Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Customs and Excise


HM Customs and Excise in Sandhill is responsible for collecting and administering customs and excise duties and VAT, and Commissioners of Customs were first set up in 1671. So, we have the office and badge on Newcastle's Quayside. The old building is tucked away further down the quayside.

There is mention of custom levies of 6 shillings and eightpence upon 300 wooollen skins, and the same for a sack of wool, in 1281. Henry le Escot and Peter Graper were appointed keepers of the king's customs in the town in 1298. There is a long history attached to the port of Tyne. Some day I might explore it. But not tonight.

We've been celebrating with a bottle of wine as the kitchen refurbishment is just about complete. New worktops in place, looking superb, sink plumbed in, and only the new hob to connect to the gas. Dh expects that will be an hour's work tomorrow.

I see interviews and documentaries on authors who write with a glass of wine to hand, but I can't do it. I can't concentrate. I'm fine for browsing blogs and catching up on gossip, but as for writing - no can do. I can even write blogs - as you see!- but the real stuff - no.
Looking north from the Quayside up to the All Saints church.

My reading lately has been ecletic to say the least. Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen I got though only by dint of skipping many, many pages of gore. Important to show the cause of transmitting infections, I agree, but not for me. Jo Beverley's Dark Champion I enjoyed on my Sony Reader. Jayne Ann Krentzt's White Lies I enjoyed too, but if you had hidden the book in a plain cover and taken off all the identification, I'd have guessed I was reading Nora Roberts. The styles are very similar. PTQ in abundance, good characterization, interesting story, bitingly modern, and very American. I must try and get the third of Ms Roberts' Pagan Stone trilogy and get to the end of the story, though I fear Ms Roberts has no very clear idea of the demon hidden in the Hollow. There was also a good deal of padding in the second volume. Oh, it was interesting enough, but not absolutely vital. If I thought certain paragraphs and pages were added to reach a word count, I wonder if I'd be called cynical?

I have a good haul of books from my library this time. (I also noted that Northumberland has gone all PC and included a book on Lesbian romances and a book on Gay romances. I smiled to myself as I saw that each was absolutely pristine and untouched by borrowers hand.)

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