Sunday, 28 September 2008

Farewell drinks

YC gave a presentation at Holy Saviours Church about his plans for the year off. The title of the presentation was "wine women and song". However lest readers think the title too racey (surely not), YC can reassure them that the wine was a photo of his 40th in Norwich, the women featured Denise and Joannae in the Bacchus, and the song was "Blimey Blimey John Duff's 40", all of which have already appeared in this august publication. Phew.

Afterwards, YC adjourned to the Tap & Spile public house in North Shields where a merry evening ensued (see photos). For the avoidance of doubt, YC did not drink several pints of Deuchars, play the piano, or sing "My Brother Sylvest". That was just a figment of some people's imaginations.

Whernside Fell Race

YC finished his fellracing season with The Whernside Fell Race - a fast 12 miler from Dent that climbed Whernside and Great Coum. It was a glorious day as this photo from the race field shows. Afterwards, a posse from Northumberland Fell Runners adjourned to the George & Dragon to sample the local Dent Brewery Ale. YC tried the Golden Fleece (3.7% ABV), strictly out of a sense of duty of course, and can report that it was tip top.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

84 Charing Cross Road

YC saw the play "84 Charing Cross Road" at the People's Theatre this evening. It's a wry set of letters sent between Helene Hanff in New York and a bookshop - Marks & Co - at 84 Charing Cross Road. At the end of the play, the book merchant at Marks & Co (Frank Doel) dies and the shop has to close. This left YC wondering - who or what occupies 84 Charing Cross Road now? A pint of beer awaits the first reader to e-mail the answer - photographic evidence if possible please.

UPDATE - Andy Angel reports that it was a jazz cafe last time he visited (though that was in the 1990's and as Andy says "I'm getting old"). Can anyone else give some recent info?

YC thought that the social secretary of the People's Theatre Group - Katrina - looked slightly glum. Could it have been a stressful day at the office? (no such worries for YC of course). No, it was even worse. She didn't know about The BN Blog and had been missing her fix of must-read stories. Happily, this was an easy problem to cure and she now knows all about it. Indeed YC last saw her racing from the theatre doors in order to read the latest BN without any further delay - if only all readers were so keen.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

The Yare Navigation Race

YC was back on Mimosa for another shot at The Yare Navigation Race on the Norfolk Broads. Last year there was hardly any wind. This year...there was hardly any wind AND the tide was adverse. It made for a rather slow sail. Some boats started at 5am when there wasn't a breath of wind. Mimosa left at 7 30 am and was also becalmed. After drifting downriver for a few hours, we retired at Langley Woods where all the boats were stuck in the wind-blanket of the trees. It was a race for the "big boats" - Achievement won and Breeze was second.

Here's a photo of Mimosa's crew - Lois, Andy and Dave - with the yacht Beth in the background.
These photos show how still it was.
Mimosa drifting downriver. Photo from Jennie Child on Privateer (number 127).

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

In London for Jokes and Morning Prayer

YC met up with some of his friends in the south east. First on the list was Andy Angel who YC knows from St Peters College, Oxford. Andy lives in Rochester and lectures for the south east equivalent of the North East Ordination Course (who trained my father). Andy is obviously following in YC's footsteps - Monday was his day off - and so there was time for a leisurely lunch with his wife Favi washed down with red bush tea and Chilean white wine. However unlike YC, Andy had been working at the weekend with church/ordination duties. YC took great delight in telling Andy's sons - Sebastian and Jason - his in-house jokes. What do you call a one-eyed dinosaur? D'yathinkhesaurus!

In the evening, YC rendevouzed with Giles Kennedy, another pal from St Peter's for a beer at the Hole in the Wall pub, Waterloo. Afterwards they took a stroll along the river and past the Houses of Parliament. Some tourists were posing for photos in front of Big Ben - how tacky.

On Tuesday, YC met Marshall Crawford - a pal from North Shields pub days. They visited St Bartholomew The Great's church (very impressive) before taking the Dockland Light Railway through Canary Wharf to Greenwich. There they called in at The National Maritime Museum (well worth a visit - it's free and excellent). A sailing dinghy built by Dave Ovington (who sailed at Tynemouth Sailing Club) was on display. It's an Olympic class yacht known as a 49er - here it is.

On Wednesday, YC attended the church closest to St Paul's youth hostel where he was staying. It just happened to be St Paul's Cathedral. Top tip - arrive early for the 7 30 morning prayers and stand under the dome - there's no-one else about.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

of dates and limes

YC took a trip down south to see his brother James & family (pictured above) in Wonersh. After being greeted with a welcoming cup of tea, his eye drifted in the direction of the drinks cabinet. So when he was offered another tea, his spirits rather drooped. However he was instantly revived when the second tea turned out to be Traditional English Ale from the Hogs Back Brewery.

On Saturday, he joined the Wonersh Duffs on a trip to Earlsfield for lunch with their friends Dosser & Helen. This was a splendid feast. But YC was slightly puzzled by the offerings on the starter plate. Was it usual down south to serve dates and limes as a warm up for the main course? Happily Katie saved YC's blushes by pointing out that the dates were in fact sun-dried tomatoes, and the limes figs. Of course they were, YC was just testing.

The Sunday was another beautiful sunny day - the summer rain had finally been banished. So YC was able to recall his mis-spent youth on Tynemouth beach by building a series of tunnels in the sandpit, all of which was under the careful tutelage of Matthew Duff. Wonersh has never seen such an engineering edifice - good was not the word.

Monday, 8 September 2008

NDB at Sewingshields

The Ben Nevis Race was YC's first as a veteran (he knows he doesn't look that old - readers are too kind) and it would seem that age is catching up on him. His quads are now so sore that walking down stairs is a painful exercise. He did his best to hobble round after the NDB on Monday at Sewingshields (near Housesteads on the Roman Wall), but it was a rather slow process.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Ben Nevis Race

YC ran the Ben Nevis Race on Saturday. It's a 10 mile out and back route from Fort William up Britain's highest peak (4406 feet). The route takes the tourist path on the first section, then heads straight up the side of the Red Burn on the upper section eschewing the usual zig zags (just visible on the screes in the photo upper middle). It took YC 1 hours 28 mins to the top, then a leg-rattling 40 minutes to descend. YC was swapping places with Dave Atkinson from Northumberland Fell Runners (NFR) until Dave got ahead on the final road section, and here they are at the finish. YC finished in2 hours 8 mins, 149th out of about 450 runners.

The evening prize giving was preceded by the Lochaber Schools Pipe Band who warmed up the presentation with numbers such as Mairi's Wedding, The Old Rustic Bridge, and Highland Cathedral. Naturally, YC didn't enjoy this at all and definitely did not sing along.

After that, NFR decamped to the Ben Nevis Inn where there were 3 bonuses: a free ceilidh, Red Macgregor (an individual of 4.0% character), and a late licence. A quiet night ensued...

All runners received a certificate for completing the race. YC appreciates that his sartorial style might not be bang up to date. But he hastens to reassure readers that he is not pictured in the certificate.

There's another account and some more photos at from Old Cheviot (a close relative of YC).