Saturday, July 05, 2014

Eurocruise 01/06 Beamish

The forecast indicated Sunday would be a fine day, so we planned to drive for the roughly 45 minute trip to Beamish, a historical village to the south of Newcastle in County Durham. It was just amazing, and amazingly busy. Although it receives special grants as well, its income from the gate must be enormous. Clearly though, it is an expensive place to run.

A roadway and tram line circle the 120 hectares, making it easy to get around. The mostly single track does cause some delay to the circling trams at times and loading and unloading the trams at busy stops takes some time.

But there is always the bus, more than one.

To me this is obviously an ex Black Pool tram.

The Georgian village fete.

No comment.

He was making wooden shoes. Quite interesting.

Cute, aren't they. From what I know of llamas, I rather like them. Very tasty marrow bones.

Some steam driven thingie.

Sister 1's husband danced a little jig on the separate board in front of the musicians, who were tolerant and no doubt used to such things.

A coconut shy. So simple, but still kids were lined up to play. Were tin cans around in Georgian times?

Not sure why I need a second photo of the coconut shy. Oh yes, I see now.

R, his sister and her husband all knew what this was called. I did not. It is a shuggy boat, a swing propelled by a person at each end pulling on ropes.

It is a terrific setting, with forest and open grassland.

At this stop almost every passenger left the tram and it then filled with new passengers, including us.

No, you won't get a shock if you touch the pole connected to the wires. You have to be earthed.

I think the outer end of the train line.

The colliery village, which we did not have the energy to see. That would be Sister 1's head in the photo.

The tram depot.

I have never seen a steam powered merry go round.

In the main village.

The 'go' handle on the left, the 'whoa' handle on the right.

One house was set up in a Victorian style, another as a dental surgery and another as a solicitors office.

We walked to the train station but train trips were closed for lunch.

Time for lunch. The tea rooms were hot, crowded and noisy. We should have brought a picnic.

As it is showing Westgate Road, this must be an old Newcastle tram. R's late mother remembered the trams, R remembers the electric trolley buses that replaced them, also history now too.

The Blaydon Races, as on the side of the cart, is now a very famous Geordie (Newcastle) folk song about the race meeting and quite an enjoyable listen. The "Airmstrangs" refers to the the armament manufacturer Vickers-Armstrong and the Robin Adair was an infamous hotel. I can well imagine the song being sung loudly at St James Park, home of the Newcastle United football team.

The sign says, "None but company's horses allowed to drink at this trough".

It was a great day and we did not get to see much more than half of the site. We were worried about where to have our long for waited for Sunday roast, and just outside the Beamish gates was the Shepherd and Shepherdess where we had another terrific pub meal.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Eurocruise 31/05 The countryside and going to the dogs

R's Sister 2 and her husband collected us late morning to travel about 40 minutes into the countryside to a farm near the famous castle town of Alnwick (locals pronounce it Anick).

We were visiting Sister 2's husband's twin sister and her husband. I never thought her husband would still be alive for this visit. His life exists of drinking scotch,  passing out for a few hours, and then repeat. He must have been on his best behaviour for the time before our visit as he seemed quite ok.

The twin sister is absolutely hysterical and from the moment you meet her, you are laughing your head off. Her tales of searching the net for information on sexing chickens and the 'diversions' she was sent on, had us rolling on the floor laughing. "I tell you, I never thought such things were possible". Her computer had also been attacked by a worm that shut down her virus protection and firewall and then accused her of being a paedophile, snapped her photo and wanted hush money. She showed a friend what was happening and her computer snapped a photo of her friend. She took it to the police station and showed a young officer what was happening and you guessed it, it snapped his photo. He called in a colleague to show her, and it snapped her photo too. The officer suggested she use her other computer and google a remedy, which she did and it worked. All this was told rapid fire in a quite thick accent. My jaw was aching very badly afterwards.

She made us a nice lunch and we stayed a few hours before setting off back to Newcastle. It was Saturday night and time for an evening out. Well, kind of. Sister 1's husband had acquired some tickets for greyhound racing which included a free meal and a free drink. Neither R nor myself had ever seen greyhounds racing, and I doubt we ever will again, but it was interesting enough, especially as you can get right up close to where the dogs are released and see the hare whiz past. Our modest £1 bets saw a poor return. We all ate the same meal and none of us felt too well later that evening. What happens to retired greyhounds?

Humour aside, there was an organisation there collecting for the benefit of retired dogs.

The peace and quiet of the countryside was broken by our raucous laughter as we sat in the warm sun for wine and lunch. 

The farm house is comfortable and has extensive outbuildings. They have rented their farm land to neighbours as they are no longer up to farming themselves.

We guessed he was about to get married.