|Newcastle: Crafts, and Arts & Crafts, and eating out
||[Dec. 4th, 2014|10:13 pm]
Last weekend was Open Studios time in Newcastle's Ouseburn, and S. invited us to join her for Sunday brunch and to visit some studios thereafter. So we didn't spend as much time for hitting the studios or walking around the Ouseburn as we have done in some previous years, but on the plus side we had a delicious brunch with S., with the full cooked breakfast and ricotta pancakes and blueberries, and bread - well, OK, the bread was of my baking, and I think I have finally cracked Emily Dickinson's rye/cornmeal loaf - and conversation. And durham_rambler and I managed to visit the Mushroom Works before breakfast, where I bought some Christmas presents. I was interested to chat with Jane Frazer: her website shows some of the pieces I liked, her woven mesh and photo pieces, but not the long, loosely knitted strips holding a sequence of tiny pebbles. You could do something similar with my collection of fragments of blue-and-white pottery, I said, and yes, she said, she could...
After breakfast we went back to the other end of the Ouseburn - the river runs in a culvert under the monument in the photograph - and wandered through the various studios, and it was all agreeable enough but nothing particularly exciting. The things I liked were by people whose work I already knew I liked, there were no new discoveries.
On Tuesday we went into Newcastle again, for the North East Labour History Society's 'First Tuesday' talk, because it was about William Morris's visit to the North East during the Northumberland Miners' Strike. The speaker said that Morris had only visited Newcastle upon two occasions, and I could nit-pick and say that he travelled through Newcastle on his way to Iceland. But I won't, because it was a good talk, setting one small event in context, in Morris's life and thought, and in the history of the North East, and opening up to lively discussion afterwards.
It took place at the Newcastle Irish Centre, which is on the border of Chinatown, so afterwards we went down Stowell Street in search of Chinese food. We chose the Royal Emperor very nearly at random, and were well pleased. The charming young waiters looked after us, and took pains to serve us quickly so that we could reclaim our car from the car park before it closed. We had both chosen the a stir fry of scallops and broccoli for the main course, and briefly I regretted this - but once I tasted it, I knew I wouldn't have wanted to share it: the broccoli green and crunchy, the scallops milky sweet, the fresh heat of the slivers of ginger.
And since it is now December, we had Christmas music throughout.