Dramatic skies followed me all the way from Whitley Bay to Newcastle this morning...
Moving down Grey Street I turned up High Bridge and came out onto Cloth Market and paused by the entrance to the Old George courtyard...
In the early 70s this pub was our destination of choice. Sometimes Bernard and I could only afford one pint between us all night but we weren't ever there for beer. It was the company and the great jukebox. Steppenwolf, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, The Nice and all the usual long-hair heroes of the day.
Ah, the tales this courtyard could tell. It could be a place of romantic assignation, furious fisticuffs or profound bladderment - and sometimes a worrying combination of all three!
Standing here today I recalled a steamy clinch with a girl I'd never met before just seconds after she had finished vomiting into the nearby drain. You see, I told you it was a special place.
Destiny of a different sort could also shuffle impatiently across those cobbles.
I also remember getting a high-velocity knuckle-duster forcefully scrunched into my mush. As I hit the ground I pissed myself with fright as the blokey who done for me was a well-known psycho. Apparently it was all a misunderstanding!
Oh how I laughed as I sat in the casualty department in wet thigh-chaffing denim jeans, getting a couple of stitches in my bonce.
My bonce and bladder thankfully intact today I left The George courtyard, paused a moment to take in the site of the old Pumphrey's coffee shop and cafe and down a steps further to contemplate another development.
This office block replaced the old town hall sometime in the late 60s or early 70s. I'm not sure if this is an example of architectural gallows humour but some wag thought it would be a wizard wheeze to incorporate the old and new in one harmonious union.
No doubt the word "synergy" was bandied about at some point...
More dramatic skies glowered at me beside the job centre in a week when it was announced that the jobless total had risen to its highest level in 14 years.
From here it was but a hop skip and jump along Collingwood Street and onto Westgate Road
Here's the same view (almost) circa 1900...
and then into the Lit & Phil for another recharge of the batteries...
Morning reading this morning included The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, Volume 1. I bypassed the seminal essay Why I Write and in doing so discovered Orwell giving fellow writer, Jack Common, advice about which toilet paper to avoid in case it blocks the septic tank.
I was joined later by pal and occasional podcaster round these pages, Chris. He'd been doing his weekly grocery shopping in Byker and popped up to town for a cup of tea and a catch-up.