's that supporting my wife - I am supporting the camera

My angel in front - the geordie one in back

the gang's all here
Eventually we spotted our destination and then located the access ramp and parking area. With light diminishing and the rain only slightly abating we managed run around like schoolkids and generally being quite silly really.

For some of us we had a homeward bound detour to see Hadrian's Wall which runs right near to Greenhead.

Friday was leaving day as, in turn, we said au revoir to Andy and Sue who needed to be back for friends arriving and then to Elaine and Paul who wanted to explore a bit of the Lakes District before heading back to the boat.

After the house went from loud to quiet very quickly – we missed them all straight away – Dot and Diane decided that a day in Hexham to view the Abbey and then early doors would be appropriate – Gordon and I as usual just went along with it – much easier on us that way.

So off we went.

The main part of Hexham is built, as expected, up on the hill – the main parking area, courtesy of Tesco, is at the bottom – so a trudge up the hill was the first part.

The Abbey is right in the centre of town and easy to find. Entry, as is increasingly becoming the case, was by donation – the size suggested is increasing faster than the inflation rate – not that we object – these buildings do require a lot to maintain them.

Strolling around the internals and the underternals (the crypt) gave us a good idea about the history of the abbey; the area; and the people who lived there – which is exactly what we are looking for.

The building stretches from its origins in the 7th century to the present day – a minimal amount of the original building still remains.

It is well worthy of a visit should you be in the area.

The gift shop hoisted some monies from the wallet and the cheese shop across the road did likewise.

A bit further on The Tap and Spline gave some respite from the still very cold weather and wind. It is quite a nice pub inside, although one customer was a bit boisterous in his opinions about the increase in the price of a pint – he left quickly after finishing said pint.

A little detour in walking back to ‘spoons for something to eat merely increased the appetite.

The atmosphere inside Wetherspoons was as expected and the meals are the same – good value and quite good to eat.

The return leg involved a bit of last minute directions as we traveled and despite the implications from the female half of the contingent, all four wheels of the car remained on the ground at all times.

We managed to see the sycamore tree and section of Hadrian’s Wall used in the filming of Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves (the Kevin Costner version) and inspected the rum shelves of the Twice Brewed Inn.

By this stage we were ready to return home; warm up again and had time for some cards before the effects of another full day became quite apparent.

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