Sightseeing in Newcastle


Newctke's iconic bridge

I’m sightseeing in Newcastle, where I arrived this evening, Wednesday, ready for the first of our Spring short story writing workshops tomorrow.

I have a little routine when I arrive the evening before one of my “gigs”, as I call them.

I check into my hotel, of course. Phone or FaceTime my husband, of course. Then I check where the meeting room is, and that everything is as it should be; for example that the box of notebooks my admin colleague Kari has sent down has actually arrived and that they know it’s for me.

I check the arrangements for our guests finding the room. And then I go back out and suss out the area, checking where convenient lunch stops of various kinds are, for example. But it’s often the first time I’ve ever been to a place. With Newcastle it’s only my second ever visit. The first time was decades ago for the Tall Ships. So I enjoy that opportunity to have a look around for my own sake, too.

I’ve walked miles around York when we’ve had our workshops there. Beautiful, fascinating city. I had a lovely wander around the surrounds of the hotel in Bristol, although we were out on the outskirts there. It’s a city I’d love to see more of; I’ve read a lot about it and it seems to be a fun, happening place with a vibrant energy about it.

London, of course. It’s not somewhere I’ve been very often, and certainly not with time to explore.

And now Newcastle. I’ve just had a walk alongside the famous Tyne, which is lined by some very fine buildings, with colourful light displays that reflect in the water. Under the iconic bridge, of course – which, unusually, is nesting site to hundreds of kittiwakes. The noise! And the hotel is right next door. I can hear them now from my room. I wonder if they’ll inspire any stories tomorrow?

I can’t wait to find out.

Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.

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