A Travellerspoint blog

October 2018

September and Back to England

September 4, 2018 and getting from California back to England . . . northern England this time.

San Francisco International Airport on our way to Manchester, UK

San Francisco International Airport on our way to Manchester, UK

Day one but we won’t see England until tomorrow morning. Woke to our alarm and were nearly packed so not a lot to do except get Mimi’s kitty things ready. Everything is all set for her sitter who comes this afternoon. Had breakfast, cleaned up a little and loaded the car. Traffic was very heavy but Google routed us around the worst of it. We got to Peg’s in two hours, got her house key and gave her our car keys. She drove us to the BART Station where we used our Clipper cards. We had a 20-minute wait and an hour ride to the San Francisco Airport (SFO).

Ed remembered where Virgin Atlantic is hidden at the end farthest from BART so we hiked down. Amazingly, my phone worked to check the bags and get our boarding passes. Last May it wouldn’t pull up our check-in at SFO. Big improvement! Then came security and they walked Ed around it while pulling me for a pat-down and a hand swab. Someone ahead of us was flustered enough that they walked off without their passport. It was sitting in a bin with their small change. They probably won't get too far without it and at least their name is in it. The Security fellow thought it was mine and when I said it wasn't, he immediately started trying to find the long-departed owner.

Found our gate and got seats near an electrical outlet so I could recharge my phone. I put Ed’s SIM card in at home and put mine in while we waited at the airport. We got a ham and cheese croissant and a couple bottles of water and settled in to wait. Finally boarded and are in the air . . .

Last time we were going to southwest England so flew into London Heathrow. This time we're visiting northern England so we decided to fly into Manchester . . . a new experience.

Posted by Beausoleil 13:53 Archived in USA Tagged sfo Comments (2)

September 5, 2018 — Thirsk

Landed at Manchester, got our car and drove to Thirsk to visit the James Herriot Museum. Also noted a couple oddities with our car.

Market Square in Thirsk with our hotel in back

Market Square in Thirsk with our hotel in back

Landed early. Yet another Virgin Atlantic flight that my seat didn’t recline (31A) so no sleep. Ed’s bag was last off the plane and then we caught the shuttle to the Car Rental Village to pick up our car. They tried upgrading us but we explained we wanted a small car for the narrow roads. We got the middle insurance package and he cheerfully gave as a tiny Mercedes A Class with free GPS. Nice man.

Drove over to the Airport Pub for lunch. The crab cake was okay but the salad dressing was sweet and jellied . . . ick. It was fun to watch the planes come in though.

Back on the road we headed around Manchester across country to Thirsk. Nearly there a low tire pressure light came on and then a stupid bell and warning, “Time to take a break,” but on the M1 there is no place to stop and we didn’t want to take a break anyway since we were nearly there. It kept beeping so we pulled off at the next rest stop to quiet the machine. Nothing like a four-wheeled baby sitter . . .

Grand Staircase at The Three Tuns in Thirsk

Grand Staircase at The Three Tuns in Thirsk


Our five-minute break over, we drove the twenty miles to Thirsk, stopped for air in the tires and checked in at our hotel, the Three Tuns, right on the market square. It’s a labyrinth but has a working elevator and parking and the hostess is very friendly.

St. Mary's Church in Thirsk

St. Mary's Church in Thirsk

James Herriot Museum in Thirsk

James Herriot Museum in Thirsk


Walked up to the James Herriot Museum – my reason for visiting Thirsk – and entered. It’s larger than it looks and great fun as well as being informative. It has a lot about Alf Wright (the real name of James Herriot) but also a lot about Veterinary Science and history. We thoroughly enjoyed it but I forgot to take pictures so only have the front. Sigh . . . Blame it on jet lag.

James Herriot Museum in Thirsk

James Herriot Museum in Thirsk

Butcher shop in Thirsk near the James Herriot Museum

Butcher shop in Thirsk near the James Herriot Museum


Wandered around Thirsk a bit and found a pretty park on the river with lots of ducks. Another tourist (German, we think) asked Ed to take his picture with the ducks so he did. Finally returned to the Three Tuns for supper. Ed got the fish and chips and I had a lamb shank. Then we decided sleep would be a great idea. Yes!!

Bridge Street over Cod Beck in Thirsk

Bridge Street over Cod Beck in Thirsk

Ducks at Riverside Mews on the Cod Beck in Thirsk

Ducks at Riverside Mews on the Cod Beck in Thirsk

Clock Tower in Market Square in Thirsk

Clock Tower in Market Square in Thirsk

Posted by Beausoleil 13:27 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged museums manchester manchester_intl._airport thirsk herriot Comments (2)

September 6, 2018 — Durham

Drove from Thirsk to Durham to see the outstanding Cathedral there.

The Golden Fleece Hotel - breakfast in Thirsk

The Golden Fleece Hotel - breakfast in Thirsk


We had breakfast at the Golden Fleece, a very elegant hotel with a very reasonable breakfast. We had tea cakes and orange juice. Somehow the full English breakfast at our hotel seemed way too much food.

Packed the car and checked out. We stopped at a tire store and a nice man checked and filled all our tires so we had a very nice easy trip to Shincliffe. We parked in front of our hotel, Seven Stars, and walked to the nearby bus stop. Took the bus into Durham. The driver was very helpful and gave us directions to the Cathedral.

Driving from Thirsk to Durham, UK

Driving from Thirsk to Durham, UK

Prince Bishops Shopping Centre from the Elvet Bridge in Durham

Prince Bishops Shopping Centre from the Elvet Bridge in Durham

Durham is a beautiful small university town. We walked to the bridge and were greeted with huge floral displays across the pedestrian bridge. Walked across shooting pictures of flowers, the river Wear and rowers on the river. Walked up the hill and followed signs to the Cathedral. It is huge! It also had the top of the central tower swathed in white tarps . . . construction. So much for dramatic outside photos. We found the entrance and were informed no inside photos either. Never been in a church that forbade photos. Bummer! My rebellion was refusing to buy their book. The printed guide was less than useful but had a map and a few explanations. I’ll look up the rest online. They had several stunning modern stained glass windows and most of them had explanatory plaques. The entire main floor and at least one side were set up with dinner tables for twelve for a Chamber dinner tonight. There was a special exhibit on St. Cuthbert that was 7.50£ each that we skipped but his shrine was open behind the main altar so we did see that.

Elvet Bridge in Durham, UK

Elvet Bridge in Durham, UK

The Shakespeare Restaurant on Saddler Street, Durham

The Shakespeare Restaurant on Saddler Street, Durham

Café Durham on Owengate in Durham

Café Durham on Owengate in Durham

Durham Cathedral with the central tower under wraps

Durham Cathedral with the central tower under wraps

Floral Display of Saint Cuthbert's Cross in front of Durham University Library

Floral Display of Saint Cuthbert's Cross in front of Durham University Library

Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and Saint Cuthbert - Durham Cathedral

Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and Saint Cuthbert - Durham Cathedral

Cloister of Durham Cathedral

Cloister of Durham Cathedral

Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and Saint Cuthbert - Durham Cathedral

Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and Saint Cuthbert - Durham Cathedral

Statues on the Durham Cathedral - interesting

Statues on the Durham Cathedral - interesting


There is a very interesting story about how Saint Cuthbert’s final resting place was chosen. In 995 the monks were searching for a suitable site when they followed two milkmaids who were looking for a brown cow to a rocky peninsula in the River Dee. This was Dun Holme and the cathedral was built here to house Cuthbert’s shrine. The legend was portrayed in a stone carving described in 1593 as "a monument of a milk maid milking her cow … on the outside of the north-west turret of the cathedral." The one you see today is its replacement dating from 1775.

Bill's Restaurant on Saddler Street

Bill's Restaurant on Saddler Street

Walked down to Bill’s for lunch. We had the fish pie and it was excellent. Had a window seat which was fun. Then we walked back up the hill to continue the Cathedral and our education about St. Cuthbert and Lindisfarne where we’re going tomorrow.

  • ****

Durham Museum and Heritage Centre

Durham Museum and Heritage Centre


Left the Cathedral in search of the Durham Museum and found it down a hill behind the church. It used to be the church St.-Mary-le-Bow and is now a very nice small museum. There is an attached sculpture garden that was a graveyard and now houses two immense wood sculptures by Fenwick Lawson, one of Saint Cuthbert that we’ll see again tomorrow in bronze on Lindisfarne.

Walked back up and then downhill to Market Square . . . very impressive . . . sculptures and flowers. It was time to go home so we wound our way back to the bus stop where we met a local couple about to leave for three months in New Zealand visiting their daughter and her husband. The bus arrived and it was a quick trip back to the Seven Stars Inn in Shincliffe where we finally checked in. It’s very old and creaky and the hallway walls are dark paneling like a church, but our room was pleasant and clean and the staff are very welcoming.

Stained glass and exhibits at the Durham Museum and Heritage Centre

Stained glass and exhibits at the Durham Museum and Heritage Centre

Fenwick Lawson sculpture of Saint Cuthbert<br />at Durham Museum and Heritage Centre

Fenwick Lawson sculpture of Saint Cuthbert
at Durham Museum and Heritage Centre

Durham Market Place

Durham Market Place

Durham Market Place

Durham Market Place

Durham Market Place

Durham Market Place

Went down to dinner at seven o’clock and were impressed by the quite elegant restaurant. We both ordered the poached sea trout with prawn risotto and had Prosecco to drink. The fish and rice were fabulous, perfectly seasoned and the rice had so many shrimp and prawns that it could have been dinner by itself. I got the Mixed Fruit Mess for dessert and Ed watched. The entire meal was spectacular. With the nearby bus stop, this was the perfect way to visit Durham with a car.

Posted by Beausoleil 16:29 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged cathedral uk durham shincliffe Comments (3)

September 7, 2018 — Day 4 (Friday and Jean’s birthday)

Racing the tide to Lindisfarne Island

Rainbow driving to Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

Rainbow driving to Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

Up at 6:30 racing the clock to beat the rising tide to Lindisfarne. We have to cross before 11:25 AM or the tide will cover the road until 5:00 PM and we'll lose most of the day. Zipped down to breakfast at 7:50 and they kindly opened ten minutes early. We got scrambled eggs on toast and quickly ate. Brushed teeth, packed the car and were off. Very slow traffic around Newcastle but on the whole, not a bad drive. There was rain on and off and we saw at least three rainbows. There is something very uplifting about a rainbow.

*****

The Causeway to Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

The Causeway to Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

Got to the the Lindisfarne causeway safely at low tide and had no trouble driving across. We parked at our hotel much too early for check-in but we were welcomed with a pot of tea and a map with suggestions for sightseeing. Armed with umbrellas, we set off on foot. In heavy rain we decided the indoor Lindisfarne Centre would be a good idea and it was. They had exhibits going back to prehistory and some were interactive. I made a brass rubbing and that was fun. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

When we left, the rain had let up and the ticket lady suggested The Post Office for lunch. It is really a café beside the Post Office and very good. I got a lobster wrap and Ed a crab sandwich . . . both very nice. Then we walked over to our hotel and checked in to our gorgeous front room with a bay window and a four-poster bed. Such luxury . . . Click here for The Lindisfarne Hotel web site

The Causeway to Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

The Causeway to Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

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Lindisfarne Heritage Centre - Make a rubbing

Lindisfarne Heritage Centre - Make a rubbing

Lindisfarne Heritage Centre

Lindisfarne Heritage Centre

Lindisfarne Heritage Centre Quilt and Saint Cuthbert display

Lindisfarne Heritage Centre Quilt and Saint Cuthbert display

The Post Office . . . and the Post Office Café on Lindisfarne Island

The Post Office . . . and the Post Office Café on Lindisfarne Island

Lindisfarne Hotel

Lindisfarne Hotel

Entry to The Priory on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

Entry to The Priory on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

After lunch, the rain had stopped so we quickly walked to The Priory where we got our museum tickets (free, we’re English Heritage members) and thence to the Priory ruins so I could get sunny pictures before the rain started again. It worked and we found the huge bronze statue of Saint Cuthbert by Fenwick Lawson that we’d seen carved in wood the day before in Durham. From The Priory we walked to St. Mary the Virgin’s Parish Church where we saw Lawson’s large elmwood sculpture “The Journey” of six monks carrying Saint Cuthbert’s casket. It was created with a chainsaw, larger than life and very powerful. (There is a bronze copy of it in Durham recently moved to the Cathedral Square.)

Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

Two pictures of the ruins of The Priory on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

Two pictures of the ruins of The Priory on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

The Priory, an English Heritage Site on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

The Priory, an English Heritage Site on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

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Saint Mary the Virgin Parish Church at The Priory

Saint Mary the Virgin Parish Church at The Priory

Lindisfarne Castle from The Priory

Lindisfarne Castle from The Priory

Stained glass and Fenwick Lawson's "The Journey" in the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin

Stained glass and Fenwick Lawson's "The Journey" in the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin

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Stained glass in St. Mary the Virgin Church on Lindisfarne

Stained glass in St. Mary the Virgin Church on Lindisfarne

The Priory Museum on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

The Priory Museum on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)


Next, back to the museum to go through the collection. Most interesting was an activity translating runes and since there was a key, it was easy. Going through a digitized Lindisfarne Gospel was more challenging because the touch screen didn’t work very well. It is beautiful but the digitized “Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry” at Chantilly was much easier to go through.

Left the museum after supporting the gift shop and walked to the Scriptorium which sadly was closed. Stopped in a very nice art gallery (Impressions), a Celtic jewelry shop and then a fudge shop where we did get some fudge. Next, walked to the Lindisfarne Mead store where we purchased a bottle and now pretty tired, walked back to our hotel for some rest before dinner. I transferred pictures and caught up my Journal.

Cute house on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

Cute house on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

The Crown and Anchor on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

The Crown and Anchor on Lindisfarne (Holy Island)


We walked back to the Crown and Anchor where we had a six o’clock dinner reservation. The menu is on a large blackboard and Ed chose the fish pie while I opted for the rump of lamb that came with a crispy polenta, cauliflower mash with roasted seeds and roasted carrots. Another fabulous dinner. I’m thinking very seriously about revising my opinion of British cooking. Finished with vanilla and tablet ice cream that was excellent. A new find. I had forgotten we found tablet (tablette) in Scotland and we are very near the border. Yes! My favorite Caribbean treat in England.

View of the Lindisfarne Castle from the Crown and Anchor

View of the Lindisfarne Castle from the Crown and Anchor

Walking back to our hotel from the Crown and Anchor

Walking back to our hotel from the Crown and Anchor

Excellent day. I called our next-week landlord and he’s expecting us between three and four tomorrow.

Posted by Beausoleil 15:56 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)

September 8, 2018 — Side trip to Scotland

On our drive from Lindisfarne to the Lake District we decided to visit Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland. Great idea . . .

Tide is out - Time to leave Lindisfarne Island

Tide is out - Time to leave Lindisfarne Island

Slept late since breakfast wasn’t served until 8:45. At the appointed time, we went in for breakfast, finished packing and checked out. Tide was out so we crossed the causeway . . . still pretty wet . . . and reached the mainland. We’ve decided next time we want to spend two days on Lindisfarne.

Swans swimming at low tide beside the Lindisfarne Causeway

Swans swimming at low tide beside the Lindisfarne Causeway

The Scottish Borders sign at Coldstream as you cross the River Tweed

The Scottish Borders sign at Coldstream as you cross the River Tweed

Manor House in the Scottish Borders

Manor House in the Scottish Borders

Church of Scotland Jedburgh Old and Trinity Parish Church

Church of Scotland Jedburgh Old and Trinity Parish Church

We decided to cut through Scotland and stop at Jedburgh for lunch and visit the abbey there. Beautiful drive and free parking just before the Jedburgh Abbey. As English Heritage members, we got in for half price and were immediately found by a terrific docent who gave us all kinds of information. As we walked through the abbey, she found us again before she left for lunch.

We walked across the street to The Carters Rest for lunch where I had a ham baguette with broccoli soup and Ed had a brie and cranberry panini. We quickly remembered why we love Scotland.
Click here for the Jedburgh Abbey web site

Jedburgh Abbey from the parking lot - quite impressive

Jedburgh Abbey from the parking lot - quite impressive

Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

Tomb at Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

Tomb at Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

Cloister garden at Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

Cloister garden at Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

Cloister garden at Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

Cloister garden at Jedburgh Abbey in Scotland

The Stones Museum at the back of Jedburgh Abbey

The Stones Museum at the back of Jedburgh Abbey

The Carters Rest, a cosy restaurant across from Jedburgh Abbey

The Carters Rest, a cosy restaurant across from Jedburgh Abbey

Driving from Jedburgh, Scotland to Dalton-in-Furness, England

Driving from Jedburgh, Scotland to Dalton-in-Furness, England


Programmed our GPS back to England and to Nell’s Cottage that we’ve rented for the coming week. Drove in and out of rain and traffic through gorgeous countryside. Part of the drive was through the southern part of Dumfries and Galloway, a very favorite part of Scotland that we'd enjoyed before. We crossed into England again and got on the M6 so started to make better time. As four o’clock approached, I called our host to tell him where we were and that we’d try to arrive by five o’clock. We almost made it . . . 5:05 PM.

Driving from Jedburgh, Scotland to Dalton-in-Furness, England

Driving from Jedburgh, Scotland to Dalton-in-Furness, England

Nell's Cottage where we stayed near Dalton-in-Furness

Nell's Cottage where we stayed near Dalton-in-Furness


The cottage is lovely and the view spectacular. We drove into Dalton-in-Furness to the Coop for groceries then over to Hartley’s for dinner. Oops, they were full. They suggested The Steakhouse so we trudged up the hill to discover there was a wedding and they weren’t serving the public. They suggested The Brown Cow and fortunately it was open and had a table for us. We both got the breast of duck and it was adequate but not outstanding.

Walked back to the car and drove to the church to check Mass time tomorrow. That done, we headed home in the rain and dark. We managed to find it and are safely in for the night.

Good day.

Upstairs at The Brown Cow Inn Restaurant in Dalton-in-Furness

Upstairs at The Brown Cow Inn Restaurant in Dalton-in-Furness


Posted by Beausoleil 14:10 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged scotland abbeys uk cottages lindisfarne dalton-in-furness jedburgh_abbey Comments (4)

September 9, 2018 — Furness Abbey

We hadn't heard of Furness Abbey so were stunned at the size of it. It is ruins, but they have a very nice museum and it is beautifully kept.

Unloading groceries from Co-op at Nell's Cottage

Unloading groceries from Co-op at Nell's Cottage

Church didn’t start until nine o’clock so we slept ‘til seven, had breakfast and then drove into Dalton to St. Mary’s. It is a pretty church and we found parking. Not many people at the only Mass so it’s a small but friendly congregation with a real organ.

Drove home and met our neighbors from Berlin who are leaving today. The landlord seems to be gone and it is rainy, windy and quiet.

View from our window at Nell's Cottage near Dalton-in-Furness

View from our window at Nell's Cottage near Dalton-in-Furness


Hartley's Restaurant in Dalton-in-Furness

Hartley's Restaurant in Dalton-in-Furness


I discovered I’d put in the wrong phone number for Hartley’s Restaurant so when I corrected it, we had no trouble making a lunch reservation for “half twelve.” We researched train and ferry schedules for tomorrow. Hope the weather is okay. I have a feeling my new raincoat will be put to good use in the Lake District.

At half twelve we entered Hartley’s expecting a crowd and were surprised to see it half empty. We had our table and ordered the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. There was a 70th birthday party for eight beside us that was fun to watch. They were mostly young women and were having a grand time. The restaurant never did fill up, but the meal was excellent. After lunch we went across the street to the Co-op to look for a flashlight and some groceries, then home to put them away. The Co-op is very nice; we'll enjoy shopping there.

*****

Furness Abbey as you exit the museum

Furness Abbey as you exit the museum


After recovering from a large lunch, we decided to visit nearby Furness Abbey so set our GPS and left. Would have done better with a map. The GPS took us on scary-narrow back roads, but we did get there. It’s English Heritage so we got in free with our membership cards. The rain had stopped so we went directly out, saving the museum for later. The abbey is huge . . . in near complete ruins and held together by a support system, but still utterly magnificent. There were two fellows there flying a tiny moth-sized drone . . . funny. We finished our trip going through the museum and started home . . . this time staying on the highway. Click here for the Furness Abbey web site

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey showing the support structure

Furness Abbey showing the support structure

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey Museum

Furness Abbey Museum

Furness Abbey as it used to look (from picture in the museum)

Furness Abbey as it used to look (from picture in the museum)

While eating a light supper, we watched a mother peahen and her three chicks walk across our yard. I’ve never seen a peacock chick before. They are really cute. We finished our supper with Lindisfarne fudge . . . very good.

Excellent day.

Posted by Beausoleil 14:52 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged church museum abbey uk dalton-in-furness furness abbies Comments (2)

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