March 26 - March 30 I visited Northern England yet again... specifically Hull an the home of John and Ann. I got in touch with them months ago through a mutual friend back in Phoenix - Barb. They are so lovely and it was an amazing weekend.
I made the journey by train all by myself and always feel so empowered doing things like that all on my own. I even got to finish my book The Eyre Affair - VERY good and entertaining!! I made it to Hull by 2:30pm where John and Ann met me at the station. We then headed to their house and had some lunch and a very relaxing afternoon of chatting and then some more reading (I started "The Constant Princess" by Phillipa Gregory - the author of "The Other Boleyn Girl"). They had invited friends over for dinner and it was so lovely to just sit back and enjoy their conversation. We also had the most delicious food! Ann is an INCREDIBLE cook and they even had a cheese course before dessert - very French - and you know me and cheese!
They house was so lovely and I instantly felt right at home. I especially appreciated the queen sized bed and down comforter and the bathroom which had the shower, sink, AND toilet all in the same room!
The second day I was there we went to Whitby up on the Northern coast of England. The drive was spectacular and I enjoyed every moment of the beautiful scenery, the moors, and the north sea. It even rained a little which was lovely because I really like driving in the rain! (It did luckily stop raining when we got to Whitby - because I love driving in it, not walking in it. Here is one of the pics from the beautiful drive.
We arrived at Whitby around lunch time and John and Ann insisted we eat at the Magpie... apparently people come from across the nation for their fish and chips and since I had not partook in the English traditional meal since January, I was excited! Without fail there was a line in front of the restaurant to get in.
After the delicious lunch (where I also discovered my new favorite cider here - Woodpecker) we walked around the town of Whitby. This town is known for many things one of which is James Cook, who discovered Australia. You can see the ship in the harbor as a symbol of him.
And a big whale bone...
The North Sea
Whitby also should sound familiar to you Bram Stoker fans because it is mentioned in Dracula... Whitby Abbey is mentioned in the story. It is very nice if you like ruins... which you ALL know I do.
Whitby needless to say was sunny and beautiful! It wasn't very warm and in fact dangerously windy, but it was SO nice.
Another thing Whitby is known for is Jet... the black stone (where the saying "Jet Black" comes from). The stone came into popularity when Queen Victoria became a widow... she only wore black jewelry. I was admiring all the necklaces in the windows of the shop and before I know it Ann walks up to me with a box that had a beautiful necklace in it!!! I was so touched!!
The rest of the day was pretty lazy, a delicious dinner and then bed.
Saturday morning was a tour of Hull in mostly the wind and rain. Hull is a very lovely town with old buildings and town squares and all the wonderfulness! They are a port town on the River Hull (the City's full name is Kingston Upon Hull).
Hull is also unique in that it is not apart of the England phone service and therefore does not have the iconic red phone booths... instead it has cream phone booths
More beautiful buildings
This is a room in the "Ye Ol' Whitey Heart" where the British Civil War began. It is called the Plotting room
Then John and Ann's son and his girlfriend came a stayed the night. We went to a wonderful pub in the countryside north of Beverly where I had delicious duck legs (I seriously had the best food this weekend). We drove around for a while, tried to stop in Beverly but it was too cold and windy to walk around and the church was closed that Ann wanted to take us to, so we just drove back to the house and hung out.
On Sunday I went with John and Ann to church and then to tour more of Hull. One of Hull's favorite son's is William Wilberforce who fought for the end of Slavery in britain... the movie Amazing Grace is about him.
The museum was very powerful and was all about the history of Slavery in Britain and how awful it was.
Next door to the Wilberforce house was the transport museum which has old antique vehicles, carriages, trains, and bikes. It was a fun museum with lots of cool stuff to climb all over.
Outside the museum was a beautiful garden dedicated to Ghandi... no idea why, he really has little to do with Hull, but the sun was shining and it was actually warm and I got 20 blissful minutes of sitting feeling the warmth on my cheeks while John and Ann went into the gift shop. It was heavenly feeling to actually feel my skin get some color.
The rest of the day I just got to sit and relax and chat with Ann... she does local theater and she told me all about the pantomimes she has acted in, directed, and written. It was so lovely getting to talk with her.
Monday I left to come back to school. I felt fully refreshed and relaxed from my weekend!!
Thanks John and Ann for taking care of me... you will never know how much it meant to me to feel so comfortable and welcome in your home!! A picture of me with John, Ann, and their son's girlfriend Tracy.