Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday....

A sunny morning, although very windy, which made it feel colder than we expected. Because the weather forecast for the rest of the week is not great, we decided to take advantage of the sunny day to go somewhere new. 

A bit of research online had shown that there was a woolshop in Morpeth, which is a town that we hadn't been to before. Morpeth is about 40 minutes drive south of Beadnell, but because of yet more traffic lights on the A1 where they are cutting back the trees, it took us an hour to get there.

It is a decent sized town with a good selection of independent shops and some of the usual high street big names. We have finally sussed out the "disc parking" scheme. You go into almost any shop, and buy a parking disc, which looks like one of those cardboard clocks that go along with the disabled parking badges. You set the clock for the time you arrive in the car park, put it on your dashboard and that's it. You can then park, for free, for the time allowed in that car park. (Usually between 2 and 4 hours). 

The cost of these miraculous discs? £1.00. How long do they last for? Forever. Or until they come to their senses and realise just how much money they are losing out on!
Seriously, most of the "council" Carparks in the whole of Northumberland run the scheme, and once you have a disc, that's it. Job done.

We found the wool shop, and Sally got what she wanted from there. We then had a look around the town, and had a bite to eat at a small cafe called The Wheatsheaf, which was really nice.

We also spotted another cafe nearby which had a sign in their window saying that they were "almost award winning in 2016". This had us scratching our heads. Why would you make a big thing of not having won an award. 

The route back was always going to have been different, and I made sure we came back the scenic way via the coast road. We took in Newbiggin-by-Sea, which was a dump, and stopped off briefly at the village of Cresswell, which had a tiny car park overlooking the sea. It was too windy to get out, and we didn't stay very long.

Once back in Beadnell,  I set up our Amazon Fire Stick to work on the TV so that we could watch last week's episode of Broadchurch, so that we would be up to date in time for that evenings next episode.

We also went for a walk to the beach, getting back just before it got dark. There were only 3 other people on the entire beach, which is just how we like it.

After a lie in, we ended up in Alnwick. I know that times are tough for the high street, but it was sad to see just how many empty shops there are in the town centre there now. 

We didn't spend too long there, but had a spot of lunch in a cafe called Copperfields, which was almost as good as the previous day's. I decided against going into Barter Books, as there is nothing I really "need" right now.

Sainsbury's saw us re-stocked with supplies, and once back at the flat we watched Casino Royale on DVD. I still say it is probably the best Bond film. 

We then went for a brief walk around the village, and then settled in for the evening.  

The weather forecast for today had predicted thunderstorms, which didn't happen, and now they were saying overnight snow followed by a day of rain.


No sign of the snow overnight, but it had been raining, and continued to do so for most of the rest of the day. It had always looked as though Wednesday was going to be the worst day weather wise, and was probably going to be the "staying at home day" for the week.

As we had got the supplies yesterday, it was not really necessary to go out today anyway, so it did seem like a good plan to stay in.

In the end we just chilled out indoors, I read while Sally did some crochet. We were watching the TV when the breaking news of the terror attack in London was announced on the BBC news.

We went to Beadnell Towers for dinner, which is one of the two pubs in the village. Despite how many times we have been here, we have never been to either of them before. It was quite pleasant, but like the cafe in Morpeth, would probably not win any awards. 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Sunday 19th March 2017

A good night's sleep was had by both of us thanks to the very comfortable bed. The weather wasn't too bad to start the day,  It had rained overnight a bit, but the Sun was doing its best to breakthrough  the clouds. It was fairly windy, but not actually cold.
We began the day in Seahouses, where we had a bit more of a look around parts of the town that we hadn't been through before, and found some new'ish houses that need to be on our "possible " list when the time finally comes to (hopefully ) move up here.
We did our usual spin around the shop's in Seahouses, and got a few supplies from the Co-op  before heading back to the flat for lunch. Fishcakes and salad, which were very very nice.
After lunch we walked to the beach and spent some time walking and enjoying the sunshine. Back At the flat we watched a DVD and then the New episode of Vera, which we saw being filmed last June on the  beach at Beadnell. The scene we saw them filming only lasted about 30 seconds, but took several hours to film.
Not a lot to report really for today,  but we enjoyed our day nevertheless.

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Saturday, 18 March 2017

It's March, so it's holiday time!

At long last, it's holiday time again. It does seem a long time since we were last away, but this holiday has suddenly crept up on us, and while it seemed a long way away when we booked it, it has come around sooner than we thought it would. (I known that doesn't make much sense, but I know what no mean!)
As has become the norm for us, we have come back to Beadnell, which has become our second home, and eventually, we hope, will become our actual home. It is a place we adore, and holds a special place in our hearts. There is rarely a day goes by when don't close my eyes and imagine walking along the beach here, or walking along one of the streets in the village. It always makes me smile.
It is our first time staying in this actual property, which is a one bedroomed apartment in the centre of the village. (Rather than one on the edge of the village closer to the beach). It is still only about a 10 minute walk to the beach from here, and will be even less when I can work out where the short cut down the public right of way is!
The apartment is very nice. Modern, well specified, sensibly furnished and layed out. Clean and comfortable. You can't really ask for any more.
The journey up here was uneventful, the weather wasn't great, and we did have heavy rain for some of the time, and showers for most of the way up. Amazingly, there were no roadworks around Newcastle.  This is the first time that has happened. Every other time there have been hold ips whilst getting through the roadworks on the A1 at Newcastle. This was a nice surprise.
Once we had unpacked and settled in, had a mug of tea, we took a walk along to the beach. It had just about stopped raining, but they appear to have had quite a bit of rain here, and there were plenty of puddles along our route to the beach. Despite this, there were quite a few dogs and their owners on the beach enjoying the bracing wind. We didn't stay long, and walked back the long way to the flat.
There is an enormous TV on the wall in the lounge, and it was quite startling to see the faces of the people on Gogglebox at such a large size. I definitely prefer our "sensibly" sized TV at home.
The weather forecast looks to be improving a bit, so we may be able to get out and about a bit more than we thought we would. Whatever happens,  it is nice to be away, and to have a break.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Summer Holiday in Beadnell, June 2016

Saturday 4th June 2016

In the run up to our Summer holiday, i hadn’t been feeling too well. A heavy cold was still lingering, and was threatening to become a chest infection. I had managed to persuade the doctor to give me some antibiotics, but they hadn’t really done the job of clearing my chest up.
This, coupled with my feeling rather low anyway, wasn’t a great way to start the holiday. We were heading back to Beadnell in Northumberland, in fact back to the very flat where we stayed when we first visited the area back in March 2010. We can’t believe that it’s been 6 years. That was the first time we had rented a property rather than camping, and i don’t think that we have used the tent since then. We have stayed in a variety of flats, apartments, cottages and houses since then in various parts of the country.
We had vowed to take as little as possible with us this time, as we always do, and always we find that we use/wear about half of the things we take with us. The problem at this time of the year is that you just don’t know what to expect from the weather. It may be hot, it may be cool. It may be dry, it may be wet. At least when we go in March, you can pretty much rely on the weather not being that great, and so it is much easier to know what to take.
In the end, we weren’t too bad, and easily managed to get everything in the car, even having space for one of my guitars. The journey up was fairly uneventful, just very long. Stopping for a quick drink just South of Newcastle, and then hitting heavy traffic on the roadworks on the Newcastle section of the A1(M) meant that it took us about 5 hours to get to Beadnell.
The flat was pretty much as we remembered it, but it has to be said that in the six years since we were last there, the standards have slipped a little. It was far from dirty, but would have benefited from a “proper” clean rather than the quick “once over” it obviously gets between guests. The worst was the oven, which was very much in need of a good scrub. A few things had changed in the kitchen, and the new fridge/freezer had a door which opened the right way which made life much easier! The whole place needs a bit of TLC, but i suppose that if people keep renting it, there is little incentive for the owners to spend the money on doing this.
Once unpacked, which didn’t take very long, we did our good deed for the day when an elderly gentleman came over to me as i was locking the car up. He and his wife had just arrived and were a little confused as to which flat they were staying in, as they aren’t that well labelled. I quickly worked out that they were in the flat next to ours but upstairs. Then we couldn’t find the key box for their door keys. In the end he phoned the letting agents and they told him where the keys were hidden.
We would say that they were both in their late 70’s, maybe early 80’s. The lady couldn’t walk very well, so staying in an upstairs flat perhaps wasn’t the best idea for them. In the end, Sally and I carried their (very big and heavy!!) suitcases upstairs for them.
This good deed done, we decided that a trip to Seahouses was in order for fish and chips for our dinner. Seahouses is only about two and a half miles away, and after so long sitting down during the day, we elected to walk there. In retrospect, this was a big mistake. The walk there was fine, a nice safe footpath runs alongside the road, the route was fairly flat, it wasn’t too hot, and we arrived in the town in plenty of time to go the Neptune fish and chip “restaurant”. It was very busy in there - it was the end of the bank holiday/half term week, and plenty of people we still in town. We had to wait a short time before being able to get a table, and while i was queueing to order the food, Sally got chatting to a man who worked there. It turned out that he came from Coventry originally, and now lives in Newcastle. He and his wife live in a caravan during the Summer and get work in Seahouses. It is a small world.
The haddock and chips was as lovely as it always is at the Neptune. Fresh and tasty - it’s never quite the same when you have it away from the coast for some reason. As we have only ever been to the area in March before, when a lot of places are still closed, or close early as there are so few people about, it came as a bit of a shock to see the town so busy.
The walk back to Beadnell was when the “mistake” of our decision to walk became apparent. We were both suffering a bit. My back was already aching after sitting in the car for so long, and this 5+ mile walk on top of that really didn’t help this, and my hips started to ache too. By the time we got back to the flat, we were both in a fair bit of pain. Despite this, we were determined to have a quick visit to “our beach”.
Again, when we have visited in March, usually it was just us and a couple of dog walkers to be seen on the beach. So, to find so many people on the beach even fairly late into the evening, came as a bit of a shock. We wanted to shout at them “Oi, this is our beach, get off it!!”
We had a short walk along the bay, before heading back to the flat and a well deserved mug of tea. I timed the walk from the flat to the beach at under 80 seconds while “sauntering”, so i reckon i could do it in just under a minute if i walked at my normal speed. I could live with that!
Sunday 5th June 2016.
We awoke to a lovely sunny day. We also both awoke in pain. Yesterday’s evening route march coupled with a softer bed than we are used to found us both suffering with bad backs and hips. We needed more milk, and a few other minor provisions, so we walked to the village shop, which is just over half a mile from the flat. This shop has always been closed when we have been before, and it seems that it only opens during the holiday season, and probably gets most of its trade from the campsite which is just across the main road from it. This makes sense.
Whilst walking to the shop, we stopped and chatted to a local who was mowing his grass. We had a nice chat with him about the village and what it is like to live there all year around. He told us that it gets REALLY cold in the Winter as the wind blowing off the sea comes from Siberia. I can imagine that it does - it’s bad enough in March!
Shopping done, we headed to the beach, which was fairly packed, and walked all the way along the bay to what is called the Long Nanny. This is a large stream which cuts across the beach and means that you have to go inland and cross a bridge to get to the other side. At this time of the year, this other side of the beach is basically out of bounds as it is home to a Tern nesting and breeding site which is managed by the National Trust. I had the binoculars with me and we were able to watch them for a while. We had first seen this on the Robson Green TV series about the area recently. You could clearly see the tents that the NT volunteers sleep in to stay there 24/7 while they protect the site.
There were some surfers braving the cold water. We had a brief paddle, and i can report that, despite the lovely sunshine, the water was ruddy cold! We headed back to the flat for lunch and an afternoon chill. In the evening at about 7pm, we returned to the beach and repeated our walk of earlier. It is a mile from where we entered the beach to the Long Nanny, and it is surprising just how quickly you walk that distance on the sand. As long as you avoid the soft dry sand, it is really nice to walk along.
It was also very interesting to see how the beach changes as the tide and light changes. It was still sunny in the evening, but much cooler now. We got some nice photos as the light was much more suitable for photography in the evening. There were not many people still on the beach at that time, and we saw the remnants of the sand castles that children (of all ages!) had built during the day. These would not last the night of course, as the high tide would take them away.
Monday 6th June 2016.
Another glorious day awaited us once we finally awoke. Despite the bed not being very comfortable, we both seemed to have little trouble in sleeping quite late. This is most unusual for Sally, who hardly ever has a lie in. Perhaps it was the sea air?
Sadly, today i had a visit from my “Black Wolf”, and i was very down for some reason. I wish i could have pinpointed just what set it off, but i can’t. It couldn’t have been an easy day for Sally to deal with, and i can only apologise to her for this.
We decided to head to Druridge Bay, which we had also seen on the Robson Green TV show. It is a nature park, with a lake with walks around it, and also a large sandy beach quite similar to the one at Beadnell.
I managed to get us “lost” twice on the way there, which didn’t help my mood any. Still in quite a lot of pain also didn’t help, but we elected to walk around the lake, which was very pleasant and gave us views of various birds. The binoculars came in very handy again. After this we had a short walk along the beach there, but i really wasn’t in the mood to enjoy it. Sorry.
Back at the flat, in the evening, we went for our usual stroll along the beach, where we saw some beach “art” someone had done of a mermaid drawn in the sand.
Tuesday 7th June 2016.
An overcast morning, which gave way to pleasant sunshine as the day wore on. A morning walk on the beach this time, which was fairly empty today. We walked to the Long Nanny, and then crossed the bridge to get closer to the Tern’s nesting site. Here we found quite a few bird watchers equipped with huge spotting scopes and cameras.
We toyed with walking to Low Newton for lunch, but neither of us felt up to the 3+ miles each way walk. By now the sun was out fully and it was very warm. We spent some time just sitting on the beach, enjoying the weather and the sound of the waves on the shore.
In the evening, we went to High Newton (by car) and had dinner at the Joiners Arms. We had booked a table, which turned out to be a good move, as it was quite busy in there. Their tiny car park was full, as were all the roads around it, so we parked in the Low Newton carpark and walked the half a mile or so to the pub.
Sally had gammon, and i opted for the burger with pulled pork topping. This made a change from the enormous piece of fish that i usually have when we go there. We both had an ice cream sundae for dessert.
We ended the day with another walk on our beach before bedtime. It was cold and a bit windy, but a lovely way to end a lovely day.
Wednesday 8th June 2016.
Another late morning, followed by a drive into Seahouses to have a quick wander around the shops, and top up on provisions. This was followed by a walk around Beadnell village and tea and cake at the cafe in the village. This was a mint tea that was quite nice, but a bit too strong all at the same time. The cakes were lovely though!
We walked around the village a bit more before ending up on the beach again.
The evening was spent watching Game of Thrones on DVD.
Thursday 9th June.
Another overcast start to the day, which became sunnier as the morning went on. For lunch today we drove to Low Newton to the Ship Inn, where we both had the kipper fish cakes with stottie and salad. Absolutely lovely as always. Despite getting to the pub only just after it opened, it was very busy. It’s a good job that we didn’t leave it any later than we did.
The afternoon was spent walking along our beach where we saw some kite surfers (it was VERY windy and so ideal for them) and then walked around a bit more of the village.
The evening with Game of Thrones and a quick walk along the beach at almost 10pm. It was lovely and quiet then!!
Friday 10th June.
Our last full day. Lunch at Neptune in Seahouses. Fish and chips again. (we drove this time though!) followed by a wander around the shops and a brief visit to the amusement arcade.
An afternoon walk along the beach to the Long Nanny and back. It was dull and the weather was looking a bit threatening. It was also fairly windy and a bit cool.
We had noticed quite a few people on the beach near the harbour during the walk, and i did think it may have been something to do with the local sailing club, as a yellow canoe was much in evidence and appeared to be the main focus of interest. Walking back, Sally asked me if i had any idea what was going on. She had heard someone say something about the Police being there.
I hadn’t brought the binoculars with us on this walk, and was kicking myself a bit. Then i spotted someone holding a white board at an angle. I thought it was maybe a reflector as used in photography or something, and then i spotted someone with one of those large furry microphone things on a pole. Sally persuaded me to go and have a look with her, and boy, am i glad she did!
As we got closer i thought i recognised a man’s voice that i heard, and then when i saw a woman in a long brown rain coat and floppy hat i knew i was right. They were filming for an episode of “Vera” and the woman was Brenda Blethyn in character as Vera.
We stood and watched for well over half an hour while they practised the take, before doing it for real. Over and over and over again. We were taking some photos, and the actor playing Vera’s DS saw me and waved.
Brenda and her sidekick played by Kenny Doughty came over to talk to a couple with two children who were near us between takes. We listened into the conversation, and it turned out that the family were going back to Manchester later and one of their school friend’s was in hospital waiting for a new heart and they were going to try to cheer him up. Brenda said that she would be back in a minute, and returned with a hand written sign on a piece of A4 paper with a message to their friend and invited them to have a photo with her and Kenny. This seemed to me to be real class on their part, and was a really lovely gesture.
Kenny told us that it takes 4 weeks to film each 2 hour episode of the series, and that the new series should be shown early next year.
It was surprising just how many people are involved with the filming. There were at least 2 dozen people involved with shooting just this one scene which will probably only be on screen for a few seconds when it is all done.
This was a great way to finish our final walk on the beach. The evening was cold and windy, and starting to get a little damp. It was also the start of the Euro 2016 football championships, so the evening was spent watching the football and packing ready for an early start the next morning.
Saturday 11th June 2016.
Up early for a change. The car was packed quickly, and we headed off at 9am. It was raining, and did so for most of the journey home, which was uneventful apart from a rolling road block on the M1 near Sheffield for no reason that we could see.
Five hours later, and we were back home. It is good to be back in some ways (the comfy bed, a clean house, our usual surroundings and things), but it is also sad that we can’t be on the beach in a minute. Maybe one day??
We are already planning our next visit, hopefully later on this year.
Sorry that i haven’t got more to say, but as you will have guessed we didn’t do a huge amount apart from walking on the beach this time!!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Saturday 19th March - back home

So, the holiday is over, and we are back to some form of "normality". The journey home took a little longer than it might have due to traffic hold ups on the M1 forcing us to take a slightly scenic route via the M18 to Newark and the the A46 across to join the M1 lower down than we would normally have.   Both cars got a good wash once we got home, and they both looked a lot better for bit of a spruce up.   Once we got home we found that our big bear, Bobby, had been "bear-napped" by our next door neighbours, and had gotten himself into all sorts of trouble. Thankfully, they had taken photographs to show us just what he had been up to while we were away......  
Firstly, he went to Ann's parents house to meet them.
They kindly gave him tea.
Of course, this wasn't enough for him, and he went onto gorge himself on chocolate.
This sent him all excitable, and then he went a bit wild.
He even drove Daniel's car to the shops on the lookout for more sweets.
Disappointingly, he discovered alcohol.....
And by the time we got him back home, he was tired after his exploits.
Apparently, it was all our own faulty for not having taken him with us on holiday........
Which all goes to prove that our neighbours have become as barkingly mad as we are. It took a while, but we have managed to get them to our level of silliness! Thank you Daniel and Ann for "looking after" our bear for us while we were away!! 😀

Friday 18th March - final day

Sorry for the delay, I've had a few issues with getting Blogger to work and so I am a bit behind schedule with my posts!


Another dull, grey start to the day, which was sadly our last full day in Northumberland for this visit.


A trip to Seahouses was in order for last minute gift buying, and more importantly, trying to arrange our next visit! It turns out that one of the reasons we are struggling to get much of a choice for the week we have off in June is that it is just after the bank holiday, so those fortunate enough to be able to have booked extra time off for the bank holiday. It makes sense once it was pointed out to us, it just wasn't something we had realised.


Lunch was taken in the Neptune fish and chip restaurant in Seahouses, and it was better than the one we had earlier in the week at The Pinnacle just across the road from it.


A quick stop off at Beadnell on the way back, and a walk around the village to parts of it that we hadn't been to before left us with an even more positive view of the village. Yes, we could imagine ourselves living there when we are retired. Assuming we would be able to afford it of course! I would say that about 80% of the properties there are either second homes or are rentals for holiday use. Therefore the prices are somewhat high. Oh well, one can dream I suppose.


Back at the cottage, we got ourselves as packed as we could, and sat down to watch the second and third episodes of "One Child" on BBC iplayer. I didn't really fancy it to begin with, but actually did enjoy it in the end, despite that rather unexpected and somewhat sad ending.


Talking of sad endings, so to bed for our final time in Kipper Cottage. We would both be more than happy to return at some point if the opportunity arises.


So, to end this holiday blog, I'm going to put some photos of the cottage on. These were taken just before we left, so all of our junk was out of the way, and the place was nice as tidy, just as when we arrived!!




Thursday, 17 March 2016

Thursday 17th March - Low Newton & The Ship Inn

Well, I would love to tell you that we have lots to tell you about today, but we don't I'm afraid. Another dull day, and the sun didn't even try to show itself today, but it did stay dry all day, so that was a bonus.   We had decided that we would walk down to the beach by the golf club again today, and would walk along the beach the mile or so to Low Newton and have lunch at the famous old pub called The Ship Inn.   The walk wasn't that strenuous and only took about 40 minutes. Walking on the soft sand in places was a little tricky, but once we got to where the tide had gone out and the sand was still a little damp it was much easier to walk on. Lots of dog walkers out again today, and the car park at the golf club was full. I do wonder how these people find the time to do such things. There must be a lot of retired people around, that's all I can imagine.  
The pub was quite busy, and we had to squeeze onto a small table in the corner, but it was well worth it. The food was lovely, and really lived up to the pubs reputation. I went for a ploughmans with local ham, local mature cheddar cheese, home made apple chutney, and a quarter of a huge stottie. (The local type of bread roll) Sally chose the kipper fish cakes and salad. This meant that we could share both out and each try some of both. They came with almost an entire garden of salad, and were truly tasty.  
I forgot to take a photo until it was half eaten. Sorry about that!   No room for dessert today, which was good as their dessert menu was rather small and a bit uninspiring. A gentle walk back to the cottage and time for another mug of tea.   The afternoon and evening was spent catching up with the new series of House of Cards on Netflix, so there really isn't anything else to report other than we are still looking for places to stay for our summer holiday, ideally in this area. This is proving to be a bit harder than we expected as most of the ones we like are already booked up for when we have time booked off work. We have found a couple of possibilities, and are working on firming those up a bit more.   Time for bed now, and looking forward to another day tomorrow, although with a bit of sadness as it will be our last full day here.