The day before our holiday up north was one to forget. I managed to break the washing machine, got upset, became angry when the repair service wouldn’t answer the phone, set the phone down none too gently and broke it! Finally put the phone together, only couldn’t get the cover on properly. You should have seen the mouthpiece hanging on for dear life, balanced precariously atop the little spindles, and the rest bared and looking naked. Later when the phone rang, Kate ran to answer it, took one look and backed away as if she’d seen a ghost. John got the cover put back later. Then back to the washing machine – I decided to empty it and found the problem! A disposable nappy had been included in that load, had stopped up the lint filter and prevented the water from draining. A quick clean and she was as good as new! From all those problems I rushed down for a quick chat at the toddler play group and had a good time. Thank heaven days like that don’t come too often!
Saturday we drove to Newcastle. Took all day, weather was drab until afternoon, and then we got to see some lovely scenery. Newcastle is in Northumberland at the top left-hand side of England. Not too far from Scotland! Wish you could have seen the luxurious suite of rooms John had for us. The girls had one bedroom with two double beds and a bath, there was a conference room next to it with a complete bath, and then our room just like theirs. Can you imagine five of us with three baths and three TV sets? I’m glad to say we used the baths and not the TV’s.
Sunday we saw Alnwick castle, but it was closed until spring. Still, the outside is little changed from medieval times, we read.
The thing we were all impressed with was Hadrian’s Wall. We all walked on it and explored one of the forts built as part of it. Unbelievable! It was built by the Romans from AD 122 – 130 and stretched 73 miles. Some of it was 20 feet high and 10 feet wide, though none of it is left standing that way now. It was abandoned in 383.
Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall
Monday we drove around Durham and then on to York. It rained all day, but we refused to let that stop us. York is an ancient town with an old wall around it, and we walked miles. There were parking lots sprinkled around, but all were full. We finally found one out of town and walked in. The huge church there was marvelous. When we walked in, there was a Bach organ work being played with brass (live) on the cantus firmus. That’s the way to see and hear a church! Found the graves of Edward III, Queen Philipa and a son of theirs. Also I found interesting a plaque with the names of the organists of Yorkminster since 1400!! There weren’t as many names as you’d imagine! Maybe church organists are a long-lived species.
The National Railway Museum is also in York. Their parking lot stayed full every time we checked, but we finally found public parking not too far away. $ tried out the acoustics, but the building was too large and the crowds too loud for him to use his sonar. John tried hard not to let his extreme happiness show, but the girls let loose and enjoyed themselves to the hilt.
Found the ideal way to introduce drinking from a cup to a baby: find yourself in a situation without the training cup and with your baby wearing his raincoat! Works well! $ drank a full cup of milk minus two gulps and four napkins full. It satisfied him enough for us to get back to the car and drive to find a motel.
The motel by the side of one of the major roads was very nice. We all squeezed into one room, $ being the first into bed, then Kate, Lisa, and us. Also had the worst meal we’ve had in England at a cafeteria nearby. We decided the food was tired.
Tuesday we drove home. It was a very nice trip, and we learned a few things that might help when we next set out.
I’ve just gotten some marvelous Silverstone nonstick cookware. I’m wondering if people ever coat little boys with silverstone so the dirt will slide off!
John $ has a unique way of descending the stairs. He holds his left arm and leg extended straight and uses the right appendages as cogs in a wheel to stop the motion when the speed gets too high. When he wakes up, he comes to with a bang. If you sit in the room below, it sounds as if a trampoline has been rigged up as a drum above.
Cut $’s hair this week. Afterwards, instead of giving him a lollipop, I let him chew on his comb.
I went to a home group meeting where the people were studying a book about Moses. Enjoyed the study and the folks there.
John and I went for an interview at the school at the end of this road and were assured Lisa would probably be accepted there in September. [She would graduate from her present school and had to find another.] We had a tour of the school and saw neighbor Marianne and the daughter of Lisa’s French teacher. There are 340 girls, of which 40 are boarders.
The girls, $ and I went to explore the Silent Pool. We’d seen signs to the parking lot between Dorking and Guildford but didn’t know what was there. It was a lovely pool, must be spring fed and as clear as could be. There were lots of leaves floating on the water, so we plan to return in the spring. We also wandered around country lanes looking for the other school John and I have an appointment to see.
One day I heard John $ softly bleating and followed the sound to the guest room. Found the light turned on, and the baby pacing on hands and knees all around one of the beds! He had sense enough to know not to get off the bed head first. Several days later we saw him try it again and found he’d gotten on the bed by climbing up and through a bedside table.
Yesterday Chris G from the office came for the afternoon. We picked her up at the train station and drove to Polesden Lacey, a big country home with some lovely rooms. According to the guide book, this house was loaned to the Duke and Duchess of York for their honeymoon. (They later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.) We saw the house, wandered around the grounds, and came home for a hot cup of tea. We had a leisurely dinner, put the girls to bed, and Chris went back to London on the train. We enjoyed her a lot. She kept telling John she wanted to come out to play with the baby, and she did. She held him in the car in preference to sitting in the front seat to see more.
Today we rode the Bluebell Railroad, a steam engine drawn train, of course. [Why didn’t I take pictures???] Then we walked briskly through Sheffield Park Gardens because it was cold and almost closing time. Lovely autumn colors!