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Mark D. Simpson


 

 

Journal Pages
for 1998 Trip to
England & Scotland
(Our 1996 trip to England & Scotland )

Preface
Monday August 10, 1998

The following is "most" of the contents of Kathleen Marie Beddow Simpson's journal from our 1998 trip to England and Scotland.

 

The Phone Call !
Sunday June 7, 1998

This morning at 9:30 a.m. U.S. time, Mark called John and Vicki Colclough! Vicki answered; they were having a late lunch; it was 2:30 p.m. London Time.

Mark spoke with Vicki about our upcoming trip and our visit with them. He also spoke with John and then I, too, got to talk with John.

They said they would FAX us more details about our Sunday trip to Hampton Court. We'll see them then !

 

And They're Off...
Thursday June 11, 1998

Mark and I left our house around noon today for Sterling, VA to the Fairfield Inn near Dulles airport, D.C. .   Stopped at Shoney's in Warrenton for lunch, Arrived at the Fairfield Inn around 2:30; Janine and Bill (Armstrong) got there at about 3:00 p.m.

Boarded British Airways flight #216 at 6:00 p.m. . Huge delay in leaving because of a drunken dude on our plane. Airline personnel plus D.C. police escorted him and his bottle off the plane. Finally took off around 7:30 p.m.

 

The Flight
Friday June 12, 1998

Uncomfortable flight --- way too crowded! Met a woman from the original Jersey! Very nice -- She reminded us of Mary-Scott.

Landed at Heathrow around 7:15 a.m. (yawn) practically no sleep ! Must ask for seat by a real window in row #26 or one like it that has no one on front !

Took a London cab ride to the Winchester B&B Hotel at 17 Belgrave near Victoria Station.

From Heathrow it cost almost 30 pounds ! Horrible ! (almost $55 or $60)

Our hotel rooms are very small but clean and nicely appointed with "en suite" (private bath) . Even has a shower ! No wash cloths or tub mats though.

We left our luggage at the office and took the boat cruise down the Thames to Greenwich.  Walked all around there; even climbed the very steep path to the Observatory to see the Meridian.

Went back to our hotel (B&B) to rest and wash up, then to a pub for a pint. Then we went all the way to Euston Station and walked way down to Le Piaf on Upper Woburn! Great dinner! Back to our hotel and to bed at midnight! Exhausted !
Sammy doesn't work there (Le Piaf) anymore, but he had become manager before he left.

 

Hoofing London
Saturday June 13,1998

Up at 6:45a.m. and down to breakfast by 8:15. Very good full English breakfast (orange juice., cereal, toast, eggs, bacon, tomatoes, coffee) .

Out to the Tower of London for a few hours in the rain. No guided tours by Beefeaters this time (1998 versus 1996) because of the inclement weather. Phooey!

Lunch and a pint at the Stage Door pub. Good beans and chips but I didn't like the sausage.

After lunch we went to Covent Garden.  Shopped 'til we dropped.

Back to the hotel then out to dinner at 7:30 p.m. Nice chicken and chips at a Greek seafood restaurant where Mark, Bill, and Janine had fish.

Came out of the restaurant after dinner and discovered that bobbies had taped off our block! Tried to go the long way 'round the block and found it roped off as well!   It seems there was a gunman on the loose so we went to the tavern on the corner for a beer. We were able to return to our hotel around 9:30p.m. What excitement !

Well, to bed now.  Its 10:35 p.m. and tomorrow we go to the Colclough's !

 

The Colclough's
and The Shaw's !
Sunday June 14, 1998

Mark & I and Bill & Janine had breakfast around 8:15 a.m.  (met Margaret and Bruce from Sydney , Australia) and left our hotel at 10:00 a.m.  Took the regular train (above ground) to Clapham Junction, then switched trains and arrived early (11:15) at Hampton Court. We walked around a bit at the palace gardens , then Mark phoned John and Vicki. 

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Vicki & John Colclough
They came for us at the train station (actually across the street from there) and we went to their house for a lovely meal !  Vicki had prepared potatoes, salad, bread, fish pate', salmon with cream cheese and dill sauce in little pastry cups, and duck. We'd never had roast duck before and it was excellent ! Wine-a-plenty, crackers & cheese, and fruit pie with vanilla ice cream afterwards. My but we were stuffed!  
Before that magnificent meal we had gone for a walk along the Thames with John and Eric while Vicki and Margaret stayed behind to set up the lunch. They showed us the "oldest" cricket field. We stopped to watch the game for a short time as John and Eric explained the rules of cricket.

After (the meal and conversation) , Eric and Margaret had to leave to drive home to Bournemouth since Eric was scheduled to play in a string quartet on Monday. I cried a bit saying good by to Margaret--- she is so fragile and sweet.

We watched John and Vicki's vacation videos from August of 1995 (Williamsburg, VA where we first met them) and April 1998 New Orleans and New York ! Well done !

They walked with us back to Hampton Court Station and we said our good-byes about 7:30 There's talk of a holiday for them in North Carolina !

At Victoria Station we went to Whistlestop (grocery) for snacks to take to our hotel. It's now 10:00 p.m. and I'm ready for bed.

Another memorable day with the Colclough's and the Shaw's!  I wonder if we'll ever see them again. We certainly hope so !

 

Rye !
Monday June 15, 1998

Mark and I journeyed to Rye while Bill and Janine did Portsmouth. We all had a good day.

Mark and I had a rather long BRITRAIL ride to get to Rye, but it was well worth the wait.

We found the famous Mermaid Street (all cobblestone and old stuck-together cottages) where we also found the Mermaid Inn. I wanted lunch there, but it was so small and so crowded we just couldn't.

We then tried the Peacock Pub; too tiny at the table. Finally had a delicious pub lunch and got two free bar towels there.

We then toured the small but quaint castle museum (superior view from the small tower), chatted a bit with the guide (he was ours exclusively), walked about a bit more, then headed back to London by way of Ashford. We came to Rye by way of Hastings.

Dinner (with Janine and Bill) was delicious at the Indian Tandoori place around the corner from our hotel.   Pleasant waiter !

 

London by Big Bus
Tuesday June 16, 1998

After our usual breakfast at 8:15 a.m. this morning, we went to the American Express Exchange office to cash all of our traveler's cheques to pounds sterling. Then bought Big Bus tickets (hop-on, hop-off) and did all the sights of London on their 2-hour red line tour.

Hopped off at Buckingham Palace and then at No. 6 Bag O'Nails Pub for a ploughman's platter and a pint for lunch

Hopped back on the blue line and went to Harrod's Dept. store. Mark bought a British hair dryer just like the one we've been borrowing at our hotel. Also bought a couple of bar towels, a refrigerator magnet, and a bottle capper. Never did get to go to Madame Tussaud's or the London Dungeon or the Hard Rock Cafe, but the bus tour was really good in spite of the hard seat for 2 hours !

After finally finding our way back to Victoria Station at 10 'til 6:00, we decided to go back to La Piaf for dinner. Mark and I met Bill and Janine at Saint George's tavern/ pub at 7:00 for a pint before going to the station to take the underground (tube) to Russell Square this time. It's much closer than Euston Station for La Piaf.

Great meal once again! Back to Russell Square and the tube to Green Park, then Picadilly to Victoria. To bed by midnight after packing to leave London in the morning.

 

Out of London...
Wednesday June 17, 1998

Up at 6:30, no time for breakfast, go down three flights of stairs by 8:00 a.m., hail a cab, stuff it with ourselves and all our luggage, whiz off to King's Cross .... quickly now because we were told it would take one and a half hours to get there and be sure to get a train to York leaving at 10:00...... NOT !!!

We arrived at King's Cross by 8:19 ! Just nineteen minutes to get there, but it worked out fine since there was a train to York leaving at 8:32.

Got to York at 11:45, took a cab to our B&B (Linden Lodge) and we love it ! Bill Wharton is so kind and helpful. Checked in, freshened up, then went to the Windmill Tavern for a bite of lunch and a pint. lindnldg.jpg (23458 bytes)
        Linden Lodge B&B
We then took the one and a half hour guided tour of York Minster which is the oldest Gothic cathedral in all of Europe. It was un-real ! Absolutely not to be missed. Walked around York a bit after that . Found the "Shambles" ! Then had a change of clothes (after an hour nap)  and walked to Micklegate for a super dinner at Villa Italia which of course was very Italian and popular... we got there just in time;  seated right away.

Back to Linden Lodge and bed by 11:00 p.m. Long day.

 

A Full Day in York !
Thursday June 18, 1998

I adore York! Up at 7:00a.m., to a full English breakfast (I chose poached eggs!) at 8:30, then out by 9:00. On to Jorvick Viking Centre which was very interesting . A small open car takes you underground and back in time to the very beginnings of York. You actually experience the sights and smells of Viking life! PEW !

After that, we found the York Castle Museum which I simply loved ! The whole thing was founded by Dr. John Kirk in the late 1800's. He became concerned about history and its artifacts becoming lost and forgotten, so he started asking for "things" instead of money as payment for his surgical services. The museum goes on and on and takes you through the ages, noting the improvement and modernizations along the way. I particularly enjoyed the walk along Kirkgate ("gate" means "street") which is a true-to-life replica of a shop street during Dr. Kirk's time.

After our few hours  of that magnificent museum, Mark and I went up into and around Clifford's Tower which is basically all that' s left of York Castle. Very nice views from up there.

Next, Mark and I visited Betty's, the world renowned "tea and cakes" shop. It's a huge two-level restaurant and pastry shop, and what a pastry shop it is !!!

Mark had a cappuccino and mushroom soup while I had tea (tray and all) , and an eclair, and an incredible strawberry, heart-shaped confection/tart thing ! Wow ! talk about a super sugar high ! Bought treats  for Janine and Bill - hope they like them !

Back to our room by 3:00 - a nap for Mark and this entry in my journal for me !

Now it's 5:00 and I've had just a wee nap. "Knocked up" Janine and Bill next door (they came back around 4:00) and gave them their treats from Betty's !

Left at 6:00p.m. and we all four walked down our foot path past the Primary School and on to Micklegate. Over the bridge and down the stone steps to the river for a pint at a table by the river. The barmaid gave us 2 bar towels (one for Bill & Janine)!

On to Lowther's Pub a few feet down the way, still along the river. The cute young man behind the bar laughed when I said to Mark, "let's not order any food yet. let's get another beer!" He brought me a Fosters bar towel. We've collected quite a few now !

Had good pub meal for supper there ! I had chicken kiev, "chips" (fries) and peas. Mark,. Bill, and Janine had fish and chips and mushy peas.

Back to our rooms by 9:00. tomorrow we drive to Whitby to meet Rebecca's dad. Rebecca and Iian Buckle are friends of Bill and Janine. Iian is a British Naval officer stationed in the U.S.

 

A day Trip to Whitby
Friday June 19, 1998

Up at 7:00a.m., to breakfast by 8:20, then down to the York train station where Bill had made arrangements to rent a silver Mondeo (Ford, nice car).

Mark was navigator while Bill drove us to Whitby where we met Rebecca's father, Dave Lodge. Very pleasant man; showed us all around the absolutely beautiful and quaint seaside town of Whitby. lodges.jpg (29321 bytes)
Dave, Claire, and Sarah
Dave brought along his two younger daughters, Claire (13) and Sarah (6) both very cute and well-mannered. I particularly liked Claire.

We all climbed the 199 step to the Abbey ruins and it was so lovely up there. In fact, it is safe to say it was lovely from wherever you looked around Whitby !

We had a nice meal at Anderson's Bistro, then walked around a great deal more and got terribly sun-burned. It was the first truly hot day we've had

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Whitby
Left Whitby about 4:30 and found our way back to York by 6:00 p.m.

Our delightful host, Bill Wharton, suggested Pizza Express when Bill said he'd like a pizza for dinner.

Went there around 7:30 p.m. I adore the huge old mansion by the river, just over Lendel Bridge. Our pizza were OK, but not like the pizzas we crave back home !

Back to our rooms by 9:15. I never got my soft ice-cream, Boo-Hoo. Maybe tomorrow.

Must pack now- we leave York in the morning.

 

Enter Scotland
Saturday, June 20, 1998

Last great breakfast at Linden Lodge in York. All packed up and off to the train station so Bill can turn in the car. Our train was due at 10:02 but it came at 10:14 (not so bad) . A conductor said we could put all our luggage in the last car (1st class baggage)  and then go find seats up front in standard. We had to split up but that was OK - Bill really enjoys talking a lot with strangers so it all worked out just fine !

We arrived in Edinburgh at about 12:45 (only 5 minutes off schedule), picked up our "car" ( Hertz upgraded us to a big Ford Galaxy min-van) and took off.

Mark drove until we stopped outside of Perth for lunch at the Butterchurn. I liked my cheese toastie, salad, crisps, and chocolate shake!

 

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Milnan Cottage
Janine drove for quite a while after that, all the way to just outside Inverness. Then Mark got us the rest of the way to our lovely well-appointed cottage in Fodderty between Dingwall and Strathpeffer.
Telephoned Jane upon our arrival at 7:00p.m.  She suggested the Spar market in "Strath" as she called it, so we went and got some staples (wine and cheese).

Tried to do some laundry. The dryer takes forever. Gave up and went to bed at 11:30 -- another long day.

 

Loch Ness !
Sunday June 21, 1998

Lots of rain, thunder, and lightning last night - really odd for this area, so the locals tell us.

Beautiful, cool, sunny day! Perfect for our boat trip on Loch Ness!

Also went to the Beauly Priory, and down to Fort Augustus to watch 11 boats go through the 6 locks there. Always fascinates me (both times that I've been) !

Early to bed (9:30) - tomorrow we may go to Skye.

 

Skye!
and Eilean Donan Castle
Monday June 22, 1998

We did it!  We left our cottage near Strathpeffer at 9:00a.m. and Janine drove us all over the place.

First, we went to Drumnadrochit and turned and headed for the Isle of Skye. Drove all the way up to Dunvegan and toured the Dunvegan Castle which was very nice - like a huge mansion.

Had a great  lunch. I had a "cheesy pasta", which is macaroni & cheese, with a nice salad and a great garlic bread at the pub in Dunvegan Hotel.

Then we drove back and came upon the simply awesome Eilean Donan Castle, which I just did not want to leave. We can all appreciate why it is the most photographed castle in all of Scotland ! Mere words cannot describe that castle, nor the scenery of Skye ! Edonan.jpg (19097 bytes)
Eilean Donan Castle

Back to Drumnadrochit and a fabulous dinner at Fiddlers Cafe & Pub. I had a stupendous steak with baked potato, onion rings, carrots, mushrooms, salad , and red wine. Mark had haggis for his starter (appetizer) .

To bed by 10:30p.m.

 

Culloden & Clava Cairns
Tuesday June 23, 1998

Out by 9:00a.m. and drove to Inverness. Went shopping in Pringle's  Woolen Mills - huge store.

Then on to Culloden, walked out into the battlefields and found the Fraser clan marker. Also drove the short distance from there to Clava Cairns again. Terrific burial "rounds" of stone and many amazing standing stones said to be older than Stonehenge.

Had lunch in Dingwall and went into several of the little shops there.

Back to our cottage by 5:00p.m. to do laundry and just "kick back" !

 

Distillery Day !
Wednesday June 24, 1998

Out by 9:30 a.m. and off to Muir of Ord (near Beauly) where we went to the Ord Distillery. It was OK but we didn't have a guided tour, only a "self" walk-through tour. The whiskey was nasty.

Then on to Nairn, a lovely seaside village, where we had a delicious lunch in the Longhouse restaurant. The cream of tomato soup was out-standing ! The owner/chef was sitting a few tables over .... he said, "Niver trust a skinny cook!" and he was right ! The whole meal was just great and way too filling.

On to Dufftown and the Glenfiddich Distillery which was fabulous. And it was free ! Amazing ! Excellent 15 minute film and then Stevie guided us through .... good tour, but one room was so stinky that I couldn't leave it soon enough. Sweet cat sound asleep in one room; Stevie says she's the guard cat ! Joke !

On to the tasting room! I do not like scotch whiskey but that stuff they make (at Glenfiddich) is so smooth, and I'd say it's the Cadillac of scotch whiskey ! Great souvenir shop, too !

Back to Strathpeffer - nice dinner at the Brunstane Hotel there.

Must watch Fawlty Tours now (on the TV) !

Tomorrow we leave our cottage .... on to Edinburgh. Must rise at 5:00a.m. ! Yikes!

 

Edinburgh
Thursday June 25, 1998

Up at 5:00a.m. so we can leave our sweet Fodderty cottage by 7:00. Must drive all the way to Edinburgh to return our car (Ford Galaxy van) to Hertz by 1:30 . When we first got it on Saturday at 1:30p.m. it took us 6 hours to get to the cottage ! Of course, we had a 45 minute delay at the "bridge" , and we had stopped at the Butterchurn for lunch. We weren't taking any chances today - we wanted to be certain to turn the van in on time so we wouldn't have to pay for an extra day.

We made it by 11:00 a.m.! Way early ! So we found Pilrig Street and our B&B (Sunnyside) at #13, checked in, put all our luggage in our rooms (adequate, but not great), and returned the car by 12:00 noon !

Walked right around the corner from the train station and had a good lunch and a pint at Shenanigan's. We liked that place !

Walked around a bit, went for the tour and walk-about at Edinburgh Castle (always impressive) , shopped some more, then had a pint at Deacon Brodie's Pub.

Found a terrific place in an old bank. Restaurant and pub called The Standing Order. Super food! ( by J.D. Whetherspoon)

Walked all the way to #13 Pilrig (B&B) and collapsed. To bed at 10:00p.m.

 

"All Over Edinburgh"
Friday June 26, 1998

Rose at 7:00a.m.. Terrific full Scottish breakfast (orange juice, coffee/tea, fruit, cereal, toast with jam, bacon, eggs, tomato, and mushrooms) served from 8:30 til 9:15a.m. !

Walked to Waverly Shops and caught the Lothian Bus for a one hour tour of the city, Good tour.

Walked to Jenner's department store for a little shopping excursion, then over to the Standing Order again for lunch. I had the "nachos grande" again because they were so good yesterday! Mark and I would like to go there again for dinner tonight but I doubt if we will. For some reason we came back to our B&B so here I am writing !( It may be because we got caught in a "downpour" and got soaked!)

Before returning though, and after our lunch we walked to the Grass Market and Greyfriar Bobby's statue, grave, and gift shop. So sweet ! Then around the corner to Greyfriar's Pub for a pint

On to the Lothian Bus again which let us off on Calton Hill. We walked way up that hill and what a view from there !!! Mark took several pictures; hope they all come out well.

The sun is shining ever so strongly now, we walked through a great downpour to come back to our B&B; it is now 5:30 p.m.

Out at 6:30 p.m.  Walked toward Leith but couldn't find it! The people keep looking seedy and seedier ! Mark finally asked a nicely dressed woman for help and she kindly led us all the way out of the seedy nasty, scary part and down to Leith. She suggested The Ship restaurant (which was very good) and she advised us to take a taxi/cab back to Pilrig .... which we did !

Back by 9:00 p.m. The taxi ride was 3.20 pounds. Need to pack. We go home to the USA tomorrow.

 

"Home to the States"
Saturday June 27, 1998

Up at 6:45 a.m., down to another yummy breakfast at 8:30; our taxi arrived at 9:10 and took us (and all our luggage) to the Edinburgh Airport for our 10:00 checkin and 11:15 flight to Heathrow. Not a bad flight.

Heathrow is so cool ! Lots of Wonderful TAX-FREE (as long as you have a boarding pass) shops, one which is Harrods ! Also the best toy store in the whole world. Hamsley's .    That's where I found the "Sporty" Spice Girls doll for Ellen Taylor (18.70 pounds) !

We shopped for just a few minutes, had lunch in Garfunckel's restaurant there, then went to gate 12 to wait for our 4:00p.m. flight home. Not much of a wait really.

Flight OK, except for the last 1/2 hour. Even after 2 Bonine tablets, I was afraid I might be sick. Food onboard was aweful! Met a law enforcement officer sitting at the window beside me. His name is Mr. A. Bonjour and he's from the small island of Jersey (off the southern coast of England) . He was going to the USA (for the first time), to attend the FBI academy. He was very nice and somewhat distinguished.

Two movies we saw onboard were both good. The comedy was The Wedding Singer with Adam Shandler and Drew Barrymore... it was really cute. The other was a terrific, twisting thriller called Palmetto with Woody Harrelson. I enjoyed both; they helped to pass the time.

Finally arrived at Dulles Airport in D.C. at 8:30 p.m. (. That's 1:30 a.m. in London)  

Called the Fairfield Inn and they sent a van to pick us up and  take us to our car. Mark drove us all the way to Greene County by 11:45 p.m. (that's 4:45a.m. in London)   and we hit the hay! What a day! What a trip !

I'd like to go to Scotland again.

Last updated 03/28/2011 06:01:15 PM ®MDSimpson 2002 thru 2010 and beyond