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John returned from his Monday morning forum with some interesting facts about Big Ben. Did you know that Big Ben is actually the name of the bell and not the clock? Originally, the bell was cast in the Norton Iron Works in Norton, England (about 20 miles from Guisborough) around the 1860"s. When done, the designer of the clock tower decided to test the bell's tolerance and kept hitting it with increasingly heavier hammers. You can guess what happened. The bell cracked. This time they went to the White Chapel Foundry in London to create a new bell. Once it was finished, they used a hammer again to test it and guess what happened this time? The bell cracked again! So, they brought it up the tower, hung it there and to this day there is a crack in the bell.
Various companies were on the same site of the Norton Foundry. One of them was called the Norwegian Titanic Company. Guess what a titanic is? We tend to think of the ship but it's actually a mixture of titanium and iron that originated from Norway. The company made armor-plating which was used to cover the titanic - hence the name.
We have been having some incredible weather. Today,(Tuesday) John and I walked into town. I was bundled with heavy gloves, a turtle-neck and a wool sweater. I even put my earmuffs in my backpack. It must have been at least 60! off came the gloves, the coat unzipped. I think it was warmer than it was the whole time I was here last summer!
There is a group that walks on Tuesday mornings and then they gather for tea and sweets at one of the walker's home. Most of the people are the same women who are part of the Friday morning group but this time, men are part of the group. We sat around discussing American politics. I love getting the perspective from people who live outside the United States. They all are very well read on the subject and are following our process.
Wednesday evening John and I joined our neighbors for a delightful evening at Gisborough Hall. The hall is part of Lord Gisborough's estate and the main building is now a hotel and spa. Lord Gisborough lives in a converted stable on the grounds. He is the third baron and his family owned most of the land where Guisborough now stands. He is a member of the Chaloner family - in 1550 the family bought the priory which was part of the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry the eighth. They bought it for the grand sum of 998 pounds. They bought almost all the land around here for less than 1,000 pounds.
You will notice the family spells its name without a "u." But, we don't seem to be able to find out why the town has a "u" and the Lord doesn't.
The evening entertainment was a benefit for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and represented lots of local "talent." Lord Gisborough himself was there and presented songs and stories which were hysterical! The Lord is in his mid-eighties and full of energy, with a marvelous sense of humor. He sang a song about a hippopotamus which everyone knew and sang along. The whole event was so different from anything I've ever attended in America and I loved it!! We were entertained before the show by local high school band and they did a nice job. We felt the most talented person was a teen-aged boy who not only sang with the group but also did several solo numbers playing guitar. He had a fabulous voice. What we found unusual was he played Simon and Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair as well as some James Taylor and Bob Dillon. Who would have thought someone that age was interested in this type of music.
Another Thursday Walk:
We walked for over five miles today climbing up and down the moors, crossing ravines, with a goal of reaching an obelisk memorializing Captain Cook.
This week, Peter's wife, Liz, and his son Andrew met us at the end of our walk at the Royal Oak Pub in downtown Great Ayton.. Once again, the reward of the effort is a great meal in a charming setting.