Northumberland Revisited

We’ve just had an amazing weekend up in Northumberland for Andru Chapman’s birthday and as an added bonus her charity Auction. I say Northumberland revisited but it was actually Gordon’s first time up there. I house sat for the Chapmans 20 years ago so it was a real trip down memory lane for me.

The day may have been a bit wet and miserable but we both still enjoyed a bracing walk up to Hadrian’s Wall from the guesthouse – which was handily placed in Greenhead right on the original line of the wall.

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View down to Holmhead guest house from Thirwell Castle

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Gordon’s first encounter with Hadrian’s Wall

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Hadrian’s Wall at Housesteads fort

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Me on Hadrian’s Wall at Housesteads Fort

I don’t know whether it’s a boater’s normal obsession with all things toilety but we were both fascinated by the communal bog at Housesteads fort. It’s really easy to imagine the Roman soldiers sitting there doing their business and having a natter.

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Communal toilet – Housesteads fort

Lots of nostalgia when we walked past the quarry where Jenny, Ian and I used to walk Alfie, Michael and Andru’s black labrador – probably the daftest softest and loveliest dog I’ve ever met (sorry Banjo but I’m afraid Alfie wins!)

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Vindolanda in the snow

That was the healthy educational part of the weekend.

On Friday there was a wonderful 3 course dinner at The Centre of Britain hotel in Haltwhistle followed by the charity auction and a great set from Michael accompanied for a few numbers by Sarah Smout on cello.

Cancer Research 2013 POSTER


Michael – brilliant as ever

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Me with Sue Ellery enjoying my only glass of wine for the evening – honest


Andru announcing that they’d raised over £3000 for the evening.

By far the unhealthiest, most disreputable and possibly most enjoyable bit of a wonderful weekend was Andru’s birthday party at Wrytree Farm. The photos (all taken by Sue Ellery on account of me not having remembered my camera) speak for themselves.


The kitchen at Wrytree Farm hasn’t changed much in 20 years


Michael did a lot of bottle opening as the evening progressed!


Intense and pretty drunken chat with Mickey – God alone knows what we were talking about


I was on the other end of this. Not sure what I’d said or done but they look pretty concerned.


Gordon talking seafaring stuff with Richard (Salty Dog) Stafford



Cuddly dance with Andru at the end of the evening

A brilliant night to end a brilliant weekend. We’re back in the marina now and looking forward to getting out and about in the boat again after a pretty eventful winter.


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