While I’m not planning to go into a lot of plot details, it’s likely that the random mutterings that follow will reveal some things you might prefer not to know if you haven’t seen the episode yet, so in my usual way, I’ll include this warning:
Up another bit today…
Today involved meeting a friend for lunch. Wine may have been involved.
This was the elderly engine I rode behind at Beamish the other day
Having enjoyed the first in this series, I ordered this one well in advance, without being prompted by Ben Aaronovitch this time, though he has been happily promoting his friend and comic book collaborator’s work.
Once again, the apparently nameless narrator is called on to find an obscure record, and once again the request leads to an investigation, Deadly Peril and some excellent gags.
Our anonymous hero is now living with Nevada, the only slightly scary woman he met in Written in Dead Wax. The two cats are, of course, still around. They’re on the trail of a rare single recorded in the 60s by Valerian – that’s the band and the stage name of the lead singer, Valerie Anne Drummond, known by some as “the English Joplin”. This is by the request of Valerian’s brother John, who wants to find out what happened to Valerian’s young son, who disappeared shortly before her suicide.
Much fun follows, with assistance from friend Tinkler, a slightly odd photographer, an only slightly burned out guitarist and an egotistical psychologist. One of more of these people may not have the Vinyl Detective’s best interests at heart, but if you think I’m going to drop any spoilers, think again!
There’s loads of fun with a clearance sale that could be a little more final than usual, help coming just when it’s needed, and more mysterious deaths than the average Agatha Christie novel.
And it’s all done in a lovely style, with such delights as
So we left some biscuits for the cats along with a Road Atlas of Great Britain open to the correct page, in case they wanted to see where we were going.
Not to mention a nod in Ben’s direction:
“We’ve got some ducks like that on our estate,” I said. “They swim in Beverley Brook.”
Great, page-turning fun. Buy it.
 This might be a reference to 30s hardboiled detective fiction. Or not. Maybe Andrew just couldn’t decided what to call his hero
 And unless I blinked and missed it, Andrew showed admirable restraint in not dropping in a “bulldog” gag
 Or Kindle-button-pressing fun in my case
As I expected, yesterday’s weight was a temporary wossname, and today’s more hydrated weight is somewhat higher. Apart from a quick trip to Tesco’s for some supplies, I’ve had a quiet day in – I had the annual service of my boiler today, and once that was done, I couldn’t motivate myself to go out again, so I didn’t.
Here’s one of the residents at WWT Washington. In the interests of clarity, I should point out that this is a pheasant, not a peasant, and certainly not a Bessant.
|Taken||13:10, 24 May, 2017|
What’s this? Down again? To another new low for the year? Apparently so. Well, it is another “just got in from a moderately active day” figure, so it’s still probably temporary, but I’ll treat it as a sign of something or other.
I was thinking of not doing anything too active today after yesterday’s warm walk with the birdies, but I persuaded myself that it might be a good day for a return trip to Beamish. After all, I do have another three months on the “come back as much as you like” ticket I bought last time. So I headed to Gateshead and has just a short wait for the bus to Beamish. This being a relatively quiet weekday, I didn’t need to wait in a queue, and was soon able to have a good wander. It was a bit warm for too much wandering, but I did my best, stopping only for a quick lunch (rather good sausage roll and Fentiman’s lemonade, which I enjoyed in the shadow of a suitably large tree. After a ride behind a very old engine, I headed for the bus stop and came home.
Photos have been taken and will appear as the tuit supply permits. But for now, here’s one of the buses that run around the site, along with some lovely trams.
OK, let’s get the dramatic weight figure out of the way first – that’s a measurement taken just after getting home on a warm day after doing a fair bit of walking, so it’s definitely a temporary thingy. But it is the lowest weight of the year so far, which means I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.
While I was waiting for my iPhone to have its new battery fitted yesterday, I had a bit of a wander, and picked up some “places to go” leaflets. One was for the Washington Wetland Centre, a place I’ve been vaguely aware of, but had never got round to visiting. Well, today I found that tuit and headed off. Getting there involves a bus to Washington Galleries, then another one to Waterview Park (that’s the No 8), and from there it’s a short walk to the centre. Admission (with the ubiquitous Gift Aid) was £10.40 – you can save a bit of money by buying tickets online in advance if you’re so inclined.
Once in, you’re free to walk around a large site with an amazing variety of birdlife – more varieties of swans than I knew existed, geese, ducks, flamingoes, otters. Err, hold on, otters aren’t actually birds, but they’re part of the package, so there. You get to walk though woodland, along a ludicrously scenic part of the River Wear, and wear your feet out. The site cafe provided a perfectly delicious brie sandwich, and I enjoyed the experience enormously.
If you’re going, allow several hours – it’ll take that long to just walk around all the paths, depending on how long you take to watch the birdies.
Numerous photos have, of course, been taken, but for now here’s a lovely black swan:
|Taken||11:05, 24 May, 2017|
 Note for any US readers: this is the original Washington, not any leftpondian version
 I’m not an ornithologist…
 Included so I can mention that Wear and wear aren’t pronounced the same
Hmmm, up again today. No major activity other than a visit to the Apple Store to get a free battery replacement in my iPhone (it was one of a batch with a potential ooops I’m going to shut down issue.
Here’s another one from Warkworth Castle: the Keep:
OK, nothing new there, but I thought I had to share this one…
I woke up early this morning, for reasons of my brain being odd like that. I glanced at the clock and noticed that the time was
And my brain instantly popped up with
The discount of the beast
Somewhere in the same area of the allegedly planned title to the sequel that never happened to Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, I suppose. I’m not quite sure, you’d have to ask my brain.
 If memory serves, the suggestion was 664: The Neighbour of the Beast. I think somebody else may have come up with the same idea and used it since…
Down again, gasp!
Having had a totally relaxed day yesterday, I decided to start my week off properly with a little trip. Well, actually I started it by going out moderately early to buy something for breakfast, then after that, I went to Newcastle in plenty of time to get a bus to Warkworth, which you might recall me visiting last year, only to find the castle was closed. Well, this time it was open, and with a wave of my English Heritage card, I went in. Numerous photos to follow at the usual rate, but here’s one for now of the Lion Tower:
 Did I mention I have a week off?
Steps: Remarkably few
Down again today, which has been a singularly inactive Sunday.
Here’s a curvy view of the old All Saints church in Newcastle