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Friday, 30 September 2011

Newcastle 2

Back home now from Newcastle, and time to put down a few thoughts about my trip.
I've always liked Newcastle as a city - it exudes a feeling of confidence, is busy, wealthy, and architecturally an interesting blending of old and new in a way that doesn't jar. Best of all are the people - warm, friendly, easy going, and  nothing ever seems to be problem for them. Also, compared to Glasgow, very well dressed - a distinct lack of football jerseys and dodgy 'sportswear'.
Whilst I was there it was unseasonally hot, hotter in fact than July had been, and I haven't seen so many legs on display since I was in the South of France. A lot of men choosing to wear shorts, and women wearing  short skirts and extremely short shorts. Even 'business women' in smart suits wear short skirts rather than the trousers more common at home. T. Dan Smith (mentioned in my previous post) had referred to his plan to redevelop Newcastle as turning it into the 'Brasilia of the North'. 'St Tropez of the North' would be more appropriate judging by what I saw.
Last night, rather than just sit in my hotel room reading books, (as I had done on previous nights), I was lucky to manage to get a ticket for Reginald D Hunter who I had seen a few times on television. As those of you who know me are aware, I've not had a very good year, so it did me a lot of good to out for an evening.
How a man can hold an audience's attention and have them in stitches for an hour armed with only a microphone is totally beyond me, but Reg (as he refers to himself) was amazing. Not only incredibly funny, but also made a number of serious points about life and relationships between the jokes. If you ever get a chance to see him, go - you won't be disappointed!
Job over, and it was back home today in brilliant sunshine. As mentioned before, rather than the obvious and more direct route of driving westward then picking up the M6 and M74 home, I instead headed north up the A1, stopping at the Holy Isle, also known as Lindisfarne.
Holy Isle is a tidal island, and you have to check the tide tables to avoid being trapped by the incoming sea. When I arrived, there was over 5 hours before the tide came in, so I had plenty of time for a good look round.
There's a very pretty village:

A castle which I didn't bother walking to:

And some ruined religious buildings I didn't go to either.
One thing I did see was a man selling fruit and vegetables on a table outside his house. I spoke to him and he had grown them in his garden, so I bought some very fresh strawberries, some courgettes (zucchini to our American readers), a cauliflower, plus a 'green cauliflower' which I'd never seen before. The seller also referred to it as a  'Romano', so that's something new for me to look forward to. Why people selling produce outside their houses isn't more common, I don't know. In France you see this regularly, but it's so rare here.
Well worth a visit if you're in the area, and the woman at the National Trust van in the carpark was stunningly attractive. (Predictable joke - I wouldn't mind viewing some of her sights!)
Visit over, and I headed back to the causeway back to the mainland only to be stopped by a guy in a Toyota Landcruiser who had blocked the road and signalling people to stop. I asked him what the problem was and replied that we were stuck on the island as the 'road was flooded'. As it was hours until the tide came in I doubted it, and looking down the road I could see it was a bit wet but not flooded.  He was insistent that it was too dangerous, so I called him a rude name and drove round his car using the grass and headed over the 'flooded' causeway.

Note there about 3 inches of water, hardly flooded. Also note artistic reflection of parking ticket on top of dashboard and heating elements in the windscreen.
Needless to say I made it across the 'flood' that had defeated Mr. Landcruiser in my Ford Focus despite not having 4 wheel drive and high ground clearance.

A bit further on I saw this sign which meant that Mr Landcruiser was too afraid to cross the bit that doesn't even get seriously underwater at high tide!
If you do get caught by the tide there's this hut you can wait in until the tide goes out (and watch your car disappear under water!)

Green thing in the corner is a stick on lizard shaped air freshener - no, don't ask why!

After that it was a straightforward drive round Edinburgh and past Glasgow, then home. As It had been very hot and sunny all week I was looking forward to going out on the bike this weekend, but an hour after I got in it started to pour with rain! Welcome to Scotland!


  1. Lots of photos of Lindisfarne here:

  2. Cheers Norman, sounds like a nice little interlude!

    Some 4by4 drivers are a tad annoying, esp those who cry if a spec of dirt gets on their pride n joy, but hey ho.

    Sorry about the weather, and the rugger - whoops.


  3. One of those amphibious cars would come in handy there. It's always good when you can mix in some site-seeing with work.

  4. Whenever someone posts on this blog, I get an e-mail telling me. For some technical reason, Hairy Larry posted but it didn't appear. His post was:

    'One of those amphibious cars would come in handy there. It's always good when you can mix in some site-seeing with work. '

    Ah, the Amphicar! Used to be on television programmes all the time when I was young, but I've never actually seen one:
    Near where I grew up, there was a garage that had a WWII 'DUKW', but I never saw it going.
    My school friends and I used to think it would be great to have one of them to go to the beach, then sail out to sea.
    Before we had trackers on the cars I used to take 'scenic routes' back from jobs more often. Amazing how many routes went past bike shops!

  5. And just when I thought things were all hunky-dory in bloggerland...there is one of those cars in town here...used to see it in line at the local McDonalds. There is a program over here on public TV where a guy named Huel Hauser travels around the state mainly visiting California parks. One of his programs was about the amphicar. He went out into a bay with the owner. The driver kept making jokes about "Whatever you do Huel, don't open your door!". They sit pretty low in the water, but there are pumps you can turn on if you take on water. Surprisingly it seemed to work well.