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  • Chris Jones

Day 26 & 27. Fri & Sat, 3rd, 4th Feb. Jarrow to Whitley Bay.

Updated: Feb 10

The Lodge room in 'Jarra' was probably one of the most interesting I've been to. The ceremony was very special too, so much I had never seen before and obviously, so much I can't tell you about here. You'll just have to take my word for it, a superb evening which ended my short stay in The Province of Durham very much on a high. There were more donations from lodges which meant that that in the week I'd been with these gentlemen, my fund raising effort for the MCF had increased by £2,500. Truly incredible and I'd like to thank each and every one of the Freemasons I met for looking after me so well. I had been spoilt rotten, it was going to be tough getting back on task and sleeping in the tent but the journey had to continue...

A short walk from the hotel down to the Tyne tunnel to pass through the tunnel and into the Province of Northumberland. I was met my Paul the Comms Officer who had been my main point of contact during my stay and who had worked so hard to pull together meetings and individuals to look after me. Clinton also joined us, the APGM from Durham and we were then met by Gordon and Phillipe, The Provincial Grand Secretary and Assistsnt Provincial Grand Master from the Province of Northumberland. We all walked to the mid way point in the tunnel and then did a formal hand over, reminiscent of a Cold War prisoner hand over between the troops of East and West Germany. It was a good laugh, until I had the daft idea to climb the static escalator to get out of the tunnel !!! I've no idea how many steps there were but they very nearly killed me !!!

We were also met by Colin, a Mason I'd met the night before. He lives in North Shields but does his Freemasonry in South Shields over the river. Colin kindly offered to be my guide through North Shields as we had to box round some of the industry on the riverside. Just short of Tynemouth we had lunch and parted company and I was once more on my own, in a new Province.

It was a steady walk around the edge of Tynemouth and up to Whitley Bay, I was fully intending on finding a pitch for the night but there was nothing. I had no option but to book into a hotel in the Bay and I was that tired, after a couple of pints and a nice steak, I was in bed for 8.30pm... 🫣🥱

I had bumped into a young man and his dad in Tynemouth and got talking about the walk. They had both just finished their daily swim in the sea which when I asked why they would want to swim in such cold water, the response was, 'you never have a bad experience' when cold water swimming. I had heard from lots of people the supposed benefits of submerging your body into ice cold water, both for your physical and mental well-being. I had used an ice Bath many years ago when training to run my first Marathon, I don't remember if it had any positive effect but not surprisingly, I do remember it not being a particularly pleasant experience... 🥶 anyway, I decided to give it a go in the bath... I was right, it was a horrible experience, I leapt out of the bath like I'd been scolded !!! I gave myself a manly chat and managed to get back in for a little longer and then after another pathetic dance around bathroom I did manage to lie down and fully submerge fir a couple of agonising minutes.

I'm not sure if it did any good, I guess I will have to try it again to see. I definitely didn't take any pics for your enjoyment, what I couldn't see in the bathroom mirror definitely wouldn't have been visible without a very good camera with a special focused lens... 🫣😬

I'm just glad the interview I did with my mate Richard on Coastal Radio was a sound only interview, his thousands of listeners didn't need to be seeing any of that...

Whitley Bay was very nice though, definitely worth a longer visit one day. 👍😎

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