During July there have been a large number of journeys to Durham. Since 29 May this year, when we began, we have hosted visitors from six nations (so far) to our ‘Air B and B’ house: from France, Ireland, Italy, America and Australia, as well as guests from within the UK.
I was introduced to Air B and B by members of the younger generation, one of whom had done a city-break to Budapest, using this website (www.airbnb.co.uk) to book a place to stay. It’s such a great concept. There are many different types of accommodation; sometimes you just rent a room, but if you choose to book with us (it’s listed as “Comfy 3BD house, Durham”), you get the whole house, and it’s been set up specifically for the purpose. So everything is designed to make your stay as comfortable as possible: furniture, decoration, furnishings and equipment have all been chosen to make the house relaxing and easy to use. There is accommodation for four guests and space to all be together – or to spread out a bit. The dining room has additional soft seating as well as the dining table and chairs:
And there’s a sitting room with comfortable seating which includes a rocking chair and a reclining chair as well as the sofa (just pictured). There are jig-saw puzzles and games for guests who come for longer stays. The house is painted white throughout.There are three comfortable bedrooms upstairs – and of course there are hand-made quilts at the end of each bed!
Our guests come for all kinds of reasons: proud parents attending graduation days, post-graduate students coming to collect a well-earned doctorate, guests at a wedding nearby, guests at a wedding a long way away (who just needed to break the journey somewhere nice), travellers doing a country-wide tour and people wanting to visit historic Durham city or to explore the County Durham countryside.
Our Air BnB house is a mere four miles from the centre of Durham, but is surrounded by green fields and hills:
It’s a short step from the house to the network of footpaths that have been created from the former railway paths (see my post ‘New workshops and long walks‘) for more about these. For guests who want to get into Durham city, a good option is the bus from the stop practically in the doorstep: ten minutes later you are in Durham bus station – and no worries about parking!
Durham, as I’ve previously noted (Durham Surprises) always seems to have something going on – and today was no exception as the town was full of Morris dancers. A morris-man emerged from his car just next to me, complete with full costume and a very splendid hat. Two female dancers were practising on one of the bridges as I walked by, calling the various moves (steps?) to each other as they paced and turned. Several dancers from different groups were spotted on the way into town and it was good to see one of the groups in performance in the Market Square. I noted that there are two schools of thought: to wear shoes with bells on, whilst on the journey to the venue or to wear regular footwear en route. I have to say I rather liked the former!
I should update the information about Salon 32 in Durham, because they have moved location since I last wrote about them (wouldn’t want to confuse anybody!). Here’s Pauline behind the desk in the new premises which are on the ground floor, so no stairs to climb.
You can find Salon 32 at the bottom of Claypath, number 90 (on the opposite side of the road to the library and Gala theatre and just a few doors up).
And here’s another great Durham facility: ‘Durham City Watches’, which is in Durham Indoor Market and has been running since 1985, when the father of Mark Wilson (who runs it now) set it up. The original proprietor can still be seen at times, helping out on the stall and Mark’s brother-in-law also works there, so it really is ‘a family business’ which is how they describe themselves in their strap-line. They can diagnose, sort out and fix anything that tells the time, plus they offer all manner of new timepieces and I was able today to purchase a very tasteful red leather watch-strap from a vast selection. Well worth a visit.