This morning we leave Edinburgh for York. It is very, very cold. The temperature yesterday reached a maximum of 9 degrees with the sun shining. It was expected that the temperature this morning would be about 4 degrees in the morning. Rain is also indicated so I have made sure the yellow peril is ready for duty.
Today is Mother’s Day in Australia, Canada and America, but not in the United Kingdom. Here they celebrate Mother’s Day on the last Sunday in March. Russ and I made sure Mum got her hugs from Lyn and Trevor, and Russ was asked by one of the Mum’s to be a surrogate hugger. Finola then decided that Russ could provide all the Mums with a present before the end of the day amongst great hilarity on the bus.
We took some time to stop at Wordsworth’s home – a castle called Abbottsford – where we enjoyed a guided tour of the place (over 7000 books in his library and this does not include the 200 plus which made up his reference section) and were actually allowed to take photos both inside and outside.
Whilst pulling into the coach parking zone I received a phone call from Brett wishing Nan and I a very Happy Mother’s Day. He also took the opportunity to furnish us with the last of the game results in footy.
Brett, just for you, Dad has taken some fabulous pics of the armoury and suits of armour in Wordworth’s collection. There is also a great photo of the four of us standing in the Oriental Room where the wall paper had been hand painted – a truly massive undertaking.
We then had a five minute stop to take photos of Melrose Abbey, which is now being restored, but was defaced by order of Henry VII during the Reformation and was then abandoned by the Cistercian monks shortly thereafter. Across from this site is also the first and last shop in Scotland, depending on whether you are entering or leaving the country.
After this we took a slight detour to view some of the remains of Hadrian’s Wall. This wall was 73 miles long and started about Newcastle on Tyne and went east/west across the country to Solway. It was started by the Romans in 156 AD and finished in 161 AD, built 20 feet high and ten feet wide with the idea of keeping the Scottish barbarians out of Roman civilisation. It also had a moat ten feet wide and thirty feet deep on the English side of the wall as an added precaution.
Once the Romans left in the 4th Century AD, the common people used the wall as a quarry and took the brick to build their houses. There is now little left of this once mighty structure other than small pockets dotted across the landscape. Some of these in the more isolated places are in better condition than others near populated areas.
After this stop we skirted Newcastle on Tyne on the M1 motorway and stopped at a service area for a quick lunch. Russ took this opportunity to buy two bunches of fake roses, pink and yellow ones. He presented his Mum with a bunch of the yellow, and gave all the other ladies on the coach their pick of a pink or yellow rose – great hilarity once again.
We finally reached our destination of York about 3:00 pm.
Finola had Mark drop us off just before the ABC – York Minster – and then gave us a brief history of the area as we walked along the Shambles. This is a street in York which used to be the butcher’s area. The houses are all built out over the road as they go up each storey. The overhang at the bottom was used to hang the pieces of meat for sale.
The Minster, not a Cathedral now because the Bishop is no longer housed in the town, costs £8 per adult to get in and see it. However, it was also being used for a funeral so we did not bother too much, other than to take some photos of the outside, which is very impressive. Fancy having a funeral on a Sunday!
Mum has bought a beautiful hat pin. It is common knowledge on the coach that she collects them. As she was about to enter the store one of the Canadians saw her and yelled, “Caught you!” Needless to say she bargained well and has a lovely hat pin from York to add to her collection.
Now I simply have to wax eloquent about our hotel for the night. We caught up with Mark at 5:30 pm in the designated area and he transported us to the Ramada Hotel just outside of York. This place is much more like it!!!!!
It is a converted manor house and I am thrilled to be staying here. It has the atmosphere and architecture that I thought should be a talking point if undertaking this type of tour.
I even have photos of our rooms – yes, plural. We have a withdrawing room, a bathroom you could hold a party in, and a bedroom that contains a four poster bed – WITH curtains!!!! The floors squeak when you walk on them, and the stairs meander around the place in little nooks and crannies. It is fabulous!
We have a TV in the withdrawing room, and a TV in the bedroom – not that we watch much – as well as picture windows in each of them. Mum and Dad’s is similar to our, but their bathroom is not anywhere near as big, but their withdrawing room is much larger. Their floor squeaks as well.
It was interesting to compare notes with our fellow dinner guests tonight. We had at our table – Susan, Kathryn, John and Marie, Jerry and Sue, Valerie and Jacqueline. Most were Americans, but John and Marie are Canadian.
Some have a single room plus small bathroom, others a small sitting area and bedroom, whilst still others have a Jacuzzi in their bathroom and they have invited everyone to join them after the meal.
The hotel has been overbooked and so Mark and Finola (plus other tour guides) have had to stay on the other side of York at the Novitel Hotel. They will be back to pick us up tomorrow morning for our final leg back to London.
This is the first time we have shared a double room. The rest of our stays have been in twin share rooms. There are a few of the others in the same situation due to the hotel being overbooked.
We will spend tomorrow night back at the Ramada Hyde Park, and then shift to the Barkston Gardens on Tuesday morning for the rest of our six days in London.
We have spoken with Janelle this evening and she is looking forward to spending time with us again. She has decided that she can check out last minute tickets for shows whilst we are with her. So far she has mentioned the Lion King, Phantom of the Opera and Mama Mia. Time will tell.