Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Promenades are my favourite

After finding our next rental with some difficulty (why is it never easy?) and taking our delicious nap, we set off to walk the mile-long promenade and hopefully pick up some grub for dinner. Grange-over-Sands was originally called the-granary-over-the-sands for its grain mill and it is an unusual town, one that we would like to revisit some day. 
We entered the promenade at the north end.

The grasses are a salt-water marsh. Sheep graze on it and the meat is a rare delicacy. The bay is constantly changing. People visiting Grange-over-Sands a few hundred year ago would cross the bay with the help of a guide from the local monastery. It was a dangerous journey, as the rising tide, quicksands, and swift currents could all be a traveler's undoing, but it was safer than braving the roads that were plagued by highwaymen. You can still cross the bay on certain days of the year with the official guide, but it is dangerous. 
The sea used to come right up to the promenade, but in the early 2000's a buildup of silt caused by the construction of humans provided a base for the grasses. The river also changes its course over the years, depending on prevailing winds and other factors.

This is the railway that was built in 1857 and precipitated the growth of Grange-over-Sands into a busy seaside town.  

It was a perfect evening. The railings had just been painted. I got the impression that they are a point of pride for the town and probably get painted often.

Looking across Morecombe Bay.

Jeff liked this parking sign. The British seem to take good care of their vets.

Lots of places on the promenade beckon the walker to take a closer look.

We left the promenade at the south end and walked into the shopping district to look for a supermarket. We stopped at Higginsons of Grange, an award-winning butcher, and bought some delectable pork chops and seasoned chicken breasts. Then on to the co-op for some veggies and I just happened to see two cream doughnuts marked down to 29p or something ridiculous so I nabbed those as well and ate them swiftly before I had second thoughts about the gluten. 

Back to the promenade to retrace our steps. 

Our host was spending the night looking after grandkids at their house, so we had the house to ourselves. I cooked an easy dinner and we had an early night. We had big plans for hiking the next day. Wonders of the Lake District, here we come!

Monday, November 23, 2015


We had an optimistic plan to participate in a 9-mile hike starting near to Brigsteer, but this was probably the more ambitious plan to go astray of the whole trip. Jeff had been dealing with some aches and pains in his legs and didn't feel up to that long of a hike. Plus, we had been driving many miles and seeing many sights for the last few days, so we decided to take a slow day. 
I loved Brigsteer so much, a little village with absolutely nothing going on! I kept raving about it to our host and I think he considered me to be a bit lunatic. Mind you, Jeff and I decided that he is a loner who privately hates having guests in his house but pretends to like them because of the small fortune he makes from airbnb fees and the sale of his pottery. He was pleasant enough, but plainly enjoys living on his own. This was the second-most expensive rental of the trip. 
On Thursday morning, having already nixed the more energetic plan, we took a leisurely breakfast which made our host late for his doctor's appointment. Which wasn't my fault, because if he had told us that he was on a tight schedule I would have gotten ready earlier. I had bought some pottery from him and spent an hour the night before trying to get Paypal to cooperate. It wouldn't, in spite of my cajoling and complaining to several customer no-service types. And I didn't have enough cash. So we drove up to Kendal after breakfast (and after we took a walk around the village) to change some US dollars. These photos are from the walk.
But first, an able demonstration of the thickness of the walls of the cottage.

Now, the walk. The roads are barely wide enough for one car.
This is the cottage, with our rental car in the foreground.

A closer view.

And on we go.

The houses are all nestled impossibly up against the hillside.

The village has an inn. 

And a bus stop, for the infrequent bus service.

There were a few houses for sale and I drooled, but they don't come cheap. I found this lovely thing on a real estate site and it is 335,000 pounds. I could live in it.

This view is ubiquitous in the village.


The drive north to Kendal necessitated some more driving in very narrow roads. Luckily, the turn-outs are frequent, because we ended up having to use them quite often.

We had a walk around Kendal, visited the money-changer, and headed back to Brigsteer to pay our debt.

Our next stop was to be Grange-over-Sands, a town on the south coast of the Lake District. We let the satnav lead us down the garden path again. Literally.

We reached the coast in the early afternoon and, after settling in, decided that a nap was in order.
And the joys of Grange-over-Sands will be shared in the next post.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Day 12: The Beatles!

Anne and I are pretty sure that this photo was taken in Rhyl. The houses look very like the houses in the photo further down the page, so it seems likely. 
Yes, we wore our underpants as shorts. With no shirt. Deal with it. 

We had a full day planned for Wednesday, but took time for the short drive to Rhyl and a walk along its promenade for old times' sake before we hit the road. 

You can see windmills on the horizon in this photo. There is a wind farm 4.7 miles offshore between Prestatyn and Rhyl. THere are 30 turbines and it is quite a sight. 

The steps obviously get covered by the tide and are very mossy. It took a while before I found a spot that I dared navigate to the sand, as they are very slippery. A broken anything I didn't need.

These are the houses that look very similar to the ones in the first photo. The beach itself and all of the structures and the promenade are quite different. According to trustworthy sources (our host in Prestatyn and The Guardian) Rhyl is a much deteriorated town from its heyday, but is making an effort to improve its reputation. 

We headed up to Liverpool, where I was to explore the Beatles' Story, and which Jeff was prepared to tolerate. 
Pretty sure this is the bridge over the Mersey, famed river of song.

We wended our way to Albert Dock, only making a few wrong turns, and paid a princely sum for parking. But I didn't particularly care, because I was about to enter Mecca.

Happy much?

I spent several hours reading and listening to every word, while Jeff did the quick walk-through and then followed me around taking photos. He was actually very sweet about it, even though he isn't fond of the Beatles, because he knows how much it meant to me.
John's piano and guitar.

There was another little part of the museum at the other end of Albert Dock, so we had a lovely walk in the sun along the river. These padlocks mostly have the names of couples with their wedding dates engraved on them.

It was another beautiful afternoon and we passed lots of people sitting on benches, watching the river and enjoying the sunshine. The English do this a lot.

We headed further north after this bliss, hoping to arrive at the LDS temple in Preston in time to attend a session. Unfortunately, we had navigation issues again and arrived too late, so we walked around the grounds and took some photos before heading even further north.

We were hoping to get to Brigsteer, a small village in the Lake District, before dark. It was quite remote and we entered the village down a steep, narrow road (is it ever anything else?) just as twilight fell. The cottage we were seeking had no address, just "______ Cottage,  Brigsteer," which was a little daunting. I, thinking Brigsteer would be a tiny village with maybe ten houses, had thought we could cruise the village until we found it, but it proved to be not that easy. Not only that, but telephone reception was bad, so we couldn't call the host. We passed a man walking along the road and asked him if he knew of the house and he didn't. I did one of my famous ten-point turns and we headed back the way we came. We tried the phone again and managed to get through. The man on his walk had passed the cottage and realised it was the one for which we were searching, so he knocked on the door and told the host we were looking for him. Between his kind action and the directions of the host, we finally made it to the cottage. It was very old, perhaps 300 years. The staircase was only about 18 inches wide and the walls were about two feet thick. Many of the houses in the village were like this.
We had packed a lot into this day and were very happy to go to bed.