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Cragside

Cragside is simply unmissable and especially for anyone who loves trees. There is a shuttle bus you can take from the car park to the cafe, formal gardens and house. That was very useful. The first house in the world to use hydroelectric power, the site was chosen and the entire landscape was managed to that end, yet it looks natural and it is beautiful and impressive.

James was very eager to know all about Lord Armstrong. I’m afraid I am not a great source of information so I got him a book. Noel knows more and happily chatted away. For me the scenery is the thing — and the 10 ton marble fireplace, which I am afraid was inaccessible as there are many stairs. But the kitchen is fabulous and there was a wee taster of some cheese scones to be had from two women who were there baking as a re-enactment. James and I were recalling scenes from our own past. We remember huge enamel sinks with wooden draining boards and our mothers using mangles! There’s a good chance all either of us would have seen of upstairs, in those days, was to set the fire or clean the rooms! Marble is vastly overrated.

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Once again the cafe provided an excellent lunch this time in the form of a one-pot lamb broth. And so what if we got a little damp? The chat was good and the scenery breathtaking.

That evening: Dinner at The Mulan with friends