Here are some of the good things I discovered in Northumberland (not in any particular order):
1) Black Faced Lamb (the pub we stayed in only served British meat - this was great, even if it came hand-in-hand with a distinct "countryside alliance" slant on everything. Is it me or is there a contradiction between banging on about how well your meat is looked after and what lovely conditions it lives in, free from distress etc. and a general policy of killing everything else that moves in cruel and unusual ways?)
2) The Jolly Fisherman in Craster's crab sandwiches (just over the road from the smokery... mmmm... kippers)
3) The cycle trails around Kielder Water
4) The brilliant bloke who runs the bike shop at Kielder Castle (and Cyril the Squirrel too)
5) The tranquility of the Holy Island
6) The breathtaking scenery all around the Northumberland National Park
7) Farm Shops
8) Local smoked Kippers for breakfast (actually, pretty much food generally!)
9) The frankly amazing condition of the Roman remains - Hadrian's Wall, Housesteads Fort etc.
10) Not being at work
And here are some of the other things I discovered in Northumberland (again, not in any particular order:)
1) What happened to quality, hand-pulled real ale? What's with all this gassy shite?
2) Old people driving erratically (and very slowly) on small, windy country roads
3) People loudly talking about hunting in the bar whilst wearing "Freedom for the Countryside" rugby shirts from the Countryside Alliance (although their pro-hunting literature in the bar was often hilarious - did you know that the fox has no natural predators? If we didn't chase after them with slavering packs of hounds, they would be driving cars, living in our houses and doing our jobs?)
4) People coming to breakfast uniformly dressed in Plus Fours (never do a google image search for them, by the way), shirt and tie before a day's shooting of some poor innocent creature
5) The apparent absence of a customer service culture - pubs shut until about 8pm, shops shutting up at 5pm (1pm on Saturday and closed all day on sunday), not to mention the odd bit of surly service in shops and pubs
6) Ordering a cheese sandwich and being served a processed cheese slice between two thin pieces of white bread (although to be fair, this actually tasted pretty nice with a bit of red onion)
7) Prehistoric Plumbing
8) Falling asleep during Match of the Day (in the interests of balance, I should probably tell you that I do this every week at home as well)
9) Whilst zooming through some of the photos we took, I noticed I am developing quite a grey flash. I'm not decided yet if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I'm erring on good thing at the moment, as long as all mentions are accompanied with either the word 'distinguished', or comparisons with someone like Sean Connery...
10) Having to go to work again tomorrow... boo!
A pretty decent break.
Misheard on holiday #1: "You can't poach a turd" - it was only after I had the disturbing mental image of a saucepan of boiling water with a dash of vinegar, that I realised the word was "polish"
Misheard on holiday #2: "You wouldn't skin a burnt shit" - I have no idea what this means or what the guy was trying to say. Possibly he said "chip"?? Any ideas?
Hero of the day - Carl Weathers. As if Apollo Creed wasn't enough, he gave the world this line in Predator, on the failure of attempts to reveal who was killing off our heroes:
"What are you going to try next Dutch, cheese?"
The slow walk home
3 days ago