Sunday, 21 August 2011

Shents, Dizzie and the Rascals

Sitting on the train from London back to Suffolk, I thought about how very strange life can be at times.

When I've visited London with the kids for the day before, we've been to Covent Garden, Notting Hill Carnival, museums, galleries, famous landmarks etc. We've always come home happy and exhausted with aching calf muscles and black snot in our northern noses:-)

When I asked the 10 year old what he wanted to do on our annual trip to London this year, I reeled off a number of sights and attractions that we'd never done before.

He wrinkled his nose up at all of them and said simply - 'I just want to meet Carole.'

'So do I,' I smiled, 'Sod the Tower of London.'

We had never met Carole in 'real life.' She and I 'met' through the Cancer Research Forum last year. She is 'Dizzie,' and I am 'Shents.' We're also bloggers, and follow each others blogs - keeping up to date with each other's news and regularly leaving comments.

Over a short time, she has become a very special friend.

The 10 year old would often peer over my shoulder whilst I tapped on the keyboard and ask - 'How's Carole?' He read her comments and read some of her posts. 'She's nice Carole, isn't she.' he'd say.

So, with a trip to the capital planned, he was particularly curious to meet the lady from London who writes so beautifully and who has a 'cyber' friendship with his mum. The idea of being able to 'touch' this person and 'hear' this person speak was exciting. Like a character from one of his books coming to life. He was also keen to meet her son, who he'd also read about in her posts.

As for me, well I just desperately wanted to meet, in person, one of the online friends whose hands I grasped hold of last year...

We had a lovely day. Carole and her son met us at the station and we spent some time in the sunshine in the Princess Diana Memorial Park. Carole and I yacked, and the 3 rascals played hide and seek and explored the park.

We walked on to find some lunch but struggled to find anywhere to eat! Clearly all the poshies in Knightsbridge just eat MacDonalds, so we had no alternative but to duck in there with half the Spanish student population and tuck in to burger and chips. It was so busy in there that one of the Spaniards tried to sit on Carole's knee. A mad half hour!

With the rain coming down in stair rods, we jumped into a taxi and booled into the National Art Gallery for shelter. As it eased, we had another mad half hour in Trafalgar Square...

 ...before stopping for a coffee and a MASSIVE doughnut in a nice little caf.

After what seemed like 5 minutes since we met up, it was time to go back to the station to catch our train home.

The rascals had enjoyed their day together, and Shents and Dizzie could probably have quite happily continued talking into the small hours of the next day, and the day after that...

...but we had to catch the train, and we arrived at Liverpool St Station with only minutes to spare - no time for long goodbyes. A quick hug, a promise to meet up again soon (this time with Tony, another online friend) and a final wave before boarding the train home....

...and that's when I thought 'how strange life is.'

It brought tears to my eyes.

Friendships. They can arrive from places you would never imagine. They can arrive from places you would rather forget...but however they arrive, some friendships you grab with both hands and you don't let go.

This particular friendship applies to all 3 of the above.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Cricket - The Movie.

It's done nowt but rain here for the last couple of days, so after several cancelled matches, the 10 year old hoyed his cricket bag in the cupboard under the stairs and decided to try and make a short cricket movie instead.

A couple of days ago (when the sun was shining)  he went to our local cricket pitch with his dad and his pal for some batting practice. They decided to film their session for a bit of 'analysis' afterwards, so he's used the footage from that, added a bit of Paulo Nutini, and with a tiny bit of mums help, here it is...

Thursday, 4 August 2011


Near where I work, there's been a bit of opencast mining going on.

Thankfully nowadays, once the coal has been howked out, the mining companies are obliged to put the land back together again, so that you'd think that they'd never been there.

In this case, the mining company and the landowners have used a bit of imagination.

They've enlisted the help of a landscape artist, Charles Jencks, whose brief was 'to mark the transition between the conurbation of Cramlington and the countryside of Northumberland with a new landscape which could be enjoyed by the local community.'

And so, with the help of the artist and the HUGE machinery that helped to mine the coal, work has begun...

to construct....



The last image is a computer generated artist's impression.

Isn't she FABULOUS!

The local community will have a brand new country park lady.
She's called Northumberlandia.
They'll be able to hike up onto her hip, walk around her head and admire the view of the Cheviots from her boobs. I think its great!

People will be able to see it from the A1, from the East Coast Mainline trains, and of course - get a stunning view of her on a plane into or out of Newcastle airport!

I wonder if Mr. Jencks got his idea from a visit to Tynemouth Beach last week - 

Or from Scotland in 2007

Or Scotland 2008...

Wherever he got his inspiration from, well done! I love it!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Simonburn Fair

There is nothing quite like a traditional English summer fair.

The 7 year old and I visited Simonburn this weekend - a titchy village 10 miles away from us. Its beautiful, and its fair always seems to bring out the sunshine...and lots of people - especially old biddies that like to elbow you in the ribs in the queue for tombola tickets and home made cakes!

This year, they had the Sunshine Panners Steel Drum Band from Haydon Bridge there. They are absolutely brilliant. A group of young people who make the most wonderful sound with their steel drums. Close your eyes and you could be in the West Indies (Even tho I've never been!). They really are great.

When the steel panners weren't playing, we had the Scottish Country Dancing group showing off their reels and cowping their creels!

The 7 year old fell in love with them all instantly, and was delighted when they gave her the chance to join in.

Here she is with the nice lady (her namesake) who allowed her to join in

Galloping gal
Pony ride - I had to stay well clear as I'm HUGELY allergic to horses!
Thankfully not a galloping gal this time!
Decorated gingerbread man - he didn't last long.
What a great afternoon we had. Thank you Simonburn! The simple things in life that are right on your doorstep, are often the best!