Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 20, around Newcastle and a night out at The Denton

Friday, I think. Yes. We drove down to Newcastle and spent the day with two of R's sisters and the brother in law. They took us out to see the sights around town and it was good fun. We started with the Angel of the North. Now there is a name for this photo spoiling which I can't remember, but D kindly took some nice young men's photos for them, while we hammed it up behind them, thus spoiling their treasured photos of the Angel.

Then via a circuitous route, to the Quayside where we had lunch at an old warehouse, now a pub called Wetherspoons. Wetherspoons is a pub chain and they are everywhere. The food is ok and quite cheap and consistent. They tend to go into old buildings that have become redundant. There was also one in Hexham, and there they occupied half of the beautiful Art Deco movie theatre.

After lunch we walked along the Quayside for a distance and crossed the Millennium Bridge to explore the Baltic Flour Mill contemporary art gallery.

Back across the Bridge and to Castle Keep via the Dog Leap Stairs and the Black Gate. It was great fun exploring The Keep but god knows how many stairs I climbed. The castle dates back to 12th century, I believe.

Then onto the hotel that you can see in the railway bridge photo. A bit of afternoon tea and time to go back to L and Ds.

In the evening, there was a family gathering at the excellent Denton Hotel. It sits high overlooking a major roundabout. It is very large, the food was good and it had an excellent outdoor heated area at the front. The crowd, and was there a crowd, tended to be on the younger side of 35 and many of them call in for a meal and or cheap drinks before heading into Newcastle proper for the clubs where drinks are much more expensive. Concealed hip flasks and the like are a way of life in Geordieland. We had a fantastic time with a lot of R's family and their friends. I was nursing a pint of beer and bored initially, and then I saw a family member whispering to R, and then a bottle of red appeared, just for me. Too kind.

A couple of drinks, combined with loud music, very loud crowd and accents getting stronger, I just gave up trying to talk to anyone inside and spent a good bit of time in the beer garden, talking to whoever I knew who came out.

We were in a reasonable state when we climbed into one of the many cabs coming and going from the hotel driveway and went back to L and Ds. L, who did not go, had made us sandwiches. Nightcap Andrew? Scotch? Ah, well just the one. More of the world's problems sorted out and another night staggering up the stairs to bed.

Dominating the Newcastle skyline is the sculpture Angel of the North. It is absolutely huge and can be seen from many places in Newcastle. Initially hated, the people of Newcastle have come to love it. When it was first erected, it caused many car accidents when people slowed or stopped to have a look.

Pic courtesy BBC (I could not fit it into the camera lens)

We had a fine lunch on the Quayside at Wetherspoons.
Not the best angle of the Newcastle Railway Station, but certainly an important part. The station itself is huge, complete with accommodation.

One of the railway bridges, seen from The Keep.
Castle Keep.
Dog Leap Stairs on the way to the Keep.
Yes, it was a flour mill, now a space for contemporary art. And boy was it contemporary stuff, by a Japanese artist. The view up the Tyne from the top is excellent.
The Millennium Bridge, also known as the Winking Eye. Although not really essential and seldom used because it is not really needed, the lower part lifts to let taller river traffic pass under. It is lifted twice a day for tourists. We missed it by ten minutes.
Some arts building. The ship is a nightclub and permanently moored on the Gateshead side of the river.
The Tyne Bridge, similar to the Sydney Harbour Bridge but smaller. Ours was first, they would brag. Yours was just the model for ours, I would return.
The High Level Bridge. Trains travel across it and it has only just re-opened after a major renovation. Buses and taxis are allowed to use it, but not private cars. England being full of English, no one takes any notice and uses it anyway. There used to be lifts that went up in one the pylons, but they have been closed. At one spot, you can see five bridges at once. Then there is a tunnel and another tunnel being built.

Stairs up to where the old railway line ran near where R's house was. As we arrived at top of the stairs, we saw a pheasant. D said he has never seen one in Newcastle.


  1. Anonymous4:29 pm

    Fantastic pics, Andrew.

  2. "As we arrived at top of the stairs, we saw a pheasant. D said he has never seen one in Newcastle."

    That's because pheasants are generally reared exclusively for nobs and aristos to kill for sport and "Thar enni mach call f' that sort o' thing in Newcassie mon."

  3. Love those photos, you're out-doing the travel guides :)
    Love the way they've reused old stylish buildings, keeping the aesthetics of the area constant.

  4. Wonderful Images yet again Andrew. You sure did get alot done on your holliday, no wonder you were so tired when you returned home.

  5. Hi Andrew

    I'm so glad you saw Angel of the North. I love Anthony Gormley. His Event Horizon in London last year was amazing.



  6. Thanks Reuben. There were plenty of clangers though.

    Almost Geordie speak Brian. A- for effort.

    They do it so well Jayne, you never really know if something is new or old.

    Looking back on it Cazzie, I suppose we did do a lot, but there was some me time for us too.

    Yep Pants, he was the designer. I only just learnt that today. I better check out this Event you mention.

  7. Hi Andrew

    Gormley's normal thing is life size figures - initially casts of his own body. in Event Horizon, he placed human figures on buildings and streets all over central London. You would just look up and see one. It was lovely.



  8. Anonymous11:42 pm

    Did you recognise the artist? It's Yoshitomo Nara. Vik.

  9. The sort of art I really like Pants. Anything that stops people and they want to look and understand.

    And it all comes together in my head now Vik. I should have known by the picture on the side of the building. Now, how do I know who he is?

  10. Anonymous2:41 pm

    Phew, those Dog Leap stairs Andrew - I feel a touch of vertigo just looking at the photo. What a great series of bridges and buildings. I particularly like the wistful old railway stairs; slightly overgrown and leading back in time. Gorgeous.

  11. I am going to google Dog Leap Stairs LiD, in case it involves some animal cruelty.

    I liked the rail stairs too. What never occurred to me before I went, was because of the rain, natural or let go areas are quite jungle like.

  12. Anonymous10:50 pm

    I think I sent a book of Nara's work for one of your birthdays. Vik.

  13. Oh dear, Vik. Book Crossing. Just kidding. I can't find it. It was a little book I think. I need to do some book sorting anyway. I will find it.

  14. Anonymous2:44 pm

    Bookcrossing indeed!!!! Yeah, it was small - maybe half A4 size but kind of thick and full of wonderful drawings and paintings with English explanations. Or maybe it's bilingual; can't remember now. Vik.

  15. Now I am thinking it is in a box where books go when they done line up nicely on the book shelves :P