Being the only guest in the Grotto hotel I made a sterling effort to eat my own weight in breakfast cereal and yoghurt before doing a nine mile walk into Sunderland.
The coast line was rocky with the strong smell of the seabird colonies wafting up over the cliffs. I met a couple of cyclists who were from Sunderland, the told me of another local delicacy pea and ham sandwiches, I put them on my list .
They also brought up the subject of Hendon. Hendon is an area south of Sunderland. I had met a couple a week back who told me to avoid Hendon completely. This is a bit tricky as it’s on the coast.
This time they were more reassuring
“You going through Hendon? Well don’t worry it’s not as bad as it was”
The coast is eroding markedly here and there are railings to keep you away from the edge. Of more concern are the signs for the Samaritan’s and bunches of flowers tied to the fence. I am hoping these are where people have had ashes scattered.
Soon you come to Roker beach which is a big beach near Sunderland. It was well used with lots of Mackems enjoying themselves.
It was here I overheard one of my favourite snippets of conversation so far.
“I couldn’t decide so I got the crotch less ones”
Reaching the river Tyne you follow it inland.
In my case it was to get to my hotel next to the Stadium of Light , home of Sunderland AFC.
I have a very good friend who I worked with who was a Mackem and every Monday we’d have a celebration or post mortem of the black cats performance over the weekend.
The stadium is big and pride of place is to a statue of a celebrating Bob Stokoe