I have stayed for the last 4 days with my cousin, Quentin and his wife Janet. They live in a stone semidetached cottage in the village of Corbridge about 18 miles from Newcastle. Torn between their old Imperial heritage and the modern metric system, the British have been half hearted in their conversions. There are Pounds sterling with 100 pence to the new Pound yet it is bloody cold at 2 degrees centrigrade as we speed along at 60 miles an hour to the petrol station to buy a few gallons of petrol. I live in fear that Tony Abbott might hear about this confusing mishmash of measurments.

I am staying at Peartree House B&B and for at least 2 nights I have been the only guest. On the other ocasions two younger men stayed here to play golf at a famous local course. The fact that the weather changed dramtically and rapidly from sun to snow, several times in a day, all the time with fierce biting winds, more then enough to freeze one’s balls, appeared to them to be an adventure.
Being the sole guest means that I can blow my Recorder with gay abandon.
My shorts remain at the bottom of my backpack! Quentin has lent me a very thick coat for the duration. I have not even contemplated mounting the hybrid bike that a local retired policeman had lent to Quentin, assuming that I was going to meander around the English countryside and traverse Hadrians wall. Not bloody likely. We did walks to some impressive Roman ruins near to Corbridge.
We explored the Villages of Hexham and its’ Abbey and Durham and its’ cathedral. Durham is a university town as is Cambridge and Oxford. The scene of the Cathedral bulit on the heights above the River is the subject of a famous painting by Turner.
Janet is a great cook and we have had some wonderful  home cooking as well as one night out at the local pub with a retired couple, who are good friends. Bob, in retirement has taken up cycling. They are planning to tour Australia  and spend a month in Adelaide in January. I have promised them a bike and rides.
Today I leave for Edinburgh, not without a degree  of apprehension as it 100 miles closer to the Artic Circle.

Part of the Durham Cathedral and square


another shot of the Cathedral


the Cathedral and the scene painted by Turner

No derogatory remarks about food pictures and the iPhone! Its breakfast at The PearTree. Eggs from the owners chooks!