Richard Ord: How about a Venerable Bede Ferris Wheel?

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PERHAPS we shouldn’t be too surprised that the Wearmouth-Jarrow twin monasteries bid to become a World Heritage Site has hit the buffers.

The name didn’t help. I read one article which said the “dual monastic site” was bidding to become a historic attraction to rival the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall of China (you had me at “dual monastic...”)

With the best will in the world, St Peter’s in Monkwearmouth, ain’t no Durham Cathedral.

I had high hopes for Bede’s World, in Jarrow, when it opened. It sounded like Wayne’s World.

“Bede’s World, Bede’s World, Party time, Excellent!”

But a theme park based on the life and works of a monk doesn’t really grab your average kid. Disney World, yes. Benedictine Monk Land. Not really.

The bid, however, is not dead in the water. It may have been pulled but only to review the application and, hopefully, come back bigger and stronger.

May I suggest a little sexing up of the idea and bit more investment.

They’re onto something with the Bede’s World theme park, it just needs to be bigger and bolder. A Venerable Bede Ferris Wheel perhaps.

Or what about the The Father of English History Log Flume?

All suggestions gratefully received.

- AT least it wasn’t all bad news on the World Heritage Site bid, according to tourism expert Professor Kevin Hannam.

The Sunderland University prof reckons getting World Heritage status can be a negative thing.

He said: “... the status can have a negative effect and can put people off visiting sites because they think they will be too busy.” Really?

After 10 years graft and much heartache in trying to get world recognition for their monastery site, I suspect this odd conclusion will be of little comfort to the Wearmouth-Jarrow bidders.

MONKS hold little fascination for my two boys. For our Isaac, eight, the obsession of the moment is art.

He drew a rather ornate message the other day. In big red letters he wrote “All you need is love,” complete with a cartoon heart.

Aaah, bless him. Well, not quite. He wrote is all over a chair.

His artistic obsession is graffiti.

We’d noticed him pointing out graffiti everywhere we went. I went online and showed him the amazing artworks and designs to be found throughout the world trying to encourage his creativity. Remember the colourful daubs that used to decorate the New York subway trains? He wasn’t interested. He prefers the simple tags and scribbling you usually reserved for toilet walls and city centre shop shutters.

We found one in our bathroom the other day.

A tiny word scribbled on the door handle. “Otraz,” it said. He’d seen the word sprayed on a bridge.

Only after we confronted him did we discover the rest of his secret daubs.

They were all over his bedroom. On the chairs, the desks, his pool table, the window sill. He’d even tagged his duvet.

He was naturally read the riot act by mum, while I dished out the wet cloths for him to clean up the mess.

Looking for the positives, at least his spelling and neatness has improved.

The word “fighting” on the window sill was particularly impressive, and “boobs” scrawled on his punch bag was commendably neat and legible.

It reminded me of his plans to run away. While disappointed at his desire to escape his loving family, there was a certain amount of pride when we found a Sainsbury’s bag filled with underpants and socks under his bed.

You’ve got to admire his attention to detail.