I’ve lived in and around Newcastle most of my life. I was born in North Shields towards the mouth of the Tyne and now live in Morpeth about twenty kilometres or so to the north. Only during the eighties did I live outside of the greater Newcastle area.
I love the town. Like all cities, it has some down at heel places as well as some fantastic ones. It has a mixture of modern and ancient buildings, indeed the new castle is approaching a thousand years old. It has some great places to visit, there are some excellent restaurants and bars as well as enough sporting and cultural spaces to go to.
It is a fine place to visit at any time of the year yet I have come to realise that I love Newcastle the most when it is cold and dry. The colder the better and best of all when the wind blasts up the Tyne and smarts your face. It is then that you can tell those who live in the region from the out of towners.
I love it when the darkness descends and the glow of the shop windows enlivens the streets, especially Fenwick’s window around Christmas. The people rush by doing the shopping and the starlings chatter away overhead as they gather to roost for the night. Sadly neither the sight nor sound of starlings is so common now. Today it is more pigeons and gulls.
The cold reminds me of the northernness of the city. I yearn for it when I am visiting warmer climes, even the south of England can be too cloying for comfort.
When you see me making my way through the town, with my collar turned up and a scarf around my neck, have no concern as this is how I love Newcastle the best.