License

It seems I’ve been granted a premises license.

Which feels weird since we don’t actually have a premises.

A huge step though.

Elbow & Idles

After a pretty huge delay due to Covid, Elbow happened the other night.

A second gig in two weeks, with Idles last week. Two very different bands, but two equally brilliant gigs.

Gateshead

Gateshead town centre has faced brutality since the 60s.

Much of the 60s improvements have recently been demolished, with 21st Century developments taking their place.

However, remnants of an earlier era remain. Not for long, though.

Gateshead High Street hasn’t been much of a high street for a long time, but one must question why it’s been allowed to fall into its current state of virtual dereliction.

Now, I’m aware of the long term plan for the high street, but I can’t understand why restoration gave way to demolition.

We’re now left with a town centre which is effectively a Tesco supermarket. Without doubt, this will one day go the same way as its 60/70s predecessor. It’s more brutal than the former brutalist buildings.

A few years ago, I compared the high street to a mouth made up of decayed teeth. It’s now virtually toothless.

With another extraction in progress.

It’s probably time to rename Durham Road. New Gateshead High Street.

Teesside

Went on a micropub pub crawl in Teesside yesterday.

I don’t actually remember how many micropubs we visited, in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton.

The day didn’t start too well, with some pubs poorly stocked. I’m not being critical; it’s understandable that small businesses are wary of taking risks such as stocking up with products (cask ale) with a short shelf life.

But the day ended well, with revisited pubs and new discoveries.

Some of our group did miss the last train home though.

Liverpool & Keswick

On arrival at our hotel in Liverpool, we found that the van would actually scrape into our usual long stay car park. While not actually a case of scraping, the height clearance was scarily slight.

Our luck changed when we were told by our pet friendly hotel that the establishment was no longer pet friendly. This was something of a surprise, since our reservation, which included the dog, had been accepted the previous week.

Fortunately, on walking into the Adelphi, we were told that dogs were welcome.

We celebrated with a drink in the Head of Steam, knowing that the chain allowed dogs.

There was, however, something of a loss of productivity in both this bar and the hotel, since staff took time out to play with the dog.

Talking of the dog, she felt the need to pose with landmarks.

We ate at Down the Hatch, a really good veggie/vegan cafe, which also – yes – welcomes dogs.

Followed by a good night’s sleep

(another micropub might have been involved too).

The following morning, we breakfasted (the dog had eggs), then set off for Keswick. we stopped off at Lancaster to stretch our legs and take refreshments.

We stayed at Castlerigg, on a site close to where I’d stayed with my youngest child 21 years ago.

We were soon joined by another T2, a year younger than ours.

We only spent a couple of days in Keswick; we regretted not staying longer.

The dog seemed to have a good time.

Enjoying cake at the Theatre by the Lake.

She also discovered a gem of a micropub, the Crafty Baa.

It was also good to see that a once really terrible little bar had become an excellent veggie/vegan bar/restaurant/hotel.

Although the decor hadn’t changed in two decades (the other room was busy).

And, this morning, we returned home. in a roundabout sort of way.

Over the last couple of weeks, the van covered over 800 miles without a single problem. That was something of a surprise.

Whitby, Lincoln-ish, Peterborough, Stamford, Shifnal-ish

The van has leaked a lot less than I’d expected today.

We’re currently in Shifnal, in a pretty nice pub. The dog’s making weird noises, as she often has done as of late.

I used to stay here often when in Telford for work, simply because it’s nicer. We’re here because it’s nice and it fitted in with our route.

We’re actually staying in a field, three miles away. It’s possibly the best ever field; there’s even another T2.

Anyway, Whitby was … well, you know Whitby.

And then there was Lincoln. Ish.

We’d actually forgotten where we’d booked. My beloved had a Lincoln number on her phone. She rang it and they said they thought we might be booked there. We arrived, a lovely place in the middle of nowhere, while it was gorgeous, we knew it wasn’t where we’d actually booked. On checking my email, I discovered that I’d actually booked elsewhere.

Peterborough (and Kings Cliffe) had to happen next. We stayed at Ferry Meadows. We almost didn’t. One of us had booked the wrong date, but fortunately they had a free pitch.

And then to Stamford (the birthplace of my beloved). After a week in the van, we opted for a hotel.

So Shifnal happened next. It’s literally a one street village, but a really nice one.

It’d been ages since I’d been to Ironbridge, so that was a must.

While the weather in Ironbridge wasn’t the best, we were able to shelter in a great little micropub, the Coracle.

We actually stayed at Hunger Hill, just outside Shifnal.

There was even another T2 on the site.

I’d like to say we’ll be back, because the site was great, but it’s pretty unlikely that’ll happen.

Liverpool next.

Finchale Abbey

Me and the dog had a walk around Finchale Abbey this morning in the sunshine.

I used to spend a lot of time there as a kid; it’s hardly changed.

That last picture of the entrance to a staircase has changed, though. The gate must have been added for safety reasons – I first climbed those steps with my Dad, I couldn’t have been older than five.

I last climbed it with my kids when they were very young.