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Victor's and Barbara's Travel Diaries

UK Flag    England in 1999          

We arrived in London on the evening of Monday 5th April and stayed near Hyde Park, where the tulips and spring flowers were Buckingham Palace absolutely magnificent. We drove up the M1 to Penistone in South Yorkshire, where we stayed in a beery pub, but the spacious bedroom upstairs was perfectly fine. Then to impressive solid Victorian architecture at Huddersfield, dark satanic mills at Halifax, across misty Keighly Moor to Skipton with its solid and pictureKirby Malham Church & Gomersall tombstonesque castle. We stayed in the photogenic village of Gargrave, and the next day saw gravestones of Gomersall ancestors at Kirby Malham Church. We drove across the Penine Hills and down through ugly industrial South Lancashire into beautiful Shropshire, where we stayed with Victor's cousin Rosemary in Lyth Hill. Rosemary and Fred live in a delightful enlarged cottage perched on the edge of a hill overlooking a spectacular panorama of the Shrophire countryside.Rosemary and Fred's cottage at Lyth Hill, ShrophireThen we stayed with Victor's Aunty Stella in Shrewsbury, and enjoyed a lovely walk with her, Uncle Peter, Wendy and Bryan, by the River Avon, in the Park and through the Dingle, full of spring flowers. Then we drove to Coventry and contacted Barbara's cousin Ken Sedgley. We stayed in a B&B then the next day toured Coventry with Ken and Janet. Barbara saw her old school, her house, the woods in which she played, and the steam into which she fell one icy day many years ago. Barbara's childhood house in CoventryWe also saw Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom! We drove toward London and stayed at Stowe Hill, Weedon, on a cold and frosty night. Our windscreen was covered in ice the following morning. On 14th April we made our way to Highgate, North London, returned the hire car, took the Underground to Victoria station, then a train to Dover, then the ferry over the English Channel to Calais to pick up our hire car 'Cleo'.  We toured France and Spain for the next 3 weeks. On the 5th May, we parted with 'Cleo' at Hertz in Calais, and boarded the ferry to Dover.   

We stayed 2 nights in Dover at the Tower House B&B, and started a few tentative job enquiries via e-mail at South Kent College. Then to Canterbury, where we stayed a week at Ebury Hotel, in a 2-bedroom bungalow in the grounds, and we enjoyed their heated pool and spa. Canterbury Cathedral is fabulous, we heard a Swedish choir singing in the knave there, and we lit a candle in the crypt for Cindy. Canterbury town is very interesting also. We hired a car for 2 days and toured to Leeds Castle, the best preserved and continuously lived-in castle we saw on our whole trip. Leeds Castle, Kent, EnglandKent's country lanes are simply exquisite. We also went to Sevenoaks and saw Knowle Park and its deer, we visited the village of Kemsing and saw the house where Victor lived from 1973 to 1976, and we took a delightful walk up through the North Downs. On 14th May we rented a car for one day to drive to Stanstead Airport, and we stayed overnight at a nice village B&B in Wareside, and dined on chicken in a basket and French wine at a village pub "The Chequers Inn". On 15th May we flew to Frankfurt, where we hired a Volkswagen Golf to tour  Germany, Austria, Northern Italy, Switzerland and France for the next 3 weeks. On 4th June we returned our Golf to Frankfurt airport and flew to Stanstead, UK.    

Back in England, we hired a Ford Fiesta and drove to Bishops Stortford where we booked an 11 day trip back to Austria on 19th June. We had trouble finding a hotel, and so after this we used a mobile phone 'Talking Pages" service to locate and book ahead whilst roaming in England. We visited the Cotwolds, and Stratford on Avon, in pouring rain. Dining in the Garrick Inn, Stratford Upon Avon, EnglandWe stayed in Stratford, slept in a four-poster (but with about 1 foot clearance to the walls all around!). We dined at the ancient Garret Inn. The next day the sun came out, and we really enjoyed the Cotswold village of Iling. Cotswold Cottages at Illing, EnglandWe drove up via Evesham (rain) , then to Sedgley near Warwick, in search of Barbara's ancestors. Unable to find any family tombstones in Sedgley Church, we went north to Sandbach in Cheshire, and stayed at a B&B beside the canal, in a pretty, countrified and unspoilt spot. Then we went to Preston, Lancashire, and visited the house in Hutton were Victor lived as a boy from 1954 to 1962, and his school, Hutton Grammar School. Hutton Grammar School, EnglandHere the Deputy Headmaster Mr. McNeil, and Parent Committee chairman Howard Atkin very kindly showed Barbara and Victor all over the school and described its current status and recent successes both academic and sporting. We then went to Blackpool, seaside holiday haunt of Barbara's childhood, and walked alongside the donkeys along Blackpool beach in wonderful sunshine. Blackpool and its Tower, from the Pier, EnglandWe then drove up to Keswick in the Lake District and stayed at a B&B "Glaramara". The next day we drove around Derwentwater, climbed Cat Bells, and visited Buttermere, Crummond water, Bassenthwaite, Grasmere, Rydalmere and Windermere. We left the Lakes for the Lincolnshire seaside town of Skegness, a fairly unattractive place but educational for us none-the less. On 10th June we left our Fiesta at Stanstead and flew to Sweden with Ryan Air.  Then on Thursday 17th June we left Sweden and flew back to Stanstead, UK.

Again briefly in UK, we travelled by bus to a B&B at Smallfield, near Gatwick Airport, for 2 nights. We walked around the pretty countryside despite the incessant noise of aircraft right overhead. We had a misadventure with 22 young bulls when we beat a hasty retreat over a style out of that field. On Saturday 19th June we flew from Gatwick to Salzburg in Austria, to spend 10 days at Zell-Am-See. On 30th June we flew to Gatwick, UK.

We drove to Bournemouth, and stayed at a B&B overlooking "The Needles" on the Isle of Wight. We experienced a typical British seaside atmosphere, the pier, the prom, fish and chips, the lot! We then continued west to a lovely farm B&B near Teignmouth in Devon, where the farmer proudly offered us his home made cider, and we joined him and his wife for a dinner of game pie at the local pub. In drizzly weather we toured Devon, visiting Torquay and then Totnes, and near there we stayed at another farm B&B, this one with a large dairy herd. We saw Dartmoor and its famous wild ponies, and Widicombe village as celebrated in the folk song. Then we drove via Launceston to Boscastle Cornwall, where we stayed at yet another beautiful farm B&B. Boscastle Harbour, Cornwall, EnglandThe harbour and chalky cliffs at Boscastle were straight out of a picture book, magic! Then we visited Tintagel, allegedly King Arthur's seat, then drove out of Cornwall along the north coast, visited picturesque Clovelly, had a picnic lunch at Bude, which is an English "surfing' beach We stayed at a B&B at South Moulton in Somerset. We then headed north leaving rain in Somerset for sunny warmer weather as we reached Shropshire. We stayed at a nice B&B at Carding Mill Valley, right on the edge of the Long Mynd, in Church Stretton. Here we climbed the Mynd for lovely views over this pretty region. We then re-visited Victor's Auntie Stella in Shrewsbury for a wonderful lunch, then we once again stayed with Victor's cousin Rosemary at Lyth Hill. Rosemary and Fred organised a BBQ in their garden, where we met some of their friends. We shopped in Shrewsbury and after a quiet afternoon, had dinner with Rosemary and Fred at a nice pub down a country lane behind Lyth Hill. On Friday 9th July we went via Watford (picking up luggage from Carole's parents' house) to Cambridge, where we enjoyed a fantastic long weekend at St.John's College. Barbara punting along River Cam, Cambridge, England.We punted along the Cam, met Anthony Dove, Victor's room mate from 1964, had tea in the Master's garden, attended choral evensong in the chapel, and a magnificent dinner in hall. On Sunday in Chapel the choir and Orchestra sang Mozart's Coronation Mass. Bridge of Sighs, St John's College, cambridge, England.We left Cambridge after lunch in hall, and suffered a terribly slow drive to London, 4 hours to Hillingdon near Heathrow. On Monday 12th July we flew from Heathrow back to Australia, and we arrived home in Drysdale on Tuesday 14th July.