northernvicar November and December 2023

One of my ambitions in life has been to see the Northern Lights. We should have been in Orkney for the last fortnight, and there have been some lovely photos from there. We have also seen photos from Northumberland over the last few months, but never seen the real thing. This evening the app started flashing red, a high chance of seeing them. So we went on an Aurora hunt. We drove north up the A68, then took the Bellingham road in West Woodside. There is a laybye on the north side of that road, and we could see a strange white pattern in the sky. When we pointed the phone cameras at it, we got different colours. Quite magical.

More time spent with Luke Jerram’s “Museum of the Moon” in Hexham Abbey – they had 26,500 visitors in the six weeks it was there.

I had a lovely railway trip to Glasgow to do Largs and Wemyss Bay. Then I had a Glasgow trip which ended up being a few hours in Carlisle, then buses across the Lakes, and a ride on the Windermere branch.

We started December with a meal at The Boatside to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, but otherwise had a quiet month. Having felt pretty good after stopping chemo in September, the cancer symptoms are back – so we’ll start chemo again in the new year. We read a lot of books and watched a lot of telly. Went to a beautiful Midnight Mass at Hexham Abbey. They had a little orchestra and the final voluntary was a movement of the Bach ‘Double Violin’ concerto – everyone in the Abbey sat in silence listening to it. Amazing crib too.

I finished the year with a busy Mince Pie special on the Tanfield Railway. Two trains running as so many people had booked. My son has purchased me an annual ticket – which seems a great act of faith!

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