Cullercoats Bike & Kayak.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Last week I was suffering from a severe case of cabin fever, feeling cooped up in my flat I got dressed and went for a walk down to the coast. Once I got there I remembered coming across an exciting new business venture on twitter called Cullercoats Bike & Kayak. It had only been open a week but already seems to be doing pretty well. I hired the beautiful cornflower blue Pashley (you all know my serious commitment to twee.) I haven't been on a bicycle in a few years but the saying that you don't forget how to ride is true, after a wobbly few seconds I found my balance and I was off! Speeding along the coast in style I felt on top of the world. Thanks to advice from the lovely guy who owns the business I headed North (the strong offshore winds would make my return journey much easier) and cycled my way through Whitley Bay. I stopped to check out the newly opened plaza next to the Spanish City and was impressed, I just hope the council continue to invest in the area and return it to its former glory. Back on my wheels I cycled right up to the lighthouse and watched people rock pooling. On my way back I stopped at Delaval Ices and got myself some of the delicious award winning ice cream, it transports me back to my childhood with every mouthful. Although I do feel like a traitor buying from the Whitley Bay branch rather than the original in the little village I grew up in, Seaton Delaval. If you're local or visiting here and fancy a bike ride yourself then I can't recommend Cullercoats Bike & Kayak enough. They even do guided tours for people unfamiliar to the area and have a cosy little snug upstairs serving coffee & cakes to refresh yourself after all the exercise!

An unexpected day out.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Thursday was just one of those days where you wake up and have had enough of being stuck in the house. When I get in moods like that I just want to jump in my car and drive somewhere. I decided to flick through my living social vouchers and I realised that a voucher for entry to Alnwick Gardens was expiring that same day. So I got myself ready to go and messaged Phil to tell him my plans for the day. He was having the same kind of day and said he'd quite like to take the afternoon off, so as a stroke of luck he managed to put in last minute holiday and 20 minutes later I was there to rescue him from the confines of his office. We made the short journey up to my most favourite place in the whole world, parked the car and settled down on the sofa of a cute little cafe Baileys for sandwiches and afternoon tea. It was cheap and cheerful and the decor is definitely what I would call 'quirky.' I was pleased to see actual clotted cream included with my scone. Bellies full we wandered out into Alnwick centre and exchanged my voucher for tickets into the gardens. I've been meaning to take Phil for a while now, we're not green-fingered people but the most interesting part of the gardens is the poison garden. They have license to grow a number of extremely dangerous plants as well as class some class B and C 'substances' namely cannabis. It was too early in the seasons for most of them to be out but the tour was interesting all the same. We then had a wander round the rest of the gardens, taking in the impressive landscaping and watching the fountains. It was a grey and misty day and it definitely is a bit more impressive during the summer when its warm and all the plants are in full bloom, but I had a good time all the less.

After we left I decided we'd make a visit to the book-lovers heaven known as Barter Books. Its pretty famous up here in the North East, and probably further afield. It claims to be one of the largest second-hand book stores in the country and is also where a number of the original 'Keep Calm and Carry On' posters were found, with one of them still displayed by the counter today. Its an absolute mecca of literature, with books piled floor to ceiling, comfy chairs and open fires to curl up and read by. We spent a good hour trawling through the shelves and I found a couple of midwifery texts, one from 1925. If we'd stayed longer I definitely would of found a seat by one of the open fires, bought myself a cup of tea and stuck my nose in a book. The day was really lovely if totally unexpected, sometimes you've just gotta throw caution to the wind and do something new!

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