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October 23rd, 2006


A day out on the coast.....and a bit in Newcastle


Starting to get used to not using the car........set out by foot to the Metro.......discovered the joys of feeding machines with coins having dialled up the desired fare for a day ticket.
Took the train that was headed South Shields........though we were actually going to Whitley Bay. It was a comfortable quiet journey as rail  journeys go......really quite pleasant compared to what I knew in London and that has got worse since I lived there......in 1974!!!!!
At the platform there was a supply of free Metro newspapers.........it makes WHS unnecessary.....bits of local news, bits of National news and a smattering of paper/pen puzzles including an inevitable Sudoku......and not a few advertisements, how else do they pay for a free paper?
As we walked through the town to the station there was a drizzle falling that was quite wetting.......we passed gardens where the hedges overhang two thirds of the pavement, which otherwise would be wide enough for three people to walk abreast...... I thought the council ought to chain saw the lot and leave the branches in the offending gardens.......but perhaps that would be upsetting to some little old ladies who can't possibly look after their own....... perhaps there ought to be some sort of community watch programme that prompted those who showed lack of care to pedestrians and included a mechanism for helping those unable to help themselves but the society in which we live seems to have left that sort of concept far behind, at least in places such as Heaton.
At Whitley Bay we discovered a watery sun that got stronger the rest of the day and as we left the station we saw a Post Office telephone box........see my Photo page (Tynemouth) I hadn't realised that there were any of them remaining.........apart from museums.....there was even a stamp selling machine on the back wall which was monogrammed GR.....not sure which George that would have been....don't remember whether there was a number or not........I could check the photographic evidence.....
It was a short walk to the front,and quickly I came to the conclusion that a shirt,jumper fleece and waterproof provided for several degrees of overdressing. Fortunately I had room in my back pack for the excess.
The various coastal views are in the photographic record, some splendid views of rocky foreshore and sandy beaches and bays........well the original views were splendid....I'm quite sure that not  all the pics measure up .....en route we passed all sorts of the trivial oddments of life that  make walking so much more interesting than exercising on a treadmill. In a garden a lovely specimen of purple Hoebe,  on the promenade in a puddle two specimens of some segmented creature that had too many pairs of legs to be an insect  and a flat rectangular shape the like of which I had never seen in Crustaceans..... without my reference books it  is foolish to speculate as to what it was........T. took a short film of it on his phone.......
At one point there was a paved area that had been laid out as a sitting area but of nine of the double seats in the bay only one was useable....the rest appeared to have been systematically deprived of their wooden slats....all seemed to be so senseless and unnecessarily wasteful and thoughtless on someone's part........
Lunch at the Beach Cafe ....sorry no longer the Beach Cafe but  "Crusoes" ............the service was fast,the drinks excellent, if you like hot chocolate with whipped cream and flake, which I do, and the Panninis excellent, even if it was little sad there was no  longer salad to go with them........ perhaps my memories of salad days antedate Panninis and went with jacket potatoes. When I have had crab fillings before they have always been cold but  this was  hot and delicious and dripped out of the sides when I bit into it.
Thence a walk to the Metro station at Tynemouth, passing through the wide main street, with double parking along the middle ......how nice it was not to have worry about parking spaces...passed the "Land of Green Ginger" a converted Church, now a market hall, with a  name nicked from one of  of Hull's dockside  byways. Victoria sat enthroned on a green stained marble plinth and did not look amused. Then onto the Metro and a trip all the way round the Coast line and back to Newcastle Centre...and a visit to two of the cities three cathedrals. the Anglican and The Roman Catholic ( there is also an Orthodox Cathedral somewhere else in the City)  The Coffee at the Roman  Coffee Shop was excellent and the food would have been tantalisingly appealing had we not already eaten at the Coast. It was then I  started to feel tired....must be getting old..... so it was an easy journey back to Heaton on the Metro.........after snapping two more monuments, one to Cardinal Hume, a taller than life-size figure outside the Catholic Cathedral, and one to Earl Grey (He after whom the tea is named) standing high above the city in front of the Eldon Square Centre. Day tickets are nice, no need to keep on getting tickets for each little journey. If I had wanted I could have gone to Sunderland....and quite the bargain.