Vienna Calling, Day 5

Ha! I bet you thought I’d stopped! Sorry, I was doing “other things”…

Day 5 meant it was the beginning of the end. We were now well over 50% through the holiday, and I wanted to cram as much as possible into our last few days in Austria. I did set myself a few goals, such as crossing the Danube on foot (well, over a bridge, but you know what I mean), and buying a Falco CD, but it would appear that the late 80s supserstar has been wipe off the consciousness of the nation. Actually, that isn’t strictly true, I just never saw one proper record shop while I was there.

The day started off with me and Jonathan travelling to use the Ferris wheel we’d visited the day previously Maybe it was the packet of Haribos I’d poured down my neck half an hour before, but I knew one thing, as soon as I stepped foot on the underground, the contents of my guts… erm, headed south for the winter. Touching cloth, as it were.

We were only meant to travel two stops on the underground before changing to another line. Unfortunately, we completely missed this, and before we knew it, we were at the end of the line, and what was even worse, a sign for “WC” was nowhere to be seen. We headed in the opposite direction, and managed to make the change at the correct station. I think I was entirely silent for the entire trip until we reached the wheel. We entered the complex that hosts the wheel, and I ask a nearby security guard where the toilet was. He points me to a set of stairs, leading down to… god only knows.

I waddle down, in the best fashion possible. I reach the bottom of the stairs, only to be greeted with… a turnstile. Yes, a FUCKING TURNSTILE. They wanted me to pay €0,50 for the privilege of desecrating their facilities. I fumble through my pockets, and find that the only coins I had weren’t accepted by this tossing turnstile. I looked around for security cameras, as I probably could have vaulted it easily, but with the position I was in, I thought it’d be best to waddle back upstairs and suffer the ultimate embarrassment… asking Jonathan for a 50-cent coin. He provided me with the appropriate funding, and lets just say, I returned up the stairs a stone lighter, and the next person in the cubicle would have a nasty tiger-stripe to contend with. Turns out it was money well spent. Maybe there are places in England that charge you for the same thing? Dunno. I tend to avoid public bogs wherever possible.

Yes, I’m aware I’ve just typed 300 words on the above subject. It’s just like old times. Anyway, we bought the tickets, and headed off to the wheel. There are displays on the way to it, which display the history of the wheel, which are apparently set out in some of the old carriages that were removed. I’d like to say it was a very detailed history, but some of the lights in the carriages weren’t working Whether this was by design, or whether someone just couldn’t be arsed to change a 60-watter will remain a mystery.

After viewing the history of the wheel, there was only one thing for it, go and see the thing itself. It was still pretty early, so the only people in front of us were a group of (presumably) German tourists, much older than ourselves. They all appeared from the same group, as they all appeared to know each other.

I can give you some technical details about the wheel. It was built in 1897, with a total height of 64.75 metres, and weighs 430 tonnes, or at least the iron does anyway. Yeah, I didn’t remember that. I just brought the free pamphlet back with me.

The ride is best described with photos, as even I am struggling to describe a wheel turning for several minutes.

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Of course, there was the obligatory exit through the sodding gift shop.

Off we went, back to the hotel. After the early start, I was starving, and so was Jonathan. While Chris got himself up and about, me and J just had dinner at the hotel. Jonathan opted for the schnitzel, and I had a chicken breast / ham concoction. It appears that the hotel normally don’t do a lunch menu, at the amount of time it took to prepare it was nobody’s business. It was, however, really nice.

The plan for the afternoon was to visit one of the locations where “The Third Man” was filmed. This was Jonathan’s little interest, so we headed over to Karlsplatz, a mere two stops on “t’ untergrund” from where the hotel was. Now, this particular exhibit was interesting. there was no booking office, just a van, with some guy and his laptop. We inquire about English trips, and find out that all of the tickets must be done online. We get given another pamphlet off the guy, and we look at each other with what to do for the rest of the day.

I’ve always had a bit of an ambition, spanning from (I believe), a 1980s copy of “Your Sinclair”, describing something as being “the best thing this side of the Danube”. Anyway, I wanted to experience the other side of the Danube, and if it really was blue. Oddly, the only use of that “best thing” phrase I can find is on a Star Wars website… Google, you have failed me.

We got on the “purple” line, and headed towards a station close to where the Danube was. We get off the train, and we’re presented with something odd. A completely empty tube station. In fact, there was nobody around. Not a soul. Nothing. It was quite apparent that we’d strayed some distance off the tourist trail, and I loved every second of it.

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The only way to cross the Danube at the point was a footbridge / cycleway underneath the A23. It’s a major road by the looks of it. It would appear we were on the wrong side of the bridge. One side is a cycleway, the other side is a footpath. Turns out we went the wrong side. Never mind. This one was the most scenic, despite the cyclists hurtling past us at a hundred miles an hour. Give or take.

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Som we’re at the bottom of the bridge. It turned out that the Danube is split into two, and that to cross the full river, we have to walk down a cycle path, which would lead us to a footbridge, taking us to the other side. Jonathan inspected a sign, and I agreed that we’d need to head down this path, and we’d soon come across another path in a few hundred yards, and a bridge to complete the journey.

I even managed to get a photograph of my feet in the Danube.

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Well, OK, my boots in the Danube.

A mile and a half later, we finally reach this footbridge. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the walk. It reminded me of the HArt to Haswell walkway to some extent, except that we were in the middle of a city. We ended up in a small suburb, cutting through a park, with some rather dubious looking characters. And it looked like it was about to chuck it down. Thankfully, it remained dry, until we reached the tube station.

It seemed like we’d walked for miles, but Endomondo told us differently. Bah. Now, I have no idea whether these blisters happeened because of my shoes, socks, or just… something else random, but this was the end of my feet. I got back to the hotel room, only to find there were blisters where I’d never had blisters before. Bugger.

Despite this, it didn’t stop us playing pool for another good few hours.

Once again, we headed out in the search for food. After two mights at the “Theatercafe”, we wanted to try something different. I can’t remember the name of the place we went to, but the lady didn’t speak a word of English, yet we still managed to order meals and drinks. I think, I actually pointed at the menu at some point, saying “THAT ONE!” My German has improved drastically, I’m sure you’ll agree.

To complete the night, more booze was poured down our necks at “The Little Stage”, and we headed off back to the hotel, for day 6 would see us (possibly) up to our knees in other people’s “doody”…

Vienna Calling, Day 2

I awoke early, whiich is pretty much traditional for these types of holiday. I think it was about 7AM, which gave me enough time to have a shower, and begin to explore the streets. It became apparent that we were in a pretty suburban area of Vienna. I found this out as I went around looking for a shop that sold toiletries. There was a chemist open. I grabbed what I needed and headed off to the counter. I handed the woman a €10 note. She blurted something in German, I shrugged my shoulders, as if to say “Englisch”? She points to the display on the till. Turns out she was asking if I had the right change.

Of course, I didn’t, as it had all accidentally fallen into the vending machine outside of my hotel room the night before.

“Ah, nein”, I reply, in the best Hartlepudlian accent money can buy. I grabbed a carrier bag, almost completely destroying a nearby display. I pretty much ran out of the shop with my tail between my legs…

OK, that was one shop down. Won’t be going back there. Luckily enough, after wandering around for 5 minutes, I found a Spar. they have them in England. This will do for me.

After stocking up on important items, such as water and coke (the fizzy kind) I headed back to the hotel in almost completely the wrong direction, to the point where I had to turn back on myself and make sure I didn’t get lost.

One thing I did find, and was considered an absolute essential until I actually tried them, were… Paprika Pom-Bears…

Surprisingly, and rather upsettingly, I found them a total disappointment. At €1.49 for, admittedly, a rather large bag, the paprika flavour just wasn’t there as abundantly as I’d liked. Paprika pringles still win in this category, I’m afraid.

Something I did notice over there, and found it pretty interesting, is that the pedestrian crossings all make a certain mechanical ticking sound, rather like a grandfather clock. This speeds up when the “green man” is illuminated. On the way back, I bumped into C+J who were up earlyish, for the first time in the entire trip. I dropped my stuff off at the hotel, and I directed them to the Spar. We then went to a nearby bakery (amusingly named “Anker” – well, amusing to us anyway. Apparently, it’s a chain store of bakeries, rather like Greggs over here.)

One thing we sorted on this full first day, and I’m glad we did, was the transport. Vienna has a decent network of underground trains, trams and buses, and all for €14 for a weeks travel. Please note, however, that the ticket is only valid for that week. It ends on Sunday night, no matter what day you buy your ticket. Buy it on Monday, 7 days travel. Buy it on Sunday, 1 day travel.

One thing they’re very “big” on in Vienna is street art. Some people call it graffiti, some call it vandalism. If you look behind the obvious “tagging”, there’s some fantastic pieces out there.

At the end of the road the hotel was on, was this beauty, which made me laugh every time I saw it…

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We made use of the train tickets, and travelled to Stephansplatz. At this point, the sun was cracking the pavements. Thunderstorms were promised later on in the day, but I couldn’t see it coming, as my body started to dessicate because of the heat. I literally thought my scalp was going to have to be ripped off. It turned out to be some possible reaction with the shower gel / shampoo the hotel had provided me with, as I avoided using this, and I was OK for the rest of the trip.

We walked around and found a place that might have been reasonable. It was on a barge-type of thing. I paid €4.75 for a bottle of water. Strange things happen to your wallet when you’re dehydrated. We headed back up to Stephansplatz to have a look around the shops. this was sort of like the expensive part of London. Shops had watches in the window with 5 figure price tags next to them. Unfortunately, the water had pretty much broke my bank account, so a watch of that price would have to wait for another day.

As promised, the rain moved in a short time later, and the distant rumble of thunder made us, and pretty much everyone else head for the underground and, for us, back to the hotel. I ended up going to bed for a couple of hours, as the heat took it out of me. I’ll say one thing about the beds, they were comfy. I think it consisted of one of those foam mattresses. I tried to show just how comfy they were by doing an action shot of me jumping on one. Unfortunately, it looks more like my belt has an erection. Oh dear.

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Eventually, I awoke, and we played pool on the free table for a short while, before heading out onto the town. One thing we struggled with when it came to finding somewhere to eat was the language. No place had an English menu outside. Chris fancied some noodles. Actually, I did too. Now, Vienna has a permanent market situated on ‘Weiner Strasse” (I don’t know how to get one of those funny double-S things), whjich after wandering around aimlessly for a mile, seemed a good place to check out. We’d learned that a place called “Mr. Lee” did noodles at reasonable prices. We ordered them to take out, but were directed to a table until they were ready, and were provided with a bowl of what can only be described as coconut milk and frogspawn. Jonathan reckoned it was semolina, either way, it was slimy and not something I’d personally order. But it was free, and gave us something to discuss while the noodles arrived.

It was a mile back to the hotel, so me and Chris attempted to eat ours, while Jonathan kept his in the bag. Now, at this point, I’ve never felt so much like a tourist in all of my life. I’m walking down a street I’ve never seem before, eating noodles from a plastic tray, with unknown additional ingredients (green stuff, I think they’re called… vegetables?), while using chopsticks… in the end I just held the tray to my mouth and just pushed the contents in with the chopsticks.

After going back to the hotel for an hour, we headed off to find a bar, and happened to find an “Irish” bar. Nothing was irish about it. Literally, nothing. I purchased 3 bottles of something known as “Gosser”. It was cold, alcoholic and at €3.30, for a 500ml bottle, reasonably priced. It turns out it was more of a sports bar

So, after three bottles of that, we headed off back to the hotel. I watched something about cutting people open on BBC World, and promptly fell asleep… I knew I’d be awake early for day three.

Vienna Calling, Day 1

So, by reading this, you’ll all be glad to know that I made it home from my trip to Vienna safely, though my luggage didn’t. that’s a rant for later on in the week.

The day is 4th September. It is 9AM. I leave Mercuryvapour Towers, with Daddykins, in order to pick Chris and Jonathan up. Just as we’re leaving the gravel driveway… “SHIT, forgot my coat…”, which meant Daddykins had to reverse back up while I fumbled around looking for my keys, grab the afore-mentioned garment, and head back out.

Half way to their house it dawned on me, that the €300 I’d got for the trip was sitting on the table. Whoops. Daddykins was less than impressed, especially because the time it took for c+J to get ready seemed like an age. Really, it was probably only about 15 minutes.

The road to the airport was uninteresting. It’s a journey I’ve made three times now, so I’m expectant at every little thing.

One thing I didn’t expect is that, checking in at the desk next to mine was none other than the entire England cricket team. I’d have been awestruck if I actually knew any of them.

Something I realised while I was in the airport, is that I actually hate them. I seem to remember having this feeling on the way back from Paris. They’re just vast, open spaces, selling you rubbish items. Some guy, who obviously didn’t like his job, attempted to sell me a credit card, while C+J exchanged some money. I saw the Mastercard logo, and I pretty much said “Not interested, but isn’t that the England Cricket team over there”? We both then had a good long chat about famous celebrities who had used the airport recently.

Later on, I passed the same guy, I asked “Have you sold any more yet?” He just shook his head and smiled.

Off we went to check-in, with the obligatory stop ‘n’ search. Waiting in the queue for this is the worst thing possible. Everything you own, including your belt, into a box. You then walk through a metal detector. If it doesn’t beep, you’re OK. If it does, you’re frisked. None of us beeped. Phew. Jonathan had to pay £1 for a little plastic bag to put his toiletries into. Laugh? I almost bought one myself.

Thankfully, there wasn’t much waiting around for the plane to Heathrow, I had enough time to dessimate the facilities (I seem to have a habit of doing this at airports), and then we boarded.

The window seat, as you can imagine was mine. No matter how often I fly on planes, I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of staring inanely out of the window. I’m just a bit gutted that you can’t film the take-off and landing.

Vienna Day 1, the journey there...

In just over an hour, I was in London, or to be more exact, Heathrow Airport. We arrived at the very posh and clean looking Terminal 5. I was hoping we’d fly from there, but no. It was Terminal 3 we were going from. I knew there would be some sitting around and wandering aimlessly at this point, but nothing quite as dull as I was expecting.

We found somewhere to get something to eat. One of those dodgy fake “pub” things. I had a chicken Tikka, Jonathan had the all-day breakfast. Chris sat there, slowly slipping on a pint of coke, staring inanely into the inky abyss. He really doesn’t enjoy flying. I was able to get an internet signal on my phone for the whole time in the airport, so that killed some time. I checked into Foursquare a couple of times

By the time we left England, the sun was setting and the moon was rising, making for some pretty impressive views over the horizon. Unfortunately, the camera couldn’t handle the reflection from the window.

Oh, one thing I must mention about airline travel, or at least BA travel is these:-

Vienna Day 1, the journey there...

They’re like korma flavoured mini poppadoms, and they were awesome. I have a feeling I’ll never be able to buy them anywhere, as they’re plastered all over the front with “Exclusively for British Airways”, but I’m going to look for them. In fact the whole reason I took that photo is so I can spend the most of today looking on the internet to see if I can find them.

So, we arrive in Vienna. My first worry came when we arrived slightly late, the plane was due in at 22:00, but by the time we’d collected baggage, etc, it was 22:45. Chris had thought ahead when he was booking the trip, and arranged a car to collect us. Would the driver be there? Thankfully he was. He introduced himself, but unfortunately, I can’t remember his name.

A drive through the night streets of Vienna told me a couple of things srreetlighting wise. They like the use of domestic fluorescent, metal halide and sodium light the main roads, and mercury is virtually non-existant.

We get to see some of the sights at night, and we drive up to the hotel. Now, I knew the location but everything I’d looked at online game a different name for it. The reason is, that it had just changed hands a couple of months ago. It showed that it was just a couple of months old, as the place was absolutely spotless. You walk through the front door, and you step into something that resembles a nightclub, as the reception desk also doubles up as the hotel’s bar. LED lighting casts violet hues over everything. There is a dining area to the left, chairs and sofas to the right, and behind the reception desk is a pool table. A FREE pool table.

We check in, I was in 318, C+J were in 303. This was great, until we actually went to the rooms. Mine had two beds in it, and theirs only had one, so we simply just swapped, not realising this could cause problems when it came to stuff like room service, and if we got locked out of our rooms. Which it did, later in the week.

So, eventually we get our rooms sorted. I then noticed something amazing. Instead of minibars, six steps away from room was a vending machine. Not just any old vending machine, however, this one served beer…

Vienna, Hotel vending machine

I’d saved a bag of coins from previous holidays, meaning I had €14 to throw inside of this thing. At €2 a bottle, it wasn’t cheap, but this bag of coins was classed as “bonus money”, therefore I’d thrown 6 bottles down my neck, a packet of crisps and a bag of Haribo teddies. I was simply amazed, and if we hadn’t swapped rooms, I’d had never known it was there.

Flying, Fishermen and Flames…

A few of you know why I’ve not been looking forward to this past week. I’m happy to report that it hasn’t been as bad as I imagined.. the last few days should be pretty interesting too.

Anyway,Sunday saw me with Jamie S, Gary, and at a later point in the afternoon, Andy the Iridium Fan, who as usual, will be abbreviated to ATIF, for typing purposes.

Jamie S arrived at mercuryvapour Towers at 8:27, donning a pair of sunglasses and brown chinos. Gary arrived in the Flavmobile, some 11 minutes later. The festivities didn’t start until 10AM, so this gave us 90 minutes to get to Sunderland. Normally, it’s a 20-minute journey, but we had to account for traffic. It was bound to be *packed*.

It took us 25 minutes. Bugger.

We were one of the first to arrive at the Park ‘n’ Ride thing, located near Haversham park. I didn’t actually know this at the time, I just Google Map’d it.

Anyway, we were lucky enough to have a ride on one of the Red Arrows. I felt so priveleged!

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By the time we arrived at the airshow properly, it was about 10AM. We walked along to get money at a nearby Morrisons, after all the cost of anything here would clearly be extortionate, things like this always are. First plan of the day was where to have dinner. Sure, we could rely on the burger vans and stuff, but Gary knew where there was a pub with a carvery which would serve food even though the air show was on. Jamie S spent about a week talking to someone about joining the TA. I can tell that he’s really interested in doing this, as the information she gave him is still in *my* bag!

After buying some books at a charity stall (50p for 2!), we headed up to the carvery… I must admit, the meal was excellent.

Suitably stuffed, we walked back along the seafront and headed onto the beach to watch the first show of the afternoon, the parachutists landing. Now, there was one reason why I mentioned Jamie S’s chinos. they would make us easy to spot in a crowd. And, they did! Andrew D didn’t know we were here at the time, yet he still managed to photograph us…


(It would appear this image is broken. Bugger. If I’m not lazy, I’ll redo it. At some point.)

Jamie S wanted to go to Morrisons again, so me and Gary watched the spitfires from what could possibly the the best vantage point… in the middle of a raised roundabout!

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The view was short-lived, however, as a marshall moved us on a few moments later. Awwww.

Jamie S had exited Morrisons at this point, and we began to make our way down the promenade. The displays continued around us. I used my A480 to record some video, and I gave control of the 450D to Jamie S, in the hope that some good shots of stunt planes flying by would turn up…

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Yeah, thanks. You want a job doing properly….

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the worst picture of me taken on the day. There are worse, much worse. At approximately 3:15, I received a tap on my shoulder. Presumably, it was someone asking me to get out of the way, after all, the seafront was pretty packed. Instinctively, I turn around, only to receive a camera lens in my face…

Yup, ATIF had turned up! Now, the odds of us both meeting up were very slim, due to the size of the event, and apparently a million people there. He even let me borrow his telephoto lens! Otherwise, photos such as these would be impossible…

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Of course, with Andrew being there, there just had to be another embarrassing photo of me taken. Deep down, I quite like this one…

I don’t know why.

Scribbler’s had a big juicy walk

Once again, the walks are going to dominate the blog. It’s the only thing worth blogging about at the moment, and it’s made me get the camera out, which isn’t a bad thing. I’m going to try to compress two walks into one blog post, seeing as I’m so far behind on talking about them. therefore…

6 days ago, I completed the impossible. Well, OK, I did it, so it wasn’t impossible, but to me, in my little ol’d head, it was. for you see, I managed to walk the entire length of the Hart to Haswell walkway. this is something that I have always wanted to do, but have never had the motivation to do it.

Oddly, the walkway doesn’t go anywhere near Hart (the small village on the outskirts of Hartlepool), and it doesn’t touch Haswell neither. If you’re travelling to the start of th walk by car, your best bet is to park at Crimdon, and walk over the footbridge at Hart Station (which is at least a mile from Hart). This gives you the opportunity to pass my most favourite signpost ever…

Unfortunately, the weather for this particular walk was abysmal, therefore there are very few photos. It was foggy and cold.

Probably the highlight of the day was this photo…

It’s Gary. Punching a horse. Oh, okay, he wasn’t really punching it. It was just a combination of low light and camera settings. Made me laugh though. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the huge beast of a horse in the same field, scratching its chin on the wooden fence.

In order to keep this short, I’ll but the rest of the informalities, as I’ve now got two other walks to write about. Unfortunately, the fog didn’t lift. It’s hard to explain how I felt after completing the walk. Exhausted, achy and absolutely overjoyed that I managed the whole thing. I’d been along some of the journey many times before, but never the entire 10 mile stretch.

Endomondo – Hart to Haswell (EDIT: You should be able to view this now – had the privacy set incorrectly!)

I’d be happy to do this walk again when the weather gets just that little bit better. I’m sure there was plenty I could have taken photos of, but thanks to the weather, I never really got the opportunity.

I got the chance, however, to prove where we were…

I’d like to finish, as is traditional, with a photo of a streetlight. It turns out, an old flickr photo of mine is No. 1 search on Google for “Revo Lucidor”. As these are becoming more and more rare in numbers, I was happy to find a few of them living on in Haswell.

That’s your lot. Next stop, Wynyard.

The long walks continue…

Wow. I’m officially two weeks behind when it comes to blogging.

From my previous posting, you’ll notice that I have once again been out on one of my long walks last week, with the company of Gary and Jamie S. This time, the destination, instead of a forest, was the complete opposite… a cliff edge. For you see, we were going to walk from the cliffs at Saltburn, to the relative flatness of the little village of Skinningrove, some three miles away.

Of course, before we were going to attempt anything of this magnitude, it meant a stop-off in Moddlesbrough’s Asda for some eateries. I don’t think I’ve ever been such a depressingly dull supermarket in all of my life. It was awful. the smell outside of the place, however, had me reaching for the Kleenex. Apparently, there was a chinese food factory over the road from the Asda. It was so nice, I was almost tentpegging. I bought the “packed lunch” for everyone… water, crisps, Opal Fruits (I refuse to call them St*rburst), and of course, sausage rolls. They were red-hot, by the way, so I had one of them before anyone else got them.

We arrived in Saltburn. I donated £2 towards the £2.50 parking fee. However, getting up to the cliff edge wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. Well, it was, just an uphill one…

It’s not easy to make out in that photo, but there’s a wood ‘n’ mud staircase, leading up to the top of the hill behind the pub. All three of us were completely knackered by the time we got to the top of it. I think this added a mile to the journey. At least.

Within a few minutes, we began the journey along the cliffs. This was pointed out to us by a particularly interesting sign…

Now, some of you thought I photoshopped the image I uploaded to flickr of a Samaritans sign plastered on Tyne Bridge… nope, these things are genuinely located at suicide hotspots. Oddly, it’s an 0845 number, which means it’s going to cost you if you’re calling from a mobile. Surely paying for the phone call isn’t going to help if you’re about to throw yourself into the murky abyss…

Nothing much happened on the way there. I think I farted a couple of times (wait, think? I know I did!), and Jamie S managed to twat his head off part of a “modern art” sculpture…

I don’t understand what it was, or why it was there. The only animals we could work out included a starfish, a horse and a fox, though the fox could have been a cat. I don’t know. Either way, I missed a “You’ve Been Framed” moment, as Jamie S nearly fell flat on his arse, whilst still clutching that can of Relentless. It appears to be a permanent fixture with him.

It seemed like an age until we arrived at Skinningrove. One thing became clear. The path, after this point was SHIT. It’s hard to explain. Actually, it’s not. It’s another one of those wood ‘n’ mud stair paths, covered in remants from a slagheap, and if your footing left you, the only way was down…

Awmazingly, all three of us survived, and we made it to the bottom. Slight problem was, it suddenly became apparent how far we’d have to travel vertically on the way back…

We tried not to think of that, and instead, headed into Skinningrove with the hope of finding a pub and something to eat. Both were dashed, when we found the town completely deserted, and the only pub shut. Luckily, we managed to find a cafe located in the local community centre. I don’t know what it is, but I just don’t like these type of places. Fair enough, the cuppa I had was perfectly fine, but I felt a bit strange in there as an outsider. I did want food at this point, but it seemed that we were a bit late, so we just had our appropriate beverages and left with a smile.

I’m going to delete the previous posting, so this is the route we took there… Note, I forgot to start Endomondo until we were about 10 minutes into the walk.

So, off we went onto the journey back. None of us were looking forward to the journey back up that hill. It was dodgy enough going down. It would be even dodgier going back up with our weakened legs. The first step was to get off the beach. This was easier said than done, for unlike Gary, me and Jamie decided to walk along the beach. It was great until we tried to get up the sand dune.

I like the way I was more concerned about getting sand in my camera bag than actually getting up the sand dune. This was, quite literally, just the start. I soon realised I was in the same position I was an hour ago when I took that picture.

Words cannot explain how I felt when I got to the top of the hill. Well, they can, if I’m honest. those words are “out of breath, slightly light headed, and overall, amazed I did it without the use of a helicopter”. I wasn’t the only one, however… Gary appeared to be in a world of his own and/or partially unconscuious, while Jamie S spent the next half an hour sucking on his inhaler. Ok, slight exaggerations there, but that hill was something I don’t wish to repeat for a long time.

The wind was to be in our faces on the way back, which means that after the uphill climb, we also had to put up with the wind in our faces. Like everything else, however, the walk back was much better than the way there. We passed landmarks, and we were able to track accurately how long it would be before we were back on the comfort of terra firma. Once again, Endomondo tracked the way back…

You’ll notice the little section where I move closer to the cliff just after the two mile point. That’s because Gary fell over, and I wanted a wee.

The rest of the journey was bathed in the evening sunshine which slowly set against the silhouette of Teesside.

The photos for this walk are here

2010… what a pile of… boring (part 1)

You’ll be surprised to find out that I actually started typing typing this on November 9th. It’s a Tuesday, and the autumn leaves are falling from the trees. By the time you read this, it’ll be 2011, and 2010 will be a long distant memory. And by that, I mean distant by 1 minute. You gotta love scheduled/postponed posts.

Anyway. 2010. after the disaster of 2009, I’ve had a pretty uneventful year. Work is still work, I’m still single, and somewhere along the line, I’ve managed to save money and lose a bit of weight. Yay. Let’s get underway with… 2010 in pictures! I’ll try to choose, wherever possible, my favourite pic of the month which I’ve not put on here previously.

JANUARY 2010

The year started as it ended, with snow. And lots of it. Probably the most snow I’ve seen since I was a wee nipper. For the first week, I don’t think there was a day where there wasn’t some snow on the ground.

I struggled through the freezing conditions, however, to see Accidents By Design play their last ever gig at The Studio…

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Somebody should really sack my cameraman.

FEBRUARY 2010

A month where, quite literally, nothing happened. For the first time in a long while, the entire monthly archive fitted on one page. I don’t know why I linked to it, because it’s not really worth reading, unless you want to know more about “ass knives”. In this month, I took 5 photos, and 3 of those were of the local hospital…

Hartlepool hospital pics, 6th Feb 2010 This was the one used.

I got paid for use of the pic, so it’s not all doom and gloom! The removal and replacement of the ancient streetlights on Lancaster Road and Clarence Road also began…

MARCH 2010

The month of long walks, and the month where I broke my Acer camera…

Acer Image

As mentioned in the previous month, the remaining old columns from Lancaster Road, and Clarence Road, got removed. Andy The Iridium fan saved one of the lanterns for my collection. Awesome!

Also, for some unknown reason, my right foot started giving me a hell of a pain. There was no rhyme or reason behind it. I hadn’t jarred it, sprained it, anything. It wasn’t even swollen…

My foot fooking hurt for some unknown reason

APRIL 2010

This shall be the month that is recognised solely for my change in hairstyle. Or rather, the admission that I am indeed, going rather bald…

Me holding a GEC Z5590

A trip to Jedburgh also saw me break my personal camera-to-flickr record of 11 minutes, though it did involve me knowing where there was a good, free wi-fi connection, and lugging the laptop in the back of the car with me. It was six months ago. It seems so primitive. I also stole a chilli from Tesco.

MAY 2010

Just looking at the thumbnails in this months collection brings back fond, and harrowing, memories.

Let’s start of with the fond…

Giz yer paw

And then move onto the harrowing….

Those photos are, of course, the aftermath of the “huge wasp” incident of 2010. There’s at least one of these a year, and I always almost end up with brown streaks running down the back of my leg. I used two cans of fly-killer to take care of this little bastard. I’d have loved to have been able to get better photos on it, but the “delivery” of my little Canon didn’t take place until May 27th.

Despite the whole new camera situation, the biggest change had to be the construction of a new door for the off-shot. I’m not sure which I enjoyed more, the manual labour, of the fact that me and Daddykins actually did something together for once.

JUNE 2010

I’m really struggling to think of something exciting that happened in this month. I lost my headphones in a field. Twitter was dominated with ITV’s shocking coverage of the World Cup, awful weather, and a half-cooked chicken lying in the middle of Warren Road…

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This was the only time in the whole year I played darts.

The rest of the year continued, with a faint glimmer of hope that something exciting may happen… you’ll need to wait for Part 2, which should be on here some time tomorrow…