Saturday, 6 July 2013

Newcastle Rest Day

Yesterday evening there was a reception, ably organised by Jim Bell, and with some excellent singing by the choir - Voice Male. We attended in our custom made and much admired Beckett Rankine rugby shirts. A jolly evening, and it was quite late this morning before there was much sign of life on the gaffers' pontoon. The boats are looking very festive with many flags fluttering in the sunshine attracting a lot of attention from the discerning folk of Newcastle. It is also quite warm, probably the warmest day of the year so far and convincing evidence that summer is here at last.

We spent the morning looking around and visited the Castle - this dates from the 1160s. This is not actually the New Castle: that was the previous one built in 1080. This one got knocked about a bit in the Civil War in 1644 when it was besieged by the Scots, but has since been restored and is worth a visit.

We also saw this impressive figure on a stone column. Usually grand statues like this are built to commemorate someone who has supervised the killing of a lot of foreigners, but this was erected in honour of Earl Grey. He seems to have been a peaceful politician who guided the 1832 reform act through parliament.

We also visited the Baltic Centre for contemporary art - certainly an experience - and watched the Millenium 'winking eye' bridge open. It seems to open at pre-ordained times whether or not there are any ships wanting to pass underneath.

Tonight another evening of traditional entertainment is being arranged to help make this a memorable visit.