We had a saunter through Ryton on Saturday afternoon after lunch in the The Runhead. We also called into the Half Moon and see that they have started doing food again, so we shall have to try there next. I took a couple of photos along the way.
The highlight of the weekend was the arrival of still more useless tat this time via the Royal Mail. Heather has bought a Christmas toilet set. I don’t mean a few bits of soap and stuff – no it’s a knitted loo cover (including a bit to go over the cistern) which has a Santa Claus theme. She’s waited ages for it to arrive from Amazon and was beginning to fret about its none appearance, but we see that it was posted in China which explains the delay. Chinese people clearly have more sense than us and must churn out this stuff knowing that their fellow countrymen are far too intelligent to be bothered with such rubbish, but that the British will buy anything. We haven’t put it on our loo yet because it is after all still only the middle of November, but believe you me Heather is chomping at the bit. The other Christmas investment she’s made was in Marks and Spencer’s on Sunday. A duvet cover depicting a litter of huskies in the snow. Here’s the photo – ever so tasteful. So far on my blog I haven’t mentioned the life-sized all singing and dancing Santa Claus Heather has acquired, but don’t worry I will in due course. It used to belong to the Gateshead Older Person’s Assembly who my friend Chris works for. They’re going to be moving to smaller premises and Chris felt that their new pad couldn’t accommodate this full size St. Nick. He pondered over the issue on Facebook and of course Heather just had to wade in to the rescue, a couple of mouse clicks and he was ours. The Santa Claus that is, not Chris unfortunately. Heather is determined, just determined, to score points over our friend Tracey who loves to push the festive boat out. I know that Tracey reads this so maybe it’s a mistake for me to be giving her all these secrets from the enemy camp. I’m just grateful for small mercies, one of them being that Heather is terrified of heights and has therefore, so far resisted scaling the front of our home and entering into Christmas light fisticuffs with the neighbours. Heaven forfend.
We were in the Metrocentre with Mum on Sunday. The Hairy Bikers had switched on the Christmas lights but sadly we just missed them. Mum was on one of her quests for clothes. I always think that at some point, surely to God there must be a stage where she looks into her overflowing wardrobe and thinks, “Right that’s it, I’ve got everything I need for now.” It’s never happened; the hunt for clothes is as eternal as a test match. She tracked down an assistant in M & S to show her where the ‘Classic’ line of fashion was located. Once the assistant had finished showing Mum the way she disappeared. “Where’s she gone, I wanted her to stay here and discuss things with me,” Mum protested. “She’s probably got more sense,” I muttered under my breath. I instantly regretted it because I suddenly realised that Mum had (for once) got her hearing aids in and she aimed me a clip about the ear. We were in ‘Classic’ for a full hour – Mum blissfully engaged in her favourite occupation of unfolding everything but never putting anything back.
On a more serious note, I love going to the theatre, and an unexpected surprise occurred yesterday afternoon when I found myself watching a professional performance during my working hours while I was getting paid. I was asked to attend what was described as a training session on raising awareness around child sexual exploitation at the Dryden Centre in Gateshead. I went along expecting the obligatory Powerpoint. Not so, I watched a half hour performance delivered by a professional theatre company Alter Ego. The play tells the story of a group of three students who discover the diary of a girl called Chelsea, and how she was groomed, manipulated, and then exploited by an adult male. It has now been seen by thousands of young people all over the UK and is about to begin a tour of nearly every school in Gateshead. It’s an innovative way of putting across to young people the dangers of the internet how easily this could happen to them. It does a good job of raising awareness while at the same time being a bloody good play. regrettably it’s based on a true story, but at least the girl concerned is now receiving protection and care.