21 July, 2010

A lovely day out in Newport

If you had to choose somewhere to spend a day I'm guessing Newport probably wouldn't be that high on your list. (Unless you're a trainspotter judging by the station which is always packed with as many trainspotters as passengers.) Newport is an old industrial town, thoroughly working class and without many frills. It does have its charms but it's not a tourist attraction.

Today, I headed that way to spend a day pottering about waiting for my youngest's passport to be prepared. First I had to find the passport office (where is my Android when I need it?) so I asked a group of bus drivers where it was. After they denied knowing how to get around Newport, they told me where it was. Next stop Monsoon to try on numerous frocks and select two for the girls, in anticipation of the wedding we're going to at the end of next month. Then Waterstones to browse but not buy. I discovered that the tip-off I gave to Cool Camping last year paid off and the campsite made it into the book. Very gratifying. Then lunch at Starbucks (the options weren't great - coffee shops or greasy spoons) and then Marks and Spencers for the annual knickers purchase and some teflon coated school skirts for the girls.

By this time I was starting to wonder what to do with myself. Shopping in Newport is a bit limited with lots of pound shops - one of which is called a pound shop but everything is 50p... It started to pour so I ran for the market hall which is one of those wonderful covered markets with a first floor (that's 2nd to any Americans) walkway you can look down on all the fruit and veg stalls from. They had a display all about the Newport Transporter Bridge including a model made of matchsticks which was impressive in that peculiarly eccentric British way, probably made by a man in a shed. Anyway the Bridge which I didn't see, looks amazing and I spent a worried half an hour reading about it and how "threatened" it was before finding that you can still go on it. It looks fab but I think I'll have to leave until we return from our American sojourn.

I picked up the passport, the only minor drama being that I took a lift that broke down with people in it, just after I got out. I don't know why, but today seemed to be one of those lucky days - I wasn't late, I found the office, Lottie's photo worked despite having a coating which the passport office doesn't like, there were nice dresses in my size to try on, the lift didn't break down with me in it (sorry to all the people who were!) and the girls liked the dresses I bought which also fitted.

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