Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day 27, Alnwick to Newcastle to Hexham

I am over writing about the holiday. Not much happened on the last few days, so they will be brief. Bear with me.

Bacon and eggs for breakfast again. We headed off back to Newcastle and stopped off at a garden centre along the way to buy some fish for D's aquarium. I believe Sydney has the biggest garden centre in Australia, but Melbourne is not far behind with Garden World on Springvale Road. They have nothing on this garden centre. It was a monster.

Back in Newcastle we met up with R's sister M's ex husband's brother, who we are told is gay, but he gave nothing away. We had met him once at the Denton Hotel. D dropped the three of us in Newcastle proper and we went to the pretty marvellous Discovery Museum. From there we went to the very marvellous Laing Art Gallery. There is plenty of higher culture in Newcastle and glorious history, contrary to Brian's beliefs.

H then walked us around the shopping streets of Newcastle. Somethings R recalled but much of it had changed. This brings us to Primart.

Primart (PRYmart) was on everyone's lips. Amsterdam people come across on the ferry to shop at Primart. It is incredibly cheap, even by Australian standards. You might pay double here for a similar garment of a lesser quality. It is mostly clothing, although there are other goods. While we were in the UK, BBC's Panaroma did an expose on the the kiddies labouring in third world countries to produce items for sale in Primart.

But there were plenty of designer shops with goods with labels and at extraordinary prices.

At mid afternoon we were a bit hungry and so guided by H, we went into a pub. It was in one of the few remaining narrow cobbled streets in Newcastle. We already knew from other sources that H's mother used to manage three hotels in Newcastle, one of them gay, and we correctly guessed this was the gay one. Not a gay venue as we know it, but a place where gays go and mix it with straights. Anyway, it was a good pub and we had a nice meal.

Back to L and D's on the bus. For once I put my hand down with a firm foot and insisted that we would return to the caravan for the night. No, I will not be emotionally blackmailed. We had to go back at some point anyway, as our luggage was still there. A last night at the van was bliss.

The farm house at Whittingham, near Alnwick, where we stayed. The shed is for sheep and cows. The building to the right was some sort of mill. To the left is a garage. The house itself is the two storey building.


  1. "There is plenty of higher culture in Newcastle and glorious history, contrary to Brian's beliefs."

    I'll be honest with you Andrew, I've never actually been to Newcastle. My entire opinion of the place is based on Auf Weidersein Pet and, in particular, Jimmy Nail. I blame the British media and their constant bashing of the north of England. "Have y' sin 'im? 'Ee's on me doorstep. What's 'ee doin' on me doorstep?" "Ooh, Nora! Those wrinkly stockings don't 'alf give me backache."
    It's grim up north...according to the southern BBC pillocks at any rate.

  2. What was the Discovery Museum like?

    That's it?!
    The trip is over???
    Damn! I was enjoying the armchair travel through your eyes, Andrew.
    You'll have to pop over to Tassie or NZ for a holiday and give us the goss, now :P

  3. Oh, my cousin is heading back to the UK in October and I warned her about the Tragic Roundabout lol, though I don't think it's on her travels ;)

  4. Brian, I can only speak as I found and certainly not grim, downtrodden, gloomy or other negative adjectives. There was one matter which I will write about soon.

    Excellent Jayne. It was somewhat of museum for school kids and very interactive, that is buttons to push, but the histories of Newcastle areas was fascinating to me. Avoid Swindon at all cost, lest you get on a road heading straight for the Tragic Roundabout.

  5. Done both Jayne, just a case of writing posts from travel diary notes. It is a longish term plan.