Life at the end of the road

October 2, 2012

How far sowf must one go :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:21 pm

I am indeed well and truly stuffed tonight peeps, all that walking I’ve done today in the aid of getting fit has been to no avail for I am now bursting out of my combats and into my wacky ‘Skye Batiks’

020511 007

OK, not those exact ones but a pair equally daft and loose fitting, and boy, do I need them tonight.

The day here in sunny South Shields has been pretty good, in fact by Raasay standards it’s been boodly marvellous and I never fail to be amazed at what the ‘locals’ do or should I say ‘do not’ wear. Either they breed them very hardy down here in ‘The Republic’ or the weather is much kinder Smile Taking advantage of the early finish, that’ll be early by both my and CalMac’s standard and not ‘student standard’ I went for a wander around this historic town. My intention being to meet up with my ‘back to back’ for a traditional English supper in a fine establishment on Ocean Road that had caught our eye, . He was hoping for a fine haddock and me I had a hankering for a steak pudding, the first thing that I noticed about my adopted home some 25 or so years ago was that you could not get a steak pudding there, in fact you would struggle to find a Scottish chippy that supplied gravy let alone mushy peas. In deep and darkest Lancashire steak pudding was as much a part of life as Fred Dibnah, cloth caps, black pudding and cotton mills. So the first thing I always did on arrival in Accrington on my rare returns was to order ‘Steak pud, chips peas and gravy’ usually from the chippy on Burnley Road,

Front view The Chippy 

blow me, it’s still there !!! Now I must hasten to add that the image of the grub comes from here and not Burnley Rd ‘Chippy’ the ‘men eat pies’ blog seems to be an amusing tour of the ‘deep sowf’ by some dudes that thrive on pies and beer, that particular offering coming from Southampton!!!! I was just perusing over the fact that the combined ages of the three dudes that headed home this weekend from South Shields to Skye was 159 years, i wonder how many inches the combined waistlines of ‘men who eat pies’ is Smile Smile

Here’s the 6000t container ship Pirita departing but I’m not sure if that was before I left for college (again) or on my return


This ‘wee dug’ however I met on the way Smile


even though she was fourteen years old and blind she reminded me of Molly, tragically her owner could not remember her name as he’d recently had a stroke Sad smile I do hope I meet them again, would be nice to get to know them.

So after unburdening my baggage I set off on an adventure



past the deserted ‘Ocean Beach Pleasure Park’ and out towards the ‘Groyne’ and its beacon



a groyne is more usually a series of wooden structures to prevent ‘long shore drift’ but this was a far more substantial affair erected in the 1830’s to prevent the mouth of the Tyne silting up. It’s just amazing the carp that sticks in your head, I can’t remember whether to go to college am or pm yet I remember ‘long shore drift’ from secondary school!!

The 7000t bulk carrier Raraka was anchored a couple of miles north of the harbour entrance


along with the 7400t Alexandra


From here I followed the coast around


past the ‘Spirit of Northumberland’ and then back inland towards the the old Roman supply base, Fort Arbeia



passing a couple of Russian Crimean ‘44 pounders’ on the way, or at least the replicas thereof Smile


Unfortunately the Roman fort closed yesterday and won’t be open until April, no wonder they had bother with folk ‘north of the border’ if they shut up shop in the winter Smile From what I’ve seen of South Shields it strikes me as not a great deal has changed in the 1500 years since the Romans left Smile I don’t mean anything derogatory by that but in 200AD the place would have been full of Turks, Arabs and Europeans from throughout the empire. For it was Roman policy to garrison their forts with troops from ‘out of town’ so to speak. When I first heard of this some forty years ago I always had a vision of some legionnaire from Iraq freezing his nuts off in a skirt on Hadrian’s wall Smile


This wonderful painting at my next ‘port of call’ with its ethnic diversity saying it all Smile for my next stop was ‘Colman’s chippy’ on Ocean Road



where they even tell you which boat has caught your fish Smile

Bjorguin EA311


OK, they don’t do steak pudding Sad smile but three hours later I’m still stuffed from their monster haddock, chips and peas served by Magda and cooked to perfection by I know not who Smile I only wish I’d taken a picture of the feast.

So despite checking every chippy on Ocean Road I failed to find a steak pudding, are there any in the Republic at all ?????


Judging by this video I just found these folk are far too near Scotland to produce a steak pudding Smile Well done Chloe Smile



  1. Indeed there are… Try, they do the “bog pie” proper suet pudding steak and mushroom pie….did have a picture in one of my blogs but. can’t remember which one..

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — October 2, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

    • Hmmmmm ‘Bog Pie’ I could cope with that, think we passed close by on the A69???

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 3, 2012 @ 6:50 am

      • you did, close to haydon bridge..

        Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — October 3, 2012 @ 7:19 am

  2. You’ll have to try saveloy & pease pudding too !

    Comment by mike — October 2, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

  3. Marks and Spencers do a good steak and kidney pudding if there is a M&S nearby.Bloomin` hungry now 🙂

    Comment by Andy — October 2, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

    • Morning Andy, bound to be one nearby, will keep an eye out for it, I can just see it now, takeaway chips, peas and gravy from a a ‘pud in the oven’ so to speak 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 3, 2012 @ 6:55 am

      • Just like a mirage featuring a steak pud.You`ll be wandering off over the Pennines next. Arriving in Accrington, your clothes in tatters from the journey, you will finally join the queue at The Chippy Burnley Rd 🙂

        Comment by Andy — October 3, 2012 @ 8:19 am

  4. Thinking of you not having a fridge in the van made me remember I took one out of ours in the summer, if you want it let me know, works on gas with 12v ignition and can be wired to be powered by the landrover when on the move. Works Ok just wanted one that was not dependant on 12volt to start it as we may be on some non electric sites next year and the caravan battery is suspect.

    By the way, have you got skype sorted yet?

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — October 3, 2012 @ 1:26 am

    • Morning Graham, thanks for the fridge offer but I’m just going to look around for one that plugs into a cig lighter for now, perhaps you could fetch it along when you head to Raasay 🙂 Got the Skype sorted but it’s not great via the satellite link, though that could have been yesterdays weather at home.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 3, 2012 @ 6:58 am

      • No problem , will bring it with us when we head to Rassey if its is still here. In the meantime have you tried putting the left overs into a sealed box or bag and sticking them in a cold bucket of water, mum and dad used that trick when we went camping when I was a kiddie!
        Hadn’t thought about satalite connection causing problem with Skype, could well be the weather that is doing it. Keep trying its cheaper than a phone call!
        Off to bed now before wife gets all many again about me staying up all night and sleeping half the day, hard habit to break having worked constant nights for most of my working life and no I am not that old, just diaability put and end to working! Sometimes how I managed to fit things in when I was!
        Take care and have a good day!

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — October 4, 2012 @ 12:21 am

      • Hi Graham,

        my good neighbor and fellow caravaner from Raasay has just lent me a 12v one but to be honest it’s too boodly noisy. I’ve settled for leaving everything that needs kept cool in the wee toilet cupboard, on that shelf above the window. It’s got louvered windows so I can keep them open and it’s nice and cool, I’ve just had to modify my ‘siege mentality’ 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 4, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

      • Sounds like the best option, we tried a 12volt fridge box and had the same problem, amazing just how much noise they give off in the quiet of the night, tried putting it outside for a night but it was still as annoying. Glad you have something sorted, the old Louvre windows win the day!

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — October 17, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

      • Better would be to wrap the box in a wet towel and let the evaporation do the cooling. Probably end up with a caravan full of condensation mind 🙂

        Comment by San — October 4, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  5. Not go to a bordello!!?? With your back??!! I should think not.


    Comment by Anne Macdonald — October 3, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

  6. Hi Paul, Some very fine pipers around Rothbury way. We lived there for a bit back in late 1980s. LVP, our daughter was at school there for a bit. She loved it. And some great local musicians too. Kathryn Tickell etc……..

    Comment by Iain — October 3, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  7. Hi Paul, “Men eat pies” Could you just imagine how even with the distance between pubs etc how the pie eating/beer drinking group would get on if they visited Skye. Between the excuses of the cost and the lack of decent beer available I think that they would abandon the idea. Even in the “high season” the island seems to sadly lack the basic decent priced, decent “amount on the plate” that most or all of the island visitors look for. Enjoy the food down sowf even if it does cause a waistline problem. When I’ve mentioned the prices of food on the mainland to some of the Skye pub landlords they just shrug and say “well you know where to go” This season has been poor on Skye and yet again all the usual excuses are quoted. And they wonder why the visitors from abroad (campervans/caravans) come loaded with “stuff” from home. Apologies for using your site to rant on about this, but it’s all true. I just wonder how the final score would read. Arthur

    Comment by arthur — October 3, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

    • Never a truer word spoken Arthur, £2 here will buy you a massive freshly made sandwich and a tenner a fine meal served courteously, dunno about beer right enough but the rest of the chaps aren’t complaining 🙂 Dunno about ‘rip off Britain’ but it’s certainly ‘rip off Skye’ 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 3, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

  8. Hi Paul! As always, fascinated to read your blog and keep up to date with things. Been meaning to leave a reply earlier to say your in my neck of the woods – noticed your video of the piper in Rothbury, that’s where i hail from! The music festive here is fantastic and gets quite a gathering now! I used to work down in Newcastle and drove me bus there almost every day from the village here until recently. I agree whole hartidly with your sentiments of ‘Shields’ though…its some place haha.
    Keep up the good blogging!
    Regards, Steve (Ships of CalMac).

    Comment by Steve Hurst — October 4, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

    • Hi Steve, there is indeed much of interest down here, no wonder you’re interested in ships with all this lot on your doorstep. Keep up the good work on Love the ‘Duracell’ thread 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 6, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

  9. Don’t underestimate the resourcefulness of the men who eat pies. We’ll be up your way some time soon! Meanwhile I’ll see if I can measure our combined waistlines, and get back to you.

    Comment by Pieman — March 5, 2014 @ 7:47 pm

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