Up to Scotland. The journey there.

Sorry I’m late with this post everyone, haven’t been feeling up to blogging much of late, anyway, here it is!

Set off on Friday morning to our local train station to catch the 10.58 to Leeds. Kerri had been despatched to respite the day before, complete with huge hefty case. Train arrived dead on time, and I landed in Leeds station with just under half an hour to wait for the Cross Country train to Glasgow Central. I spent the waiting time taking a shot of a Battle of Britain train stood at the opposite platform.

Battle of Britain train

Our train arrived right on time, and after spending a lot of energy pelting down the platform in the wrong direction looking for coach F, I finally boarded, stashed my suitcase in the rack and settled down into my reserved seat. Lot’s of lovely leg room to stretch my legs, and no one sat beside me! Yippee!

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For my lunch on the train I had taken a McDonalds Chicken Caesar salad and I could also plug my phone into the provided socket and enjoy the free Cross Country wi-fi all the way to Glasgow! How’s that for travelling in style? The journey up the east coast mainline is always enjoyable, especially when you begin to travel alongside the sea. I was lucky that I was sitting on the side next to the coast, and managed (though at the speed we were travelling it wasn’t easy!) to get some shots as we flew past which I’m including below as part of a photo album.

 

We absolutely seemed to fly all the way up to Glasgow, changing crew along the way. This is necessary because this train has journeyed all the way from Plymouth, and its quite a journey! We arrived in Glasgow Central early and my eldest son and his family were waiting on the platform. It was a tearful reunion for me, I knew it would be! I haven’t seen my two grandchildren for two years in the flesh, and they had both grown so much and are both far taller than me.

My eldest informed me that they had had to park the car some distance away from the station as a fish and chip shop outside had burned down, so there was no access for cars at that time as the fire brigade had closed off all the street. There had also been a big water leak nearby as well, so it was a bit chaotic to say the least.

We all had lot’s to talk about and before I knew it, I was being greeted at the door by Sandi the dog and all the cats!  A welcome cup of tea, then we set off to the supermarket so that I could buy some bits and pieces in, such as my gluten free bread and cereals etc, then we all spent the night watching Prometheus on Blue Ray which I had taken there with me so that they could watch it.

Tomorrow, they planned to take me to the Kelvingrove Art Museum, so I was really looking forward to that!

TG

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An enjoyable run-around.

Yesterday we went on one of our much missed run arounds. We haven’t been doing any since my operation in February. As it was such a glorious sunny day, we decided it was about time we did another one, if only to see how Bradford has changed since our last visit there. Beginning with the usual bus ride to Bradford, where we noticed that the route the bus used to take in order to arrive at the Interchange had now been blocked off to make a pedestrian precinct in front of the Town Hall. On arriving at the Interchange we proceeded to walk towards Forster Square. The area previously intended for a new shopping centre has temporarily been made into a park of some sort. Hmm. Lack of money apparently.

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A day out in York.

Right outside the Railway Museum, you can board a road train which transports you to the Minster. As K is always reluctant to walk and I needed to reserve my energy, we gladly took advantage and boarded it to ride to the Minster. It only costs £2 per adult, so well worth it, and unlike our previous trip on a road train in Bridlington, there were no wet seats or rain lashing into the carriages either! On arriving at the stop outside the Minster, I gazed up to see it peeking through the summer clothed trees. I think its the very first time I have been able to take pictures of York Minster in glorious sunshine!

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Off on a lone adventure.

When I got up this morning, I should have been busy tidying up the flat and doing some ironing.  I say should have because the moment I looked out of the window at the glorious October blue sky, and urged on by one of my blogging friends I threw caution to the winds, thought ‘Dang it!’ (or words to that effect) and armed with my trusty camera, set off on a lone adventure to who knows where.  I had no idea where I would end up, I did have some letters to post so that quest would have to feature in which direction I took, but as for the rest I would let fate decide where I eventually was to land up by catching the train. So whichever train arrived first, I would venture there.  This glorious October weather was far too good to waste!

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The Trouble with buses……..

A bus waits to sail past us... How is it that every time we go to catch a bus we have either just missed one, see loads of buses going past us in the opposite direction to the one that we want to go, or worse, the one that we desperately need to catch misses? You can guarantee the bus incidents above will occur every time we set off to go somewhere,  and if I were a gambling Gran I would be tempted to place bets on the following occurrences,

     We complete our shopping at precisely 10.15am or alternatively 10.45am which coupled with the fact that it takes approximately 5 minutes to walk to the bus station means that we arrive just in time to see our bus leave and go sailing off into the distance.

    We land down at the bottom of the ‘cat steps’ (after just missing the bus that circumvents our estate) only to see the alternative bus sailing off into the distance which inevitably means a half an hour wait whilst other buses, namely the limited stop bus going in the direction in which we want to travel, but which doesn’t happen to stop where we are patiently waiting, goes sailing past us and is usually accompanied by lot’s of other buses also sailing past us heading in the opposite direction and which (you can guarantee) if WE were waiting for would undoubtedly be none existent.

    When we stand waiting patiently for our bus (the one following the one that we saw disappearing into the wide blue yonder as we arrived at the bus station after a shopping trip) another bus inevitably pulls up at our stand a few minutes prior to the expected arrival of our bus, thereby blocking the ability of our bus to pull into said stand at the allotted time in order to pick passengers up, and so our bus departs without us leaving us all  once again watching it go sailing off into the distance.

Buses waiting to sail away See a pattern emerging here dear readers?  I really believe that my daughter and I must be the unluckiest bus passengers in the whole of the country! Perhaps someone has placed a  curse on us to endure a life of eternal bus stop waiting or perhaps we should try a spot of sailing instead.  After all, we spend most of our time watching buses sail away into the distance!

TG   

Footnote.  If any of you are wondering why I haven’t been posting on here of late, its because my ‘everyday diary’ posts are now going to my alternative blog site at http://technograns.blogspot.com.

Why? Because I can use  some brilliant themes over there and also there is less spam as well (although its harder to comment.)

Of course I can post to both at the same time using writer and so I might continue to do that ( whilst remembering to disable the twitter plug in for one of them of course!) I will keep posting on here until such time as we know the impending fate of Spaces in the Wave 4 updates and therefore whether or not our blogs are to get some kind of Facelift.

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To Carlisle and back again, with Oliver Cromwell.

As always we were up with the larks yesterday, ready for our journey by steam up to Carlisle. J arrived in time, and we then set off by taxi to Leeds railway station. This wasn’t by choice by the way but by necessity, seeing as because we were journeying on a Sunday there were no trains running to Leeds at that time in a morning from our station. On arriving at Leeds J and K had a breakfast in McDonalds, (I had already eaten mine at home) and then we made our way onto platform 8 to wait for the train to arrive.  There were lot’s of other passengers waiting for it as well.

Bit blurred but I was excited! Eventually the Oliver Cromwell came steaming into Leeds station. We were stood at a spot on the platform where we thought our carriage (J) would stop as usually the carriages are in an order of A, B, C behind the engine with  the lower letters usually coming at the back of the train, but when the train arrived our carriage was next but one to the engine, so we had to sprint down the platform in order to board.  We made ourselves comfortable, J and K with their backs to the engine, and myself  facing forwards (although this seating arrangement changed during the coarse of the journey.)

Then we were off! With a whistle and a puff of steam, the Cumbrian Mountain Express pulled by the Oliver Cromwell and consisting of 12 coaches, departed Leeds City Railway station precisely on time. The weather wasn’t too bad when we began our journey,  but it did become misty and cloudy as we joined the Settle-Carlisle railway  and so visibility over the Yorkshire Dales from the train was somewhat hampered by this. I tried to take lot’s of photos through the window and had planned to take some from one of the carriage doors with the window down so that the resulting shot wasn’t hampered by the reflection and dirt on the glass, but I had to abandon that idea seeing as most of the train enthusiasts on board were stood at the doors  poking their heads out so that they could see the entire train and wearing huge goggles to stop the soot and grit going in their eyes. (and J refers to me as sad!)

We all pile back on board

We were all allowed a short break at Appleby whilst the engine took on water, in fact we had two water stops on the way up to Carlisle. The engineers on board use a water tube (similar to the ones that firemen use to get water) and they then laid  it out along the platform to the engine from a water wagon parked at the station. It gave us all a chance to stretch our legs and take some more pictures of the Oliver Cromwell. (although you are hard pressed to get a shot of it without also getting other passengers in, as they all clamour around for a photograph stood in front of it.)

A window with a view. from the train. It’s a wonderful train journey to make, the scenery is absolutely  breathtaking and I would have loved to have taken  more pictures from the train than I  did, but I wasn’t sure how they would turn out because the windows were none too clean, and the further on we journeyed the more the visibility outside worsened. You couldn’t make out the furthest hills and mountains at all, and I still intend to do this journey when the weather is fine so that I can really appreciate it all.

Eventually we arrived in Carlisle on platform 3. We three ran quickly to the front to get some shots of the engine before anyone else was st0od in front of it, then we made our way out of the station. We hadn’t much time. Just under three hours isn’t long enough to see everything, so we fairly quickly made our way to Carlisle Castle and after buying our entrance tickets, (thank goodness K is a member of the Heritage Trust!) we made our way to the keep. Some of you will no doubt remember that K and I had visited the keep at Carlisle Castle keep during our last trip there but it was still enjoyable to look around it all again. Of course there were plenty of K’s favourite stairs to negotiate but she didn’t complain and tackled them without the usual moans and groans. (mind you, after the York Minster tower climb she did, these would seem like a piece of cake!)

J and the 'cursing stone' He is six foot tall! After exiting the castle gate, we returned via the under the road concourse so that J could see the cursing stone there and all the other interesting things that line the walls.  J wanted to look around the shopping precinct and so we then spent a boring time following him around as he went into different clothes shops. *sigh* (For those readers who may not know this, J is a nightmare to shop with!  He will go in a shop with little idea of what he is looking for, look at just about every garment they have on display, including a detailed examinations of it, the price etc, move on, same again, repeat, out of that shop, into another, repeat, etc, etc, whilst a bored and fed up Mum and sister look on.)

He usually ends up buying nothing, and as in this instance we were ‘clock watching’ into the bargain, K and I spent the majority of this time sighing and rolling our eyes at each other in the usual manner that we do whenever we happen to find ourselves in this unfortunate situation. We try and avoid if if at all possible. Eye-rolling

Oh no! Not another shop! Besides which we hadn’t come here to shop! On top of that, my back was giving me jip again. Eventually he sauntered into a branch of HMV where he purchased some CD’s which of course he could have easily bought at home in one of our branches. *Sigh*  We began to retrace our steps back to the Railway Station, and on the way, walked through the market where K bought a Hog sandwich with stuffing’ (I had a taste and it was absolutely delicious!) and I foolishly was tempted by a stall selling marshmallow kebabs which consisted of five or six white and pink marshmallows all on a stick which were then covered in hot chocolate sauce! It was absolutely fantastic as you twirled your ‘kebab’ in the chocolate sauce, and apparently according to J, I ended up with chocolate all over my face at this point (he didn’t take a photo of me in this state though which in hindsight was a shame)

I suffered for it afterwards though as by the time we boarded the train for the journey home I was feeling quite sick.  Oh well, I always make a point of buying or eating something whilst visiting a place that I can’t get at home, and we certainly don’t have marshmallow kebabs around here! On arrival at platform 4 from where our train was to depart, we could see it being pulled into position by the Oliver Cromwell. Then the engine had to be unhooked from the carriages,  reverse out so that they could return back down to the other end ready for the return journey. I tried to capture all of this manoeuvre on my camera,  but as always others were stood in the way intent on doing the same thing.

Oliver Cromwell stitch

Once the engine was hooked up to the front, we all piled on again.  By now the weather had let us down as it was raining, and for the remainder of the return journey it rained consistently. It also became quite dark as well. K and I shared a bottle of wine (J didn’t want any) and actually he spent most of the return journey standing at one of the nearby doors with his head stuck out watching the train. Funnily enough, he didn’t end up with a black face as most tend to do, but we were at the far end from the engine so maybe that was why.

When we arrived back at Leeds, we had quite a wait for our train home, and so J sauntered off for a smoke outside the station whilst K and I had a toilet and then sat down on a bench to wait. As it was the Leeds Festival there were lots of youngsters walking around the station in high spirits so there was much shouting and raucous laughter going on. I was glad when the driver and conductor arrived and we were on our way to be honest.  I was feeling really tired and longing to get home to bed.

It was 23.00pm by the time we landed at our station, so we hailed a taxi for the rest of the journey home. J admitted that he had been disappointed in Carlisle, and wished that we had gone up to Edinburgh instead. (he was given the choice) So we will probably plump for Edinburgh next time we go ‘up north’

TG More pictures of our journey from Leeds to Carlisle HERE. p.s don’t forget to click on the blue hyperlinks for more info will you? Enjoy!

A Step too far in York

On Saturday we set off for another visit to York. We had originally intended to visit Fountains Abbey near Ripon but as I couldn’t seem to find a way to get there via public transport, that idea had been quickly abandoned, and we decided to return to York which is one of our favourite venues for a day out. Besides which, K wanted to push J forward as a volunteer in the Yorkshire Dungeon when the lady torturer asked for someone to demonstrate all her torture equipment on. So I booked the tickets online and then picked them up on Friday from the FastTicket machine.

That's where complaining gets you! Saturday morning arrived, it was dull but warm, and we set off full of high spirits to catch the bus to take us to Huddersfield train station for our train to York. Our tickets were reserved on coach B, seats 31,32 and 36. The train arrived, we boarded coach B to find some people sitting in our allocated seats. There were no reservation cards in the seats either. Some gentleman sat opposite insisted that they too had reserved their seats but had to sit wherever they could! Huh? Excuse me! A reserved seat means that you are guaranteed to sit together in that particular seat! Someone obviously hadn’t done their job properly and you know me by now, I know my rights!

Leaving J (who had his ‘oh God no! My mothers starting again! She has her ‘thunder’ face on!) sat sheepishly in the first seat he saw, K and I marched down the train to find the conductor. He was in his room right at the end. I knocked and he came out and examined my tickets and the reservation numbers. “Come with me” he said. Hmm. How was he going to handle this delicate situation? Turf them out of our reserved seats? Or (as I secretly hoped) seat us in First Class?  We marched back up the train following him. He reached the folks sat in our reserved seats. Saw that there were no reservation tickets in the back. Asked me how many of us there were. Beckoned us to follow him and for my pains and complaints we ended up in spending the rest of the journey sat in First Class!  It was obvious what had happened. When a train arrives at the end of its journey and is cleaned and tidied for its return journey, all reservation tickets are usually placed in the correct holders at the back of each seat. Some dickhead had not done this.  So all those passengers with reserved seats who meekly got on the train and when they saw that someone was sat in their seats, they just sat elsewhere were idiots in  my opinion! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the passengers fault who sat down in those seats, it was the fault of Transpennine Express staff not doing their job properly!

SNC12506 We soon arrived at York station after a very comfortable journey where J finally admitted that it paid to complain as he  had so enjoyed lowering his first class seat to reclining position and generally had made the most of our situation. Whilst K and I had a toilet break, he waltzed off for a smoke outside the station as he usually does, then we went and booked some tickets for York dungeon from the travel office. We then walked from the station towards the Minster, our first intended port of call. On the way there, we decided to take a walk around the Museum Gardens nearby where the ruins of an old hospital and Abbey are to be found. Here J made a firm friend of a squirrel. A kind lady gave him some cashew nuts to give to the squirrels and he then spent the next hour coaxing a squirrel to eat out of his hand whilst I took a picture of the whole proceedings! Meanwhile poor K had to just patiently wait.

Eventually after a lifetime of ‘clucking and coaxing’ with me trying to get a good picture, we left the park and continued on towards the Minster. If ever you visit York, you MUST take in York Minster. It is a sight to be seen, you can’t really do the building justice with your camera simply because you can’t get its vastness in one shot. We went inside and decided to partake of the ‘Do Everything’ visit which allows you to go up the  Central Tower, visit the Undercroft and the Crypts as well as the general walk around the vast Mister itself.  And it was here where I made my biggest mistake.  I must have left my brains outside because I completely forgot that K has bother with spiral staircases in ancient buildings. We were warned that the climb was not suitable for certain categories of people to take, namely anyone with breathing difficulties i.e hay fever (step forward youngest son who is chock a block with his hay fever) anyone with heart problems (cough!) or anyone who suffered vertigo or a fear of heights.

York Mister from the Central tower climb We began the ascent with K in front. 275 spiral steps. Most of them very steep and narrow. K bravely soldiered on with J behind her and myself bringing up the rear of our trio. At first it wasn’t too bad, but by the time we reached the half way point, which brings you out onto a small narrow walkway on one of the roofs of the Minster, K was beggared. She rested and had a drink. Then we began the last leg of the climb. Hmm. What had I been thinking of dragging poor K up here?  We plodded on.  Now I began to really panic because she came to a point where she said that she couldn’t go on and would have to go back. Of course we couldn’t do that because there were others behind us coming up and anyway there was no way that you could pass to go back down. J was brilliant here. He and I coaxed her to just take another step. ‘We’re nearly there!’ he kept telling her despite the fact that all you could see above your head was the continuation of spiral steps!

What sort of uncaring mother was I? How thoughtless to expect my poor Down’s Syndrome daughter to climb 275 spiral steps up the Central Tower of York Minster! I felt awful to be honest. Eventually we emerged at the top where there were seats provided, and K sat down with a drink and a well earned rest. The return journey down was absolutely no problem for her but it was with some relief to all three of us when we landed on terra firmer again I can assure you! My legs were so tired they were shaking as we made our way around the rest of the Minster. We had a short break outside before looking around the Undercroft (well a smoke break actually for J). K made friends with a huge St Bernard dog who she insisted was Beethoven. (from the film.)

Please all ignore the sweat pouring from my daughers brow!

By the time that we finally ended our tour of the Minster it was time for some dinner so we made our way to McDonalds and from there we then found our way to the York Dungeon. I couldn’t take any photographs in there but they have now introduced a new feature where you all get a photo taken as you start the tour of the Dungeon. One of you has to position yourself in the stocks whilst another pretends to be the executioner with the axe. So we all ‘hammed’ it up for this picture before negotiating the dungeon itself.  This time, K clung onto J instead of me as she went round. At the same time she had her hands over her ears so that she couldn’t hear the blood curdling screams. Again, i would encourage anyone visiting London, York or Edinburgh to visit the dungeons, it really is good fun. The staff in these places really do ‘ham it up’ as they walk about with pretend blood all over their faces, dishevelled hair, costumes and big stary eyes! J thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing!

Oh no! Not much progress at all! Flying Scotsman By the time that we emerged from there it was about 16.00pm and we still hadn’t visited the Railway Museum! So we made our way back to the train station (the railway museum is right next door) so that I could check up on my beloved Flying Scotsman to see just what progress had been made. I was to be bitterly disappointed though as it turned out that it still looks exactly the same as it did last year on my last visit! They are now asking for more donations as replacing the boiler and all the other necessary work has cost a great deal more than envisaged previously. I will try and send something to help. It is supposed to be back doing the Scarborough run next year, but……………its not looking too good at the moment!

We had some tea. Well should I say K and J had a Burger King meal each sat on the platform at York waiting for our train home and I just had a cup of tea.  I did have a few of K’s chips and one or two of her chicken bites that she offered to me, as usual J offered me zilch. This despite the fact that we had bought him two t-shirts in York because the one that he was wearing had a hole under the armpit causing him to have to keep his jacket on in the heat of the day! It was quite pleasant sitting on the platform cooling down as we waited. Soon our train pulled in and we clambered on board.

Cross country train arriving at York Station.

The journey back was very uneventful. Our seats were this time correctly ticketed and reserved and J and K both nodded off for most of the journey, so I spent the entire time gazing out of the window at the lovely scenery. On arrival in Huddersfield, we walked up to the bus station and were soon home. Our legs were already beginning to ache. K took a shower as soon as she could, I had acquired a rather nice blister on my left foot which really was painful, but we had enjoyed a wonderful day. I was full of praise for K and how she had battled on up those stairs! Is she the only Downs Syndrome person to attempt and do that climb I wonder? Does she deserve a certificate of endeavour! You bet! More pictures HERE.

TG smile_regular

Back up to Scotland……………the journey home.

Glasgow Central train station On the Monday morning the day of my imminent departure I was washed, dressed, breakfast eaten, tablets taken, everything checked and re-checked ready and waiting at 09.00am!  The grandchildren were also up and getting themselves ready for school and after their breakfast they bid me a fond farewell.  Hmm.  Now I was waiting around. Twiddling my thumbs until C and C were ready to take me to Glasgow railway station. I hate waiting but I tried to keep myself occupied.  After all I reasoned to myself, the journey up had gone without a hitch so what could possibly go wrong with the return journey?

We set off from my son’s house at roughly about 10.45am. As it turned out, it was a good job that they decided to allow extra time for the journey because when we hit Erskine Bridge, we became part of a traffic jam that seemed to go on and on for miles in front of us.  I was sat on the back seat trying vainly to keep myself calm and collected. We were reduced to a crawl.  My son kept trying to reassure me. “Don’t worry Mum, we have plenty of time.”

At last we reached the outskirts of Glasgow and finally pulled up and parked inside the station. I had intended to buy a magazine in W.H.Smiths to read on the long journey home, but as it was now 11.40am I decided to go and find the platform which my train was due to depart from first and as it was already in and you could board it, I did just that.  Of course my coach was the furthest down the platform right at the far end so we had to walk all the way down.  C carried my suitcase on for me and placed it in the luggage rack, and I was pleased to see that my reserved seat was right next to it thereby enabling me to keep my beady eye on my suitcase easily.

We said our fond farewells and C and C then departed because they could only park up in the station for free as long as it is only for 20 minutes. The train wasn’t particularly busy and there were plenty of empty seats on board.  At precisely 11.50am we set off. I had some drinks with me, but when the trolley arrived I bought a cup of tea. The journey across Scotland was fairly uneventful and we were soon pulling into Edinburgh.  Ahh, now the best part of the journey!  Down the East coast line!  Hmm, I was again sat on the opposite side of the coach to where the fantastic views of the coastline was to be seen out of the windows!  Oh well, I would just have to strain and look across!  No one came to sit next to me for the entire journey so I could place my bag on the seat beside me rather than have to have it on my lap which was nice, although a young man did sit in my seat when I made a quick visit to the toilet but he quickly vacated it on my return.

National Express train from Glasgow to London It was a very pleasant journey so far running through the beautiful countryside and looking over at the coastline on the left.  Eventually we reached Darlington.  As we were stopped at the station, the train manager gave out an announcement that there had been a ‘lightening strike’ at York causing massive signal failure, therefore we were ‘being held’ at Darlington for the time being. We must await further announcements. We must have been stationary there for about 15 to 20 minutes before we were informed that we had to move out of Darlington  Station to make way for other trains to arrive, and were therefore being diverted to another route until such time as the signalling problems were sorted out at York.  Hmm.  This meant that obviously I would miss my connection at York, but we were all assured by the train staff that all tickets (including Advance tickets) would be honoured because of course this was out of our control.

Funnily enough throughout all this Technogran remained remarkably calm!  No panic attack, no hyperventilating!  I remained unmoved by it all sat in my cosy seat by myself!  Wow!  What a difference from Friday when I had been like a cat on a hot tin roof!  So we moved out of Darlington and slowly travelled along until the next announcement over the tannoy proclaimed that we had no need to divert as the signal problems had now been fixed, so we then continued into York station.  As I alighted from the train there was a member of the station staff on the platform so I asked her where I could now catch the  next train to Leeds. She told me which platform to head for (over the concourse) but didn’t inform me that the train I subsequently boarded was the slow train to Leeds!  We must have stopped at every station from York to Leeds with the result that by the time I finally arrived at Leeds it was 17.10pm!

York Railway stationBlast!  Just in time for Leeds Railway station rush hour when everyman, woman and child in Yorkshire needs to leave Leeds by train!  Then everything deteriorated into a bit of a farce to be honest and really spoiled the whole journey.  On the platform there were at least a thousand passengers (slight exaggeration I know, but it seemed like that) waiting for our train which always consists of just two carriages only no matter what time of day it departs and how many passengers are likely to be boarding.  How much does it cost a train company to put on an extra carriage?  Or at peak times even employ two more carriages?  When the train pulled in it was a mad free for all and every man, woman and granny for themselves, and its at times like this that I HATE not looking my age!  Don’t forget, I was complete with suitcase to lug on board as well.  I stashed that in the luggage rack with the help of a very nice lady  who I had previously struck up a conversation with on the platform  whilst waiting for the train to arrive. (You really had no choice but to strike up a conversation with the person next to you because we were all stood waiting on the platform crammed next to each other like sardines in a tin,  AND she was from my home town, so it would have been very difficult not be become rather more chatty than one would normally!  Anyway we are by nature a talkative lot who reside in our town even without an excuse!)

Exiting Leeds stationMost of us were all having to stand it the aisle.  I glared at anyone sat down who was obviously younger than me. (So that meant just about everyone.)  We were already late as well. This train SHOULD have departed Leeds at 17.13pm hours.  Suddenly a member of the station staff poked her head into the train doors further down, said something to the passengers which were stood near the door. Word of mouth became very handy here or should I say Chinese whispers, because suddenly the passengers near to the door where she had appeared all began getting off the train!  What was going on?

”We’re all on the wrong train!” someone said so  we all  informed one another by passing the message on, (nice of the staff to let us all know wasn’t it) and so I quickly grabbed my suitcase from the luggage rack and joined the milling throng scurrying along the platform to another waiting train further down (still only consisting of two carriages by the way)  Huffing and puffing with some curses thrown in for good measure, we all again repeated the process as before by packing ourselves onto this other train.  It then finally departed Leeds approximately 25 to 30 minutes late!  No announcement, apology or explanation was forthcoming either.  Hmm.  Leeds Station is getting rather lax of late in my opinion!

I didn’t manage to grab a seat until Dewsbury.  What an end to my Scotland visit!  Surely nothing else could go wrong?  WRONG!  On eventually arriving at our little station the heavens opened and it absolutely  poured down!  This is when I discovered to my horror that my ‘roll up’ raincoat is NOT waterproof!  I just might as well not have worn it for all the good it did. I was fed up by the time my suitcase and I rumbled into the town centre,  and one of the taxi guys spotted me struggling along pulling my suitcase and looking like a wet dishcloth, so he waited for me and I gratefully tumbled wet and bedraggled into the taxi for the ride home.  What a day!  I was exhausted by the time I entered the flat. I rang C to let him know that I had now reached home and also rang K as well.

It had been a wonderful few days up in Scotland seeing my eldest son and his family and visiting such wonderful places, but it was also nice to arrive home even if I had ended up soaking wet!

TG smile_sad

Back up to Scotland……..A wet visit to Loch Long

 

Long Loch,Scotland
Long Loch,Scotland

On the Sunday after our breakfast, my son informed me that he was taking me to see a Loch which surpassed any views that we had seen so far.

Wait Mum until you see the scenery and views, its spectacular!” so we all piled into the car for the journey there. Again it was quite a drive, and reminded me very much of the drive we made last year when we went to Stirling Castle. Mountains and moors, the long and winding road but unfortunately the rain began to come down, and by the time that we reached Loch Long it was absolutely pelting down!

I took a few photographs by winding down the window of the car which wasn’t ideal and it really spoiled the visit somewhat. I was treating everyone (including C’s mum who we therefore needed to collect) to a meal at the Stonefield (some of you will no doubt remember me raving about this place on our last visit because we had a carvery meal where you could have as much as you wanted for just £3.50 or thereabouts)  As it was a Sunday the carvery was actually more expensive this time at about £6.50 per person, but still good value in my eyes.

Taken from the car window in the rain!

A quick consultation and it was decided by my son and C that we would make our way to the Lomond Shores retail park at Ben  Lomond way where at least if it was still raining there was plenty to do and see, so we then set off to drive there. Funnily enough, by the time we reached it the rain had stopped and the sun  was shining! After parking the car, we all went to admire the view across the Loch and also spot all the fish swimming there.  Then I sauntered  over to a shoe and bag shop which was handily placed just behind where we were standing.  They had some lovely sandals outside in the sale and despite the fact that the size was stated to be only a 4, I could tell they would fit me. They had been reduced from nearly £40.00d to £19.99d. I tried them on and they fit me perfectly so I bought them as my other summer sandals are now on their last legs and have acquired some large holes in the soles.

Nearby were some trampolines with some ‘bungee jumping’ from them, so the grandchildren both went on there and we had a sit down and rest whilst we watched them. It became quite warm as the sun shone, and  I  had now seen first hand just how changeable  the weather can be around those parts of Scotland where my son and his family live. Soon it was time to leave so that we could go and collect C’s Mum and then journey to the Stonefield for our dinner.

By the time we reached the Stonefield and chose our meals, it was so warm that we all decided to sit outside at one of the tables to eat it. I had turkey for my dinner with lots of  vegetables and some new potatoes. It was delicious!  That was all washed down with some White Zinfandel wine which has now become a firm favourite with me.  We all really enjoyed it. The children finished off with some ‘sticky toffee pudding’ which they love from there. Then we all returned to C and C’s and ended up sat out in the garden drinking some more wine.  We did hear some thunder whilst we were sat out and it did keep trying to ‘spit’ a little but thankfully we didn’t suffer another downpour. To say that before I had arrived up there it has said it would rain for the duration of my visit, I think we did pretty well weather wise!

It was a lovely day, only spoiled by the rain that we encountered over at Long Loch.  I shall have to keep my fingers crossed that if we ever return there in the future it stays brighter next time .

TG  smile_teeth

Back up to Scotland…Largs and the Isle of Cumbrae

 

Our day out in Largs and the Isle of Cumbrae
Our day out in Largs and the Isle of Cumbrae

On the Saturday it was my eldest son’s birthday, so it began with the opening of cards, much merriment by everyone, gentle hints dropped about a ‘golf driver’ in my general  direction, and a trip to the supermarket for some bits and pieces for me to eat during my short stay.  The itinery planned for that day was a trip to Largs and then a ferry trip over to the Island of Cumbrae. Once everyone was showered, breakfasted and dressed, we set off for the drive to Largs.

I was informed that it was a ‘seaside’ type of place, and I was exited to see it as I have often thought that this was probably where the Large family originated from. It was quite a drive to get there, but the weather held up despite the fact that rain had been forecast for the entire duration of my stay, we hadn’t experienced any yet, and it was quite warm as well.  Once we arrived at Larg  my son tried to get his car into the car park right on the front but it was full, so we had to park in a side street away from the front.

By the time that we finally strolled along the promenade it was nearly dinner time, and a quick conference took place, where C and C decided that we would have some dinner first and then go across via the ferry to the Isle of Cumbrae.  So we all made our way to a ‘fish and chip’ shop on the front where I ordered some chicken and chips (not really my cup of tea, but all that I could have) and then we sat on the front promenade to eat it whilst watching the ferries come and go. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the temperature was just right, and we had lots of admirers around us in the form of lots and lots of seagulls!  There were lots of prominent notices everywhere warning you not to feed them so we didn’t, but they did come very close, one was right behind us and they are very big in size.  I actually quite enjoyed the meal and the views at the dining table were fabulous!

The ferry picks up passengers

After placing any left over food carefully in the bins provided so’s not to encourage the seagulls, we then made our way over to the ferry where we paid our fare.  C had decided to take the car over as well, so I paid for us and they paid for the car. He went to fetch it from where it was parked and we all clambered in and then drove onto the ferry. Once we were correctly parked up, we all piled out and went up on the deck for the journey across. It was fabulous going across and I took the opportunity to take some great pictures of them all stood on the deck. It didn’t take all that long for us to arrive on the Island, and we were soon driving off and beginning a wonderful journey around one of the most picturesque places I have ever visited.

Everyone and I mean everyone on this small island use pedal bikes to get around, and I fully understood why. The road which circulates the island is only narrow, if another car or vehicle is coming the other way you have to slow right down and pull over somewhat to get past one another.  Families were out in abundance on their bikes (there was a hire shop right where the ferry deposits its passengers) there were bikes pulling small ‘pod type’ containers for the very small children and toddlers, tandem type bikes, every imaginable type of pedal bikes were being fully utilised by the visitors to this lovely little island.   Everyone went at such a leisurely pace.  Every so often there was a lay-by area where you could pull in and get out to explore and my two grandchildren were in their element!  They had purchased a fishing net over in Largs and this was put to very good use as my granddaughter explored around the many rocks next to the shore.  She caught a jellyfish first of all and brought it to show us, and later she caught a small crab and some more jellyfish.

Finding interesting things amongst the rocks

I walked along the rocks taking pictures and when it was time to move on somewhere else, instead of walking back the same way I had come across the tops of the visible rocks, I made the big mistake of trying to return by walking straight up from the spot where I was to the road with the result that I nearly fell into all the numerous potholes that were invisible to the eye amongst the grass.  It was really tough going trying to make any headway, and I was absolutely beggared by the time I finally reached the car!  Hmm. That’ll teach me to go wandering off on my own!  Next stop was a restaurant where the children and I enjoyed an ice cream as we sat at one of the many provided picnic table enjoying the sunshine and the fantastic views.

The next stop in our circular tour of the Island was the town of Millport and the grandchildren quickly made a bee line for the beach once we had parked up.  R went paddling in the sea without rolling up his trousers so of course they ended up soaking wet through and had to be taken off before he could get back into the car. C and C sat on the beach, but I had a stroll along it to take some pictures of two seagulls who were sunning themselves on a rock.  You could see more islands far out to sea from this beach and I think that one of them was the island of Arran which I would love to visit sometime.  Eventually it was time to leave and we set off to complete the circular tour around the rest of the island and then wait for the ferry to take us back across to Larg.

It was an absolutely wonderful place to visit or even stay for a holiday and I was so glad that  C and C had decided to take me there.  The weather was just right, the children were in their element, yes, I certainly would recommend anyone to give Larg and the Island of Cumbrae a visit!

TG smile_regular