Archive for August, 2012

August 5, 2012

5 Aug 2012 Back in Melbourne

Well it’s finally over. My month-long escapade through France and England has come to an end. It has been everything I dreamed of and more. The amount of photos and videos are testament to the wonderful times I had during the bike riding and hiking in France, and the relative-hopping in England.

Sometime soon I will organise all the photos and videos and put them into some sort of order (hopefully that won’t take long) to give an overview of all the amazing and beautiful places I’ve been and people I’ve met.

Thanks especially to Eric and Mary in Churchdown, and Tom, Rita, Lindsay McDonald and Adam in Newcastle for their charming hospitality. Rita made a perfect tour director.

It was good to see my family again but will be hard to come back to earth now.

August 5, 2012

5 Aug 2012 KL to Melbourne

All was going well yesterday morning when I left the hotel and caught the Hoppa bus to Heathrow airport. Just about to get the lift to the departure lounge and realised I was missing my shopping bag full of souvenirs! Talk about a mad panic! Raced back to the Hoppa lounge to see if they could help me. After a few frantic phone calls by the girl in the office and the gentleman on the door they had located my bag and had it back within about 10 minutes. Could not believe I had left it behind on the bus.

After that everything has gone smoothly. Although a 13-hour flight is a long time to keep still. The A-380 airbus is a bit more spacious than most, even in economy. Killing time in KL airport before my flight to Melbourne. Forgot the charger again although an English one would be no help to me!

See you all soon in Melbourne!

August 4, 2012

3 Aug 2012 Newcastle to Heathrow

I packed up a week’s worth of memories from Tom and Rita’s place this morning. Last night I gave them the patchwork quilt wall hanging I made from mum’s scrap fabrics. They were really pleased. Lindsay and Adam came round to say goodbye too. Rita took the quilt to show David and Joyce when we went to say goodbye. Laura (their granddaughter) and her boyfriend were there as well. David and Joyce have the same kind of house as Rita and Tom but it has been renovated and extended. 
On to Newcastle station. time for a quick coffee before the train came at 10.58am. It was really hard to say goodbye. Tom and Rita have been wonderful. Tom even packed me a lunch to have on the train.
I found a seat with a table for a change. The train was fairly full. All going to London for the Olympics I suppose. Finished my book. Only took 3 hours to get to London Kings Cross. Caught the underground to Paddington then the Heathrow Express to Terminal 1 & 3. A free bus took me to my hotel just outside the airport (Holiday Inn Ariel).
Once I got settled I went back to Heathrow Airport to check out where I have to be tomorrow! It’s a massive place. Returned my wifi device to the Excessive Baggage Co. Will be requesting a refund on the days it didn’t work!
Caught another bus back to the hotel and had dinner there. There were 4 other single people having dinner as well. Looked really odd!
Chill out now until tomorrow.

August 3, 2012

2 Aug 2012 St Mary’s Island, Whitley Bay

Tom went off to doctor’s appointments again and Rita and I hopped on a bus to Silverlink, Wallsend. A few spots of rain this morning but the rest of the day was fine and mostly sunny. Found a shop that might have what Mick is wanting badly! On another couple of buses to Whitley Bay which is a seaside resort. Walked to St Mary’s Island (it is usually surrounded with water) over a causeway to St Mary’s lighthouse. Walked up 137 steps to the top and gained a sticker and certificate to prove we did. Don’t think I want to be a lighthouse keeper! Plenty of families out in the sun with nets for the summer holidays crawling over the rocks finding crabs.
Onto another bus into the town for lunch at Costas. They serve a lovely chicken salad sandwich, scones, jam and cream and a bucket of coffee.
Onto yet another bus and back to Wallsend to have a look at another spot where Hadrian’s Wall is. Obviously the Walls’ End! Not much to look at and there is another fort (Segendunum) but only the foundations left but I’ve done it now.
A nap on the bus on the way home and my last full day of holidays here is nearly over.

August 2, 2012

1 Aug 2012 Olympics at Newcastle

Tom had tests done at Newcastle Hospital this morning and felt unwell. Lindsay came to pick Rita and I up to go and see him. They dropped me off at St James Park where Brazil and New Zealand were playing soccer for the Olympic Games. I bought a souvenir t-shirt and soaked up the atmosphere outside the stadium. Used a free map of Newcastle for the Olympics to get around.
Bought a glasses case and calendar at the Newcastle Arts Centre. Found the Newcastle old wall and had lunch at The Settle Down Cafe, run by a South African. Walked a bit further and found the Castle Keep and the Tyne Bridge with the Olympics rings. Across the Millennium Bridge to the Baltic Exhibition Centre and a rest in the cafe. The souvenir shop got a beating.
Walked back towards the city and caught the Metro (train) to Four Lane Ends with a bunch of Brazil soccer fans. Amazed I found my way to Rita and Tom’s place from the station without a map. Rita was pacing the street hoping she would see me!
Tom is okay but needs to go for more tests. The doctors couldn’t really say what was wrong.
David took Rita and I to see their grandmother’s former house which is nearly the same as they remember it at 180 Edward Rd, Howdon. Also went to Tom Wilson’s place (which is where he grew up) and picked up a few more snippets of family history from him and sister, Ivy.

Very pleased with my half day out on my own and I didn’t get lost!

August 1, 2012

31 July 2012 Meet-up with the Southgate cousins

Rita and I went to the Hungry Horse again to meet up with some of our many cousins. There was Ivy Craigen, Audrey Carruthers and Tom Wilson (daughters and son of Ivy Southgate), and Ivy’s daughter Lauren; David Southgate and Rita McDonald (son and daughter of Bernett Southgate); Raymond Southgate (son of Raymond Southgate snr) and me (daughter of Ernest Southgate)!
We met about 7.30pm and talked and talked until 11.30pm. Reminiscing was high on the agenda. I wish I’d had a tape recorder. It was a good insight into their childhoods in England.
I did solve a mystery though. I thought dad had a brother called Jack but he was actually a step-brother. His step-mother Margaret Graham was previously married with a son before she married my grandfather (dad’s dad). Totally confusing.
We’re catching up with Tom and Ivy again to fill in some gaps in the family tree so I hope to solve some more mysteries. Stay tuned!

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August 1, 2012

31 Jul 2012 Durham Cathedral

David and Joyce Southgate picked Rita and I up and went to Durham for the day. We parked in a shopping centre carpark and walked over the bridge. It was then I realised I didn’t have the battery in my camera! Oh no! Tried the GoPro but the battery was dead on that. I took lots of notes instead. Probably took more notice than if I’d had my camera.

Passed an old stone building with ‘Hospitale EPI Dunhelm MDCLXVI’ on the top. The cathedral is built around St Bede’s tomb. There are graves around the outside around the 1700-1800s. The older ones have worn off. Went into The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham and signed the visitors book. Past the marble font and the massive organ that had been moved from another place in the cathedral. Went into a smaller room and where The Venerable Bede’s Tomb and some smaller stained windows. The stained glass windows in the main hall are magnificent. There are also tombs with statues on top with no heads! It was interesting to note that the cathedral has a ‘listening service’ at 11am and 1pm daily. No obligation!

The large clock was ornately decorated near where the entrance to the tower is. I paid 5 pounds to walk up the 325 steps to the top and got a sticker for my trouble. It took me 10 minutes to get up exactly at 12 noon when the bells rang. The view was wonderful. I could see the river, jail and windmills on hills in the distance. I spent 5 minutes looking at it.

Watched a bellringer chiming the bells for a holy communion inside the main hall but we couldn’t actually hear the sound. Came through the bookshop and saw the courtyard that I’d seen from the top. There was a bookstall and Rita bought some DVDs for Tom. Looked through the souvenirs and got something for Peter. Should suit him. Lunch was a baked potato enjoyed in the cathedral restaurant.

Coming out of the cathedral we passed Dun Cow Lane. Wish I could have taken a photo of that! Crossed back over the bridge and watched the rowboats on the river for hire from The Boathouse. Into Market Square with a statue of Charles William Vane Stewart in the middle. Had a look through Durham Market. I was very strong as they had patchwork fabric and I didn’t buy any!

David then took us to his son Dexter and Kirsty’s house which he has done up really well. Kirsty was there with their two sons Archie and Joe. They’d had a few friends around that morning and there was toys everywhere. Had a cup of tea and a piece of cake. They reminded me of our two boys when they were younger. Hard work!

David dropped into Heaton Cemetery to water the grass where his son Steven and Dexter’s son Josh are buried.

Out for dinner at the Hungry Horse at Newton Park again. Hopefully Ivy, Laura, Tom, Audrey, Raymond, David and Joyce will all be there. I should have photos of them tonight!