Thursday, July 31, 2008
The weather had been perfect in Norway, but now that we’ve crossed the North Sea, there was a certain British tradition to uphold, and the clouds thickened with a carpet of overcast, just after we docked at Tyne, down the river from Newcastle. Lin had carried a collapsible umbrella but we had left raincoats behind when we boarded the coach to Beamish. We were optimistic and heavy rain did not occur until we were back aboard the coach.
Beamish, here, refers to the recreation of a 1913 town with a tramway, reconditioned trams, reconstructed general store, clothing store, sweet shop, garage, bank, stable, complete with costumed actors playing the role of townspeople, and happy to explain the workings of the village. There was a cooperative store where coal miners bought their own tools, and a dentist’s office and a piano teacher’s home. The dentist office had indoor plumbing, a giant step forward for the time. The dental equipment was daunting, however. It made the sweet shop, down the street, that much less welcoming.
The rain was very light, little more than a heavy mist, but time limited the exploration. We never did get to the 1913 colliery village, 1825 Pockerley manor or the 1913 Home Farm. The best way I can describe it is as a Disneyland without the saccharin and with a much greater feeling of authenticity. I’d go back in a moment.
On the way back to the ship, we drove by the ancestral cottage of the family of George Washington in Washington.
That evening, we saw the movie, Vantage Point, which was as breathtaking as 24, about the attempted assassination of a president. This was very entertaining, and thinking of 24, we rented the DVD of session 3, stopping only because it had to be returned, with us watching 3-4 AM on Disc 4. I will have to change our queue of 24 on Netflix, when we return.
On the way back to our cabin, we encountered a chap with an odd sense of humor, and an Obama jacket, which started a conversation. It seems he is a retired Chief Probation Officer for Los Angeles County, Richard Shumsky, whose personal physician is a USC professor known to me. He assumed that our 2 sons working for the District Attorney should have been Public Defenders. I am sure they know of him so will pass this along.