Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Back to Paris

I haven't been to Paris for nearly 6 years but I am heading back there for a weekend in August. We will be travelling by Eurostar and, conveniently, we have booked a hotel next to Gare du Nord. Last time we were in Paris, it cost an arm and a leg. I'm hoping the French have made themselves a bit more competitively priced this time.

Friday, 13 February 2015

The town at Beamish Museum

This is another post about my visit to Beamish Museum last month. The town in the Museum has been recreated as it would have been in 1913. It contains a Coop, sweet shop, pub, bakery, masonic hall, bank (complete with old money), dentist, solicitor, printer and railway station. The trams run through the high street. There is also a cafe though this is to cater for stomach rather than heritage.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The sweet shop at Beamish Museum

In the re-created 1913 town at Beamish Museum, the is a sweet shop. Not just any old sweet shop. It's one with its own little factory at the back where you can watch the sweets being made the old fashioned way. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the museum.

What's new at Beamish Museum 3 - the band practice hall

My 3rd report on what's new at Beamish Museum is about the Hetton Silver Band practice hall. The building was donated to Beamish and was dismantled brick by brick and transported to its new site as part of the pit village. Yet again, I was away for the official opening. When I was there last month, an ice rink had been set up next to it and the hall was being used as a place to store boots and shoes and skates.

What's new at Beamish 2 - pit pony stable

Sadly, I had to miss the official opening of the pit pony stables at Beamish Museum last year as I was away on travels. My visit to Beamish last month gave me the opportunity to have a look at this new exhibit, built next to the recreated mining village.

It is interesting to note that as recently as 1983, there was a pit in the North East of England still using pit ponies. This pit was Marley Hill, just up the road from where I live. The ponies were retired when the pit closed in 1983 and went to a pony retirement home. I think the last one died only about 3 years ago.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

What's new at Beamish 1 - wartime farm

North of England Open Air Museum at Beamish in Co Durham is one of the best places to visit in the North East. This is not a museum that keeps everything in display cabinets behind glass. Instead, it aims to be real life. It contains a town set in 1913 and a manor house and farm set in the Regency period. There is a pit village (again set in 1913), an early steam railway and workshop and a tram system. I have been to Beamish many times but since my last visit, new facilities have been created.

In this post, I have included photos of the wartime farm. Previously, the farm was set up as an Edwardian establishment but last year it was revamped to show farm life in the Second World War. The cafe next to it has been given the feel of a wartime British Restaurant (or kitchen). I recommend the allotment soup, made from vegetables grown on site.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Sorella Sorella

In mid January a friend of mine visited me for the weekend so having taken him for the day to Marsden, he returned the favour by taking me out for dinner to a local Italian restaurant called Sorella Sorella. It is on Gateshead Road in Streetgate, the next village down the road from where we live in Sunniside, Gateshead. It is only a ten minute walk for us to get there.

I've eaten there a few times before. Though not on the cheap side, the food is always superb. The restaurant took over the former Rose pub (which was previously known as the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle) a couple of years ago. The establishment was changed from a very quiet pub (I often wondered how it survived with so few customers) into one of the busiest restaurants in the area. To get a table, it is advisable to book in advance.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

LGBT History Month at Discovery Museum

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums in partnership with UNISON, Community Hubs Network and Newcastle City Council held an event to celebrate LGBT History Month on Monday at the Discovery Museum. As a member of the TWAM joint committee I was invited and popped in to look at the history display and listen to a number of speakers who talked about how laws and attitudes about sexual orientation have liberalised over the past 60 years.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Marsden Rock and Beach

Mid January is arguably not the best time to visit Marsden Beach but we decided to go there a couple of weeks ago. A rather cold breeze was blowing off the North Sea and the air was bracing. Nevertheless, Marsden is one of my favourite beaches in the North East and is always worth a visit, even when the weather is of the brass monkey variety. The biggest feature is Marsen Rock, pictured above. We were there when the tide was in but it is possible to walk to the Rock and explore the caves when the tide goes out. The Rock did have a huge arch but this collapsed about a decade ago.

There are great examples along the beach of rock stacks, caves and rock strata. The place is something of a geologist's wet dream.

Lunch at Marsden Grotto

Marsden is a beach between South Shields and Sunderland on the North East England coast. It is overlooked by high cliffs which contain a number of caves. Some of those caves form part of Marsden Grotto, a pub and restaurant.

There is a car park at the top of the cliff and there are two ways to get down to the beach. The first is by lift (see above) and the second is by taking the long flight of steps. When we were there a couple of weeks ago, we took the steps down and cheated ourselves of the additional exercise by returning in the lift.

The Grotto fronts onto the beach and is built into the base of a cliff. Caves form part of the building.

Above is the bar area at the front of the building. We had lunch here. The food was good (scampi and chips) but I think it was a bit overpriced for the North East. Prices are what we would expect to pay in London.