Durham is one of our top northern hotspots for many reasons, the main one that lead us there being it’s the home of Elddis, or rather Consett just down the road. So, it was on the Monday after visiting our old haunts in main town Durham that we headed over to catch up with the folk at Elddis and give Buster time to see his relatives.
Our hotspots in Durham are in fact mainly two- Zen, a very good Thai restaurant and The Victoria, a delightful old school pub that still lays out tip-bits, or if we want to be Spanish, tapas on the bar on a Sunday. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do them justice as normal as our bellies were full of Thai food, the order of service being the wrong way around, but with Covid restaurant restrictions there was no option but to eat first. A lovely long stroll back to Durham Grange camp site worked of a few pounds but probably not enough!
It was lovely to catch up with everyone at Elddis and of course fill in the gaps of the last eighteen months on both sides, and as Rob, the MD so succinctly put it “we gave you one job and you failed” which of course we had. The one job being to get to Azerbaijan in Buster. On this occasion failure was an option as the borders into AGA (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Amenia) remain closed.
We quickly drove Buster away, before there was any mention of him staying and headed to the Angel of the North. David and I, both agree (!!??!!) that we think it’s a stunning piece of art and a real focal point of this area. A quick drone shot and we headed back to camp and made ready to leave on the Tuesday.
Our next port of call was a true revelation and an absolute delight- the town of Beverley, in East Yorkshire. The camp site was much smaller than Durham, but none the worse for it and beautifully appointed near to the minster and main square of Beverley. From Durham it was about a two-hour drive and my turn at the wheel. A slight worry as we had to head over the Humber Bridge, which as David reliably informed me is the longest bridge in the UK. Thankfully, traffic wise we were all herded to the middle and so I managed to get across without any heebie-jeebies.
After parking Buster up, we had a quick foray into the town, amazing ourselves at the beauty and splendour of the town. The next day we explored it further before heading of on our cycle tour of the surrounding countryside and the Yorkshire Wold. The minster is stunning as was St Mary’s it’s counterpart just on the other side of town, both undergoing some restoration, St Mary’s being updated on the decoration front with more Narnia statues to adorn its outside.
What did amaze the both of us was the range of shops in the main area of the old town. Four independent dog shops, the normal top five charity shops all vying for position with very up-market jewellers, one in particular with rings in the window of £42k. I did try a couple of them on, but none really suited and so we opted for a sausage roll instead from the bakers opposite.
This week was to be a ‘eat-in’ week only, for both budget and weight reasons and we had planned and shopped for the week accordingly. We were doing well until we happened upon the Pipe and Glass in South Dalton while out on our cycle. It was ‘thirsty time’, but we never quite expected an establishment of this level, being quite astonished as we cycled up to it at the number of customers and sleek cars outside. As we waited to be seated, quickly discarding our bike helmets, moping our brows and smoothing down our curls we saw the giveaway sign- Michelin 2021. No worries, we will just have a drink and be done. Uhm, not a chance as we just happened upon the lunch menu and decided that the chicken for that evening would keep. Well, we might never come back this way again and it’s a shame to miss an opportunity. Was the food lovely, indeed it was and to be honest not overly expensive. Plus, the chicken was all the better for another day’s rest in the fridge.
Batemans Brewery was to see the end of our week, a three-night stay on the little but again perfectly formed campsite next to the brewery. David is an ale drinker and so it was for this reason we headed again further south on route to London. The brewery is still family run and most of the pubs in the area sell their beer, with many locals having been or are still employed by the Bateman family. The small town of Wainfleet it’s nestled in is also a perfectly functioning small work town, with a delightful mix of useful shops. We couldn’t however find any £42k rings in any of shops, but the hardware store served us well for a new dustpan and brush.
Brewery tour was done by David, who managed gamely to get his money’s worth out of the tour in beer tasting at the end. We mixed with the locals in the local, mingled in the market and did a couple of walks around the area. All very lovely.
And then there was Skegness!
Next week, we head back to London for a few days before making our way back to Europe, my days are done, and I’m allowed back in. So, with 70th birthday celebrations booked again for the end of August, we thought we would get ahead of the game and do a bit of Holland, Belgium before heading to Epernay and the party.
Our plans of course have changed and of course could change again, but for the moment we are heading across the water and then back down to our beloved Spain for the last few weeks of our tour.
Buster has to go north again eventually and us with him, but for now the wheels on this bus continue to go around.