When visiting friends and relations south of the Watford Gap and asked (still) the question ‘why did you move up there?’, a faraway look always comes to me and I begin (again) to extol the virtues of the wondrous North East.
Never mind the awe-inspiring and historical sight of the Alexandra Palace, heralding the imminent landscape of the ‘smoke’, think of the return journey and the equally awe-inspiring and historical sight of the Angel Of The North – ah! home at last.
I say to these friends and relations, ‘Get out your internal passport and come to visit us and we will show you the sights, stroll along the banks of the mighty River Tyne and observe Collingwood, Nelson’s buddy, standing proudly on the tor, casting his all-knowing eyes to the south’.
Some have taken the plunge and travelled north, being taken aback and gasping at all I have spoken of.
However, recently when strolling along the banks of the Tyne, especially from the Fish Quay to pretty Tynemouth, instead of saying to these travellers ‘look, there is Collingwood’ and ‘over there the Black Middens’ and so on, I now find myself saying ‘look, that is a black dog turd’ and ‘watch out for the cyclists’ and so on.
I am appalled at the amount of canine excrement left for the unwary pedestrian to step in. Instead of being able to observe the beautiful views accorded one along the river and up to the castle, one has to keeps one’s head firmly gazing downwards.
Also, I am a cyclist, but the speed at which some cyclists weave in and out of the unwary is downright dangerous. And the ‘bell’, if they have one or care to sound it, is of the kind that even Peter Pan or Wendy would have trouble hearing.
There should be cycle lanes, bells audible to humans, not only dogs, a speed limit for cyclist and fines administered to cyclists riding on the pavement, as written in the Highway Code.
Let’s make wandering the highways and byways of the north east safe and enjoyable, especially to visitors.