England - Week Two
My second week in England was a bit more relaxed with fewer moves around the country. I stayed with Louise and Mark in Chorley. Mark was kind enough to chauffeur me about the country and drop me off at various train stations with a schedule. Such a nice guy!
After dropping Darcy off at the train station in Preston, we headed up to the Lake District so I could finally see Beatrix Potter's house at Hilltop. Along the way, Mark stopped so I could take pictures of the sheep. The colored spots you see on them is branding from the farmers. The sheep often jump hedges and roam about so different farmer's sheep get mixed in with other farmer’s sheep. We actually saw three runaway sheep a few moments after taking this photo. They had a wild look in their eye and gave me the giggles for most of the afternoon.
We took the ferry across Lake Windermere at Hawkshead to Hilltop. The ferry is pulled across the lake via chain which was quite novel to me when I first saw it almost 10 years ago. Louise and I had a good laugh over the memories of that trip!
Louise, Mark and I were quite excited to be heading to Hilltop and I read to them from my guidebook. I told them all about Beatrix Potter and how I loved her stories as a child. My Great Aunt Marge had given me a collection of her books.
Sadly when we arrived at Hilltop, it was closed until April for Winter Cleaning. The gardens were open so we spent some time mopping outside the door and pretending that someone would let us in. I have given up on Hilltop. Every time I've tried to go, its' been closed. I guess it's not a place for me!
We did however visit Grasmere where I picked up some Grasmere Gingerbread for me and my Mum. It was the only thing she requested from England. Louise and I were also able to take Mark out for the very best Welsh Rarebit in the entire country. I think Mark loved it too.
The next day we went out for an Birthday Dinner at a lovely Indian restaurant. February is a busy birthday month for the family with Louise's Mum, Louise's Dad and Louise's husband all having birthdays within a few days of each other. That night I stayed with Louise's parents as we were going out on an adventure the next day.
In the morning, we went for a beach walk along the Southport shore before enjoying coffee which Ann had prepared for us that morning. Such a lovely Mum! After taking the dog back to their house, we headed up to Tatton Place for lunch and a chance to explore the old house. The Becki curse struck again! It was closed on Mondays until April! What is that? But never fear, Mr. W had a Plan B which was to visit Beeston Castle. Ann and I had a good laugh once we arrived there as Mr. W marched up the steep hill to the castle on his cell phone telling Mark about our day. We were nearly unable to walk! I always love a good laugh.
The next day I headed out to Leeds where I visited Waterstones and loaded up on books. I also visited a nice Starbucks in the center and sat down to read for a few hours. I was feeling a bit tired at this point and needed the rest.
Wednesday was Glasgow, Scotland. Due to a train derailment, I had some travel changes. I took the train from Wigan to Preston where I got on a coach (bus) and traveled up to Carlise where I got back on the train and went to Scotland. It was a cold, blustery day but I still had fun. I went out to the Cathedral and checked out the graveyard before finding a tour bus where I ensounced myself in warmth. Glasgow is a lovely city which I hope to visit again soon.
On Thursday, Mark had a business trip and so he drove me up to Richmond so I could check out their castle. It was wonderful and the views were amazing. Sadly it was at this point that the batteries in my Nikon gave out. Luckily though my mini-digital camera had enough juice to take over photo duties. After a few hours of exploring Richmond, Mark came back from his meeting and picked me up.
He then dropped me off in York for the afternoon. Again he pressed a train schedule into my hands and told me where to meet him in Leeds. I decided to head over to the Minster since I do love that building. I had plenty of time and went on the two hour tour of the Cathedral. I learned quite a bit about the church and love it even more now.
Our tour guide mentioned that a protest was scheduled outside the Minister around 3 p.m. though he wasn't quite sure who or what was being protested. With that I left the minister and headed out for a bit to eat and a bit of shopping. I found a great rare book shop though I didn't buy anything. I did however set off their alarm upon entering the shop. After roaming around York for a bit, I decided to go back to the Minister to check out the protest especially since I was now seeing quite a few police officers around town.
I have to say this was the sadiest protest I've ever seen. There were only 3 protestors with many more media and police officers. I sat and watched for awhile but honestly I just felt bad for them. I still don't know what they were protesting.
After exploring York, it was time to head back to Louise and Mark's house. I had a delightful final evening with them and in the morning took a train back to London. I spent the night out by Heathrow since I had to be at the airport at 6:00 a.m. for my 8:30 a.m. flight. I did have time to make it to the British Museum but not much else.
I hopped my flight home and had a long, boring layover at JFK. I read the book, "The History of Love" which I'd highly recommend to anyone before eventually boarding my flight to Seattle. My parents met me at the airport and we chattered the entire way home filling in the other with our activities. It was nice to be home.