Happy Birthday Pete! Pal, Mila and I, Catherine (my sister) and Isabelle (my niece) travelled up to Newcastle on Sunday 12th August till Tuesday 14th August to spend a few wonderful days with family. First stop, Mam and Pete’s (Grandma and Grandad Katz) flat in Gosforth to celebrate Pete’s birthday!
Pete was completely surprised . . . mmh, perhaps the cake fountain candle wasn’t quite such a good idea as all the smoke alarms started going off . . .
Pete admiring the cake . . . I’d like to say I made it but . . . .
Now that Isabelle is at Uni in Newcastle the two cousins don’t get to see as much of each other as they used so it’s lovely to get a photo of Mila and Isabelle together.
As we’re only visiting for a few days we wanted to catch up with as much family as possible. My brother and his family were unfortunately not around as it was also Matt’s birthday and we hadn’t given anyone much notice of our planned trip . . . but luckily my uncle and aunt’s family were around so a quick trip to Loch Haugh and we were warmly welcomed by Linda, Bill and three of their grown up children, William, Joanne and Katherine with her husband Pete and two grandchildren, Daniel and Philip.
Despite Linda and Bill only having had a couple of hours notice of our visit they managed to put on an amazing spread, as usual! A thoroughly enjoyable visit was had by all with the boys demonstrating their Taekwando skills . . . their aunt, Joanne is a black belt so a great teacher for them.
. . . Both boys are now four and about to start school . . . it seems like two minutes since they were babies.
Grandma Katz enjoying the boys playfulness.
Monday morning and an early start for Pal, Mila and I as we decided to explore Newcastle with the intention of visiting an independent coffee shop, “Flat Caps Coffee” that Isabelle had mentioned . . .
It’s described in “The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide” as award winning, with its three methods of coffee brewing and seasonal menu of beans as well as ‘carefully sourced teas from London’s Postcard.’ It also has an ‘exciting menu of food . . . ‘ Well, we only tried the soda bread toast and jam but that was delicious . . .
. . . however, we were much more adventurous with our choice of coffee, and as Mila has now started to drink coffee too, we decided to try their ‘syphon’ brewing method. Wow, it’s art and science in action . . .
There are many suggestions as to why it’s said to produce better tasting coffee such as the fact that despite the water looking like it’s boiling it is in fact a few degrees shy of boiling (boiling water is accused of killing coffee flavour); also the coffee aroma becomes trapped inside the globe mechanism which influences flavour and is said to produce a clean, crisp and vibrant tasting coffee among other things. It’s also a very sensory experience and we thoroughly enjoyed watching the whole process . . .
Now, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the experience . . .
Before we headed to Fenwicks to meet up with Catherine and Isabelle . . . after catching up with them it was time for further exploration before meeting again to return to Grandma and Grandad’s by mid-morning . . .
Newcastle Central Library has all changed since I grew up in Newcastle with a huge foyer displaying an impressive wooden map of Newcastle . . .
From here we decided to visit ‘The Biscuit Factory’ sorry no photos, but a great place to visit and it has a super cafe!
As we crossed the bridge Mila noticed some laminated notes, including this one with others, stating where to find help if needed. In a huge city like Newcastle it must feel quite overwhelming for some students when they first arrive . . . hopefully once they get used to it they’ll enjoy all the fantastic things the city has to offer and the wonderful transport system which enables you to get around really easily whether it be to spend a day at the seaside or countryside or even to fly to other destinations!
Walking back across a different bridge this time . . .
We walked past Northumbria University which is so different from Newcastle Poly as it used to be. Almost unrecognisable with all the new buildings . . .
Though some haven’t changed as much though it’s lovely that they’ve pedestrianised the area in front of it!
After another lovely afternoon spent with Grandma and Grandad it was time for Catherine and Isabelle to depart to Isabelle’s new student flat in Jesmond which she’s sharing with a lovely group of girls she shared with last year and for us to head for our Premier Inn (Cramlington) and a couple of games of Canasta!
Our last day already! As we’re early risers we headed off once more to Newcastle to do a little bit more sight-seeing before returning to Gosforth to meet up with everyone else.
Now that St James’ Park football stadium has been completely rebuilt and enlarged this is all that remains of the original stadium . . .
A quick close-up of my two lovelies, Mila and Pal . . . Aah . . .
Northumberland Street has had a summer make-over, quiet now as it’s still quite early but yesterday when we passed it was teaming with shoppers enjoying the surroundings, resting their weary legs and time for children to play . . .
The notices welcome you to “Northumberland Street Village Green.”The council are trialling a number of improvements to Northumberland Street including seating to encourage different types of activity and use and new family areas. They were fun . . .
Quick breakfast in Fenwicks lovely new cafe Mason and Rye . . .
. . . with all its lovely cakes where you can actually watch them adding the finishing touches before going our separate ways . . .
Plenty of breakfast choices including bacon rolls and this delicious basket of breads . . .
As Mila wanted to spend more time in Waterstones, Pal and I decided to explore the riverside . . . down Grey Street . . . . hopefully before the rain . . .
. . . to the Quay Side and the Tyne Bridge.
There are in fact seven bridges spanning the Tyne which together create the characteristic view of the city of Newcastle which include the: Tyne Bridge . . . the red and white Swing Bridge . . . the High Level Bridge . . . and you can just about see the blue Queen Elizabeth II Metro Bridge. Beyond but out of sight is the King Edward VII Bridge and the Redheugh Bridge; so that’s six of the bridges . . . looking in the other direction along the quay is the . . .
. . . Gateshead Millennium Bridge which is a pedestrian and cyclist tilt bridge spanning the river Tyne between Gateshead’s Quays arts quarter with the impressive Sage Gateshead building and Baltic Art Centre, just visible with the red banners down each side of the windows. The Millennium Bridge is sometimes referred to as the ‘Blinking Eye Bridge’ or the ‘Winking Eye Bridge’ due to its shape and tilting method which allows small ships and boats to pass underneath. It only less than five minutes for it to rotate the full 40 degrees from closed to open and surprisingly costs less than £4 to do so! (Information taken from: ‘The Seven Bridges of Newcastle’).
Then a quick walk back up to Monument to collect Mila just as it was starting to rain . . .
. . . before returning to Grandma and Grandad’s to say our goodbyes.
. . . and some last minute photos for the album! Where’s Mila gone? . . .
. . . ah, that’s better, there she is.
Hopefully it won’t be too long till we’re up again. Thanks for a lovely visit!
Now for the long journey back to East Anglia. But a trip to the North East wouldn’t quite be complete without a visit to Harlow Carr RHS and Bettys!
First a look around the gardens . . . though better make it quick as the rain is coming . . .
Wonderful flowers despite the scorching summer . . .
Some impressive willow sculptures . . .
So much to see . . .
A race against getting caught in the rain . . .
Just in time before the rain . . .
. . . and before we know it we’re in Bettys enjoying a little something . . .
. . . but it’s nice to bring something home to enjoy too . . .