This chapter will cover my (our) various activities from age about 57 to 67. So the major subjects covered will be getting older, various deaths, holidays and anything else that comes to mind.
Maureen's father (Ronald Sidney Crampton, aka Mr Ron) was never very fit. Over the years, as he took less and less exercise, and was lovingly fed by his wife (Mrs M), he put on weight and became more and more sedentary. At some point he acquired a mobility scooter, and got about town with it reasonably OK. In September 1995 he was taken into hospital with a suspected ulcer - turned out to be a strangulated hernia. In September 2007 he had a stroke and was in the QE2 hospital in Welwyn Garden City for a couple of months before being transfered to the QVM hospital in Welwyn village. In December 2007 he was transferred to the Woodland View care home in Stevenage, where he ate less and less, lost interest in life, became more and more confused, and finally died on 6 February 2008.
Maureen's mum (Mavis Maude Crampton, née Baker, aka Mrs M) developed problems eating in 2000, and was diagnosed with a hiatus hernia. By 2002 she was having difficulty in even drinking and was admitted to the Lister hospital in Stevenage for rehydration, and to have her gullet stretched. Although this was an improvement, she continued to have difficulty in eating.
She had cataract operations on each eye in March and October 2000 - reasonably successful.
In 2003 she was diagnosed with diabetes, which added to her eating problems.
In June 2000 she had twisted her ankle when going to the shops, and in July 2004 she fell and broke her right leg above the knee; the plaster wasn't removed, and she didn't come home from hospital till September. In April 2008 she had a fall at home, but didn't tell anyone. She then had difficulty getting out of bed and strained a muscle in her shoulder trying. She was taken to the Lister again and the leg was found to be broken below the hip - they just prescribed bed rest, gave her a wheeler to help with walking, and asked her if she wanted to go in a care home. She had another fall, while in the Lister, shuffling between her bed and a commode. She was transfered to Hitchin hospital in June, and was given physiotherapy. They allowed her home near the end of the month as long as she had carers come three times each day. She was shuffling very very slowly, and had to be taken down to coffee mornings in a wheelchair (pushed by Maureen). She was in hospital again in the July (but I can't remember why). Her walking got even worse (her legs seem to be of different lengths) and, in September 2010 she had her own folding wheelchair.
In March 2001, while at the Family Records Centre, I noticed a black blob in my vision. The people at Vision Express had a quite exhaustive look, told me it was just a floater, and wrote a letter to my doctor. He made me see a specialist at the Lister hospital who said that there was nothing to be done (but he offered to operate on my squint - no thanks, I have learnt to live with it).
|My 62nd birthday - Piccola Italia (Dec 2005)|
|(Maureen, Me, Raymond, Pat, David)|
In September 2001 I was diagnosed with tendonitis in a finger (nothing to be done), and in August 2002 with trigger finger (another tendon problem; also nothing to be done, just one more thing to learn to live with).
Also in August 2002 I was stung in the foot by an insect and it became infected. The whole foot became swollen and I couldn't put a shoe on, but somehow I managed to drive to the A&E department at the Lister. It was diagnosed as a Staphylococcus infection and I was given a course of antibiotics, and my foot had a variety of dressings applied. It cleared up eventually but I was left with a depression where flesh had disappeared (OK now).
In February 2007 I had a bad cold, and coughing produced spikes of pain at the top of my head. My doctor said that I had strained a muscle in my scalp and prescribed ibuprofen - it went away only after I stopped coughing!
Maureen had had regular breast screening for some time now and, in December 2000, was told to return for a second examination. So for a couple of weeks we were very worried. She went back, had another X-ray and what she described as an "intense fondle" - nothing was found, and subsequent screenings were also OK.
In early 2004, on reaching the age of 60, she received a state pension, a bus pass and bought a senior rail card - but it doesn't really make up for getting old.
In August 2001 she had tripped up on some stairs, and in May 2004 she tripped over a paving slab and damaged her teeth and bruised her face. The dentist prescribed antibiotics and applied a splint, but didn't begin reconstructive work until July. For several months she couldn't eat properly, and I had a holiday at Lancaster University by myself. She fell over again in December 2007 and again in later life.
In September 2005 she was worried that she had rectal cancer (bleeding from the bum) and had all sorts of tests, but nothing was found. Symptoms would reoccur from time to time in later life.
In October 2000, my mum had intense abdominal pains and, when they didn't go away, phoned for an ambulance. She was taken to the BRI (Bristol Royal Infirmary) where they removed her appendix and her fallopian tubes - apparently a previous hysterechtomy operation had been botched. Towards the end of October I drove to Bristol to visit her in hospital and, afterwards, drove round some of my old haunts. I looked into St Agnes church (where I had been a choirboy) and found that they had carpeted over the mosaics, removed the pews and replaced them with chairs facing the wrong way. On my way back along Thomas Street I had to stop as a man was standing in the middle of the road taking photographs - he turned out to be Maurice Adams (my schoolfriend from Newfoundland Road days) - he now lives in South Afrca and had returned to Bristol as his dad was marrying again. Mum returned home eventually at the end of November.
In May of 2002 she fell off a chair while dusting (good grief!) and broke her arm. She was in hospital over a weekend and, on returning home, has to have carers three times a day, and also meals-on-wheels - she is not happy.
In 2003 she was having difficulties standing and walking, and had back pain. This just got worse over the following years and, by 2007, she was hobbling along with a very bent posture.
In 2007 and 2008 she was beginning to panic over every little thing, and was losing her short-term memory. In March 2008 she was diagnosed as anaemic (or maybe had internal bleeding) and was in hospital again getting oxygen, and blood transfusions. She was weary and generally fed up ("Why can't I just die?"). Her breathing became more and more difficult and was admitted to the General Hospital again. They said that she should not be living alone so Pat and I began looking at care homes (what dreadful places they all are!). We found a reasonable one at Bishopsworth (in walking distance from Pat's house) and in May she moved in. In June 2008 Pat and I cleared out mum's flat as it was obvious that she would never be coming home. She had quite a nice little room with a view over a bowling green but, of course, she hated it ("Why can't I go home?" or even "Why can't I go back to Canton Street?"). By April 2009 she was getting more and more confused, was having more breathing problems and was having trouble with the care home staff. She was taken in to the BRI again where she was treated for fluid retention - salt deficiency was contributing to her confusion. In May she was back at the care home, but worries about trivial things and phones Pat almost every day in tears. She had a number of falls in 2009/10, none of them serious. She continues to phone Pat all the time and, in February 2010 she dialled 999 and complained to the police that the care home wasn't looking after her (she rings the bell for no real reason, so they tend to ignore it). By May 2010 she was sleeping most of the time and, when awake, wants to go back to Canton Street and die. She just got worse over the summer and, in September, she was taken off all mediction, and given liquid morphine. On the 29th she died, with Pat with her - the death certificate just says "old age".
In December 2004 Raymond (Pat's husband) was involved in a car accident and had chest pains due to bruising by the seat belts.
In November 2005 he was diagnosed with a form of cancer caused by previous exposure to asbestos (he used to be a painter and decorator) and was started on a course of radiotherapy. As there was no real cure for the cancer, he declined to have chemotherapy. At the end of January 2006 the drugs that he was taking caused a lowering of blood sodium levels and he had a mild stroke and confusion. He died the following month.
In 2007, and again in 2008, she had eating problems and was taken to the vet's. Both times she had a high temperature and was diagnosed with an infection and was treated with an antibiotic injection.
We flew on a "no-frills" flight from Stansted to Milan Malpensa then got taken by coach to the Regina Palace Hotel in Stressa. We had a snack by the pool then went for a walk round the town and up and down the lungolago. Dinner in the hotel was paglia e fieno con salsa di guancio e pomodoro, then vitello alla milanese with patate fritte e zucchini friti, then cheese (pecorino & toma), then torta di frutta - all washed down with a bottle of vino bianco and water (left half the water for the next day.
The next day (Thursday), after a buffet breakfast, we had a stroll and then went to the welcome meeting with the rep (booked an excursion to Macugnaga on the Saturday).
|Some of the islands|
|Villa Taranto gardens|
|Me on the mountain|
|Maureen in the valley|
On the Saturday we started off by taking Pippa to a cattery in Great Wymondley (as Mrs Goater was having a rest from looking after cats). After packing, we set off northward, stoppint at the Ram Jam Inn for lunch (pork, prune and bacon roulade in a mustard sauce, potatoes and mangetout; one treacle tart to share) then set off again, first to Wingerworth to visit Donald, a distant cousin of Maureen's that she had never met. We stayed a couple of hours, exchanging certificates, charts and photos, having a cup of tea and cake, then were off again. We stayed the night at a Travelodge in Alfreton, having a meal at a place in Stretton (jambalaya for me, steak and ale pie for Maureen, no starter or afters).
On the Sunday we had breakfast at a nearby Little Chef then set off, through the Peak District national park, via Matlock, Bakewell and Buxton for a visit to Prestbury near Macclesfield (in M's family tree somewhere). We headed back through Whaley Bridge and Chapel-en-le-Frith, stopping for lunch at a pub in the village of Peak Forest (crabcakes with hollandaise sauce, pork & leek sausages &c). Continued on to Chesterfield and Worksop, only getting lost once, stopped at a Sainbury's for sandwiches for our tea, and reached the Travelodge near Tadcaster. After our picnic tea, we had an evening drive through some nearby Knaggs places (Pocklington, Middleton on the Wolds, no Knaggses in churchyard that we could find).
On the Monday we had breakfast at the Little Chef next door then set off for the park-and-ride at Askham Bar then got the bus into York where we walked through Coppergate to the Jorvick Centre (did I tell you I was a Viking) that was better than I expected though a bit touristy (exit through the gift shop). We wandered around York for the rest of the morning and had lunch in the Patio restaurant in Swinegate Court (red snapper for M, lamb in rosemary and redcurrant sauce for me). Had another wander, through Micklegate and Trinity Church (Knaggs connections) and got the bus back to the carpark then drove to Pickering where we had rented a cottage, walked round the town and did a bit of food shopping. After a picnic meal we went out for another walk, visiting the church and the castle and looked out for any eating establishments.
On the Tuesday we finished yesterday's bread and cheese for breakfast and then set out for a Knaggs hunt. Unfortunately there had been a foot-and-mouth outbreak and several places were impossible to get to, but we visited Aislaby, Ugthorpe, through East Barnby to Lythe (my Knaggs roots are here). The pub where my ancestors lived had been renamed from the Red Lion to the Sniddy (name of a canon that was fired when children of the lord-of-the-manor were born). We had to clear lots of ivy and nettles in the churchyard but found several Knaggses that were in my tree, then drove to Sandsend (Knaggs epicentre), wandered around then drove to Whitby proper where we had fish and chips at the famous Magpie Cafe. Then we visited various Knaggs locales (Baxtergate, Church Street &c) and bought a local paper. We walked up the 199 steps to St Mary's Church (the expert, who would have known which of the box pews was the Knaggs one, was not in today), looked around inside and out then visited the Abbey remains, walked about some more, found Argument's Yard and other places whose names I recognised from Victorian censuses. Then drove back through Ruswarp and Ugglebarnby to our home in Pickering. I booked a meal for tomorrow night at the White Swan and didn't have to spell out my surname! We had a rest, changed, and went out for dinner at the Garden of Spice details lost).
After breakfast on the Wednesday we walked to the station (North York Moors Railway) and bought all-day rover tickets so that we could get off and on where we pleased. We got off at Goatland (where the TV series Heartbeat was filmed), had a look at the church and churchyard and caught the next train to Grosmount where we walked to Egton Bridge (detour because of the foot-and-mouth, sandwhiches for lunch at the Station Tavern) and down to the Esk then got a train back to Pickering where Maureen relaxed in the garden and I had a look round the castle. We dressed up a bit for a posher-than-normal dinner at the White Swan (linguine with crabmeat, brill & lobster in a creamy sauce (J), breast of chicken wrapped in bacon with asoaragus (M), a rest to finish off the bottle of wine, lemon tart (all OK but expensive for what was just an acceptable posh meal).
On the Thursday we drove back into Whitby (mist on the moors near Fylingdales). We walked up Flowergate and visited the Sutcliffe Gallery (local photos) then on to the museum which was very old-fashioned with odd collections of all sorts of stuff, and spent some time in their archive room looking at Knaggs family history documents. Then back to the Magpie Cafe where we had to share a table of six (crab starter (M), Whitby kipper (J), haddock and chips with peas and mushy peas, glass of muscadet). Afterwards we drove through Goldborough and Kettleness to Runswick Bay (site of the Knaggs murder), then through Hinderewell to Staithes then on to Easington, Great Ayton, Stokesley, Great Broughton and Bilsdale Midcable (all Knaggs places). Continued through Helmsley and Kirbymoorside and back to Pickering.
After breakfast on the Friday we gave the key back and headed off through Filey to Bridlington where we had a good look round the Priory Church (several Knaggs memorials). We drove round the rest of Bridlington then on to Flamborough, where we looked round the church and churchyard then on to Scarborough, where we booked into the Crown Hotel then went out for lunch at the Green Lizard (potted duck in port wine sauce, baked crab with salad and pasta) and looked round the town. After M&S sandwiches for tea we got a taxi to the Stephen Joseph theatre to see "The Game Plan" by Alan Ayckbourne (very good) then walked back to the hotel.
After a very decent breakfast on the Saturday we set off home and picked up Pippa from the cattery.
We took Pippa to the cattery in Great Wymondley on the Saturday before the holiday. I went to the barbers, Maureen packed and watered houseplants etc.
|Maureen above Windermere|
|Me by Windermere ferry|
|Group near Elterwater|
On the Wednesday morning before the holiday we took Pippa to the cattery early, then did our packing and other chores. Bought train tickets to Gatwick.
|Maureen in a sottoportego|
|Maureen in the Brazil exhibit|
|Maureen in Treviso|
|Me in Treviso (watermill)|
|View from breakfast room|
|Me in Mazzorbo|
|Maureen at the Biennale|
At this year's summer school we both did local rambles in the morning then Maureen did Music for Pleasure: Mahler and I did Medieval Landscapes. Afterwards we drove up to Scotland to visit Bernard and Pamela Bushby.
On the Sunday morning Pippa was difficult to catch, running from room to room; but we caught her eventually and took her to the cattery. We drove north and stopped at La Locanda for lunch (bianchetti fritti then misto di pesce alla fantasia with sauté potatoes and zucchini, glass of white, water). Carried on to Lancaster University, listening to the Test Match on the radio. parked by the John Creed building (bunny rabbit) then walked through to get our key. Our room was in Witherslack 13 on the first floor next to a kitchen. We had a stroll before dinner (Florida cocktail, sirloin steak, veg & potatoes, apple pie) then, afterwards, signed up for some evening events then went to the usual intro by Keith Percy. The evening finished with a wine reception and an early night.
After breakfast on the Monday we set off in the minivan, via Galgate to Condor Green where we parked. We strolled along a footpath by the Lancaster Canal to Glasson Dock (talked to people we recognised from Higham Hall). We walked back along the coastal path and the van got us back to the campus by 12.15 and we bought sandwiches for lunch. Maureen enjoyed her afternoon course, though her tutor was rather eccentric (had a bad back because he had fallen over his chicken!). Mine was OK, but not realy as interesting as I had imagined. The evening meal was melon with raspberry sauce, salmon with ratatouille, salad & potatoes, orange & chocolate cake, glass of white. After dinner we boarded a minibus for a "Historic Walk on Lancaster" - statue of Victoria, town hall, site of a murder, Catholic church later used by Sally Army, Methodist Sunday school, Dukes theatre/cinema, Cheapside (drunken Scotsman), horse shoe set in the pavement (can't remember why), Sun Street, Church Street, house where Bonnie Prince Charlie didn't stay (don't ask me), Lancaster Castle (now a prison) and back to the minibus.
After Tuesday's breakfast we drove down the M6 to Carnforth and Silverdale, parking at Eaves Wood and walked up through the wood (wet underfoot) and did an anticlockwise circuit, walking through a circle of beech trees planted by Victorians. Back at the university, we had lunch at The Venue then went to our afternoon sessions (at mine, the chap next to me had a seizure and an ambulance was called for him). Before dinner we cleaned our very muddy boots - potato and leek soup, supreme of chicken in a creamy sauce, rice, peppers and broccoli, lemon roulette. In the evening there was a talk (votes and voters) then a wine-tasting (not very interesting), then Frank Salter's "a little night music" in which he played random CDs - we had a drink with him and Keith percy afterwards.
After breakfast on the Wednesday we sat in the front of the minibus and Gerry drove us to Quernmore? then turned into the Forest of Bowland (not really a forest) parking by the waterworks. We walked up the Langdon valley on a rocky path next to a stream, ending by the ruins of a castle then back by a slightly different route. Had sandwiches for lunch (sharp showers). Maureen is enjoying her course more than I am (better tutor?). We have to submit an assignment afterwards so that the univesity can claim it is educational and get some money back from the government. Dinner was prawn cocktail, butterfly loin of pork with apple sauce, potatoes, sweetcorn and green beans, red wine, passion fruit baverois. The evening was a lecture on cryogenics (boring, because pitched at non-scientists) then there was a piano recital (very good).
Thursday's weather forecast was for warm rain all day. Talked to Paul Tolcher at breakfast - he has a new dog. We drove out the back of the university to Quernmore and parked near Clougha. Wore waterproofs instead of fleeces. We walked up peaty ground with heather, bracken and bueberries, then over a style and on through boggy ground. Maureen was tired so stopped for a drink but I carried on, almost to the top (not many people made it all the way up). We made our way down again (Maureen had started down, going slowly, one foot at a time). After lunch we visited the Peter Scott gallery - very good, especially the ceramics. Then M went to her class and I had a field-trip (can't remember details). Cleaned boots then went to dinner (mushroom soup, rack of lamb etc, unknown afters). The evening's entertainment was a coach trip to Art Deco Morecombe (Midland Hotel, railway station, Woolworths, Littlewoods, Brucciani ice-cream parlour, swimming pool) then drove back via Eric Morecombe's statue.
After breakfast on the Friday we drove down the A6 to Garstang, Wyre Bridge and parked by the roadside. Then we walked up the road, over a field and up a steep, grassy hill - good views at the top of Clougha, Morecombe Bay, Blackpool tower etc. Made our way down again then back for lunch at George's Restaurant in the Chaplaincy. That evening there was a small demonstration of work made by people on other courses, then the final dinner (country paté, duck of some sort, chocolate baverois, cheese & grapes, plenty of wine. Early night.
Had an earlyish breakfast on the Saturday, then drove up the M6 to Carlisle, Gretna Green then turned left on the A75 to Gatehouse of Fleet, got lost a bit but finally found the Bushby's house. Got shown round the house, then had lunch in the lounge. Afterwards we went for a walk then sat in the small sun-lounge with tea and Pamela's home-made cake. Maureen and I watched the cricket on the Bushby's widescreen TV while they prepared dinner (carrot and coriander soup with crusty bread, blackened chicken (Bernard's blend of spices), potatoes and veg in a tomato sauce, Scottish raspberries and ice-cream, cheese and biscuits. Bottle of Chardonnay, then one of Valpolicella that we finished up in the lounge. Talked until late.
We woke up early but Pamela was up before us. Had breakfast, talked some more then set off at about 10.30 back the way we had come. We stopped at Killington Lakes on the M6 for lunch (fish & chips) then continued south on the M6 / M1 getting home about 6.30.
|weir on River Calder at Whalley|
|Wharton Cragg (Paul Tolcher at top)|
|Stanley Ghyll Falls|
|Roman fort at Hardknott Pass|
|River Lune near Caton||Hornby Castle and weir|
|Devil's Bridge||Ruskin's view|
In the May of 2004 Maureen tripped over a paving slab and damaged her teeth. She still wasn't eating properly in the July and didn't like to eat in public, so I had a holiday by myself at the Lancaster University summer programme.
On the Sunday I drove up the A1 in heavy rain and stopped at La Locanda as usual for lunch (insalata sanguinaccia with a mustard sauce, glass of white, water, espresso). Arrived at Lancaster University in the late afternoon and got booked into Staveley 10 on the 2nd floor of the John Creed building (motorway side). I drove down to Garstang to do some family history but couldn't find any Knagg graves in either cemetery. Phoned home twice with no reply. Dinner was Florida cocktail, braised steak, apple pie. Still no reply at home (this is before we had a mobile phone) and the library was closed so couldn't use their computers for email (no laptop back then). Keith Percy gave the usual talk and I had a glass of white at the reception. Finally contacted Maureen - her mum has fallen over and broken her leg (the one with the hip replacement). She doesn't want me to come home and help. Cup of tea - bed.
Woke up early on the Monday. There is a continuous roar from the motorway. Cleaned the shoes I wore to yesterday's churchyard visit. Prompt to breakfast (fruit juice, sausage, egg, bacon, beans, toast, coffee). Weather forecast was cloudy with the odd shower. Tried the library PCs but could get no response from my ntl email system. Met up at the minibus at 9.15 then drove down the A6 past Garstang and Barton and stopped in Longridge for a talk about cotton looms etc. Behind the caravan park was a quarry - holes were drilled into the rock, wooden wedges inserted and the "can lad" would pour water into the holes - the expansion of the wood, splitting the rock. At the top of Longridge Fell was a good view of the Ribble valley and the village of Chipping where the first spinning looms were installed. On through Hurst Green (bobbin mills) to Stonyhurst College (RC public school) with a chapel modelled on Kings College, Cambridge. On past a nice packhorse bridge to Whalley and had lunch at the Abbey tearooms ("Monastery Munch" = broccoli and stilton soup, ham & cheese toastie (OK). Had a look round the town (weir, river Calder) then on to a viaduct and the abbey gatehouse. Then via a home-made ice-cream shop (closed) to the pretty village of Downham ("Whistle down the wind") then back via Dunsop Bridge and the Trough of Bowland. Went to the library for another email attempt (nogo) so phoned home. Dinner was melon with sorbet, pork with tomato sauce, woodland cheesecake, glass of white. Sat next to a chap doing "African drumming" and "Improve your Photography". 8.30 was croquet (too complicated rules) then at 9,30 a quiz (our team won, of course).
Phoned home before breakfast on the Tuesday. Minibus took us to Morecombe; the chap we saw last year showed us the Midland Hotel then the Tern Project on the Stone Jetty, then on to Brucciani's ice-cream parlour, then on to the Winter Gardens (closed to the public since the 70s) where we were issued with hard hats and shown around (dark, rickety, peeling but quite interesting). At lunch time I found a little deli ("Artisan") and had a mixed antipasti. Then we met up again outside the Town Hall - shown weather recording apparatus then, inside, the town's coat of arms was explained and in the council chamber I nearly fell asleep as some chap droned on about local government reorganisation, the mace, wasps nests &c. Then we trouped out and walked through the cemetery and past the church (this part was originally Poulton-le-Sands), through back streets to the promenade, past Eric's statue and back to the minibus. Back at the university I managed to have an email session but it was terribly slow. Dinner was leek and potato soup, chicken in some sauce with veg and rice, crumble, coffee. Phoned home before the evening lecture on "Victorian Morality".
Wednesday's weather forecast threatened showers. After breakfast I put on my boots and we were driven to Witherslack and parked in the Derby Arms car park. We should have brought packed lunches but nobody had told us. We walked up through Whitbarrow reserve then drove to Gilpin Bridge Inn for lunch (Cumberland sausage, chips, salad, beer) then on to Fowl Moss and walked along duckboards. Then on to Warton and Warton Cragg where I met Paul Tolcher and his wife & poodle (sends his regards to Maureen). We were back by 5.00 so had a short email session and phoned home (no reply) before dinner (paté, duck breast, profiteroles). Then the evening entertainment was 7.30 - Lune Valley in pictures, 8.30 - wine tasting (rubbish), 10.00 Frank Salter "a little night music", 11.00 back to the room just as Maureen rang (phone in corridor).
Early breakfast on the Thursday (veggie sausage). 9.15 at the minibus for a long drive to Ravenglass - arrived at 10.57 for the 11.00 train (Bill Hunter waving frantically by the ticket office). It was a diddy train pulled by a real, but small steam locomotive. The trip took 50 minutes and was quite pleasant. Said "Hello" to Bill, who asked about Maureen, then we were left to our own devices for a two hour lunch and explore session (map provided). I bought a sandwich and set off anticlockwise round to Stanley Ghyll then up a path by a stream and up to the Force (slippery underfoot). Then carried on round, tried to cross the river by stepping stones but they were small and slippery - walked up to the bridge instead. Had a quick look in St Catherine's church, then walked to the pub (swift half with Bill). Then the minibus took us to the Roman fort at Hardknott (impressive) then continued over the pass (steep, narrow, hairpin bends), down the other side then over Wrynose Pass down to Skelwith Bridge for a cappuccino and a gingerbread. Dinner that night was mushroom soup, salmon with ratatouile and salad, sticky toffee pudding. I had quick email session and a phone home then, as the evening social programme was boring, drove into Lancaster and filled up with petrol for the return.
After breakfast on the Friday we left through the back exit through Quernmore to Caton where we walked up to Gray's Seat. We stopped at the Crook o'Lune car park for a cup of tea then along the Caton Green road (view of the meandering river in a wide flood plain) to Gressingham Bridge (sand martins) then up to a motte and bailey with a commanding view of the Lune Valley (a WW II pill-box is on the same site, for the same reason). We walked along then down to, and under the bridge (mason's marks). Then we walked on to Hornby for lunch at the Royal Oak (tuna salad) and, after, through the village to see the church (octagonal tower) and the weir with a view of Hornby Castle. Then we went via Wray to Tatum Bridge (painted by Turner, ditto Crook o'Lune) and to Devil's Bridge (bikers; children jumping in from rocks). Then we continued to Kirby Lonsdale and walked through the churchyard to "Ruskin's View" across a wide valley with the Howgill Fells beyond. We continued over the Lancaster Canal Aqueduct (view of Lancaster, also painted by Turner) then back to the University. At 6.30 there was a "Champaigne" Reception and exhibition of student's work before dinner (prawn cocktail, cannon of lamb (tough as old boots) and a baverois, white wine. Keith Percy made his usual speech and I won a bottle of wine for being in the winning quiz team earlier in the week. Maureen phoned as I got back to the room.
Had a prompt breakfast on the Saturday, gave the key and evaluation form back and set off down the motorway, getting home by 12.30
Maureen's mum had broken her femur quite badly and was in hospital for quite a while. She was transfered to Hitchin Hospital (sort of half-way house) on 17th August and was eventually alowed home (with daily carers and meals-on-wheels). Meanwhile Maureen's brother John had had a mini-stroke and was on a low-salt diet.
We took Pippa to the catery on the Friday morning, had a taxi to the station and got the train to Leeds, where we stayed at the Marriott just round the corner. We had dinner at Da Mario Italian restaurant (no details available, but I remember we paid by Barclaycard and they used an old-fashioned machine, not an online chip-and-pin one).
On the Saturday, after a large breakfast, we walked to the Henry Moore Institute and the City Art Gallery, where we met Peter & Heather from Lancaster holidays. We walked along by a canal, found a nice place for lunch (no details) then walked about some more. After M&S sandwiches in the evening we went to the opera (Cosi fan tutte - very good).
After another large breakfast on the Sunday we caught a bus to Harwood House (not bad if you like that sort of thing) and caught the train home on the Monday morning.
Pippa had been out all night and got suspicious when we let her in and hid under the bed. We caught her eventually and took her to the cattery. We left about 11.00, heading up the A1 and stopped at the Ram Jam Inn for lunch (Rutland sausages, mash, onion gravy, beer). Made our way north and eventually found Larpool Hall in the outskirts of Whitby just after 4.00. Our room, no. 28, was in the courtyard opposite the boot room. After unpacking we had a walk round the grounds and I poppen into the cemetery just down the road to look for Knaggses (quite a few). Dinner, in an elegant dining room overlooking the town was garlic mushrooms, monkfish wrapped in bacon with exotic veg and new potatoes, cheesecake with strawberries. Had the usual HF talk about the following day's walks - signed up for the easy one.
On the Sunday, after breakfast, we organised our packed lunch and waited for the coach at 9.30. It went through a housing estate, down the A171 tp Ravenscar to drop off the long walkers, then back to Robin Hood's Bay for us easy and medium walkers. We walked down into the town, turning off through some alleys, down to the beach. Saw the pub ("The Dolphin") that used to have Knaggs people, and house where Leo Walmsley the writer lived. We started walking with the medium people along a coast path (part of the Cleveland Way), stopping for lunch at Bay Ness. Then carried on, rough at times, to Hawsker Bottoms where we walked through a caravan park to Hawsker and High Hawsker, Stainacre and Cock Mill Wood (all places that I've come across in my Knaggs research) ending up at the bottom of Larpool Hall gardens. Had afternoon tea with scones. Then, at about 5.00 another little walk had been organised - along a disused railway track, over a viaduct and back to the hotel (via cemetery). Dinner was calamari, salmn with veg and roast potatoes, chocolate fudge cake - coffee in the lounge. Posted a postcard of Robin Hood's Bay to my mum.
On the Monday, the weather forecast was for showers so we packed everything in our rucksacks in plastic bags. Yesterday two people on the long / medium walks had fallen over - one broken arm, one stitches in cheek. The coach drove along the A171 and dropped the medium and long walkers off at Blakeny Ridge and then 15 mins later dropped us off ar Rosedale Abbey (village) We had a quick look round the church (no Knaggses in churchyard), walked through the village and up a track to Hollins Farm (ironstone workings) and had a break on a grassy bank. We walked along a moorland path, through bracken and heather, past a plaque about an Elizabethan glass furnace and had an early lunch break about 1.00. We walked along more farm tracks, down to some stepping stones and up again to Lastingham (no Knaggses in churchyard). Climbed up through Spaunton (getting very hot) then down a steep descent to Hutton-le-Hole where we sat and waited for the long walkers - drove home through Pickering and Fylingdales. Dinner was leek and sweetcorn soup (2nd helping!), fish pie (yesterday's salmon?), lemon and blueberry tart. Afterwards there was an llustrated talk about Whitby (I bought his booklet about Whitby yards - he didn't give me a discount for having a local surname).
On the Tuesday Maureen did the easy walk and I did the medium one. The coach dropped off the few long walkers at Hole of Horcum then went back to Goathland and dropped us medium walkers off at the Mallyon Spout Hotel and the easy walkers down by the station. (Maureen's holiday diary gets a bit confusing here as to who went where and did what, but we evetually met up again back in Goathland.) Dinner that evening was carrot & coriander soup, chicken with veg &c, summer fruit crumble. The evening's entertainment was songs and monologue by Jeff (the leader, not me).
We had a free day on the Wednesday so, after breakfast we drove to Sandsend, put our boots on and walked into the Mulgrave estate (where an ancestor was bailif). The castle was just a few ruined walls with remains of an Elizabethan window. We walked around most of the estate, exited near Lythe and walked down the road to Sandsend for lunch (cod & chips (M), chicken korma (J)). Then we drove back to Larpool Hall, cleaned our boots and walked into Whitby along a dismantled railway track and over the viaduct over the Rover Esk. We had a long walk around Whitby and finished the transcribing the Knaggses in the cemetery on our way back. Dinner was mackerel with horseradish sauce, seafood tagliatelle, apple strudel. Quiz night.
On the Thursday the coach went through Whitby, Sandsend, Lythe, Staithes and dropped the long walkers off at Hinterwell then the rest of us at Staithes. We walked down through the village to the harbour and on to the sands and back to the car park. We were then driven to Runswick Bay where I told the group about the Knaggs "murder" there. We walked along the sands then up a steep climb to a path along the Cleveland Way at the cliff top. We walked through Kettleness and back to Lythe and found the coach. Dinner was chicken liver paté, sea bream (M), pork loin (J), pear upsidedown cake, coffee in the lounge. Treasure hunt.
It was raining hard on the Friday when the bus took us up Eskdale, dropped the medium walkers off at Danby Low Moor then took us easy walkers to Commondale where we walked up a field path (still raining) then along a disused railway track and through wet vegetation, through a silver birch wood then more moorland and stepping stones across a swift-flowing beck. Rain stopped during our lunch break. We walked to Danby Lodge and the Moors Centre (cake & coffee) and a bit more walking before the bus took us back (in heavy rain). Dinner was goat's cheese something, cod, chips & mushy peas, lemon tart with summer berries, finished our wine. Dancing (did not participate).
Drove home after breakfast on the Saturday, getting there about 1.15.
|ferry to Smuggler's Hard|
This was a combined walking holiday together with visits to places in Maureen's family history. FH details are in notebooks with John.
We took Pippa to the cattery on the Saturday and left about 11.30, driving down the M1 and around the M25 (heavy traffic) then taking the Gatwick exit and stopping for sandwiches at Horley. We got to Abingworth Hall about 4.30 (nice room) in time for afternoon tea. We were taken for a short familiarisation walk, past the boot room and swimming pool, out past a mushroom farm and back to the house. Dinner was paté, haddock with sweetcorn & peas, cheesecake (J), fruit salad (M). After dinner we signed up for the easier walk and had a quiz night, met the hotel cat.
After breakfast on the Sunday we walked up to the mushroom farm to get the bus which took us a short drive through Storrington to Amberley, We had a look round the church and set off east past Cross Gates up a path to Rackham Mill then through a wood and through Parham Park and had our lunch break sitting under an oak tree. We left the Park, on to the A283 then on to a footpath past a glider club offering free trial lessons (yes please!) to Coolham and had a loo / drinks stop at the Crown pub. We walked back, through a small caravan park and over lots of stiles (M getting hot and bothered) then a steep descent (M getting slower & slower) emerging opposite Abingworth Hall. After a rest and afternoon tea we had a walk round the grounds (disturbed a fox) then sat and read the paper. Dinner was melon & Parma ham, salmon with hollandaise sauce, Bakewell tart. After the evening walks talk there was a barn dance in the ballroom (escaped and talked to the cat).
After breakfast, and some problem with the bus, we were driven to West Wittering near Chichester to drop off the medium walkers then us easier walkers were driven to Itchenor. We walked along a tarmac road (posh houses) then along the shoreline to the ferry which took us to the other side of the creek where we walked along shingle with dried seaweed and muddy bits (M having trouble with an ankle although using two sticks), Coffee break, then continued to Bosham (where Canute tried to control the tide) where we walked up past the harbour to a piece of NT land overlooking the creek for our lunch break. We walked round the town then on to Fishbourne where we waited for the medium walkers. Coach came and took us back and I had a swim in the pool. Dinner was Greek salad, grilled pork with mustard sauce &c, sticky toffee pudding. Entertainment was a slideshow about the Amberley Working Museum (M fell asleep).
After breakfast on the Tuesday we were driven out through Greenhurst Lane, through Pulborough and on to Petworth to drop off the medium walkers then we were dropped off at the West Lodge of Petworth Park (already 27°C and climbing). We walked through the park and up over some tussocky grass to a clump of trees (disturbed a group of deer) for a drink break. Then we walked east to Lower Pond (Brent geese &c) then up a steep climb for lunch at the top with a view (very hot, phoned mum on the mobile). Then we visited the house itself (had our NT membership cards) - too much to take in so, after a tea break we walked into Petworth itself (lovely and cool inside the church). It was over 30°C when we got back to the house so I had another swim. Dinner was egg mayonaise (M), fruit juice (J), trout (not properly filleted!), bread & butter pudding. Quiz night (of course we won!).
Wednesday was a free day and we had considered driving to Brighton. But it was so hot (100°F forecast) we headed towards Storrinton and then to Washington for Maureen to do some family history things. Then drove to Steyning and to Wiston Park (private these days but we ignored that) where we managed to look round the church (no longer a real one but they do fancy weddings) - churchyard stones illegible. Then we drove to Water Lane and Buncton for more FH stuff and walked to Warminghurst then drove back to the house - had another swim. Dinner was mushrooms in a garlic sauce, vegetable curry (J), cod mornay (M), rhubarb crumble. Chaotic music quiz.
On the Thursday Maureen had a day to herself (too hot to walk), washing her hair, reading the paper and her library book, mooching about. My group was driven to Devil's Dyke then to Clayton and a stiff climb up to the Jack & Jill windmills then along part of the South Downs Way, past a dew pond, stopping for lunch with a good view of the Weald. We walked past Ditchling Beacon (trig point) then down a chalky path to Westmeston then over lots of stiles and through a housing estate to Ditchling. Coach back - had another swim, sent postcard to mum. Dinner was smoked mackerel with horseradish sauce, fishcake, ginger sponge pudding (J), summer pudding (M). Putting green (M got an insect bite).
After breakfast on the Friday we had a short bus ride to Washington where we were dropped off by the Frankland Arms. We walked up School Lane to look at the church, then over a stile and across a field and up through some woods onto the South Downs where we walked along with good views to Chanctonbury Ring (ring of beech trees around an Iron Age fort) where we stopped for a short break. Then carried on along a chalk path (M having difficulties again, then fell over - we think her stick had collapsed - no harm done) and had a lunch stop earlier than planned. We descended through trees (welcome shade) onto a tarmac road into Steyning by the old workhouse. Walked through the village to the churchyard (some M's FH here) and then to the museum (staff knew of M's people) then got the coach back. I had a swim and Maureen did a bit of packing. Dinner was prawn cocktail, guinea fowl with cherry sauce, apricot slice (J), fruit salad (M). Quiz night (we won again).
Woken up by a thunderstorm, but got back to sleep. After breakfast we made our way home and picked up Pippa.
|Maureen on a chilly beach|
|Maureen with figureheads|
We had taken Pippa to the cattery on the Sunday. After breakfast on the Monday we finished our packing then got a taxi to the station. We had to stand all the way to Kings Cross - the new Underground station was open at last. We eventually got a tube to Paddington where we met the rep and got our tickets. Our train was announced and by the time we got to a far platform a school party had stolen our reserved seats - turfed them off! There is no food service in 2nd class - you have to go and get it (nasty coffee, poor choice of food on GWR). The train went quite fast, but slowed to a crawl in Cornwall - it took five hours to get to Penzance. At the station we were picked up by taxis for the short ride to the heliport. We had a short video about safety on the helicopter and waited our turn. Everybody ducks when walking under the rotor blades. Had an uneventful flight, quite low skimming over the waves. A sort of tractor took us to the Island Hotel and we were shown to our room (quite nice, with a terrace). For dinner, we had risotto with smoked haddock and black pudding, veal with orange-flavoured carrots, sweet potatoes, citrus & vodka sauce (plus extra veg), cheese (J), chocolate ganache (M), bottle of the cheapest wine (£15), coffee in the lounge. Early night.
Had a very decent buffet breakfast on the Tuesday then got ready to go out (warm clothing as it feels quite chilly). We walked to the Abbey Gardens, via New Grimsby, St Nicholas Church and the New Inn then along the coast (got buzzed by the helicopter). We had a short look round by ourselves then joined a guided tour (included in the holiday cost) - most of the other guests were doing a longer tour that included the Eden Project and Helligan, so knew more than us about the plants. The weather was sunny with a very chilly wind. We had a good look at the Valhalla museum of figureheads after the guided tour. Walking back to the New Inn, we saw the old vicar and his wife who had been on the TV programme "Island Parish". For lunch at the New Inn we had St Mary's Bay plaice (M), mussels in a creamy sauce (J), Cornish cider (hailstorm as we were eating). After lunch we walked to the quay at New Grimsby and took the very narrow coastal path though gorse and scrub to Cromwell's Castle. We made our way back, under very threatening clouds, looked round the church and then got caught in a hail/sleet storm so went back to the hotel and posted a couple of postcards to our mums. Before dinner there was a slide show by the curator of the Abbey Gardens (and an opportunity to buy his book). We had local crab, mussel and brie filo basket, belly of pork with roasted veg (J), cod with chorizo (M), chocolate and hazelnut mousse (J), cheese (M), bottle of Italian red, coffee in the bar. Earlyish night after falling asleep in front of the telly.
The weather seemed better on the Wednesday so we didn't wear so many layers. We walked up to the Old Blockhouse and phoned our mums on the mobile. We walked south along the east coast on grassy or sandy paths, then along the road to the Abbey Gardens entrance for a loo stop. Continued our walk past a tyre dump and a sawmill then got onto the beach by Skert Island and scrambled round the headland and onwards past the heliport to the Appletree Road. The tide was out and a few people were walking across to Bryher. We had lunch at the New Inn again (as did several other people from our hotel) - fishcakes with chive cream & spinach, cider - then walked back to the hotel and walked round the grounds. In the afternoon we set out to explore the north end of the island, up a grassy path, over a field ("Beware of the Bull"), past Merchant's Point and round Gimble Porth. The path got a bit too difficult for Maureen so we did a bit of retracing steps, walked round Tregarthen Hill to King Charles' Castle above Cromwell's Castle. We headed back south on a wide path, down Beacon Hill (saw the bull getting frisky with some cows who wern't interested, thank you very much). We came out on the road near New Grimsby Quay and walked along a lane past the Great Pool and popped into a bird hide (not much happening), then continued past Borough Farm and eventually back to the hotel. Before dinner we were treated to the Mayor's slideshow (not all of it was boring) - John Dory fillet on beetroot risotto, pork medallions (J), skate wing in red wine (M), cheese (J), chocolate & blueberry tart (M), bottle of Italian white, coffee in the lounge - paid our bar bill (three bottles of wine, £45).
After breakfast on the Thursday we finished packing then gathered to wait for the trailer to take us to the helport. It was a black, aggresive-looking helicopter but more comfortable inside and flew higher (1,500 ft) so didn't see the waves. We had a good look round Penzance (too long, really) and had lunch at Cocos (calves liver (overcooked) with bacon, onion &c, glass of white, capuccino. We walked back to the station, bought a newspaper and were reunited with our luggage. Back the way we came - home just before 8.30 in the evening. It was a better holiday than it looks in the pictures.
|Sarnano centro storico|
|Basilica di S. Nicola, Tolentino|
|Maureen, Lago di Fiastra, Sibellini mountains|
|Roman bridge, Ascoli Piceno|
|Maureen writing up her diary, Macerata|
We took Pippa to the cattery on the Wednesday, then, after an early cup of tea on the Thursday we drove to Stansted Airport, parked in the long stay car park and got the bus to the terminal. Security has been increased (had to take shoes off). Had breakfast at a Wetherspoons; Ryanair flight delayed, finally taking off at 10.40 and landed at 13.45 local time. We met up with the tour leader (Gerard, French!) and the rest of the group (mostly oldies), then got in the coach and headed down the A14 past Ancona to Civitanove Marche where we turned off and drove to the Hotel Eden in the modern part of Sarnano. We were in room 206 (you have a card to open the door and it goes into a slot to switch the lights on). We had a quick unpack then met up with Gerard for a walk into the centro storico where we had an independent explore (quite steep up to the Piazza Alta). Got captured by a restaurateur on our way back and booked a table for dinner on the Sunday night. There were drinks and a buffet organised at the hotel this evening - fruit juice, Verdicchio, Rosso Conero, small pastries &c (could have done with a proper meal).
Breakfast on the Friday was the usual continental buffet but acceptable. Weather forecast was reasonable, and off we went at 9.45, driving along country roads with nice views of the Appenines on one side and the Adriatic on the other. We parked outside the little town of Monte San Martino and walked up to the main piazza, wandered around a bit, looking at the views &c. We went into the Cantina dei Papi and had a lecture about local wine production with a plastic cup of "vin cotto" and some cantuccini. We then walked down to the Ristorante Dei Priori in the main piazza for an included "slow food" lunch of multiple small courses. There was nice bread and green and purple beans dressed with herbs on the table - we set to. Next came plates of prosciutto and bottles of Rosso Piceno and acqua minerale; then came ham, cheese and artichoke crostini, olivi ascolani ("fatti a noi"), olivi ripieni fritti, fried crema (I don't get it), then risotto with porcini (had seconds), tagliatelle with vegetables, pork roasted with rosemary and garlic, long tomatoes, game chips (crisps), custard and chocolate sponge, tiramisù, vino moscato, biscuits! We got introduced to Angelina, who had cooked everything. We walked back to the coach and Tonino (who had been drinking quite heavily at the lunch) drove us to San Ginesio, where we parked by the war memorial (rather fascist in style). We wandered about and looked in the church (nothing special) then caught the coach back to Sarnano. We didn't feel hungry enough for a meal in the evening so just went out for a drink.
After breakfast on the Saturday we were driven to Tolentino where we walked round by ourselves - visited the basilica, the cappellone (nice frescos) then the cathedral (Roman sarcophagous) then stopped for a coffee by the torre dell'orologio (clock tower with phases of the moon etc.) and visited the theatre and had a general walk about. We got picked up at noon and driven into the Monte Sibillini National Park and stopped at the Lago di Fiastre and had lunch at the Osteria del Lago (no menu, you had to listen to a long recital). We had tagliatelle al ragù, cinghiale and insalata mista, half litre of vino rosso, acqua minerale gassata. We finished hurredly to catch the coach back at 3.00 where we were dropped off at the main square and walked back towards the hotel and had a little explore. In the evening, we walked down to the Trattoria Porverò for dinner - ravioli con funghi (J), tortellini con panna & funghi (M), coniglio in padella con salvia, verdure alla stagione, mezzo litro vino bianco, acqua minerale, caffé.
Had an early breakfast on the Sunday and we left at 9.00. Maureen talked to a woman who had been to the Girls Grammar School in Stevenage and they reminisced about the various teachers. Clear blue sky - lovely views as we drove through Amandola to Ascoli Piceno, parking behind the archbishop's palace where the local firemen were forming up for a parade in the Piazza Arrigo. We had a look in the cathedral (polyptych by Carlo Crivelli (one of my favorites)), then into the baptistry and the pinacotecca (free on Sundays, more Crivellis). Then we walked to the Piazza del Popolo (crammed full of Italians) and looked in the Chiesa San Francesco then made our way up Via del Truvio? to the Roman bridge, which we crossed to find Gerard by the 16th centure laundry. We walked back and down Corso Mazzini and had lunch in the Vagabonda (bruschetta on the house, cotoletta con verdure fritte ascolane, some sort of dessert, wine & water - just made it back to the coach in time. We headed off to the coast at San Benedetto del Tronto (near Aquaviva Picena) and walked along the beach. The coach headed out through the docks, along the coast, and turned inland near Macerata. In the evening we went to Il Vicolo restaurant for dinner (no written menu, difficult accent to follow) - antipasti, gnocchi con cinghiale, maiale (J), carpaccio with rocket (M), no dessert. Early night.
After an early breakfast on the Monday, we went for a little walk behind the hotel before the coach came; then we were off to Macerata. We went up in the lift to the Centro Storico. We walked into the Piazza Vittorio Veneto to find our favorite restaurant ("Piccolo Mondo") was now a shop. We walked up Corso della Repubblica to the Piazza della Libertà. The hotel we stayed in with Frank Salter is now a block of flats. We walked down to Piazza Mazzini and had a sit, then walked past the Sferisterio and into the Duomo, walked about a bit then had lunch at the Trattoria di Enzio (used to be di Crescimbeni) (told by mama what to eat) - antipasti, ravioli di spinaci & formaggio con sugo di pomodori, quarto litro di vino bianco, acqua, café. Gerald and the driver arrived as we were finishing. After another wander, the coach took us to Urbisalvia (Roman "Urbs Salvia") where we had a guided tour of the site, the coach driving us from the cistern end to the temple - didn't have time for the ampitheatre, so back to the hotel. We ate in Il Vicolo again that evening - antipasti (should have had one to share), ravioli alle noce, cinghiale (M), capriola (J), insalata mista, mezzo litro vino rosso, acqua minerale, café. Got back to the hotel after getting slightly lost!
We packed and had breakfast on the Tuesday then drove to the airport. Good views from the plane as it flew up the coast to Venice then over the Alps - arrived early - picked up Pippa.
We had taken Pippa to the cattery yesterday. After breakfast on the Thursday we finished packing and got a taxi to the station and caught the 10.33 to Kings Cross, then the tube to Victoria and the Gatwick Express to the airport. We had ham, eggs and chips at a Wetherspoon and waited for our flight - eventually took off at 4.10. Calm flight - got the bus to Piazzale Roma and bought our vaporetto tickets (new smart-card system) then got the next No 1 to San Stae. Walked to our hotel without getting lost and didn't bother to unpack but went out again for dinner - walked past Vecio Fritolin to the Birreria La Corte in Campo San Polo - insalatone (big salads), mezzo litro vino bianco, acqua minerale gassata and got back to the hotel without getting lost by 10.30. Bed.
Woke up on the Friday and looked out the window - sideways view down a little alley to the Grand Canal. The breakfast room was opposite our room and we managed to get the sunny table on the balcony. After breakfast we walked down to the Rialto and made our way to the Strada Nuova and found the restaurant that Giorgio (of Bella Vita in Hitchin) had recommended. We recrossed the Rialto bridge and walked towards Dorsoduro, stopping at a café in a quiet square near the Frari for cappuccinos and water. We walked past the Accademia, then past the Hotel American (where we had stayed before) and the flat we had stayed in before that and onto the Zattere, eventually going into the Hotel Messner for lunch (tuna and mozzarella salad, glass of vino bianco, acqua minerale gassata). After lunch we went to the Guggenheim (not quite old enough for reduced entry) which was nice and cool inside (quite a few nice pictures, some rubbish). Back out into the heat, we eventually found a seat in the shade in Campo San Barnaba. More wandering; bought gelati near the Frari and a local paper near the Rialto, then back to the hotel and turned the air conditioning on. We went out in the evening to Vecio Fritolin - fior di zucchini stuffed with ricotta, frittura di pesce con polenta e verdure, mezzo litro vino bianco, acqua minerale, café (lots of bread, limoncello on the house). Early night.
|Maureen, Ca' Vignotto|
|le pont d'Avignon|
|Palais des papes, Avignon|
|Maureen, Le Baux de Provence|
We had taken Pippa to the cattery the evening before then done most of our packing. Then on the Tuesday we got up early and the taxi came for us at 6.00 and took us to the station - train to Kings Cross - walk next door to St Pancras - waited for rep - went through customs and ate our sandwiches for breakfast. We got the train that ends up in Brussels but got out at Lille and regrouped to wait for our next train. I bought baguettes for lunch ("gauloise" (cheese & tomato, J) and "atlantique" (tuna, M)). Got confused because the train arrived in two parts and we were in the second part - found seats eventually, not much room for luggage, ate baguettes just after we left. A coach met us at Avignon and dropped some people at the Grand Hotel (didn't look very grand) and the rest of us at the Bristol. Had a nice, large room - eventually found the safe, inside the fridge! We went out in search of food - there were a few brasseries (M has written brassieres - her French is even worse than her Italian) and open-air places but we eventually settled for Le Petit Bedon and ordered from the "Tastes of Provence" fixed-price menu - cailette provencale with salad (J), fricassée de moules e brocoli (M), onglet aux echallotes (J), fillet de mignons de porc (M), terrine de chocolat aux noisettes, smallish bottle of Merlot, eau.
Petit dejeuner on the Wednesday was a reasonable buffet, M asked for coffees in Italian and was understood perfectly. We met the coach and it set off for Aix-en-Provence. We popped into the tourist office for maps and walked up the Cours Mirabou (main drag) and through the medieval part until we came to the cathedral (nice baptistry) then worked our way back and looked round the market and bought some almondy sweets, then down a steet with lots of open-air restaurants. As we passed the Cafe Le Grillon it started to rain so in we went (outside table, under an awning) - salade grecque (J), potage du legumes (M), longue de porc avec les abricots (and chips), glass of vin rouge (J), blanc (M) (all good but very slow service, so no time for afters). Just got to the coach in time - went off on a mini-tour of the Lubéron (too many English residents - like Tuscany). Weather was much better as we got back to Avignon so we had an explore, through the town then around the walls to the famous bridge (walked up and down but not "sous le pont") then back to the hotel, checking out restaurants as we went. In the evening we went up to the Place d'Orologie (main square) and off to the "D'ici & d'ailleurs" ("from here and there") - marbré terrine de volaille? (J), tarte de tomate confitte tartin (M), pot-au-fer de mer (J), tagine du chef (M), half litre of rosé. Back to hotel.
After breakfast on the Thursday we set off, passing through St Remy-de-Provence into the Alpilles, stopping at Les Baux-de-Provence (a bit touristy) where we walked up to the chateau and back through the village. Then we drove to Arles, got a map at the tourist information shop, and went on a walkabout, then on to Arénes (Roman ampitheatre) where we finished up in the Place du Forum, where Van Gough drank at, and painted the Cafe du Nuit. We walked around a bit then had lunch at Le Bistrot Arlesien (blanquette de veau (no better than the one I cook), 1/4 litre vin rosé, carafe d'eau. After lunch we looked at the Espace Van Gough then walked back to meet the coach. Off we went on a short drive to the Camargue (didn't see much wildlife) and to Sts Maries-de-la-Mer (nondescript seaside place). We drove back through Arles to Avignon. That evening we ate at L'Essentiel - ballotine de lapin, supreme de volaille then tarte aux pommes (J), panacotta alle pistache (M), half litre Cotes de Rhone rosé, carafe d'eau, café - late night.
Had a later breakfast on the Friday then the coach set off for Fointaine-de-Vaucluse passing through L'Isles de Sorge. We walked down into the village then along the river up to a cavern in the limestone craggs. Walked back down, through a paper mill (opportunity to buy tat) then sat down and talked to a local cat. Then we set off for Orange, stopping at a roundabout with a Roman triumphal arch in the middle. We had lunch at the Festival Brasserie (omlette garnie (J), moules frites (M), glass of white, pain & eau. We walked to the Roman theatre where we were each given a handset programmed in English (an American lady tourist assumed it was a Disney-like reconstruction and couldn't believe it was all 2000 years old). Then we were taken to Chteauneuf de Pape and had a look around but didn't go into any of the wine cellars. That night, after a rainstorm, we ate at the Bistro des Artes where the waiter translated the menu into English for us - croustilaut de chevre with salad, tapenade & pistou (M), effiloche de magret de canard (J) then lotte rotie with provencale sauce (M), filet mignon de porc & cepes (J), bottle of rosé, mousse de fromage with fruit puré, coffee.
After breakfast we drove to the Pont du Gard and walked across the bridge next to the Roman aqueduct and had a wander about. Then we drove to Uzés and explored the Saturday market - bought some pistou and tapenade - then had lunch at Lou Matez - pierrade (sort of do-it-yourself BBQ at the table) of beuf, veau and chicken with salad and potatoes, glass of rosé, bread and water. Coach back to Avignon. That evening we ate at Le Brigardier - crumble aux courgettes &c (M), cailette (J), duo de Saint Jaques e saumon in a creamy sauce (small portions), chocolat fondant (M), verrine de ? & blackcurrant (J), bottle of rosé.
After an early breakfast on the Sunday we left our cases at reception and walked up to the Chateau des Papes and looked around (reduction for being old), nice views from the gardens then walked back to the hotel (people doing tai chi in a square) buying panini for lunch on the way. The coach took us to the station, we validated our tickets and waited for our train (going to Bruxelles). We changed at Lille onto a Eurostar and got home about 9.30.
|Me, Stes Maries-de-la-Mer||Maureen, Fontaine de Vacluse|
|Pont du Gard||Maureen, Avignon TGV station|
|Maureen, Pompidou centre|
|Maureen, Pont Neuf|
|a Wallace fountain|
We had taken Pippa to the cattery on the Tuesday so on the Wednesday morning we walked down to the station (light rain) and had to stand all the way to Kings Cross then walked over to St Pancras and ate a sandwich for breakfast. Uneventful ride to Paris where we were met by a Travel Editions lady (Richelle, American) who pointed us to the Metro station and told us how it worked - train in the Porte d'Orleans direction, change at Chatelet for one in the Olympiades direction; got off at St Emilion and found our hotel (Kyriad Bercy, 17 Rue Baron Le Roy). Our room wasn't ready so we left a case and walked back to a pedestrianised area in Rue Cour St Emilion and had thé (no milk) and a tartette citrone in a little cafe. Went back to the hotel and booked in - small room but OK, sent Pat a text in French - unpacked and set out. We took metro #14 back to Chatelet, walked along the Rue de Rivoli then down the Rue du Louvre and went into the St Eustache church then on towards the Pompidou Centre and visited the Atelier Brancusi (not bad) then back to entrance of the Louvre/Rivoli Metro entrance to meet up with the group. We were taken across the Rue de Rivoli and through the old Les Halles district, finishing at the Jardin du Palais Royal. The group split up then and we walked back to the Pied du Cochon for dinner just before a thunderstorm hit (French onion soup au gratin, an enormous pig's trotter with bernaise sauce (all bone and little meat - they do it so much better in Italy), half bottle of red, carafe d'eau). Metro back to the hotel without getting lost.
After a buffet breakfast on the Thursday we caught the Metro to Chatelet (got lost trying to exit the station!) came out on Rue St Denis and crossed the Seine on Pont du Change and joined the group outside the Cite metro station. For lunch we are to have each course in a different restaurant. We were taken to the Sainte Chapelle (part of the Palais du Justice complex) which had impressive stained glass windows. Then we set off through the flower market (with Wallace fountains) to the north bank of the Isle de la Cité and walked along the Seine to the Pont St Louis then down the Rue St Louis to "Le Fin Gourmet" where the we ate our starter (salad with beetroot, cream cheese and ?cod?) - tasty but not very exciting - glass of bergerac blanc. We continued down the road to the Pont du Sully, back along the Quai d'Anjou and past the Notre Dame (cleaned up) to "Le Vieux Pais" for the main course (bottle of red on the table, also crepes with chopped up veg turned up first - free-range chicken (on a glass plate, with the veg and ptatoes at the four corners) - not exactly fine dining. Continued on the right bank of the Seine and across Pont Neuf to Rue Daphne and "Cocette de Jolie" for dessert (clafoutis di pommes a fiches - very good, tea or coffee). The group split up (3.30) and we walked along to the Musée d'Orsay and spent two and a half hours there (lots of famous paintings), then train to Biblioteque Francois Mitterand and metro back to the hotel. In the evening we had dinner at "Chai 33" in Bercy Village near the hotel (chevrette (J), clafoutis with mushrooms (M), osso bucco with tagliatelle, carafe of Luberon rosé, coffee).
On the Friday we had a late breakfast then left cases by reception and headed out by Metros #14 and #4 to St Germain des Pres for a "tasting tour". Richelle dished out various salad oils to taste on pieces of bread (we preferred the hazelnut) then we walked through various streets, stopping at little shops for tastings of cakes, charceuterie, wine and cheese. We passed "Le Procope" where coffee was first served, and where croissants were developed to eat with it. Then we split up and we walked down the Rue de Seine and Rue Dauphine to La Cochette de Jolie (where we had dessert yesterday) for lunch - terrine de volailles, canard & lentils (J), cassoulet de chevre chaud, roti de veau (M), delice blanc with grapes (J), frois-chaud de chocolat (M), bottle of red, coffee. We walked back along the Seine to the point between the two islands to try to find the restaurant where we had a memorable meal back in 1982 (not sure, it might be Chez Julien now). We continued along the Rue de Rivoli, back to the hotel to pick up luggage, then off to the Gare du Nord for our train - home by 9.30.
|Musée d'Orsay||oil tasting|