|The labeled rock told us we were entering England. The reverse side said Scotland. I was sorry to leave Scotland; there was still so much yet to discover. Maybe a year on the road wouldn't be long enough?|
|A photo of LandShark at the Herding Hill Farm. There was a children's play area right behind the RV and there were two donkeys and a number of rabbits, alpacas and guinea pigs to amuse Sarah.|
The wall stretches across the north of England from Ravenglass in the west, through Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport to Bowness-on-Solway, Carlisle, Hexham and through Newcastle upon Tyne, Wallsend and South Shields in the east. The plan was to have one milecastle (small fort to hold about a dozen men) every Roman mile (a little less than our "mile") so that there would be about 80 milecastles coast to coast.
One of the better places to see the wall is at Housesteads Roman Fort, which is an English Heritage site (got to use that membership again). Much of the foundation of the Housesteads Fort (built around the same time as Hadrian's Wall) remains and so it is quite fascinating to wander about to the different sections.
Once we sorted out our admission to the site, we started walking up the footpath to the Housesteads Museum and Fort. We brought Molly with us, since this would largely be an outdoor excursion. While walking up the hill, I stayed back trying to get a good shot of everyone with the Museum, Hadrian's Wall and the sheep dotting the hills in the background. I observed, with amusement, that Molly realized there was no barrier between her and the grazing sheep and she was tugging at the leash to go after them. The next thing I knew, Molly tugged the leash right out of Paul's hand and took off like a shot. She looked like a hare leaping through the grass, with the pink leash handle bouncing on the ground behind her. Paul ran after Molly calling Molly's name but the wind was blowing hard towards us so Molly probably heard nothing, or her instincts to herd sheep had overwhelmed her. Either way, she wasn't showing any sign of stopping. I half doubled over in laughter and half worried, "How will this end?"
|This was the "before herding" photo as I walked behind Paul, James, Sarah, Vince and Molly, trying to get a good shot of them and the landscape.|
|The kids could dress up as Roman soldiers in the Museum. Paul and James haven't outgrown their interest in pursuing that opportunity. Paul also tried to show Sarah how to fight with swords, at which time I had to intervene.|
|A well-preserved section of Hadrian's Wall.|
|A view of barrack walls. Eight soldiers lived in each barrack room. If you were lucky enough to live in the Commandant's House, you would have had heated floors.|
|The kids hanging out at the granary: The stone posts held up a wooden floor which had air holes; the walls also had air holes which, together with the holes in the floor boards, encouraged air circulation and reduced spoilage.|
|Sarah and James walking along the exterior wall of the fort towards the west gate, overlooking beautiful countryside.|
|A view looking at the pretty pastures from where the ovens used to be located near the east gate.|
|The Roman Army Museum provides lots of details about daily life of a Roman soldier out at the Wall.|
At Beamish, there are four areas to explore: Colliery Village, the Town, Pockerley Manor/Waggonway and the Home Farm. Visitors are shuttled around on a variety of vintage trams and buses. Our first stop was the Town which dates around 1913.
|A view of the Town streetscape.|
|A few items on the shelves in the town hardware store; I think one can still buy Sunlight soap in Canada. Of course back then, most things were displayed behind counters and glass cases.|
|First water, sugar and syrup are heated to a hot temperature. Then the mixture is poured onto a metal work surface to cool; colouring and flavouring is added during this initial cooling stage.|
|Once the mixture has cooled (to a still very warm temperature), corn starch is added so that the candy maker can knead the candy (without it sticking to him) and to remove large air bubbles.|
|The mixture is cut in half and half the candy is pulled on a hook. Pulling the candy put strands of air back into it, changing the colour from a dark green to a glowing, luminescent green.|
|The luminescent half is placed on the dark green half and then is cut into about 8 smaller sections. Each section is rolled through the candy press which gives the individual candies their shape.|
|Once the eighth section has gone through the press, the candy maker takes the first section, which would be at room temperature and brittle, and knocks it against the table. The candies break off into their individual pieces.|
|This photo shows the different shapes into which candies can be made.|
|I remember getting 4.5% interest on my savings account, and it wasn't as far back as 1913.|
|A view of Colliery Village from the tram.|
|Beamish is a popular destination for school field trips. Here a class, which got to wear traditional clothing of the day, is boarding a ca 1910 double-decker bus, heading for another destination.|
After visiting the school, chapel and community hall, we stopped for an order of Davy's Coal Fired Fish & Chips. We bought an order for the four of us and that was about right. It was delicious but one needs to be restrained if one is to get through England still fitting into the same clothes. Sarah asked for ketchup with the fries but they told her it was banned in England. It was banned from England for several years because it contained sodium benzoate (as a preservative), which was thought to be poisonous. (It's still banned in the EU but not in the US, interestingly enough).
|The US South doesn't own the market to a fast track to a coronary attack. One has to watch it with all this English deep fried goodness.|
|Touring the mine was the first time I had to wear a hard hat where I was really glad I did.|
|It was not unusual for entire families to work together down in the mine. The machine pictured here was used to drill holes in the mine wall, where dynamite would be placed.|
|There were many modes of transportation at Beamish.|
|We enjoyed the double-decker tram.|
|There were only two rides at the fair, a carousel and this manually operated swing ride. Each rider would pull their rope in turn and the swing would rock back and forth. It was a great ride; am not sure why it disappeared over time.|
|You couldn't buy tomatoe ketchup here but you could by mushroom ketchup which was England's attempt at a substitute; it didn't take off. HP Sauce was also available.|
|Pockerley Manor is an 1820s house.|
|This photo shows the engineer standing beside the very small engine.|
|The ride is brief (about 200 yards up the tracks and back) but enough to get a feel for early (uncomfortable) train travel.|
|A view of the countryside from the train.|
On October 10th, we headed out for our next destination, the Sheriff Hutton Camping and Caravanning Club Site, a few miles outside of York. The kids all drove with Vincent and I was solo in the Prius. Time went by quickly listening to Bill Maher, the CBC Comedy Factory and BBC Radio (talk about contrasts). I arrived before Vince and settled the £47.85 bill for 3 nights. Once Vince and the kids arrived, no one had any motivation to leave the campground, so kids did homework and rotated the computer for games, while I worked on the blog and Vince did some on-line research.
|Our pitch at Sheriff Hutton.|
|We went through a section showing toys from the 1900s. Sarah checked out the dress up clothes...|
|...while Paul and James monopolized the Atari Pong game from 1974.|
|We walked through kitchens of various eras. This was a 1980s kitchen. There's something a bit disturbing when one is viewing historical displays that contain items that are newer than what you have in your own kitchen...|
|The drop door can be seen at the top of this photo. Unfortunately, people who were hanged didn't get to be buried in a coffin; I won't elaborate on their disposal.|
Immediately following the dark and depressing prison section, one enters into a 1960s street. (Talk about a jarring contrast!) It covers the Beatles, 60's fashion, the women's equality movement, evolving tv culture and so on.
|I think Sarah would have fit in well with the '60s.|
|Just leaving the 60s section, the kids got to try the hula hoop. None of them got it, but I still could show them how it's done. Vince got the shot on his camera of me mastering the hula hoop, so you'll have to take my word for it.|
|Silly picture of the kids but it kind of works.|
|There isn't much to see inside Clifford's Tower and, unless you have an English Heritage membership, it's not really worth the expense of going in. It does provide great views of York however.|
|We walked by PoundWorld, the UK's answer to North America's Dollar Store.|
|And we walked by St Martin le Grand, a church dating back to at least the 11th century.|
|We had a perfect window table at Betty's, right at the corner of the building with a nice view of the pedestrian zone.|
|I tried to get a photo of our crowded and heavy-laden table before food disappeared.|
|The York Cold War Bunker is now surrounded by a modern housing complex.|
|The Bunker's Operations Room: It, and other parts of the bunker, was painted certain colours to help people avoid depression and panic attacks while being locked up for so long.|
|"Audrey", the 1974 computer that could detect where a nuclear bomb exploded: It was so sensitive, that it also would report the targets of lightning storms.|
|This protest poster featured Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. The Cold War escalated during Reagan's presidency because of his introduction of the Strategic Defense Initiative, also known as Star Wars.|
|We highly recommend attending a service at York Minster.|
|The historic center of York is charming. I really wish we had more time to spend here or had more motivation to make better use of our time. Need to bookmark York for a return visit.|
James was my co-pilot and we arrived at Signature Motor Homes just in advance of Vince. We found out that Vince had another stressful moment with LandShark en route. He took a wrong road, which turned out to be a service road to the M1 toll road, and had to turn around. For any car, it would be a 3 point turn effort but with LandShark, it was a 7 point turn (at least). At mid point, and exactly perpendicular to the service road, the rear wheels got stuck in the shoulder gravel. LandShark was blocking all traffic and no vehicle would be able to pass. It was Paul who came up with the suggestion to lower the RV's levelers (jacks) which would raise the RV up; then Paul and Vince could put rocks and other materials under the rear wheels so that the RV could get some traction. The idea worked and they got out of that fine mess rather quickly. Just another problem solving opportunity that we've provided the kids...
That evening, we were allowed to park and stay over within Signature's locked gates so that they could start the repair work first thing in the morning.
|Molly and Sarah looking out the window of LandShark at Signature Motor Homes.|
|By 9:00am, Signature Motor Homes was already trouble shooting the electrical problem.|
|While I (unsuccessfully) tried on jackets, the kids found refuge in the book section.|
|Paul didn't want to wait for Vince to unlock the gate. He thought he could break in. Turns out he's not much of a cat burglar as he got stuck. Nothing like having your little sister watch over and comment, "That's a fine mess you're in Paul."|