I’ve got something to tell you and it’s very serious. So serious in fact that it’s been gnawing away at me all weekend, preying on my mind, and completely ruining my days off. It concerns MK Stobbs Dental Practice on Dean Terrace in Ryton. Excellent dentists, but have you seen the new colour scheme they’ve got? It’s grey. Very grey. All of it in fact – is grey. Not even fifty shades of; Just one long dismal sea of. Might they be celebrating the release of a certain film I wondered? Or, more plausibly, perhaps what I was looking at was just the undercoat. It was the first thing I brought up when I entered the surgery. Unsurprisingly, others have mentioned it before me. Chris, who was treating me, said that no, it wasn’t just the undercoat, and was keen to make it abundantly clear that someone other than he was responsible. He refused to divulge precisely whom, probably fearing for that person’s safety if the information ever finds its way into the public domain. I have to go back next month at which point I’ll be paying my final bill. I fervently hope they spend my cash settlement wisely – in B & Q.
You will see from my previous blog that I spent an enjoyable evening last Tuesday at the Charles Thorp Academy listening to the music of Queen. When I was a pupil there, the involvement and appreciation of modern music during school hours only stretched as far as huddling over a beat up transistor radio during break times, listening to the latest chart figures. I think they were announced on a Tuesday lunch time, and they were as important to me then, as the football league tables are to me now. I discovered later on, when I was working in JG Windows, Newcastle, that the charts bore little resemblance to the actual sales. Someone from the BBC, or wherever it was, used to ring up on a Monday morning, and the manageress would waft her eye over the shelves and supply some calculations based on whichever docket looked the emptiest. Anyway, driving home last Tuesday, it occurred to me that the ‘modern’ music I’d just heard wasn’t actually modern at all. “Bohemian Rhapsody” was a hit forty years ago in 1975, and my parents regarded it with the same distaste as I view the popular music of today. I wonder what the performers at Thorp really think of Queen’s music? I’m curious to find out, because in my time, had we produced a show from the hits of 1935 the score would have included numbers by Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Shirley Temple. I know what we would have thought if we’d been asked to sing any of these. Is that the case for current students when it comes to the Queen era I wonder? Freddie Mercury died years before any of them were born. It was a great show, I hope you went to see it.
We had to be awake early on Saturday morning, early for a day off at least. Entry for the Blaydon Race opened at 9am and Heather had been up sitting in bed, finger poised over the Ipad, since six. It was the second time she’d tried to get into the 2015 race. The entire website had crashed during her first attempt and the organisers had to close the whole thing down. There was a hoo hah because several angry people had discovered that the entrance fee had been deducted from their bank accounts several times over. The Chronicle reported that the issue had been resolved, and the site would be up and running again on the morning of Valentine’s Day. Heather was determined to be fastest finger first. Whenever Heather orders or books anything over the internet, she finds it necessary to provide a running commentary. “I am 459th in the queue!” she announced triumphantly at one minute past nine, bouncing about on her propped up pillows. Then five minutes later; “I am 450th in the queue.” This went on for an hour and a half until we got all the way down to fifth and eventually to first. “Ooh I’ve got it; I’ve got it, right yes, and press to confirm. Yes I’m doing that. This bloody stupid thing, it says it wants my password, I haven’t got a password. Oh! Now it wants me to register. For God’s sake, just take my bloody money will you.” At last she managed to get her entry submitted and accepted. The Blaydon Race is held every year, and as per the song by Geordie Ridley it’s always on the 9th of June, whatever day of the week that falls upon. Did you know by the way, that Geordie Ridley is the great-uncle of Eric Burdon of the Animals?
Mum was taken care of this weekend because my brother was here, so Heather and I made the most of it. We considered going to Druridge Bay for a walk on Saturday, but the weather looked ominous so we stayed inland and went to Hexham. Of course I go to Hexham most weeks with Mum, but only as far as M & S. I suggested to Heather that we still park up there, but rather than shopping we should walk right the way along Tyne Green until we got to the A69, have a picnic, walk back, coffee in Nero’s and then home. Both of us used to do this walk with our parents when we were little, but we don’t bother to go back there very much. When we’d finished we called into M & S because I’d spotted their sign advertising a Valentine meal for two for £20. We wouldn’t normally bother, but rump steak was part of the deal. The offer included a bottle of wine, or an alcohol free alternative. They’d run out of the alcohol free alternative, so I asked if I could just take a bottle of lemonade instead. No, it had to be they proper bottle of wine or nothing. Marks and Spencer later said; “Hi Tammy, unfortunately if the items included in the deal have sold out, they can’t be substituted for a different product.” Yes but why can’t it? The wine was valued at £6, so obviously they’re not going to give me a bottle of brandy instead, but the lemonade retails at less than a quid. We put everything back and bought our supper in Waitrose.
This week’s Sunday walk was along the Derwent Walk from Rowlands Gill towards Consett. I walked, and Heather ran in preparation for the Blaydon Race. Others were out enjoying the fresh air too, including this friendly group of cyclists I came acrorss, members of the Blackhill Bounders.