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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Thursday, 29 May 2008


We've taken the half-term as our annual family holiday - the third up here in the North-East; I'm writing this as we reach the last full day of our week here - a week that has been spectacular in terms of the weather, and entertaining in so many ways.

We do love it in this part of the world - once again, we're on the southern border of County Durham. Rather than renting a cottage, we're in a static caravan just 50 metres from the sea - I can see it as I type this.. perhaps I should attempt to rise early enough in the morning for a last opportunity to photograph the sunrise over the North Sea.. some hopes!

So.. what have we been up to? I'd love to be able to link to some of the (many, many!) photos I've taken of the various places we've been, but I've not yet tried ShoZu (http://www.shozu.com) which seems to be the best of breed for such things to upload the best to Flickr or the like, so it'll have to be a textual description only, untill we're home and I can sit down in front of a decent sized screen (I'm typing this on the i600) to embellish the account!

On Sunday, we were invited to the Christening of Beth's third surrogate baby - a simple service where Beth was appointed Godmother, with a celebration at the parents' house afterwards. The children have had the chance to stretch their legs every day, in fact; the weather has been wonderful, although extremely breezy to start with. It wasn't until the Monday we were able to try out the beach - at the bottom of the cliffs (down nearly a hundred rickety steps!) - not the most pleasant of beaches, but when the tide was out, there appeared a stretch of sand which was perfect for paddling, sandwriting and playing with around the rockpools in the relative shelter of the cliff-face. We also took advantage of the swimming facilities on the site - there was certainly plenty to do without having to go too far!

We went a little further afield on Tuesday - to the immense MetroCentre in Gateshead (www.metrocentre-gateshead.co.uk) where we had a relaxed amble around, and were treated to a free show by 'The MetroGnomes' (http://www.bebo.com/metrognomes) called Oriental Magic.
On Wednesday, we made a return visit to Funshack - the biggest indoor play area in the NorthEast - and the most badly written signs! (fair game for the excellent 'signs that fascinate and intrigue' Facebook group!)

I ventured out on Wednesday evening for some geocache hunting. Save for a short, sharp shower, the weather was perfect for the pursuit of three hidden treasures. In the end, I found two of them - the third was among some trees (notoriously bad to get a fix, and despite revisiting the site on the way back, I didn't want to risk stumbling through the dark to attempt another search). The nature was spectacular, though - I believe I saw a family of sparrowhawks, and saw all manner of flora on my way round. Then there were the works of civil engineering genius - a tall, brick-clad viaduct in Crimdon Dene itself, and a view from the top of the nearby hill of a wind turbine (one of three that grace the nearby countryside) - all in all, an idyllic evening (and back in time to watch England beat the US in a friendly football match on the TV!)
On Thursday, after another swimming session, we thought we'd give Lenni and Chris the chance to try something they'd never done before (nor have I!) - an afternoon with the Crimdon Dene Pony World (http://www.crimdonponyworld.co.uk) - a really friendly place, where both of the children had an exciting, happy time.
And so the week has rocketed to a conclusion, and all too soon, it'll be a frenetic morning of packing, then a long drive home.. more about our holiday then, I'm sure...

Posted by james at May 29, 2008 9:45 PM

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