Last weekend I was over in Newcastle visiting two friends of mine who are currently working over there. One of them went to school with me, so I’ve known him for a fair amount of time, but obviously as we’re now living on different islands I don’t tend to see them as much as I’d like. So, I decided to take the opportunity to play the rude card and invited myself along to stay with them. (Thankfully they didn’t seem to mind)
They’re both Real People now, with jobs, a mortgage and two cats. The set-up they have there is sweeeeeeet, living in a really nice apartment in a new development with a bunch of their friends living nearby and some fruit and vegetables growing on their balcony. We spent the first wee while catching up and chatting before playing some Super Smash Bros (standard) and heading out for some cake (also standard) in a wee tea house in a nearby town. Such yum.
I didn’t really know much about Newcastle before I went; all I’d really heard about the city was that it was a really fun place to go to university in, so I’d kind of envisaged a 1970s-style city filled with block-like grey buildings. Which was wrong: because of the Tyne River, there are a whole load of bridges around the place, which actually run through the city, so you can end up walking along streets underneath these humongous adqueduct-style bridges, which cut an impressive shape next to all the sandstone buildings. So yeah, it made for a very nice city.
But it is known for its night life, if the number of hens and stags you see traipsing about in tiaras and fairy wings are anything to go by. So we went to a pub on the Friday night, which is one of the oldest/if not the oldest pub in the city. It used to be a market and so is filled with apothecary drawers and more nooks than you can shake a cranny at. Because I’d ended up staying up late pretty much every night of the week playing Final Fantasy, it ended up not being too late a night out.
We got up the next day and after I had some caramel cake from the tea house for breakfast (ideal) we headed out to Beamish, an outdoor museum showcasing the history of the North of England, looking specifically at how life in towns and the country was around the turn of the 20th century. With coal mines, a pre-war school, ye olde sweete shoppes and a Freemason hall, it made for some good viewing and was great fun. They were also running a 1950s day, so lots of people had dressed up specifically and were getting their hair did in the style of women back then: it was all very impressive!
Carrying on in that theme, after a yummy Chinese stuffing-of-the-faces that evening we headed out to a swing dance night! One of my friends’ pals is into swing dancing, and the group she’s affiliated with were doing an event for people to come along and learn a few steps before a swing band started for people to practise their moves. People were encouraged to dress up so I pretty much just wore my oldest-timey work clothes and dance my little white boy heart out. Turns out it was some serious fun. It ended up being one of the sweatiest nights out I’ve had in a while what with all the jumping about and lack of air con, but I ended up being pretty decent at it and had bucketloads of fun.
So yeah: Newcastle is officially sanctioned by me!