Friday, 25 November 2011

Casual bus racism

I was on the bus to the coast earlier this week when a man got on and sat behind J and I. He was in his 60s and seemed enamoured with J, chatting to me about him and saying what a gorgeous baby he is.

'Have lots more,' he said, and I nodded and smiled, thinking that it was nice this man thought that kids were such a blessing.

But... then he finished his sentence. I was so shocked that I don't remember his exact words, but it was something along the lines of 'before the bla.cks have loads of babies and take over the country'.


I was so horrified I didn't know what to say. On the spur of the minute I couldn't even think what to say to even hint just how inappropriate I found his comments. How (ironically) English - that I didn't feel able to just say... well, anything at all.


It's only the second time I've experienced something like that. The first time I was in a taxi, discussing chip shops with the driver. He recommended one to me, and after telling me how good the chips were, added conspiratorially 'and it's white, you know'.

It took me a good minute or two to figure out what the hell he actually meant.

And it actually put me off going there. Because what if someone somewhere thinks that that's why I go there??


I'd love to know if these attitudes are prevalent but usually hidden round here, or rare and that's why these two happenings stick out in my memory. But at the end of the day, I'm white. If people are racist I'm not going to experience that from other white people, am I?

But I have a friend with a mixed-race baby, and I'm sad for her. Because sooner or later they will experience racism. I hope it's later, but... you never know when these things are going to happen, do you?


I'm curious. Those of you that live in Newcastle, how much racism do you see in your day to day lives? If you've lived elsewhere do you think the north east is better or worse than other areas of the UK? And what the hell could I have said on these two occasions to make these guys think twice before sharing these opinions in public again without making the rest of my journey too horrendous? Should I just have put up with horrendous? Does having J with me make any different to what I'm honour bound to do? (I guess over the years it will make it more important to speak up... I don't want to teach him that racism is OK or that it's OK to let it go unchallenged.)

Really interested to hear your thoughts.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Home for Christmas

Out today! Home for Christmas by the very lovely Cally Taylor. I loved her first book, Heaven can Wait, and can't wait to read this one... although it may be a while before I finish it!!

Cally asked to hear what we want for Christmas.

Well, nearly two years ago now, I lost a baby. And it was horrible. And that year, Christmas was awful.

Last year, Christmas was better. But still hard.

But this year! Well, apparently I've never announced it here - although I hope most of you already know because you follow the newcastle daily photo blog - but I had a baby at the end of June! A little boy that for the purposes of this blog will be known as J. He's the most amazing baby in the entire world (possibly a slight exaggeration but hey I'm his mum, I'm supposed to believe that!) and I love him to pieces.

Current weaning advice in the UK is to wait until six months. J hits that milestone almost exactly on Christmas. We are so looking forward to giving him his first taste of real food on Christmas Day :) We're planning on doing Baby Led Weaning (no mush, no fuss, just letting baby get on with eating normal food from day one!) and although it's going to be messy, we're really excited :)

Did I hear you ask for a picture? Oh go on then. Here he is dressed up for Hallowe'en:

So, anyway. Tell me your Christmas wishes in the comments, and then go off and order Cally's book :) Or would you like to know what it's about first? Here you go! -

"Beth Prince has always loved fairytales and now, aged twenty-four, she feels like she's finally on the verge of her own happily ever after. She lives by the seaside, works in the Picturebox - a charming but rundown independent cinema - and has a boyfriend who's so debonair and charming she can't believe her luck! There's just one problem - none of her boyfriends have ever told her they love her and it doesn't look like Aiden's going to say it any time soon. Desperate to hear 'I love you' for the first time Beth takes matters into her own hands - and instantly wishes she hadn't. Just when it seems like her luck can't get any worse, bad news arrives in the devilishly handsome shape of Matt Jones. Matt is the regional director of a multiplex cinema and he's determined to get his hands on the Picturebox by Christmas. Can Beth keep her job, her man and her home or is her romantic-comedy life about to turn into a disaster movie?"

Sunday, 9 October 2011

This is probably going to sound a bit (...OK, more than a bit) sad. But one of the little things I always liked about living round here is the number plates.

(Oh god, everyone's going to stop reading at that, aren't they?)

(Oh well. Keep on writing Beth!)

You remember before they changed in 2000, the location of registration was marked by the two letters at the end? One of the combinations for round here was CN. This meant that one of the highlights of my day was (still is, if I'm honest) spotting chemical formulae in car registration plates. Specifically KCN and HCN - potassium cyanide and hydrogen cyanide respectively.

As time passes, there are fewer of these cars around, so seeing one makes me happier.

But! We're now up to 61 on number plates. And while this doesn't lend itself to a precise chemical formula... if I see a car bought during this six months that starts with the letters NA and then has 61? That's close enough to NaCl for me to get all excited.

Yes. Salt. That formula? Will make my day.


I did a Chemistry A Level but that was over 15 years ago now. I have no idea why random chemical formulae make me so happy, all this time on.


Is there anything about the place you live (Newcastle or elsewhere) that makes you similarly happy??

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Snapshots from Newcastle today

# It was really windy today. And very cold. Me no likey. It's less than a week since it was boiling hot.

# Starbucks on Northumberland Street has had a revamp. It's looking really good. But they had no soya milk, so no coffee for me. *insert sad face*

# I've found the service at Urban Cafe (at Dance City) to be pretty slow but the food definitely worth waiting for.

# There seem to be a much higher proportion of people with brightly coloured hair around the last couple of weeks. Are the new students particularly bright-haired?

# In Haymarket the other day I suddenly realised I was listening to Tchaikovsky. It was weird. I couldn't think what the music was called and it was really annoying. (I've just worked out it was the waltz of the flowers.) The Hotspur pub on twitter tell me that they've been playing classical music in there to deter 'youths' from gathering for a while. You'd think they'd have somewhere better to hang around, eh?

Anyway, I was quite enjoying the classical music (I used to be in a youth orchestra and always loved my Russian composers). But today I was in there and they were playing easy listening. *shudder* Deterring annoying kids is one thing but making the adults that need to wait there for a bus listen to such cr@p is just mean.

# I really want someone to buy me some vegan cupcakes from Cake, as featured on the photo site here. I can't justify spending the money while off on maternity leave. (Yet can somehow justify buying myself coffee from Starbucks. I don't know.)

# I'm really kinda loving Newcastle again. This is good news for those who want more blog posts :) Having tons of fun on twitter too - @ncldailyphoto - if you're on twitter, are you following me?

Monday, 12 September 2011

It's been a while since I was posting here regularly about life in Newcastle. But I think the time has come to start again.

In the meantime - I've set up a twitter account for the newcastle daily photo site - but I'll use it for here too.

What's been going on for y'all in the meantime? Who's still reading out there?
I've now got a twitter account for all things geordie! Follow me there for extra snippets and pictures.

You can also follow me on facebook if you like :)

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

no disturbances anywhere near me, but my sister's boyfriend just posted this on facebook:

'Thoughts so where near enough all, at least 10 to 1 outnumbered right outside the flat, armed with fireworks and rocks...good times!'

they've seen people rampaging and a guy beaten up outside.

she is nowhere near far enough away from all this. it's terrifying.

also, is it just me, or is most of this article seeming to say 'we don't want to scare people or for them to think this is out of control'. Newsflash: THIS IS TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL. NO ONE THINKS IT'S UNDER CONTROL. get the water cannons here pronto, and stop messing around.

edited to say that my sister and her boyf live in the north west not the north east.

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Cradlewell

The Cradlewell pub has been closed for quite a while now.

To give you an idea of how long I mean by 'quite a while', well, just before it closed (and for a long time afterwards) it said on the blackboard outside (or do we have to say 'chalkboard' these days?) that they were broadcasting the Newcastle-Sunderland derby at 2pm. And it was talking about last time Newcastle played Sunderland before Newcastle were relegated. And Newcastle were relegated in May 2009... so that match must have been about two years ago now.

So the pub's been closed quite some time.


I was on the bus a month or so back, sitting behind a woman chatting on her mobile phone. And as we went past, she looked at the Cradlewell, and said to whoever she was chatting to 'oh, the Cradlewell's closed!'


They've recently put those fetching steel shutters on the windows, so it's more obvious recently than it was before, but still.

Yes, it closed. Two years ago :)

It wouldn't be so bad if she hadn't sounded a) surprised and b) upset by this turn of events :)

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Here's a question for you, if there's anyone out there still reading.

Would you use the phrase 'All up a height'?

Do you understand what it means?

I'm wondering if it's a geordie/north east phrase or not. I suspect it is but I might be wrong!


I'm hoping to get back to blogging here like I used to, tales of life in the north east. I hope there are still people reading out there.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

sorry about the extended break. it wasn't planned.

i do still plan to start blogging here again soon, ish. it's just that most things that happen these days seem to get blogged about at non geordie mum, my blog dealing with babyloss and pregnancy-post-loss (and can we just skip over that part for the minute? thanks).

anyway, this will start getting really repetitive for the few people who do actually follow all my blogs, but i wanted to say that i have started a new and private blog, dealing with CBT and trying to get my house clean. if you're interested in reading, email me at burningthepast at gmail dot com and i'll send you an invite so you can read.

hope things are going well for you all.