Central England

We left Edinburgh, which we really enjoyed, on Monday 29th and drove south to Jedburgh which was a very scenic town on the Scottish border. Apart from having a history of being raided by the English on many occassions, it had a great public toilet near the visitors centre. On paying 30p to a lady in a little booth and receiving a ticket saying ‘admit one’, we found the loos to be first class – even having plastic flowers by the mirrors. Money well spent indeed!

From there we visited Hadrians Wall and one of the sites of an ancient Roman Fort. It was very interesting to learn abouit how the Romans lived. I stood in the remains of a Legionnaires barrack block and stepped across the stone foundations into the Centurian’s room. Actually, it felt just like being at recruit training at Pucka again.

We stopped at a little nearby pub for lunch but found it to be full, so we drove on expecting to find one in another village just down the road. Instead we found ourselves on a motorway and ended up having a very ordinary meal in a service stop on the motorway because by then we were hungry enough to eat anything.

By late afternoon, we were in Whitby – the place where Jim Cook (aka known as Captain James) began his nautical career. It was a very scenic place but hardly a spot where you would expect the world’s most extensive explorer to originate from. It is now a bustling holidday place and because it was recently used as a base for a BBC series, it is now the most popular local holiday destination in the UK.

Dinner that night was in the Fox & Roman Hotel at High Hawsker (5kms away) – another of those quaint pubs that have two parts of a name with absolutely no connection whatsoever.

Yesterday we had a short day in as much as we drove to York and spent most of the day pottering around this old city with its walls and old buildings. The park and ride schme was a very useful and efficient way to save the frustrations of city traffic and parking. Jill’s watch batter had gone flat and she was resticted to having the accurate at only two times per day – 5.25 am and pm. Fortunately, we were able to find a watchmaker who could replace her battery and get her regular again (time-wise of course).

The most impressive building in town is undoubtedly the York Minster Cathedral. It is the grandest church that we have seen on our entire trip – 180 metres long and with a tower over 60 metres high. It was literally awesome! A special touch was provided by a 30 something strong choir from a Baptist church in Florida. Their harmonies echoed throughout the entire building and they sang a mixture of old hyms, modern ones and a few negro spirituals.

Today we drove about 270 kms to Stratford Upon Avon. On the way we called in to Leamington Spa to see if we could find a lady who lived there and who I was with on my trip to Patagonia. I had left her address at home, but I could remember a number of her details and hoped that someone might be able to help me with her telephone number. The people at the information centre were particularly helpful and we ended up locating her through calling a contact that they knew in the same theatre group. We found that Anne was a volunteer worker in the local citizens advice bureau which was just around the corner, so we popped in and surprised her for a few minutes. She had a good time in Antarctica (on a different voyage to me) after our Patagonian adventure. We let her get back to her volunteer work and had lunch at the old spa pump rooms across the road.

We spent the rest of the day in Stratford anjoying the area around the river and the town. Even though this week is mid term holiday in England, it was still a pleasant place to visit. We did all the usual things connected with the bard and I even had an ale (Old Speckled Hen) in the oldest pub in town. We finished the day with a stroll along the river and park back to our B&B.


Bruce is a keen traveller and photographer. This web site describes his travel and family interests

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