Saturday I went to see the Chinese New Year event in Sunderland but by the time I got there the weather had turned very wet so whether it was always the plan the Dragon dance took place in the corridor of the museum and people had to line up along the sides or that decision was made at short notice I am unsure. It was a bit cramped so the opportunity for seeing it or getting images was difficult.
They only performed twice as far as I know(that is a guess on my part again)as if the first display was as early as it seemed it was probably missed by many. I always thought it would be taking place outside but due to the weather it would be called off or the other alternative an areas known as the Winter Gardens covered by a see through glass roof and containing plants. Not knowing the building I was ready to give up but I got word that they were planning to perform around 1pm.
Somehow I managed to fill the time and still be there when it happened. That was more by luck. As it took me a long time to walk to the museum, then I rested and as I was about to go the display was due to start. I was also surprised to find two dragons and again I had almost disappeared before the second display. Sadly, though worth seeing it was difficult to get decent images. Cramped space and due to lots of movement of the Dragon dance some were blurred.
Slowly I returned to the town centre and spent a good half hour or more sitting in a soft leather chair in a shopping mall before getting the bus home.
On Sunday I took off for the Marina area of Hartlepool(I've never been there before)but that did not go to plan. Near the first stage of the journey where I had to change to another bus...there had been a car accident and the road was blocked and my bus could not turn around. These things happen and more importantly I don't think anyone was hurt but I could not see anyone just the cars. And a police car was parked across the road blocking off the road. Two low loaders were positioned to take the cars away. They did not look like write offs but both had pranged the front wing of the drivers side. The Police said we'd be held up for 10 minutes bit it was more like twenty,
When I arrived at the bus station I had missed the connection by 3 mins. I had to hang around for an hour until the next bus. I went into a shop to keep warm. Then when I arrived at the Marina the weather had turned cold, windy and there was the threat of rain.
I could find no seats and this is a massive area and what I wanted to see I seemed unable to find access or was closed so I ended up in another b***** supermarket over the road filling in time until the next bus home was due.
When it did it took arrive it took me around a roundabout to the other side of the road. I then had to get off and hang around in the cold for twenty five minutes under a bus shelter before it commenced its journey. Then unlike the journey to Hartlepool where you virtually get off one service onto another, if there isn't a delay, returning home there is a gap between services and I had to sit in the draughty bus station for fifty minutes.
Not the greatest day out I almost wished I'd stayed at home. I am not convinced that I will be in a hurry to revisit the Marina any time soon.
I have been talking to a few people about the Marina area since and they've all said its not as it used to be and many interesting businesses and exclusive shops have disappeared. Coming home on the bus within minutes of the Marina what a lot of run down areas. I lost track of how many buildings are boarded up and falling into disrepute. Possibly because they were a niche idea. People have moved. Instead of leaving them as empty properties which are never likely to be used as a retail unit again and with many not on a popular/regular bus route.
I wonder why they are not demolished or turned into converted flats especially for those who do not need large houses especially when we keep being told that we are short of social housing? It could revitalise neglected areas. Someone will give me a reason why this isn't being done. Its not Hartlepool's exclusive problem. These past few days I have gone through many unfamiliar towns and found it is the same there too.