A search for records in Chester-le-Street – It’s a Saturday morning in late April, the weather is chilly but bright and sunny with no wind, we’re also out of lock-down and I’ve got a spare £60 in my pocket to last me a week until payday.

Next stop Chester-le-Street and to check out the numerous charity shops, the Market (if it’s on) and a record shop I discovered about a year ago.

We decided to walk the five miles from Washington to Chester-le-Street, a very pleasant walk along a disused railway line turned into a cycle path. Along the way I was also keeping an eye out for bird nests.

I spotted numerous but my best find appeared to be a neatly made nest, shaped into a ball with a tiny entrance hole. The height of the nest was waist high and from my decades of birding knowledge I deduced it to be a Wren’s nest. Shame it had no eggs.

There is now a modernised bridge along the cycle path that’s been in progress for well over a year, perhaps two. It appears to be finished now and the surrounding area has been landscaped. There appears to be even more bat boxes high up on the tree trunks.

The cycle patch continues onto Beamish and beyond, it’s the Coast to Coast route, Sunderland to Whitehaven. But we got off the pathway and walked along the ‘Roman Road’ into Chester-le-Street.

Sadly the market wasn’t on today, although further up the street there were some sellers flogging their bits of unwanted tat in the car-park. Nothing for me there. I wonder where ’50s throwback record dealer Dave disappeared to. I haven’t seen him for a couple of years.

There were some good finds in charity shops, no records though. I’m now studying everything I see with a keen eye because I’m planning on ‘retail arbitrage’ when I quit my job in June. But for now, I’m just checking out the kind of things on sale with my aim to buy and re-sell at a profit.

the place is overwhelming

The record shop was open! It’s called ‘Sound & Vision’ and is more or less at the top of the road near to the old cricket ground at Ropery Lane. The place is overwhelming. So many records, CDs, books and DVDs.

I could spend all day in here but I only had sixty quid, so picked a few records, including The Jam 5CD and hardback book ‘Direction, Reaction, Creation’. Everything I bought came to £45 and I left feeling that I got a bargain. The shop-owner was happy enough and so was I.

Nothing rare or particularly sought after but they’re discs I’ve seen over the years but never pressed the trigger. Today was the day. So, The Searchers, The Easybeats and Nancy & Lee were coming home with me.

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