Saturday, 3 September 2011

Northumberland Holiday Diary - Day 6

Thursday 25th August 2011

I cannot believe that this holiday is nearly over - it feels like we only unpacked the car yesterday. I must say; we have had a fantastic time so far and with only a few drops of rain on the first day the weather has been faultless - to the point that I actually have a little sunburn... Darn!

We got up today and the Boy insisted that I make him some bacon and eggs - good lad! I duly obliged. Not only did he have the same amount as me but he then asked for a slice of toast - greedy little monkey! There were some grey clouds in the sky as we were packing up to go out so I put on some jeans and a black long-sleeved t-shirt fully expecting the weather forecast to be accurate - cool with a few sunny periods. There was a sunny period... It lasted all day!! Yup! Glorious sunshine all day.

As I mentioned yesterday, we planned to go to Ford and Etal which is an area of 2 small villages with things in them that it seems are relying on economies of scale and creating a 'tour' that, if you did all of it, would take about two days! In between these 2 villages is another tiny place called Heatherslaw which boasts a narrow-gauge railway that runs to Etal and a flour-mill that is driven by a large waterwheel. We arrived in Heatherslaw and had a look in the tourist office, a very small and friendly place, to see what we could do in the area. Following this, we decided to have lunch on the green, outside the mill - there was a sand-pit there that the kids enjoyed playing in whilst we sat in the sun / shade and enjoyed a more leisurely lunch.

When we had finished lunch, we packed the stuff in the car and walked over the bridge to the railway station, bought tickets and boarded the train - 25 minutes later we were in Etal - A lovely, quaint village with white buildings and a pub with a thatched roof. We stopped for an ice-cream and sat outside the village shop / post office / gift shop etc... After this we decided to go for a walk by the river. The Boy was whining that he was tired, which in fairness he probably is due to many late nights! - we really must get him to bed earlier - 2000 hrs is far too late for a 4 year old!

We walked for about a mile down the river and then turned round with the intention of getting the train back at 1530. We just made it with minutes to spare!

We went back to the car and then set off for Ford and in particular to a coffee shop named 'The Old Dairy' - It was a fascinating place; a tiny coffee shop with seating for about 8 people inside and about 8 more outside. There were lots of old out-buildings that would have compromised the milking shed and stables. The owners had clearly gone into the furniture restoration business and the barns were filled with 'old stuff' like fireplaces and fittings that wouldn't have looked out of place in a National Trust property! The stables had been converted into mini shops where local businesses had rented space to sell their wares - There were a few antique dealers there and a photography shop that the local photographer (I forget his name but his photography was inspiring...) all of his photographs were titled and there was a story behind each one! Whilst we were there, we had a coffee and the Girl had a glass of milk and the boy had an Apple juice! We must have stayed there for about an hour before leaving to go back to the cottage. I cooked dinner, chicken drumsticks and home-made chips with roast veggies.

I still cannot believe that tomorrow is the last day! Anna's sister is coming to see us tomorrow, from Edinburgh, and we are going to pick her up from Berwick station @ 1000 hrs! Early day!

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