Friday 19 April 2024


During the second week of our spring break, we spent two nights in Durham. I had never been before. I think the closest I'd been previously, must have Beamish, while on a trip with primary school. This was when Johnathon, my best friend at the time, brought back a lump of coal from the mine, as a gift for his sister :) It's funny what you remember isn't it? 

We set off mid morning, stopping at Barnard Castle on the way to have some lunch. After a walk along the river, we enjoyed our picnic overlooking the castle.  The daffodils were all in flower, and looked lovely, albeit a little windswept. The sky was definitely looking more than a little grey, but luckily we managed to eat our sandwiches before it began to rain.There was just enough time to have a wander along the main street, where we visited a small cafe for hot chocolate, before we were on our way once again. 

Arriving in Durham late afternoon, we checked into our hotel and went for a gentle walk along the river, then straight through the city centre, past the castle and cathedral. The presence of the university there was quite obvious, as the whole city had a student vibe, and everyone we encountered was incredibly warm and friendly. By this time, the sun was shining and it felt wonderful to feel the warmth on our skin. It didn't take long before we were back at the hotel, as the city itself is really quite small. Then, knowing there was very little chance of me getting lost, I retraced our steps alone, but this time went a little bit further, and wearing my running shoes. After all, I didn't want to miss out any of my training, if I didn't have to.

The following day, the rain came, which wasn't too much of a issue, given that we had already planned to look around the cathedral. And it certainly didn't disappoint. It is a large, impressive building and has the most beautiful stained glass windows. We walked all around the Nave, Chapels and Transepts, then through to the Chapter House and the Cloister, which was apparently used as a filming location for one of the Harry Potter films. But that was a little lost on me, seeing as I have never seen any of them. 

There was even a model of the cathedral made entirely from Lego. 
Also, while we were there, we each made a paper Peace Dove, which are to be included in an art installation later in the year. The plan is to suspend fifteen thousand paper doves from the Nave, each with a message of peace, love and hope written on their wings.

We spent the whole morning at the cathedral, but probably could have stayed for longer. I would have quite liked to have gone up The Central Tower, but unfortunately it was closed while we were there. That afternoon, we explored the city some more, and enjoyed a look around the visitor centre, which is situated right next door to the castle. The city is steeped in history, and they had so many interesting artefacts on display.

After a  tasty fish and chip supper, we spent another night at the hotel, then the following day, before heading for home, we took a drive out to the coast at Seaham. The beach at Seaham is well known for it's sea glass, so we thought a morning searching the shore line would be fun. Although it was a bright, sunny start to the day, it was a good thing we were well wrapped up, as the see breeze was making us feel rather chilly. The rough pebbly beach made walking along the shore a little tricky at times, but we weren't in any rush, stopping regularly to collect the tiny pieces of smooth coloured glass. And I couldn't believe just how much we found. Only yesterday, I found another piece right in the corner of my coat pocket! 

It was a lovely couple of days, and we will definitely be returning to the north east later in the year.

This week has seen the start of Lily's final term at primary school, and already it seems to be going fast. There will be a lot of changes and challenges for both of us in the months to come, but my first challenge will be at the weekend...

Oh, and I've also spotted my first bluebells of the season.

J. X