Fine wine & Newcastle Quayside

On Friday evening we went to see “Mortdecai” at the Odeon Cinema in the Metrocentre. It stars Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor and Gwyneth Paltrow. My advice to you if you’re thinking of going to see it is .. Don’t. On the plus side this waste of two hours has made me realise that I’m capable of pursuing a career as a script writer. “We need a fiendishly clever plan,” stated Johnny aka Mortdecai. I could have written that.  Yes I know the line is meant to be corny in keeping with the rest of the film, but even so.

Weekends never meant much to me because until last June I’d only ever known shift work, but for the time being at least I am office hours with weekends off, which has meant that I’ve been able to accept evening and weekend invitations without having to thumb through my diary first. Regular hours are a bit of a nuisance when you have to see the dentist, or if one of the feline contingent of our household requires a vet, but by and large I love not having to turn out for work at 9pm. It also means that I can enjoy more things locally.

One of these things will be going to see the Queen inspired “We Will Rock You” next month at the Charles Thorp Academy. I wrote to the Academy requesting a ticket for the show and enclosing an SAE and some money.  I received a lovely letter back from a G.Hodgeson along with my ticket, but he or she is fretting because apparently I’m owed a quid (I don’t want it).  I’m not sure if G.Hodgeson is a teacher or a student, but I suspect the latter because the handwriting is absolutely beautiful and a teacher would have kept the change.  Only joking!! 

We had nothing like this when I was a student at the Charles Thorp Academy. For a start it wasn’t called Charles Thorp it was called Ryton Comprehensive, I was a pupil not a student, and we didn’t engage in anything to do with modern music.  Come to think of it though, I suppose Queen’s “Sheer Heart Attack” album is 40 years old.

51T8r5nBbCL__SY355_PJautoripBadge,BottomRight,4,-40_OU11__This album has a special significance for me.  In my last blog I mentioned Aunty Marny and the appalling influence she exerted over me generally.  One of her visits coincided with me leaving to go on holiday in Yorkshire with my older brother, my sister-in-law, her parents, and my toddler niece.  We were to stay in a rented cottage in Osmotherly and before our departure Aunty Marny gave me a bottle of wine which she had brewed herself. The gift was accompanied with the words, “Don’t tell your mother.” Well clearly I was not going to tell my mother, I wasn’t going to tell anybody. I wasn’t the brightest fourteen year old, but I was smart enough to know that if I declared my treasure to authority it would be swiftly removed and ear marked for adult consumption. I carefully secreted it some socks at the bottom of my suitcase.

Our cottage in Osmotherly was a large one and I had a bedroom to myself, so every evening after clambering into bed I took the wine from its hiding place and had a couple of swigs.  No one was any the wiser.  This happy state of affairs lasted until about four nights in when I had just under half a bottle left and I thought, “Oh what the hell,” and polished it all off. About three hours later I awoke with what was to become the very first of the several billion hangovers I’ve endured.  I had an insatiable thirst, a clanging headache, and I couldn’t stop vomiting.  My brother Roger sat on the edge of my bed full of concern, but he couldn’t understand how this had come on so suddenly and why no one else was ill.  He questioned me closely, had I eaten or drunk anything different to everyone else?  “Well just this,” I told him. I rummaged under the bed and emerged with the empty wine bottle.  I didn’t mind admitting to having had it by then, because the wine had been consumed and therefore could no longer be confiscated, plus I could place the blame squarely on Aunty Marny. Roger just shook his head and because I was so ill he didn’t bother telling me off. I continued to be ill right throughout the following day when we had a trip to Whitby and I didn’t want any lunch. By this time Roger was feeling quite sorry for me, so he gave me the money he would have spent on my dinner to go off and buy myself something whilst everyone else tucked into fish and chips. I bought Queen’s “Sheer Heart Attack” LP, and it will forever remind me of that day forty years ago.

The other thing we did this weekend was to have a walk along to the Sunday Quayside Market. It’s only about the 6th time I’ve ever been, but Heatherimage used to go regularly and she tells me that the atmosphere isn’t the same as it used to be. We left the car in Scotswood on the industrial estate just behind where the Hydraulic Crane once was.  It takes 40 minutes or so to walk to the market from there, and then we had a look about the stalls, stopped for a coffee, and sauntered back again. It was a beautiful day, have a butcher’s at my photos. 


Dunston Staithes from Newcastle
Sunday morning fishing


Mother and daughter out for a stroll