Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A mini holiday

On Friday last I caught a train to go back up to the North East for the first time in over twenty-seven years. (That's not quite true because I've been up there several times, if we count the number of times I was transfered to Frankland jail only to be thrown out again. Mind, to be fair, I earned the evictions usually and I've been thrown out of better places than that several times.) I'll say this for the trains these days - they are easy to travel on. It's all spelled out on the arrivals and departures boards on the stations AND they give out information ON the trains.

Caught the train from Lincoln and changed once for Newcastle. Bit strange crossing the bridge over the Tyne. I thought I would feel a certain amount of fascination or nostalgia seeing it all again, but I can't say I was over excited about it. It was interesting, that's all. When we arrived at Newcastle Central I went down into the Metro, lugging my bags behind me, and caught the said Metro into Sunderland but got off just prior to the town centre at a place called The Stadium of Light. It's a new station built where the old Newcastle Road Baths used to be, more or less. My brother Robert was waiting for me with Little Abby, his daughter. She is six and had refused to go to school - she wanted to meet me coming off the train instead.

Shortly after we arrived at Robert's home, a reporter called Ruth arrived with her photographer, Ian. We had a chat, had a few pictures taken, then we all went to Roker Park where we had a few more pictures taken - and one was a cracker of me walking along with Little Abby. That was that - press dealt with, nobody upset, everyone happy.

That evening, it being my brother's birthday, we all retired to a watering hole for a quiet birthday meal for Robert - but of course it didn't stay that way because several family members turned up. I had a couple of jars of Guinness - I should get paid for advertising Guinness, I always seem to be doing it these days - and of course one of my sisters had a dozen too many (the least said the better really, but it was funny).

Saturday was spent getting round a few of the family and a bit of shopping in the town. Now THAT'S changed. None of the roads are where I remember them being. I think the council has deliberately gone out of its way just to confuse me - rat bags! They have completely flattened the centre and rebuilt it. Put it this way - the Germans needn't have bothered bombing the place during the war, the council has done the job for them.

At tea time I made a nice curry. That's right, me, I did it. Nearly all by myself too, apart from I can't do rice, that was done by the boss. No more drink for me of course, I don't care for it much and I only had what I had the night before because it was Robert's birthday. Made a fantastic discovery on Saturday evening - Little Abby's dog, Ruby, is a magnet for females. Say no more squire!

Sunday I did as much as I could, getting round as many people as I could before I got the train back. But, as much as the train was comfortable and easy, I won't be using it again. It seems that from now on all I have to do when I want to go anywhere is ring home and a vehicle will be despatched immediately, driven by the boy racer himself.

Well, I got back to Lincoln and Bleak House in good time and of course it was raining when I did. Typical! All weekend with nice, sunny weather - come back to Lincoln to get pissed on. Lying in bed on Sunday night, reflecting on my mini holiday, I realised that I want to do it again soon. I quite enjoyed it - seeing the family. Well, there are a lot of them - and like any other family, we have our problems. We are as dysfunctional as the best of them, but they are my family and it's great to see them. Remember that old saying, "You can pick your friends but you get family thrust on you." Well, I don't mind my family - because they are mine.

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