Thursday 28th May (Day 77 of 236)
After moaning continuously about the weather over the last couple of weeks, the Bank Holiday weekend arrived, along with the hoards of ‘campers’, and so did the sunshine and much warmer temperatures. Of course we were working, but at least we could look forward to our midweek time off, a day and a half to get out and explore a little bit more.
Wednesday lunchtime just couldn’t come around quick enough but when it did we wasted no time in getting out of our ‘Elf and Elfette’ uniforms. We had no plans to go exploring as we had other things to do, first I had an appointment at the doctors. Several weeks ago I had banged my elbow on a hand rail whilst cleaning the showers, it hurt like crazy at the time but I had expected it to wear off, it didn’t and instead it got worse, not only was I in a lot of pain from the elbow joint but it had extended to both my upper and lower arm and three of my fingers. Anyway, my Appointment was for twenty-past two and of course, as is my way, I was there ready and waiting to be seen by ten-past two. I waited and I waited, twenty-past the hour came and went, as did twenty-to the hour and finally at three o’clock I was called in to see the Doctor. I was in and out in less than two minutes, the diagnosis……… well actually I can’t repeat it, let alone spell it, but in lay man’s terms she called it ‘Golfers Elbow’ !! Apparently, ‘Tennis Elbow’ is the joint to the top and ‘Golfers’ is the lower joint, you learn something new everyday ! Now, some may call me cynical, and I will be the first to admit that I am no medical expert, however, I feel on this occasion to be justified in requesting a second opinion because I know that I have never in my life ever played Golf !! I left with a prescription and went to the Chemist next to the surgery to have it filled. I must have a ‘tattoo‘ on my forehead that says ‘Please mug me in broad daylight‘ for it was only after forking out over £8 that I realised I had been given an ‘anti-inflammatory and pain relief gel‘ to be rubbed into the elbow joint three times a day, the same sort of gel, but different brand, that we had in our medical cupboard in ‘Big Momma’, which cost half the price from ‘Boots’ !! Why does the NHS require more funding when it is quite evident that it is robbing its patients blind !! Now, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, once I got back outside it was now bloody raining, well yes, it was rain but only spits and spots so back to ‘Wuxly’ where Shazza was waiting dutifully and we made our way into town. I needed a haircut and Shazza needed some bits and pieces, so we went our separate ways.
In the short distance it took for me to walk from the car to the barber shop the spits and spots had turned into an avalanche of water, my light tan coloured shoes were now dark brown, my blue jeans were darker patchy blue, my red rain jacket was Crimson and there was a waterfall flowing from my hair, down my face and running off my nose, in short I was piss wet through !! To top it all, the bloody barbers shop was closed, a note in the window stating that he had gone on holiday !! How could he go on holiday when he knew I would be coming for a haircut, I remember telling him as I left the last time that I would be back in four weeks, so he has no excuses. I was not a happy hector and called Shazza on her mobile to find out her whereabouts. By the time we got back to ‘Wuxly’ we were both soaked to the skin, our half day off had not gone well, first I was told I had a sporting injury from a sport I had never played, then I got mugged again in broad daylight, then my barber goes on holiday when he knew I was coming and then if that wasn’t enough we both got pissed on, it was not a good day, we returned to ‘Big Momma’, changed into dry clothes, turned up the heating, made a hot mug of coffee and sat listening to the rain pounding on the roof for the rest of the evening and night !!
Days off can be great though, especially at the start of such days, the bit where we are not awoken to that incessant ‘bleep, bleep, bleep‘ of the alarm clock but awake naturally, make the coffee and return to the warmth of the duvet to enjoy them at our leisure. We opened the night blind on the large ‘Heki’ skylight above our heads and ‘What a difference a day makes‘, the clouds were racing across at a great rate of knots, that told us that it was more than a little breezy out there, however, the sun was shining and the sky was blue and a check on the ‘Works of Fiction’ on Shazza’s iPad reflected that for the most part it would be a dry day with only a small risk of a light rain shower. So, where would today’s ‘Shazza Expedition or Mystery Tour‘ take us I wondered. Of course I always get to voice a suggestion, not that she actually listens or takes any notice, but at least she can say, once ‘she‘ has decided what ‘we‘ are doing, that I was actually consulted and therefore it was a ‘joint’ decision !! As is normal on such expeditions, sustenance is paramount, so Shazza readied the provisions whilst I readied the liquid refreshment.
Today would not be a ‘Mystery Tour‘, Shazza told me that she knew exactly which direction and route we would be taking, however, I still kept the road map close to hand just in case ! I was looking forward to the day out for we would start by zooming down the ‘A1‘ towards ‘Alnwick‘ then turn off in the direction of ‘Alnmouth‘ then wend our way back up towards Berwick along the ‘Coastal Route‘ stopping at places that caught our interest. We entered the small harbour town of Alnmouth, not sure whether town is an accurate description, perhaps it was just a village after all, with its relatively short and fairly narrow single Main Street. It would have been wider had it not been for all the cars parked up on both sides of the street, this place was definitely a ‘tourist magnet’ and it became quite apparent why, as we headed across the road that dissected the golf course, to the beachfront car park, where we quite willingly parted with £1.50 for the privilege of parking for the day, even though we had no intentions of remaining there for the duration.
We sat and ate our picnic lunch, watching the rain clouds as they moved farther out to sea, thank goodness, then we donned our rain jackets, to protect against the strong wind rather than anything else, and proceeded towards the town (or village). There wasn’t much to maintain our interest along the Main Street so we walked down to the mouth of the Estuary.
It was a pleasant walk, long enough to walk off some of the calories from our picnic lunch but not of the distance where we felt buggered and in need of an afternoon siesta. We walked back to the beach front car park, which had now got very busy with small Campervans parked up amongst the many cars on both sides of the road. As we crossed the road dissecting the Golf Course a participant of such sport crossed in front of us, however, the golf bag on wheels he was pulling did a wild dash to the right and he spilled his balls across the road, nasty, very nasty indeed. I would have offered to assist but right at that very moment I felt a twinge in my elbow joint, so as we passed I opened my window and shouted to him, pointing at said part of my anatomy, “Golfers Elbow“, he gestured back with what I can only describe as “Golfers Fingers” !! And I thought this was a sport played by ‘Gentlemen’ !!
I wasn’t quite sure where Shazza would decide to take us next but I didn’t really care, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and I was enjoying just being able to gaze out of the window at the Countryside and just daydream as we drove along the narrow country lanes.
Our next stop was at the tiny harbour side village of ‘Craster’, famous I think for its Smoked Kippers. You cannot park in the village unless you live there so we were directed to a public car park just outside on the periphery. Fortunately, as we were entering, an exiting vehicle stopped and the driver wound his window down and presented us with a pre-paid parking ticket, now perhaps we should have again paid the small amount for the parking but you should never look a gift horse in the mouth and let’s face it, we have been mugged quite enough up here on the North East Coast already, so we didn’t feel guilty about taking it and thanked him profusely. There was a nice little footpath that led into the village, in fact it brought you out into the Central Retail Area of the village, comprising one Art Gallery, one Public House, aptly named ‘The Jolly Fisherman’, a Fish Restaurant and a ‘Smokery’ which had its own shop. We took a look inside but on this occasion there was little on sale to tempt us although we did see racks on racks of fish waiting to go to be smoked. We strolled down to the small harbour with its little fishing cottages, we could imagine in its day this being a thriving community, everyone dashing down to the small harbour to help unload the fresh catch. Alas today there was only evidence of tourists with their walking poles and backpacks, stopping briefly as they walked along the Coastal Path on their way to, or from, the ruins of ‘Dunstanburgh Castle’. The small fishing cottages now adorned with signage advising that they were ‘Holiday Lets’.
We walked a short way along the Coastal Path until we came to the sign that indicated the ‘Admission Cost’ to view the ruins, but we agreed unanimously that today it would not be us that would become victims of another daylight mugging and so we walked back to the car park to continue our explorations.
there wasn’t any really hard decisions to make on our route, we were simply just following the ‘Coastal Route’ road signs and our next port of call was ‘Beadnell‘. Now I had already heard of this place from the oppositions list of Campsites (The Camping & Caravanning Club) in the days that we were members, and it looked a place that would be worth a visit.
Our initial exploration of this little place was favourable, it was right by the sea and our timing was just right to see two fishing boats chugging by. The strong wind made for another brisk walk but it was worth it, we arrived at ‘Beadnell Bay’, a nice crescent-shaped sandy beach, a small, very small working harbour and the remnants of an old Limekiln.
We spent a bit of time just enjoying the bay, the harbour and the views and looked back towards Dunstanburgh Castle. We walked back along the craggy rocky shoreline, it was lovely to hear the sea as the wind whipped the waves onto the rocks, the water was so crystal clear and we could have stood and drunk it in the views and enjoyed the serenity of it all afternoon, but it was time to move on, the afternoon was passing quickly and we could feel the temperatures beginning to drop, it was nearly time to head homewards.
It was nice to be able to get out of the Campsite and explore the local area, we identified some places that we would return to, when the weather gets a lot warmer. But for now, that was nearly our time off over so we will have to see what the weather has in store for us on our next time off.
We had some surprise visitors on Saturday, members of a certain Motorhome Forum will know them better by their user name ‘Belgian Beauty‘, which actually refers to their Motorhome. Peter and Chris are from Belgium, near Antwerp’, and had arrived that morning on the ferry into Newcastle, they were heading for Scotland but called in to say hello as they were regular readers of my blog. They were really lovely people and we really appreciated them taking the time to stop by. Unfortunately, we were back at work, so although we had a brief chat we couldn’t spend any ‘social’ time with them, perhaps we will get to meet them ‘on the road’ at some point and enjoy a lot more time to chat and enjoy a glass of grape juice or three……….. !!