Off to see cookie bear

Trip Start May 22, 2010
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Trip End Oct 31, 2010


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, August 16, 2010

As we left the owner of the BnB told us he had rung the council about the attacks from the seagull. They told him they would put it on the spreadsheet and action would be taken next year!! There were signs in the town saying to report problem with seagulls to the council.

We stopped at Carlisle castle for a short visit. It is a 900 year old Border Castle that was a prison for Mary Queen of Scots at some time. Robert the Bruce failed to take the castle in 1315 although he did cause devastation around it. Now we are back in England he is no longer a hero.

In the process of building nearby for the millennium, lots of old relics were found. There was an interesting display in one part of the castle. They found coins that go back to 83 AD, food items that show that plum, grapes and herbs were eaten here in the mid 2nd century and a wooden peg that goes back to the 1st century. I had to take a photo of the nit comb. It was pointed out that the spacing was bigger as lice were bigger then but otherwise modern ones look the same. This has been dated to 85AD.

There were other displays in the Keep. They pointed out that this had always been on the Border so lots of disputes had been in the area. All houses and churches in the area were fortified and there was a beacon warning system in operation. One part was called 'the Debateable Land' where for years the position of the border was unclear. Finally a dike was built to establish the border and this is the place of the border today.

The military strength of the caste has fluctuated over the years. At one stage the chief gunner was a local butcher and none of the gunners actually knew how to fire them. Henry 8th fortified the castle when he was afraid of papal retribution after dissolving the monasteries.

There was also a display about Bonnie Prince Charlie and his campaign. I always think of him in the north of Scotland but he was in this area as well. The description of the treatment of prisoners after the campaign was not pleasant.

JB - (not to be read while eating!)

The prisoners were hung – then cut down while still alive – they were slit open and their intestines were removed and burned in front of them while they were still conscious – then they were beheaded" – charming……. Even the locals who came along for the ‘entertainment’ left in disgust.

We then headed back to the motorway for a while before we turned off to have a short drive through the Lake District. We set the GPS to take us in then stopped for lunch at a pub with a view of Lake Ullswater. We found a couple of caches at viewpoints then set the GPS for Shrewsbury. The GPS now took us over the highest pass in the district so I had good views but John had to concentrate so he didn’t hit the stone walls lining the narrow roads, do he didn’t see a lot. We did stop here for our last cache so he had a chance to see The Brothers Lake. This is a small lake with a sad history. Its name used to be Broad Water but apparently changed when two brothers drowned in the lake in the 19th century. Whilst ice skating on the lake in about 1875 two more brothers drowned. Dorothy Wordsworth referred to Brothers Water as "the glittering lively lake".

We then did a motorway run south to Shrewsbury. On the way I deleted some caches including some we had done but not yet logged. I filled in the next couple of hours sorting this out thanks to a helpful suggestion from John. Fortunately there was not much to see.

We then found we were in Wales as our trip took us through the part that protrudes into England. We arrived at Alison and Alan’s house at the right time. They are friends of Peter and Shelly Hulland who are new teachers at NGC. We had approached them about a house exchange which has turned into us staying in their house in October (while they are at their sons wedding in the USA) and we owing them a return stay sometime. Unfortunately we had just missed the Shrewsbury Flower Show, especially as we discovered that Alison had won first place for her hydrangeas. Alison’s mother, Audrey, was staying with them for the week and all three were extremely welcoming. We had welcome drinks then had a tour of house and garden.

The back garden is beside the River Severn and it looked lovely. There was a man fishing (it is a salmon stream) on the opposite shore and we were told we could also fish when we return but would need a license. Unfortunately the river has been more prone to flooding in the last 10 years so Alan has built in flood protection. He has a pump that removes water and we were shown how it works just in case. Most of the house is well above flood risk but all outdoor furniture is removed as winter approaches.

Alan had built the conservatory that we first sat in and it was a lovely spot, protected from the wind. He had also added on the garage area and later a third floor with 2 bedrooms, bathroom and balcony. Audrey was staying on this floor so we had another room but are to use this area when we return.

We had been offered a light meal but Alison’s definition is not the same as ours, because we had 3 courses. Not that we were complaining as it was lovely to have vegetables because this is something we miss on our travels.  We spent over an hour eating and chatting about travel, children, weddings, sports….

Alan and Alison are very keen (and successful) multi sportspeople and Alison is preparing for a swim in the river on Sunday. Alan had qualified for a Great British triathlon team but it is on at the time of his sons’ wedding so can’t take part. He was the area police chief and was in charge of many of the police training programs throughout the country. He also had a senior police role in Hong Kong for 2 years, so knew the city and China well. They had been to New Zealand and had enjoyed the Bert Munro display in Invercargill as well as a trip to Doubtful and Milford Sounds. We had to admit they were still on our ‘to do’ list. Alan suggested a trip into the centre of the town the next morning and to the countryside in the afternoon which sounded perfect.
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