Wednesday 18 June 2014


I stayed for 24 hours in Newcastle - my first visit to the area. I didn't know whether to treat it as a photography holiday or a writer's retreat. I ended up reading and being a tourist. I found this spiral poem on the pavement close to where we parked my car - outside Newcastle University's library, I think.

I'd planned to photograph night-life, but after an evening meal at a world all-you-can-eat buffet I fell asleep before 10pm. Next day I had a buffet breakfast then dashed to the train station where groups of smartly-dressed people were waiting to catch an early train South - a palace garden party? The races?

I used the Metro and trains to see Sunderland, the Stadium of Light, Durham (where there was a 4-floor Oxfam bookshop with many poetry books and magazines) and the coast. Near Tynemouth there was this abandoned swimming pool.

Later, back in Newcastle I found a "Books for Amnesty" shop, then walked over the Tyne Bridge (roof gardens and kittiwakes beneath me, a note about the Samaritans half way along) to Gateshead (where Defoe spent a while), watched the Millennium bridge rise, went up the Baltic tower, and looked for Morden Tower (which has a literary history). Beside the walls were the backs of Chinatown restaurants and their ventilated smells.

The football stadium and the bridges can be seen from many parts of the city. Also quite a common sight were groups of party-goers (all-male or all-female) in good voice. Bouncers have a full-time job.

I wasn't in the mood for writing, but I can take photos in any mood. They'll come in useful for writing eventually. I finished a poetry magazine ("The Dark Horse") and read most of an Italian novel ("Se chiedi al vento di restare"), returning home just in time for the England vs Italy game.

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