Yes, a mere week after BRAPA conquered Harry Potter Land, I turned up to survey the wreckage.

This was my first trip since I took my Dad to see the magic gardens (the magic is they fleece you £6 for a cup of tea and cake) on his 80th birthday and I wondered if they’d built a micro in the tree house yet.

More chance of Brunning & Price opening a Voldemort-themed gastropub in the castle.

I’m fairly sure I didn’t take Dad in the John Bull that day in June.

Mainly because it’s never open.

Most of the visitors were either in the poison garden, hoping their partner would ignore the instructions and eat the weed marked “deadly”, or in Border Books, when septuagenarians queue to look at books for for 5 minutes before asking “Cup of tea, Bernard ?”.

Alnwick has become the must-visit stop for the Home Counties pashmina crowd in the last decade, but on a September Sunday it’s closer to Aldeburgh or Bewdley. A day out dominate by food.

Pleasant place, but it’s no Bedlington (as you’ll find out shortly).

Inevitably, the new GBG entry is a micro, or is it ?

Micros aren’t allowed to open before Thursday, are they ?

And micros surely can’t sell that Wards Best that so delighted Simon, let alone the array of lagers. Obviously I skipped the one Si had and enjoyed a cool First & Last Equinox (NBSS 3).

The Landlady was chatting to a group of locals when I arrived at 12:02; they MUST have got in early.

You’ll be delighted to know the words “Ay, canny” were heard, along with endless debate about traffic that made the A1 sound like the, er, A1. But not that bit of the A1.

As everywhere else, everyone is a Sunderland fan. Apparently, they’ve won a match.

Ay, they play Accrington soon, top two

What do you call it when the top two play each other ?”

A derby

Ay, a derby“.

I was still internally screaming “A SIX POINTER” when we reached Amble.

NB No, I didn’t but the Go West LP


  1. The a19 (the alternative route on the map) parallel to the a1 south of the Tees is a bit of a Teesside secret and a much nicer, faster drive without the HGVs. I think there’s roadworks north of the Tees at present though

    Liked by 1 person

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