'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menoffagainorrhoea; Away From The Hutch

No Menokakkuls today as we are having fun in Blogville this Friday. Instead...

A couple weeks back, Li'l Ren, newly polished, prodded and pumped, was given a big test. A journey to Carlisle in Cumbria, South of the border with the Bonny Land... but not by much.

Jess is the honoured stuffy on this trip!
It was a spontaneous trip, prompted by me ol' pal Aitch** suggesting we hook up as she was to be in the North East of England for a couple of weeks to visit with her family. Not much prompting was needed mind you! It has been two years since we last met face to face, so it was well due. I found a guest house in the city and let her know and within the space of 24 hours we were both booked from opposites ends of these isles!!!

Ren carried me Southwards on a Monday of murk. The weather has not been grand all summer, but this was particularly filthy. We took the 'scenic' coastal drive but could see very little as visibility was severely curtailed. It made for interesting but very long and tiring driving.

In Carlisle, we found our way to the guest house with only a couple of wrong turns. The streets are narrow, cobbled and picturesque. Parking a bit tricky. However, we were warmly welcomed by the owner and she kept us right. The room was YAM-sized. Tiny. All one needed for a short stay though. Thank goodness that there were two windows though and I could get a flow of air, because the claustrophobia did bubble a bit! (I so rarely have an attack these days, due to careful planning, that it took a while to figure out that was what was causing peculiar tummy jiggles!) The bed was a tad too soft for me, but a) the floor space was insufficient even for this wee figure and b) the floor space was not the cleanest and most inviting I have ever seen... so put up with it.

Yup, you're seeing correctly. The bed JUST fits in and it was a short bed at that, being only six feet. I am taking the photo with my back merged into the opposite wall.

Jess thought it was fine.

The whole place was a bit 'tired', but the owner Kelly was so vibrant and full of proper intention to get the place up to scratch (she's only had it a year) that a lot could be forgiven. That and the fact that her breakfasts were five star!

That evening, I took myself along the short distance to the cinemas and watched "Dunkirk". A thoroughly worthy film. Wandering back along Botchergate, (the name of the street - but one could not help thinking that much of it was 'botched', for the lack of maintenance of very old buildings and the overlay of modern stuff trying to disguise it, made for a really rundown look and feel), went in search of food. It was peculiar, a couple of places which had appealing veggie offerings were either up a pile of stairs or closed, there were pizza places every second or third shop, none of which looked at all inviting... and then, right opposite the guest house, was the Gurkha Spicy take-out. In I went and ordered veggie pasanda and a side of aloo channa with rice. Back in the room I proceeded to feast. It was scrumptious!!!

Jess peers over the hedge at the old buildings in the rain.
Up bright and early for a plateful of scrambled eggs and toast, then into Ren to travel about 20 minutes to meet up with Aitch. It was wet and misty, but mild and still worth visiting Lanercost Priory and church.

We first had a cuppa in the cafe and assessed the situation, deciding it was okay enough to walk around - with brollies - and that we would then come back into the cafe and have lunch before heading back to Carlisle to get her booked in to her room.

You'll gather, if you read the info board, that we were on the West end of the country-dividing Hadrian's Wall ... (if you click that link, you will find a fine map of the area. Lanercost is a little above the place called Brampton, to the right of Carlisle). It is ever in Man's history to keep 'the other' out. Sigh...

We did not have the time to do any wall-trawling (but that is in our future we feel!), however, the important thing to note is that a great many of the ancient buildings in the area, particularly the religious ones, made use of available resources and 'upcycled' stone from the wall! This wall to the left displays very clearly the Roman stone. The way it is cut and carved is very distinctive and one's eye became quite adept at recognising it among younger stuff. Not all of it survived as was though, often being 'redressed' by later stone-workers.

The ruins of the priory are quite small and a fair bit of it open to the elements; Jess was having trouble staying dry. It didn't help that she kept jumping out of the safety of my satchel. Typical collie.

There are lots of photos, of course, so there will be more in the Tuesday slots for a few weeks. Jess, though, would like to share with you two poignant parts; first a huge interment kist for an important family of the area... and then a small monument kist for a child of a later generation of that family, who was much loved but was only four months old on leaving her body again.

It is a rather fine piece of sculpting, but grows in its worth for the love and loss behind it.

You will have noted by now, that Fudge was having trouble with the lighting. The rain may have been there, but so was the sun up behind and it made things very, very glary. Played havoc with exposures. You can also make out that dampness is a fairly constant factor here, by the verdigris nature of the stones!

Anyway, we continued then into the still functioning part of the building - the church. There was gregorian chant playing over the speakers and the atmosphere was one of peace and rest. For the keen historians among you, King Edward 1 was strongly linked to the priory, having rested for some time here during an illness. There is a window to commemorate it.

This plaque explained the layout of the original priory... I hope you can biggify and study it for yourselves. If it's the kinda thing which rings your bell, anyway!

There was, of course, much lovely stained glass, too.

At one point, there is the place of request, where a candle can be lit and a prayer request made. Jess and I put light to a candle (in the middle) and asked that the congregation join our fervent prayer for commonsense in the political world and softeness of heart in the wider society, that all who are suffering may find some succour and that all may know the capital 'ell' Love...

Our lunch at the cafe was most enjoyable; Aitch had the cottage pie with steamed veg and I had the Mac'n'cheese with salad - it was a cut above the ordinary as the cheese was strong and sharp and mature. Yum. We did try to locate a geocache nearby, but it eluded us. Piling back into our cars, I showed the way to the accommodations and explained the peculiar parking arrangements. Once all was settled, we set out on foot into the city centre - only about a kilometre.

Tell you about that tomorrow...😊

**for newbies, Aitch is a friend from school days; she said it was okay to say her name is actually Hilary - but I didn't have her permission when I first began blogging, so opted for the standard 'false name' privacy thing. So here at Menoblog, Aitch she is!


  1. YaYa that was a very very tiny room. My word. I"m surprised Jess had room to wiggle into his sleeping corner. I hope you didn't have a rogue shower head like at TRRI in 2016.
    Your photos are very pretty and we are glad you and Aitch/Hilary were able to have a nice visit.BTW how did you come up with Aitch?
    Hugs HiC

    1. Hari oM
      LOL...... cough splutter... oh you made me cackle!!! Only because I deliberately didn't mention that the shower was on it's last legs and was prone to going hot and cold without warning! So yes, it was every bit as rogue as TRRI experience! Nothing wrong with your memory ... as for the name - it is the initial letter of the name, phonetically speaking... Just think HiC; same sort of thing. Yxx

  2. What a fun visit with your friend and love the photos and the stuffed doggie is so cute in the photos ~ which are great ~ thanks ^_^

    (A Shutterbug Explores)

  3. In Kyoto we had the tiniest room. Between the wall and the bed we could barely have a suitcase standing up.

    Carlisle was a stop we made 22 years ago,

  4. Oh boy Jess you sat on stones people touched so many years ago... isn't that fabulous? I always feel connected with the people who built this walls once when I touch old stones....

  5. Such beautiful colours in the sandstone (Permian 'New Red' if I remember rightly) in that part of the world.
    Cheers, Gail.

  6. Jess looks lovely in that pillow pic and that statue of the baby is just so moving! Jess has has alive in the post thanks to the wonderful narration

  7. My sister wants to visit Hadrian's Wall next year, so I had better start taking notes!

    Poor Jess, she looks positively soaked in one shot. I hope she dried off soon and got a nice hot chocolate as a reward...

  8. Such splendid pictures. The stonework is quite wonderful. That may the smallest room I've seen - more Jess size, with no room for you.

  9. Now, my experience has be that spaniels love water so just maybe Jess was jumping on purpose. Your tour blogs are always a treasure to enjoy. namaste, janice xx

  10. What a lovely trip. It's so important to have good friends. I have none here, going through a bit of a crisis. JB's been terrific, dragging me out of the house. As you know, we're only an hour out of Ottawa, but friends are not visiting. sigh. Thanks for listening...


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