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Archive for the ‘northumberland’ Category

Life as Usual in Bellingham

Van Morrison at the Playhouse

Life is pretty much back to normal here, I’ve still not opened up some of the packing stuff I brought back from Spain and my office is a tip but everything is working. Last weekend we went up to see Van Morrison at the Playhouse in Edinburgh and the following morning popped in to see an old friend Nigel Duncan who lives just outside the city before returning that afternoon to Northumberland.

West Woodburn

This weekend we’ve just had a lovely stop-over with some friends in East Woodburn. They have a place in Spain and whenever we go visit they do the most wonderful tapas – we had a great night.

West WoodburnIt’s pretty grim here in Northumberland – only a week ago the trees were the most wonderful colour as you’ll see on the picture over on the right (clicking on these pics should make for larger versions)– but now – there is only wood – and cold weather. Still, we’ve had a reasonable amount of sun in a dark, miserable Britain kind of way – not quite what they’re still getting in Spain though I understand even that is coming to an end for a while. Roll on global warming please.

Our cat Simba watching me workMid-Week Maureen and I went off to see Dr Strange which I have to say was very good though the CFI – whilst magnificent,was a little OTT. So now in between other jobs I’m focussing on getting my new toy – the Amazon Echo (we bought two of them) to control as many things around the house as possible – by voice. It really works well as long as you are careful with your choice of phrases – I called the new Office lighting “strip light” and it keeps thinking I’m saying “strobe light” but by and large – this is a major home-automation improvement on anything before it.

Got a black tie political do coming up this week – should be interesting to see if I still fit into the shirts (not had to wear anything formal for several months – indeed I spent virtually every day in Spain in sandals and shorts!!) -6 months stay this year and I’m not enjoying being back in the cold but at least I can get to our fantastic baker in Bellingham.

And with that, I’ll leave you with a couple of recent photos. I’m looking forward to the next episode of WestWorld – probably the best thing on TV right now (I think it is on Netflix – we’ve given up with “normal” TV altogether – between Netflix, Amazon and Now TV, we get a better selection than ever at a fraction of the cost of Sky satellite – and as for FreeSat – well, personally I think it is mainly rubbish).

Enjoy the pics. Oh and if anyone starts talking rot about the pound recovering – so easy to do with selective graphs, here’s a graph over the last year…

Pound versus Dollar

Theatre Royal next to the Playhouse in Edinburgh

Metro Centre in Gateshead

Road Repairs and Northumberland County Council

I’ve put this together to make it easy to ship a link to various people – the entire world if need be until I get a road near our property fixed. Initially I was told the road was owned by Alnwick Estates, they then absolutely insisted that they’d sold it to Northumberland County Council NCC – and so it goes on – meanwhile the holes get bigger and bigger.


Here’s the location – just off the main street in Bellingham – see the pink circles… and here’s a couple of the more dangerous holes – they are by no means the only ones.


Filled up with water at night these are a danger to life and limb – not to mention car suspensions.  I’ve been writing now since the winter and such is the lack of energy of the departments I’ve dealt with – the holes are still there – despite pointing out that they are DANGEROUS.

Well, I’ve just found the email address for the highways agency – of course they probably don’t do ordinary roads, julst the likes of the A69 etc, but I can but try – I’m not getting anywhere with other people so far.   (‘ha_info@highways.gsi.gov.uk’) – here’s their website. http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=702

There are similarly dangerous holes on the road from Bellingham to West Woodburn, maybe 100 metres or more on the left just before you get to West Woodburn – we nearly took out our suspension one night in the wet – I reported the problem – nothing…..

I guess next stop the local newspapers?

A Weekend “Up North”

Spent part of the weekend up North with friends – here are a couple of photos I took while we were there – early in the morning – amazing how spending time in the countryside can cheer you up. I’m all set for my trip to Brussels this morning – though to be fair – it’s probably warmer here than it is over there.

Early morning Northumberland

Early morning Northumberland by Peter Scargill

Early morning Northumberland by Peter Scargill

So, today I’m travelling from Newcastle to London then off to Brussels – back in a couple of days, got a meeting with some ESCO colleagues from around Europe to attend to. Hoping to grab a pizza from my favourite place in the square. Currently battling with a Chinese supplier to get some code that works for a little phone-type colour display. They are trying hard but I think they’re reading my emails via Google translate and we’re not getting very far!

iPad Killers?

We keep hearing about Android tablets  – what do we see in the shops or on the web that’s actually for SALE? A solitary Galaxy Tab which is selling well but is a bit on the small side and hardly “thin” – and that’s about it – other tablets are either still in the works, still using older versions of Android – or recalled. Meanwhile the iPad has it’s new operating system upgrade, new Apps updates and now there is Apple TV -  which means that thanks to the REMOTE app, you can now use your iPad or even iPhone to control your TV, browse your music selection, make playlists and more.

I can’t think of a better gimmick for parties right now than to appear armed with wireless iPad and offer to let guests make their own music selections.  It all works and the Apple TV product is cheap.

Chances of getting compatible software on an Android device in the near future? I don’t think so.. all we need now is for SKYPE and APPLE to get their act together and put Skype video on the iPhone 4.


Discover the magic of Northumberland–make Hollyberry Cottage your holiday destination.

Peter Scargill