Not an entirely random name for a blog, but close. I am not a goat herder - in the usual meaning of that word; nor does the Urban Dictionary definition apply to me either (for a decade at least): an extremely drunk male who having lost all self-respect and standards, loses his powers of discrimination when pulling females. It is said that Gateshead derives its name from a settlement near an early Tyne crossing where goats once roamed. The goats are long gone, but me - I like to roam these parts - or rather run - exploring new places, rediscovering old ones in and around Gateshead and Newcastle when I'm out jogging. This blog is a collection of my photos, thoughts, observations, rants, loves and hates about Newcastle and Gateshead.

Why Newcastle?

I'm Washington born and bred, neither a Makem nor a Geordie, my footballing allegiance is to Sunderland, proud of heritage of my home town, love Sunderland but feel a closer connection to the city of Newcastle. 

My affiliation and affection with Newcastle the city goes back a long way, for as long as I can remember: shopping trips, as a child, being dragged around various department stores eg Fenwicks, Binns, Bainbridges and the Grainger market - one of my favourite places and one if my earliest memories of Newcastle is drinking in a cafe here.  I remember also trying to make sense of all the construction work - it seemed at one time, in the Seventies, that Newcastle streets were like maze of blue wooden construction hoardings when Eldon Square and the Metro were being built .

My dad is from Newcastle and I have fond memories of visiting my grandparents home in the west of the city - with the journey back home all along the Westgate Road - excitedly looking out for the Vagas style lights on the bingo hall on the corner of Clayton street (now the O2 Academy).

As a teenager, I gravitated towards Newcastle as a shopping centre, frequenting places such as Handyside arcade, music shops (Igot my first acoustic guitar in Kitchens music store which was located in the now defunct Fusion bar on the Blue Carpet, and my first electric guitar from Paul Garvey(?) music shop which was situated in some prefab units located next to the round multi-storey car park at the Haymarket), buying records from the Kard Bar (as well as pachoili oil an incense sticks), HMV (where Scott's is now on Northumberland street) and on the top floor of Callers Pegasus shop which was located where SuperDrug and HMV are now.

And of course I loved the City Hall which was a venue for many of the heavy rock acts I went to see from about the age of 12 onwards. 

In my twenties and thirties I gravitated towards Newcastle for the nightlife - the Studio, Mayfair, Bigg market, Quayside, Jesmond and latterly the Central Station area and "Diamond Strip" of Collingwood Street and Mosley Street.

I have worked in Newcastle city centre now for well over 20 years, and have enjoyed exploring the city centre - finding new places, rediscovering ones I'd forgotten about; lamenting the loss of some old buildings and new dodgy developments. I like to explore the town when out running on a lunch time: the Quayside, Ouseburn valley, Spillers Wharf, St. Peter's Basin, Byker, Jesmond Dene, Exhibition Park, Gateshead Quays, Dunston, Gateshead Stadium and riverside.

There is some great architecture in Newcastle and Gateshead, old and new, and many attractions. This blog is not intended to be a tourist advert nor it it intended to cover every notable site or attraction, so I make no apology for things that I might be expected to include but haven't.

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