Stephen Taylor: ‘An emotional wrench’

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IT is true to say I have loved living in Sunderland and the slow process of decluttering ahead of a move away brings with it dilemmas.

I am the proud owner of a 1951 (4½ d) Eagle comic which, as well as the adventures of Dan Dare and Rin Tin Tin, features an inventions page.

The invention of that week was the Double-Leaf Basule Bridge, invented for and installed in Sunderland to join the Hudson and the Hendon Docks.

It was the world’s first all-aluminium bridge, and in the comic there is an excellent colour illustration and commentary which seems to be of more educational value than today’s equivalent comics.

One of the amazing parts of Sunderland’s innovative history is her bridges, and one which makes the city unique and pioneering and one which I have enjoyed exploring in the past years.  

I hope that one day the exciting new river crossing will keep this tradition alive.

But in the meantime, what to do with the Eagle comic?

A more significant declutter has been much more of an emotional wrench. My much-loved boat, which has enabled the Wear bridges to be visited, as well as far flung beaches of the Scottish West Coast, has bade farewell.

The new owner is a fine Sunderland man who I know will enjoy her too.

There was a grand opening in Margate last week of a building which is meant to become an iconic south east visitor attraction, and is now on my ‘to visit’ list.  

The Turner Art Gallery opened at the cost of £17.5 million. The original ambition was to have Turner paintings displayed in this new tourist destination, which in turn would reverse the flagging fortunes of the nearly forgotten seaside resort.

However, too late in the day, they discovered that all the original Turner paintings are totally incompatible with the sea air of Margate, and not of them will ever be able to be displayed there.

I love these stories! I think an addition of ‘Not’ in front of the grand sign would be the best way to resolve this dilemma.

One of my happy discoveries over the last two years has been Sunderland’s amazing bicycle routes, which have been really well developed and opened up to many more people in recent years.

The post Easter break for me will see the Sustrans Coast and Castles route being cycled in a north to south direction.

It will be slightly Sunderlandized, so from the start at Edinburgh Castle via many others including Alnwick, Banburgh and Warkworth, Hylton Castle will be added as the end destination.

So after spending thirty one Easters in the Durham Diocese this will be my last – for some time anyway.

The Holy Week journey for me has always been one of the most emotional and dramatic parts of our Christian faith.

In the past donkeys and Easter eggs, North Sea baptisms and Tunstall Hills processions, Good Friday hours at the cross and Easter Day dawn services will forever shape my memories of celebrating the most significant event in the Christian faith, and as a Christian, I would argue human history.

I hope that your Easter has time to reflect on something of God’s sacrificial love and His amazing grace. Have a Blessed Easter.