Well this is all very exciting isn't it?
Yes. It is. I assure you, promise you and guarantee to you with a promise of a full refund. You're right of course about that being an empty guarantee. You haven't paid any money to me to read my words. None at all. They're free. On the house. Gratis. My gift to you, faithful readers and others who stumble across this page.
It is very exciting. Today I will get to the end of telling you about our adventurous walk to Morpeth and about the surprise we found there. But that's not the exciting thing. Nope. No siree. Negativo. Ignore the "negativo" because who would say something like that? The exciting thing is that I am writing my blog somewhere new. I've been here before of course. I've even blogged about here before. Remember that time when a dragon in a giraffe costume stole my "Autistic" badge? That happened here. Just in the next room.
Today I'm writing my blog inside the Literary and Philosophical Society Library. We're currently in the Sir James Knott Room so you know where to find me. We considered writing downstairs where there is a silent room but for today at least we're upstairs here among thousands of books. Last time I was in this room we had come for a poetry reading and music performance that we came to mainly on the grounds that it was free. This time we've come so I can write my blog.
But that's not the most exciting thing. The most exciting thing is that my person has just done something that she has managed not to do ever since moving to Newcastle. She has joined the library. Exciting, isn't it? It's part of her plan you see. I just heard a train horn! Twice! She hasn't got much of a plan yet but she knows that it includes lots of writing. LOTS of writing. She knows she has some kind of a writing gift of course. People have told her. And she's started writing more this year, especially in the last few months. Next year she wants to learn to write. Develop some skill. Learn how stories, non-fiction, poems, and every other type of writing actually work. She wants to play with words, play with ideas, play with writing prompts, enthuse about the wonder of composing. She is a writer. She says so. Therefore she is. Next year she also might get to the point of entering a competition or two. Or submitting some work. She'll only do that if the composition process looks joyful though.
She also needs to learn about proof reading and editing. Take the story that she published on her own blog a few days ago. It's a Christmas story. It's more than 15,000 words long. We all know that a year ago she would not have been able to write such a story. Personally I think it's pretty good but maybe I'm a bit biased on account of being her soft toy. Maybe not. Others have read it and the reaction has been good. But it's not proof read. It's not edited. So there are lots of typing errors and little things that could do with tweaking. What I say is that she should do the proof reading. Do the tweaking. Change the dates. And then attempt to get it published somewhere for next Christmas. That's what I say. I'm just a small pink soft toy but sometimes I get ideas.
I'm in the Lit & Phil Library. And my person is a member. And she is a writer. And she is as excited as I am about what she might find in 2017. Today, on 22nd December 2016, next year is a mystery. This year was a mystery too. There have been surprises this year. Lots of them. Last year was too. At least that's what my person says. She hadn't expected to be diagnosed as autistic last year but that happened. I wasn't alive for most of last year. I was only created on the evening of December 31st. So I didn't get to experience much of 2015. This year has been a constant surprise for me and there is a vast amount I haven't been able to tell you about.
Like that day we walked to Morpeth. We were nearly there. Success almost guaranteed. If you want to read about the rest of the walk you'll just have to read my other posts. Some of what's there may surprise you. Things did not turn out as planned when my foolish person attempted to take us through Bothal but they turned out well after many adventures and some time travel too. Bothal is a safe place now.
On our walk into Morpeth along the course of the river Wansbeck there were only two more bridges to cross. And then we would be there. My person said that we deserved a rich reward when we arrived and that she might even treat us all to a pot of tea in a cafe. And get this: She said she might even buy a cake. A cake! My person said that! She doesn't usually go so crazy. All the memory wiping must have affected her in some way.
Here's the first bridge. It's called the Morpeth East Bridge and the excellent bridges site tells me that it was constructed in unknown. That's okay. All I need to know is that it's a bridge and that I like bridges. Don't I look wonderful carefully sitting on the metal rails at the side of the bridge?
Here I am again, sitting VERY carefully. The view downstream is behind me. I did have to be very careful because the gap between the two pieces of metal I'm sitting on was very nearly as wide as I am. If I hadn't held on so tightly I might have been blown into the river by any passing gust of wind and that would have been my doom. So I held on and held on and gripped as tightly as it's possible for any soft toy with no limbs to grip. I was lucky. I didn't fall into the river and the photo was worth all the unnecessary risks I took.
Here's a close up of me sitting in a similarly dangerous, precarious, spot that would make you hold your breath with suspense and terror if you had seen me in real life or in a movie. Blob Thing: Daredevil. But unlike the fictional Daredevil I haven't got any special skills and I'm not a highly trained fighting machine. It's true that Winefride and I did manage to hold back the stone sentinels of Bothal graveyard for a while but we wouldn't want to make a habit of such extraordinary escapades.
We walked on. Further upstream. Towards the land of Morpeth. Until we arrived at our final bridge of the day. A pretty footbridge. This is the Stobsford Footbridge. It's called that because it's a footbridge. It's by a ford. And it's the Stob. No, I don't know why it's called Stob. The bridge was placed over the ford in 1931. The faithful bridges site says so. But it wasn't originally placed there. It got moved. By people. Not by a storm. It was originally sited at the bottom of Curly Kews. Honest. I'm not making that name up. Curly Kews. The local paper speaks of a "shocking scene" on Curly Kews this year. There was a collision on the road. A one vehicle collision. A police car collided with some railings. In Morpeth that is enough to qualify as a "shocking scene." I guess that hundreds of people would have had to be hospitalised with the shock of seeing such a sight. Shocking. My person is shocking too! Earlier this year, probably on a similar date to the Curly Kews incident, a woman in the market looked my person up and down and angrily said, "Shocking!" I think that woman had to be hospitalised too and is possibly still in a maximum security psychiatric ward.
Here I am, in glorious sunshine, by the Stobsford Bridge. I understand that in the town this is known as the green bridge. Even though it's blue. A woman is just to the left of us making noises under her breath as she looks at books on a shelf. Maybe she's autistic too. Maybe she just likes making noises. Maybe she can't help it and has funny lungs. Maybe in future we'll sit in the silent room downstairs. I just think the light is better upstairs. It includes a bit of natural light. I must admit I wish that Newcastle had the reading room we liked so much in Manchester. We would almost have lived there. She's still there. The books on those shelves are all about the Second World War. I think my creator might like some of them. Titles like "Holocaust Journey".
You can hardly see me in this picture. I do like bridges. Next year I want to see lots more of them. Lots more. And I'll pester my person regularly if she doesn't take me places to see them.
And so we arrived in Morpeth. My person told Winefride and me that we would be going to a cafe. If we could find one suitable for sitting in quietly with a nice pot of tea. We liked the cafe we found in Manchester last week. But I've said that before. I wonder whether there's anything that crazy in Morpeth. I do like pots of tea. If they're filled with nice tea.
We walked into Morpeth. Tired. Thirsty. Sun-beaten. Drained from the Battle of Bothal. In desperate need of refreshment before seeking transport back to the citadel of Newcastle. We hoped that somewhere we might find a place that would welcome three weary adventurers with open arms and provide some refuge from all we had witnessed.
We hoped. We dreamed. We fantasised about tea. I hoped the tea wouldn't cost too much or my person would probably renege on her promise and drag us away from the cafe with the words, "It's too much. Let's just buy a large bottle of milk and drink from that instead." My creator taught her that trick. In many ways it's a good trick. Why should my person pay a pound for half a litre of a sugar drink filled with flavourings and caffeine and colouring - that perhaps necessary evil entitled Coca-Cola - when she could buy two whole litres of milk instead? A good trick but, I hate to say it, a trick that could take us away from our cafe experiences.
We hoped. But we couldn't have hoped for or expected to see a sign like this:
All welcome. Even three footsore wanderers with slightly muddy shoes. Only my person's shoes were slightly muddy. My shoes and Winefride's shoes weren't muddy at all. Because we don't have any shoes. I wonder whether my person will ever borrow books from this library. It's not as if she needs any more. On the other hand the library might have some books that would help her in her writing. I noticed several written by the Opies and they're all good for finding ideas. All welcome.
Not only that. Another smaller sign told us the admission cost. Free. Absolutely free. No charge.
These last two pictures from an amazing day show Winefride, my wonderful sister, and me. We're sitting with a big mug of tea. Not a pot. And we're sitting with a big bowl of strawberries and some home-made shortbread too.
Music was playing from a local little orchestra and we sat in the sunshine outside the United Reformed Church and felt very blessed indeed by the entire situation.
You couldn't beat this. It was better than going to a cafe. And there wasn't any chance of my person complaining about the cost and dragging us away. Thank you church people for the miracle.
That's the end of my account of that day. Thank you for living it with me vicariously through my words.
Oh, that person who was making the noises moved on about sixty seconds ago. I think she's going to borrow the book that stood between "The Secret World" by Hugh Trevor-Roper and "Crusade in Europe" by Eisenhowe. My person says she would have read a book by Hugh Trevor-Roper in college but didn't because she had to completely reorganise her course and provide a new curriculum. So she didn't ever read what he had to say about Archbishop William Laud, a man who wasn't lauded by his many enemies. I wonder if he said more sensible things about Laud or about The Secret World than he did about the fake diaries of Hitler. Probably I will never know. That's okay. There are much more important things to know.