Sunday, 28 June 2015
The South Causey Inn, on the A6076 near Stanley, Co Durham, is only a few minutes' drive from my house. We had often gone past and seen a notice outside about a market every Tuesday. So recently I decided to pay the market a visit.
Time well spent. It's not a big market but it was interesting to see what was on sale. I particularly liked the cheese stall (though as a goat keeper I produce my own cheese). The bar and cafe were also open and live music was playing. Worth a visit.
Monday, 22 June 2015
I visited the Tanfield Railway yesterday for the annual steam gala. The Tanfield Railway is on the A6076 on the Gateshead/Co Durham border and conveniently, the railway line terminates at Sunniside, the village where I live.
The railway is the world's longest continuously running steam railway. It is run by volunteers who operate the trains on most Saturdays. We can hear them from our house.
A couple of the locomotives were on loan for the weekend though they originally worked on local lines in the age of steam, before they were pensioned off to the heritage industry.
Sunday, 14 June 2015
More pieces of the forthcoming trip to the US have now been put in place. Through booking.com I've now booked the Beacon Hotel in Washington DC and the Evelyn Hotel in New York. Accommodation in Philadelphia and Baltimore will be sorted shortly. I'm rather looking forward to this trip. I've been to the USA twice before but only to New York. It will be great to see other places as well. As the country however is so vast, I appreciate that we are still just scratching the surface.
Friday, 12 June 2015
I hadn't been to the Gloucester, the pub opposite Gateshead Civic Centre, for over a decade. On Wednesday I ended my record of absence. I met up with a group of people there. It has changed a bit since I was last there. It's much more open plan now. Given that the group I was meeting are likely to meet there on a regular basis, it seems I will be frequenting the Gloucester more often than once a decade from now on.
Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Harry Clasper is a Wetherspoon pub in Whickham, Gateshead, which opened last year in the former Whickham Council offices. The building has a sentimental connection for me. My great grandfather, Henry Wallace, was the first chairman of Whickham Urban District Council at the end of the Victorian period though he died just before the building was occupied by the council in 1901. When Whickham UDC was abolished in 1974, Gateshead Council took it over. It became surplus to requirements a few years ago, hence its new guise as a pub.
Wetherspoons have done a good job with converting the building. The choice of name is popular as well. Harry Clasper was a local lad who went on to be a world champion rower.
I visited the pub recently for lunch. As it's a Wetherspoons outlet, the food is competitively priced and not bad.
I had the burger and chips.
Monday, 8 June 2015
I went to Bill Quay Community Farm in Gateshead yesterday to go to the goat show. I am a goatkeeper myself though I wasn't putting any of my animals on show. A few hours before I arrived, the piglets did! This large black sow gave birth to a litter. Time to go aaahhhhh!
I am heading back to the US in the near future for 2 weeks. Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York will be on the travel agenda. Flight to Washington and return from New York are booked. Travel between cities will be by train. Hotels still to be booked. Looking forward to it.
Saturday, 6 June 2015
The sweet shop in the town at Beamish Museum, set in 1913, also has a sweet factory. When we were there last week, we watched black bullets being made in the traditional way (though without the crushed black beetles that were used 100 years ago to colour the sweets).
Across the road, the recreated bakery was in full swing, pumping out lots of loaves, cakes and pies. The bakery opened 2 years ago. I attended the opening and filmed it though never got round to editing the video. If I can find the old files, and have a few spare minutes, I will do the editing and post it on to YouTube.
Friday, 5 June 2015
St Helen's Church at Beamish Museum was originally from Eston, near Middlesbrough. It was dismantled and rebuilt at the Museum but the project is yet to be finished. It is set in the Georgian area of Beamish. The interior is still incomplete and fundraising is still on-going to complete the work.
On Sunday we visited it for the first time.
I was on the joint committee that oversaw Beamish Museum when the decision was taken to set up Davy's Fried Fish, the fish and chip shop in the pit village. It was a superb investment as it paid for itself in a very short space of time. My warning is, if you want to get fish and chips there, expect a queue. Nevertheless, the wait is worth it. We had lunch there on Sunday when visiting the museum.
The deep fat fryer is coal fired. The equipment is the real thing, used 100 years ago, not a replica.
Beamish remains my favourite museum and we visited it on Sunday to go to the Georgian Fair they were hosting next to Pockerley Manor and the steam engine workshop. Various craft events, a recruiting session for the Georgian army and animals to enjoy, including the only zorse (a cross between a horse and zebra) in the country.
Thursday, 4 June 2015
The restaurant that is now Sontana Pizzeria in Whickham, Gateshead, has lived through a number of food nationalities. We had previously visited it when it was a Spanish restaurant. Sontana was visited by us on Saturday evening. I had heard mixed views but we were quite happy with the meal and the service. I don't have a problem in recommending a visit.
On the way back home from Chesters Roman fort on Saturday, we made a detour to Tanfield Lea, in Co. Durham, to visit a tea room and craft gallery called Bayberry Hollow. I think it used to be a pub. Pleasant and worth a visit. Lots of small craftwork and in the cafe, some very nice looking scones. Sadly, we had only tea or wine. We'd already eaten in Chollerford.
The George Hotel at Chollerford, Northumberland, was our venue for lunch on Saturday after visiting the Roman fort at Chesters. Very pleasant surroundings on the banks of the North Tyne, and next to the Chollerford Bridge, it is one of those places where you just want to relax and enjoy the venue.
We simply had sandwiches for lunch. Roast beef and horseradish sauce was especially enjoyable.