Belford seemed a sleepy, almost forgotten, type of place. The cars whizz by on the A1 and there’s no train station, so the trains do the same. Like many villages in England, social life centres around the pub(s). The Blue Bell was no exception. When we arrived, at around 3:30pm, (on a Sunday I should add), there was a private party in full swing in the function room. I’ve no idea what the occasion was, but we heard a guy playing a guitar and singing, country music if memory serves me correctly.
Later on a few more locals came in for, what we discovered was, their weekly get together to catch up on any gossip. Next up, and later still, was the local drunk, who was in the habit of visiting all of the pubs in the village and it was the Blue Bells turn for his ‘act’. He’d stand at the bar and hold sway, catching the eye of anyone who would listen. He was obviously a lonely soul and this was his way of interacting with the world. After he’d drunk his beer, he disappeared harmlessly into the night.
Over dinner, Pete and I were serenaded by some classic 80’s pop music. Being a big Bruce Springsteen fan, Pete doesn’t “take to all that 80’s disco rubbish” and he didn’t know any of them, but I loved it. I Can’t Wait, by Nu Shooz, is a particular example that I can remember. Jude will tell you that 80’s disco music follows me around, even in the Co-op here in Evolène.
It was much the same ‘social’ story when we arrived at our next destination, Embleton. The pub was packed from 6 ’til 8pm with the locals. At the appointed hour they’d all disappear home for dinner, only to be replaced at 9pm (on a Monday anyway) by the Bell-ringers… At this point, as an ex-campanologist myself, I decided to explain the intricacies of bell-ringing to Pete. As a child of 13, I was fascinated by the mathematics of how 6 (or even 8, 10 or 12) bells could ring all of the possible combinations, (that’s 6!, i.e. factorial, or 720 for the non-mathematicians) without repeating a sequence. I sensed that Pete’s eyes were beginning to glaze over, so I moved on, but then that was maybe because he was on his 3rd pint at the time.
Anyway, back to the plot. Our route today would take us firstly east and back to the coast, then, curiously, north east for little while, before turning back south again and through Bamburgh, Seahouses, Beadnell and finally Low Newton by the Sea. We reached Embleton in the dark just after 5pm. It turned out to be the longest day in terms of time, but then we did stop off in Seahouses and Low Newton for some refreshment (aka beer). 🙂 As you will see from the images below, we had a much brighter day than day 1 and the (many) beaches were all but deserted.