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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