The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

A day trip to Pink Pantherland

Friday 10.06.11

This was the day that we had arranged to meet Annie for lunch in Durham, I was also going to pop in and visit an old mate of mine, we grew up in the same street, where in the scouts, youth clubs, Church Alter Servers and sang (not very well) at folk clubs together. I got to what I thought was his house rang, no answer, so put a card through the letter box saying I will return later. (We shall leave this little story until later).

We then headed across the A1 and directly into Durham, parking at the nice new Milburngate shopping centre that overlooks the river. It had just started to rain, oh well never mind. We had a look around the old city centre, went to the covered market, found the proximity of the Fat Buddha and strolled up towards the Cathedral to fill in a little time until lunch.

The view from the new Milburn shopping centre
The Hospital on the Cathedral square

Being attacked by a  622squadron Gull

We then went back to the Fat Buddha, to meet up with Annie. The restaurant is vary imposing and spacious when once through the doors (it doesn’t look a lot from outside). Annie was waiting at the reception for us, so after the introductions we where shown up (it is on two levels) to our seats. The décor is very pleasing to the eyes and not at all your normal plastic dragon, red velvet kitch.

Linda ordered mineral water, Annie tap water and I, a pot of green tea.

Starters for Linda
crispy wan tans

Starters for Dick

deep fried chicken with spring onions

Mains for Annie

A Prawn dish and rice

Main for Linda

I shall have to ask het but it seems to have prawns and meat in it!

Main for Dick

Phad Thai noodles with beef

The meal was very tasty, sufficient and the service very friendly and prompt. The toilets are well worth a visit, you walk down a hanging chain lined green glowing glass floor towards a mirror door that makes it look as if it goes on for ever. The toilets are very clean and fresh smelling and everything works. This is not always the case.

We finished our meals and by mutual consent decided to go to the Cathedral, it is many, many years since I last visited these hallowed walls.

no chance of you getting sanctuary my dear

I had forgotten how beautiful it is.

I know you are not supposed to take photographs in it, but I did, I did have a verger chasing after me but it was not until I had finished taking the Venerable Bedes tomb that he breathlessly informed me that it was not allowed but I didn’t have to delete them.

the magnificent rose window

and some of the  other stained glass

The cloisters

The girls had gone on there way and by the time I came out they where sitting chatting. We then went to the castle and took a couple of shots of the entrance gate, gate house and keep buildings.
Annie and Linda

Annie and Dick

Nobody and the gate

The great Norman keep

Linda and I then decided on a walk along the river to the wear (to take a few shots of the most famous photographed spot in Durham. It was nice and the students even took the eights out onto the water, just for us?

A stork fishing on the wear

One of the most famous shots of Durham cathedral

We then walked up into the town had a cup of coffee and then headed back to my mates house, pulled up in front of the house, rang the door bell, waited and heard a movement. I thought, in luck! A face appeared and it certainly was not my mate. I apologised and asked had he moved, he said that he had lived there about 8 years and no one of my mates name had lived their in all that time, I said sorry and went back to my car looked in my address book and low and behold I was 2 houses out. So we went along the road rang on the door bell and there was a face that was familiar, Janet my mates wife. So when I told then what had happened they said well that’s funny because his wife is the Doctors receptionist that deals with Colin. Poor bloke must have had an off day as well!

But we had a very nice reminisce and a chat about old times.

A relaxing day and my old school revisited

Thursday 09.06.11

I decided to do a bit of catching up with my e-mail etc, so asked my sister where the library was now situated, she said “in a new building next to your old school”, now that was easy, I knew my way to school blind folded or so I thought, the rural planners have much to answer for, the route that I used to take is now criss-crossed by roads and bypasses, new housing estates. I eventually arrived at the new resource centre, it has everything, Clinic, Chemists, library, part of the old school has been turned into adult education, with various activities taking part, I like the idea of my old school being put to good use.

I had dropped Linda off at the railway station so that she could do a bit of girly shopping in the Toon. So that was her being kept happy for a few hours.

The front of the old school with the library on the left. The first part was the art room, then Mr Gooney's, French and English, then ground floor the Head Master, upstairs the library,next Mr Graham Geography and then another English, at the corner was the metal work craft room

I went into the library and enquired about using the on-line facilities, a nice helpful lady (all Geordie ladies are nice, but this one particularly so), told me that I would need to join, first question “where do you live”, answer “Germany”, thoughtful look and “weel wae arr ye stayin hinney”, at my sisters in Backworth, weel tha’tll dee. Thank God for people that can get around red tape. We had a little chat about old Shire, though she was a good few years younger she knew a lot of the old village prior to the planning vandals getting their hands on it. I set about doing my business and found I was running out of my free 30 mins, went back to MY new friend and for the princely sum of £1 I got another 30 mins.

It was just closing for lunch, but I thought I would take a look at the exterior of my old learning place. I went to the place of my very last dastardly deed, the playing field, still much as I remembered. I stopped and reflected on that last day of term back in 1965, the senior forms played cricket against the teachers, I wasn’t a bad seam (called fast in those days) bowler, but to my horror I had been picked to be Mr. Gooney’s runner. Mr Gooney was our form teacher, French and English; he hadn’t been to the war as most of our other masters had been as he had paralysis in both legs and had supporting callipers. I think the fact that he couldn’t talk his exploits in WWII like the other masters gave him a vindictive streak; he could throw his walking sticks and get you square between the shoulder blades at 30 paces, with a “SMITH do not run in the quadrangle”. I do believe that the dislike was mutual.
The quadrangle not a patch on its original glory. First class right was RI, then came the music room, right in front that was the door to Mr Gooney

On this final day being picked to be a runner was the worst possible shame that could be heaped on my shoulders, in front of all of my team mates having to run for the enemy!!!.

The scene of retribution
 He took up his stance and fatty Thornton bowled a ball that my dead aunt Sally could have sent to the moon, he hit it and it went to midfield and he shouted “run Smith run”, I ran, but only as far as mid-wicket, I then turned, grinned and said “your out” and walked off the field to the rapturous applause of all of the crowd, I do believe I saw Taffie Morgan the technical drawing master give me a wink or was it just that a bit of grass had become lodged in his eye as he turned with tears streaming down his cheeks and doubled up coughing and spluttering.

The  room to the left with the chimney on was the metal work crafts room, that and the technical drawing room top floor was Taffy Morgans domain, Welsh and a fine man. Below right was the woodwork craft room Mr Fishy Slamon. the small window below the gable was the photographic lab. Then came the great hall (assemblies, theatricals, films, lunches and all to witness public beatings)

I took a couple of photos until I reached what would have been the girls entrance (it was a completely segregated school), The girls school has been demolished and turned into a car park, but what had been the school kitchens was now various offices and enquiries. I went to enquiries and enquired of another very nice lady (see what did I tell you) if it would be possible to have a look around explaining that this had been the start of my serious learning 50 odd years ago. She explained that she was new to the village (town now) and had only been here for 5 years. We walked around the quadrangle (now blocked in and the grassed square in the middle has had offices built on it (Mr Gooney will turn in his grave, we couldn’t even walk across it never mind build on it). But I went around the class rooms, calling out what they where and trying to remember the class teachers names.
It was such a nice trip down memory lane!!!

Newcastle civic centre and the Hay Market

The Holy of Holies St James's Park

I then went into Newcastle to pick up Linda, we had arranged that she would text me at about 14:00, I kept looking at my mobile but no SMS, I then tried to send her one, alas no go, came up with unable to send! I had a look around for about an hour, but Northumberland street and Eldon centre are always full, but I did have a Savaloy, Pease pudding and stuffing stottie. After about an hour I decided to go back to my Sis’s. I got back and she was not home, we waited and at last a taxi pulled up and Linda was poured out with all of her goods and chattels. After a bit of a discussion (they never believe you do they?) I pulled out my mobile and showed her it just wasn’t working. She also said she had a bit of difficulty trying to make the natives understand her, I reckon it's her Belfast Accent

But I had had quite a nice day

Family archives and a coastal tour

Wednesday 08.06.11

This was the morning that I had set aside to do some family research, so we where up at Woodhorn archive research centre at 10:00 opening, I sent Linda off to have a look around the QEII park, while I tried to unravel a bit more of the family history. (It is such good fun and we haven’t found any skeletons yet). We had arranged that I would quit at 12:30 and then we would head off for a bit of lunch and a trip along the coast.

A couple of typical North East Cobles, said to be built in the style of the viking long boats, alas very few are now being used to go out fishing these days

The weather was once again a little inclement (truth to tell it was a lot inclement). But never mind, the car is pretty water tight. We hit the coast at Cresswell, this is a nice little holiday spot at the start of Druridge bay, as children our parents took us here for our Summer Holidays, it was fantastic, No electrics, just gas lamps, a chemical toilet and the farm shop, but boy did we have a great time there, I still have happy memories and some black and white photos. Duridge bay is is a curving expance od dunes and unspoiled beach, it is now under the control of The National Trust and is a really beautiful unspoiled piece of coast line (but then most of the Northumberland coast is.

We next went to Warkworth with its mighty castle passing Alnmouth and RAF Boulmer before hitting Craster the true home of the Kipper, the smoke house was in full swing and the Fisherman was being Jolly (name of the pub). Here again sadly time has caught up and very few kippers are smoked from herring caught in Crasters own cobles, the herring now come from the Baltic or Holland.

The little fishing village of Craster

The original, do not take any copies

And still smoking after all of these years

Because of the low tide this crab boat had to discharge at the harbour entrance

 On the way back to the car park in the old quarry (rocks used to build the harbour) there are a couple of holiday chalets, one one some kind person had a bird feeder, the chirping and whistling was immence. I couldn't resist taking a few pics

We then headed along the coast road leaving Dunstanburgh Castle perched high on the cliffs in the same state that the maurauding danes left it when last they visited it.

We stopped at Seahouses for lunch (fish and chips at the Neptune), I was thinking of getting a boat out to the Farnes to take some photographs but a hailstones and driving winds soon put a stop to that silly idea (another time, as June is the main breeding season for the Puffins, Gillimots and Artic Terns).  But a few Black Headed Gulls did stand in a row for us.


The inner Farne one time hermatige  of St Cuthbert, the Eider ducks are called Cuddy Ducks after him

We passed Bamburgh with its much added to castle ( various owners have mucked about with it).

We stopped the car at Budle bay, this is a salt marsh and stopping of and breading place for all manner of wadders, geese, ducks etc. As a boy we would come wild fowling here in Novemeber, it was always bracing, well actually it was always freezing, we would camp out at Warren Mill and in the early morning and evening shoot duck and geese. 
Budle Bay salt marshes

Next we went across the causeway to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, this also has fond memories of my youth  as on the salt marshes at low tide we would pick winkles, welks, mussels, clams and razors, that was in between shooting. Rabbits also abound in this area and always make a pleasant change of diet.
The causway to Lindisfarne is only passable at low tide many have been caught out as the tide comes in both ways.

And so to the highlight of the day, I love coming here, but when there are few tourists (I suppose I am a one these days) Lindisfarne, the one time home of St's Cuthbert and Aiden, as well as the Vernerable Bead. It was the first seat of Christianity in England being settled by Monks from Iona in Scotland. A tranquile place of great beauty. 

The base of an Anglo-saxon column that had been found

The Church

The Castle


A couple of pretty cottages on the Island, the houses are all well kept and the owners pride themselves on the flower displays

A swallow having just fed her noisy young , popping out to do a bit more hunting
From here it was another dash down to Sis as she would have our tea ready and we didn't wish to miss that did we? We also didn't dare!!!