Spring bank holiday Ian & I took an extra day and spent 4 days around the Northumberland coast. We took a scenic route up through the Yorkshire dales, stopping off at the Wensleyday creamery (made famous by Wallace & Gromit) to watch the cheese being made and also tasting a few samples!! After such a long drive it felt good to get out and walk along the beach near the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle before finally reaching our destination of the seaside village of Seahouses. The weather stayed mostly fine on Saturday for our boat trip out to Staple & Inner Farne Islands where thousands of sea birds including Puffins, kittiwakes, Shags and terns go to breed (saw them on Spring watch with Bill Oddie a few years ago). The puffins were adorable creatures which you could get quite close to as they checked you out, and the Arctic Terns were hillarous dive bombing people. Sunday we visited two old estates, Cragside House in Rothbury and Wallington in Cambo. Cragside, the home of Lord Armstrong a Victorian inventor, was the first house in the world to be lit by electricity. We had a pleasent walk around to the power station and rock garden before touring the house and driving round the entire estate, we were even lucky enough to see a red squirrel! Being a little tired by the time we got to Wallington we just had a look around the house before heading back to Seahouses via Bamburgh castle for the best fish ‘n’ chips we’ve had in the UK. Monday saw us heading home along Hadrian’s wall, stopping at housestead’s one of be better preserved Roman forts along the wall for a quick walk around but it was far too cold and wet to stay for long. Our last stop was Wedgewood, Englands finest china company where I made my very own vase in Wedgewoods blue jasper clay. Home sweet home.
Met Nigel and Val at a car boot sale at Wotton-under-Edge near our work. Picked up a bargain, an oil painting spatula. I asked the guy how much and he said 20p, then I heard his partner say in the background, how much did you say – 50p? I felt that 20p wasn’t enough so I paid the 50p 🙂 Could have spent more, but thought at the end of the day I don’t really need it.
We then went back to their house for a cup of tea before lunch at Weighbridge Inn, had a 2in1 Turkey and Trimmings that was pretty filling. The Inn had a lot of old keys hanging from the roof, hopefully we’ll go there with Sarah when she comes over.
A quick trip to Munich to visit Richard and Kiki, who are well on their way to becoming parents with only a month to go. It was great to relax and enjoy such good company. We visited the town of Augsburg, visited the Fuggerei where the rent for the homes was and is still one Rheinischer Gulden per year (equivalent to 0.88 Euros), as well as three daily prayers for the current owners of the Fuggerei. Best of all we had a tour through the Audi factory in Ingolstadt where they make the A3, A4 and TT. It was by far the most impressive production facility I have ever seen, the tour took us right through the production area so close to the robots building the shells and along the more manual building of the interior. I now have a new appreciation of Audi’s. Too soon it was time to come home and back to work.