Wednesday, 12 August 2009

We’ve Been to the Beach!

Seaton Sluice beach

Well it was a fine day and we don’t get too many of these when the tide is right for a beach visit.

It was my husband’s day off and he’s been talking about taking our grandchildren fishing on the rocks off the beach where he grew up. Until we were married he lived in a Northumberland coastal village called Seaton Sluice. It has a small very old harbour and an enormous beach with beautiful golden sands.

Harbour and Rocky Island

It’s only about a half hour drive but it was about 10 degrees cooler and much windier at the beach than it was at home.

Don't jump

Still they enjoyed it but it wasn’t long before we headed off for lunch. Humungous plates of fish and chips! What else?

After that we headed for the beach proper where Lauren wanted to build sandcastles. Well as a child who had built more sandcastles than these two have had hot dinners I gave them the benefit of my extensive sandcastle expertise and advised them that you can’t build a sandcastle with a moat on dry sand. They would need to build it on the wet sand nearer the sea. Well an hour later after lugging water from the sea up to the dry sand and finding it just drained away, the penny dropped and they gave up! Don’t children ever listen? No, because Nanna’s know nothing!

Let's paddle adjusted

Time for a paddle!

It was very sunny but with the wind, it wasn’t exactly hot. Funny how they don’t feel it, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and I had to drag them out of the water.

Next it was burying in the sand time. Strange how children still do all the things we did when we went to the beach over fifty years ago. Maybe they were doing it a hundred years ago. They’re not really that different to us after all!

On the way back through the dunes we passed a remnant of the war. At the start of the war the beaches were closed off with barbed wire to repel any potential German invasion. Here’s a photo of the remnant of a pillbox. They were composed of concrete-slabs or filled bags, some held anti tank guns others accommodated soldiers with rifles. The pill boxes formed part of a line of defence along the coast.

Remains of war

That must have been awful for local families whose only summer leisure would have been going to the beach.

I lived in another coastal town and the beach was just down the road from our primary school. Despite dire warnings from my Mam about not going onto the beach after school, we often did. How sad that children during the war were robbed of this simple pleasure. They had very little else.

Well the forecast is good for tomorrow (that’s if the Met Office haven’t boobed again) we’re off to the beach where I used to roam after school. Happy days are here again!

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NOTE

I've been fiddling around with the layout of the blog because I've been having so many problems with the photographs. I've tried widening the space for the text to allow me to paste the code for the photos directly into the blog so that I don't need to use the Blogger photo insert. Well I'm not over keen on the results but I'll try to improve on it another time.

Monday, 10 August 2009

The Young Ones

Oh I just have to hear this song and I’m 16 again. Lots of songs take me back but this one is different for some reason. I think it’s a lot to do with Hank Marvin’s guitar intro, once it starts I’m gone, I really fill up.

To be honest, the film wasn’t much good, but when you’re 16 you’re not bothered are you? All you want to see and hear is your favourite singer. I saw lots of rubbish teen films in the 'sixties, not many had great music though. He certainly was a great looking lad and a good singer too. Have to say I was also mad about his backing group, The Shadows. Went to see them even when they weren’t with Cliff Richard. They were fantastic and still are!

It’s over fifty years since their careers started and it’s so hard to believe they’re in their seventies now. They’ve aged so well!

I must be mad because when they publicised their 2009 Farewell Tour last year, I didn’t get tickets. I kept thinking, just remember them as they were, so many singers and groups are past their sell by dates and really should have given up. I won’t mention any names!

Then I realised Cliff and The Shadows are just as good as they ever were. However the venues are all sold out and all you can buy are black market tickets. So I’ll just have to watch their clips on You Tube and then buy the video of the tour.

Now for a trip back in time…..


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Friday, 7 August 2009

Durham


Durham Cathedral

This is where I've been today. How lucky am I?

It's my favourite place on earth, Durham Cathedral. I didn't go in, I just wandered around the riverside. I'll save my trip inside for another day. For today, I took a walk along memory lane.

About twenty five years ago, I used to work in Durham City in the Careers Office on the riverside, overlooking the Cathedral. This was the view! If I was going into a meeting, I made sure I got there early to get a seat facing the window overlooking the Cathedral. Well if I got bored, I could always take in the view! Must have been the best view from any office in the whole of England!

In the summer holidays, a friend and I, when we didn't have to be in school all day, (we were careers advisers), used to take our sandwiches down to the riverbank and sit, relax and take in the view. It was so peaceful and we often saw little water rats running about. Other times we'd walk up to the Cathedral and just sit.

Today it was especially quiet. Hard to believe as you're about two minutes from the shops and traffic and you can't hear anything other than the river.




River Wear looking to Framwellgate Bridge

If you're ever in Durham, just take a walk along the river bank, it's wonderful. It's a bit more overgrown than I remembered, but as you see hardly anyone goes there, even in the middle of the summer holidays. Peace, perfect peace!

Bill Bryson in Notes From a Small Island, wrote about Durham:
"...it's wonderful - a perfect little city - and I kept thinking:"Why did no one tell me about this?"

I knew of course that it had a fine Norman cathedral but I had no idea it was so splendid. I couldn't believe that not once in twenty years had anyone said to me, "You've never been to Durham? Good God, man, you must go at once! Please take my car."

I had read countless travel pieces in Sunday papers about weekends away in York, Canterbury, Norwich, even Lincoln, but I couldn't remember reading a single one about Durham, and when I asked friends about it, I I found hardly any who had ever been there.

So let me say it now, if you have never been to Durham, go at once. Take my car. It's wonderful.
Now I haven't got Bill Bryson's address for you ask to borrow his car, but he's the Chancellor of Durham University, (you can see he really did fall in love with the place) so just address any requests to Durham University, I'm sure they'll find him!

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Now can anyone tell me why these photos don't enlarge when I've added them in exactly the same way as the ones that do?

Blogger? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Update

Got some information from Abe Lincoln and so I reduced one of the photos to see if that would work. It seems to have done the trick, for now. Thanks Abe. If you haven't seen his fabulous photos already take a look here http://pickapeckofpixels.blogspot.com

What's a Gansey?

                                                Photograph courtesy of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums It's a seaman's kni...