Mark D. Simpson
|Wednesday September 9, 1998
The following is "most" of the contents of
Kathleen Marie Beddow Simpson's journal from our 1996 trip to England and Scotland.
It brings back fond memories of friends, family, sights, and feelings.
|3 Suitcase Night|
|Wednesday June 12, 1996
Actually, Mark and I have managed to pack everything we need to take into 4 suitcases ! Two large cases and the two carry-ons.
Called Mom & Dad at 6:30 pm . They had a great report from Dad's doctor today, then they went out for Italian dinner and had just gotten home when I rang.
I had just returned from talking with the woman across the street. She and her husband (Jim) seem very nice. They'll keep an eye on our house while we are overseas. I must remember to bring some little something back from Scotland for them, for being so kind.
Heard from Aunt Caroyl today ! Also from Mary-Scott and from Aunt Margaret. I believe everyone of us is just as excited as the other !
We shall all meet at the airport tomorrow around 4:30 or 5:00 since our United Airlines plane leaves Dulles for Heathrow at 7:00 pm. "Fly the Friendly Skies..."
|Thursday June 13, 1996
Good grief ! Where do I begin ?
Our plane had a slight delay in boarding, so our United flight 920 left at 7:45 pm instead of 7:10.
Lots of turbulence at first, then easy going after. Dinner was served at around 9:30 pm. We both had Teriaki Pot Roast with rice, baby carrots and sugar snap peas.
Watched some movie with Al Pacino (Al was in the movie not seated with me !) I think it was called City Hall. Not great. Tried to sleep, too cramped, not real comfortable, but OK. Breakfast was OK too.
At 2:30 am (USA) Mark changed his watch to UK time and we touched down at Heathrow in London around 7:30 am (UK time) !
Perfect landing !
|Friday June 14, 1996
John Colclough "greeted us off the plane
!" Actually he met us at the Airbus terminal.... he's such a nice person ! He
had been waiting for over an hour because it took us so long to get our luggage (9:30am)
He was very "up" and had lots of maps and stuff for us.
Jim is amazed on the Airbus from Heathrow
|We introduced him to Fully & Margaret (Beddow) ; Mary-Scott & Jim (Rhoads) ;
and Aunt Caroyl (Gooch) and then he helped us shuffle off to the Airbus. It took another
hour or so to get to Euston Station (lovely train station) and our "flats" are
about 2 blocks from there.
|Oh yes ! The "flats!" They are clean and open and filled
with cool breezes, but not the most up-to-date furnishings ! We love them anyway. Ours is
#305 and Fully's , Margaret's and Caroyl's is #518
Had to wait in #518 from 11:00 am until 3:00 to get into #305. While we waited, Fully, Jim, Mark, and I walked back to Euston Station to reserve seats on the train for Friday to head up to Inverness, Scotland.
After lunch, we four took naps while the other three walked to Safeway for groceries. We will freshen up and go up to #518 for "happy hour" at 5:00. then out to dinner in London!
Excellent Italian food and wine at the Spaghetti House ! Mark picked up the tab this time.
|Saturday June 15, 1998
Up at 7:15 am, showered, cerealed, out at 10:00 am.
Walked to Euston Station and took the tube to Charing Cross and walked to Trafalgar Square where they were having quite a row! The Scots were out in full force for a "pep rally" before the big "football" (soccer) game against the English. Quite a scene !
We found a London Sightseeing bus and took the tour.
|Then got off at Westminster and took the tour boat down the Thames to Greenwich. Lunched in Greenwich at the Gipsy Moth.|
Back to Westminster by boat, the tube back to Euston Station and back to our flat by 7:00 pm.
Long Day !
Happy hour again at #518, then walked to dinner.
|Accidentally stumbled upon Cafe Le Piaf which was beyond wonderful !!! Uncle Fully got the tab this time.... delicious French cuisine... Mark tried the lamb (loved it). I had eggplant (Auflange, I believe) and it was super and generous in portion.||
Mark, Kathleen, Caroyl, Fully, Margaret, Mary-Scott
|Lots of bread with oil and four bottles of wine later, we
ended with Chocolate Mousse and Cappuccino. Wow ! We'll go there again !
Must get to bed... it's 11:14 pm and tomorrow is a day very special to us ! We'll see John & Vicki Colclough and Vicki's parents Margaret & Eric Shaw. Ought to be a grand time !
|A Superb Day
Also Father's Day
|Sunday June 16, 1996
Up at 7:30 am, out by 10:00. Fully,
Margaret, Caroyl, Mark & I all took the tube from our lovely Euston Station to
Waterloo Station and then switched to the overland train from Waterloo to Hampton Court.
|John & Vicki Colclough and Margaret & Eric Shaw were all there to
meet us ! They are so sweet to us ! Vicki was a fabulous tour guide at Hampton Court
Palace gardens. and John got some great video for us ! Mark took some footage, and many
still shots as well. The gardens are too beautiful to describe on paper.
(Mark in the back),
John, Caroyl, Margaret, Vickie,Margaret, Fully, Eric
|After a tour all around the palace gardens, we went to a local
pub (The Kings Arms) for a lager ! Then Fully, Margaret, & Caroyl, rode with Eric
while Mark & I were treated to a ride in John's brand-new Saab convertible back to
John & Vicki's home on Beauchamp (beach-um) . Vicki & her mum (Margaret) had gone
ahead of us all to set the table full of feast food ! Unreal ... !
First their home is over 100 years old and they have beautified it immensely.
We sat in
their lovely backyard gardens with our champagne while John & Vicki opened gifts from
us all. Aunt Caroyl gave them a pretty can with a hunting scene on it. Fully &
Margaret gave them a lovely letter opener from Virginia Metalcrafters. Mark & I
gave them a Virginia Hospitality cookbook and four Jefferson cups ( 2 for "MIL"
(Mother-in-Law )and Eric) .
It was a day we shall never forget and always treasure! Not many tourists get invited to lunch in English homes!
Mark & I walked with Jim to the little market down the street for Cokes and fruit and such. Jim & Mary-Scott went to dinner at 8:00 ( Cafe Le Piaf) and Mark & I ate cheese and crackers in the flat. To bed now, 9:00 pm and all is well !
|Mind the Gap !|
|Monday June 17, 1996
"Stand on the right!" That's on the escalators. It's so people who are in a hurray can run past you on the the left !
"Mind the gap !" is often heard over a loudspeaker when people are hopping on or off the tube since sometimes there is a sizeable gap between the platform and the train.
Another interesting phrase is "take away" which is our take out. Also, painted in the streets of London, right up next to the curbs where the crossovers are located, are the words "Look Right" or "Look Left" to remind us Colonials that the Brits drive on the opposite side of the street and will be coming from the way you (we) might least expect.
Today we used our first day (of 8) of our BRITRAIL pass. No one ever asked to look at it, though. You write the date in one of the allotted blocks right on the ticket on the morning of your trip. Then if a conductor or whoever asks to see it, you're O.K. , but not at soul asked to see ours, coming or leaving Cambridge.
|We had an outstanding lunch at Osborne Arms, a pub in Cambridge. The ploughman's platter consists of ham or cheese (or both), bread & butter, chutney, corn salad or pickled beets, lettuce, tomato, & cucumber slices. Truly delicious !||
Osborne Arms pub in Cambridge
|The men folk left the pub after lunch and took a bus to the Duxford
(airfield) War Museum, while we ladies took a bus tour of Cambridge. It was rather hot
there, and we came back to Euston station and our flats by 4:15 (without the men).
Mark, Jim, & uncle Fully finally came back at 7:30 pm ! They had a fantastic time at the museum. They barely caught the 5:15 bus (the last one) to bring them to the underground. .
Duxford is the airfield where the Battle of Britain movie was filmed about possibly the most important air battle of W.W.II. It has a Concord prototype through which visitors can walk and U2, B52, and many other exciting aircraft on display. It also has an operating warplane hangar from which operating W.W.II (and older) fighter planes are maintained and flown. Jim is very knowledgeable about aircraft and is a volunteer guide at the Smithsonian Air & Space museum in Washington. D.C. Uncle Fully was a U.S. airman and was stationed in Britain during W.W.II and flew on bombing missions from Britain. With all that expertise, when Jim and Fully met a mechanic who was working on a W.W.II 'Mustang' they (Mark, Jim, & Fully) went beyond the ropes and got a behinds the scenes look and smell into some very rare working antique aircraft.
What a great adventure
We all got together & went to the Chambelli restaurant, "Famous Indian Cuisine". Actually one of the owners told us they are all from Bangladesh. It was good. We had the small room in the back along with two girls from Germany, a man from Majorca, Spain (he sells hotels all over the world), a man in a dark turban from India, who was very distinguished, proper, and friendly, and one other young man from who-knows-where ?!
We all ate a lot and told stories and laughed a lot.
To bed by midnight ...
|Suds and Duds|
|Tuesday June 18, 1996
Mark and I slept in .... or at least I did. We gathered some laundry together and hoofed it to the Suds & Duds three doors down from Safeway (grocery store) ... which is 4 or 5 blocks from our flat. Did a load of laundry while we wrote some postcards and then picked up some necessary items from Safeway .
Can you find Kathleen outside of Wot The Dickens ?
|Back to the flat by 12:30 - (then) out to lunch across the street
and down the alley to a pub called "Wot The Dickens" ! where we had
super sandwiches and chips. Then to the Post Office ( Royal Mail) for 20 stamps (7
pounds worth !) and to mail the finished postcards to the States.
|Next, on to Euston Station where we took the tube to Covent
Garden. I loved Covent Garden, even though it was very crowded. We know why it was
so crowded .... it has miles of shops & pubs of all sorts, and the British Transport
Museum (which we toured) . So many interesting people and things to see and buy
! Shoppers delight !
Back to the flat by 5:00 for "happy hour", dinner at 7:00 the Greek place down the street. Our waiter looked Greek, sounded English , but told us he is really Spanish ! He was so cute, and Mark joked around with him. He had us all laughing ! "What is this ?", I asked. "Turkish Delight but that's blasphemy here, so it's Greek Delight", he said ! It (coffee) wasn't very good, but our meals were great .
Tomorrow is a big day. Better get to bed now (10:00pm) .
|Wednesday June 19, 1996
Oh my gosh! The city of Dover is not to be missed - this was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Dover is the closest point in England to France. We saw several huge SeaFrance ferries, and also a hydrofoil taking off ! That's a huge boat that floats on a cushion of air - super noisy and cool ! Tosses up lots of water, too !
The absolutely fabulous luxury hotel on the channel (shoreline) is The Churchill. It truly is grand.
Kathleen leaving Dicken's Tea Room
|We took a taxi to the Dover Castle, toured on our own (unreal) , and
took a taxi back to the Dover train station.
Before our castle tour we had the best lunch at Dickens' Tea Room. My "Dickens tea" consisted of hot English tea (w/sugar & cream), a sandwich of choice ( I chose egg) , scones with cream, butter, & homemade preserves, and then a slice of cake ( I chose carrot) ! It was the biggest lunch I've ever had, and it was wonderful ! Mary-Scott told me it's what the English usually have at 4:00 in the afternoon ! My God, I cannot imagine !
|While touring the Dover Castle, I saw ( & heard !) schoolchildren. I asked a few of them what grade there are in (4th) !|
|They were adorable in their little uniforms and I asked if I could take their picture. Well, they plopped down on a nearby wall, all lined up properly, so I got behind them and Mark took our picture. One little fellow who was just too cute for words, asked me my name. I told him and then I asked his. "I'm Nathan Taylor ! ", he replied.||
Nathan is in the red cap
|"I'm Chris, and he's Nathan as well" , said another,
indicating the boy to his left. "Oh my dear ! How does your teacher tell you
apart ? Who's the meanest ?" , I (jokingly) asked. They all pointed to
the second Nathan . It was so funny. They smiled and laughed and were just so polite and
sincerely fascinated with this second grade teacher from the States who wanted their
picture. I loved them, and my superb visit to the castle !
Upon our arrival back to the flat, Mark & I freshened up a bit and then had happy hour in #518. Dinner was at the Spaghetti House again. We love that place and our adorable little Italian waiter (same one as before).
Tomorrow will be our last full day in London. I cannot believe it - one week has flown by !
To bed ... (10:35 pm)
|The Bloody Tower|
|Thursday June 20, 1996
Mark & I "slept in" a bit and left the flat at 10:30am. Went to the Exchange and got my delightful travelers cheques cashed in ! Then on to London Tower. Our Beefeater tour guide there was quite a joker !
Next we took the tube to Picadilly Circus and had a late lunch (3:10) at the Rock Island Diner. Lots of '50s atmosphere - really cool place ! Mark had a huge mushroom & cheese burger (not Mad Cow !) and I had a gigantic grilled cheese & bacon sandwich, Very good !
For dinner, we all went to Cafe Le Piaf again for another French cuisine adventure!
Jim, Sammy, and Mary-Scott
|We had the same French waiter as before (Sammy) and he catered to us very well ! Mark and I got a picture of him standing behind Jim and Mary Scott.|
|I had the pan-fried chicken; Mark had a seafood dish &
mussels. Sammy brought us extra bread, fancy fries , & ice cream. he also hugged the
ladies and shook hands with the gentlemen as we said our good-byes.
What a great wine & dine evening - our last in London.
|Friday June 21, 1996
We rose at 5:30am so we could be downstairs for the two taxis to take us all (and all 15 pieces of luggage) to King's Cross Station, London.
Our train left at 8:00 and took us to Edinburgh by 12:20 with about an hour layover there; enough time for a visit to the "Superloo" at a cost of 20P , and then a quick lunch standing in the station.
We've noticed that there is a total lack of litter cans (trash cans) in all of the stations. A bobby explained that its because of how simple it is to put bombs in them. Also, the lockers are not in use for the same security reason.
Our next train left Edinburgh for Inverness at 1:40 and the scenery along the way was too beautiful to describe here ! We saw so many lambs and rabbits, castles, stone houses, and snow ! Yes, snow in June .. late June !
We arrived in Inverness at 5:00pm and checked into the Station Hotel which is conveniently located right inside the Inverness Station ! Nice room with a basket of fruit, sparkling water, coffee, tea, even a blow dryer ! We'll go down for dinner at 7:00 .
Dinner was grand ! Caesar salad, roast pork, tomato soup with basil, roasted potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, wine, and optional cheeses, fruit, and biscuits. Too much !
To bed by 10:30, when it is just getting a dark. Pulling the drapes shut will help in the morning ( to block the early light) . The sun rises at about 4:15 - 4:30 am.
|Points to Ponder|
|Places in England which I don't want to miss next time :
the Lake District
* large basket with brightly colored towels, various colors mixed and rolled to resemble flowers in the basket
*paper doilies on dishes
*lots of our "wine" glasses, not only for wine
*have people over for "High Tea" (see entry for Wed. June 9)
|Saturday June 22, 1996
Breakfast at 9:00am after a great night's sleep and shower in a 6 1/2 foot long tub!
The morning meal consisted of juices, fresh fruit, cereals & porridge, eggs (cooked, scrambled, fried, or to your liking), sausages, ham, fried potatoes, scones, toast, butter and jams or preserves and coffee.... cheeses too ! Un-real ! Do these people eat like this all the time ? If so, why aren't they huge ?
The chamber-maid is here with me now, changing the sheets on the beds. I let her in because I know she has lots to do in this large hotel. She is very appreciative & sweet.
Mark, Jim, & uncle Fully have gone to get two rental cars. We have the directions to our cottages and can check into them at 2:00 pm today. Meanwhile, we ladies are waiting (Ha ! ladies in waiting !) in our chambers until the menfolk return with the vehicles. We shall then leave our luggage with the hotel management while we stroll around Inverness until 2:00 . Can't wait to travel the country lanes and discover our cottages !
Oh my Gracious ! Fully Margaret, & Caroyl have a beautiful place in which to stay - "The Old Stable" - but out on the hilltop is everything I had hoped for and much more !! It is now 10:20pm, still daylight.
|I'm sitting at the kitchen table, looking out at the field of Highland sheep and
lambs, listening to their occasional bleats, and loving this whole experience ! We
arrived here just a little past 2:00 this afternoon, went into the little town of Beauly
for groceries, and Jim fixed an excellent stew of sausage , potatoes, and onions with
bread & butter and wine.
cottage in Main of Aigas
As he cooked it, Mark, Mary-Scott, & I drank wine and ate cheese. We sat outdoors for a while after dinner with our coffee until it got too chilly. There was a touch of frost last night.
I cannot believe it is 10:30 at night and still very light out ! It looks like 8:30 pm in the summer back home. Incredible. Well dark or not, I'm off to bed.
|Sunday June 23, 1996
Jim prepared a delicious bacon, eggs, toast, & coffee breakfast for us four "little cottage" people. Mark took a long walk afterwards and got some great video footage and pictures.
We went into Beauly to do laundry, but it was closed (the laundry not Beauly), so we went to the "Made in Scotland" shop in Beauly and it was wonderful. It's where we bought my heather-colored cape and the two coffee mugs and some little books. Then we went to "J. Pringles Woolen Mills" (in Inverness) which was a super-store with a lot of woolen clothes and a rather large section totally devoted to the clans ! That was my favorite part of the store, and it is also the place where I bought the "Hielan' Coo" T-shirt and postcard for Audra Taylor's little girl, Katherine.
We next headed for the Safeway in Inverness. Mark and Jim went in to shop for groceries while Mary-Scott and I planned our trips for tomorrow (Monday) and Tuesday.
It is now 6:00pm . Mark is reading a Fraser Clan book (Simpson is part of the Fraser Clan) , Mary-Scott is taking a nap, Jim's fixing dinner for all seven of us tonight; Fully, Margaret, & Caroyl should be along at any moment for happy hour and the meal. Jim is preparing roast chicken, potatoes, brussel sprouts, and salad, along with bread & wine.
It was delicious !
P.S. This morning, while getting ready for the day, there came a knock at our cottage door and I answered to find a small blonde boy in shorts and a wool sweater ! His name was Angus and he came to tell us, "I believe one of your sheep is loose!"
|Cawdor Castle & Culloden|
|Monday June 24, 1996
Jim made a real porridge for breakfast this morning. We also had scones and coffee. Then on to Beauly to do laundry. Done by 11:00, we headed for Fort George which juts into Moray Firth and was built around 1748. It is still used by the army today and we were only allowed to take still shots ... no videos are permitted. I was particularly interested in the draw-bridge !
We left Fort George at 1:30 starving, so we drove only 2 miles to a tiny village called Ardersier and stopped at the Gun Lodge Hotel for lunch. What a delightful place it was! We all had a pint of Murphy's Stout and a good pub lunch. Mark asked to purchase a couple of bar towels but the wouldn't let him.... the gave them to him free !
Next we went down the road a wee bit to Cawdor Castle, which was built in the 1300's (14th century) and is beautifully furnished and still lived in today. The gardens there are magnificent and we saw several Highland Cows, including some black ones! After, we went on to Clava Cairns which are three circular stone burial rings with many standing stones around them. It was erected during the Stone Age and is very similar to Stonehenge. I kept expecting Merlin to pop out from behind one of the trees or stones ! This place interested me greatly !
Then on to Culloden and the Battlefield which just celebrated their 250th anniversary. A horribly bloody battle was fought between "Bonnie prince Charlie" , beside his Scottish Highlanders, and the Redcoats of the government on April 16 1746. The movie "Braveheart" was based on the battle of Culloden. The government won hands down. The Jacobites were easily defeated and thus ended the days of the "Wild Scots." We watched a 20 minute film all about the battle and the Clans, and it was very well done and educational. The Fraser clan was on the front lines of the Highlanders side .
Got back to our cottage by 6:30. Dinner at 7:30 was pork chops, rice & gravy, green beans, bread & butter, and wine (but Mark & I drank milk.....it was so good and I was so thirsty for it !)
To bed at 11:00pm.
|Loch Ness !|
|Tuesday June 25, 1996
Mark & I slept until 8:00 ! Luckily, we had no real time-table to stick to, so we bathed, ate hard-boiled eggs with toast & coffee, and left the cottage at 10:00. Left Aigas (pronounced A-gush) & took a shortcut on a truly Scottish country road through Kiltarlity (beautiful drive) to the village of Drumnadrochit where we took a boat tour on Loch Ness ! The boat will hold 24 but they only take 12 at a time so you can have a choice to sit inside or out. We chose out and it was sensational ! We went right past the ruins of Urquhart Castle and out to the deepest part of Loch Ness (700 feet deep!) . We took some great pictures and I'm hoping Mark's footage shows how lovely it all is there !
Loch Ness and the beautiful Scotland countryside
After the boat ride, we ate lunch at the Hunters Pub & Restaurant (hunters for "Nessie", mind you) which was very filling & good !
Bought several gifts, and earrings for myself (made of heather) at the Kiltmaker Shop . Then drove 19 miles to the southern end of Loch Ness to the village known as Fort Augustus. We saw the Clansmen's Centre but didn't go in to the live talk. What really captured out attention was the group of locks which runs right through the village. While we stood there, we saw several motor and sail boats go through the locks. Truly worth the watch and wait !
|Wednesday June 26, 1996
Left our "Mains of Aigas" near Beauly, Scotland ..... our lovely little cottage on to hill.... and headed for Inverness. Filled the rental car with gas and turned it in. Boarded the train at 10:30am took off for Edinburgh, Scotland !
Checked into the Glenisla Bed & Breakfast on Lygon Road ( or Street) . What a quaint old place ! Our room was up the stairs to the third ( & top) floor with a lovely view of the back garden and part of Edinburgh in the distance.
|Elderly Mr. & Mrs. Gilhooly and their sweet old block lab, Jet, met us at the door of their B&B, showed us to our rooms, and we had a good night's sleep after a great tour of Edinburgh castle and a yummy pint & meal at Deacon Brodie's on the Royal Mile . MUST return to Edinburgh someday ... so much to see & do.....and I'd love to stay at the Holiday Inn on the Royal Mile, right down from Deacon Brodies and the castle; right up from the Royal Palace.||
Deacon Brodie's Tavern
|Edinburgh to London|
|Thursday June 27, 1996
The proper English breakfast we were given at the Genisla B&B was delicious, except for the strong coffee. Juice, fresh fruit, cereal, eggs ( I had poached) sausage or bacon, toast, and coffee.
After breakfast, we took the hour bus tour of Edinburgh on the Guide Fridays hop-on-hop-off double-decker bus. Superb tour, and Jim the guide sat right in front of us.... such a character!
Next , mark picked up some forms at the Registry (re: Simpson/ Fraser clan) , we looked around the many shops of Waverly Shopping Mall, then on to Jenner's (a very uppity dept. store .... 6 levels... unreal) where I got my haircut ! (£15.50 = $23.00) I love it !
To the train station then for our 1:00 pm train to London (long , 5 hour trip ) . Checked into the Comfort Inn on West Cromwell Road. Tiny room! But air-conditioned ! Not hot outside just becoming humid .
Pizza for dinner in the hotel restaurant because we were just too pooped to go elsewhere !
Wake-up call is for 6:00am.... off to bed. Fly home to the States tomorrow.
|Back in the USSA|
|Friday June 28, 1996
Up at 6:00, breakfast in the hotel (£3.00 extra each), then "schlepped" our bags to the Airbus stop two blocks away in a light rain. (never used my umbrella.) The Airbus was late; got tired and nervous waiting for it, so we took a London taxi which offered to take us all the way (30 minutes) to Heathrow for £6.00 each. Good deal, cute cabbie !
Our plane took off a bit late. Was supposed to leave at 11:55am ... left around 12:20pm. Long flight. Mark & I had aisle seats across from each other . Good food & drinks ! Two movies . The best one was Mr. Holland's Opus... very touching .
Landed at 3:00pm (USA time) and Nikki greeted us with open arms and a big smile... so happy to see her daddy (Jim) ! Went to Mary-Scot's house, left around 4:00, got home about 7:00pm . Went to bed at 8:30 and slept a lot. Jet lag is hell, but our trip was heaven ! I want to go back someday ...
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