Gregg’s vegan sausage roll

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that, despite my outspoken love for fine local delicacy the stottie, I have hardly set foot in Gregg’s since I returned to Newcastle. Partly this is convenience, partly I am at an age where it takes me roughly three days to recover from the heartburn I get after eating a pasty. Well, today, I made up for that, when I finally got around to trying their much-famed vegan sausage roll.

It’s hard to deliver a verdict – I don’t eat meat (or even meat substitutes, generally) so I have no idea how authentic it tastes. The unglazed pastry makes it look slightly undercooked, but the filling is tasty, and it definitely hit the spot. Admittedly, I probably wouldn’t bother having one again, since sausage rolls aren’t really my thing – to be honest I only tried it because so many commentators acted like its very existence was the work of the devil and that made me curious (I’m sure I share this motivation with many: Gregg’s should probably send Piers Morgan a fruit basket, or something), but I’m definitely glad I tried it.

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Fenwick’s Christmas Window

Ask any Geordie what Christmas means to them, and one phrase is likely to reoccur: Fenwick’s window. The annual unveiling of this festive decor is a huge deal in the city, and it meant so much to me when I was away that my friends would be dispatched to take photos. Each year has a theme – though none has ever, for my mind, matched its much-vilified Santa goes to Mars, from my childhood, which everyone hated, but appealed to mini-Geek me.

This year’s was uncontroversial – the Snowman – and is a delight. (My photos are slightly shonky, as I was dodging crowds and racing to the theatre). Best bit though is a marketing genius at the Greggs opposite realising if they reversed their sign they are reflected in the window for a nice bit of free advertising…