Wednesday, February 25, 2009


(All images taken with a not-top-of-the-range phone)

I went up north this past weekend.

On Friday morning, on a whim, I decided to take the M6 route - up to Junction 38 (Tebay Services), then across (A66), then Barnard Castle, Raby Castle, the Aucklands, on and in. The A50 > A38 (skimming Derby) > M1 > A1 > A167 alternative just isn't the same without those big industrial chimneys near Sheffield.

Listening to: The Quiet Curse of Demolition, by Everywhere Looks the Same.

It was somewhere in the low 30s junction numbers that the horizon really began to change, and the simple raw beauty of the Pennines caught me by implausible surprise. I'd driven this route dozens of times, albeit not at all in the last few years.

Approaching the westerly-most reaches of Durham, through fog, there they were - snow-flat-capped hills. Had I been holidaying with a lovebird, then maybe a lay-by, a stretch and chill deep breaths would have been on. Instead, the herbal tablets, the CD changer and I cracked on.

Listening to: Somewhere Bound, by Kirk Merrington for Lunch.

As with Terence Stamp, grey but gorgeous nonetheless.

Not many miles from the family home, I was taken aback in Tindale. Even here, the architectural equivalent of impetigo did its thing.

Amongst family, I forgot about pictures and blogging and all else. I sat back and laughed along to the sweet ferocious banter of the other Wexford offspring.
Prior to Saturday's football trip, sister and her copper girlfriend, their dog and me, went for a walk by the rec' in Kirk Merrington - near to where the last grandparent lives.
Over to the south east - some 30 or so miles away, Roseberry Topping dominated the horizon, just as it had on the Sunday afternoons of my childhood. To my right, a small dog wrestled with a tennis ball at the feet of copper girlfriend.

Though I'm not really a dog person, I did quite like the hound's mindless zest.

The playground, where we would compete to see who could jump furthest from the swings.

And the roundabout, that I always thought seemed a bit dangerous.

Later, there was the football - a nil-nil draw between Middlesbrough and Wigan - not as bad as it might sound. Middlesbrough were light up front, but otherwise fine. Wigan were generally square of shoulder, and blunt in attack.
Before the game, the ladies settled themselves - Teesside spirit.

After a Saturday evening meal out, at the Duke of Wellington pub, we all returned to the parents' house. The dog - the cute one whose name that I've forgotten - appreciated playful attention. But oh my no my - it posed the pose of a truly mentalist dog - what with its big teeth and glaring eyes.

I wondered how much effort would be called for, in order to contrive an image that would be really spooky.

Really not much effort at all.
My family are nice people - honest. Not like those people who have crazy dogs that eat people or anything. Besides, sister and the copper and the dog live in Gateshead - I reckon it's probably a bit rough over there.
On Sunday, I returned south and west for a testing, stretching week.
Faith - the dog was called Faith.
Listening to: His Body, by Man En Route to Bed.


Meanwhile... said...

Ah, the A66. Milestones to conjure with!

And that dog photo. Lol, as the masses say.

So. Listen up.

I'm intrigued by the notion of a copper girlfriend - I'm imagining that 'copper' is a physical manifestation of a nirvana-like perfection that can be attained only by taking an invigorating mid-winter dip at Saltburn, that surfers' paradise of lore...

Hot or cold?

Shane said...

Oh dear, oh dear... We tend not to ahem 'lol' 'round here.

When in Rome... good man.

Overall, though: luke-warm.

PI said...

That was a nice trip. Made me nostalgic for our trips to the cottage near Skipton and trips to Durham where two of the boys were at Uni and trips to Peterlee where my brother lived and trips to my home in Rossendale. It must be 9 or 10 years since we went north. Thanks for the memory.

Adem said...

That dog looks a bit fierce in those photos!

At least it was a doggy bone things she was doing that too and not your arm.