After Northumberland, our route took us to Southwell, Nottinghamshire. This was intended simply as an overnight rest stop and was not supposed to be particularly special. A pleasant surprise awaited.
Our route took us part Newcastle upon Tyne / Gateshead and we turned off the motorway for a quick look at the Angel of the North. This is either monstrous or nice, I can't decide. Can you?
The Wikipedia entry on it says: "The work faced considerable opposition during its design and construction phases, but is now widely recognised as an iconic example of public art and as a symbol of Gateshead and of the wider North East".
Anyway, we stretched our legs, snapped it, and drove on to Southwell, stopping here (Lord knows where but very nice!), for a picnic lunch en route:
Southwell was a funny place because it stank of money, demonstrated by the large number of clearly expensive fashion and other shops on its little high street. (Our AirB&B hosts later explained that this was because there is a railway station 15 minutes' drive from the town from where a high-speed train can whip one to London in a little over an hour: the town is therefore favoured by footballers, BBC and ITV 'personalities', etc etc)
Our AirB&B flat was above the owner's French restaurant. They had totally re-decorated the flat during the lockdown in a sweetly over-the-top style (they had previously let it out as student lodgings). I took some iPhone pics — enjoy! (click to enlarge)
The owners turned out to be an Englishman and his French-Algerian/Moroccan wife. My Morroco connection led to things becoming very friendly and we had a great time; hospitality became so warmly North African that we were given coffee and freshly-made and truly excellent croissants in the restaurant the next morning before we left. I'm sorry we don't have a picture of them but anyone going to Southwell should definitely visit their restaurant, called La Parisienne: we looked at the menu and I seriously regretted not being able to stay in the town until lunchtime. Madame also promised to make us a couscous should we ever pass that way again.
Next post will be Devon...