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Published: July 24th 2009
Thursday 25th June
There were a few queezy bellies in the morning, and so our journey out of town was a little longer as we tried to find a KFC or McDonalds to get an infusion of greece into the hungover bodies in the car... We had no luck however, and this also put us a bit off course, meaning a later start to the day.
Our destination for the day was Alnwick* Castle, where parts of the first two Harry Potter films, along with many many other movies were filmed. We parked up and went in to have a look around, although we were too late in the day to get the most out of paying entrance to the main castle area, with Craig and Lucretia deciding to come back the next day to fully explore (Dav and I are not big Harry Potter fans and so decided to give the castle a miss).
* Alnwick is actually pronounced as Anick ... go figure...
At the advice of a guy at the castle’s information centre, we were able to
find the unofficial caravan park at the local rugby ground. It was quite a basic set up with tents and campervans just pitched along the oval’s edge, and our facilities being attached to the change rooms, but it was fine.
With our tents pitched, I managed to persuade Dav to cut my hair as it was getting a little long... and nine months between trims is probably a bit excessive. While not the most technically correct way to cut hair (see photos), it did the trick!
After a lovely dinner, we got talking to our neighbour, a nice guy called Chris from Yorkshire who was on a short holiday, riding his motorbike and camping around the area. He was a really lovely guys and so we chatting with him for a while, before calling it a night. Day 17
Friday 26th June
After a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and baked beans (who says camping has to be basic?!), Dav and I dropped Lucretia and Craig off at Alnwick Castle while we drove down to Alnmouth on the coast where the Aln River
meets the ocean. There we had a bit of a look around before getting some fish and chips for lunch (again, not very tasty... I don’t know why we bother...)
Back to collect the other two at 1pm, and then on to Hadrians Wall. Unfortunately the weather was terrible, rainy and misty, and so once gain I don’t think we got the full impact of being at somewhere so historically significant. Sounds absolutely terrible but we were all pretty much thinking the same thing in that it looked like any other of the millions of stone walls we have already seen in the UK...
From there it was further south to the town of Durham where we found a campsite and called it a day. Day 18
Saturday 27th June
After packing up, we drove into the township of Durham to have an explore for a few hours. We had a bit of excitement when trying to find somewhere to park, getting ourselves into a bit of a pickle as we tried to enter a multi-story carpark that we were a little too high
to get under... After successfully removing ourselves from that situation, we found a better park (no rooves) down by the creek and wandered into town and around the old centre for a while, checking out the cathedral and castle.
After meeting back at the car and a quick roadside lunch, it was back into the car for the drive to Bingley in Yorkshire to catch up with some friends of ours, Michael and Huw, whom Dav and I met on the Camino. We arrived at Michael’s place at about 3pm, and after a quick stint of shopping for dinner supplies, we went to the local park where Michael introduced us ‘Möllkey’, a Finnish throwing game similar to both boules and skittles. It has twelve wooden pins with each pin assigned a point from 1 to 12. Each person in turn throws the Möllkey, another wooded skittle, at them. If only one pin is knocked down, the player gets the points of that skittle, or if more than one skittle is knocked down, the player gets as many points as how many skittles are knocked down ie if 4 skittles are knocked down then the player gets 4
- Day 16 -
points. The pins are then stood up wherever they fall for the next person’s turn. The winner is the first person who gets to exactly points without going over. Although I was terrible at it, it was quite a fun game and one that could be easily made when we get back home.
Back to Michael’s place, Huw came over and Michael’s housemate Josh also joined us. We enjoyed the English version of a BBQ for dinner (see photo), which smoked the house out and most of the meat ended up being cooked inside anyway! The rest of the evening was then spent amidst a mix of guitar and singing and harp playing and drinks and lier dice - very fun and great to catch up with Michael and Huw again.
Michael’s place is only quite small and so when the night wrapped up, Dav and I went back to Huw’s house for the night, about half an hour’s drive, while Lucretia and Craig stayed at Michael’s. Day 19
Sunday 28th June
After a great night’s sleep and a ripper breakfast at Huw’s house,
we met back at Michael’s just before midday. After more goodbyes and insistence that they come to Australia so we can repay the hospitality, it was back on the road.
From Bingley, we drove straight through to Carolyn’s house, arriving at about 4pm. Although Carolyn wasn’t there, her friend Anna and her beloved dog Bodhi was, and so it was really nice to be back there, almost like we were ‘home’.
We were all pretty tired and so after a simple dinner and movie, it was off to bed. Days 19 to 22
Saturday 27th June to Wednesday 1st July
Unpacking, cleaning, washing, socialising, repacking, and ready to go again!
The next 4 days were spent in a constant state of full, as Carolyn did her best to feed us continually! Once again, she completely spoiled us, whipping up a traditional English fry-up every morning for breakfast, and each evening cooking up some feast or another.
We were lucky enough to have a few meals with the next-door neighbours, Ernie and Mary, who are helping us so
much on our way, lending us a lot of the camping equipment. Carolyn’s godchildren, 17 year old twins Matthew and Joe, were just a few of our guests, all keen to hear our travel stories so far. Lucretia and Craig have met some really lovely people here and it is lovely to get to know them.
The weather was glorious, an English ‘heat-wave’, as the temperatures cracked 30 degrees every day. It was so nice to be in shorts and singlets again, although even we had to run under the hose every now and then to cool off.
On the Tuesday afternoon, Carolyn’s outdoor area became a makeshift hairdressing salon, as Ernie bought over his clippers and both Lucretia and I attacked our respective partner’s heads. Keen to try a different look while travelling, Dav went down to a #4 all over, and then when I also trimmed his beard, leaving only a moe, he looked ridiculously like photos of his dad at the same age. Quite trippy!
It was then my turn in the hairdressers chair, with Dav, under the supervision and guidance of Anna, dying my hair a lovely shade of auburn
- again for something different. If I don’t do it now when I’m travelling, I don’t think I would ever do it - easy to look weird when you don’t know anyone!
When we weren’t eating, or cutting /dying hair, we spent our time ringing home, planning the next stage of our trip, watching Hannible movies and generally getting the car and our belongings ready - needless to say but lots and lots of washing!
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