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shewhomust

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Two coastal walks and a birthday observed [Apr. 17th, 2014|10:35 pm]
shewhomust
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I had no real expectation, when we explored a stretch of Sunderland's coastline, that the projected continuous coastal path would ever become a reality. But county by county a path is being traced around the coast of England, and on Tuesday we joined fellow members of the Ramblers' Association to celebrate the completion - and opening - of County Durham's coastal path.

The plan was that the region's local groups would each hold a walk before converging on Seaham for a short ceremony followed by tea at Seaham Hall (a fancy hotel which promotes itself heavily as a wedding venue: it is, after all, where Byron got married, and we know how well that turned out). I don't usually walk with the group: they walk too fast for me, and don't allow for stopping to look at things. But the day's walk was advertised as three and a half miles, leisurely, and I was interested to see how the new path tackled some of the problems - and willing to swell the numbers, too.

It was a lovely bright day, not too windy, perfect for a stroll along the coast. But our walk leader had different ideas, and for reasons known only to himself led us at a brisk pace inland. He was suffering quite badly from toothache, and perhaps his judgement was impaired. And it wasn't a bad walk - too much main road, but some pleasant denes and parkland, and I was delighted to make the acquaintance of Dalden Tower, the remains of a medieval pele tower, which was completely new to me:

Dalden Tower, niche


The route of the walk - which was more like five miles than three and a half.

I was more philosophical than I might have been about the non-coastal nature of the walk, because J. had offered, as a birthday treat, to take us, on a day of my choosing, for a day at the seaside, with a walk along the beach and fish and chips for lunch. My first thought was to go out today, which is my birthday, but there were other things we wanted to do today, so yesterday J. drove us up to Cullercoats and we walked back along the beach to Tynemouth. After a little recreational shopping (the bookshop in the Land of Green Ginger was closed, but I had fun in the wine shop) we caught a bus, which would have saved us the walk along the front if it hadn't then turned inland and taken us just as far from our destination.

By the time we reached the Harbour View in Seaton Sluice we were well ready for our fish and chips - which was just as well: you need a good appetite to eat there.

I had wondered whether the sculptures we saw on our previous visit on New Year's Day would have survived: but more than that, they had multipled. The girl on a swing had been joined by a mermaid, there was a valkyrie in one of the gardens, and Popeye clutched his tin of something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike spinach, observed by a peg-legged gull:

Peg-leg gull


Today we went swimming, shopped at the Farmers' Market and did some errands: and tomorrow we have another excursion planned.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-04-18 06:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes. There's something about fish and chips, when it's well and freshly made, and fish and chips is just the thing you want...
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-04-18 06:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you - not so belated, since we are prolonging the celebrations by continuing to have fun!

I bought a bottle of Italian dessert wine, whose name I can't remember, but it had a pretty label. I'm allowed to be frivolous sometimes!
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[User Picture]From: gillpolack
2014-04-18 11:41 am (UTC)
Happy belated birthday!

I gave up on organised walks when I was in a bushwalking group for a very short time. I'd asked in advance and explained that I was a slow walker and asthmatic and was told "We're slow, and we stop and look at everything and it's suitable for anyone." Not only could I not keep up (and annoyed everyone by them having to wait for me - which meant I never got to actually *stop* walking in over three hours) but at one stage we descended a hillside that was so steep that all we could do was slide for 90 metres and hope that the brush at the bottom would break our slide safely. It was a lot of fun, quite dangerous and it was *not* gentle walking suitable for everyone.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-04-18 06:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, I hate that, when you're always rushing to keep up, and never get to stop! Also steep descents: I don't mind the uphills so much. I would have been very cross if I had been misled in that way.

And thanks for the birthday wishes - any day is good!
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[User Picture]From: klwilliams
2014-04-18 04:34 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday! Though it looks like your birthday was happy.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-04-18 06:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Yes, we are having a series of good days out -
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2014-04-19 01:00 am (UTC)
Yay! We are having days out too, in honour of your birthday; we nearly even had fish and chips yesterday (it seems to be the dish-of-choice at the Cliff House, but we were only snacking, so there were calamari and potstickers instead).
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-04-19 09:50 am (UTC)
That sounds good. Perhaps we could visit the Cliff House when we come to see you? I have eaten fish and chips in New England and in Chicago, but California would be a first...
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2014-04-19 03:36 pm (UTC)
It's the only known dish in America where they say "chips" and mean chips. And if we can fit in a day in SF, we should totally go to the Cliff House. It is uncheap, but the view is splendid (and our waiter was a joy). And the Sutro Baths are worth a look first. The trek down is steep but manageable, and even the gift shop is remarkably intelligent: everything I know about Adolph Sutro I learned from its displays. If he's free, we'll have Andrew take us around; he's an architect by training, and he sees the city from a whole other perspective.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-04-19 07:26 pm (UTC)
That sounds excellent. Are you still willing to be visited in October?
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2014-04-20 01:19 am (UTC)
Absolutely we are willing. We're from home either side of the 11th, on account of Shannon and Mark getting married and so forth, but otherwise you will find the old firm at the usual address.
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