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Published: March 26th 2007
Shopping downtown in the pedestrian area
After visiting Scotland for a week and driving down through the Cheviot Hills and along the Roman wall, I eventually ended up in Carlisle to overnight. The plan was to spend time driving slowly down south visiting potters in the area. The main idea was to make my own pottery studio known to some British potters and entice them to come and visit me.
As usual... the plan didn't work. First of all I needed more money sent to me from my bank in France. As I had arrived on a Friday night in Carlisle it meant waiting for the Monday morning before doing anything anyway. Luckily I saw a Ibis hotel as I drove into Carlisle. The main street was in shambles with a long ditch dug on one side and big blue pipes piled up everywhere.
Following the main traffic I ended up in a carpark by the railway station. I walked back to find the Ibis hotel I had seen driving in. It wasn't very far. I came upon a very nice fellow who took great pain in explaining to me how to drive my car back to the hotel's carpark. He even made a
View of the rising sun from my Ibis hotel room
map with the main features. It worked wonders as it took me less than 15mn to cover the ground and pull up at the back of the hotel. Later I figured out this fellow was the cook but it appeared that all staff there helped and advised customers when needed. I liked that!
On the Monday morning at the bank I was told it was not possible to get sent money to get cash over the counter. I don't have a credit card and don't want one. Old fashioned, yes, and secure. But I didn't imagine it would be such a hassle. After phoning my branch in France of this British bank I was assured it was possible. I only had to send my branch a written request by fax. Which I did from the hotel.
Thinking it was only a matter of hours or at the most one day more in Carlisle I went strolling in town and did some shopping. I even ended up at the library reading about the history of the area. I found 'A History of Cumberland and Westmorland'
by William Rollinson, Phillimore and Co Ltd editors, 1978.
I learnt a lot
A bridge parapet
there about Cumbria. One thing I didn't realise was that the Vikings who had settled in Ireland (as they did in Normandy in the 600s or so) ended up crossing over from Ireland and raiding these parts of the protruding west coast of England. They even settled there. This is one exception of my personal theory that all major migration goes from east to west, and not the other way round like it is fashionable to say about the Pacific ocean history... but that's another story. It has nothing to do with Carlisle but I do travel with my bags and my ideas!
I also learnt that Cumbria has always been a rural area attached to traditions. From way back to stone age and iron age and all, new techniques have always been implemented with some lag behind the rest of England. Mmm!... It sounds like my own native province, the Berry province in the middle of France.
The next day I went back to the bank. Little did I know that I would be staying a whole week in Carlisle...
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