Hi everyone! I'm baaaaack! Half of my holiday was wonderful and the other half was stressful. My friend Cathy and I started out mid-August in the Hampshire area of England, near Salisbury and Stonehenge where we stayed with old friends John and Marion. We met their two grandsons, both of whom had been born since the last time we'd seen them all. After a few days of visiting, dinner partying, and spending a day at Churchill's residence at Chartwell, we headed west to Wales.
Arriving in Wales by train, we were met by my great friend Jane and her newest pup, Freyja. At only 18 months old, she is extremely well trained, gentle, and friendly. We went out for dinner with her and her friend Neil to a great old and traditional English pub called "Cripple Creek" nearby and stuffed ourselves with scallops, black pudding, and other tasty tidbits. We spent the next day touring through Abergavveny, Crickhowell, and Hay-on-Wye (a very famous town for its book stores). We stopped for lunch at a little place called "The Granary" where Cathy & I sampled "bubble & squeak." After giving Freyja a stretch by strolling along the River Wye, we headed for the Skirrid Inn (more to come on that for letter S) but it is famous for being the oldest public house in Wales. The last place we saw that day was Llanthony Abbey where we took lots of photos and had a cold drink before going back to Jane's for a light supper. The next day, we drove to Swansea and met up with Liz who took us out to Rhossili where the scenery is absolutely spectacular! Lunch was spent overlooking the cliffs and the beach a long way down and then a lovely walk out to Worms Head before heading back to Swansea Harbour for a look around.
Off to Liverpool after our stay with Jane where we met up with Di and her husband Ian at a luscious restaurant at Albert Dock. What a wonderful but short visit. I loved what I saw of Liverpool (the Maritime Museum) and the area around Albert Dock and would like to go back some day.
Then it was off to the Isle of Man where we were welcomed by the Coopers - Carol, Alan and their 4 wonderful children. They took us out right away for a drive along the coast where we went to Castletown (where the kids go to school), Port Mary where we stopped to take photos of the harbour and the sailboats, and later the entire family took Cathy and me for dinner at Tanrogan (a Manx word for a king's scallop shell). The next day, Carol & Alan took us to the Crofters Cottages at Cregneash (a national folk museum), a historic village where you can see how people lived way back when. Then we went to Peel and saw the majestic castle there and to the Calf of Man, a little island just off the sound of the Isle. Then Cathy & I spent some time downtown in Douglas and did a bit of shopping. That evening we had to spend in as the Manx Grand Prix was having its trial runs and they sped right past their house. Their son Sam was watching at the end of the drive when he suddenly ran in shouting that there had been an accident just up the road. We found out the next day that a young local boy, experiencing his first race, had been killed. Before leaving the Isle of Man the next afternoon, we spent some time at the Museum of Man, which was fascinating. Lots of photos to come for the letter M. Lunch at the Hop Gardens and even though it was raining, you could easily see the beauty of the gardens there.
We spent the night in Liverpool again as we had to catch an early train the next day to North Yorkshire. That is where we finally met the lovely Mrs. Nesbitt, creator of ABC Wednesday! She brought us fresh eggs from her hens, which we decided to cook for dinner rather than wait for breakfast! We stayed in the village of Grosmont where a friend of Denise's, Jill, had arranged a holiday cottage for us. It was so lovely and comfortable and Cathy & I each had our own bedroom complete with queen-sized beds! The next day, we decided to check out the village and were pleasantly surprised. We popped in to see the historic railroad museum, the old schoolhouse (now a restaurant), and the church. When we were having tea at the old schoolhouse, the owner, Mr. Sanderson, took our photos sitting at old desks and wearing dunce caps! Then he gave each of us a School Leaver's Certificate that stated we had successfully completed primary lessons in reading, writing, arithmetic, needlework and country dancing WITH MERIT!
The next day, Jill took us for a drive all over the Yorkshire moors as it had dawned such a beautiful sunny day. We went to the North Yorkshire Visitors' Center in Damby and had lunch at the Wooly Sheep Cafe. One of the day's highlights was visiting the village of "Goathland" where the TV show "Heartbeat" and where the railroad station scenes from "Harry Potter" were filmed. We also drove through Egton & Egton Bridge, Castleton, Gleisdale, Fry Up, Lealholm, and Dunsly. Finally, we went to Sandsend near Whitby and got some photos of the sea and the promontory where a sailboat was just coming around the bend. We saw the cathedral at Whitby from a distance and got the feel of the town as we drove through. We spent the next day with Denise at her place out in Liverton and went for a lovely long walk in the country to see horses, geese, ducks, and her local church. What a fun day!
This is getting quite long and is only the first half of my holiday, so I'm going to stop now and let you watch a little slideshow of all the lovely ladies we visited in England and Wales. You will also meet Ellee and Sally, with whom we had lunch at Peacock's in Ely, just north of Cambridge. Also, you'll see Anne who lives in Oxforshire and Jennifer who is an American living in Paris but was visiting London while I was there, and Chris who lives out in Essex, north-west of London. You'll be hearing lots more about the rest of my holiday in the weeks to come and I'll be posting lots of photos, too.