Crazy Hair Lady

The bed and quilt were soft and cosy which led to a very good night’s sleep. The breakfast was delicious, although the choices arrived in a strange order. My cooked breakfast items arrived at the same time as Mr C’s porridge. The toast arrived after my breakfast meaning there was no toast for my bacon and tomato, which I intended to have on top of the toast. The toast arrived after I had finished my breakfast.

After breakfast we checked the weather forecast before deciding whether to travel north into Scotland or south towards Cragside. The weather looked more favourable in the south so in bright sunshine we set off towards Cragside. As we travelled I noticed an unusual sight of many large birds dead on the road; I think they were birds of prey rather than partridges. I found it quite upsetting.  We travelled over open moorland where the wind was strong. The high sided vehicle in front of us was swaying from side to side and veering all over the road.  We passed Cragside in order to visit the town of Rothbury first.

In Rothbury we visited a shoe shop and Regatta outdoor clothing shop and reminisced about a ladies clothes shop (no longer there) of which we have fond memories. Whilst we were in Rothbury the wind became a bit stronger but in intermittent gusts as it had been on our visit to Bamburgh the previous day. We made our way to Cragside and found that it was closed due to to Storm Ali. I was annoyed with myself for not checking to see if was open before we travelled.

Where the Wind Blows

We decided to visit nearby Chillingham Castle, arriving a little too early for the gates to be open. We drove around the corner in order to consider our options. By this stage the wind had become violent. We decided to turn towards Berwick and perhaps Paxton House or the Chain Bridge Honey Farm. As we headed back, the gates to Chillingham, were now open and we had a momentary waver before deciding to stick with our new plan. We were really uncomfortable with the way the trees were blowing in the narrow country lanes. I watched some telephone wires swinging wildly in the wind and made sure they were not power cables.

St Cuthbert

As we drove towards Berwick, the roads were littered with more birds and also tree debris. At one point near Chillingham, a branch got stuck under Mr C’s car causing us top stop to remove it. We were also turned back due to a fallen tree blocking the road. Travelling through the country lanes to the nearest main road was quite alarming; I have never experienced winds so strong that trees were whipping around violently and bending fully across the country lanes. We were relieved when we got back onto a main road but even then conditions were not pleasant and something fell from a tree and clunked on the top of Mr C’s car.

Considering the extreme weather conditions, we aborted all plans and headed into Berwick to have lunch in in a tea shop that was run by the former business owners of accommodation we have used on previous visits to Northumberland. We were rather hassled when we arrived, especially because at that moment Mr C realised he didn’t have his mobile phone and wondered if he had dropped it whilst removing the stuck branch from beneath his car. For lunch I chose an open crab sandwich; it was delicious!

Windswept Tree

Layers of Cloud

By the time we had finished lunch, the wind had whipped itself up into a complete frenzy, making it difficult to walk back to the car. We returned to the hotel, passing debris and fallen branches along the way. As we travelled we noticed an ominous brown mist/cloud. We realised that it was the top soil being blown off farmers fields.

Dust Storm

Back at the hotel we retired to our room to play one of the board games I had packed just in case… The surface of the quilt made it difficult to play the game due to the pieces sliding into each other. The weather didn’t improve and, on occasions, the floorboards in the room were moving so we dined in the hotel rather than go out as we had intended.

After dinner we had a chat with a fisherman who owns a nearby holiday property where he stays during the fishing season. He considers the Collingwood Arms his local even though his main home is many miles south of it. I know what he means; this area of Northumberland feels like home to me too, I felt it the first time I visited the area.

10 Comments CherryPie on Oct 8th 2018

Jesmond Dene House

Rain was gently falling when I woke up so there was no chance for a last linger on the roof terrace, although when the rain stopped I went outside and could almost smell the fresh air (I have no sense of smell). The service at breakfast was quicker than it had been on the previous day. Mr C decided not to ask for brown sauce on this occasion.

Barter Books

After breakfast, as we checked out, we gave feedback on the restaurant service. We then set off along the coastal road to Bamburgh Castle, detouring to Alnwick for a quick browse in Barter Books.

Bamburgh Castle

At Bamburgh Castle we took in the breathtaking views over the North Sea sea before making our way to the tea shop for lunch. I opted for a toasted sandwich but had my eye on cake for later in the afternoon. The weather was sunny so we decided to tour the rest of the grounds before the castle interior in case there was a change in the weather. As we did so the wind started whipping up; it was the tail end of Storm Ali and there were some pretty fierce gusts.

Bamburgh Castle

As we made our way from the castle grounds to the state rooms the wind took my breath away and threatened to blow me over. Inside the castle we heard loud booming noises as the wind howled down one of the chimneys. In some of the rooms I could feel the stone floors rumbling. As I looked out of the windows I could see tall tufts of grass blowing out of the lawn and over the castle roof. We went back to the tea shop for cake but the Lime & Fennel cake that I had had my eye on was sold out so I chose raspberry and coconut cake instead.

Newcastle Countryside

The weather was a mixture of sunshine and shade as we drove through beautiful Northumberland countryside on our way to Cornhill-on-Tweed. Once in the Collingwood Arms we unpacked and had a pre-dinner glass of wine in the hotel’s library before freshening up for dinner.

Dinner was enjoyable; I opted for haddock and was given the choice of batter or breadcrumbs. I opted for the latter, although when it arrived it had been served with fries rather than chips. One of the other tables was occupied by loud, opinionated fisherman who at one point, were discussing medical details that were not what I wanted to be hearing whilst I was dining.

The Collingwood Arms, Cornhill-on-Tweed

We retired to the bar area out of earshot of the loud voices. The duty manager chatted with us about many subjects including local properties and places of interest. We even touched on ghosts and potential witch markings in some of the woodwork in the hotel. Witch markings are carved into many old buildings to ward off evil spirits, you can read more about the fascinating subject here. Apparently the ghost could sometimes be heard on the stairs and, it is said occasionally moves things around.

16 Comments CherryPie on Oct 6th 2018

Enjoying Jesmond Dene House

12 Comments CherryPie on Oct 5th 2018

Self Portrait

Relaxing in the Sunshine

Autumnal Tints

8 Comments CherryPie on Oct 4th 2018

Pre Breakfast Planning

After I was dressed I took advantage of the roof terrace as the sun emerged before it was time for breakfast. It was wonderful. The breakfast wasn’t quite Fawlty Towers but the service was a little slow and the requested brown sauce arrived after Mr C had eaten his breakfast. The food, however, was excellent.

Jesmond Dene House

After breakfast we both enjoyed a short time on the roof terrace and a stroll in the hotel’s garden before taking a walk in Jesmond Dene.

Jesmond Dene

As we were about to enter the parkland a lady was leaving with her dog. The dog was pulling after her on its lead not wanting to go home. The dog came to say “Hello”, and after we walked off towards the parkland we looked back to see that the dog, in an act of defiance, was lying down in the road. The Dene was wonderful and we enjoyed our brief walk before it was time to meet up with JD for lunch and a trip to the coast.

Cullercoats

We had a quick chat with JD and a viewing of his gallery where I was presented with the gift of one of his paintings before we set off to Cullercoats. We strolled along the seafront taking in the views of the bay and looking at the architecture.

St Mary's Lighthouse

Next stop was St Mary’s Lighthouse which was a short drive away. We parked the car in the pay and display car park, paid the appropriate amount of money but were unable to display as the machine refused to print a ticket!

As we strolled down the walkway to the lighthouse, we noticed a car having difficulty reversing down a narrow roadway near to the lighthouse. The manoeuvrings caused people to stop so that they weren’t in the way.  Eventually the car was navigated back into relative safety and the owner checked all round to see if it had been damaged during those  maneuvers. It was only then that we noticed that it was a car dealer/salesman trying to do a photoshoot of the car in front of the lighthouse.

Mr C climbed up the lighthouse leaving JD and I to chat with the curator.

Whitley Bay

After all the excitement it was time for lunch so we made our way back to the car where we spotted a Royal Enfield motorcycle. To be fair I spotted the owner first due to his snazzy (eccentric) attire capturing my attention. We had lunch overlooking Whitley bay in Rendezvous Cafe where I made up for not having had a cake the previous day.

Pre Dinner Drink

After dropping JD off at his house we picked up some sherry to enjoy on the roof terrace before our evening meal and some wine for later in the evening after we had dined. However instead of the sherry we opted for a glass of wine in the sunshine.

Fine Dining

The hotel receptionist ordered a taxi to take us to the Peace & Loaf restaurant and when it arrived, we were surprised to find that it was a lovely Mercedes, a great way to travel to a special meal. The meal didn’t disappoint and I am sure we will be back again in the future. Our journey back to the hotel was in a rather more modest vehicle although the service was just as good.

12 Comments CherryPie on Oct 3rd 2018

Kirkby Lonsdale

I awoke good and early but drifted off to sleep again and the next thing I knew it was 9.20am. There was no sign of Mr C and no sign of a cup of tea so I leapt out of bed, at which point Mr C, having been distracted by something on his computer, realised what time it was!

After making a cup of tea Mr C packed his bag and we set of on our journey to Newcastle, slightly later than intended. Our intention had been to have lunch in the delightful town of Kirkby Lonsdale which we had accidentally found on a detour on a previous trip. The SatNav was predicting that we would arrive there to late for lunch so when we spotted a suitable tea shop in a garden centre near Sandbach we decided to stop there instead. I opted for an egg sandwich which was delicious.

The SatNav in Mr C’s car seems to have a mind of its own and shortly after lunch we arrived at Crewe which should have taken us about an hour from where we live but by this time we had been travelling for two hours. We hastily reprogrammed the SatNav to a different route type and continued on our way arriving in Kirkby Lonsdale in time for afternoon tea and a cake.

Unfortunately Mr C nipped into the cafe and was almost seated when I arrived through the doorway. It would have been a lovely cafe for lunch but it didn’t do cake so I settled for a cup of tea. As we left Mr C noticed next door another tea shop (with a window full of cakes) and realised that this was where he had been aiming for, having seen it as we drove past. I was reminded of our recent trip to Elan Valley when a similar thing happened. I see a theme emerging…

We ensured that the SatNav was programmed for the fastest route and continued towards Newcastle. We drove through some delightful Yorkshire countryside and were taken off our normal A66 route onto the A67. This took us past Barnard Castle and Raby Castle, both impressive, which we intend to go back and visit when we have more time. On our final approach to Newcastle the Angel of the North revealed itself as if by magic, one moment it is quite hidden from view before appearing as if out of nowhere.

Welcome

We checked into the hotel then made our way to our room where gentle music was playing and on the dressing table there was a lovely note welcoming us back and wishing us a fantastic stay. As we had arrived later than intended there was no time to chill out on the roof terrace before dinner.

Walk This Way

A Roof Top View

The restaurant was busy due to a couple of large groups and our food, although delicious, didn’t arrive exactly as ordered. The steak arrived with fries rather than chips and my fishcakes arrived without the salad that was advertised on the menu. I did query this but was told that the fishcakes only came with fries (not fries and salad). On checking the menu again later, I realised that I was right and the waitress had been wrong.

P1020530

We had a well earned nightcap in the snooker bar before retiring for the evening.

10 Comments CherryPie on Oct 2nd 2018

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true strength.

St. Francis de Sales

Inner Strength

6 Comments CherryPie on Sep 30th 2018

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