Monthly Archives: December 2013


Did I tell you about the enormous suitcase? Well its Christmas plus my Mother’s 90th birthday so I was voted to carry the majority of the gifts and festive accoutrements, on the train, to Leeds, to Hebden Bridge, up onto the moors, back to Hebden and then to York. It weighed more than I do, it has four wheels, it is silver. I can tell you that suitcase and I had some serious relationship problems climbing and descending railway station staircases, in and out of taxis, lifts, elevators, escalators and very awkward in the loo.

  Anyway, caught train back to Leeds and onward to York where much to my surprise on pulling into the station I noticed Sebastian and Sara standing on an adjacent platform. I guess I hadn’t briefed them to head for the “Way Out” but sent them a text and soon we were all reunited at the exit along with my old friend John and his wife Jill. We figured out that we have met up every year for the last four, not bad as we live 6,000 miles apart. They took us for lunch and the expression on Sara’s face when the waitperson told us the specials was historical/hysterical. She smiled graciously, said thank you and turned to us with that look of complete incomprehension. (The Yorkshire accent is very strong) So we enjoyed a pleasant lunch after which John took us on a quick tour of the City. We walked on the Roman Wall, we gaped at the Minster, we saw the repairs worked in the 60s when the whole place nearly fell down, we walked through the medieval Shambles section, I got lost.

  John and Jill took us out to their home about thirty minutes out of town and we sat around chatting until it was time for dinner at the pub. What a great experience that is in England. Traditional dishes, traditional beers, it was perfect.

  The next day we were taken to see an outstanding ruined Monastery, Fountains Abbey. Founded in 1132 it grew to be one of the wealthiest in the land until it was demolished during the reign of Henry 8th as part of the dissolution of the monasteries. Quite haunting and we were treated to a cold clear day with perfect visibility and barely another visitor in sight.

  Back to the house, more tea, another excellent pub dinner, Sebastian tried pheasant and liked it. This was followed by a bit of a time warp activity. John still has all his old records. Records, as in vinyl! What a time we had, reading sleeve notes, dropping the arm on particular tracks, seeing who played what. It was a bit of a flashback and it was a pleasure to see the young ones having such a good time.

  Too soon it was time to leave and the next morning saw us on the train back down to London. Painful farewells to John and Jill, heartfelt thanks for all their generosity and wished them good luck for the following week when fourteen family members come to stay for Christmas.

Next stop Winchester.ImageImageImage 


First Day in England

England. Hilarious times in Yorkshire amongst people so different to the good folk of Northern California. Jet lag too. It’s been a rather bewildering few days. To tell you the truth, now nearly two weeks into the trip, it has all been a bit of a blur. Surrounded by ten other family members, each with their own personalities, there have been moments when I have been on the verge of being overwhelmed.

   Shall I start at the beginning? Yes, ok. I flew into London’s Heathrow, took the Express train into Paddington Station, cab across town to King’s Cross Station where I waited for my pre booked train to a City called Leeds. Sat and watched the indicator boards which would tell me from  which platform the train departed. “On Time” I read, this was a good thing. Sat some more, still “On Time”, until suddenly it switched to “Cancelled”! Oh great, now what? Noticed that previous train to Leeds hadn’t yet departed, dashed to the Platform, found correct per booked seat. Sat down. Hmm, I thought, right seat wrong train. Will I be ejected, abandoned at Little Sowerby by an irate train official?
    No, it was fine. I arrived at Leeds Station and with five minutes in hand changed trains to Hebden Bridge. This little town, or large village, my first destination on this trip, was recommended by another travel blogger as a great way to confront culture shock when arriving in the UK. They were not kidding. I took a taxi up the hill behind the town to the Hare and Hounds pub and upon arrival it was in complete darkness, couldn’t even find the front door. Eventually made myself heard and spent a great evening reminiscing, great food and a few beers.
Up early, Full English Breakfast. 

 And then it was off to York

So sorry this is so disjointed but I am trying blogging from a Mac and, to tell you the truth I have no idea what I’m doing, yet.

More to come, be patient.