After our lovely visit to Alix, Ian and Ruth we took the iron road North to Newcastle to visit Matthew. We were yet again impressed with the Crosscountry service and recommend the company to anyone needing to make a long distance train journey. Newcastle gave us a chilly welcome although the low temperatures did nothing to deter the usual party crowds in town.
On Friday evening Matt and Joanne joined us for dinner at Little Saigon where, as the name suggests, Vietnamese cuisine is the speciality. The restaurant was extremely busy so service was a little slow but, we were in no hurry so it did not worry us and anyway the food was excellent. On Saturday Matt and Joanne drove us to Tynemouth a quaint coastal town full of pleasant little surprises. For lunch we ate fish and chips from Marshalls - 'The Fryery by the Priory', and most excellent they were too! We strolled around town and browsed the market in Tynemouth station. The station, which is undergoing renovation, provided an attractive backdrop to the many stalls selling everything from cakes to bric a brac. I found it amusing that on one side of the station a stall sold World War II allied regalia while on the other another stall offered World War II Nazi equipment - as far as I am aware the two do not stage re-enactments! We spent the evening at Matt's where he cooked a fantastic supper and we played a game of Scategories. For anyone who does not know this word game a card displaying a word or phrase is selected (eg BOARDING PASS) and the players are given the task of thinking of words beginning with the initial letters in the phrase. In the example the task was to find words associated with things you might see at an airport. One thing we appreciated quite quickly was that a liberal interpretation of the game rules makes for a lot of fun!
|Tynemouth Clock Tower|
|Site if priory|
On both Friday and Saturday evenings we were treated to the usual party animal scenes during our stroll back to our hotel. How the youngsters of Newcastle cope in sub-zero temperatures in so few clothes is beyond our comprehension. It must be something to do with their Viking heritage, or could it just be the numbing effects of alcohol?
Sunday back in Newcastle we strolled around the Quayside market by the Tyne. Of all the stalls Dave Nash's leather goods caught our eye. Originally from London, or so he says, his goods are all labelled with humorous anecdotes about celebrities he has supposedly met, including HM The Queen.
His novel marketing style certainly raised some smiles and engaged the customers. Later we met up with Matt and Joanne for lunch at the Town Wall pub. The food in this popular watering hole is very good value for money and excellent quality. To walk off lunch we visited the Discovery Museum where we spent a fascinating couple of hours exploring the Life in Newcastle exhibition. Once we arrived at the 20th Century exhibits became personally familiar, which is always a little disconcerting! There are another 2 floors of exhibits to see next time we visit and it is all free entry. Billy Bargain! One fascinating maritime exhibit was Turbinia in the main hall. It is claimed this experimental vessel convinced The Admiralty to adopt turbine engines for future warships after it gatecrashed a fleet review - and this was back in 1894!
Monday was retail therapy day although we were pretty much exhausted after our trips to see the kids at opposite ends of the country. And so, all too soon, the weekend came to an end and we were back on a train heading back to Willington and Adagio.