Monday 28 June 2010

End of three months overseas

Little alleyways called closes, cobblestones, warm to hot days, history, hardships- the streets of Edinburgh show all this.

Thanks Rochelle, Simon and Madeleine for spurring us on, for showing us the ropes, especially tube travel and giving us a room and gourmet meals! 
Back to Australia this week.

Saturday 26 June 2010


The train trip continued from York to Edinburgh.  Another warm day and it was hot in the motel room of a night- so much so that we found a fan and put that on!

We were just around the corner from the Royal Mile, so shops, cobblestoned streets little leadways to streets behind the main streets called 'closes' were all there.

Our first visit was of course the Edinburgh castle- Kel even captured a photo of the canon going off- it goes off at 1pm every day.  A bagpipe heralded the momentous occasion.

The views from the castle walls were fantastic.
The Bagpipes are so fitting for the atmosphere.

Here's where the Edinburgh tattoo is held- before you enter the castle- apparently it's filmed in August.
Would you believe that as we left the castle and got back on the bus- who should we meet but a couple from the farming community where we used to live!!!

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Meeting a writing friend

I've been writing to Sylvia Waugh for a long time now- she is a faboulous children's author and when I first read her books- over ten years ago- I wrote to her and we've been writing ever since. 
York was a half way point to meet.  We chatted and walked and saw the Jorvik viking centre together- Kel and Derek made sure we took the right pathways.

Keep that writing going Sylvia and we loved York!


Again a train trip.
Wish we'd joined the National trust before we began our trip- so many fabulous places to see.
We stayed at a bed and breakfast by the Ouse river- lovely museum gardens nearby.  And the ruins of a church- destroyed in Henry VIII's time- but the walls of the city can be walked around and the York Minster- that Gothic cathedral is fabulous.

And the weather was hot!  We stayed in the second storey room of the bed and breakfast- windows open and still hottish!  So I couldn't believe the photos in tourist shops of the Minster surrounded by snow.
A 16th century memorial inside the Minster.

It was staggering to think that in the 14th century such colossal building could be done!  And the stained glass windows!
Kel has been reading while away and read a series of fiction books but with historical settings and he was anxious to see all the buildings mentioned in the latest book about King Henry VIII's progress in from London to York in 1541- 1000 staff and 1000 soldiers!

St.Mary's Abbey- torn down.  People sit amongst the ruins on the lush lawns eating lunch, visitors click away.
Part of the roman, then Norman wall.
We also visited the Treasuer's house and the jorvik viking centre as well as looking at the marvellous streets and Tudor shops- the Shambles.
York tourist information

Like to come back again- a great stay!

Monday 21 June 2010

More Lakes district

We visited the grammar school William Wordsworth attended.  Apparently the students were issued with pocket knives to sharpen their ink pens, so carved their initials into the wooden desks.

We stayed in the house Beatrix Potter bought for her mother.  Lovley lawns and very quiet.
Tea in the sun was an indulgence and it was glorious weather.

We walked to the nearby town of Bowness and then returned via a lakeside walk.  everyone comes to walk!

Friday 18 June 2010

Beatrix Potter country

We trained from London to Oxenholme station- picked up by a small local tour company and driven around noteworthy Potter sites.  Wow!  All those stone fences.

 Then to Beatrix Potter's Hilltop house- which she later used as a workroom when she married- everything was as she left it- this was specified in her will- unfortunately we couldn't take photos- but buying a souvenir book always helps.

This was her garden in the lead up to the house- groups of 20 allowed in in five minute intervals- to preserve the house and it is small- not much room.
The entrance!
Hill Top national Trust
a couple of photos of her Hill Top treasures

I loved her doll's house- objects in this featured in some of her books.
Then onto Coniston Water and Tarn Hows- where we saw some of her famous breed of lakesland sheep Herdwick
Then  a cruise on the Coniston Water- with a siting of the gondolier steam boat and views of the water edge.

  Arthur Ransom's 'Swallows and Amazons' gained its inspiration from this spot.

Last a sighting of the homestead used in the Miss Potter film:

Monday 14 June 2010

Old Macdonald had a farm...

Well that's what i've been singing to Madeleine.  Farmers in England had an open day.  Simon found a farm not far out of London where we couldl tube then use a street car to drive to.
Kel wanted a dairy farm.  We went to a Wexham dairy- Jerseys which did not mind a crowd of people watching- if it was our shed there'd be manure everywhere.

The cows were in superb condition.  Soem things done' change- the smell adn yes the junk( in old sheds at least)

Lots of good looking tractors and sheds- but the farmer has to pay to offload the bull calves- in a dairy females are all the go.

There was parkland and a lake near the farm and not far away a national highway...
Kids and parents enjoyed a trailor ride and I bought some fresh produce.
Lunch at the Black Horse, then home.  (dogs everywhere- always allowed at pubs)

Friday 11 June 2010

Paris to Calais to Dover

We passed Somme and Vimy and several plots of graves in the countryside- but unfortunately it rained and many photos from the bus did not turn out.  It felt very emotional seeing those white plots in the green.
Then the white cliffs of Dover!
 Back to London and a crawl in traffic.  But it feels like home.  We met some great people and of course there will always be those who can never be pleased.  Not sure if we'd do a bus trip again though- but know what to expect and what places we want to explore again!!!