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...............

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