By Veronica


I'm just being perverse using this shot of the famous Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough (see extra for more context). Since our last visit, a glass lift has been added so that you can go up to the top level. But the man in the visitor centre told us that this was only possible on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and that you had to book in advance. "Can we walk up the stairs instead?" "No, there's no-one available and you have to be accompanied."

Bummer. We went outside and did the obligatory trip back and forth across the Tees on the car-carrying gondola. The friendly guy collecting fares asked if we wanted to go up, and on hearing the response of his colleague said, "Oh, he always says that -- he's a grumpy old bugger. Wait for Frank to come down -- he's up there with some visitors, and he'll probably take you. He's a volunteer and he loves it." We watched Frank and his visitors' progress on the user-controllable webcam, but unfortunately when he came down he had another appointment and couldn't take us. Next time then. The views from the top must be amazing; it's 69 metres high. We'd also just missed a barge transporting a wind turbine that had practically grazed the top of the structure; the turbines are now manufactured here before being transferred to the North Sea.

The people with Frank were from the art gallery in Middlesbrough; they were doing a short promotional film which involved taking photos of a fluffy toy caterpillar in various iconic locations, so we amused ourselves watching them doing that. Then we went home via the excellent farm shop, and I'm now cooking lamb boulangère for dinner.

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