A poisonous place

We’d planned a visit to Northumbria in April for me to take Jane and Margaret to Alnwick for the night and a visit the next day to the gardens at Alnwick Castle but Jane’s body wasn’t playing game and it we had to put the plan on hold. What that really meant was that I would take Margaret when we felt ready for it and had a free weekend – we have such busy diaries us widows! And what a weekend we chose for warm sunshine when I’d taken wellies not sandals.

My plans had already been the subject of amusement and surprise when I happened to mention that we would be staying at Seahouses – it was suggested we might find it to be an amusement arcaded disappointment. We arrived via Bamburgh and after a turn around the village found the Bamburgh Castle Inn beside the harbour but entered from the rear (not as inauspicious as it sounds). Margaret’s room had a grand view of the harbour and the Farne Islands, mine was also good although a combed garret.

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We amused ourselves with a walk along the coastal path, having already had a good lunch and turn around Berwick. Then dinner in an adjacent hotel who had the temptation of lobster …

After a good breakfast featuring a kipper from nearby Craster, we were off bright and early to Alnwick. It’s well worth a visit especially if you have Harry Potter fans but I don’t think Jane knew about that or its influence on the Poison Garden. Interesting but frustrating with poison the emphasis as it witches, wizards and spells but no mention of the therapeutic use of these deadly plants. In the end I was glad Jane had missed it for I fear she would have been annoyed at such a one-sided view. But the gardens are well laid out, have a number of interesting water features and more formal flower and rose gardens. After lunch in Alnwick I suggested a visit to Howick Hall, seat of the late fifth Earl Grey for whom the tea was blended. A much more traditional affair with an extensive arboretum – much more my cup of tea although Margaret enjoyed the comfortable seat in the Golf for a well-earned rest. But we did have tea in the resplendent east ballroom now tea room. 

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Another kipper for breakfast then we were heading up the coast road to North Berwick for a dander around the shops and lunch in the delightful Buttercup Tearoom. We’d had a grand time and of course Jane was much mentioned and missed.

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