Dog Days

23 May

As today was the first day of freedom from academic work, and the dreadful, dreadful sweltering computer clusters on campus, I decided to celebrate accordingly with a short walk around my locale.  As all my house-mates were otherwise occupied with revision, or in the process of packing their belongings for the final move back home, I set out alone, to explore what is fast becoming my favourite part of Newcastle.

About 200 metres downhill from my humble abode lies this verdant scene.  I am sure for many this would mean nothing, but I can’t express how much I love living so close to so much wild greenery.  In my home-town of Doncaster I often ride my bike in the areas near my house, and the closest I come to anything that could be classed as a departure from suburbia is a huge, man-made lake, and a similarly huge, man-made hill consisting of what they removed to make the lake.  It’s not an unpleasant sight, but it is all very sterile, and any tranquillity achieved is swiftly negated by the realisation that you are sandwiched between the Keepmoat Stadium and an Asda Superstore, and will apparently be poisoned by toxic blue-green algae should you dare to dip in a toe.  My feelings towards the unpleasantness of Doncaster are, however, a post in themselves. After a further walk downhill, past my local pub and many a shirtless Geordie, I found myself in the hinterland that is Ouseburn, with only the sounds of trickling water and allotment owners digging to accompany me.

I find the world of allotments located in Jesmond Vale and Ouseburn fascinating. Never have I seen so many in one place! And one place that is in a valley and encased by greenery at that.  As I walked along the main dirt footpath, I could see over hundreds of well loved allotments, causing me both pleasure and a sizeable amount of envy.  It has been my dream to have a vegetable plot for so long! Every so often I would pass an open entrance into this literal gardeners’ world, this one appearing the most mysterious.  I managed to resist the temptation to creep in, just in case of any Elmer Fudd style situations and accusations of veg theft.

This crappy phone picture, taken by waving my camera above a fence and hoping for the best, captures neither the scale nor grandeur of the allotments, but gives a general impression of how nice they are!

As I carried on with my walk, I came to some open grassy spaces, and then followed the Ouseburn for a while, which was particularly picturesque in the sunshine…

until my stupid choice of footwear became too ridiculous, and I had to head for more stable, less muddy paths.

Very unwise, I do realise.  It was just so hot!! And my usual twee uniforms of high wasted skirts, thick tights and brogues do not cut the mustard in the summer months, particularly when there is a ‘heatwave’ (I’ve had to have two cold showers today – apparently my loft bedroom has a lot in common with my mum’s greenhouse), and consequently I panic and can barely dress myself.  Finding some summer footwear is definitely my top shopping priority at the moment.

Once I had followed the river for a while, I headed back on myself, as I can never resist a glimpse at my favourite houses in Newcastle. They look like perfectly normal, three storey terraces from the front, but at the back, due to the valley, they fall away, revealing secret, hidden floors, glass ceilinged rooms and gardens that descend at about 45 degrees to a some decking by the river. I wanted to get a better photo, but due to the glorious weather, the owners of my very favourite were basking/taunting me from one of their many terraces, so this sneaky glimpse through the trees will have to do.

All in all, it was a really, really lovely day, although I am hugely looking forward to it ending at this point, as the collective seven hours of sleep I have had over the last two nights has finally caught up with me.

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