The alarm went off this morning at 0545hrs and I did not want to get out of bed. I dragged myself to the shower and woke myself up. Packed the last little bits in my case and went off to work. I really wasn't in the mood for this this morning, I was feeling irritated before I'd seen any people to irritate me! I sat with a coffee for 10 mins trying to change my frame of mind and failing. I packed the coach and did my checks and parked it up in position 40 mins before departure thinking I had time for another coffee but my passengers were already arriving. 'You needn't be so early, that's my 5 min caffeine break out the window'! That irritated me even more! So I loaded all the cases, checked everyone on, and went to get a coffee to take with me.
We set off 10 mins early and all I could think about while driving up the M1 was a bacon sandwich. The 2 hr drive to our comfort stop seemed the longest drive ever while I was sat craving bacon! Finally we got there and I said to the pax "we're making good time, no need to rush, we'll have 30mins". Roughly translated, we're not going anywhere until I've had my breakfast! And having breakfast did just the trick. I soon returned to my relaxed, happy, smiley self and was now ready to deliver a good tour.
When everyone was loading back onto the coach I realised just how many people were with me who had travelled with me before. I was definitely back in tour mode and putting on a show. If you had told me 5 years ago I would be a showman leading a tour, I never would have believed it. But now, don't you steal my limelight!
We stopped for lunch in the Georgian market town of Richmond. I'd not been here before. It was a very pretty little town with a market on today, a couple of museums and the castle. A large selection of pubs, it would be a place I'd visit if I'm not driving! All the passengers agreed that it was a very lovely little place and everyone enjoyed their time here.
After I had walked around and got back to the coach I realised I'd forgotten to pack my toothbrush, my hairbrush, my iPad charger and my windscreen brush and blade so I walked back into town for supplies. I really wasn't with it this morning. I'll put it down to being overworked!
We left there and rejoined the A1 North heading for our hotel. I pulled in for a photo opportunity at the Angel of the North which the pax were pleasantly surprised about.
It was even better that the ice cream van was parked up there as well! So we all got off, took a photo and bought an ice cream and stood in the sunshine eating them. I made sure I was at the back of the queue for ice cream and 'yes!' I got a freebie! So we headed off for our hotel. The Best Western Beaumont Hotel, Hexham. It's only a small hotel and with 41 pax, we pretty much fill it. It is situated right in the middle of town, just up from the Abbey and the Market Place, and overlooking the park.
The food here is really good, the staff can't do enough for you and the manager/owner always makes it known how he appreciates you staying in his hotel and is the perfect host. Everybody was settled very quickly and most went to explore the town before having dinner at leisure.
We have a free morning tomorrow so I am looking forward to a lie in and a lazy breakfast. Goodnight x