'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; Off and Away

Sunday July 1st was as bright and warm as many of the days preceding it. This was some summer. Aitch and I had a quiet morning enjoying it outside early with the 'teenager' sparrows and the already re-courting doves and pigeons. I had packed the night before, so no tension. Other than the fact that case would not have taken even a wafer more (I travel cabin-bag size remember!). I had that, the camp chair from the boot sale and a smaller zipped bag of overflow items. We headed for Stowmarket in time to sit for lunch first. Aitch had chicken three-ways and I had veggie lasagne with some naughty chips. Very delicious it was too and of a size that meant I didn't need to worry about eating for the rest of the day.

Farewells through windows and that were it. The first stretch of the Northwards journey was actually Westwards, as had to get to Peterborough to change trains. The Anglian part was very enjoyable. The hat and I viewed the passing landscape feeling well-pleased with our visit.

Our timing proved to be good, for there had been major delays on the London-North line, so at P'boro' there were crowds of less than happy travellers. I arrived just as things were moving again so my own train was only ten minutes behind schedule. There were varying accounts as to why things had gone awry - but of the three or four versions I heard, the common denominator was the excessive heat. Britain just ain't built for it!

I didn't get the seat I had booked on that part of the trip. Overflow and frayed moods contributed to me, instead, taking an empty seat by a window and hoping that when we got to the place where these folk would get on, that there would be understanding.  Well, as fortune would have it, there was. Two blokes in 'not-lycra' came and looked a little flummoxed till I explained my tale. One of them (let's call him CyclA) quickly said he would squeeze past the man-mountain who was blocking my original booking, leaving his pal (let's call him CyclE) to take the seat opposite me. I softened the impact by showing an interest in their obvious cycling intention. They were planning a ride from Newcastle up to Edinburgh via the coastal road.

Ely Cathedral when not timed properly from the train

Ely Cathedral with better timing

Our conversation flowed smoothly enough thereafter along all sorts of meandering subjects based upon farming, cycling, Edinburgh, Norwich (where they were from)... The train hurtled ever-Northwards at rather an alarming rate.

Durham Cathedral with a bandaged head
I have to confess, this was not the journey of my dreams. Even though it was a first-class carriage, it was so packed, so rattle-and-roll, and actually not at all peaceful, that the glamour of rail travel paled considerably. It felt like the very train itself was disgruntled and totally over having to go up and down the land. Ever time a train came the opposite way, it felt like the windows would blow in, such was the 'THWACK!!!' of air pressure. In the end, the only thing which really made it tolerable was the company of CyclE, so I guess he of the 'not-lycra' was something of a silver lining on this hot and harried day.

Once I'd spotted The Angel of the North, I started to breathe a little easier. Only two hours to go.

Then the bridges of the Tyne signalled our arrival at Newcastle.

A great many years ago, I visited this Northern city, but would certainly like to get to know it again, for much will have changed. Like many cities, it has had 'revival' in places, and it is known for good food. It won't be long till I get the chance, I suppose... when Aitch retires, the plan is for her to shift up here, as it is where her neices live and work.

Top of the list of places to see will be the castle for which the city is named. It is right beside the rail station!

Entering the station

Leaving the station

As we drew away to the North side of the Castle, I was on familiar territory. The trip from here to Edinburgh on the rails is little more than an hour.

I admired the views of the North Sea and the occasional shots fired off were mostly worthless but I had fun anyway. Alnmouth looked pretty in the setting sun (it was now 8 pm) Then Berwick-upon-Tweed rolled by, with its lovely bridges, and there we were in the Bonny Land.

Then came the announcement that - due to heat 😐 - the lifts at Waverley station were out of order. There would be packhorses willing helpers in dayglo jackets ready to lift luggage up for those in need. Aha. At least the queue for the taxi was short enough and the wait only minutes. I was hugging the father by 8:45 and ready for a long hot shower.

I was to spend a few days with the father in Edinburgh to 'download', so in total, I was absent from the Hutch just shy of four weeks. It felt like 87! So much had been done, ground covered and sights seen. There are 800 images to prove it.

It was a truly wonderful time. Sadly, the physical challenge did mean not doing one of the trips I had most anticipated. However, it would have been foolhardy to have pushed myself on that one. It doesn't prevent me wanting to share something of it with you though, as hinted back here. Be back next week...😄


  1. Oh no....that sounds kinda like a big mess after all your careful planning and research that I know you do.
    The photos are lovely though.
    Carol said Sam's luggage got lost. I hope by know it has found its way into his hands
    Hugs HiC

  2. Hello, wonderful views from the train. The last bridge and photo is my favorite. I have not been on a train in years, I guess the last time would be the subway into Washington DC. Enjoy your day and the weekend ahead.

  3. In my nearly twenty years of regular East Coast Line travel from Aberdeen to Newark North Gate, I think I've experienced just about every conceivable challenge. At least you did not have to contend with a lively young WFT slipping his collar and jumping off the train at Newcastle Station. The second photo of Ely Cathedral is impressive. How many times have I tried and failed to get great shots of Durham Cathedral and York Minster from the train!
    Cheers, Gail.

  4. Well, congrats on taking those photos! Ely Cathedral looks absolutely massive and splendid.

    I have only ever been in Newcastle once, for a whole hour and a half. Not even enough time to get a bite to eat once I had walked from the bus parking to the center of town and back! Would love to see. Mind you, I still want to see so many things and I have so little time!!

  5. Hi Yam - well I thought the Ely photo was pretty good ... I have yet to see Ely Cathedral. That east coast line really rattles along - so count your blessings it wasn't a longer trip. Lovely photos and story line ... I'm glad you had a few days in Edinburgh ... cheers Hilary

  6. Despite the trials and tribulations of the ride, it sure looks like you still managed to get some good views for us.

    Mom says she sympathizes with your "full" bag as she struggled to pack Texas J's bag with his PlayStation along with the "too many" clothes his Dad left for him. But she managed - there is always a way to get it all in there:)

    Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  7. I find the red roof interesting.
    Coffee is on

  8. Interesting narrative of your train journey and fantastic pics you've clicked. There're always memorable situations in a train journey.

  9. I love this photos... and it is amazing how much wonderful things of the past are still with us... I hope furever and ever ;O)

  10. the longest I have ever been away from home is 5 days... most of the time it was 1 to 3 days... I am a home body. the thing is when I packed for the 1 to 3 days, my packing was like yours, not even room for a wafer....I always took what I MIGHT need... a whole month away I don't think I could do it... I love seeing your photos, everything is so foreign country. oh Wait! it is a foreign country. I love seeing what you see and sorry the train ride was not what you expected.

  11. What a trip. It would set me back. Thanks for telling your tales!

  12. Fudge did great with those moving shots. Always a challenge as Hubby speeds toward a destination. He says he will turn around so I can get a shot. I am usually too anxious to get on down the road, also, to actually ask him to turn around though I have a time or two.
    namaste, janice xx

  13. You did get to see some amazing sights and glad that your train friend was pleasant to visit with
    Hazel & Mabel


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