Two things off the list are the 4-handed massage at the Hana Beauty Clinic in Whitley Bay, and visiting the Victoria Tunnel underneath Newcastle.
I enjoyed the massage; the sheer luxury of having two pairs of hands massaging me in synchronisation was fantastic. Unfortunately, having slept badly the night before, my restless leg syndrome got the better of me, and I spent half the time trying to get comfortable, which rather spoiled the relaxation aspect of it... :(
The tour of the Victoria Tunnel was fantastic, and I intend to book another tour again as soon as I can arrange it. Dave, one of the tour guides, was brilliant (the other David was good too, but Dave was fabulous!)
|We had a tour of part of the Ouseburn Valley first - this is a boat outside the Seven Stories Children's Workshop|
The history of the tunnel is fascinating: there is a good history of it here. It was originally built in the Victorian era (c.1840) and was in use as a coal-waggonway for some time. It was closed after about 18 years, and re-opened in WWII as an air-raid-shelter. In the mean-time, it was briefly used in the 1920's as a mushroom farm. Now it is open for the tours, run by the Ouseburn Trust.
|A handprint left from the manufacture of the bricks!|
|My phone can't cope with low light levels... this is the best I could manage of the tunnel itself!|
I am very taken with the Tunnel, and I'm thinking of becoming a volunteer guide, if time allows once I start my Counselling course later this month!
The accidental one is a bit of a cheat really, but I'm going to count it anyway! The front garden is colourful! I had removed this when I realised that it was not really something I wanted to do for myself, but rather it was something which somebody else thought I should do ;) However, having planted some wildflower seeds and a couple of plants a few years ago, suddenly this year, I have colour!
Now for the random ones! I hadn't realised I could count this one until I was talking to someone about my new favourite cafe. It is a place I'd been recommended by several people, and I'd been meaning to try it out for ages. About three months ago, I did so. The Settle Down Cafe is delightful. The barista was friendly and immediately made me feel welcome, which is a lovely change from many chain-style coffee shops. The coffee (a mocha, if I remember correctly) was delicious, as was the cake I had. This led me to another of my 'I really must try this out' places, the Sugar Down Bakery. As the names' similarity would suggest, these two are related. The Sugar Down supplies all the cakes and so on for the Settle Down. I can highly recommend both places, and I pop in to the Sugar Down as often as my waistline and conscience will let me ;)
On its penultimate day, I visited the Mariner 9 exhibition at the Spanish Dome in Whitely Bay. More details can be found here. This was a very interesting installation, a gorgeously rendered vision of the debris of some of our visits to the Red Planet, including some potential future craft, once they have been abandoned. Some are trying to 'phone home', others still try to carry out their duties, while still others are rusted junk. The atmosphere was enthralling, with weird eerie wind noises as dust storms scoured the surface, interspersed with the beeps and whirrings of the equipment. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.