Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Day 31 begins


Day 31 begins.

I was awoken by the sound of dog walkers shouting commands to their respective 'best friends'. I smiled at the humourous retorts they followed each comment up with. Here boy, --- Do you want a smack, ----you'll get no dinner...
The day was cloudy but warm and I packed up quickly but needed to wait a while for the tent to aire and dry off the condensation as the ground here had been a tad wetter than I would have liked, it was flat and no high spots. I was somewhere I guessed on the grounds of an old estate, the gate house in the middle of field had once been a grand entrance to the drive up to a proud mans house. I passed the Mausoleum again and followed the road towards what I imagined would be Middlesborough, and soon came by a set of rather plush and gaily decorated Alms houses.


William Turner again had been the man responsible for them and apparently left money in trust for their continued maintenance and use. The people who lived here were living in the lap of luxury, it was a great little complex of 21 houses. The wrought iron fences and turreted castle like end walls set it off nicely as a regal place.
I crossed the road and began following the road edge and almost immediately saw a grand looking building to my right hand side. It looked almost disused from the road here, like the stable type block I had passed last evening, but I wandered up to take a look and found that from the other side it was a museum come gallery of arts. This was the Kirkleatham Museum Redcar, part of the William Turner estate and a very nice way to spend the next few hours. 

I learned all about a Saxon princess buried in her bed close to this site and also a lot about the local area. Luckily there was also a display by a local Calligraphic group who had reworked some lovely poetic verse in wonderfully rich artistic styles. I was suitably impressed by their work and hope that they might respond to the letter I left in their comments box. 

I sat for a few hours writing poetry myself as the exhibit had inspired me to write and that is always the best time to write I find. I chatted to a few people randomly in the pavilion cafe and watched children enjoying the chance to have the sun out and share company with their friends. Loads of people had taken advantage of the better weather, and the cafe was rammed to the seams.

Later when the heat had dropped a tad, I set off to walk into the city. I came into blah de blah, and sat at the memorial stone in the center to have lunch, then through Normanby and the fabled South Bank. (Not sure what it was fabled for exactly, but it was a pretty rundown part of civilization) There were streets that only had houses one side and some that had been flattened altogether. There were many boarded up and burned out shops and pub like buildings. 

I walked towards the river Tees and was just about to walk on a new path I had found, called the Teesdale Way when I met a very nice man called Carl, from South Bank, who began to tell me all about his beloved hometown. He was a man who had worked his whole life in the steel industry and was very happy go lucky, despite the state of things at present. He said that because he had worked hard and made his way up the ladder he was now able to have a decent standard of living and it was all down to dedication in his case. Others he had known had not stuck with a job and gone off to do other things only to find that they were now unemployed with no further prospects. He obviously liked talking to strangers and he loved the chance no doubt to show me the features to look out for here in this part of the country. He said I must see the Transporter Bridge, which had featured in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet the series about the Teeside and Tyne industries and people. 

He showed me where to see the football stadium and also one or two pubs. We covered many topics including the local gypsy populations which he believed was ruining the area to some degree with their lifestyle and their dislike for the authorities. I noticed that there were lots of cameras on poles, with cages surrounding them down here near the dock road too. He said that children had been shooting at them with air-rifles.
He had been out for the afternoon to meet friends and had to get home, so we said our parting comments and I set off to avoid the gypsies and find the Navigation Inn along the banks of the rail line close to the Riverside stadium. Shortly I did find the pub and had a chance to see another aspect of the area. It was a large pub and in good condition, but it seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, again huge tracts of land lay desolate, an odd huge building here and there. The man behind the counter said that it was mainly frequented at lunchtimes, because it was in a quiet location and also on match days as it was close enough to walk to the stadium. I asked how much the rolls were as I needed to think about my evening meal. He kindly gave me a couple for free, and I feel daft for not having asked his name though I did thank him all the same. Sometimes it is difficult to get all the details and I find that some people may not want to allow me to share some of those either. But maybe I should have remembered to ask.

It was late in the evening now, about 9pm when I got to the Transporter Bridge. 

I had passed the Stadium and the old docks where a new building for the Tees college was situated.

 A large piece of modern art bedecked the key side too. The bridge was closed now, it only runs through the day and not on Sundays. I thought it a pity as it looked like a ride worth taking. I had some phone calls to make so I sat and caught up with some friends, whilst being watched by constant police patrols driving by. I couldn't see anything here that would need this much protecting, especially from one guy with a heavy bag and walking poles.
I moved away from the bridge and went towards the town and came into a field on the north side. All around here was more dilapidated buildings and burned out pubs and houses with metal shuttered window, obviously awaiting demolition. There were some gypsy horses at the top of the field and I began to see that one or two of the abandoned houses were actually being lived in, whether legally or by squatters I couldn't tell, but cars were parked nearby.
I decided to choose a spot that had three grassy banked sides as my evening home, that way I would be out of sight and out of mind. The streets here were blocked from driving through by the grassy banks and huge rocks across the Tarmaccadam.
The shield of the banks meant there was little draft or winds and I slept the instant my head touched down.
Day 31 came to the end.

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