Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Out to Lunch

Vivien and I met for lunch last week at a place I've long been curious about, the Milkhope Centre on the Blagdon Estate. I've been vaguely aware of Blagdon having driven past it for the 4 years I worked out of Morpeth, some of my best years at work over here. I also did the New Year's Day Morpeth to Newcastle race a few years. The route took us past Blagdon Hall down the old A-1 highway. There were sometimes guns being fired behind the stone walls as I ran past, which always made me a bit nervous. Unrelated to this, on New Years Day there was a fox hunt which also departed from the Morpeth Town Hall and it was an interesting mix of several hundred runners gathering inside with numerous horses with red-coated riders gathering outside. Unfortunately, the race is now history; also the hunt (as in all hunts).

Also, as part of my work, I reviewed the planning application for an open cast mine that will operate near there sometime in the future. The property is owned by Lord Ridley. I'm guessing that between him and the Duke of Northumberland (of Alnwick Castle, where Harry Potter learned to fly his broom), they own most of that County.

I hadn't seen Vivien since her birthday which came shortly after her retirement, near Christmas. We had a delicious lunch (she had soup; I had leek and bacon quiche) in the cafe which was much larger and busier than I'd anticipated. It was a great place to people watch as the customers were mostly of a certain age and, though casually dressed, looked rather well off -- I saw several gorgeous suede jackets and lots of leather boots. Then we poked our way through all the shops. Turns out we're both pretty good at looking but not buying, though I did see a number of things that were tempting.

The Milkhope Centre is one of several farm properties on the estate and whilst the main house was still there and looked occupied, the stone barns surrounding the areas of hardstanding - the yards -- are now occupied by businesses and shops rather than animals and feed.

In one of the shops we both marvelled at some of the tat and got some ideas for future gifts. You can see it all for yourself right here. I find myself often thinking "I could make that" and so I don't buy the item, but then I never get around to making it either. This is a great tactic for saving money and clutter!

The clothing shop, weirdly named "Get Smart" was also interesting -- full of both wonderful and awful clothes at prices I wouldn't even consider, mostly because I haven't the lifestyle. Again, I found several pieces I would love to make sometime. The stone masonry shop was clearly aimed at people with gi-normous gardens and houses, but was still great to look through.

We both had a great afternoon, catching up with each other and doing something fun for the princely price of £10 between us. We decided we quite like garden centres -- the typical hangout for little old ladies in Britain -- and Vivien's going to make a list of them (a woman after my own heart) and we will work our way through it.

No comments: