Monday, 12 March 2012

Continuing Our Whitley Bay Adventure

This is another post about Vivien's and my recent day out in Whitley Bay.   In our guided tour  I learned the names of familiar landmarks I'd never heard before, such as Watts Slope and Panama Dip.

We walked along the lower promenade until we came to Watts Slope.  There were shuttered openings all along the promenade, closing off spaces that extended well under the pavement on the left.  We joked that these were the size of flats in London and with the marvellous sea views (particularly if one had a glass front with shutters for privacy), they ought to be prime real estate. 

Funny enough, I stumbled upon an article about a developer who thinks much the same


The Boardwalk Cafe at Watts' Slope

Our tour guide invited us to admire the dome of the former Spanish City, immortalised by Dire Straits in their song, Tunnel of Love.   I love Dire Straits, but if like me you need help with the lyrics, they are here.

The Dome at Spanish City
Sadly the Spanish City has been largely torn down other than the famous dome; I did see it when the arcades were still going, but was never interested enough to visit.  Spanish City figures large in the childhood memories of many.  Imagine, though, wearing a suit and tie to ride in the bumper cars!

Regeneration plans for the immediate area include "50-bed four-star boutique hotel, 20 apartments, a 1950s diner, and a pleasure garden. The completion date is 2014".  Given all the ructions about this development in the local papers, I have my doubts whether anything is actually decided or if, given the economy, it will actually go forward. 

Yet another war memorial on the seafront.

I learned that the grassy area known as the Links (not sure what the name exactly means)
was during the early part of the 19th century strewn with colliery spoil heaps and ironstone workings. Eventually, work was started to totally transform this area and in 1890 Whitley Bay Golf Club began to use the area.

The Links

The gardens were laid out by the local council in the 1930`s and the Dip was named after the café which had occupied this site since the end of the 19th century.

Vivien said there used to be entertainment put on in this amphitheatre-style garden.

This is Panama skate park, site of the former Panama Dip Cafe.   I've seen it often but never noticed the name.  I think the skateboarding that goes on here is attempted suicide.

I don't even like to watch.

We stopped at the Rendezvous Cafe for a cup of coffee and some respite from the wind. 

I couldn't resist this adorable little dog, a Lakeland terrier with a Schnauzer hair cut. The man told me they only paid £10 for the dog's cut, and he had to pay all of £6 for his own!  When one has a foreign accent, people tell you the oddest things...

After having our chat and enjoying our coffee, we bundled up to go back out and continue our tour, looking over our shoulders and wondering if this storm was going to catch us out.  Vivien predicted it would just blow over, no big deal.

If you can call struggling to stand up in the wind or to walk uphill into it no big deal, she turned out to be right; we got no more than an occasional sprinkle over the rest of our stroll.  We decided to just consider the strong winds as 'resistance training'.


Expat mum said...

Lovely post yet again, but I'm now freezing! Apart from a few times mid-summer, every time I go to W Bay it looks like this!

BigLittleWolf said...

Love the pictures. But I'm with you on that skateboarding location.

That's nuts!

Anonymous said...

You've got to love a friend who sees walking in wind as "resistance training". I gather that Spanish City was a sort of amusement park?
I think I could sit at that cafe window for hours...

Beryl said...

Your little travels (ramblings?)always send me to Priceline looking for flights over. You make it all so interesting. And that bit about getting all that information because of an accent is priceless. I love the dog story. If you've ever tried to give a dog a fancy haircut, you know it's worth the extra money.