Part 2 – England, Lake District

It’s been a busy, kind-of-stressful 2 days at work. Yesterday afternoon Gloria asked me what I do to de-stress. I told her sometimes I crank my music up loud (mind you, it’s not the typical crank-up-loud kind of music!) or watch a funny movie, or read, or take hot, relaxing bath. In this case I’m eating cereal for supper. Delicious, slightly stale, apple cinnamon cheerios. It’s good for a de-stress, de-constituting, de-composing, and whatever de-words might or might not apply.

So, let’s us present to you the next phase of The Trip – England, or at least a part of it. We only spent 7 days in England, but we got a lot seen! And left twice as much unseen.

We left Scotland on the train, and ended our journey in England at the small train stop in Gargrave.

It was cute little town and we pulled our luggage up the street and across the stone bridge, back and forth, to and fro, seeking our apartment.

The directions didn’t quite make sense but we eventually got ahold of the landlady and found it. It was in a row of apartments, 2 story, with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.

That wagon with the door hanging open was our chariot for a few days.

It wasn’t fancy but it was cozy. We had little grocery store within walking distance.


The view of the delightful little garden from our kitchen window.

This was my room, It was just big enough to hold a single bed and a little furniture but I was thankful for it, nonetheless! Pardon the unmade bed. I think we were leaving.

The owner couldn’t imagine why we would only stay three days when we had rented for a week. It was cheaper to rent cottages for a week so we did. We usually made supper after we got back from the day’s trekking. We often packed a lunch to take along. Yes, you did have to plan ahead but it saved much $, or rather pounds (where is that symbol?). Eating out for lunch could cost $10 American and up, and the evening meal was usually $20 and up.

I didn’t get any good pictures of the quaint town but here is a shot as we were leaving of it’s quaintness, including the quaint trash truck. There is a chance that they call it rubbish instead of trash or garbage. I can’t remember for sure. There are many things so quaint that they overuse the word a bit. Not that I would overuse it or anything.

After the first night in Gargrave, we caught a train back to Lancaster to pick up the rental car. We had come through there the night before but the car rental was not open on a Sunday. My sister was brave and did the driving. My uncle and aunt lent us their GPS, which was a lifesaver!!! I had planned to purchase one that had Europe maps as well as US but they offered the use of theirs. Leaving Lancaster, which thankfully was a small town, we giggled and lurched our way up the highway. You’re driving on the “wrong” side, sitting on the “wrong” side, and shifting gears on the “wrong” side. Wrong here being a relative term.

By the time we got to Windemere, in the Lake District, things were beginning to settle down a bit. I was riding shotgun and keeping Lois posted on the GPS directions, as well as reminding her to stay in the left lane. Plus deciphering their funny driving terms. Like “over-take” for “passing”, and ”give-way” for “yield”.

After attempting to eat lunch near the lovely lake, but the demanding swans who nearly plopped themselves in our lap, combined with threat of rain, chased us into our vehicle.

My sister said that was indeed the mood of the day.

And it’s a little hard to eat with an angry bird glaring at you. Not that making sandwiches and eating in the vehicle was that much less stressful. Yes, we are frugal. We freely admit it.

And then things got a bit dicey. We took a ferry and this was the warning: Use correct change or get dumped overboard.

Okay, so I might have slightly taken that out of context.

As I mentioned we were now in The Lake District National Park and need I say it’s gorgeous??? If you’ve seen or read Pride and Prejudice you might remember that Elizabeth was going to go with her aunt and uncle to the Lakes and due to something (memory is shot) they toured the Peaks (I think) instead which was closer to home and of course made the stop at Pemberly.


Our next stop was the Hilltop, the home of Beatrix Potter. But a mile or so before we got there, was this:


They have lots of sheep in England, too. (see previous post about Scotland.) Of course, you already knew that’s so let’s move along.

But not before we take a look a little lambie-wambie.

It’s good there was such sweet thoughts to share with you because here the story turns very, very sad. As a photographer it is a most frustrating thing to do to oneself. I purposely deleted a bunch of picture, actually almost all of the Lake District pictures, off of my memory card because I thought I had downloaded them already. I tried to download every evening but apparently that one evening I forgot. And I forgot to take an extra card along for the day. And I was shooting in RAW a lot which takes up mega bytes. Get the pun? har har. So I thoughtless through away some gorgeous scenery and I could’ve about cried when I figured it out. By that time I had used the card several times and I didn’t even know which card they had been on and and the attempts from 3 different recovery programs didn’t help so I chalked it up to a painful lesson.

These next few pictures are not mine. Beatrix Potter’s House:

Some of her house is included in her illustrations. See her little entry way up there ^. And click this link: Tom Kitten. See the little roof?

The house is set up as if she would still live there. Unfortunately they don’t allow photography indoors. 🙁 It was worth the stop, we thought.

More of the Lake District which I did not take:

Yes, the roads are really narrow. And many of them are lined with rock fences/walls so there were times I was leaning into the car to keep from getting “scratched.” You can read Carolyn’s take on this including some quotes HERE.

This photo ^ does not do justice to the beauty of that spot. The photo also brings to mind a funny story. We had stopped to take pictures and just enjoy the view. Ruby and I were on a little bridge there on the right, looking this direction. A few sheep were closeby and I called out, “here sheepie, sheepie, sheepie.” Then tried to “Baaaa,” which was baa-aa-aad sounding at best. Ruby said, “Meow!” And we both burst out laughing and sheep ran far, far away.

We stopped in Keswick to have tea and dessert at a little restaurant, and to give Lois a break from the tight driving. Keswick is actually pronounced Kezzick.


Yorkshire Dales and James Herriot’s Museum coming up next.


Meanwhile, here are a few pictures taken from a moving train or car, which have no significance other than English countryside.


Part 1 – Scotland

Marylou, let’s go ahead and bite the bullet and get this started. Okay, it’s not that I don’t want to blog about this trip. I actually really, really do! I’m just far too OCD to do it half-heartedly and not have all the pictures shining and polished and ready for blogging. I only took thirty-‘leven hundred pictures and I can’t possibly put them all up, for my sake and yours!! By the time this is done you’ll probably wish I had weeded even more out!!

We had done a little research on Scotland and besides the iconic movies like Braveheart, which I haven’t actually seen, and the iconic tartans and bagpipes and Highlands, we still weren’t sure what to expect in modern-day Scotland. Or what part of Scottish history actually really grabbed us. We did watch a documentary on the real Braveheart (William Wallace) story, which I understand is quite a bit different from the movie.

We actually never went through customs going to the UK. We flew through Dublin and we were routed through the airport to a connecting flight. We flew a domestic flight from Ireland to Scotland so coming into Glasgow, we picked up our luggage and looked around for our host. After a few phone calls we finally found him waiting for us in the international terminal. Carolyn had flown in separately from the rest of us so she was there already.

We stayed with the “K” Family, Ruby being the only one from our group who had known them before. The were most gracious hosts and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them and their family. They chuckled at our list of things to see in Scotland, thinking that we needed more like 2 or 3 weeks to see it all, not the 5 days we had scheduled.

On the way from the airport Adam got a chuckle out of us desperately trying to get pictures of sheep/countryside. They live on a farm with 3,000 +/- sheep and he assured us we would have plenty of chances to get pictures of them. After seeing my post about the sheep, you can see why we were funny!!

{the farm buildings near their house}

{yes, there were sheep!}

{but if I hadn’t already been shooting from the airport, I wouldn’t have gotten some shots like this ^^. happy That yellow stuff on the hillside is gorse, a scrubby bush. Maybe I mentioned that earlier??}

They did an excellent job of educating us on Scottish history and customs. They probably got tired of our questions but if they did, we sure didn’t find out! 🙂 Marta’s mother lives with them and she (through one of them interpreting) told us quite a few stories of being a young adult in Poland as the Nazis took over.

We enjoyed beautiful music ….

One day Marta and her daughters took us to Culross, a small town on the Firth of Forth. And if you’re like me, you probably don’t know what a Firth or a Forth is in Scotland. Well, a firth is a mouth of a river and Forth, in this case, is a river. Firth of Forth. So much fun to say!! I can’t remember the dates of the beginnings of this old town. The Abbey was founded in 1217. We climbed the ruins of the abbey and then spent sometime in the old church.

The streets of the town were really, really narrow.

Talk about a one-lane street, but not one-way.


There were many lovely details to enjoy.


So much of our sight-seeing was driving past the small details in order to get as many sights seen as possible.

The William Wallace monument:

Stirling Castle, another home of Mary, Queen of Scots. We didn’t get to tour it due to time but it would’ve been one of the things we would’ve done had there been more time. I believe it’s a bit more interactive than the Edinborough castle.



One evening we went along to feed the chickens at the farm where the Ks had moved from just a few weeks prior to our visit. Okay, they fed the chickens, we just went along. 🙂 We did get the see the back of the castle they had lived in.

Some of the chickens belong to the children and they sell the eggs.

One day we took the train to Edinborough. We toured the Edinborough castle. It was a gray, cold, misty day, which quite a few of the days in Scotland ended up being. In fact, the one morning we woke up and there was snow on the tips of the hills north of the farm.

We made good use of our layers of clothes we took along and were glad we had packed at least some warm clothes. It was unusually cool for May and the farmers were having to feed hay to their sheep because the grass wasn’t growing very much yet.


The great room where parties/meals were eaten.


City scenes from the castle walls.

We also visited a tartan factory. If you have any Scottish background, you could have them look up your crest and tartan pattern. I’m afraid I don’t have any Scottish blood that I know of.

The loom area was very noisy. That is an understatement.

The Royal Mile has many things to see and do if you’re a tourist. The castle is located at the one end. And there are many shops, restaurants,  & old buildings to tour along this street. We also stopped in at St. Giles Cathedral.


This “ante-chapel”  is a room off to the side and was only for the knights. Each knight (Order of the Thistle) had their own little booth, although I’m sure that’s an irreverent term. It wasn’t quite a throne. But it was very ornate. Each one was topped by a specific family crests and helms. Okay, their website calls them stalls. That sounds even more irreverant. happy It was fairly full of people so I just shot UP and this what you see. Look at that wood ceiling!!


One day we went up into the Highlands. I’ve read about the Highlands in various books but somehow it was quite different from what I was expecting. Remote. Sparsely populated. Rugged. Beautiful. And we only saw the southern part of it. I would love to go back someday and tour further north. Please note that at the end of each country I blog about I will say, “I would love to go back and see …. ” There was so much we left unseen. And yet, at the end of 4 weeks we were nearly overwhelmed with having seen so many things!!

Our navigator. Notice the absence of steering wheel. It’s on the other side. I’m not sure how often we went for the driver’s side to get in. happy

We hiked in the Glencoe area, near where a terrible massacre had taken place in the late 1600s.

The hike was far from strenuous but for some reason I felt maxed out. At one point when we turned around, we stopped to rest. My legs felt like jelly. Mrs. K pulled out refreshments, as she called them, to snack on. I have a new appreciation for the word refreshment now. After resting for a bit and snacking on fruit, nuts, and other nutritious things, I walked the whole way back without a shiver or shake.

She had taken chili along and camp stove, and after our hike was over, we ate a hot chili supper. Delicious and timely! It doesn’t look as cold here as it actually was!

We went to a visitor’s center, which interesting. Here is a view from there.

As I was walking around outside I felt something biting me. Our hosts had referred to “midges” as bugs that can make camping miserable. Well, lo and behold, they are the same little bugs we have in the marshy southeast coast, sand gnats, or “no-see-ums” as we call them.

Our last day in Scotland was on a Sunday. We went to church with the K family and were warmly welcomed! I didn’t take any pictures but wish I could’ve taken some video discreetly. We were told they love to sing and we were totally blown away with the gusto they put into singing!!! Nearly raised the roof. We were asked to sing 2 songs and since all 4 of us LOVE to sing as well, we were quite willing. Later one of the men gave Carolyn some money in appreciation and “to buy coffee sometime.”

It was lovely way to end our visit. After a quick meal at the church with the family, we caught the train to head to England. One of the church men was headed the same was us for the first leg, so we were able to chat with him a bit and he helped us to know which station to change trains at in Edinborough.

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Sometimes I Feel Like a Mom

And before you moms start snickering at me, let me explain.

And before I explain let me disclaim. I am not trying to complain. I love my job. I am very, very thankful to have my job. I am thankful to have wonderful people to work with and for. My employers strive for excellence. And integrity. And other good things.

But like a mom, I get weary of the many little things that are repetitive and the result of working around other human beings.

I’m supposed to be coming up with a list of the day-to-day things I do but I’m not getting it done very fast. I know what has to be done by the 1st, the 10th, the EOM (end of month), quarterly, annually and all of those things. But just as you get to the end of the day and can’t remember every little thing you did, neither can I.

A year and a half ago we moved into a new building. The office space is about 6 times bigger. There is an increased traffic of about 500%. I’m not exaggerating. I am a phleg/melancholy and we never exaggerate  We are OCD about detail. happy (Okay, so maybe sometimes we exaggerate but not right now.) Now when you enter my office you can walk about freely without being in anyone’s space. Hence, it becomes a better place for subcontractors, salesmen, customers, family members, people looking for employment, people looking for the office supply store that used to be there, etc. to drop in.

Let me take a few minutes to show you the new digs. These pictures were taken at open house last summer. Since it was nicely tidied up, for a change. Sound familiar? winky

My desk area:

I actually giggled right after the cabinets were installed when I saw how much space I had! It looked smaller on paper, for some reason. But believe it or not, there are times when the surface seems covered with paperwork.


Some of the other offices.


The conference room:


I told them if they build me a kitchen I will cook for them, so the kitchen is a high-traffic area. Not that I cook that often, but there always food or drink to be had.

Cleaning time is 500% what the previous place was, due to increased traffic, Banana Muffin crumbs leading out of the kitchen, traces of powdered sugar on the floor from the Sweet Sixteen donuts, drips on the wall from where the soda can didn’t quite make it into recycle bin accurately, empty pitchers in the fridge because why I don’t know, greasy fingerprints on the chairs in the conference room which doubles as staff meeting room and lunch room.Then there are other things to keep life interesting, like open cabinet doors from a youngster who had to climb up on the chair to reach the cabinet and it’s hard to close the door without pushing yourself off of the cabinet, mopping the bathroom floor every other day, shaking your head in consternation because the kitchen towels are getting stained because someone is washing dirty hands there instead of the bathroom, trying to find time when no one is around to mop the floor so it can dry so it won’t get tracked up.

But anyway, you get the picture. So, if you are a stay-at-home mom and you think it must be nice to be able to leave the house every day and have a job/career, this is a reminder that every job has it’s less-than-rosy aspects.

But thankfully there are things that balance it out. Times of chatting with the rest of the employees every weekly meeting over a snack, chuckling at the cute things my co-worker’s daughter says as she entertains me, laughing over inside jokes that no one else would get, having another lady working in the building, extolling the virtues of Droid vs iphones with my boss’ son, hearing the co-workers delight in the food I make for them.

So now I’ll go bake some cookies to take along tomorrow. That way I’ll have something to do. Like sweeping up crumbs.