Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Two Days in “Geordie Land”.

Our trip “oop north” first took us for a one night break in Manchester before arriving in Newcastle. Our two day stay in the city was for several reasons: to meet up with friend Steve, to see a show we’ve been meaning to get to for a long while and to see more of this lovely city which we failed to do on our last fleeting visit some years ago. 


The show, on the first evening, was to see “Betty Legs Diamond” in her regular venue at The Boulevard.


The long suffering compare, Miss Rory, was only too delighted to pose for a photo. As long, that is, as we kept buying drinks so that she could keep running her 5 bedroom house and Range Rover!


Miss Rory was a delight and kept us fully entertained by her machine-gun delivery of jokes and sarcastic comments aimed at various members of the audience. (and we were certainly not let off the hook!)


Miss Rory’s entertainment kept us occupied between the evening’s five or six cabaret performances. A Las Vegas theme was first ……..


….. followed by James Bond.


Then the star of the show “Betty Legs” herself, with a terrific performance of Shirley Bassey. Betty’s hallmark of a brilliant dance routine coupled with humour and her incredible facial expressions made all the cabaret performances as hysterical as ever they’ve been in the past.


There was a superb take on “Les Miserables”………..


………… punctuated by the same tongue-in-cheek wit as usual!


Betty delivers a great evening of entertainment with a plethora of costume changes and subjects matter.



The last cabaret featuring “Beauty and the Beast” was quite amazing. The costumes and choreography in all the performances was first class and we had a terrific evening’s entertainment. Bless her, “Betty Legs Diamond” is still as good here at her own venue in Newcastle as she was in Blackpool in the past. 


During our one full day on Monday we have to thank Steve for his knowledge of Newcastle as he showed us around the city and surrounding areas. The completeness of the Georgian and Victorian architecture in the main city centre is quite stunning.


This is the lower end of Grey Street.



The Theatre Royal in Grey Street stands supreme among the surrounding beauty of Grainger Town which was designed in the 1830’s by Richard Grainger. The huge monument to Earl Grey stands at the top pf the street.


The Edwardian Central Arcade off Grey Street, in Grainger Town, is a work of art in ceramic tiling.


Built in 1906 the arcade has an upper balcony of the most stupendous tile designs.



Grainger Market (in the historic heart of the city) was home to the original Marks and Spencer’s Penny Bazaar.


In the Grainger Market is the Weigh House. Originally all large markets would have a point at which the traders could weigh their goods in and out.


Today this lovely weigh house offers the public an opportunity to have themselves weighed for a mere 30p. The operator says nothing too you at any point of the proceedings but quietly hands you a small ticket with your weight, both in kilograms and stones. There is a constant steam of people coming in, talking off their outer garments and shoes and paying their 30p.


Further along in the market there’s a little stall where you can have tea and dumplings.


Some of the buildings could not have more elaboration if you tried.


The view from the base of the gigantic Grey Monument down Grey Street (left) and Grainger Street (right). Newcastle seems to have some of best and most complete original Georgian/ Edwardian city centres we’ve seen. 


A beautiful clock on the corner of Pilgrim St and Blackett St.


Being guided by Steve, who knows the North East like the back of his hand, we took the metro out of Newcastle to Wallsend to visit the site of the Roman Fort at the end of Hadrian’s Wall. However, next to it and much more interesting was the Swan Hunter shipyard and the birthplace of RMS “Mauritania”.


It was at this spot that the “Mauritania” was built. This section of Hadrian’s Wall was found in 1903 during the excavations which were necessary to enlarge the dock area for the Mauritania’s construction. This was part of the Branch Wall which ran from the fort down to the River Tyne and which formed the “Wall’s End”. The wall was removed and only replaced in 1991 and it was amazing to be able to stand so close to where the ship was built.


After Wallsend we continued our metro journey on to the delightful seaside town of Tynemouth. The actual railway station there is even better than fantastic.


It’s like a ‘Crystal Palace’ of the railways. A vast construction of glass and cast iron in superb condition.


On both sides of the line, with a beautiful footbridge across the tracks, the whole place is a great surprise as you step off the train.


Tyneside, after the delight of the railway station, is also no let down. With carefully maintained cobbles and a central park it’s lined with the most wonderful Georgian and Victorian houses.


At the bottom end of the main street, and on the cliff edge, are the ruins of the castle.


To put some feeling back into our cold, old bones (being softy southerners we’re very susceptible to the perishing cold of the north!) we took to the shelter of a lovely pub with great views of the beach and coastline. 


Once we’d warmed up we could use our muscles to smile again. Steven, who’s from Buxton in Derbyshire, is quite used to the cold of course so his smile remained!



Getting the metro back to Newcastle before the sun set, we were able to enjoy the lovely light effect on some of the city’s buildings …….


….and a walk back down Grey Street gave us more glimpses down some of the side streets.


As we walked back towards the river and our hotel the enormous mass of the Tyne Bridge dominated the buildings around it.


Yet another glimpse through the narrow side streets and stepped alleys – this time from the corner of King Street and Queen Street.


Down at the water’s edge, a great view across to Gateshead and The Sage building ………


……… and lastly, just before dusk, a tranquil view of the Tyne and the Millennium Bridge.


Our last evening was spent in a few pubs and clubs to enjoy a bit of the nightlife Newcastle has to offer, after a wonderful meal in Peace and Loaf, It was great to catch up with Steve and we must say a big thank you to him for making our brief stay so enjoyable and informative.

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