Chilly in England

Trip Start Mar 29, 1999
Trip End Jun 18, 1999

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Thursday, April 1, 1999

I am developing quite a nasty cold - sore throat, sneezing, sore ears, headache. Must be the weather. After another big breakfast I came into town and had another wander around some places I hadn't seen yet, including the library and the PCC (which I had hoped might be the Peterborough Cricket Club but was in fact the Peterborough City Council, or the Passport Control Centre, or something equally boring).

Peterborough is full of place/street names that end in 'gate': Queensgate, Eastgate, Westgate, Priestgate, Watergate, Churchgate and even Cowgate. It sounds like Peterborough is the scene of a lot of scandals, but I had to think what 'Cowgate' entailed . . .

Caught the bus to Stamford, an old town that is the scene of the filming of dreary old costume dramas like 'Middlemarch', but more importantly is the home of Burghley House. BH was named after William Cecil, AKA Lord Burghley, the Principal Secretary of Queen Elizabeth I. BH was completed in 1587 and is a huge place. The tour took 90 minutes and went through the first floor of the building. It is outrageously opulent and contains a hotchpotch of decorating styles from 400 years of occupancy. Huge Elizabethan and Victorian wall and ceiling paintings, tapestries, oriental porcelain and over 400 paintings, etc. Incredible amounts of money have been spent by the various members of the Cecil family over the years and it was an enjoyable tour (despite another bloody kid screaming his head off).

I wandered through the enormous BH grounds back to Stamford with a heavy cold now in full effect. I hung around at the bus station for a while before realising that the last bus had left half an hour before, so I trudged down to the train station. The train was 40 minutes late and I was down to my last tissue when it arrived. I got on and found a seat and waited for the conductor to come and sell me a ticket. He didn't and I got off at Peterborough without having paid. Apparently 'ticket dodging' (which I had just performed) carries an automatic fine of 10 pounds or more. Finally got back to the Cobwebs where I curled up in bed and tried to wear out my cold.
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