I’d rather be in Amble

Posted on 22nd December 2014 | in Community


Bart Rippon (centre) giving a guided walk during the 2014 Puffin Festival. Photo by Sameena Jarosz

A friend of mine gave me a small gift for my birthday last August. Opening it up I found a T-shirt and printed on the front was ‘I’d rather be in Amble’. I smiled… well, laughed. Laughed with joy. Someone knew me well enough to buy a gift like that. That started to make me think. I moved away to University in 1972, worked in South Shields for the next 27 years before disappearing to Australia for the next 12. So, for some 40 years or more, I have not lived in or near the place.

Last year, 2013, I began my new lifestyle – early retirement. It was fabulous: no more noisy children, no more confinement to the four walls of a classroom, no more ‘red tape’. It was bliss. Then we bought our caravan in Warkworth and here I was back on home territory, back to where life began.

I popped into the Development Trust to say ‘Hello’, as I usually do and was immediately enlisted to help with the very first Puffin Festival. I was also asked to take photographs for The Ambler. I was beginning to be part of my old home town again. It may have been a little contribution but it was a good one. Also this year I returned to St. Cuthbert’s Church, joined the choir and met up with Eddie Young again, in his 90s and still singing.

As I became more involved in activities the more I rediscovered my love for my home town. Those wonderful days of the late 60s and very early 70s when I worked for R.H. Charlton’s milk business in Queen Street. I loved delivering the milk to the door steps as it got me meeting folk.

I have seen the town change considerably. I haven’t made my way around all the eating places yet. I have been taking photos of the new development at the harbour. When I go around wearing my ‘Ambler’ press badge I get questions asked about the town, by people who are not from Amble as I can tell by their accents.

Recently along the breakwater I spoke to some folks from Chester-le-Street. They were day visitors, who love coming to Amble. They love the people and the quaintness of the town.

So where from here? Well I return to Perth, Australia, at the end of November, missing Christmas in Amble, unfortunately.

I’ll be returning in March as my oldest daughter is having her first child, our first grandchild. Once I’m back, it’s then another year of the Puffin Festival, Lifeboat Day and any other exciting event to be involved in that makes Amble where I would rather be.

Bartle Ripon