Sunday, 21 March 2010

We are number one????

The hockey season has now finished. The Coventry Blaze have won the Elite League again - for the 4th time in the 6 seasons that we have been following them. I should be excited, overjoyed and jumping around with a sore throat.

However, this season has been a real let down as far as we are concerned. This season, we have only been to about half of our home games - we have missed more games this season than in all the other seasons put together - it has been a total waste of having a season ticket this year.

Why have we missed so many games? A total lack of enthusiasm on our part has been a major factor. The team has under-performed, uninspired and not exctited us as they have previously. Maybe it helps that i have finally gotten it into my head that it really is "only a game".

Some weekends it has felt as though we were being robbed of our Sunday evenings, and it has been an easy decision to stay at home in the warm rather than go to a freezing cold Skydome. My seat at home is also more comfortable, doesn't have sticky stains on it, the catering facilities at home are a lot better, and the toilet is a million times cleaner and more pleasant to use than the ones at the rink!

The "Fire and Ice Match Night Live" coverage has kept us fully informed of what has been going on at the games, and we have often been very thankful that we weren't suffering the dismal performances in person.

Are the Blaze deserved champions? No, not this time. They have not been the best team, but the least worst. The reason for the title is that we beat Belfast more times than they beat us. Some of the results against other teams have been an embarrasement - even the club admit that. Not deserved champions this season, no. This is despite having the genius that is Greg Chambers in the team. He has blown hot and cold like all the players have. Poor Peter Hirsch in goal has often had zero defence in front of him, and at times there has been no apparant leadership on the ice, or indeed effort from the "big name" players........

As pleased as we are with the trophy, it almost feels like we have stolen it from a more deserving team, and as much as i never want to see Belfast win anything, they definately deserve to win something this year.

Will we get season tickets again next year? No. We will go to a few games, but overall, we like having our Sundays back too much.

Thanks Blaze for all the fun, excitement and pleasure you have given us over the last few years, but for now, let's have a break from one another, OK?

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Home again

Well, here i am, back at home sitting in my favourite chair. Back to normality, whatever that may be.

The good news is that i did manage to drag myself out of bed at a sensible time, and even had enough time for some breakfast before we left the flat for the last time. We did go for one last look at the beach before we jumped in the car and began the long journey home.

I drove for the first hour and a half! As far as Scotch Corner Services in fact. This is, i think, the longest i have ever driven in one go, my previous longest being the hour from our house to Derby. I thought i did pretty well, and i only managed to scare Sally once - well, the bloke in front shouldn't have braked while i was checking the mirror should he?!

Saly drove the rest of the way home, and we got home around 2pm, which was earlier than we expected to - 4 and a half hours in total - a good 30 or so minutes less than we thought it would take - mind you, in the 90 minutes i spent driving we shifted a bit!! ;-)

It's nice to be back home, in familiar surroundings, but it's sad too, all at the same time. It means that the break is virtually over - work starts all over again on Monday, but, as Sally rightly pointed out, it's not long till Easter, and even out June two week holiday isn't that far away. (guess, we'd better get it booked then)

Did we enjoy our time in Northumberland? Overall yes. Would we go back? Yes. To the same place? Probably. At the same time of the year? No. Right place - wrong time we think.

We went food shopping when we got back home, and saw more people in Sainsburys alone than we had seen the whole time we were away! I mean, the shop was even OPEN. At 3 in the afternoon! Come on, all the shops would have been long shut where we've been by that time on a Saturday afternoon! ;-)

So, where are we thinking of for June? Wales is the favourite again at the moment. The site we stayed at near St Davids in the yurt last year now have the self catering apartment fully up and running, and that is available when we want to go, for either one or two weeks. But, we are thinking about going there for the first week, and then moving on to the Gower Peninsular for the second week, and have found some good looking cottages/flats that are available then for a sensible price - we just need to get a move on and decide which.

Despite the painfully slow internet connection we suffered while in Beadnell, we did manage to start on this organisation of our next holiday you see - we don't want you to get the impression that we don't like working anymore and justlive for our next break, but if you could all see you way to sending us some cash for our VW Camper fund, it would be much appreciated.............

Friday, 12 March 2010

And so the end is near.........

Not only did i get up first today, but i actually drove the car too!!! I’m not as against driving as i used to be - i wouldn’t say i enjoy it, but i’m happy enough to do it. The main reason for me not having driven up till today is two fold - firstly i’ve not driven this particular car (we are in Sally’s company Ford Focus), and secondly, i am better at navigating, so Sally would rather we sat on our usual sides of the car.

Because we were going to places that we knew fairly well today, i offered to drive, and my offer was taken up.

We had some rain overnight - not too much, but enough to dampen everywhere, and it was still trying to drizzle as we set off for Bamburgh, this time to check out the town itself. Well, i guess that village would be a better description, as it is very small indeed. There is a RNLI gift shop with museum, a couple of gift shops, tea rooms, pubs and hotels, and that’s about your lot. We selected the “Copper Kettle” tea room, and entered the old, wooden beamed cottage and stepped back in time.

Although the building has been there for centuries (originally built to house labourers for the castle) it has only been a tea room for about half a century. Two spinster sisters bought the property and spent a fortune on turning it into the tea room. (The last page of the menu gives a potted history). They bought the building for £8000, but spent £13,000 on the wooden panelling inside alone!!!!

Just like our holiday to Wales last June, it was only on the last day that we found a cream tea! We each had one of their wonderful cream teas, with two lovely warm scones, jam, whipped cream, and a large pot of tea between us. It was heavenly!

I decided to just go for a leisurely drive, getting more and more used to the Focus. My initial impression is that the steering is lighter than my Fiesta, it is nice and easy to drive, if a little unfulfilling (both my Fiesta and the Astra that Sally had for a while are more fun to drive), and it really could do with a 6th gear. I had been wondering all week why Sally changed up into 5th so early - now i know why, you just have to. Snag is, there isn’t a 6th to take it into afterwards!

So, you are getting a review of cars today as well as our holiday - what more could you ask of me???!! ;-)

We ended up back at Seahouses, where we had another wonder around the shops (well, the ones that had deigned to open), and treated ourselves to a few souvenirs of our break. We also partook of some fish & chips at the same chippy as our first night here. I felt that it wasn’t as good as before, but Sally disagreed. They have had new windows fitted during our time hear, which look very nice. They were putting the finishing touches to the window today - they put back up the faded, framed newspaper clipping of the Hairy Bikers praise for them.

Back at the flat, we went for a walk around Beadnell, mostly so that i could take some photos of the derelict boats we passed everyday in and out of the village, but also so we could wonder around some of the more obscure parts of the village - mind you, most of it is pretty obscure to be honest.

There has been a lot of building over the last few years by the look of it, and it is still continuing, with a new estate still being completed. This must have felt like a huge blow to the locals, as their village exploded in size, taking a lot of the charm and character with it. Having said that - there seems to have been zero effort to increase the number of village shops - basically, there is nothing here!

It is also strange that walking around, on a Friday afternoon, how few people we actually saw. We were beginning to wonder if anyone actually does live here. All it needs is some tumbleweed to bounce along the road to make it seem complete. There are cars in drives, but no-one around. All very odd.

As the afternoon wore on into the evening, a few vehicles started to appear in the close where we are staying - as we suspected, most of the properties around us are weekend get-aways. This is very sad, as it could well be that most of the village is in the same boat - only seeing life at weekends and during holidays - what a waste of a lovely place. It also makes the properties very expensive when this happens - putting them out of reach of many of the true locals. Don’t even get me started on the whole owning more than one property thing - this could turn into a rant quite easily.

So, our last night - we will start to get packed up in a while, so that we can be away early in the morning. We have to be out by 10am, which with my trouble getting up in the mornings will prove hard enough even if we are ready to leave as we roll out of bed!

It’s been an enjoyable holiday - more than anything, we both feel rested and stress free. We know that this won’t last long into Monday, but for now, it is a nice feeling. Some aspects of the holiday have been great - the flat, seeing Pete & Julie last Sunday, Barter Books, Wallender, Bamburgh Castle, the beaches......... and some have been a bit of a disappointment - the lack of places open (the time of the year), the weather in some ways (the time of the year), lack of decent photo opportunities (the time of the year) and the lack of petrol stations (the sign of the times). Word of advice - if you move up here, get a diesel...............

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Thursday 11th

As we come towards the end of our holiday now, we must try to make the most of the remaining time here. Today we went to Bamburgh Castle and have to say that we were rather impressed with it.

The main entrance is somewhat odd - there is no indication of the entrance prices until you are actually in the very sparse room where you pay to get in, and at this point you do feel somewhat obliged to pay up. The entry cost was less than i was expecting (£8 each), and proved to be very good value for money.

The view from the ramparts across the beach to the rolling waves is very impressive and not one i would tire of easily i think. Inside the castle itself, there was plenty to see in the public rooms, although the information about the rooms and the exhibits was sparse compared to a lot of National Trust properties we have been to. The staff seemed very knowledgeable and eager to impart information if you wanted it though.

There were some very old oil paintings going back for centuries, including some of the largest portraits i have ever seen. There were also plenty of clocks among the exhibits, most of which seemed to be in good working order - that must be a good job for someone!

We had some lunch in the cafe at the castle, the corned beef and potato pie tempted us both, and it was rather nice - the pastry being particularly good, although we did expect it to be hot rather than cold. It came with hot baby new potatoes which i thought were delicious, and a nice salad too.

One final part of the castle that we looked at was the Armstrong and Aviation museum. It turns out that the castle has been in the Armstrong family for some time now, and they have done a lot of renovation work. Apparently Armstrong himself was a right old clever clogs, and came up with many inventions, including many aviation ones. The museum contains lots of his work plus plenty of aeroplane parts.

We moved on to Holy Island/Lindisfarne after this. We had checked the safe crossing times, and it was safe to go just after 2pm. A short drive up the A1 is the turn for the island, and it was further across the causeway than we expected. In my mind, the island itself was very small, mostly containing just the castle, and i imagined the whole town would be within the castle walls. How wrong was i?

The roads across the “sea” to the island is hard to imagine underwater, but having seen some photos while on the island, it is clear that a good length of the road does indeed vanish at high tide, and attempting to cross is very unwise.

The island, as i alluded to, is a lot larger than i expected, and is a large village with both old and new buildings. The carpark is at the edge of the village, as they want to discourage too many cars going into the narrow centre of the town/village. It is about a quarter of a mile walk to the centre, and there are very few shops - mostly gift shops, and a visitor centre geared up around the Holy aspect of the island. There is also a visitor centre for their own mead, which has been brewed at the priory for centuries.

The castle itself is almost a mile out of the centre, and was closed at the moment - we are simply here a few weeks to early. I took some photos, but we decided not to up to the castle, seeing as how we couldn’t actually get into it!

We bought some fudge at a gift shop, and we are sure that the owner was trying to sell us the shop as well! I asked her what it was like living on the island, and she was saying that because it is such a small place everyone knows everything about everybody, and that if we bought the shop we could find out for ourselves.....

In another shop - the “Local Store”, we overheard a conversation that led us to believe that it was up for sale too - a slightly worrying thing - do any of them actually earn a living? Overall, i have to admit that i was left a bit disappointed in Lindisfarne - it wasn’t quite what i expected.

Back at the ranch, we watched the last of the Wallender DVDs, and now i’m typing this. It almost doesn’t feel like we are on holiday - i put it down to the fact that we are staying in a “proper” structure, rather than a tent of some weird contraption like last year. It’s almost as if we have moved house and haven’t gone back to work yet.......

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Murder at the Priory?????

I forgot to tell you about something that happened on Sunday......

While we were walking around Alnmouth with Julie & Pete, we were stopped from going up a path towards the Priory as they would normally do on this particular walk, by Police Incident tape.

There were a couple of Police cars at the side of the road, and the path up to the Priory was blocked by the tape. We couldn't see anything untoward, but as the path was quite winding, that was hardly surprising.

Obviously, we all speculated about what it may have been about, but didn't think much more about it.

BUT.........later, while walking along the beach, Pete came across one of his sailing friends, who asked if we had heard about "the murder".......he proceeded to tell us that one of the Friars had been found dead, murdered in fact........before bursting out laughing and saying that that was his theory at any rate!!!

When we got back to Julie & Pete's house, they were telling their daughters about this, and one of them commented that one of the Friars HAD died suddenly a few months back, and that maybe this was may even be that Friars TWIN................the other daughter speculated that it could be his EVIL this point the whole conversation got totally out of hand and much laughter ensued.

So far, we have yet to hear what actually has happened at the Priory, and the mystery remains...............

Fuel shortage up't'north!

We awoke to glorious sunshine and pretty clear skies. Yes, it was cold, but the day looked promising. I was first up for a change - I thought I should show willing.

After a bit of discussion, we decided to visit Craster and walk up to Dunstanburgh Castle. This plan was quickly scuppered when we discovered from the National Trust Guide that the castle isn't open on a Wednesday! So, a quick change of plan, and we headed out through Alnwick to Rothbury. Because it was a clear day, the views were wonderful. Across rolling valleys to snow capped hills in the distance, with the vistas only spoilt by the pylons and power lines.

We stopped at Rothbury and had a quick wonder around this quaint old town. Typical stone buildings, independent shops and the odd cafe made up the majority of the town centre. We couldn't find anything to hold our interest for long - the biting cold wind helped see to that, but we did get some books in the RSPCA shop. I took a fancy to a snooker table they had in there too, until it was pointed out that we really don't have anywhere to use it.

We had realised that we were running low on petrol, so out came the satnav and we asked it to find the nearest petrol station. Low and behold, there was one less than a mile away! Except there wasn't. It was a garage, but it didn't sell fuel. We asked a local, and she looked shocked at the question, and couldn't think of where there was a petrol station this side of Alnwick.

Thankfully, that was only around a dozen miles away, and we had enough to make that with no problem. Unfortunately, the garage the satnav sent us to was now a building site with flats being built on it. The next one on the list was already houses, and the next one was not only on the wrong side of the road, but also deserted. It had closed down! Aaaaargh!! The next one on the list was 7 miles away.......

Two hundred yards down the road, near the new Sainsburys was a BP station not on the satnav. Phew. Just when we were beginning to think we were going to get stranded in the fuel forsaken north, we were able to quench the engines thirst for amber nectar!

After this little escapade, we decided to head for Low Newton-on-Sea for a proper visit there after yesterdays quick "peek a boo" at it. We parked up in the only carpark which is about 200 yards from the "village" itself. Actually, to call it a village is a bit overstating it - really it is just a couple of cul-de-sacks and the "main road" is a no through one. At the bottom of the hill, just yards from the beach is the famous "Ship Inn", which we had heard so many good things about.

We had a long walk along the beach, and were able to take some good photos of Dunstanburgh Castle up on its hill, before doubling back to the Ship Inn for a spot of lunch. Sally had the leek and potato soup, and i had a bacon, mushroom and tomato stottie. For those of you who don't know what a stottie is, it is a type of bread roll peculiar to northern England.

Seahouses beckoned to us yet again after lunch, and we had another wonder around the town, looking in the most amazing gift shop - it holds a HUGE amount of stock of a HUGE variety of things - many totally unconnected to each other. Despite their enormous stock levels, we failed to find a single thing we wanted to buy, and moved on to the only amusement arcade that we could find that was actually open. We limited ourselves to £1 of 2ps in the machines there, plus a game of air hockey (which i won 7-0.....yessssssss!!!!!)

The National Trust shop was about to close, but we made them stay open for just a bit longer while we had a look around. The joys of being in retail eh? Those pesky customers...... ;-)

By 4pm, most of the town seemed to be closed - it is all very odd around here - either they don't open at all or only briefly - i know it is "out of season", but do they want our money or not? You wouldn't find it quite so odd if the shops we were talking about were particularly touristy ones - but it seems to be everywhere that behaves the same.

Back at base camp, we had a pot of tea and some toasted fruit bread - the closest we have had to a cream tea on the holiday so far! Watched another episode of Wallender on DVD, and chilled out.

Here's hoping for more good weather tomorrow.........

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Barter Books

Just to give you a vague idea how big it is....

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Tuesday 9th

An early start to the day, as we had to get the keys to The Pantry where we collected them from for the Tourist Board annual inspection. We got there just after 9am, but there was no sign of life in the cafe or the house next door, which is the alternate point of contact. I tried phoning, and could hear the phone ringing but there was no reply.

We went back to the flat and phoned the letting agents HQ. They couldn't understand why there was no reply at the Pantry, but the TB assessor had just arrived with them, and they would come straight away.

Sure enough, they were with us within ten minutes. As it was only going to take half an hour we elected to stay with them rather than let them drop the keys back at the earily deserted Pantry - after all, would we get them back?!

As it happened, we were able to help in the assessment because we knew where most of the kitchen utensils were, so speeding up the ticking off of the checklist.

Once they had finished the check, we got back to our plan for the day, which was a trip to Alnwick. First of all, we decided to get something to eat, as we had planned to have breakfast out, and it was now 11am and all we had had was a cup of tea. We went to a cafe that Julie had recommended to Sally, and it was a very good tip. Sally had homemade mushroom soup and a sandwich. I tried her soup and it was lovely. I had my usual burger, and it was pretty good.

We had a wonder around the town and looked around some interesting shops. Sally bought a new handbag at under half price. We then made our way to Barter Books. This claims to be "one of the largest second hand bookshops in the country", and I have no reason to doubt them. It is huge. Set in the old railway station it has room after room full of bookcases. It is fairly well set out, so you have a reasonable chance of finding what you are looking for.

The snag is that they have so many books (they claim over 300,000 and I don't doubt it) that my mind went a bit blank, and I struggled to think of anythink that I would want!! I did have a look for any of the Wallender novels by Henning Mankell, but didn't find any. I also failed to find anything about coastal navigation. I did however find an interesting sounding book about the history of espionage.

They have a couple of roaring coal fires in the building, and plenty of seating, coupled with the gentle jazz playing in the background, this gave the whole place a very inviting atmosphere, and you get the feeling that it is treated more like a library than a shop. I could have spent the whole week there quite happily!!

Their cafe is also well worth a visit. We had a drink and a cake each by one of the fires (which was a bit too hot for my liking) and it was all very pleasant.

Another quick wonder around the town in search of a loaf of bread (surprisingly difficult!) Before heading back to the flat. We took a slightly scenic route via Craster and Lower Newton on Sea, both of which we plan to visit properly while we are here.

Once back at the flat, we decided to take a walk on the beach here in Beadnell. It was virtually empty, with just a couple of dog walkers also braving the bitter cold wind which quickly numbed my fingers despite the fingerless mittens I was wearing. We wondered over to the disused lime kilns and took plenty of photos.

Back at the flat, warmed up by a mug of tea, we put the radio on to keep up with the news on Radio 4. Tonight is the second leg of the ice hockey Challenge Cup Final, with Nottingham holding a 4-2 lead over Cardiff from the first leg. I know I will be in the minority of Coventry fans in hoping that Nottingham can hold onto their lead and lift the trophy. They don't get to win many trophies these days! ;-)

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Monday, 8 March 2010

Day 3 in the Beadnell house

Just say the title to this blog in your best Geordie accent.......

A dull day - so much for the cold, frosty but clear weather forecast. After a breakfast of toast, we headed out towards Bamburgh in the vain hope that the sky might clear up. It didn't. So, we decided to move on and head inland to a couple of places we had been told about that might be worth a visit.

First up was Belford, which is a tiny town that looks as though it could be from The Last of The Summer Wine. We elected to not stop, but carried on through the narrow country lanes to Wooler. The journey there would have been spectacular if the weather had been clearer. The view as we climbed higher into the hills should have been awesome but the low cloud meant that we simply couldn't see very far.

When we arrived in Wooler, it again was a classic old town with small independant shops and a charm that makes you just want to look around. We found the free car park (always a worry - free parking can mean a disappointing place in our experience!) and headed into the town.

It appears that Mondays are an unpopular day with shopkeepers around here, and about half the town was shut. About a quarter of it was simply closed down for good, and the few remaining shops that were actually open were not exactly exciting. There was one "curio" shop which seemed to be full of old nic-nacks and ancient books, but with Barter Books in Alnwick to look forward to later in the week, i was reluctant to venture inside.

After a short stay, we moved on to Berwick Upon Tweed, which was some way, but we felt would be worth the effort. Once again, it seemed that a large part of the town was either closed for the day, or closed-down. It was also not particularly well sign posted, which meant it was "interesting" finding the car park.

We did find their branch of "Home Bargains", which is a lot bigger than Coventry's one, and it had some really great things at amazing prices. We treated ourselves to "sumfink nice" and got a few provisions. We then found a little cafe which surprisingly was empty even though it was lunch time. We liked the look of the place and had a hot chocolate each, while enjoying the jazz the owner was playing on his CD player. The chocolate was very nice - and so was the jazz.

The rest of Berwick was a bit of a let down to be honest, and apart from a quick run around Somerfield's we didn't stay for much longer.

The weather had still not brightened up, so we headed back to Bamburgh and then on through Seahouses back to Beadnell. We are hoping that the sun comes out over the next few days as Bamburgh Castle looks well worth a visit.

A very late lunch of soup & salad (not as wierd as it sounds - give it a try sometime!) was followed by a doze. I had a headache, and was pleased of the snooze, which made me feel much better.

After listening to "Just a Minute" on Radio 4 (mmmmm, Radio 4 - you know you're getting old when you love listening to that!!) we investigated some of the games on the bookcase in the corner of the living room.

Besides a good selection of books and DVDs, there are some games - mostly kids ones, but Kerplunk brought back memories of childhood for us both, and we just had to have a go. (The memories it brought back for me were of being grumbled at because it was such a noisy game!)

You know what? They have changed it since we were kids!!! It's nowhere nearly as well made as it used to be (why is that a surprise to me?), the tube is in 4 parts now, two actual tube sections and the bit with the holes in is made up of two saucer shaped sections that fit very badly together. It took about 20 minutes to get the darn thing assembled! After two games where most of the time was spent trying to get it to stay in one piece we gave up, and instead played "Shark Attack" which is a game with a sharks mouth open, and you take it in turns pushing his teeth down until you get the wrong one, and the mouth closes "biting" you. Obviously, each time it is a different tooth that sets it off, otherwise it would be a bit pointless, and we found it hysterically funny. Little things please little minds eh...............

We hope for a brighter day tomorrow, and the chance to take some photos.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sunday 7th

What a lovely day we've had! The weather has been superb, dry, sunny and surprisingly warm. Had a good nights sleep and a nice lie in while Sally finished off her work.

Brunch was mushrooms, bacon and eggs, and then we headed off to Alnwick to meet up with a couple Sally knew years ago when they lived in Derby.

Julie and Pete turned out to be a really lovely couple and we got on well. They took us out for a tour of some of their favourite local spots including Alnmouth where we did a very pleasant walk along the beach. Then they took us on to Amble where their yacht is moored. "Tina Louise" is a 32' sailing boat, and I am glad to report that we both got on and off it without falling in the water!

They have certainly helped us to choose a few places to visit during our stay, time and weather permitting of course.

Home made pizza for dinner and now we are watching Dancing on Ice. It is nice and warm in the flat now that we have sussed out the heating. We like it here!!!!!

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Saturday, 6 March 2010

Why eye.......

Had a lovely sleep - there's definately something to be said for separate beds!! ;-)

We were able to wish Beryl a very happy birthday before heading out into the drizzle for the LONG drive up to Beadnell. For most of the journey it was drizzling just enough to need the wipers on, but not enough to need them full time.

Radio 4 kept us company, and the afternoon play was pretty good i thought. We stopped off at "Scotch Corner" services for a bite to eat and a coffee. I have to say that it was the best coffee that i have had from a Costa for a long time.

We finally arrived at the apartment, and were pleasantly surprised - it is really nice!!! Compact without being cramped - plenty big enough for the two of us - the 2nd bedroom is a bit small but would make an ideal craftroom for Sally!! The living/dining room is a good size, and the whole place is nicely decorated and well furnished/equiped - there is even an XBox!!!

Once we had unpacked our stuff, we headed into the nearby town of Seahouses to buy provisions, and found a Co-Op which was pretty good. having had a walk around the town centre, we discovered a fish & chip shop that claims to be recommended by "The Hairy Bikers" of TV fame. we gave it a try, and it was very very good.

Back at the apartment now (OK, OK, the flat!!), and it seems a little strange to be on holiday in something so "luxurious". I mean, we have electricity, heating and everything!! The signal in the 3G dongle is poor, and the internet is working very slowly, and Sally can't get a signal on hers at all.......

Talking of which, while i'm typing this, Sally is at the dining table doing some work - she relented in the end, and decided that for the sake of her own sanity, she should just give in and bring her laptop with her to finish some spreadsheets that are suddenly vital...........bosses eh?!

i'm going to sign off for now, as the game is about to start on Fire & Ice's Match Night Live......i'm really more interested in reading my book though to be honest!!

It's fairly chilly up here by the way - dry but dull (and dark of course now) and the wind is biting. Where's my jumper and hat?

Friday, 5 March 2010

Friday 5th March - getting ready

Assuming we can get Sally's ear un-glued from her phone, and her fingers pried away from her keyboard, the plan is to head up to Derby late this afternoon/early evening, where we will stop overnight with Ron & Beryl (Sally's parents for those of you who didn't know)

It's Beryl's birthday tomorrow (6th March), so we will get to spend a few hours with them before heading up't'north to the apartment.

So far this morning, i have done the remnants of the ironing, and set the videos for the next weeks programs. I have also watched the Iron Maiden documentary that was shown on BBC4 last night about their world tour in their own plane piloted by their singer Bruce Dickinson. It was very interesting, and they all seem like really nice guys - down to earth, not the usual rock stars at all.

I have just checked the weather forecast on, and it looks fairly promising for where we are going - mostly dry, fair bit of sunshine, just VERY cold - some days they are forecasting -4 during the DAY, but with the windchill, it will feel like -9!!!!! Where's my wooly hat?

Cold we can cope with - we are taking enough clothes to layer up as necessary. It will be more of a let down if it rains a lot and is dull and cloudy. You can keep warm - keeping dry is less easy.....

Hopefully, if the forecast proves correct, i should be able to get some decent photos. I'm only taking the Panasonic digital compact and the 35mm film Leica with me - decided to leave the digital SLR behind - something had to give, and the Panasonic is a pretty good little camera, so i'm not worried about being SLRless. Hopefully, the Leica will get some use - have got plenty of film in my bag, both colour and back & white. It's about time the poor thing saw some proper use!!

I had been considering taking a ham radio transceiver up with me, but feel it is probably a waste of time. We are not going away for long, and the chances of getting much time to set it up and use it are pretty remote. Maybe when we go away in the summer for 2 weeks.......

While we are away we will miss several Blaze games, and you know what? I don't really care that much. Yes, i have somewhat fallen out of love with the game and the club this season. The lack of consitancy has been a major reason, but it also helps that i have finally come to realise that it is really is "only a game". We have missed more home games this season than in the previous 4 years put together.

It is almost a relief to have our Sunday evenings back, and i actually quite enjoy sitting in a comfortable (and clean!) seat at home with the laptop giving updates from the games thanks to the excellent "Fire & Ice" Match Night Live coverage. It's strange how not only am i more comfortable and warm "watching" the games at home, but the catering facilities are MUCH better and the toilet facilities are so much more "inviting" than those at the Skydome!!! Perhaps we should sell tickets to our own "venue" next season........

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Well, would you believe it? It's that time again - time for a HOLIDAY!!!!!!

It seemed like a long way off when i booked it, but it has crept up on us, and we go away tomorrow for our first break of the year, and boy, do we need it.

Both of us have been pretty stressed out with work, Sally especially has been struggling with the pressure of work and ill health, so we are both really looking forward to getting away, if only for a week.

Finally, we get around to going to Northumberland. Beadnell to be exact. No, i didn't know where it was either! Not too far from Alnwick, right up near the Scottish border, close'ish to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island - somewhere that i am really looking forward to visiting.

Unfortunately, a lot of the National Trust places are not fully open yet, it being too early in the year, but we hope (weather permitting) to get around to visiting a few interesting places.

Yes, i have the cameras packed and ready. I also have a good book, my ipod, a radio, and most importantly, a warm coat!!

I will endeavor to keep you all updated with our escapades during our week away. Now, where did i put my Geordie phrasebook................