Friday 7th May, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.
The first item on my day's agenda was Hadrian's Wall. In case you haven't heard of it before, it's a wall (that much you should have guessed!) that was built under the rule of Emperor Hadrian, stretching from one side of the country to the other. Wallsend, where Kathryn lives, is so named because it's where Hadrian's Wall ends- or starts, depending on which way you look at it. Not much of the wall remains in Newcastle itself, but I caught a bus to Haltwhistle, where there is a long stretch of wall still relatively intact. Of course, it was much taller than you see in the photos, but over the centuries farmers have pilfered stones from the wall to build their own walls. It's only eighty-four miles from coast to coast in this part of the country, and quite a few people walk the entire length of the wall. It's a four or five day walk, and I entertained the thought of doing it myself...but quickly changed my mind when I saw the dark clouds buiulding to the west.
It was something of a day 'on the buses'. As soon as my bus returned me to Newcastle, I transferred to a northbound bus for my next mission. James and Steve, the two guys that I met last year in Memphis, happen to live just north of Newcastle in a town called Blyth. James owned a pub called the Blyth and Tyne, I remembered that much. It shouldn't be too hard to find, and I was looking forward to surprising them. Well, the surprise was on me when I found that the Blyth and Tyne had closed down! I asked at the real estate office next door, if they knew where I could find James.
"Who's asking?" the girl eyed me suspiciously.
"I am!" I smiled.
She said "You're not going to murder him or anything are you?" and I told her that the worst I'd do would be to slap him around a bit. She laughed and pointed me in the direction of the cafe that he now runs.
This is one of the parts of travelling that I really enjoy. James jumped up from his seat when I walked into the cafe.
It was closing time at the cafe and I had time for a couple of quick beers with the boys before I had to bolt back to Newcastle. How cool to see them both again. I love reunions, and even more I love surprising people! Kathryn was waiting for me when I got back to town. We were off to a little local pub to listen to some professional storytellers who'd come from West Yorkshire to entertain us with their tall tales. After the storytellers, there was a musical duo playing a harps and the Northumbrian pipes. Another new experience for The Savage Files!
I was quite taken by a couple of the niknaks on Kathryn's mantlepiece: