- Chris Jones
Day 29. Sun 5th Feb, Blyth to Newbiggin.
When I left the Oddfellows in Blyth, I'll be honest, I felt a little low. It would be impossible not to feel moved by the conversations I'd had, so many people who's lives had been affected by suicide but also, affected by poor mental health while they tried to deal with and cope with their loss. I walked a few streets looking for the Lodge, knowing it would be closed but I'd go and look anyway. I turned a corner and was walking past a church when I lady turned towards me coming from the other direction and asked, "are joining us for the service?", while pointing to the church doors. Well, I wasn't planning on doing so but I smiled at her and replied that I'd love to. I don't consider myself a religious person although I do believe there is something that pulls everything together. I do recal my mum telling me once that she thought I had faith. I didn't then and I'm not sure even now I understand exactly what that means but I walked into the church on that Sunday morning as if I'd done so every Sunday morning, ever since I went to Sunday School when I was seven years old. I was welcomed by the few people in the entrance and as it was only a couple of minutes until the service was to begin, I was one of the last to arrive so I sat in the back pew. I listened to the service, I stood and mumbled my way through the hymes and I bowed my head through the prayers. I listened to the sermon, the vicar explaining how everyone should consider being the salt of the earth, the light that can shine to help others around them that are in the dark. I don't know if he was talking in general terms or if he had been in the pub yesterday, without his church robes on, listening to those stories of those poor people that were most definitely in the dark...
I was invited into the hall at the rear of the church for a cuppa and chatted with lots of very nice people, said my goodbyes and left.
I found the Lodge, it was closed so I left Blyth, pretty sure I wouldn't be returning but equally sure that the place had left a mark on me.
The Lodge was a lovely looking building and it's a shame I never got to go inside, I heard later that the bar had been taken from an old ship and rebuilt in the building.
It wasn't long before my somber mood was lifted. Just before I left the town, on a busy street I walked past a 'drop short' barracks... if there's one thing that can cheer up an Ex-Royal Engineer, it's the sight of a Royal Artillery play ground, with a big green shooty thing in the carpark for the knuckle draggers to play on, while they're not painting the kerb stones of course !!! 🤣😂🤪 Why were they born so beautiful ??? 🙄
It was quite a long walk inland to get to the bridge to get over the river Blyth, I stopped in a tiny little French village called Cambois and had a fantastic Sunday Roast before the crossing the river Wansbeck and walking out onto the headland to find a pitch for the night.
It had been a strange few days, lots to think about and as I sat on the bank watching the birds, waiting for last light so I could pitch my tent, I was treated to the most incredible sunset I think I've ever seen.