Posted by: lucylastic | December 12, 2007

You’ve got a friend………..

I count myself incredibly fortunate to have some lovely friends.  We’re a pretty lively bunch and can occasionally get a tad loud, but at our Christmas get together last week, we decided that if the venue, (Brewer’s Arms, Wanborough) provided noisy balloons and other festive articles, (crackers with very big hats, streamers, party poppers) then it would be rude not to use them up!  As well as a lovely atmosphere, the food was very good (as usual) and we rolled out into the rain extremely full and contented.  Thinking over the night later on, I started musing on what exactly it is that makes my friends so special – it goes without saying that they are warm, witty, non-judgemental and fun to be with, but it’s more than that.  At some level, we connect and have something in common – with many of us, it’s work, but there are quite a few in the gang that bring something else to the mix.  Of course, the more I mused, the more I realised that it’s not just me that thinks my friends are pretty special people!!!!  Almost all of us have managed to build a network of people that are truly special to us and it’s one of life’s pleasures to spend time with them.  So, my very dear friends, you all know who you are and I just wanted to let you know how much you are appreciated………… 

At my age, there aren’t many things that I’ve never done before, (well, as long as you take the dangerous sports out of the mix that is, I am a wimp at heart), but I had never been to Newcastle.  Last weekend saw lovely husband and me heading north to spend some time with friends who live in Consett.  I have to admit, I hadn’t been looking forward to the drive – but the route picked out by the RAC website, (despite looking ‘a bit weird’, according to lovely husband) turned out to be a winner.  Due North from Swindon to the M5, M42, A42, M18 and lots of A1(M) got us up there in a better than anticipated 4.5 hours and back in a breathtaking 4!!!!  Although I have to admit that I dropped off a number of times-  no matter how much sleep I have or how raring to go I feel, put me in the passenger seat of a car and I am drowsy within half an hour max!!!!  We saw our first snow of the year while we were up there – with a lovely thick, fluffy coating hanging around for quite a few hours on Saturday – only to disappear by morning as it ‘warmed up’ to 5 degrees!  The Tyne looks magnificent at night and if it wasn’t for the biting wind and lashing rainy snow, it could have been Paris!                                                                                               

The bridges and buildings are stunning – I was amazed – I wish it was closer – I would definitely spend more time there.  And the surrounding country is starkly beautiful too!!!!  I think the people that live there have a lot to be proud of.  As a Swindon resident, I wish I had more faith that the town’s current regeneration plans will yield such stunning results.  There have been lots of articles in the local press about ‘putting the canal back through town’ and making it the centre of things again, but I just can’t shake the image of it filled with abandoned Iceland trolleys and McDonalds plastic cups after a very short space of time.  Despite the very prolific presence of litter bins, Swindon town centre is a mess – full of swirling rubbish and broken glass – Newcastle was clean and tidy – it looked as if people CARED about it.  I think that’s the difference……………..I have been fruitlessly trying to upload some lovely pictures of Newcastle for you to marvel at, but I can’t seem to make it work!!!!!!!  I will keep trying.



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