Tuesday, May 10, 2005
2005 Odyssey-Part 1 – England
First to suffer was Tony Fitzgibbon, who had to get up at some uncouth hour to meet us at Heathrow after the long haul round the globe.
Tony drove us to wonderful Woking to meet up with Sylvia Griffith, who with friend Harry, took us for a fabulous trip in the country, visiting an old church and real pub lunch. K.C. almost became a bikey.
In the evening Sylvia was acting in Oklahoma and a no more professional production could ever be found.
On to London, where Alwyn got us into the Sheraton Knightsbridge at the right price! However K.C. no sooner got into the room, than she was complaining there was no tea/coffee making facilities. What do you expect “for the right price”? The best-priced thing we found in England was 24-hour open top bus and river cruise ticket. for 15 quid. The worst was 3 one-way Waterloo to Southampton Airport station for A$181 or equivalent of a hire car for 3 days. Mind the normally 1 hour trip took 2 hours, so we did get our moneys worth.
Having nicked Tony and Joan’s Cavalier, we skirted London and on to Baylem, near Needham Market to really stuff up Pam Williams week. Stone Farm is a picture as was Pam, and the dogs something else again. Pam cooked up a storm, so more great food. Pam said to use the place as B&B so we took her literally charging off during the day to see places and people, then lobbing back again.
The first side trip was to see William Barraclough and his fabulous wife Liz, who we had not met before. William soldiers on with his M.S. and they have a lovely house set in lush fields, close to Pam.
On to my English “Mum” At Little Hallingbury in north Essex. Changed so much I drove past 4 times before I found it! Madeleine Barraclough, James and a friend of Madeleine’s Elizabeth were there. It was quite like old times (in the mid 60’s!). Great to gossip and super meals once again. Madeleine really hadn’t changed much, smokes just as much and as full of beans as ever, and can still eat breakfast and talk on the phone at the same time! As usual James had us laughing almost non-stop and poor Elizabeth I think wondered what hit the place.
Having spent a wonderful night at “The Park” we dropped in on Tony and Marie Cope at Dullingham, Suffolk but near Cambridge. K.C. stayed with Tony and Marie while training at Cambridge with Marie. Had a great meal, again, (there is a recurring theme here) and dashed on to stay with Jerome and Clair Coleclough in Lincs. What can I say? Clair handles Jerry very well, as needless to say Jerry still does everything at 110%. BBQ naturally, even if K.C. and Alwyn had to assist!
What fun it was to catch up after a hell of a long time.
We had a lovely drive from Lincolnshire, following the coast eastward in Norfolk to cut down through Norwich (big mistake) and back to Pam at Stone Farm. There we recouped, made sure our bellies were full and finally said farewell to Pam. Very sad to go indeed as we all miss Pam and the dogs.
The Copes had to cope with us again. This time for the night. Let me tell you Tony is not only one of the best cooks in the world, and this is not lightly said, but he makes mean range of liqueurs. As though we had not eaten enough over the previous weeks, this was gourmet stuff. We got to walk some off around Cambridge, which is a beautiful as ever. Tony also “did up the house” which was a real picture. K.C.s old friend, the donkey, was still going strong.
First stop was Barnard's Castle In Co. Durham. This is where I have found a note on my oldest relative, which says “born before 1717”. Well we didn’t find any other gems like that, but the town is lovely, sitting on the River Tees in the Tees Dales.
Not to be discouraged, we drove up and over the dales to Wear Dale and found Stanhope (stanup). As nearly every village in the area ended in “hope” I asked why. Nobody knows! Never mind that, the search was on. Place to start is St. Thomas, built 1200, should have some stuff. If I had started the search clockwise, I would have saved 2 hours of browsing headstones. But find some I did. Even found some living ones and the site of Tinkler Bros., Joiners and Undertakers, that was about to be pulled down. Joining at least I found was a family “thing” since 1814 and maybe earlier. Met up with Betty and daughter Jill Tinkler as well as Janette Tinkler, who’s son was in Perth Australia.
The Dales along the River Wear are beautiful as well as boasting the 2nd railway in England and the highest “A” road in England. Has to be good.
Zap down the old express way to Manchester Airport and off to Dublin, where Ted and Chris O’Morchoe were waiting for us to whisk us down over the Wicklow Mountains to Goney in Co. Wexford. Guinness in an Irish Pub is better. How beautiful is Ireland? We had warm sunny days (I’m told this is unusual) and the Irish are so layback, I’ve heard them described as horizontal! Mind Ted and Chris can’t be accused of this as they were always on the go, especially with their 2 gorgeous daughters, hose riding, doing up the farm, feeding lambs, fixing fences, eating and THE PUB.
And back “home” to Tony and Joan at Lower Stanwick and catch up with THE KIWI Gary Taylor. Almost had the old crew together. All we needed was another “Young 88”. Instead we settled for a super cat out of Portsmouth for our invasion of France.-Part 2.
Easy Crossing to France!