Life at the end of the road

October 14, 2012

Sunderland to South Shields :-)

Filed under: daily doings, South Shields — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:25 am


Three tins of soup, two bowls of Bran Flakes, one tuna sandwich, half a gallon of Lucozade, two toilet rolls and six days later I’m feeling almost human again. Despite only eating around one days rations in almost a week I can’t say that my appetite has returned yet, but at least I’m at the cooking stage now and not just heating tins. Nothing particularly exciting, just some asparagus and boiled spuds with a salad but it’s a start.

Well, that’s that out of the way and very nice it was too, just left a few spuds to fry for breakfast, or at least that’s the plan. It has in short been a carp week of the greatest magnitude, a half day on Tuesday that started at 13:00 being the only reason that I actually made it into college at all. Wednesday’s day in the classroom being achieved only by not actually having to learn anything,  just getting through it without an accident was enough.

The real test came on Thursday with ‘the hairy bikers’, a full day on my feet filing and trying to catch up after missing Monday, we don’t even get any breaks with these dudes Sad smile In the class at 8:45 and out at 16:15 with 45mins for lunch if we’re lucky. Anyway, I made it on just one tuna sandwich and a tin of soup, finishing my pipe wrench and even making a start on the door bolt Smile I do hope the MV Hallaig arrives with a missing door bolt somewhere then I can fit mine Smile

I can just see a place for it in there Smile

Friday arrived as a bit of a surprise, for it was the alarm that awoke me, rare indeed is it that I need a clock to awaken me, even more so of late. My half hourly rendezvous with the ‘Porta Potti 165’ ensuring that I’ve had little sleep this last week, even though I’ve spent the vast majority of it in bed. How glad am I now, that I brought my caravan down here, it’s less than two steps to the loo in the old Thompson Glenelg Smile So that was a good start to the day and it continued in that vain, longer gaps between visits, a returning appetite and back in my bed early, this time for a sound and uninterrupted sleep.

A week at the movies

One thing about the bug, it’s kept me in one place long enough to watch some great films, and I use that term in the full knowledge that ‘great’ is a matter of opinion for all the films I really like are seldom in English and rarely have a ‘beginning, middle or end’.

Though this one may be in German but it has three, ‘beginning, middles and ends’ that is Smile

Run Lola Run

I saw it at Eden Court and came out of the theatre breathless Smile A kind of ‘Sliding doors’ meets ‘Trainspotting’ with a pumping techno soundtrack. I knew I was going to like it when the first thing that greeted me on the screen was one of my favourite quotes by TS Eliot

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.


Another favourite but in English with definitely a beginning, several dozen middles and no end in sight, for Guy Pearce at least is this cracker 


though you will have to watch it about six times Smile Words fail me on this movie because it is truly original.

Another German film from Tom Tykwer and also featuring Franke Potente 

The fickle hand of fate brings two damaged minds together (eventually), a love story with a difference that’s for sure Smile

Also on the list was a host of Cohen brothers epics, from to , though I’m still looking for a copy of their first masterpiece from 1984 ‘Blood Simple’ which I’ve not seen in twenty years.

A full week on

Well believe it or not I’ve been here three weeks now, so around of the third of the way through my sentence and a full week since I devoured the dodgy cod in Tynemouth.


I thought I was ‘fixed’ yesterday but despite making a start on here to try and write it all down I just couldn’t seem to get it together and went to bed early, probably worn out after my epic walk. Though in all honesty I undertook the eight or nine mile hike from Sunderland to South Shields only by chance.

My mate was heading into Sunderland so I hitched a lift, only intending to go down the coast a few miles to Whitburn but ending up in Sunderland itself, or at least the edge of the toon.


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I’d already walked into South Shields to do some stuff at the Post Office, get shopping and spend an hour or so wandering around the Museum/art gallery on Ocean Rd It’s not a large one by any means but contains enough local history and exhibits to be worth further investigation. At the moment they have a portrait on loan from Qatar museums of

Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (1701–1773), also known as Job ben Solomon, was a famous Muslim who was a victim of the Atlantic slave trade. Born in Bondu, Senegal West Africa, Ayuba’s memoirs were published as one of the earliest slave narratives, that is, a first-person account of the slave trade, in Thomas Bluett‘s Some Memories of the Life of Job, the Son of the Solomon High Priest of Boonda in Africa; Who was enslaved about two Years in Maryland; and afterwards being brought to England, was set free, and sent to his native Land in the Year 1734.

After my wanderings around South Shields and a week in bed getting dropped off eight or so miles south of ‘The Village’ was probably a little ambitious but I was in no rush, the sun was shinning and there are no shortage of benches along the way Smile


My first glimpse of Sunderland Smile


It certainly looked more promising where I was heading past Whitburn and it’s now disused rifle range.


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At one time the path was closed here during practice, the ‘back stops’ are still clearly visible in the picture on the right and judging by the lack of growth on the ‘live’ side it can’t have been out of use that long. Either that or there is so much lead and copper in the soil nothing will grow, probably well worth visiting with a trowel at todays scarp prices Smile

rifle range

Or you could always just buy it great place for a Butlins  Smile



It’s a very easy walk along the cliff tops with nice views of sea stacks reefs and natural arches but to be honest not a patch on home.



The shallow north sea lacking the clarity of the north west coast and being a kind of ‘weak tea’ brown as opposed to the  ‘gin with a hint of lime’ that enables you to spot a scallop at 25m. If you were diving in these waters you’d know you were on the bottom when you hit it with your head Sad smile








Probably about halfway along the walk at Lizard point you come to Souter lighthouse


the first light ever to be constructed to run off AC electricity. As Souter point is to the south and the light actually on Lizard point I was a little puzzled, however according to Wiki (and it makes sense)

The lighthouse is located on Lizard Point at Marsden, but takes its name from Souter Point, which is located a mile to the south. This was the intended site for the lighthouse, but it was felt that Lizard Point offered better visibility, as the cliffs there are higher, so the lighthouse was built there instead. The Souter Lighthouse name was retained in order to avoid confusion with the then recently built Lizard Lighthouse in Cornwall.

Just to the north of here on what are now flat green fields was the once thriving colliery village of  Marsden village, some 135 houses and a Co op


Not a trace survives as it was demolished when the mine closed in 1968

A little further north the old Marsden lime kilns



though long disused there is still a huge open cast lime quarry working right behind them !!

marsden quarry

The kilns are just by that shadow, top centre where it says A183 and that flat green area north of the light where the village stood.

Talk about surreal

The next stop had me feeling like I’d been partaking of magic mushrooms or wacky baccy.



At the foot of the very cliffs of Marsden bay itself has to be the most bizarre restaurant in the land, perhaps continent, the ‘Marsden Grotto’ is well, unique built into the cliffs and hewn out over centuries it has had a very interesting history .



How on earth they keep the water out of this place is a mystery to me, after all limestone is porous and the tide laps the terrace.


However, they do and the place is warm dry, cosy



and they do an excellent hot chocolate, I’m still unable to face alcohol, but that’s hardly a bad thing Smile


the brief ‘trip’ being rounded off by two Muslim ladies on the beach with a pram, it’s an awful long way back up those stairs to the road Smile

That’s it really, walked the last mile or two home, had my asparagus and spuds, plonked away  on here and went to bed. Awoke this morning full of enthusiasm for a trip to Whitley Bay but the day has let me down. Raasay is bathed in sunshine but it’s quite showery here so I can’t see me going far Sad smile

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