Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Christmas Charm In The Winter Wonderland of Holy Island Northumberland

This is now our 6th Winter on Holy Island and until the winter of December 2009 to February 2010 there has been no snow of significance to speak of. The 3 months starting just a year ago certainly made up the lack of snow fall which came with a vengeance, islanders saying they hadn't seen anything like it for nearly 50 years. Well if records are to be broken this is the year for it with snow returning with record falls starting this Winter as early as 24 November and as we go to press snow is still falling almost 1 month on!

The Ship Inn has opened as usual on the key winter days and for those who will venture out good home made food awaits with our usual selection of ales, wines and spirits. where you can relax by our lovely open fire. And if you want to totally relax why not book a few days as a few rooms are still left to enjoy the true tranquility of the island, as many of you already know, the island is at its' best on these lovely Winter days.

If you are out to stretch those legs over the festive break The Ship Inn will be serving lunches and evening meals as usual from Boxing Day, for our special New Year's eve night a few limited table places now remain.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Goodbye Winter & Hello Spring!

Spring is here at last on what can only be described as a perfect day here on Holy Island, warm, sunny and clear blue skies. A real difference after what has been the longest winter for many years, with many of the islanders saying that this was the worst Winter for nearly 50 years!
Snow fell on the first week of December and continued with many heavy falls up until the end of February. Daytime temperatures often hovered around -10C with just across the Borders temperatures of -22.5C being recorded. The island was virtually cut off for 10 days with the causeway and beautiful Lindisfarne Bay encased in frozen sea for at least a mile out.

Putting the weather to one side The Ship celebrated Old Year's Night in style with an innn heaving with folk, a firework display that would put many professional displays to shame and finally dance music that had the whole inn up on their feet to the early hours

Saturday, 24 October 2009

and finally..... where were we during the last 6 months?!

First of all to our faithful blog readers a big apology for not updating our blog for near on 6 months. No excuses, I know, but this year has been hard on the personal front with many unforeseen issues (non business) that when so called spare time has been available we have been absorbed in sorting various important bits and pieces.So let's just sum up and put matters right, with hopefully a few interesting stories by looking back to April when Norman the gnome was given a new lease of life up to the present time.

Mid April kicked off with Dick Patterson, our loyal postman hanging up his boots after delivering the island mail for well over 40 years. Dick battled through all weathers, wore out many many pairs of boots and walked hundreds of thousands miles during his days of delivering the island post. His farewell was marked with a retirement buffet at our Heritage Centre with many islanders in attendance. Malcolm Patterson, our local island Postmaster (on the right of the picture) presented Dick with a well deserved cheque from a well deserved village collection.

May: on a beautiful sunny weekend we were taken back to the 1930's with our hotel accommodation taken over by members of the Ford Model Y and Model R club. The cars in pristine condition drew many admiring glances from passers by as they lined up on Marygate. "It's just like turning back the clock 70 years" said one onlooker. You realise that the pace of life back then was not so much in a rush as the owners said they had journeyed from parts of the UK between 200 & 400 miles at a steady 40 mph. The cars all a credit to their owners will be welcome back any time.

Mid May: Another year to be etched on the stick as the birthday comes around again. This year is quite poignant as I reach 5 years since my dreaded operation for kidney cancer. Still here and enjoying life to the full and realising how lucky I have been.

August Bank Holiday: The vikings return for another historic reenactment weekend. As always an enjoyable weekend is spent with the vikings again bringing in the crowds and good weather as per the year previous, spring bank holiday 2008. Battle weary vikings descend on the pub and again break all records by adding to an amazing 2000 pints of beer drunk over a 3 evening visit!


Sadly "Norman the Gnome" meets his fate once again by a senseless visitor who wanders onto the rockery, somehow without any explanation falls on top of him then wanders into the bar with a handful of pieces, only to tell me that "if the gnome is so precious then it shouldn't be out in the garden on public display?!" well, fortunately, Geoff from Cullercoates returns for another break (excuse the pun!) and sets to on his holiday and "Norman the gnome" comes back to life again. As autumn approaches and after a lengthy debate at the next company board meeting it is decided that Norman will spent his time indoors until Spring 2010. We await for Norman's next adventure!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Norman returns from his Winter Break (and no longer in pieces!)

Norman is not the tallest of people, in fact, upon maturity his height remains at only 12 inches in height! The reason being, Norman is a Gnome in The Ship Inn garden. He has intrigued many of our guests by mysteriously appearing in a different location almost daily. Is he real? Well if you believe in Gnomes, maybe he is. One thing's for sure, he's been missed for the past 6 months having spent his Winter break (in more ways than one!) in the garage of regular Holy Island visitor, Jeff Sanderson. During Jeff's last stay on the island last October, Jeff (although he denies this!) was pouring out his thoughts to Norman at the end of an enjoyable evening on the "golden nectar" with Jeff saying his farewells by placing him below the garden rockery. Bad move by Jeff, as during the night a large piece of rockery fell onto Norman, whereupon he was discovered next day in a million bits. Sheepishly, Jeff said "it must have been me, maybe it was the whisky on the rocks!", a likely story.

Don't worry said Jeff "I will fix him" and to Jeff's credit he has! Spending many an hour in his garden shed over Winter, Jeff to be fair, has done a tremendous job and repaired Norman, who now looks as good as new.The only concern from Jeff's wife, Anita is she says, he is constantly singing "Hi Ho, hi Ho, it's off to work we go!" Oh well it takes all sorts, but if you have a Gnome in a bit of a fix then contact The Ship to get Jeff's Gnome Busters business contact details.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

To Enjoy A Drink You Must Have A Canadian Dry!

Having a Canadian Dry (and not a Canada Dry with your drink) was certainly not the main aim when The Ship had a visit from 7 happy go lucky Canadians spending three days on the island. Having walked the St Cuthbert's Way, most parties staying at The Ship just chill out and leave quitely. Not so our Canadian friends, who brought a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere during their stay. The Ship Inn prides itself on their display of a wide range of malt whiskeys which was certainly an enjoyable challenge for our Canadian party plus copius amounts of Holy Island Blessed Bitter and the much loved Secret Kingdom, brewed by Hadrian & Border Brewery. Landlord, Andrew Hnat said "he would be glad to see them back (no not their back!) and looks forward to an island reunion maybe in 2009 or 2010". Whatever the outcome, Holy Island is waiting and will be prepared for their return without a Canadian Dry!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Freddy 70 Not Out!

Freddy Hoult (pictured left) celebrated in style at The Ship Inn on Thursday 28 August along with his wife Peta, family and friends by holding a Fish and Chip supper to celebrate Freddy's 70th birthday. Not looking a day over 60, Freddy celebrated in style and brought back wonderful memories on how enjoyment can be had in the lovely old historic building of The Ship Inn by an impromptu gathering of Freddy Hoult's Choir (pictured top right) Wonderful songs such as "The Blaydon Races" were sung in perfect harmony and local "Geordie English" that was a delight for casual "lookers on" and would have been worthy of entering the BBC competition "The Last Choir Standing!"

Freddy has had a long association with the island, going back many many years with his first memorable visit in Freddy's words "coming onto the island as a nipper with his Mother and Father in their Model "T" Ford.

His Father already knew the island well, as he often came by sailing into the harbour with The Royal Northumberland Yacht Club. Following in his father's foot steps, Freddy paid a visit with the same yacht club visiting with friends on his Northumberland One Design "Wren Named" yacht. Originally living in Beadnell and later in Newcastle, Freddy has had an island home in the Herring Houses for over 30 years.

During the evening tributes were paid with one particular story from Andrew Hnat the landlord, telling those gathered that aside from The Ship Inn his first meal away from the business was at the Crown & Anchor with his fiancé Janice on their very first night on the island and who should make the first conversation from the adjacent table to Andrew & Janice but none other than Freddy & Peta Hoult, a memorable evening never forgotten!

Friday, 30 May 2008

Vikings Rape & Pillage Holy Island

In real terms, terrorising the island they do not but to drink the island dry they try hard ! However last bank holiday Friday 23 May, over 200 Vikings descended upon the Holy Island. Coming from all points of the compass, the vikings were here as the guests of English Heritage and put on a marvellous display of the reinactment of the invasion of Lindisfarne to the more gentle pastimes of demonstrating arts & crafts of this historic period in British History.
( Picture shows some of the Vikings and their wenches enjoying a quiet drink or two!)
Other historic records were also attempted when up to 100 vikings at a time in full battle dress descended upon The Ship Inn during their 4 day holiday period and attempted to "drink the house dry". However good stocks were in hand and the cellar managed to keep the lads and the lassies well imbibed but never running totally short.... close, but not short!

Added to this the weather that prevailed over the weekend was superb, so as the holiday weekend moved on a pace, glowing cheeks (on their faces of course!) were best cooled down with copious amounts of ale, wine and spiritswith the occasiona hearty meal! And for the record, the Viking enthusiasts were well behaved and never any trouble. One sour incident did occur, but for the record had no part at all with the viking group on the island. This was swiftly dealt with by Andrew the landlord with the offending individual sent packing with Viking bodyguards in the wings in case additional support was needed!

All in all an enjoyable weekend was had by all, to which the island will probably not see another like it.... until the next time that is. See you again boys and we will be ready to defend our barrels!!