The woman who bought The Woman Who Died A Lot, a lot. That would be me. I had pre-ordered Jasper Fforde’s latest Thursday Next novel ages ago from Amazon.com. When I saw it was already out in an English edition, I quickly ordered it from Amazon.co.uk. I got home last night to find both editions had just been delivered. Hurray! Oh, whoops, was I supposed to be unpacking now?
Entries Tagged as 'England'
October 10th, 2012 · Comments Off
June 4th, 2011 · Comments Off
How crazy was this project to celebrate Frank’s 60th birthday with a 192 mile hike across England with our two daughters and one son-in-law?
And yet, here we are, near the end, two people who have just spent two weeks of nights in hotel rooms — one man with sore feet and one woman with a lot of experience driving on the left of narrow roads. And we are happy.
And how much less crazy was this crazy trip idea than the project we set out on back in our twenties to get together and start a family despite having little money and little experience and lots of fondness for having our own way? That crazy project back then worked out pretty well too.
June 2nd, 2011 · Comments Off
In The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, orphan Mary Craven lives in her strange uncle’s lonely mansion, set somewhere in Yorkshire. The moorland stretching for miles, its lambs and its flowers, the wind that “wuthers” all night, the broad Yorkshire accent — all these made a huge impression on my childhood, and I longed to know them all someday for myself.
It is wonderful to be here, finally. I believe that part of my real job as a grown-up is to discover or do (or refrain from doing) the special things my childhood self vowed to do someday, somehow — or never to do.
It was also funny, both ha-ha and peculiar, to discover just now that Burnett based her book on a house she loved somewhere in the southern counties, not Yorkshire at all. So that house will be a new goal for some new future journey.
June 1st, 2011 · Comments Off
The walkers are having a glorious time, not too hot, not too cool. Lakeland gales and scree are a memory fading away. Yorkshire sunshine pours down onto cropland, cow pastures, and now they have walked into moorland.
We spent three luxurious nights at the Frenchgate Hotel in Richmond — elegant dinners, wonderful beds, awesome and most helpful staff. Tonight we are high over moorland listening to wind wuther outside the Lion Inn Pub and Hotel, many centuries old with the low timber lintels to prove it. What internet there is is best from tall stools at the bar.
One of the curious things about this days-long journey has been watching stone wall vernaculars change. In the lake district, flat fractured stones were stacked in predictable patterns. As we move east, the stones get more rounded and holes between stones get more roomy. This would be good country for
the NH chipmunks and squirrels that haunted my mother’s stone walls and woodpile all winter long.
Tomorrow is yet another day of big changes, some of which I know about and some of which … I’ll know tomorrow. Wish me luck!
May 30th, 2011 · Comments Off
Today is the day they walk from Reeth to Richmond. Since we slept in Richmond last night (many thanks to Frenchgate Hotel, which we are all enjoying), I drove them to Reeth this morning soon after breakfast.
It was sunny — it was raining — it was not raining but still cloudy — it was (in a word) England.
We barely got out of Richmond before roads shut down for a bank holiday parade. People were already lining up on sidewalks as we drove by. To avoid driving back into the huge parade-chaos, I walked with Team Wilczek a while, then happily dawdled in Reeth’s Swaledale Museum. More photos on my Flickr pages, of course.
May 30th, 2011 · Comments Off
As I drove across the Yorkshire Dales to drop my four walkers in Keld, for their walk day to Reeth, cold rain blew sideways and up from the valleys below us. What a first day for the two new arrivals from Boston!
Still, they all set off in good spirits, windbreaking jackets pulled tight over warm layers, hoods up — and at least the main wind was behind them. By lunchtime they had reached the Ghyllfoot Teashop in Gunnerside, which I’d found when I got lost.
Then, as Salieri would say, a miracle! The clouds opened up, the sun came out, and they walked through buttercup meadows all afternoon. So it was a very good first day for two new after all!
May 29th, 2011 · Comments Off
I saw this poster this morning, in a small beauty shop in Richmond. I couldn’t wait to show it to Mickey — and how we both laughed!
A few minutes later, walking along, she remarked, “I’ve experienced that, of course, but I’ve never paid for it.”
Yes, up in NH lakes you can get your toes nibbled by cute little fish at completely no charge!
May 28th, 2011 · Comments Off
Today, I drove seven miles in the wrong direction on a narrow windy road beset with stray sheep. Oops! Fortunately, I had noplace I had to hurry toward or away from.
Eventually, I saw a place to park with some people nearby, getting ready for hiking. They told me that I had arrived in Gunnerside, in between Keld and Reeth. The working blacksmith shop seemed to be closed that day, the pub would not open until noon, but there was a very nice tea shop just around the corner.
And so there was, the Ghyllfoot Tearoom, where they serve not only tea but amazing strawberry pavlova. That is English thick cream on the top, not American whipped cream.
After tea, I turned around and drove back to Kirkby Stephen, 17 miles on the same winding road to which had been added an 80-mile bicycle race. It was all smooth sailing. One good Pavlova can work travel-trouble miracles.
May 28th, 2011 · Comments Off
Today, on the West to East hike, the path starts in Kirkby Stephen (Cumbria) and ends up in Keld, in the Yorkshire Dales. In between those two places, you cross the watershed peak — rain that lands on its west side will drain toward the Irish Sea; rain that lands on its east side runs into streams and rivers that feed the North Sea.
Thanks to an extremely clever suggestion from Katie, who runs the Castle View Bed and Breakfast in Kirkby Stephen, they decided instead to get driven this morning to Keld, and walk back, East to West, ending up at our nice comfortable bed and breakfast instead of waiting somewhere in Keld at the end of the day for me to drive over and find them.
After dropping them off, I saw quite a bit more of the Yorkshire Dales (James Herriott country) because I drove 7 miles in the wrong direction before deciding to turn around again. So I have seen part of the route they will take tomorrow, and it is beautiful.
May 26th, 2011 · Comments Off
Day 5 — Today they walk out of the Lake District and into Shap.
I took this photo on my drive back to the Red Lion in Grasmere from the White Lion in Patterdale. The White Lion is a huge pub/hotel by the side of A592 where Frank and Amity waited for me to fetch them yesterday. They are doing the walk in segments, starting each morning where they stopped last night.
The Red Lion is a small pub/hotel in Grasmere, where we have been staying for two nights and will stay one more. There are many good things about having booked three nights in a row at the Grasmere Red Lion Inn: convenience, comfort, laundry room, and friendly staff. But the somewhat inconvenient thing is that driving any distance in the Lake District means either coping with mountain passes or making long detours from valley to valley.
Whichever you choose, there will surely be sheep on some roadway, somewhere and somewhen. The sheep don’t seem to be startled by cars at all, and this driver is trying hard not to be startled by sheep.