In this blogposting…
* Bywell
* Starlight Castle
* Australia
* The Daily Wisecrack - again
There’s a few requests for help this time round…


All AGMs are special, but don’t forget that the next one will be even specialer.  We’ll be at Bede’s World in Jarrow, which is a marvellous place and well worth a trip if you’ve never been - or even if you have.

We’ll be mustered at the entrance (as it were) at 1100 this upcoming Saturday morning (October 27).

I’m sorry that Bede’s World is not too easily accessible by public transport; if anyone would like a lift, just give us a shout.


A few days ago, I found myself in Bywell-on-Tyne for the first time in ages.  It’s one of my favourite north-east villages; in fact, it’s one of my all-time sublime villages anywhere. 

That it survives agelessly, and within a few minutes of urban Tyneside, is a minor miracle and it’s worth the trip to see the perfectly manicured, ‘estate’ fields that surround it, the ruins of its ancient castle peeking out above the trees, the solidity and unhurried permanence of its few houses - and to visit its two mediaeval churches.

To have two ancient churches side by side - almost sharing the same churchyard - is a very great rarity in England, or anywhere else, for that matter.  I’ve only seen it once before, in the lovely Essex village of Willingale and the phenomenon occurred there for exactly the same reason as here at Bywell. 

Parish churches are usually built somewhere near the centre of the parishes they serve but at Willingale and Bywell, they were built right at the edges of two parishes, where the parish boundaries met.

Which is why two beautiful and venerable old churches stand cheek by jowl at Bywell.

It rained heavily while I was there the other day, which only served to crown my visit with one of the most vivid rainbows I’ve ever seen.  I hope you like the photos I took.

When I got back home from Bywell and was telling a neighbour about it, he asked me if I’d ever been to Starlight Castle - apparently, he knew it well when he was young and wondered how well, or badly, it had fared over the years since he used to play there.

I’m ashamed to say that I’d never heard of it, which is a bit rich coming from someone the BBC used to promote as ‘our local history expert’.

Having scrubbed the internet in search of more information, I now know roughly where, and what, Starlight Castle is.  There’s a charmer of a story attached to it - but I’ll let you discover it for yourself!

Have any truckshunters or other blogsters been there recently?  Can you add to its story or update my neighbour about its current condition? 

Please get in touch…


I’ll soon be casting my beady eye over our next port-of-call:  Australia.

A big Thankyou for the all the quirky trivia and lowdown I’ve received already - even from blogsters in Australia itself.

If there’s anything you think I should include in my ‘portrait’, please email me.


Thankyou to Brenda and Hildie for their Comments on the last posting.  The phrases Brenda quotes are reminders that north-east people can hold their own in any battle of gentle, but incisive, sarcasm.  They reminded me of the many ‘stock phrases‘ my Mam and Nana used to use when they thought the occasion called for it.

In fact, I’m doing my best to compile a list of as many home-grown wisecracks as I can and I’d really love to hear any that you can remember hearing in your family - or that you still use yourself.  Look in the last posting’s Comments box for the sort of thing I mean. 

The comments about the local word for turnips rang a bell, too.  I can’t ever remember calling them anything else but ‘turnips‘ but I know that my brother - who led a far more daring life than me - called them ‘snaggers‘ or ‘snags’.

Many years ago, a listener to Roots of the North-East sent me a long list of local words for plants and animals.  I was hoping it might have been in the box of print-outs I found the other day, but it’s not.

So, as a final request to the Honourable Company…

If you’d like to reach back into the cobwebby cul-de-sacs of your memory for any words you used - or even still use - for animals and plants of any kind, I’d love to hear from you. 



Post comments on this blog or email me:  truckshunters@googlemail.com


Val said...

Well done to the hardy souls who've braved the icy conditions and are at Bede's World as I type. At school I was in Venerable Bede's 'house' so I really should go as it looks fascinating.

I'd love to get time to get to an AGM at some time but my already busy life has been more difficult lately. My Dad had been virtually housebound for the last couple of years and a few months ago was diagnosed with bone cancer. He was kept pain free and looked after very well in a care home where he passed away peacefully last month.
He'd taken his granny's bets to the bookie from when he was about 5 years old. He enjoyed watching horse racing on tv and getting us to put his bets on until he died.
He was accepting of everything which helped us cope too.
His irreverent sense of humour came out the day we were told he was terminally ill. When I asked if he had any horses he wanted me to put a bet on - he said yes if there's one called 'Dead Cert' !!

My Mam's very frail now and needs more help though she wouldn't say no to a coffee with you Ian - she remembers you in your kilt when she met you at the Blue Bus years ago.

At the same time that you found your folder about the old radio shows I found an old folder in the spare room with unrelated bits and pieces my husband had kept - including a copy of a letter I'd written to Ian and Paul in 2000 about their upcoming visit to Killingworth [where I live].

On the animal/plant words, I say spuggy for sparrow - learned from my Dad of course :)

Ian Robinson said...

I hope you don't mind, but I've mentioned your Comment in posting 406.
And I mean what I say - get in touch and we'll set up a date for me to have some coffee and cake with your Mam.
Take care