Saturday, November 02, 2013


Two lovely days in the north.

Was so tired yesterday blogging for me as I dozed and then got to bed before 10 o'clock.
It was a lovely day. Quite a lot of walking, but so good.
Before Clare moved to Newcastle, my knowledge of Jesmond Dene didn't extend far beyond the name of the house a Chelsea footballer lived in close to us.
Jesmond Dene is a deep valley between various built up parts of the city.
We walked no city streets, though.
The sun shone through the autumn leaves onto the waters of the stream. We saw a ruined water mill, a ruined chapel (the oldest Christian building in Newcastle) and much more.
There was a pet's corner by the information centre and a cafe. Being half term there were lots of people at this point.
We walked on, we were now in Armstrong Park. We found just the place for a late morning drink. It was an Italian restaurant = almost full to overflowing. We ordered some drinks and sat outside in the sunshine. Before long, Bill had gone back in to ask for a slice of the most wonderful sort of cheesecake!
In Jesmond Vale we got waylaid.
A man stopped us....."Come and learn some local history"
So we stood on an old stone bridge over the Ouseburn and learned of the trade that had gone up and down the river. Boats took the coal out and returned with flint, which went to the flint mill. This was first powered by water until George Stephenson introduced steam power. Powdered flint was used in the china industry.
The man then took us to see his "shed" - bigger than a shed, a real den for an enterprising fellow. He made house signs  in wood for money and made all sorts of weird and wonderful sculptures for fun. He took us inside and proceeded to share with me his life story.
Such a special man.
So we took his advise and went to his local pub, The Bluebell, for lunch.
We would never have gone there......we were heading for The Biscuit Gallery, now an art gallery.
The Bluebell prides itself on its home cooking.....nothing bought in and frozen for them.
Even E Minor's chicken nuggets were pieces of chicken fillet cooked in a home prepared batter.
They are so proud that they think their customers would want to spend hours eating it!
So much to eat!
I had fajitas, chilli beef with mushrooms beans etc, a lot of salad and cole slaw and sauces.
It was the first time we have eaten out as a foursome when all of us failed to eat all that had been served.
So then we waddled off! The Ouseburn river coped with the hillside by flowing through a culvert; we had to climb up very steeply. Hard work. Newcastle has a lot of hills.
At this point we did hit some streets and traffic.
The Biscuit Factory was wonderful.
It is basically an art shop - everything is for by many different artists, glass makers and sculptors.
There was so much to admire and yearn for.
From there we walked to the nearest Metro Station.
Home at need for cooking a meal..........indeed no need for eating much at all.
I had just 2 biscuits with a cup of tea before bedtime.

The weather has changed today......colder. Almost at freezing point at dawn. Ans now, early evening there is heavy rain. All thought of walking out to witness the fireworks and bonfire have evaporated.
Anyway Liz-Beth and young E are still out having had a girls' day with some of Liz's friends, which has included a trip to the cinema.
Bill, Clare and I drove to Tynemouth. Our destination was the station = a Metro station. It is a beautiful structure. On Saturdays it is the home of a flea market and local produce market.
I bought a few things for selling.
We sampled various morsels of local foods.
And then there was the bling! 
Clare started it.......having bought bags of jewellery of all kinds at £2 a go. The transformation into Clare has been accompanied by a love of jewellery.
I joined in.
I bought 2 bags, which I have not yet sorted.
Clare is now on the floor surrounded by necklaces, bracelets etc. She is on the 3rd bag now, out of about 12!
I shall check her rejects and she can check mine. Fun having a daughter.

After Tynemouth we went to the fish quay at North Shields - there is an indoor market of boot sale type things, some sort of antiques. Upstairs at the moment is a Christmas craft market - not really my sort of thing.
I did buy an interesting bottle and a brand new tray, which had a Moomins illustration (children's book for those not familiar with Moomins).
The best thing might have been that the 50p admission entitle you to a hot mug of tea.

The river estuary (the River Tyne) had some large boats up and down and the fishing boats were coming in.
Loved it.
Our choice of cafe was Sambuca's a pasta and pizza place. We had 3 courses for £3.95. Potato skins with salad and sauces, I had tagliatelle arabiatta, Bill and Clare had  pizzas   - Bill's was a folded pizza, so he is convinced that he had a pasty! We finished with  strawberry ice cream.
Great meal and very popular cafe.
Clare and I had a walk = Bill went back to the car. The boats and the river were lovely and for a short while the light was superb.
Loved taking photos.

The sky to the east came over very dark.
I feel sorry for those with fireworks and bonfire parties this evening.
Maybe Guy Fawkes will have to wait to be burned!
We have opted to stay home and watch Strictly Come Dancing rather than go out to watch fireworks.
Maybe have a ham sandwich and a glass of wine.

Tomorrow is travel home day.