I had a birthday on the 17th. It was lovely. It was lovely because I wasn’t at work and it was lovely because it was Small Son’s school Christmas recital. It was held in Durham Cathedral, which is amazing to start with. It’s a phenomenal building; even more so when you realise just how old it is. The better part of 1,000 years. What those stones could tell you if they could spill their stories.
As I moved ‘oop norf’ nearly twenty years ago, you’d think I would be bored with it now. I’ve lived close to Durham for most of that time and never fail to love the view of the Cathedral. It’s so pretty, sat up there on the hillside overlooking the peninsula.
I like it up here. You don’t have to go far to reach the ocean. There’s lovely walks and rivers and quaint little towns within a reasonable distance. It only takes about 70 minutes to cross the border into Scotland and Border country. You know what? It’s great. OK, we have Teesside, but even that can be rather pretty in its own bizarre way – usually at night. Also quite an inspiration for writing about a promethium refinery that’s fallen into enemy hands… if it could inspire Ridley Scott in ‘Blade Runner’, I’m sure I can find hope.
We have some pretty little towns close by other than Durham, too. There’s Hexham and Corbridge to name just two. And of course, not that far away are all the various Hadrian’s Wall sites. Housesteads is still my favourite, though. If you ever find yourself up in these parts, go visit Housesteads, if only for the amazing views and the Granary.
Further along the east coast are the amazing little Northumberland sea towns like Craster and Dunstanburgh. Just truly lovely. The walk from Craster to Dunstanburgh is really nice; along the sea path and the views when you get there are out of this world.
All of these places are within an hour heading north of where we are. Heading south takes you to Northallerton, home of the spiffingly splendid Lewis & Cooper. Further along you have York and that’s just a cool place too – check out the Viking and Castle museums if you’re a bit of a history buff.
Of course, it sucks that I’m so far away from the rest of my family and – well, anything very much – but it’s pretty round here. I kind of like it. I can even understand the accent enough to communicate now. Although drunk Geordie remains a mystery to me. Actually, speaking of Newcastle, that’s another view that deserves a picture. I’m a bit of a bridge nerd and the Tyne gives me this joyous image.
Yes. There’s something about me that I hadn’t previously mentioned. I love bridges. They’re so… bridgey. I can’t explain it. It’s some sort of weird inner civil-engineering thing. Even in the Cathedral the other day during Small Son’s school service, the dean’s sermon included something about a bloke crossing rivers. All I could think about was ‘build a bridge!’
It’s tragic. Truly it is. But you know. Bridges.
So the north east isn’t THAT bad, despite what certain editor-beasts might say in mocking terms. I shall leave you with another stunning scenic shot and get back to Gildar Rift (currently at just over 71k).