I had two choices for today.One was a game out at Colin's or celebrate my ninth wedding anniversary. and as I thought that as discretion is the better part of valour I decided to head for the island of Lindisfarne for a romantic tete a tete with Lady Watson.I do anything for a steak pie dinner which also involves a few pints of foaming ale.
As an added incentive for my participation in this jaunt I was asked if I'd like to stop of at Barter Books in Alnwick as we couldn't get across the causeway to the island before two in the afternoon.
Barter Books like us a lot as we spend an awful lot of money there and today was to be no exception.Barter Books is one of the biggest second hand book shops in Britain and be prepared to spend a couple of hours enthralled in the amount of books on display from fiction to non-fiction,new to old originals that are kept in glass cases.The actual bookshop is situated in the old Alnwick railway station and you can see its railway origins in the layout of the shop including the cafe which has evolved from the station buffet and waiting rooms.The fare in the cafe is mostly local with the bacon roll consisting of half a pig whereas the roll with sausage has the other half.Another local delicacy they offer is a slice of fruitcake served with a slice of cheddar cheese and yes they do complement each other.
As we headed on to the island we could see the twitchers,walkers and even duck hunters heading on to the island to have a couple of hours of daylight before dusk set in doing their thing.I was informed by Lady Watson that we should have a peruse of the island before dinner and that the local foaming ale would have to wait.So reluctantly I headed down towards the harbour with the rest of the incomers and had a look at some of the boats that had finished their summer jaunts and were getting ready for winter hibernation among them a gorgeous twenty six footer Moody.If I was ever given the chance of buying any yacht it would be a Moody.Very graceful whilst being very seaworthy but very expensive.
To be fair walking around the island at twilight was very inspiring especially with the darkening ruins of the priory complemented by the wailing of nearby grey seals giving the island a nice seasonal aura.
When the day tourists go home the island the island does feel isolated and does give the impression of one of these end of the world films.Lucky for me there was plenty of ale behind the bar.
When we headed down to the bar I found that it was a bit busier than I thought it would be but then I realised it was English half term and these were the inhabitants of some of the rentable properties on the island.The steak pie was exceptional as expected and was washed down with a nice pinot(I know I'm a Philistine,white wine with beef) and followed by a cheese board to die for.I don't think cholesterol exists on Lindisfarne.
After a reasonable sleep(they collect the rubbish at three o'clock in the morning and the ch oil is delivered at seven) and an excellent breakfast we headed for Lindisfarne castle which is about a half mile out on the headland.We were treated to a nice fresh morning for our walk and good weather for Lady Watson to take her usual thousand's of pictures.The only problem was the dozens of rugrats(Lady Watson speak)that were milling around the castle.
Lindisfarne castle was built around 1550 using stone from the recently disused priory on the island.Obviously Henry viii was a recycler.It was used as a defence fortification right up to 1901 where even at one point was occupied by Jacobite forces(two men in total)before being recaptured by troops from thre Berwick garrison.
After being used by the coastguard it was bought by Edward Hudson,owner of Country Life magazine,and was redesigned by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens who used upturned herring boats as storage facilities outside the castle.Seemingly Edmund Miralles used this concept in the design of the Spanish Holiday centre in Edinburgh-sorry the Scottish parliament.The castle came into the care of the National Trust in 1944 where it has been in their capable hands since then.
The last part of our visit was to the the castle garden situated away from the castle and was designed by Gertrude Jekyll who apart from having a story book name was a garden designer along the lines of Capability Brown.
Before we headed off the island(low tide was 15.40)we had a look around the gift shops and bought as always some local mead and partook of a nice lunch to provide us with some sustenance for our drive home as usual by the scenic route through the eastern borders.
A very nice couple of days out complemented by a very nice hostelry and a nice visit to Barter Books.No doubt we will be paying another visit soon.
See you when I see you.
|Upturned boats used to store fisherman's gear.|
|Not a car in sight.|
|Preparations for bonfire night.|
|Seals on an ever decreasing island.|
|Eleven course menu on the Titanic's last evening-think I'd rather have had eleven jerseys or jackets.|
|Seemingly it's more than my life's worth to put a witty caption on this photo.|
|Lady Watson enquiring about our retirement home.|
|Castle de Belleme or Bebbanburg Castle-you choose.|
|Dragon's den -poor dragon doesn't know what it's in for.|
|Must be a wife thing-always having their back to us.|
|I wonder where Mrs Hyde is?|
|Must be where they store the mead|
See you when I see you.