"Aye, if ya think on, aye"
I walked out of the shop grinning from ear to ear and reciting "Here, hare here" repeatedly - one of my favourite lines from the Richard E. Grant / Paul McGann cinematic classic and then bought fish and chips from a chippy tagged with "National junior fryer award, 2010" and ate it contentedly in the car knowing it had almost certainly been fried by a very talented pre-teen. We look down our noses at the child labour and sweat shops of Asia yet triumph in putting our own youth to work in the unhealthiest of environments and for that, Great Britain, I salute you.
Next stop: Barnard Castle via a tank depot on the A66 and some gorgeous scenery. It's a really lovely place peopled by some of the most inbred-looking folk I have ever seen in my life. The American visibly winced when one pair of local unfortunates crossed the road in front of us. I'd never seen anything like it either but didn't want to let on that I was also terrified. The castle itself is fantastic and is one of a string of them in the area built to hold back the Scottish hordes.
|Barnard Castle - it is a long way in the background. I am not actually a giant. I like the fact we built a park bench so the Picts had somewhere to sit.|
|Ho Buffet! A Chines restaurant and NOT the smorgasbord of prostitutes I was hoping for|
|Perusing the menu of the Ho Buffet. Hmm... I'll have two Thais and a Chinese, please...|
On Sunday we met up in Wallsend with my mate Graeme and his wife Barbara for lunch. Graeme has an interesting enterprise delivering vegetable boxes to the chattering classes of Gosforth. Each box is accompanied by an A4 sheet depicting the herb/fruit of the week with a piece of creative writing to accompany it. Graeme has always been something of a poet and some of the write ups are brilliant (And very funny). Here's a sample box:
|Look I'm not showing off but I got a butternut squash in my one as well...|
|Tynemouth Priory. Old stuff, officially|
...And to hopefully track down a bit of Hadrian's Wall to complete the American's three-day review of our Northern and Western defences. We did but only on the way back to Wallsend (The clue is indeed in the name)
|The last bit of Hadrians Wall. Also pictured - Hadrian's railings and some of Hadrian's temporary fencing.|
|Jesse Rae and his two comedy backing singers who Scottish danced and giggled their way through the entire thing. He kept his helmet on throughout.|
|The second support band were so rubbish they made me properly angry|
This all made me suspect The Ant was only going to do a shorter set. I needn't have worried. The backing band "The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse" arrived first and broke into the throbbing, pulsating intro of one of his oldest songs, "Plastic Surgery". The rest is a delicious two hours plus blur of mainly "early stuff" greatness, a real "Set for the fans" and a couple of lengthy encores that left a capacity crowd very happy indeed. My own highlight was "Kings Of The Wild Frontier" that I thought showed up very early in the set, really, particularly as it somehow sounded a little "bigger" than the rest of the gig. A fat girl with too much hair kept barging into me for no apparent reason. Eventually The American grabbed hold of her and said "F*** off, you obese cow". Stunned, she relented and we moved over to the bar a little later anyway.
|Adam Ant - still looking - and sounding - incredible. If you don't believe me, bear in mind he is in his mid-50s. Do YOU know anybody approaching 60 years old who looks this good? I don't.|