Saturday, 10 September 2011

Bellingham Fair, a Beer Tent and a Rock Band


On Saturday 24 August, we drove to the village of Bellingham in beautiful Northumberland National Park, heading for Bellingham Fair in the cool drizzle of the cloudy, grey inclement weather.  Dave (my husband) plays bass guitar with local Rock 'n Soul Band, the Gatecrashers - and we were making for the Beer Tent (where else, you might ask?) where they were due to play at around noon.

While the band (Nick Jennison, Ant Wright, Dave Hildreth and Maurice Anderson) set up their gear, I pulled on my red-and-white spotted wellies to trudge knee-deep in the muddy field to look around.

The bad weather hadn't put people off coming to this annual attraction. There were bouncy castles and a couple of red-nosed clowns juggling for the kids.

There was a huge food tent and a cordoned-off area where you could have your face painted or have a temporary tattoo applied.  There were stalls selling bric-a-brac and jam and home-made fudge. There were children in fancy dress, all set to parade their creativity in the fancy-dress show.  There was a mini-crufts, where beautifully-groomed dogs waited patiently to show off their skills.

There was a gymkhana and a roped arena for Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling.  Guys and Gals in their short-shorts warmed up for the fell race.  There was terrier racing and quoits - and the Morpeth Pipe Band were there, dressed in their kilts, the wind whipping up their skirts to the delight of passers by!


At 12.30pm, the band were a GO!  With the beer tent starting to fill up when the crowd heard the brilliant sounds emanating from the fantastic Gatecrashers, Nick Jennison (guitar and vocals) wanted a much bigger audience.
Nick Delights the Crowd

So he got among them with his wireless microphone, attracting all and sundry inside the marquee with his charismatic charm - and a singing voice to die for!  And suddenly, the atmosphere was glittering with electricity.
Ant's Stunning Guitar Solos

Ant Wright (guitar and backing vocals) shook his mop of wayward curls and played amazing guitar solos to the Gatecrashers sensational renditions of Otis Reading's'Try a Little Tenderness', The Faces' 'Stay With Me' and a heart-stopping Led Zeppelin medley of memorable songs like 'Whole Lotta Love'.
Dave - Big Licks on Bass

Dave Hildreth (on bass guitar) dominated the stage with unbelievable slammin', thumpin' and slappin' in numbers like the Jackson 5's 'I Want You Back' and Wild Cherry's 'Play that Funky Music, White Boy'.

And this was Maurice Anderson's (drums) swan song with the Gatecrashers, sadly.  Oh, he has such talent.  And that talent was prevalent in the Stereophonics' 'The Bar Tender and the Thief'.  Indescribable talent, Maurice.  You're going to be missed.
Maurice's Sensational Swan Song

Maybe I'm biased - but I believe that this band truly are the best function and party band in the whole of the North East of England.

Visit their website at:


After packing up and saying goodbye to the fair, the Gatecrashers, partners and friends drove off to a lovely brand new cafe/restaurant the Boe Rigg Bistro, for a meal.  It's not far from Bellingham village and has the most beautiful views of Northumberland's verdant countryside. It has an onsite camping ground.
The Duchess of Northumberland recently unveiled the Boe Rigg Bistro Bunkhouse, an Eco-Friendly developement that took two hard years of fighting for planning permission.  The food was out of this world.

Here's a link to my Trip Finder review for the Boe Rigg:

A trip to Housesteads to take in the Roman Fort and Hadrian's Wall, was next on the agenda.  Housesteads has an on-site museum where you can take in 2000 years of history, view the breathtaking Tyne Valley and the Scottish borders - and see:
"The ever-popular latrines aka Roman Loos!"

There was just enough time to take a quick look around and be privileged to see a trio of young fluffy house martins in a hole in the wall of the museum.  Enough time to see mamma bringing food to her chicks and flying off to get some more for her hungry brood.

Just enough time to take a snapshot before going on to a Housesteads Birthday Party on a farm, in a barn, with a flat bed truck for a stage - and welcome brand new drummer, Doug Hayes to the incredible Gatecrashers.
Gatecrashin' a Birthday Party with new drummer, Doug Hayes


Well, the promise I made to myself via you, constant readers has been just about fulfilled, I reckon.  I'm slowly but surely getting back on track, back to the nitty-gritty, back to the grindstone.  I'll get the gold star and the Brownie badge when I get back on with my novel - SOON


I've completed the write-up for the Boneshakers CD - here's a sneak preview of the amazing cover: artwork by the fabulous artist and tattooist, Neil (Blackbird) Sims.  Catch up with him on Facebook.

After three unbelievable gigs over the August Bank Holiday, the guys are ready for the launch of their CD,
at THE TYNE BAR, NEWCASTLE,  on Sunday 11 September at 3pm.  It's gonna be a great afternoon.

             TYNE BAR 
My two articles, comissioned by Fred Plater, owner of the Tyne Bar, are published.

NORTH EAST LIFE MAGAZINE - Click on the link to:

Little Bar – Big Impact – Huge Heart at:
for the article published on North East Life Magazine Online

 TRIFTER ONLINE - Click on the link to:
You’ll Find them All...Doing the TYNE BAR Walk at:
for the article published by the online travel publishers, Trifter.


Two of my travel stories have been published online by Heathrow Terminal 5.
Click on the link to:

Benalmadena, Costa del Sol

Over the Mountains, Over the Sea at:
...a story about my travels in Malaga.

Click on the link to:
Fortesque Falls, Karijini, WA
Beating About the Bush at:
...a fun story about bush camping in Western Australia.



My latest travel blog, 'Red Hot in Cool Corfu' is finally up and running.  So it should be - we were there all the way back in June!  There are lots more pix to add to the melting pot, but it's published - and that's the main thing!
There are articles in process about the beautiful Ionian Island of Corfu coming your way -
View Red Hot in Cool Corfu on:
TRAVEL POD/sheilaswheels

Icicles Glitter...

Still a 'rookie' member of Wikinut, I was privileged to be awarded a second * STAR PAGE *
for my piece about the art of writing Senyru poetry.  I do love senyru and haiku.
Link to:

Sorting Haiku from Senyru: it’s Human Nature!
I hope you enjoy it.

Stock Ghyll Force

When my Aussie sister was over for a visit earlier this year, we stayed in Windermere, in the best B & B in the lakes, situated between Windermere and Bowness - the COPPICE GUESTHOUSE.  During a visit to Ambleside, we trekked up and out of the town to Stock Ghyll Force, one of the most beautiful waterfalls I've ever seen.  Read all about it in my column/blog for North East Life Magazine - Twigs, Gigs, Haunts and Jaunts.  Here's the link:
Stock Ghyll – A Force to be Reckoned With: Go to:

If you like dancing, constant readers, you might want to take a peek at an article I penned about the history of dance, and a free verse poem about Ballroom and Hip Hop dancing.Itw was published by Quazen.  Here it is. 
Dance, Dance, Wherever You May Be

Well, now, can you see how BUSY AS A BEE I've been in that den of mine? 
ME - Busy as a Bee

Time for a well-earned rest, methinks... we're off to Provence, France (via the French Alps) for the next couple of weeks.  I'll tell you all about it when I get home - knackered, I expect!!

But for now, dear readers, AU REVOIR - and see you soon.

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