Homeward Bound

We woke this morning to a perfect day for a drive. Sunshine, blue sky with s few high white clouds and a calm, blue sea. Travelling on a bank holiday is never ideal but we had to get back to work again. James had decided to vary the route and I did not complain as it involved a visit to one of my favourite bookshops, Barter Books in Alnwick. On the A1, the first traffic jam was before we had got as far as Berwick. However, it was short-lived and disappeared after the combine harvester responsible pulled over to let everyone past. The sun was still with us as we crossed the Tweed and had a coffee break at Lindisfarne services. Barter Books is based in the old station at Alnwick and is dog friendly although Flora preferred to sit outside and watch the goings on outside. They have a model railway running around the shop.

Barter books 2 (1 of 1)

I found two books to add to my North American library, one on Colorado and one on the natural history of New York.
Barter books 1 (1 of 1)

All too soon it was time to continue on our way. The second traffic jam was just north of Morpeth, the sky was clouding over and the first rain drops fell. Over the Tyne there were hordes of people heading for the Metro Centre and once we were past the Angel of the North we started to see people who were heading home from the Leeds Festival. The A1(M) continued to be busy and we had another brief stop at Scotch Corner. My childhood memories of this place are a roundabout with a few toilets under the pine trees. Needless to say it now has all the usual eateries and has little to distinguish it from any other service station. Several sections of the A1 are still being upgraded to motorway so there are miles of roadworks and slow traffic between there and Weatherby. Near Ferrybridge power station I was reminded that my younger brother used to refer to the cooling towers as ‘the big vases’ as they were landmarks on our regular journeys back and forth from Scotland to the East Midlands.


We eventually left the motorway and took the A628 through Yorkshire and over the Woodhead Pass where the purple heather and grass verges full of flowers were amazing. I got a fix of the expansive vistas of the uplands and we even had sheep in the road as we cut across to Glossop on a B road. Then it was the A6 via Chapel en le Frith and Buxton. By the time we were heading into Cheshire, the rain was heavy, the cloud low and lots of water on the road. At least the garden did not need watering when we got home.

East & North

East to the north side of Nottingham to deliver Christmas presents and visit my aunt and uncle and stay with my aunt in Hucknall. She recommended a very good Thai restaurant and we all crashed out fairly early. Before we left in the morning, my decluttering attempts failed again when she gave me several bound copies of the National Geographic (1948 through to the 1950s). James was very keen to go the the huge Newark antique fair so we headed northeast, passing Southwell (worth another look at some point) and found the fair. It is huge and another thing ticked off in ‘A thousand things to see before you die’. I was not tempted but James found a lovely vintage silk tie. The storm was approaching fast and traders began packing up as we left, with things starting to fly all over the place. We had not been tracking its progress as we had not had the TV, computer or radio on at Aunty Mary’s. We decided that small roads (more likely to have fallen trees) were best avoided and headed up the A1 to our planned stop in Alnwick. Needless to say we made very slow progress until we got past the M62. Southbound there was a truck on its side but no explanation for our very slow progress northbound. Eventually we arrived to a very warm welcome. Had dinner in town and the weather had unfortunately put a chill on the late night Christmas shopping Alnwick had planned. Very few people around but, as the first customers in one shop – not only did we sip some mulled wine but they were so pleased to see us they gave us a discount on the gift we bought. Will keep quiet about what it was in case the recipient reads this. Tomorrow the spending might be more and decluttering will not apply as I hit Barter Books in the old station before heading up to Edinburgh.