Leaving Whitburn I contemplated my culinary options. Some folk only read this for my authoritative (if minimalist) views on the best post-pub grub, so here’s fish and chips from Minchella’s Chips in Seaburn.

Growing up I’d always believed that the South must have the best fish and chips since that was where the money was, but life has taught me the truth. The best chippies are on the east coast. Not necessarily Whitby, either. Amble was great recently, and Minchella’s cod bites and chips smothered in curry sauce was an easy NCB&CSICSSS 4.

I ate it perched on a bus stop near the sea, changed the colour of my (Dad’s) jumper from navy to grey, and Life was Good.

Time for one more county on the metro ? I’d begun the day with three GBG counties tentatively poised close to completion;

By 21:00 all three (3) were conquered, though as you’ll note from the top photo my pinking had deteriorated by then with encroachment into Cumbria and North Yorkshire.

Northumberland was conquered in Ponteland, the dormitory village for footballers who can’t afford Byker. 25 minutes walk from the Airport stop just north of my hotel.

I still haven’t worked out Ponteland is for, and perhaps I never will, as Don McLean sang.

But Google Maps was telling me I’d been to Merton Way Chinese Takeaway in 2015, just before I started delighting you with this blog.

I simply couldn’t remember whether it was any good or not, and felt taunted by the Google reminder of my previous visit, so I nipped in and ordered a Crispy Beef and Singapore Rice. Sorry/not sorry.

And then nipped in the Pont Tap, which had an ultra-rare-for-a-micro entrance via steps.

A small place from the new “craft, lager and premium gin” school of village micros, there were half a dozen folk standing at the bar despite there being free tables. Were they waiting to be served ? No, they were chatting rugby. But they had no drinks in their hands. Oh, they’re heading out, slamming the door as rugby fans are wont to do.

My turn at the bar. The landlord is cheery and friendly, but I have to make a choice. Hate that.

They all look like wee. Choose Citra.

And sit on a proper table underneath the Toby jugs.

It’s OK, not bad at all, but Northumberland beer always seems to be a degree or two warmer than beer in Tyne & Wear. Odd but true. Nice pub though; I felt very welcome.

Merton Way had my takeaway ready 10 minutes later. Pointedly (in Pont) there were no complimentary prawn crackers, even though the prices were a quid or two higher than in Newcastle.

I had a spoonful before bed (NCTSS 3.5), leaving a smudge on the Premier Inn sheets as messy as the marking on my Northumberland map,

and saved the rest for breakfast/brunch. Miraculously, I avoided food poisoning.


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