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  • Chris Jones

Day 22. Sun 29 Jan. Seaton Carew to Blackhall Rocks.

I changed my day off this week and actually had most of Friday and all of Saturday off. I played at being tourist and had a good look around Hartlepool, I took part in my first ever park run, at which I came last because I walked the 5km !!! Had a lovely Thai meal with John and his wife and ended up in a pub with a live band playing my favourite tunes, loads of 80's Mod and Ska...

After a great weekend off, it was good to be back on the move first thing Monday morning. I quickly nipped over to say goodbye to the girls in The Sea Horse Coffee Box. Who knew there was so much to learn about coffee ?? I certainly didn't but after a crash course, I know a lot more now.

Paul, the Master of St Helens Lodge No 531 joined me before I reached Hartlepool. Paul was a former Royal Navy submariner, he had served a long career in the Royal Navy before serving a second career as a Police Officer so as you can imagine, we had plenty to talk about. We walked for 9 miles and it seemed to fly by as we laughed and exchanged tales.

We parted just south of Blackhall Rocks so Paul could double back to walk home and I continued north leaving the beach for a while.

Before we parted company, Paul suggested I stop in at the Hardwick Hotel in Blackhall for a cuppa, the hotel was owned by a couple of Masons so I'd be made most welcome.

I was made most welcome, Nigel came out to greet me at I approached the hotel and dragged me into the bar. I never got the sniff of a cuppa though, instead he forced me to drink that horrible beer stuff !!! I wouldn't normally drink on a Sunday, what with it being a school night and all but we were having a really good chat so I forced myself so as not to appear to be rude... 😁 These villages along this stretch of coast were former coal mining villages so the stories were fascinating. I knew that the coal mines were often very deep but I had no idea that the tunnels could extend out under the sea for up to 8 miles !!! 😰 incredibly dangerous work and definitely not a job for me.

After an hour of so and one or two halves of beer !!! Nigel very kindly offered me a room for the night which I gratefully accepted.

It was only proper that I enjoy one more half before I nipped over to the local pizza place for some scran. Having hardly eaten a thing all day and after stretching those couple of halves out for the past 6 hours I was starving. The lovely lads in the Pizza Amore allowed me to stand in the warmth of the takeaway to eat the enormous calzone, while we had a fascinating conversation about all sorts of things. The owner, an Iranian gent was extremely well read and highly educated. He even made my calzone look like a huge fish...

A great end to what had been a good day. Lots of interesting conversation and lots more of this incredible Durham generosity.

I didn't do my homework as I was asleep in seconds... it would have to wait until morning and I would no doubt be in trouble for handing in my homework late, again... 🫣

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