“Where for ART thou”

Bit of a late entry, but, better late than never.

And there, it was upon us, the coveted Easter bank holiday weekend. A chance to extend the usual weekend by an additional day either side. Traditionally filled with boozy days out in the sun and hungover days in front of the TV, however, not for us this year, we’re far too grown up. Sadly.

The lack of debauchery gave us a perfect opportunity to consult my to do list and tackle some of the days out I had planned when I first took this blog in another direction. After a well deserved date night we planned for Saturday and Sunday without my list in sight.

Saturday was spent taking Holly’s family dog, Tommy, for a walk on what we call the Silverhills, nicknamed that from the small Silverhill Wood which stands at the front of the range. The rolling plains took us back to our New Zealand days, albeit with the brightness and contracts slightly dimmed, as we briskly wandered along the paths, missioned to find the hidden Birkenhead cafe. It almost seemed alien to see the countryside basking in sunshine.

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I almost wished that I had added a country walk to my list, just so I had something I could cross off.

The cafe was a delightful little gem, nestled at the summit of a dusty path where the family and Tommy could revitalise. The cafe had a welcoming homely feel, other wanderers chatting to us as we slipped into the garden to find our seats. Rejuvenated after a healthy dose of sponge cake and caffeine, we set off walking again.

In my ever adaptive Converse trainers, we sauntered down the country lane until we reached a small gap in the trees to our left, and headed down a slightly worn track. Intermittent dashes of sunshine warmed the spring air as we circled back to the car. A momentary escape from the world of work and binge drinking bringing fresh perspective to my weekend. Almost a transcendent feeling, wanting to close my eyes and feast on the crisp fresh air, emancipated.

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Amongst the wild beauty of nature, there was still space for Dave to try and throw a stick for Tommy, hitting Holly in his backswing.

We later had the pleasure of babysitting Izzy at our flat, Holly’s beloved cat, after Tommy had tried his best to fit her head in his mouth. Besides the rapacious little tinker waking me up at 6.12am for a feed, it was a pleasure having her for company, besides the allergic reaction she gave Holly, setting of itchy hives.

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The following day we returned the rash inducing ball of furr, and planned what we could cross off my list. Already two days into the bank holiday weekend and still nothing had been tackled.

An afternoon drink was in order to ease the pain of failure, again. But where?

When in doubt, head to Newcastle quayside. We were transported back to our childhood as we wandered through the Quayside market. My mind drifted back to the days when I would head down on the bus to pick up the latest rave music on cassette tape, accompanied of course by 6 mini donuts.

Crossing the ever spectacular Millenium Bridge, we arrived at the foot of the Baltic Flour Mill. This 1950’s flour mill was renovated and converted to a centre for contemporary art. Perched atop this prominent structure was a restaurant and, more importantly, a bar.

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But wait. Isn’t seeing an art show on my list? Aren’t I now peering up at the 6 storey hurdle that could be the catalyst for a romp through my checklist? We could arrive at our afternoon cocktail via a checklist item. Two birds, one stone.

Waltzing in, we came across the gift shop which immediately enticed us in. Perusing the wonderful plethora of books, homeware and witty gifts, we found ourselves lost in the daze, almost forgetting there was art to be viewed and drinks to be sipped. After making a short list of items for which we would henceforth return to purchase for every birthday we could remember, we toddled off to explore the gallery.

Tip toeing through the vast spaces, sparsely filled with works of art, we crept from one piece to the next, whole heartedly trying to attain the appropriate feeling.

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For me? Nada. Zilch. Nowt. Nothing.

I desperately tried to feel what the art was about, absorb it’s meaning and explore the depths to its end, purpose and significance. A depressing feeling overwhelmed.

I didn’t get it.

This was by no means a reflection of my assessment of the quality of the art, I wasn’t a critic seemingly panning the pieces.

I was a modest human, admitting my lack of understanding, slumping into a disappointment at my shallow appreciation, where others could duly see more than me.

I’ve never been an artistic type, a young life swamped with numbers, maths and science, the artist gene passed to my sisters and avoiding me.

Perhaps if there had been a piece dedicated to science, I could have broken from the depths of my naïvety to appreciate the art for what it should be. Instead, I found myself attracted to only one glimmering monument. The illuminated green exit sign

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