South Shields Folk Club.
Its Sunday, and in the world of John Thompson, that means Sunday Roast. We left Jacey's and came down the side of the Pennines on the lookout for John's quarry, a carvery. The idea of roast is quite thoroughly entrenched across the UK, and pretty much any pub that can do food will do a roast on Sunday. After a couple of false starts, we found a place called the Black Bull, which had a beautiful carvery with lots of vegies.
The drive north is beautiful, and as the clouds began to clear and the sky got higher and bluer, our spirits lifted. All the young spring growth glows in the sunlight, and the fields and towns are pretty. Coming into Gateshead, we drove past the welcoming open arms of the Angel of the North, the sculpture that is human, plane and indomitable spirit all in one.
We had a Travelodge room again, and John's voice is still tender from his cold, so he went straight to bed for a rest. I went for a walk and discovered we were opposite Newcastle Racecourse at Gosforth Park. It was once used as a scout and guide camp too, in amongst the spreading woodlands, and I had a pleasant walk along inviting paths through the woods.
We took the Tyne Tunnel to South Shields, and had dinner in a pub with Susan and Malcolm Craven, champions of the Northumbrian smallpipes, and organisers of the Singing Weekend we are running on June 9-10 in North Broomhall, Northumberland. We'd love you to come along! Here are the details again:
Down to Westoe Football Club, current home of South Shields Folk Club, and Brian, Brian and Ken, the organisers, managed to badger Susan into doing a floorspot, after she got her pipes out to play a few tunes with us. She did three tunes and finished with that devilish array of arpeggios, The De'il Amang the Tailors.
All the floorspots were entertaining, sometimes moving, and there is certainly a strong singing tradition in this club. In spite of a smallish crowd last night, it was one of the strongest nights of singing along we have had on the tour.