After a number of failed attempts to organise a suitable time to go up and see him, I finally made it up to Newcastle to catch up with Lee for the weekend. It was a visit I’d owed him since he came out and saw me while on the walk last year and I must admit, it’d been somewhat frustrating that it’d taken so long to sort out.
Friday morning I was on a train bright and early in to London to get my connection up to Newcastle from Kings Cross. As it was such a lovely morning I decided to avoid the chaos on the tubes and walked from Paddington to Kings Cross, a walk I always forget how long it actually is! Still, I made it to Kings Cross in time for my train, even getting my allotted seat, and I settled myself in for the long journey oop north.
Everything was going to plan until there was a problem with a level crossing outside of Doncaster. While we were waiting for that to be resolved the train decided to throw a wobbler, losing pretty much all of its power. The driver tried to sort it out but eventually had to call in someone else to have a look at it. This wasn’t looking good.
After an hour’s delay, and a slow crawl to Doncaster station the train was finally cancelled and everyone on the train was left wondering what the hell we had to do to get to where we were going. Fortunately, East Coast got the next train to Edinburgh to stop at Doncaster to pick us all up, which then meant no seat for the rest of the journey. I wasn’t too worried about that and being the rebel I am (not!) I stood in the vestibule in first class, waiting to be told to move somewhere else or charged the first class fee for being in that area. I’m pleased to say neither of those things happened and I spent the rest of the journey looking out the window listening to my iPod. Thankfully, no more major delays!
Lee picked me up from the station and we headed out to his place in Greenside, a little outside Newcastle itself. I dumped my stuff off and we headed out to the shop, the plan being a few beers at his place, a curry and a bit of Xbox, which is exactly what we did and damn fine it was too. I can’t remember the last time I played Tekken and I’m pleased to report that after a bit of slow start it all came back without too many problems. Good fun.
We were up reasonably early Saturday morning as Lee had offered to drive me around a bit. We’d planned on going up to Lindisfarne (the Holy Island) and then make our way back along the coastal route taking in some of the many castles along the way heading back to South Shields for dinner at an award winning fish and chip shop.
Unlike the weather reports said, the weather was a bit grey out as we headed off to Lindisfarne and by the time we got there a little light rain was falling. It wasn’t too bad so we parked up and strolled into the village, taking a look round the church while we were there.
Unfortunately, as we made our way out to the castle the heavens opened and we got drenched…typical. It didn’t last too long and by the time we were walking back it’d pretty much stopped so we headed out over the stoney beach for a look-see, as you do.
Before leaving we made our way to the visitor’s centre where we picked up some Lindisfarne mead – Lee recommended it and after having a free taster I just had to get a bottle. Lee got a bottle too with the intention of us drinking it before heading out for the evening.
All done on the island we headed along the coastal route back to shields, taking in Bamburgh castle and beach, Dunstanburgh beach with Dunstanburgh castle in the distance, finally getting to South Shields through the Tyne tunnel. As I’ve already mentioned, we went for some top fish and chips at Colmans fish and chip shop, famous for their fish and chips since 1926!
Full up from our grub we took a stroll along the pier, which by this point the wind was beginning to get pretty damn chilly so we didn’t hang around for very long and headed back to Lee’s place to get changed for the evening out on the Toon.
It was absolutely mad in town and a lot of people had made a lot of effort for Halloween. Some of the costumes were amazing – a lot of hours had no doubt been spent getting ready by quite a few people.
We made our way round a few bars, finally ending up at Trillians rock bar where they were playing some proper music by the likes of Pantera, Rob Zombie et al. Much better than the rubbish played in the typical city bar/pub. This certainly got us both in the mood for our next and final stop of the evening: Legends rock club.
It was already pretty busy by the time we got in and it only got busier and busier. It’d been a long time since I last went to a rock club and I certainly made the most of it. I don’t think I left the dance floor for a good five or six hours and it really did remind me of the good old days at the Rock City in Nottingham…it was a blast!
Much like the old days in Nottingham it seemed that because Lee and I were having so much fun, people seemed to gravitate round us, joining in with our good time. Nice to know we’ve not lost it completely in our older years and can still rock out like the mental metal monsters we are! That being said, I knew I was going to suffer in the morning, head-banging as much as I did throughout the evening. Oh well…in for a penny and all that. It would have been a waste not to have made the most of the time having travelled so far for the weekend.
By the time the club had kicked out and we’d got a cab back to Lee’s I think it was well on the way to 5am, something I’ve not done in more years than I care to count. What a bloody brilliant night out – thanks Lee!
Sunday morning was pretty much a wipeout. I don’t think I got out of bed until gone 11am and I indeed did ache all over from the madness the night before.
Finally out of my pit we headed off to a pub for a massive roast dinner before heading in to town. Lee drove round the town giving me a quick tour of the town centre in daylight and before I knew it it was time to get my train home. Fortunately it went direct from Newcastle to Reading meaning that once I’d settled in my seat I didn’t have to move until it was time to get off at Reading…bliss.
I’m pleased to say that I didn’t suffer any delays or technical problems on that leg of the journey and I met Shelli at Reading station – she’d been out in Reading for the day – and we headed home.
All in all it was a cracking weekend away and many thanks to Lee for putting me up and showing/driving me round. It was an absolute riot and certainly made me think about getting the old Death Squad gang back together for a [sort of] 20th anniversary. I might just have to get the ball rolling on that one for some time next year!
I’ve posted the photos I took while we were out touring around on Saturday so go and check them out if you want.