Sunday, November 05, 2006

Part 1---Cheesehead on the Move---the U.K.

Cheesehead in the UK; a Sherlockian’s Story
by Gayle Lange Puhl




“Pray sit down and tell me all about it, Dr. Watson,” said she.
The Sign of Four


It all started in April of 2005. I saw some posters taped to the corridor walls of Evansville High School in Evansville, WI, where I work as an education assistant. “The Ultimate Field Trip”, it began. There was mention of Dickens, Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Scott. I finally walked in the classroom of Bill H., head of the English department, and asked about it. He handed me a brochure.
It was a tour put together by EFTours, a travel company out of Boston, which had been conducting students all over Europe for 40 years. The trip would cover London, Warrick Castle, Shakespeare’s birthplace, the medieval city of Chester in Cheshire, the Lake District including William Wordsworth’s house, Edinburgh, Sir Walter Scott’s home, Hadrian’s Wall and York in Yorkshire. I was captivated.
All my life I had read American and English literature. Now here was an English Tour. My favorites included Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Jane Austin, Dorothy L. Sayers, The Father Brown stories, and of course, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his creations, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I had been a Sherlock Holmes fan for over 40 years. On this trip, I looked forward to finding a Sherlock Holmes connection every day. Not to mention all the history I had read, from William the Conqueror thru Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scotts, Elizabeth I, Winston Churchill and Princess Diana. Then there were the travel books by Paul Theroux and others. In addition, all the British TV on PBS I had seen, like Doctor Who, The Hitchhiker’s Guide, the domestic comedies, and Masterpiece Theater. My favorite rock ‘n’ roll group was the Beatles.
My grandmother’s family started in Cheshire, in a tiny town named Tilston. After three hundred years, they had established themselves in Yorkshire, from whence one branch had emigrated to the US in 1630. My grandmother was a direct descendent of that emigrant whose name was John Tillotson. Fate had spoken; this trip was foreordained. I had to go.
I returned the next day and signed up. I knew it would be a lot of money for me. I decided to save, earn a little extra, sell some possessions and redeem some saving bonds I had bought after my mother died and her estate was settled. I was sure it would be worth it, and I thought my mother would have approved of the trip.
Divorced, I had no one to answer to but myself. Even Gayla, my daughter, thought it would be good for me. She did get heartily sick of the joke I told about going on the trip. “I’ve got to have something to talk about with the other residents of the nursing home,” I said. Since I was a long time from any nursing home, this was funny.
The months passed quickly. I realized financial goals had to be met. To raise extra money, I asked a friend, John W., to sell some things on e-Bay for me. In addition, I designed, drew, printed and assembled a Sherlock Holmes calendar to sell. That took up the summer of 2005. The title was “If Watson Wrote for TV”. It contained fourteen original cartoons of Holmes and Watson covering the twelve months of 2006, plus a centerfold and the cover. Each month’s illustration was a picture from a story with a label linking it to a television show. The centerfold featured Holmes in an old-fashioned men’s bathing suit, all knobby knees and elbows, leaning over a tidal pool examining a jellyfish with his magnifying glass. That was from “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane.” The caption underneath identified the TV show as “Sherlock Holmes: Baywatch.” In total, I printed 56 copies and sold 50 in New York City, in Canada, and locally. I got mentions in the Baker Street Journal, the Canadian Holmes magazine, and on Chris Redmond’s website, http://www.sherlockian.net. I received orders from as far away as Texas and New Jersey, plus the bookshops in New York City and Toronto, Canada. After clearing expenses for the calendars and adding the e-Bay sales and other cartoons I drew, I covered my out-of-pocket expenses on the trip. I was satisfied.
As the travel date approached, I became concerned as to whether I could keep up with the kids on the tour. I started walking up and down the stairs at school, lost fifteen pounds, and in the spring of 2006, began walking to school and back home which was a total distance of 1.5 miles. It wasn’t really enough, but I was working at it. I made sure I had comfortable walking shoes, well broken in. I read books on travel and that was always one point emphasized. There would be no flip-flops or sandals for me! I worried about my diabetes but then found that Bill H. had diabetes too, so I felt encouraged. I didn’t take insulin. During the trip, I had excellent blood sugar numbers.

“Well, I have not made such a journey in years.”
The Three Garridebs


The weeks passed. We were to leave from the high school at 1:15 pm on June 21st, 2006. I had arranged to get the medications that I needed. I had packed my little red suitcase on wheels I got at Goodwill plus a duffle bag I had gotten from TV Guide as a free gift. It had lots of pockets. My purse was on a strap. My US money and my passport were in my carry pouch around my neck, along with my debit card.
My passport photo was the worse photo I had ever had taken. I discovered that I had to go to the County Clerk’s Office at the Courthouse to apply for a passport. It then came in the mail.
The day arrived. My daughter Gayla promised to water my Peace plant and collect the mail. She insisted that I shove some tootsie rolls into my luggage so I would have a source of sugar if I needed it. I pulled my black-brimmed hat on and we headed out.
We drove to the nearby high school building and joined the growing throng. Twenty-three people were going on the trip. Bill H., Dan C. and Jamie G. were chaperones. Jamie brought her daughter Hannah; Mindy R. brought her daughter Molly. I was the last adult. The rest were 16 girls and boys from the high school.
The kids were, Angela and Heather F., Jaime G., Lindsay H., Desirae L., Arron L., Elizabeth M., Eppie S., Leigh S., Jackie H., Brandon F., Parker J., Garret C., Myriah H., Marcus K., and Bethany S. The weather promised heat and sun. The bus showed up on schedule, photos were taken, and we were off!
After a couple of hours, we reached O’Hare Field, Chicago. O’Hare Field is the Midwest’s largest airport and has five terminals. We were left off at the International Terminal.
Chicago was where “Alexander Hamilton Garrideb” made money in the wheat pit. This imaginary character was supposed to have left his fortune to any three men with his last name standing in a row. It was a scam by Chicago native “Killer” Evans to lure Nathan Garrideb from his London room in the Sherlock Holmes adventure “The Three Garridebs”.
We stood in line to check our baggage onto BMI Flight BD705, Chicago to Manchester, UK. From there, we were scheduled to fly to Heathrow Airport in London. We were in plenty of time. Everyone had to take his or her shoes off at Security. After walking up to Gate M-16, I saw luggage being loaded on a plane just outside the window.
We waited for the announcement of our flight. Some of the kids staked out a stretch of carpet out of the traffic flow and passed the time playing cards. I talked to a nice older English woman who was returning to England after visiting her daughter in Sun Prairie, WI. She looked just like the description of Miss Marple in my Agatha Christie novels. I asked for the meanings of some unfamiliar English terms. I found out that clotted cream was a thick, rich butter.
Several other English travelers on a tour joined in the conversation. They talked a lot about the World’s Cup of European football, which was happening that month. The subject would return.
We were to leave at 6:30 pm, but mechanical problems delayed the plane. I went back down to the concourse to get a McDonald’s meal. I had to take off my shoes at Security again to get back to M-16. At 7:30 pm they delayed the plane again, I was glad I ate and took meds at 6:30 pm. The next announcement was that our flight was cancelled due to the mechanical problems. It was 8:30 pm.
Because of conventions, there were no hotel rooms in Chicago; within one half hour, there were no hotel rooms within 60 miles. BMI Airlines was willing to pay for transportation and rooms, but there were none to be had.
Later I found that the English friends I had made were bussed to the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL. They arrived at the resort about 11:30 pm, finding the kitchen closed and only vending machine snacks and an offer of cold sandwiches for food.
BMI Airlines gave all of us still at the airport small square pillows and thin blue flannel blankets the size of bath towels. The blankets made me think that if they were washed just once they would end up the size of wash cloths.
Some of our group improvised. Mindy R. called her husband and he drove 120 miles down to O’Hare. He took her, Molly, Jamie G. and her daughter Hannah back to Evansville. One of the girls had an uncle who lived near O’Hare and he picked her up along with two of her friends and took them back to his apartment.
After reclaiming our luggage, that left Bill H., Dan C., the remaining students and me in the airport.
We discovered that BMI had to fly in another plane from the UK for us. It wouldn’t arrive until late afternoon Chicago time the next day. We could not camp on the carpeted floor of Gate M-16; we had to move down to the front doors of the International Terminal. Check-in of luggage would be at 11am the next day, June 22. There went our extra day in London. Now it was a 10-day trip.
We decided to stake out benches and floors to sleep on. The kids, the chaperones, and I decided it was not worth the time to go back to Evansville, so here we stayed. Nine or ten of the students selected a space under the escalators. They made a sort of cozy nest with the pillows and blankets issued by BMI and barricaded it off using their luggage. I think they ended up getting the most sleep of all. When the space began to close in on them, the boys got up and played hacky-sack by the phones. I put my red bandana over my eyes and finally dozed off. I woke at 2:15 am and again at 5:25. Normally I get up at 5:30 am, so at that point I just stayed up.
I was lucky to get 3 or 4 hours of rest. The airport lights burned all night. Flights came in at all hours. On the way out of the terminal, travel-weary air passengers tramped past our motley group draped over benches and huddled under the escalators. A recorded message kept intoning “Please do not leave your luggage unattended or the Chicago Police will blow it up” in multiple languages. All of that was not conducive to sleep.

“I’ve my own good reasons for leaving Chicago, and let that be enough for you.” The Valley of Fear

It became June 22. I took time to freshen up, snacked on a Rice Krispie bar and took my morning meds. Later as the students awoke, I found a restaurant and had a hot breakfast of cheese omelet on a croissant with orange juice. It was paid for by one of the food vouchers BMI had handed out the night before. All the kids were fine. I ended up with an extra breakfast voucher and I gave it to a fellow traveler stranded with two boys. She was returning to England for the first time in ten years. I spent some time talking with a few of the English travelers I had met the day before. We were all waiting for our new flight.
The weather was overcast and showery. I had not been on a plane for nearly 35 years and I wanted more reassuring weather.
I bought a little black carry-on bag at a duty-free shop. We checked our luggage in one more time at 11:00 am. It was a very long line. I complained at the check-in desk about the cancellation and received another food voucher. I decided to get some lunch before going through Security. I purchased a beef sandwich, chips and a drink.
I started through Security, took my shoes off, put my purse in the tub with the carry-on and the sandwich, and then started through the metal detector. Ooops!! I had forgotten to remove my money pouch from around my neck and more importantly, my medical I.D. disc. A female guard said, “Step to the side, please.” Darn that metal detector buzzer!
I was detained. I waited in a little side area. The guard was pleasant but professional. I told her about our cancellation and said, “I’m getting the full airport experience.” I held the diet soda in my hand as she asked me to stand. Then, explaining every step, she waved the wand over my body and patted me down. With the wand in her hand, the female security guard said, “If something goes off when I check this soda, I wouldn’t advise you to drink it.” “Yeah, heavy metals,” I joked. The drink passed muster.
My detention had lasted half an hour. By now it was 1:30 pm and I had not eaten anything since 9:30 am. My blood sugar had plunged into my socks. Clutching my bag, my lunch, and my drink I trudged up the concourse toward our gate. Everyone else had gone thru. I had never been this tired and the gate seemed miles away. I saw a porter pushing a wheelchair back down to Security. I asked if that wheelchair was busy. He turned it around and pushed me up to Gate M-16. I resolved to always eat on time after this, no matter what.
I got a seat and began to spread out everything in order to eat lunch. I turned to reach for something and kicked over my drink. I looked down at a big puddle of sugarless cola and ice cubes. It suddenly seemed to sum up the whole day. Other people and little kids were there so I didn’t swear. I got some paper towels and cleaned it up. My “Miss Marple” friend clucked sympathetically and poured a little soda into my cup. That and the sandwich helped me feel better.
At 5 pm we boarded the BMI plane. It was an Airbus. The seats were seven across with two aisles. I had a seat toward the back on the aisle. The seat was very narrow. I put the carry-on bag in the overhead and put my purse at my feet.
There was a LCD screen on the back of every seat. Among movies and TV shows on tape to view, I watched a little animation of the plane as it flew over Canada and the Atlantic Ocean past the islands of Greenland, Iceland, and Ireland.
I chose the curried chicken for dinner. Free alcohol was offered due to the flight cancellation, but I don’t drink. Everyone on board was very quiet when the plane took off, and then we relaxed. The plane flew into the East so it never got dark. We flew high over the cloud cover. I could see some of the students were sleeping. From my seat, I couldn’t see any of the adults in our group. I never got to sleep. When I got up to walk around and stretch my legs, I talked to the flight attendants at the back of the plane about the trip and my Tillotson relatives.

We had left the fertile country behind and beneath us.
The Hound of the Baskervilles

It became June 23rd. After a nice continental breakfast of rolls, butter, fruit, and milk on the plane, we landed in Manchester, the second largest city in the UK. We had been in the air six hours. At Manchester we never got outside the terminal. Because of the prior cancellation, before we could get on the connecting flight to London, we had to have our tickets checked again. I was impressed with a billboard on the wall that spun inside its frame so a different ad appeared every few minutes.
We moved thru more lines to Security. I rescued an Evansville sports jacket from the x-ray machine and restored it to its owner.
The plane to London’s Heathrow Airport was much smaller. Leigh S. had gotten her ticket mixed up because of the cancellation and her bags were missing. She was very upset. All I could think to do was give her a Tootsie Roll. Her luggage showed up at our London hotel later that day.
I looked out the plane’s window as we landed at Heathrow. It looked as big as Chicago’s O’Hare but the buildings appeared only two stories tall and were made of brick. These foreshadowed all the brick buildings that I would see in the UK.
Our group was met by Linda, who had been waiting two days for us to show up. She was to guide us to our hotel. We went outside and got on a tour bus that looked a lot like a Van Galder bus. Linda said that here they were called “coaches”. Van Galder is the local tour bus company based in our nearby Janesville, WI.
I had borrowed a camera from Joanne C. It was in the luggage compartment under the “coach”. I really regretted it during the forty-five minute drive into London. We passed hundreds of semi-detached houses. The English version of duplexes, they were the most popular style of housing in the UK. They were all built of brick with windows balanced on either side, a door either at each end or bunched in the middle, each a separate house. Door colors changed, window décor changed, sometimes the colors of the trim changed, yet it was one building with two homes in it. When the buildings looked alike but were lined up in rows, each sharing a common wall, those could have been houses or apartments.
Every place had a little garden, even if it was just some potted plants. I saw waving palm trees in pots on a roof. Some of the gardens were very elaborate with blooming flowers. I liked them. These were the people who supported a mystery series on BBC called “Rosemary & Thyme”, based on a couple of middle-aged female gardeners. I realized that truly we weren’t in Wisconsin anymore.
On our way to our destination we drove thru the London suburb of Notting Hill. Scenes of the movie of the same name, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, were filmed here and in Portabella Road. We passed the little bookshop used in the movie. It looked just the same, but Linda the guide said the original door had been removed and sold to someone in Japan.
Our hotel was near Paddington Station and north of Hyde Park in Norfolk Square. It was one of a long block of hotels all facing a center park called a garden. The garden was surrounded by fancy iron fencing. Across the greenery was another row of buildings like ours. They all were once expensive apartments when built over a hundred and thirty years ago. Then each apartment came with its own key to the garden. Now they were all converted into hotels.
Norfolk Square with its two identical blocks of buildings facing a central garden was one of the places put forth as a possible location for Dr. Watson’s surgery, established after he married Mary Morstan after “The Sign of Four”. The surgery would have been placed on the first floor with an apartment upstairs. Paddington Station was within easy walking distance. Perhaps Mrs. Watson cashed in those 6 pearls she still had at the end of “The Sign Of Four” to get her husband‘s practice off to an auspicious start at a genteel location.
Our tour director, Jim, was the guide Bill H. had requested last year. He was born and raised in London and had been a tour director for a long time, although he was only in his forties. He was knowledgeable and efficient and had a great smile. Right now, Jim was a man on a mission. We were burning daylight. We had one hour and fifteen minutes to shower, do our money exchange, eat lunch and meet back at the lobby to start the tour. I hardly saw my room. I showered, changed, walked up to Praed Street, got money from an ATM and found a lunch room. I ordered a “cheese and tom”, which turned out to be a melted cheese sandwich with a little tomato and lettuce on the side.

“What do you say to a ramble through London?”
The Resident Patient

Back at the hotel Jim walked us back up to Praed Street and into nearby Paddington Station of the Underground, called “the tube.” It was London’s subway system.
I never saw Paddington Bear. Each of us had been given a one-day pass to the tube. We filed thru automatic gates and gathered on the platform. The trains reminded me of the “eI” of Chicago. We boarded the Bakerloo Line to Embankment Station. I didn’t have my camera out when we stopped briefly at the Baker Street Station. The kids saw the Sherlock Holmes profile on the wall by the Baker Street sign. They yelled “Mrs. Puhl! Mrs. Puhl! Look at that! Take a picture!” That was the last time I got caught with my camera down.
We got off at Embankment Station near the Thames. Jim explained about the bombings of the East End during World War II. London blacked out every light it could, but the full moon shone on the reflective Thames and led the German bombers right up the river to England’s capital. We walked so fast I could not keep notes, but later I wrote down some of the places we saw.
We paused at the home of Ben Franklin. Franklin spent many years before the American Revolutionary War as a sort of product booster for the Colonies in London. He was a famous scientist and his invention of the lightening rod saved thousands of British buildings from fire. He was very popular in England then.
I hastened to follow everyone else down a side street (Craven Passage) and looked up. There was the Sherlock Holmes Pub and Restaurant! Everyone laughed. I screamed in shock and joy! The others took pictures of the exterior, with me in some of them, and I took pictures. Jim scheduled a little time in our tour for this; Bill H. set the whole thing up because of my long-time admiration of Holmes.
I went inside with Dan C. and Leigh S. We were directed upstairs. Lining the steps up to the second floor were framed playbills and photos of actors who had appeared in Sherlock Holmes plays, movies and TV shows. Upstairs part of the restaurant had more framed photos, a painting of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, etc., but the major attraction was the glass-walled display of Holmes’ study.
The collection was most complete. It was carefully gathered as a display for the Festival of Britain in 1951 and proved to be one of the most-visited shows of the Festival. In 1957, after a world tour, Whitbread and Company purchased it in its entirety.
The company set up the display behind glass walls in a building that had formerly been a pub called “The Northumberland Arms”. They renamed the restaurant “The Sherlock Holmes”. It was believed that this building was used by A. Conan Doyle as “The Northumberland Hotel” that figured so prominently in “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and “The Noble Bachelor.” The kids read “Hound” in English class. I toured the pub (the barmaid handled this excited Sherlockian very well) and bought some souvenirs. I came out with several menus and mugs and some great memories. The pub is across the street from the old Scotland Yard site on Northumberland Avenue.
We ended up back at the Embankment Station and took the tube to Charing Cross Station. Outside the big station doors was an elaborate monument that honored Eleanor of Castile, wife of King Edward I.
Their marriage was a happy and active one. Eleanor followed her husband on his Crusades and up and down England in wars against the Scots and the Welsh. She gave birth to the first Prince of Wales in Caernarvon Castle in Wales. Thus the Welsh were tricked into accepting a ruler who spoke neither English nor French.
Years later, after giving birth thirteen times, Eleanor of Castile died in Lincolnshire. Grief-stricken, Edward had her embalmed and brought her body back on a long, slow journey to London. Wherever the travelers rested, Edward erected a cross in memory of his wife. Thirteen crosses were raised, the last one in London at what is now known as Charing Cross. The name supposedly came from the French phrase “chere reine”; dear queen.
There was a fresh fruit stand set up right outside the entrance to the station.
Charing Cross Station was mentioned in nine of the Sherlock Holmes stories. I took a picture.
Next was Trafalgar Square. The National Gallery of Art and St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields Church stood along the edge. The column with the statue of Admiral Nelson, the naval hero, on top sat encased in scaffolding for repairs. A music video was being filmed at its foot and the music used was very loud. We walked to The Mall, with the Admiralty Arches at one end and Buckingham Palace at the other.
We saw Pall Mall, the street of exclusive British clubs, and Canada House, the Canadian Embassy. We saw Oscar Wilde’s monument and the Crimea memorial with a statue of Florence Nightingale. We saw many sights, including the German Embassy.
During World War II, the German Ambassador had been confined there. Adolph Hitler, in sunnier days, had given him a puppy sired by his own German shepherd, Blondi. Later, during the war, the puppy died and the German Ambassador buried it on Embassy grounds. The only grave within London is that of “Hitler’s dog”. The grave is clearly visible to tourists.
At Piccadilly Circus, I found the shady side of the statue Eros and sat down. Gradually it dawned on me that I was gazing at the Criterion Bar and Restaurant, next to the Criterion Theatre. It was at the Criterion Bar that young Stamford met up with Dr. Watson, an old friend who was looking for cheaper lodgings. Stamford took Watson to St. Bart’s’ Hospital and introduced him to Sherlock Holmes, who also wanted someone with whom to split the rent. Inside the bar a plaque hung on the wall commemorating these events. I got photos inside and out. After I told Bill H., Dan C and Jim about my find, Jim called me “Sherlock” the rest of the ten-day tour.
We went to Oxford Circle next, and went shopping. I bought souvenirs while some shopped at Lilywhite, a store famous for its sports clothes. Across the street I noticed in a store window that the mannequins were plumper than the mannequins in American store windows. They were dressed in lavender lingerie. Not exactly Victoria’s Secret, more like Victoria’s mother’s secret.
For supper we had curried rice and chicken at an Indian restaurant Jim took us to. Here we met the people from the Virginia school tour trip. After supper we broke up into groups. Some had tickets to the Shakespeare Globe Theatre and others went to the Millennium Eye, the world-famous Ferris wheel with a wonderful view of the city. The Eye had been featured, along with The Sherlock Holmes Museum in Baker Street, on one episode of the American TV show “The Amazing Race.”
I never walked, ran, climbed stairs or dashed thru traffic so much in my entire life. I decided to take my aching knees and feet back to the hotel. I took the tube back myself with one change at Notting Hill. On the way, I met a schoolgirl who had finished her last day of school. She proclaimed she was never going to wear a uniform again. She asked me how hot it got in Wisconsin. I answered sometimes 85º to 97º. She gave me a disbelieving look. I had forgotten to say Fahrenheit, not Centigrade.
At Paddington Station, I recognized the area and went to the ATM to get more money. An Englishman tried to ask me for directions. I said, “I’m sorry, I’m a stranger here myself.” I had always wanted to say that. My accent told him I could not help him. He practically apologized for asking. At the hotel, I overhauled my luggage and was in bed by 10:30 pm.

“…London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained.”
Study in Scarlet


The next morning was June 24th. Now that I had gone to the ATM twice I should talk about the differences between US and UK money. Local merchants told me where to find ATM machines; most were built into the wall near a post office. They dispensed paper money after I went thru the normal procedures of pressing buttons just as I did in the United States. The money came in ten or twenty-pound notes. I never saw anything larger. Five-pound notes were more likely to come from change after a purchase. Everything else was coins. They ranged from a penny, two pence, five pence, ten pence, twenty pence, and fifty pence up to the one or two pound coins. Anything less then a pound was referred to as p. We valued our pounds at $2.00 each. Actually a pound was a little less, so using the $2.00 estimate helped me keep my spending within budget.
My traveling alarm clock, a Christmas gift from my daughter, worked well that morning and I watched the BBC News as I dressed. Our continental breakfast was a buffet of fruit, juices, milk, rolls, toast, butter, jams and marmalades, tomatoes and sliced ham. This was just what I ate. Later in the trip English hoteliers also served corn flakes, muesli, and some offered regular and chocolate croissants and muffins.
We gathered on the steps of the Norfolk Plaza Hotel after breakfast to board the coach the tour had chartered. A couple of the kids had overslept and kept us waiting. Jim was not amused. The cardinal rule on a tour was that you were never late. In Wisconsin we called it Vince Lombardi time. The famed Green Bay Packer Coach counted you late if you were not in your seat on the team bus fifteen minutes before it was scheduled to leave. These kids were too young to have heard of the Coach’s rule.
When we were in London two other EF Tour groups met us. The Virginia school group of ten had joined us for the first day’s dinner. Now the Oklahoma’s school group of ten joined us for the bus. The tour coach that we rode in the UK had seat belts and we were strongly encouraged to use them.
Today we started on Praed Street and headed toward Hyde Park. Along the street, I saw shops like “The Sussex Arms”, “The Sussex Fish Bar” and a Greek restaurant. We also saw a Subway, a KFC, and a McDonald’s. I didn’t count the Burger King places because that company had begun in England.
The iron rail fencing of Hyde Park gave artists the perfect prop for their canvases, all for sale. We passed Marble Arch, the site of the Tyburn Tree execution grounds of centuries past. It was also near the popular Speaker’s Corner.
Then it was on to a dazzling list of historic places, all of which I tried to scribble in my notebook. Park Lane – Dorchester Hotel - Ritz Hotel - St. James Palace - Piccadilly Street – Fortnum and Mason Headquarters (famous grocers’) – Haymarket Street – Texas Embassy Restaurant – National Gallery - Canadian House which is the Canadian embassy - Trafalgar Square with the fountains - St. Martin – in- the - Fields church where the Queen worshiped if she worshiped while in London - The Strand - West End Theatre - Savoy Hotel.
On the way we saw English taxis painted every color of the rainbow including black (one was bright pink), some covered with ads for plays and stores and cell phones, complete with dot.com addresses - St Clements’ Church with World War II shrapnel – Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub – Fleet Street – Downing Street – The Old Bailey - the streets twisting and curving – and on to St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Here we got off the coach and gathered by the statue of Queen Anne. She was the reigning monarch when the Cathedral was rebuilt between 1675 and 1710 after the Great London Fire of 1666. Below her statue, sitting in a chair with her noble robes spread around her, were figures that symbolized the English dominions. Very little was known about America at that time and the figure of the Native American wore an oriental turban.
Christopher Wren designed St. Paul’s and dozens of other churches and buildings, all needed after the fire.
Our special guide for St. Paul’s Cathedral made the whole experience wonderful. We saw Italian mosaics, coffered and barrel ceilings, marble columns, a black and white tile floor, black rood screens tipped with gold designs protecting the wooden carved Quire – I liked it all. I really liked the story of the Italian mosaic artist who put the face of his wife on all the angels on the ceilings.
St. Paul’s was built in the Baroque Style, which means a lot of embellishments and decorations. The tall stained glass windows were lovely. I liked the Whispering Gallery that edged the Great Dome. There were monuments to Admiral Nelson and the Duke of Wellington, England’s’ greatest military heroes.
Our guide told of the Cathedral’s history, including the dark days of World War II, when the area was heavily bombed and hundreds of volunteers patrolled the Cathedral every night to keep it from burning. They succeeded. We also toured the crypt below, which was hung with memorial plaques to many famous Englishmen. Winston Churchill’s funeral had been held in St. Paul’s, although his body was buried in his family’s plot in the country.
We came out of the Cathedral and back into the coach. Now the tour took us into The City of London. We passed many banks including the Bank of England, the “Old Lady of Threadneedle Street”. This area was where the Great Fire of 1666 started, burning the old half-timbered, thatched-roofed buildings of the city. As we moved on, we passed the Pudding Lane Monument to the fire.
On to Tower Bridge – London Bridge – past the Battleship Museum set by the Thames. English flags were hung all over for the World’s Cup. There was an egg-shaped new construction on the site of World War II bombings in the East End – it was a modern office building nicknamed “The Gherkin” because it looked a little like a pickle - our coach drove past the Tower of London – the Hung, Drawn and Quartered Pub near the scene of the public executions of traitors.
Our coach passed Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – Blackfriars Bridge – Whitehall with Buckingham Palace in the distance – past The London Eye – Inner Temple – Middle Temple- Somerset House filled with art – over Waterloo Bridge – past the Savoy Hotel – the Embankment that runs next to the Thames - #10 Downing Street with black gates blocking off the cross street – many government offices housed in big buildings, each with its own marble-columned Palladian or Georgian facade – Big Ben – Parliament – Westminster Abbey- London Bobbies wearing Kevlar vests – past New Scotland Yard – The Albert Pub with a picture of Prince Albert hanging over the door - Westminster Cathedral – Victorian Station – the Royal Mews – and we arrived at Buckingham Palace.

“I was looking out for loiterers on the street, but I saw none.”
The Hound of the Baskervilles

We walked around the side of the Palace with a tall iron fence on our left. The cobblestones were starting to become annoying. There was a crowd in front of the gates of the Palace. Taking place was the second half of the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. Some of the people were leaving so we were able to get good spaces. I got photos of the Regimental Band marching out and the Guards marching in the forecourt. The weather was sunny and the multicultural crowds were cheerful and interested in the colorful activities.
Back on the bus we passed Samuel Pepys’ house and Cleopatra’s Needle, and this was where we broke for lunch. I had a deli sandwich in the Victoria Embankment Gardens, a park near the Needle, with Bill H. It came from Egypt (the Needle, not Mr. H.), during the Napoleonic Wars. As captured war loot, the stone obelisk was shipped to England, and then floated down the Thames to be sited on the river bank along with a pair of black sphinx. Just before the group started the walking tour, Bill H. and I ran across the street and snapped a couple of pictures.
The Charles Dickens walking tour began with the Dickens guide explaining that back before Dickens’ time, the Thames was a lot wider. Then, as now, people crossed the water in boats. He showed us a water gate of stone steps and an entrance arch that looked just like the one Shakespeare the character used to follow the girl in the movie “Shakespeare in Love”. Hey, I take my references where I can get them.
Dickens’ childhood workplace, the blacking factory, was gone now but had been near here. We stopped at the house where he had been taken when he became ill at the factory. It was a nice house. He lived in a crumbling tenement. He was faking respectability and never went inside, but he immortalized the boy that helped him, Bob Fagan, in a future book, “Oliver Twist”. The railings of the steps included iron snuffers for the flambeau torches used to guide the coaches and sedan chairs around London at night before street lighting became well established.
We walked past the Adelphi Theatre, one of Sherlock Holmes’ favorite places of entertainment. Nearby was the Lyceum Theatre where Holmes and Watson met the mysterious benefactor of Miss Mary Morstan, a meeting that began “The Sign of Four”.
The Dickens’ walk had a goodly share of sights, including a stop in a Dicksonian alley furnished with the original gaslight lanterns. We saw the Rules Restaurant and the Charles Dickens Coffee House. That was a hotel where he stayed when he was in London checking the galleys of his later books. Back then it had a different name.
Just past the Wellington Pub was Somerset House, originally a palace, which held government offices when Dickens’ father worked there. Now it was filled with art galleries. The plaza outside, with its statues and fountains, was in “Notting Hill” the movie, I think. The fountains became an ice rink in the winter. We dashed thru the building and down very old and worn stone staircases. Next we saw the Inner Temple where Pip from “Great Expectations” worked.
The Inner and Middle Temples were two of the four Inns of Court, where law offices had been established for centuries. They got their names from the nearby Temple Church, founded by the Knights Templar of “Da Vinci Code” fame.
We enjoyed the walk and our guide’s knowledge and his London stories. Jim next took us to Covent Garden near Bow Street. The police headquarters in Bow Street was where the London Police had their uncertain beginnings. Holmes and Watson unmasked Hugh Boone the beggar there in “The Man with the Twisted Lip”.
Our group was released for free time. The Virginia school group asked directions to the nearest Hard Rock Café, and then vanished. Muffled yelps of “Burgers and pizza!” drifted off behind them. Leigh S. and I walked around looking for an ATM; she then joined some of the kids at the Punch and Judy Pub. I needed to sit down. I bought a seat at the outdoor Fuel Café by purchasing a snack and a diet Pepsi. I needed both. It was lovely to rest while watching the facade of St. Paul’s Church, which fronted the original Covent Garden Plaza. Its steps were used by the street performers as a backdrop for their show. The jugglers and magicians were almost hidden behind a half-circle of tourists. The same columns and steps were used in scenes of the musical “My Fair Lady”.
We all joined up together again and had a brisk walk thru Soho’s Chinatown to get to our fish ‘n’ chips restaurant for dinner. I saw bronzed-colored ducks hanging in butcher shop windows, Chinese signs on store fronts, apothecary jars filled with herbs and mysterious powders lined up on shelves on the back walls of little hole-in-the-wall businesses and many more cobblestones. This part of London called Soho was where all the “action” was for the G.I.s during World War II. Soho prided itself on never shutting down during the bombings. Hookers and bars were on every street during the darkest days. Now the many theatres featured shows from big musicals like “Guys and Dolls” to the little drama we would see tonight.
We had delicious fish ‘n’ chips, with mushy peas, at the restaurant. I must admit that it was better than the Friday Night Fish Fry at Evansville’s Night Owl Restaurant, our own “pub”. After enjoying the meal, we walked to Fortune Theatre on Russell Street.
We had time so I dropped into the Opera Tavern on Catherine Street. I talked to a middle-aged couple about progressive schooling in England. She had had it, he had not. Progressive schooling sounded a lot like what we do at Evansville High all the time.
At the Fortune Theatre, we saw a thriller called “Woman in Black”. The play had only three cast members and one never spoke, only screamed. It was a ghost story, with a haunted man, a dead baby, and a cursed future. The seats we had were in the upper balcony and very cramped. The kids from the Virginia group sat behind us and kept talking and crackling candy wrappers until Dan C. turned around and told them to be quiet. Later one of that same group said, “I don’t like that man. He yelled at us.” Dan was right to do so; they were disruptive. The first actor came out and read his lines hesitantly; I really thought it was because of the noise. Our kids had been to so many concerts, plays and musicals in the Evansville High School Performing Arts Center that they were well-mannered on etiquette involving a live performance.
During intermission, several of us got up to stretch our legs. Bill H. mentioned that he needed more leg room. I found a stool behind the section where we sat. When the usher asked me to vacate it, I asked if I could stand at the back rail for more comfort. The usher offered me a seat in one of the unused boxes next to the stage. I called over Bill and we both ended up sitting in regular chairs just over the stage left exit. My legs and knees got a good stretch and rub and it helped a lot. The only strange thing was that everyone in the audience watched as we entered the box.
When we got outside after the performance, I got a shock. It was pitch black outside. Because of the really long mid-summer nights while we were in the UK, I hadn’t seen a black night sky since before I had left Evansville. The lights from the advertising signs and traffic, plus the glow from the surrounding buildings, were rather disorienting. It was hard to adjust in telling time. The United Kingdom was much closer to the Artic Circle than Wisconsin. Each day it did not get dark until well after nine o’clock pm and the sun rose around four-thirty in the morning.
The ride back to the hotel was a special one, on a red double-decker London bus. Most of the kids sat on the top; I had ridden double-deckers in Chicago so I sat down in the regular seats. I spent a little time talking to Jamie G.’s’ daughter, Hannah. I asked her about college and told her that if she did more traveling, not to wait too long. This was something best done while you were young, say, before your knees gave out.

“…it is a rambling old place and takes a good deal of looking after.”
The Musgrave Ritual

On the morning of June 25th we left London and headed for Warwick Castle. Our coach driver was Dave. He did this full-time for his bus company. He was a nice middle-aged man with white hair. He had a very tolerant personality which was an asset with this group.
Warrick Castle was built and owned for centuries by the Dukes of Warrick. It had been first built as a motte and bailey fortification by William the Conqueror. Over time it was expanded and improved by several families of noblemen. One Duke, “Richard the Kingmaker”, married his daughters into the royal family and played an important role in the English monarchy.
It was now owned by Madame Tussaud, the famous waxworks company. The castle had been modified into “Britain’s Greatest Medieval Experience.” I called it a sort of “Six Flags over Camelot.” The rides weren’t roller coasters; they were a trip to the dungeons and a Ghost Tour. There were jousting, falconry and archery demonstrations, along with peacocks, roses, and, of course, waxworks.
Jim gave us info on schools, wages, and other information of the area. As we drove, I saw a vine-covered house – the Queen’s airport - small field edged by trees – wood slat fences, no barbed wire. Hills like western Wisconsin, similar to the area around La Crosse. There were stone and brick buildings – highways like ours in the US, with overpasses and a narrow grass median, but of course the cars were on the other side of the road. I saw wooden sheds for livestock – no rough land; all was cultivated – modern machinery, with hay bales wrapped in green plastic. I saw no silos, but lots of round bales of various sizes – sheep – steers- cows. Streets of homes lined on terraces up a tall hill – unusual wire fencing behind the wood fences. I saw swans on a little clear lake - skydivers and a windsock marking a little airfield – a tiny footbridge over a stream.
Dan C. gave me a large Sherlock Holmes postcard, “Consulting Detective”, from the Sherlock Holmes Museum. He had found it at an Internet Café in London.
Our coach was passed by travel trailers pulled behind Land Rovers. A twisty, shady lane led up to Warrick Castle. We parked in a car park, walked up the hill and into the entrance courtyard. There we found a restaurant, food stalls, a gift shop and singing minstrels playing lutes. Originally this had been the stables.
The castle was very impressive. I took several photos and later bought postcards. It had everything a castle should have: towers, parapets, crenellations, arrow slits, curtain walls of stone, stairs, a moat, a portcullis, a Tudor Village just down the hill, formal gardens, peacocks, roses, hedges, a huge inner courtyard and that was before I entered the buildings.
I had read the biography of Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill’s mother, and since the scenes depicting a “Victorian Weekend in 1897” included her, Winston and people mentioned in her story, I walked thru that. Madame Tussaud figures ranging from the ladies’ maid to the Prince of Wales (Victoria’s son Edward VII) were set amidst the very furniture and paintings of the Dukes of Warrick. I enjoyed that display of the Victorian Weekend Rooms.
I went thru the State Rooms. These included the Great Room with suits of armor, mounted animal heads, swords, and coats of arms up on the walls and cases full of ancient daggers and things. One clear glass case held the saddle of Elizabeth I. It was of an embroidered green fabric and was my favorite exhibit.
Against one wall of the Great Room were the figures of “Richard the Kingmaker” and his favorite house, both decked out in full battle armor. They looked like characters out of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”. In fact, it was a visit to Warrick Castle that began that adventure in the first chapter.
Another interesting feature was waxworks figures of Henry VIII and his six wives. The waxworks were dressed in the clothing of the period and ranged around one of the drawing rooms. None of the wives looked happy.
There were rooms like the larder, the pantry, the kitchen, other workrooms and the laundry room. I admired the dining room. I walked past some bedrooms and found myself checking out the fireplace grates. They were like none I had ever seen.
Two older gentlemen were just ahead of me and I asked them a question about the grates. Of course, my accent immediately labeled me as “curious American tourist; non-threatening”, and they were very courteous. I explained that I didn’t have a fireplace and “the only grates I knew about were from the Sherlock Holmes stories”. They both smiled and the second man said his name was Holmes. This was unexpected. I got excited and asked to shake his hand. I asked if people had ever asked him if he was a relative and he said that he had heard that question a couple of times.
We walked thru a couple more rooms and down a twisty staircase. I said good-bye to the two gentlemen and went outside and sat awhile in the courtyard admiring the medieval architecture.
I looked up the restaurant back in the stables. I was torn between the “jacket potato” and the “cream tea”. I had read of cream teas in Agatha Christie’s novels and in E. F. Benson stories. “And to eat one in a castle!” I thought. I took a seat in a modified box stall and feasted on Earl Grey tea and a fruit scone (a sort of thick sweet biscuit studded with raisins), split and topped with strawberry jam along with a thick, rich, clarified butter (the cream). Tasty! I felt that I was doing a very British, middle-aged lady-like thing.
The plastic cover on the little tub of clotted cream was clean, so I saved it for a souvenir.

Holmes walked slowly and thoughtfully among the flower-plots and along the path before we entered the porch.
The Devil’s Foot

Back on the bus, everyone had different stories to tell about their visit to the Castle. Some had gone to the Peacock Garden, some went on the Ghost Tour, some visited the Dungeons and others had gone down to the charming village of Warrick. I told about shaking the hand of Mr. Holmes. Dan C. grinned.
Our drive was taking us through a rolling countryside of tiny fields, lots of trees, red roofed farmhouses, and wee villages. In Shottery, we drove to Anne Hathaway’s house. Anne married William Shakespeare and had his children. The cottage she grew up in was set in lovely gardens that contained every plant ever mentioned in Shakespeare’s works. It was a one and one half story yeoman’s home with two brick chimneys, of half-timbered Tudor- style construction and with a thatched roof. Thatched roofs were rare in England now. They were expensive to keep up and had to be watched carefully for fire. The entire roof had a fine wire mesh covering it to keep the birds from pecking it apart.
Inside were low ceilings, barely over six feet high, with black ceiling beams, white-washed plaster walls and original flagstones in the old kitchen that were set down by Anne Hathaway’s grandfather. An antique sideboard buffet was a showpiece. Huge hearths equipped with spits and kettles were displayed, along with an old wooden settle that was pointed out as a piece of furniture that may have been used by Anne and William. The upstairs had sloping ceilings and very small rooms. Curtained four-poster beds sat next to old chests.
A member of the Hathaway family had lived in the cottage up until the 1960’s. Then the National Trust acquired the property. The non-profit Trust purchased historic landmarks to maintain them for the benefit of the public.
Outside the lovely gardens were in full bloom. By the front door was a mock orange tree in flower. We walked around the gardens and enjoyed the lovely weather. In one corner of the grounds was a bower made of living willows. Jamie G. sat within the bower, pressed a button and listened to dramatic readings of Shakespearian sonnets.
Stratford–upon–Avon was the next stop for our coach. William Shakespeare’s Birthplace was right in the center of town. The Bard of Avon had lived from 1564 to 1616 and the fact of his existence had taken over everything. Every shop on Henley Street was set up to connect with Shakespeare. When a town had such a famous tourist attraction, it was economically inevitable.
I was reminded of my visit to Hannibal, MO. The original downtown of author “Mark Twain”, Samuel L. Clemens, was devoted to him, his written works and his life. There was a childhood home and an adjoining museum filled with the author’s manuscripts and other artifacts. Becky Thatcher’s Original Home was open for tourists across the street and names of Twain’s characters seemed stuck to every local business.
We started at a brick building next to the Birthplace. It was a museum with displays of the life and politics of Shakespeare’s time. There was a First Folio containing a collection of all his writings. There was an explanation of his will. Paintings of his contemporaries were hung on the walls. An exhibit on how the buildings of Shakespeare’s time were constructed was displayed. Other panels told of Elizabeth I and the acting troupes Shakespeare wrote for and famous actors of the time. There were even examples of the styles of gloves his father made.
The Birthplace had small rooms with low ceilings supported by black beams and door jams so old the wood was like iron. The walls were hung with painted linen wall coverings. The wide floorboards creaked as you walked from room to room. Glove making equipment, old wooden farm utensils, clothes chests, hand-made chairs and four-poster beds complete with wool-stuffed mattresses and embroidered bed hangings were on exhibit. In the room in which Shakespeare was born more panels of information were hung on the white plastered walls.
A large medieval window frame filled with tiny hand-blown panes of glass was mounted on the gable wall of the room Shakespeare was born in. Each square of glass was covered in scratches of the names and initials of ordinary tourists and the famous ones, like Sir Walter Scott. After all, this building had been a shrine for centuries.
I looked out of another medieval window and saw some of the kids walking below on Henley Street. There was only a thin strip of grass and shrubs between the Birthplace and the street. To get to the gardens in the back required going down a narrow staircase. I took several pictures of the house, gardens, and the street.
A few doors down the street stood a Tudor-style public library given by the famous Scottish millionaire Andrew Carnegie. He had emigrated from Scotland as a young boy. He grew up to make a pile of money in the steel business. He spent the latter part of his life endowing libraries and eating breakfast to the sound of skirling bagpipes in a castle in Scotland.
Dan Cobb walked the eight blocks along the River Avon to Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare was buried. He took some pictures of Shakespeare’s grave marker and of the fine stained glass windows of the church. I shopped, buying some sugarless truffles in a sweet shop, a t-shirt and a big UK atlas at a bookstore. .

“Come, Watson, come”, he cried. “The game is afoot.”
The Abbey Grange


It was now four o’clock and the locals started to disappear. It was time for the England vs. Ecuador soccer match. England was still in the early games of the World’s Cup. Football (soccer) was enormously important right now in the U.K. It had been in the papers, on the news, and was common debate on the street. The matches were played in different cities in Germany and televised all over the world.
The pubs all flew the English flag, the cross of St. George. The Union Jack was not generally displayed in the UK like the Stars and Stripes in America. The Queen had her own flag, flown over each residence as she currently occupied it, but the Union Jack appeared over only a few governmental offices. It was not flown before individual homes and businesses like our flag in the USA. But the English colors, the red cross of St. George on a white background, came out all over during the World’s Cup.
I walked around with Bill H. and Dan C. to find a pub in which to watch the game. Jim was rooting for the English, so the bus was not scheduled to leave until after the match.
Several pubs were near the public fountain. The Victorians had built it; a big, turreted, stone block edifice bristling with arches, clocks and weathervanes which made it a good landmark to use while keeping one’s bearings. The pubs were crowded and noisy; the TV volume turned up to its highest level and the rooms filled with people who had not waited until four o’clock to sample the pub offerings.
Finally, in The Thatched Tavern (it was thatched) we found Jim and Dave the coach driver front of a wide screen color TV. We got some chairs next to them and watched the game. It was a very exciting match played in front of a very excited pub audience. Beckham scored the only goal and the pub exploded with ear-shattering cheering and clapping. England won by that goal and was set up to go on to the next round of the competition.
I knew very little about soccer so I finally compared the action to a basketball game. (Ball handed off between teammates moving toward the net or goal at the end of the rectangular field while the other team tries to steal it and move it back to score in the other net.) That helped me understand the action.
When I told that to Jim, he was horrified. Basketball was little-understood in England and football (soccer) was practically sacred. I felt a little hurt. Sure, I didn’t understand the finer points of the sport, but gosh, one didn’t have to understand cricket to get a cup of tea in the marquee.
We came out of the Thatched Pub and got back on the coach with the others and headed to the Mansion Hotel in Riddick. It was a large brick house that with additions made a sizable hotel. There was a small elevator to take you up and a wonderful curved staircase to bring you back down. In the sunroom off the bar, I watched an energetic magpie (a black and white crow-type bird) in the garden.
Dinner was notable for the dessert, “meringue ‘n’ sponge with raspberry sauce” (like a sponge cake layered with whipped cream and drizzled over with raspberry syrup). I sat with some of the Virginia group. One boy had traveled in China last year for three weeks. He found he couldn’t eat unfamiliar food. He lasted out the three weeks on baked chicken and plain rice. He couldn’t even eat the meringue ‘n’ sponge.
In my room’s bathroom was an unusually deep tub. It was very inviting for a hot soak but proved difficult in maneuvering in and out. I took my life and my dignity in my hands and got my hot soak. Clearly the issue of proper installation of grab bars had not yet been addressed in English hotels.

“You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed with their beauty.” The Copper Beeches

The next morning, June 26th, I overslept and got to the dining room with only twenty minutes to spare. I hadn’t unpacked much so I made the bus in time. I had now taken to consuming Tylenol and rubbing Icy Hot in my knees along with the sunscreen.
Cobblestones were one of the major features of English towns, followed closely by flagstones and crazy paving. With all the stone churches, granite castles, brick houses, slate roofs and dry-stone walls that filled the landscape, the United Kingdom so far had displayed much more texture than I expected.
Our coach headed northwest to the city of Chester in Cheshire. The trip took several hours and showed us some of the countryside. My impressions on the way - roads lined with trees – wild flowers – BP stations – walls of brick or wood around each house – houses of red brick or white-painted pebble-dash – red hip roofs – hedges in front of brick houses – iron fences with spikes and scrolling decorations along the tops – wooden slat fencing next to the highway – high rolling hills.
I saw small fields lined with trees that marked the borders – large long hay bales – farm houses neat and sturdy, but worn & grey in color – if a large barn it was brick or stone linked to other buildings by brick or stone walls – Power lines mounted on high towers – trees shielding the highway from the landscape. Every house seemed to have a fireplace, judging by the chimneys – brown wooden panels acted as sound barriers along the road.
Going around Birmingham we saw – factories – warehouses – scrap yards – fewer trees – building construction – stripping down and renovating old large buildings – houses all scruffy with old paint.
The city was being fixed up – high-class department stores opening – Cadbury Chocolates started here – music and the arts were getting stronger now – the motorway had multiple overpasses like Chicago near McCormack Place – graffiti on warehouses – the Industrial Revolution started here.
Dan C. talked to Jim the tour director about English rock stars living the high life in Los Angeles. Jim said one particular rock star did not sell out – had a modest house in L.A. I got the impression that English people seem to like their talented people making money and bringing fame and attention to the UK, but they didn’t like it at all if people over-consume, have a lot of possessions, foul the environment and strut about. I didn’t dare ask Jim what he thought about Elton John.
Jim’s father owned a car but neither he or his brothers and sisters owned one. I remembered that Jim lived in London with its’ excellent public transit system. He disapproved of teenagers having their own cars or cell phones and having their parents give them credit cards when the kids traveled. He said that if his nephew was ever given a credit card he would next be found in Hawaii. At this the bus grew very quiet.
Britain does have a public campaign to conserve its resources. In all of the land we covered, I never saw a paper towel in a public restroom. Twice there were roller towels, but otherwise it was always automatic hot air machines. There was a good supply of toilet paper, but the toilets didn’t always flush. This aroused cries of “Broken!” from our group. I watched this phenomenon for a couple of days and decided that the toilets were set to flush when there was a large enough “load” of paper, etc.
This may seem an odd topic, but toilets were the one constant we all saw in each area. They did not call them restrooms or bathrooms; they called them toilets or “loos”. This name comes from the cry “Guarde’- lou”, a French phrase which was shouted as medieval residents threw the contents of their chamber pots out of the windows each morning and night at regulated times.
Thankfully, it rained a lot and the contents supposedly washed away along the streets. Charles Dickens’ creation, “Jo, the street sweeper”, in “Bleak House” was a necessary member of the community. Also, Jo had to contend with the horses. Efficient sanitary sewer systems did not exist in the UK until the Victorian era.
More impressions – police cars in England checkered all over with contrasting colors – the hood, roof, sides, and trunk. Little brick two-arched bridge over a stream – red-brick church with tower next to red-brick village next to field of cows. Cattle grazed in fields of five to ten acres. Single arched pedestrian bridge over the six-land highway. No yellow traffic lines – tractor tire lines thru fields of grain - black and white cows walked over the highway on the pedestrian bridge overpass – tanks on milk trucks tilted up by the cab and down by the back, to drain by gravity. I saw metal out- buildings with patched tin roofs next to red-brick farmhouses.
We traveled thru Staffordshire near Stock-on-Trent. This area is a ceramic center, famous for its pottery and bone china manufacturing. Its goods are exported all over the world and are highly prized.
We drove thru Nantwich – pub named The Leopard with interesting sign – a brick semi-detached with a round gravel bed in front and a three-tiered fountain centered in it. There were little plots of ground in front of every house, protected by brick walls – some buildings were three stories tall (flats?).
Our coach passed the Red Lion Hotel – country churches with square towers – a canal. Travel by water on an extensive canal system that ran throughout the country moved most goods before the railroad and highway systems were developed.
Brick farmhouse with brick outbuildings – tree plantings along the roadside to hide the banks – no red stop signs, they use other methods I couldn’t decipher – and plenty of roundabouts, in the country and the towns.
Brick garden walls with brick arches set over the green-painted wooden gates – houses built very close to the road – stone walls next to roadways – garden sheds behind homes in carefully tended gardens – Light and dark green shrubs made a multi-colored hedge.
Small stone church with two towers and a crowded graveyard set right next to the road – new headstones and old, some Celtic crosses in stone – Trees arched over the two-lane road – beef cattle – walls bordering the road with gates leading into front yards filled with flowers.

“He’s our leading squire around here…and a very decent fellow, too.”
The Reigate Squires

The medieval town of Chester was first on the agenda for today. This was where a bit of my ancestry came into play. Chester was the major market town of the county of Chester. Twelve miles southeast of Chester lay the tiny town of Tilston, where the maternal side of my family got their last name after the Norman Invasion.
William the Conqueror gave land to faithful soldiers. Some went to my ancestor whose son married one of King Henry I’s granddaughters. An estate was established and a gatehouse still remains. There was a coat of arms and everything. After three hundred years the de Tilstons ran thru the money and the land and one branch moved to Yorkshire.
After nearly three hundred years or so one John Tillotson (the name had been changed in Yorkshire, apparently the locals couldn’t pronounce de Tilston) immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England in 1630. One of his cousins was John Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury during Queen Anne’s reign. My maternal grandmother was a direct descendant of John Tillotson the emigrant. She was a schoolteacher and would have approved of my trip.
The coach drove thru an arched gate in the medieval wall of Chester. We disembarked right on the main street near City Hall, now turned into a museum and art gallery. Chester had many, many half-timbered Elizabethan buildings and very old stone churches. Chester Cathedral was just off the main drag.
I found St. Peter’s Church, founded in 907. Repairs were underway on the flagstones just beneath the windows. I watched as two workmen using only hammers and chisels removed slabs of stone just outside the church steps. I thought that this church was old enough that my ancestors might have visited it on market days.
It was dark and cool inside. Half the nave had chairs set up for services and the other half was divided into sections filled by stands holding brochures and jumble items for sale. This did not detract from the stained glass windows that dated from the 1860’s and commemorated the life of Prince Albert. I liked the large glass jug chained to a pillar with a sign asking for donations for the church’s upkeep. I dropped a pound coin in it and bought a couple of booklets about Chester’s history and its churches. The nice Ladies’ Aid-type woman that sold them to me told me the history of St. Peter’s and a little about the town.
It began as a Catholic Church, as did all old churches in England. Henry VIII changed that when he broke with the Catholic Church and established the Church of England with himself as the head in the 1600’s. Then every church in the land had to become Church of England.
There were thirteen churches in Chester and by modern times St. Peter’s had become St. Peter’s Ecumenical Christian Centre at the Cross, Chester. It acted as an information clearing house for all the churches of Chester, besides holding its own services.
It was situated at the crossing of the four main streets of Chester, Eastgate, Northgate, Watergate and Bridge Streets. The structure was built on old Roman headquarters. The “gate” of the street names harked back to when the Vikings dropped in regularly in the first centuries after Christ’s birth. The sea was only a mile away.
The bell ropes hung down from the bell tower and the pulls were striped in red and white. In the 1820’s one of those bells was used to call out the Fire Brigade.
I told the lady about my ancestors coming from Tilston and immigrating to America. She looked up “Tilston” in the phone book and actually found one William Tilston still in Cheshire. I was delighted. I told this to Dan C. and Bill H. later and they asked, “Did you call him?”
I was surprised. The thought had never occurred to me. I said, “We left Cheshire six hundred years ago. Why would I call him now? He would think I was nuts!”
“Family is family,” replied Dan.
“That family connection is pretty thin,” I replied. “I’m just glad there’s someone still around here with the family name.”
I walked around and took some pictures of the amazing old buildings. Chester had more half-timbered Tutor-style buildings per square block than nearly any other place in England. It was a living city, too. The shopping was famous. The inhabitants were adaptable. There was a beautiful half-timbered building on one street with a McDonald’s installed on the ground floor.
Jim had recommended pasties, a kind of pie filled with meat, potatoes and turnips which was held in the hand and eaten, throwing the thick crust edge away. It was developed as a portable lunch for coal miners. I chickened out. I had a prawn and crispy bacon sandwich while sitting on a bench in the town square in front of the Shropshire Arms Pub. There were lots of references to the English soccer team hung about, flags and signs like “C’mon, England”. I fed my bread crumbs to the pigeons.
I wrote and mailed postcards to my sister Lore, my daughter Gayla and my friend Joanne. I used a red postal box like in all the PBS mystery stories.

My friend was an enthusiastic musician, being himself not only a very capable performer but a composer of no ordinary merit.
The Red Headed League

We left Chester after lunch on route to Liverpool north of here. Impressions – passed a nuclear power plant – Jim told of Liverpool – River Dee ran into the River Mersey – Liverpool was the second largest city in UK – famous for the comedians and musicians that came from there – Great import–export city – shipping was big industry – from Liverpool 9,000,000 people emigrated between 1830 to 1930 to U.S., Australia, and points east. It handled nearly all the Irish traffic to the US – a working class city, always had been. The dock area was now undergoing a great renovation, converting old buildings into ritzy apartments.
We got a good look at the Mersey River and drove down by the Albert Docks. That was where the Beatles Experience Museum was located. We were left off with time of our own. The choices were many; the Beatles museum, the nearby Tate Britain museum, a maritime museum with info on the English slave trade, and shopping.
I went into the Beatle Experience. It told the complete story of the rise and dissolution of the Fab Four, starting with the boys learning their instruments and John Lennon in the Quarrymen. The panels on the walls and the audio tour told of how John, Paul, and George played in Germany with Stuart, who died. Just before they became famous they changed their drummer from Pete Best to Ringo Starr. He had to win some prize for being the luckiest man in show business.
Their later careers were told in great detail. I heard “My Bonnie” which was their first big hit. I had never heard it before. Their music played throughout the museum, accompanying the pictures, text, photos, actual mikes, instruments, costumes, re-creation of the Cavern nightclub, etc.
The last rooms were about the boys’ later lives. A pair of John Lennon’s granny glasses sat alone in a Plexiglas case. Pictures of Paul McCarthy’s Institute of Music that he founded in his old grammar school building were shown. I remembered when I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. I really liked this museum.
I walked around Albert Docks in back of the Beatles Experience. I found the small Tate Gallery, a branch of the big one in London. It was modern art in a refurbished warehouse. The first floor gallery had a multi-arched ceiling, grey aluminum A/C ducts, white plaster walls and a gray flagstone floor. Very stark. Paintings of colored stripes were mounted on the walls.
There was more modern art upstairs. A mannequin torso filled with old shaving brushes stood on a plinth. Simple lithographs of pizza and coffee cups hung on the walls. There was a plastic case which held a three-foot long black hot dog bun with a narrow black steel hot dog laid within.
Modern art is really not my style. I enjoy Impressionists, Post-impressionism, and Van Gogh. I stopped in the gift shop and talked to two teenage female clerks about the Art Institute of Chicago. They wanted to talk about the movie “The Blues Brothers”, made in Chicago, with the big scenes of all the police cars crashing.
I walked into a quiet teashop and bought a chocolate muffin for the bus. I talked to a South African lady who was standing in front of the Docks with a crowd of her own children and nephews and nieces. The kids were climbing all over an enormous anchor cemented into the plaza and I took a picture of them. So cute. Heather F. and her friends had gone shopping. She got a very attractive English scarf with a lion and St. George flag on it. It cost 8 pounds.
Liverpool was the scene of a mystery in one of the Sherlock Holmes stories. In “The Cardboard Box” the murderer met, married, murdered and mutilated the victim and her boyfriend in Liverpool and nearby New Brighton. Holmes investigated the case when a cardboard box filled with salt and containing two human ears was mailed to a respectable lady living near London. She was a relative of the unfortunate victim.
Jim took a group shot of us standing in front of the Beatles sign for the EFTours web site and we went off to Carlisle and the hotel and dinner.
Going up to the Lancaster area of the UK took us to the Lakes District, the great beauty spot of Britain. Impressions included dry- stone walls set up centuries ago around small fields that sloped up the hills – stone churches with stone bell towers with grey stone villages below – clumps of large trees and brush - fields climbed up hills edged with hedgerows – grey hills ahead – sheep and cattle in the same field- rounded hills topped with small forests. It started to look like a more populated Smokey Mountains.
Wind farms, graceful white modern blades revolving and generating electricity. Large rounded hills with no trees - old stone–walled fields at foot. Stone houses – stone barns – stone outbuildings – stone walls, all grey – green fields, dark green trees – black and white cows – white sheep – tiny stone bridge over a twisty creek – masses of white flowers on banks of roadway with wood slat fences and trees above. I saw that the landscape really was laid out like a patchwork quilt, like Robert Lewis Stevenson’s poem, “Land of Counterpane” that I read years ago in the book “A Child’s Garden of Verses”.
We arrived at the County Hotel in Carlisle, the capital of Cumbria. It was famous for its military history and the castle that once imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots. We got a brief chance for photos of the castle the next morning.
A word now on hotel rooms. It worked out in our group that at each hotel I had a single room. That was unexpected and very nice. In London, my Norfolk Plaza room was cozy, with two twin beds, a tiny shower with a single door on tracks right next to the sink. That meant I had to squeeze into it each time, but there was lots of hot water. I got water on the floor after every use but there were lovely little shampoos. Reddick had the deep tub but also lots of hot water. My Carlisle room was on the third floor. There was a tiny elevator for bags. I squeezed in with Eppie S. and our bags to go up. Narrow twisty halls I had come to expect. My room had sloping ceilings, one double bed, chairs tucked away under the eaves. The bathroom was notable for only tepid water. The room had an unused fireplace and a tiny closet.
Each room had a television set and an electric kettle with coffee and tea fixings. In London I watched some Coronation Street. The commercial for “Head-on, apply directly to the forehead!” was just as annoying in the UK as in Wisconsin. At Carlisle I watched a sketch comedy show. One scene involved a nanny from “the North” who was unintelligible to her new London employers. In every room I watched BBC Morning. The anchor people did quiet joking, much less frenzied than that of the NBC Today Show. The big news on TV was the kidnapping of two British soldiers in Palestine, the World’s Cup news, Aaron Spelling’s death, the heat, and preparations for Wimbledon’s tennis matches. Aaron Spelling produced the TV show “Dallas” which was very popular in the U.K. during the 1980’s.

“Wordsworth Road,” said my companion.
The Sign of Four

Breakfast was notable for the hot meal we were served. Along with the expected dry cereals, fruit, milk, muffins, toast, croissants, honey, jams, juices, coffee and tea, we found sliced meat, sausages, baked beans and scrambled eggs.
The buffet table was a-glitter with silver-plated chafing dishes with aromatic steam escaping from under the domed lids.
I had a vision of P. G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster loading up the old chinaware while fending off Aunt Agatha’s demand that he distribute the end-of-year prizes at the local grammar school.
I was particularly impressed with the scrambled eggs. They were nearly all gone and the bottom of the chafing dish was covered in a thin layer of water. The utensil used in serving the eggs was a small mesh scoop on a long silver handle. Any scrambled eggs I had ever seen were much dryer than those. They weren’t my mother’s scrambled eggs. Plus there was no ketchup. I took some extra sausages instead.
We boarded the coach to leave Carlisle. On the way out of town the coach passed a building whose second story windows were decorated with silhouettes of Sherlock Holmes and a sign advertising Holmesearch, a real estate agency. It was June 27th, a Monday.
Leigh S. and I also caught a quick glimpse of a small isolated shop with the intriguing sign “The Tardis” on it. So that’s what happened to Dr. Who!
We were on our way to Rydal Mount, William Wordsworth’s home. He was a famous Romantic poet. My favorite poem of his was “Lochinvar”.
Our cycle of wonderful weather cracked a little. This morning it was overcast and showery. It wasn’t the best weather to view lovely landscapes with mountains one thousand to three thousand feet high. We put on our jackets and kept our umbrellas handy.
Impressions – hills topped with trees – cultivated fields with trees or bushes bordering them – fields not big – ten or fifteen acres each – passed by a Royal Mail truck, bright red with the emblem of the Crown on the side in gold paint, carrying letters about the UK – some larger fields, some more cows, dry-stone fences – stone barns next to stone or brick farmhouses with brick walls all around. Farms were neat and prosperous – still some tin roofs on sheds – milk cows - some recently sheared sheep.
The sun came out!
There was an arched stone bridge that ran from the road’s verge into a field – land like a checkerboard – I was reminded of Lewis Carroll’s book “Alice through the Looking-glass” - wood slat fences – hills gradually getting bigger. I spied a sign for Penrith.
Jim gave out info on the area. Part of the Lake District was a National Park. A tarn was a large pond, a fell was a mountain. This area had the deepest lakes and valleys of England. Jim talked about the volcano history of the area. The Lakes District was the wettest part of England. Fog and rain were normal at least one-half of the time here, with frequent mists on the mountains. In the wintertime the tops and sides of the mountains were capped by snow. The first industry was stone axes made by Paleolithic people. The area was known for mining coal, graphite and slate, and for textiles and tourists. The early energy bar, a Kendall mint cake, was developed and made famous here.
My impressions – meandering dry-stone walls for fences – stakes and wire mesh protected dry-stone fences from the animals inside – tiny stone huts served as shelter for the sheep in pastures – dangerous cliffs and gorges sheep could fall over and into – the mountains increased – more sheep –“Far from the Maddening Crowd” country – went thru villages with twisty streets, narrow stone walls along roads topped with sharp stones set on edge – many bed-and-breakfasts places - cattle guards (or sheep guards) at field gates – chimney pots shaped like terra-cotta four-square crowns – ferns on the hillsides.
We pulled off the road at a lay-by for a photo opportunity at Lake Thirlmere and our daily group shot was taken there too. Each daily group shot went up on the EFTours Website so our friends and family back home could track us. Thirlmere was only one of the hundreds of lakes and tarns that were scattered throughout the Lakes District. It even had a little fenced-in path that led to an outlook available for better photo taking.
Roadsides had the steep gradients of the Wisconsin Dells, filled with trees and big ferns. This area was similar to the land around Chula Vista Resort in the Lake Delton area, with its trees and curving roads. The road builders had cut thru hard brown rock, leaving exposed faces. A little stream ran along the roadside like I had seen in the Smokey Mountains. The stream bed was full of rocks, the water gently shimmering in the sunlight. Thin waterfalls dropped from on high over ancient rocks.
The village of Grasemere was located just before William Wordsworth’s first home, Dove Cottage, and near Rydal Mount, his home after he married. Wordsworth lived from 1770 to 1850. In Dove Cottage, he lived with his sister Dorothy and wrote what some thought were his finest poems. After he married Mary and began a family, he and Dorothy and Mary moved to his new home, Rydal Mount. It was well named. There was a body of water named Rydal nearby and I swear this home was built on the top of a mountain.
Of course it wasn’t, but the walk up the hill to Wordsworth’s home was steep! It was paved in loose gravel and lined on the right side by a tall stone wall. There was a lower stone wall on the other side, both pierced by gates and driveways to private homes. The walls were spotted with lichen, moss and miniature ferns.
The Wordsworth house was owned by the original Wordsworth family. They frequently came down and stayed during weekends, so this was not a museum. Not all the contents were owned by William Wordsworth. Part of it was closed to the public.
Again there were nice gardens and a little gift shop. The old original part of the home was a yeoman’s cottage. Wordsworth had added to and improved the original property. It was all blended into a smooth whole. Each room had something to show of Wordsworth’s life. The dining room had embroidered chair seats worked by Mary, Dorothy Wordsworth and Wordsworth’s daughter Dora. The sitting room had a statue called “The Curious Child” about which Wordsworth had written a poem.
The library had a lovely bookcase filled with his books. I noticed knobs on panels next to the windows of the dining room. I pulled on a knob and unfolded a panel that would half-cover the adjacent window. I asked the guide what it was. She explained it was a shutter. I had never seen a shutter quite like this before. I suddenly realized that these shutters were quite likely similar to the ones mentioned in the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”. After the poet “heard such a clatter”, he “opened the shutters and threw up the sash” to discover St. Nicholas and his “eight tiny reindeer.”
Clement Moore wrote that poem for his children but I had never understood the “shutter” reference before.
Upstairs were the small bedrooms of Wordsworth and his wife and of Dorothy, his sister, who lived with them the balance of her life. She was a great support to her brother. There was an original manuscript written in his hand lying in a glass-topped case in his bedroom.
In the gift shop I didn’t notice a step and nearly ran into another visitor. No one was hurt, although I noticed that tourist moved silently but quickly away. The walk down the hill to our coach was much easier. A couple of homeowners stood in their gardens and watched as we tourists walked by. I noticed an old stone village church located next to the road by our coach.
It was lunch time. Ambleside was a nice little town nearby, built within the folds of the mountainside. A few of the kids and I ended up at the Ambleside Fellclimber Café. Some of the kids ordered fish and chips while I ordered a jacket potato with cheese on top and a glass of milk. I talked to a nice middle-aged lady about the area. While paying my check at the cash register, I bought a treat, a filled pastry called an Eccles cake, for later. It was like a large, filled cookie. The filling tasted like fig paste. I liked it, but it was a little crumbly.
The name “Eccles” kept nagging at my memory. Where had I seen it before? Then I remembered John Scott Eccles, the man who brought the problem of “Wisteria Lodge” to the attention of Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
I walked around the corner after lunch and found a sweet shop housed in a former bank. I bought some shortbread and some marzipan. I looked into the local library and picked up a folder on joining the Cumberland Constabulary. In a small shop filled with incised slabs of flint I learned that many of the buildings in Ambleside were constructed of flint rock, the slabs piled up and held together by mortar. The flint souvenirs in the little shop were designed to be used as coasters or paper weights. There were quarries nearby that had been worked for centuries. Many of the houses in neighboring towns were also made of flint or of the local stone.

Her sharp, steel prow cut through the still river-water and sent two rolling waves to right and left of us.
The Sign of Four

We boarded a motor launch at Lake Windermere for our ride. The launch was similar to one of the tour boats on Lake Geneva, WI’s, Geneva Lake. Lake Geneva, an hour north of Chicago, and forty minutes east of Evansville, became a vacation spot for wealthy Chicagoans after the Civil War. Tycoon families like the Wrigleys and the Armours built lavish summer houses along the lakeside and sent their families up by rail to spend the warm months away from the heat of the Windy City. Over the years tour boats with running commentary on the local sights developed.
Lake Geneva also features the famous mail boat route each summer. A troop of mail carriers, usually comely college students, deliver the U.S. mail to boxes on the piers from a moving boat. Tourists ride along to see if the route can be completed without a carrier left behind or, worst yet, left swimming in the lake from a miscalculated grab at the departing boat.
All the rich people who built their summer houses here also planted tall pines to hide them from the tourists. Our launch featured no running commentary or mail deliveries. There were a couple of people in row boats fishing and many ducks and swans. I took pictures.
During our ride, I talked to a lady sitting behind me. I learned that this was a favorite area of Agatha Christie. When she “disappeared”, just before she divorced her first husband, she was found at a nearby hotel. The Lake Windermere area was also the home of Beatrix Potter who wrote and illustrated the Peter Rabbit stories.
In the middle of our ride to our destination, Burness–on–Windermere, I heard a low rumble. I looked up and there were two British jet planes blasting down the valley toward us. The noise was terrific! I was stunned. We watched the planes roar overhead and disappear back toward the direction of Ambleside. A few questions established that there was a military base near Carlisle and that the area over Lake Windermere was used for practice flying. This was not mentioned in the tourist brochures.
The boat stopped at Bowness–on–Windermere. A promenade, shops, and hotels were built up the slope from the lake’s edge. There were piers where rowboats could be rented. Also there were a quantity of ducks and swans preening for the tourists.
I walked on the pebbled shingle (beach) and took photos of the swans. I rested on a wooden bench along the promenade and talked to some middle-aged people who were from Glasgow.
The two couples had traveled to San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York. Next year they were going to Florida.
When I walked up the promenade I passed a blackboard with a great message on it. It read, “Our chef recommends a Lakeland Cream tea. A pot of tea for one served with a fruit scone filled with jam and lashings of cream.” I didn’t think anyone actually said “lashings of cream” outside of an E. F. Benson novel.
Sitting beside the sign were more Glasgow day-trippers. I snapped the sign and stopped to chat.
Glasgow was the city where Oscar Slater was accused and convicted of the murder of an elderly spinster. He appealed to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who investigated his case. Conan Doyle thought Slater was innocent. After Slater was released, he tried to contact Conan Doyle to thank him for trying to help him. The author thought Slater, with his muddy past and low associates, was unsavory and refused to meet him.
I discovered later that when Grenada Studios shot the Sherlock Holmes TV series with Jeremy Brett they used the Lake District for some Swiss mountain scenes in “The Adventure of Lady Francis Carfax”.
The launch took us back to Ambleside and we boarded the bus. Impressions – a monkey puzzle tree, complete with twisted branches and long seed pods, grew in front of a house in Ambleside, very Agatha Christie – a local landmark, the tiniest house in England - one room stacked another – maybe 10’ x 10’ – 20’ - made of slate and perched on a tiny arched bridge of slate over a stream in town – now used as an information center for the National Trust – was a probable inspiration for the children’s poem “There was an old lady who lived in a shoe.” Ambleside and Grasemere streets were very twisty and narrow, lined with stone walls protecting the gardens of homes built right up to the roadsides.
The towns’ streets were lined with shops and the streets went up and down, up and around. Between Ambleside and Grasemere were more trees and sheep, with beautiful and craggy mountains.
Grasemere had St. Oswald’s, the church where Wordsworth and his family were buried. It was a smallish stone church with a square bell tower, an enclosed family pew next to the pulpit, a baptismal font with a cover shaped like a pierced metal candle snuffer, and family memorials on the walls. It was established in the 900s by King Odo in honor of St. Oswald.
There was a quiet graveyard planted with old trees and spotted with ancient large, slab gravestones splotched with lichen and moss so the names and dates couldn’t easily be read. I saw a few Celtic crosses on square plinths.
Wordsworth’s family plot and the graves it contained were grouped together behind an iron railing next to an old yew tree reputedly planted by Wordsworth himself. A great lover of nature, as reflected in his poetry, Wordsworth had landscaped some of the graveyard and surrounding area himself. Wordsworth was laid to rest with his wife Mary on one side and his beloved sister Dorothy on the other. Behind him were his son and other family members.
Regaining the coach after this, I found William Wordsworth’s “daffodil” poem on a gift shop bag. The kids allowed me to read it aloud. It got a good response, with some murmurs of, “Mrs. Puhl knows how to read poetry.” I was gratified.
It was a three-hour drive to Edinburgh. Impressions – a slate farmhouse on a hill with ivy growing up its walls. Slate barns connected to each other by stone walls around the farmyard. The country flattening out - wire fences with wood slats put together – some hedges – smaller trees – skies full of clumpy, fluffy, huge clouds that revealed only thin streaks of blue sky. Grey and white masses piled up against each other overhead. It was 5 pm.
Inside the bus it was very quiet. Some people were trying to sleep. The buzz of iPods filled the air. I stretched out my legs and took off my shoes, but my feet and knees still hurt. I couldn’t get to sleep. Since that baked potato, I’d had only Skittles and some shortbread. I always carried bottled water.
We were going down a six-lane highway – a sign said “The North” – I drew the red curtains to block the setting sun – tall, long exposed slate roadsides showed how work crews carved though rocky hills to create the roads. The stony walls alternated with forests of pine mixed with wood slat fences. Lots of pine forests now, covering the hills.
At 6pm we stopped at a convenience store/gas station. I noticed that on the candy rack were bags of Jelly Babies, the favorite candy of the Beatles. I looked closely at them. When the Beatles had arrived in the USA back in the 1960s, they complained that the jelly beans the audiences threw at them were too hard. I now saw that Jelly Babies were like Gummy Bears, not like hard-shelled jelly beans at all.
Jamie G. stumbled off the curb as she was returning to the bus. She fell badly and injured her right ankle. Jim called for an ice pack and the local emergency people came. We continued onward in the coach but she was in pain and had to see a doctor. I always thought I would be the one to crash.
We entered Scotland. There were little cottages right next to the road. Far in the distance were tiny little churches with tiny little graveyards all made of tiny grey stones. Passing though a hamlet we passed the Gordon Arms Hotel – stone–girt fields were larger – clumps of trees – sheep – big rock formation – seedlings planted in rows told of the reforesting of hills – very sunny – hilly countryside – vine-covered houses – a wide valley dotted with buildings, farms, villages, a big city coming up.
Edging around Edinburgh, we crossed the Firth of Forth at South Queensferry on a long motor bridge. The unusual-looking bridge next to us was the first steel-built bridge in the world. Its cantilevered length carried trains and was opened in 1890.
Our destination, the Gantwhyean Hotel, was made of great stone blocks, located in the Scottish countryside and expanded from an old farmhouse. It was decorated with blue plaid carpets in the public areas and had several nice fireplaces.
Our supper had been ordered a couple of days before and we were given the choice of beef or fish. The beef turned out to be beef chunks in gravy with added mixed vegetables and small boiled potatoes, all topped with a separate baked puff pastry. It was very unfamiliar. Some of us had creative ways of handling the pastry. Some crumbled it over the entire dish, while one person picked it up and buttered it. I ate it all with a fork, deciding that the puff pastry was the “lid” of the dish. I should have ordered the fish. It was a lovely baked salmon.
My room was double-bedded with the nicest shower yet, but there was no A/C. or remote for my T.V. The hotel had two ghosts, a farmhand kicked to death in the stables and a daughter of the family. I didn’t hear her story, but there was a picture of her hanging by the dining room. She looked like she was about six years old.

From the central block rose the twin towers, ancient, crenellated, and pierced with many loopholes.
The Hound of the Baskervilles

The next morning was Wednesday, June 28th. Our hotel was near the town of Powmill. The TV news reported that German police had arrested unruly English soccer fans. That morning’s continental breakfast featured chocolate croissants, our first of this trip. None remained behind when we boarded the coach for Edinburgh.
More hills – trees - larger fields - sheep and cows - a quarry - motor overpasses over the highway, some with arched bridges next to them for use by the animals. Houses in new subdivisions in the U.K. were much of the same pattern – rectangle semi-detached homes made of red brick or white–painted pebble-dash with red hip roofs – grey roofs on farm buildings.
Masses of trees everywhere – outside of Edinburgh many houses had front yards that had been covered with brick or gravel – the brick easy to sweep clean – the gravel to provide parking. All yards were surrounded by walls. A car couldn’t be parked on the side of the road because the road was so narrow. I don’t understand how people could walk along the streets without being hit.
Next door, the front yard might be a grassy plot with two tiny flowerbeds planted in the center with blue blossoms. The hotels I saw appeared small, even the Edinburgh Holiday Inn. It looked to be as wide as the Grange Store on Main Street in Evansville, nearly half a long block, but stood several stories taller. The adjoining parking lot was also undersized.
The coach drove into Charlotte Square. It was a block-long park, called a garden, in the New Town part of Edinburgh. New Town was one of the first planned communities built in Edinburgh and was created in the years following 1767 when rich merchants built on the clean, airy plain north of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Edinburgh at the time was known as “Auld Reekie”, referring to the haze of coal smoke that hung over its chimney pots.
There was lots of Georgian architecture, very nice. Stone steps led up to doors with tall glass panels on either side and fanlights above, drawing rooms on the second floor, kitchens in the basement behind iron railings protecting steps down into clean-swept areas.
Each house in Charlotte Square, like Norfolk Square in London, boasted iron railings, scrubbed steps, and a key to the private garden in the center. The garden was large and decorated with statuary and many trees, shrubs and flower beds.
We met Roddy Robertson, our Edinburgh guide. He was about sixty, wore a tweed jacket and the full Scots regalia. That included a tweed jacket with epaulettes, a kilt in the Robertson plaid with a sporran, white knee socks with a special dagger, and brogan shoes. Robby also had a full head of snow-white hair and a fetching white beard and mustache. Of course, he had the Scottish brogue.
He was very funny, full of jokes about Americans. He had guided many Americans and claimed he could always spot them by their outstanding white, even teeth.
We stopped at the Charlotte Square home of the Scotland Prime Minister. It looked just like the other houses and there were no gates or guards. Robby said once he sent a girl from one of his tours out to knock on the door and the Prime Minister answered the knock himself. We saw some people in dark suits carrying briefcases standing on the steps.
We also stopped by Robert Lewis Stevenson’s home. I took a picture. It had a red painted door. Across the street in Charlotte Square was the tree on a tiny island in the garden’s pond that inspired the map of Treasure Island. Stevenson drew the map first and then wrote the book. His stepson had requested an adventure story “with no girls!” The sidewalks were paved with flagstones.
On the streets, we passed the Greyfriars Bobby Pub and a statue of the faithful little dog that stayed by its owner’s grave for twelve years. Disney made a movie about it.
The streets in Old Town were curvy and narrow as we ascended the old volcano that Edinburgh was built upon. We passed buildings constructed from medieval times to the past century, some with pizza parlors or clothing shops in the ground floors.
A steep narrow street bought us up to Edinburgh Castle. It stood on the top of a maze of streets which ran from the Castle on top of the extinct volcano down to Holyroodhouse at the other end of the volcanic ridge.
Robby told us an odd tale about Edinburgh. Since it was built originally as a fortress upon the extinct volcano, it was not surprising that the nearest water source was found far away down on the plain below. Steps were cut into volcanic rock to reach the water. Edinburgh had little room to expand because of the necessity to use the heights for defense. Consequently, wooden buildings occupied by the local population were built upwards as tall as twenty stories.
Water had to be carried by hand up all those hundreds of steps. The most desirable apartments became those of the lowest stories, because of the labor involved in water-hauling. The poorest lived on the penthouse floors, where the rents were the cheapest.
The bus stopped in the Esplanade, a wide open space, before the castle. The Esplanade was filled around the edges with temporary steel scaffolding and bleacher seats. In two days would be a Tattoo, a military show by the Scottish divisions of the British Army. It would be all swirling kilts, skirling bagpipes and marching around in formations. The Queen was expected to attend.
We started at the Castle’s arched entrance and climbed an inclined spiral up to the top. The entire atmosphere was stone, stone, stone. The walls were made of stone, the battlements and parapets were made of stone, and the Castle was built on an enormous stone. The spiral road was made of cobblestones, sized to the shape of large bricks, laid down on the sloping surface to the top. Where there were not cobblestones there were flints laid down to walk on. The rough surface was there to afford traction for the military mounts of the soldiers as they clattered up and down the way.
The barracks were made of stone. The Governor’s house was made of stone. The military prison was made of stone. The mess hall was made of stone. St. Margaret’s Chapel was built in the 12th century by King David and it was made of stone except for the stained glass windows.
The Scottish War Memorial for the dead of WWI was made of stone.
I went in and saw the lovely stained glass windows depicting the wounded and the dead. Red velvet-covered books with the names of the dead in them were ranged around the ledges of the first room. Beyond that was an apse lined with graphic brown friezes of representative figures of WWI soldiers. I saw the figure of a nurse in a cap and long dress and a man dressed in a fur-collared parka, carrying snow-shoes. Above them soared more windows filled with tiny bits of color. Over it all, hanging from the high domed ceiling, was a chandelier.
I left the War Memorial and crossed the square to the Palace. The Scottish Crown Jewels were on display in a large glass case in one room. They were very beautiful and consisted of a large silver-trimmed sword and scabbard, a golden scepter and a red-velvet and ermine-lined gold crown topped with a cross of pearls. There was also the Stone of Destiny, captured by the English and just returned after 700 years of captivity under the Coronation Throne in Westminster Cathedral. The walls of the room were hung with the many coats of arms of Scottish Kings and Queens.
Farther into the Palace was the room where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James the VI of Scotland, who became James I of England after both his mother and Queen Elizabeth I died. They all lived in the 1600s. It was large, paneled in wood painted green and with a little room off behind the fireplace where the Queen could speak privately with others without the servants listening in.
Down the passageway was a reception hall with an enormous white marble fireplace. Over the mantelpiece was a huge British coat of arms showing the three English lions, the Irish harp and the Scottish lion quartered in with the fleur d’lys of France. That showed how old it was. The English hadn’t claimed the throne of France for centuries. The room was being prepared as a reception room for the current Queen Elizabeth’s visit.

“I have one or two things which I would wish to do now that I am in town.”
The Speckled Band

I took a quick trip to the gift shop and we were back on the bus. Dave the driver drove us around the streets as Jim pointed out points of interest like “The Hub,” a church that had the city’s highest spire. We saw the Scott Memorial, a shrine to Sir Walter Scott. It showed a statue of Sir Walter with one of his dogs. It was made of dark stone with an elaborately pierced spire.
The coach parked near the new Scotland Parliament building. It was large, designed in the postmodern style, studded with yellow decorative pipes representing a Scottish hut, a winner of several architectural awards, and its roof collapsed last year.
It was right across the street from Holyroodhouse, the Edinburgh palace where Mary Queen of Scots and many other Scottish monarchs lived. Now Queen Elizabeth I stayed there when she was in town. She was expected that weekend for the Tattoo so it was closed to tourists.
Instead we went into the Holyroodhouse gift shop, which the Queen owned. The items bore the Queen’s copyright. You couldn’t get this stuff anywhere else. I got pens for my grandchildren and a tin of cookies for myself. I really bought it for the tin design.
We drove past Edinburgh University. Of course, that was the Sherlock Holmes connection.
Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh. His birthplace had been torn down, but a statue of Sherlock Holmes had been erected in the city to honor the author and his creation. Believe me, there were not many statues honoring Englishmen, real or imagined, in the Scottish capital.
Conan Doyle attended Edinburgh University Medical School where he met Dr. Joseph Bell, a great inspiration for Holmes. After he got his degree and studied in Germany Doyle went down to Portsmouth and set up a practice. Few came for treatment and he started to write fiction to earn some money. The rest is literary history.
We were left on Princes Street where all the good shopping was located. For lunch, I got a plate of vegetable soup and a crusty roll from a nearby pub on a side street.
Sitting behind me in the outdoor area of tables and chairs was a loud, rude man who talked continuously on his cell phone. He seemed to be arguing and laughing with his caller. The call lasted longer than it took me to finish my lunch. Believe me; the novelty of his accent wore off pretty quickly.
I hit the stores.
In a large wool store on Princes Street, I bought a Scottish wool wrap in the Ferguson plaid. That was a mixture of lavenders with a pink stripe. Back in Stratford–upon– Avon I had discovered that my Grandpa King, married to the former Ada Tillotson, had been of the clan McGregor. I couldn’t find anything to wear I could afford in McGregor, but I did get a refrigerator magnet in the McGregor plaid and showing the lion’s crest.
I bought two Scottish wool scarves in Royal Stuart plaid for myself and my sister. At the British department store, Marks and Spenser, I bought my son-in-law a striped blue tie. It came in a cardboard sleeve with instructions on how to tie three different knots. I got a Union Jack key ring for my friend Joanne, who loaned me her camera.
I found the Scottish National Gallery of Art. Outside there were several decorated fiberglass cows like the “Cows on Parade” display that Madison, WI had this summer. The cows were colorfully and fancifully painted and were to be sold to raise money for several children’s charities.
Inside the National Gallery of Art were many collections of paintings, sculpture and old furniture. I liked them, especially the paintings about Napoleon and the ones depicting Roman scenes. I particularly noted a Gainsborough, a Monet, a large John Singer Sargent, and a Degas. Also, there were plenty of places to sit. I saw Bill H. and Dan C. walking around and admiring everything.
After I finished with my tour of the Gallery, I walked back up Princes Street toward our meeting place. The north side of Princes Street was all shops and stores. The south side bordered a large park called Princes Street Gardens. It had lovely flower beds, walks, and even an outdoor stage where Shakespeare plays were performed during the summer. An iron railing ran along it on the street side and along the fence were arranged a series of long wooden benches with plaques dedicated to many people who had passed away, or to the Edinburgh public. One was even dedicated to Ludwig Von Beethoven by a modern admirer. Many people were sitting on them so I did too. They were very comfortable.
It was good to have the benches there, because the nearby bus stops were useless for resting. Each narrow bench inside the plastic boxes in the U.K. was topped with a smooth wooden board that sloped downward, providing a most uncomfortable seat. Sitting on a bench and watching the people in the bus stop shelter was part of the fun of the day. I also saw a number of school kids walking in groups, wearing their uniforms of white shirts, blue ties and blue pants for the boys and shirts, ties, and blue plaid skirts with a large safety pin for the girls. I wondered that they were still in school (although on a day trip to Edinburgh) at the end of June. I found out later that British schools didn’t let out until well into July.
All of us gathered at the end of the Gardens with the Castle looming overhead to the south. It was 5:45 pm and time for dinner. We walked to a Chinese restaurant. I ate very good sweet-and-sour chicken and delicious banana fritters. I love Chinese food.
Then we trudged to the top of the Royal Mile to the entrance of the Esplanade. Cobblestones were everywhere and my feet and knees were voicing their own opinions about this trip. The Evansville boys, as they had done innumerable times in the last few days, passed the time with a now well-worn and slightly flattened hacky-sack.
A police guard was there turning away tourists. She did let in a couple of men in chauffeured cars. I think it had something to do with the visit of the Queen on Friday.
Here we were met by a young man dressed in nineteenth century costume for our Witchery Tour. His assistant, a hooded, robed figure, went amongst us handing out small books full of tales of Edinburgh ghosts and witches. His character was introduced as a fire victim of one of Edinburgh’s many tragic fires. He then disappeared.
Our witchery tour guide was called Alexander Clapperton. Played by another actor, he was a deceased member of the criminal class who met his fate upon the scaffold. He was very funny. He led us thru courtyards and closes (very narrow alleyways) to tell tales of the murders, tortures, witches, and ugly deaths by plague in Edinburgh’s history.
Molly R. had red hair so he used her to illustrate his tales of extracting confessions from accused witches. I had never seen a real thumbscrew before. We were encouraged to cry “Witch! Witch!” as the old inhabitants did, crying for her death. She was really an American, so he let her go.
His assistant discarded his fire victim disguise (I spotted a black gym bag) and reappeared at intervals as a collector of plague victims’ bodies, an accused female witch, and a fierce Scottish warrior. He was very funny too, and had a hilarious way of saying “Thank Yeeewwww!” that had us in stitches.
Clapperton told about Edinburgh scandals, like the 18th century Deacon Brodie and his double life as a respectable craftsman by day and a burglar of rich homes by night. He told of the murderers Burke and Hare, who in the 1820’s smothered the old and weak and sold their fresh corpses to Dr. Knox, a professor of the University Medical School, for use as autopsy subjects. Back then a good cadaver was hard to find. The two actors made lots of jokes about Glasgow. After the tour, they posed for photos with the kids.
The Virginia group didn’t go on the tour. Instead, they went to the Edinburgh Hard Rock Café and came back with full stomachs and shopping bags loaded with t-shirts and souvenirs. If it wasn’t pizza or burgers it wasn’t food for some people.
We all climbed on the bus and it was back over the Firth of Forth Bridge to the hotel.
Jamie G. used a wheelchair to navigate Edinburgh Castle and later Jim the tour director took her to a doctors’ office. She came back with an Ace bandage on her ankle and good reports of Britain’s National Health System.
“In and out in an hour”, she said.

As we left the room, we heard his pen traveling shrilly over the foolscap.
The Six Napoleons


Today was Thursday, June 29th. We had chocolate croissants for breakfast again, along with the orange juice, toast, jams, honey, corn flakes, fruit, coffee and tea. We loaded the coach with our luggage and headed out to Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott. He lived from 1771 to 1832. He wrote “Ivanhoe” and “Rob Roy” and many other novels based on Scottish legends and historical figures and filled with castles, knights, lovely ladies and chivalry. His books were so famous that he helped restore Scottish pride in the country’s heritage. He was a literary rock star. He even had his own monument in Edinburgh.
Impressions – more low-rolling hills – more red-roofed little towns – power line towers – clumps of trees and ferns on the roadside banks – larger fields with both cows and sheep in them – sheep grazing in pastures with tiny streams running thru them - multi-arched stone bridge arching away from the road into a field over a stream running parallel to the road – a grey-roofed one and one-half story farmhouse with grey stone walls with windows and corners trimmed in brown stone, called quoins, at the corners of that farmhouse – hill on one side – valley on the other with sheep, stone buildings, trees and walls – the fields sloping up and dotted with cows.
The roads, only two-laned, were very curvy and narrow. I was glad I was not driving. I didn’t even sit that close to the driver. We were on the wrong side of the road! If I had really looked, I would have been scared to death. I couldn’t see around the corners, what with all the foliage and the stone walls. Bus driver Dave did a fine job.
More impressions – vine-covered two-story stone house- trees edge road right up to vehicles – lots of use of quoins on buildings here – pebble-and-dash finish on buildings was grey, sometimes painted white – now in the Border Country just north of Yorkshire – house trim colors were muted greens and reds – I saw roads, sidewalks, walls bordering roads, houses, all stone with no greenery.
Gothic limestone Victorian village churches complete with buttresses, towers, spires, and tall pointed windows were everywhere.
We approached Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott. He was born in Edinburgh, contracted polio when he was very young and sent to his grandparents’ home, here in the border country, to recover. This area is famous as the scene of many battles between England and Scotland centuries ago. Scott became a famous writer, world-renowned, writing about the battles and the people who waged them. In later life he took on the debts of his publisher when the publishing house crashed. He spent the rest of his life writing his way out of debt. He paid off the last ones just before he died. An admirable man.
Stone arches atop a brick wall led us up to his home. Scott had taken the royalties from his historical romances and built himself a miniature castle. It was filled with paneled rooms, coats of armor, mounted antlers, antique furniture, coats of arms of Scottish heroes, paintings of his friends and one of himself with his dogs. There were glass cases full of historical artifacts, including Rob Roy’s dagger, Mary Queen of Scots’ mother-of pearl crucifix she carried when she was beheaded and all sorts of swords and claymores. The ceiling of the Great Room was a replica of the one at Rosslyn Chapel (“Da Vinci Code” alert!) There was also a Catholic chapel.
We were ushered into a 2-tiered study with its own little room off to the side like the one I saw at Edinburgh Castle in Mary Queen of Scot’s apartment. Next was the library, both rooms stocked to the ceilings with bookshelves loaded with Sir Walter’s personal collection.
Many of the treasures of Abbotsford House were gifts from his friends and admirers. Everything was kept just as Scott left it after he died. One strange-looking animal skull on the wall was an upside-down head of a walrus. It will never be hung correctly because that is the way Sir Walter put it up.
Outside I could see the crenellated towers, stone walls with quoins at the windows and corners, sloping roofs and a gravel walk on the edge of the lawn that overlooked the River Tweed flowing pass the green lawn. There was even a ruined tower foundation where I found a seat and took some pictures.
The Sherlock Holmes connection was again with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Sir Walter Scott became famous and rich by writing historical novels harking back to knights and the age of chivalry. Sir Arthur was famous and rich from writing about Sherlock Holmes and Professor Challenger, the discoverer of “The Lost World”. But Sir Walter’s books were resounding successes and filled a great need of his time. Sir Arthur wrote historical novels like “Sir Nigel” and “The White Company” that he felt were his greatest works. But the world had grown more modern, and most other people didn’t agree. His historical novels flopped as the reading public clamored for more Sherlock Holmes adventures. It was a sad contrast for both men were industrious, creative, patriotic, best-selling authors.
In a village down the road from Abbotsford House I saw a lovely lacy stone church. We traveled several miles to Jedburgh Abbey, a ruin of an Augustine Abbey that was built on Roman foundations. It was a favorite spot of Sir Walter’s. After we took our own photos, another group shot was taken for the web site.
We drove past another hillside of trees, fields, fences and mountain. It was called “Scott’s View” and was such a favorite hiking spot of Sir Walter’s that his funeral procession paused here on the way to the graveyard.

“It is so old that nobody could fix its date.”
Shoscombe Old Place

We stopped next at the border of Scotland and England. There were two huge stones set up on either side of the road with Scotland painted in large letters on one side and England on the other. Lines of fluttering English flags decorated the area. A bagpiper in full clan costume stood by one of the stones and played. Jim the tour director called it a beauty spot, but I think he was referring to the sides of the stones that read England.
Impressions as we entered Northumberland and headed for Hadrian’s Wall - thousands of tall pine trees – a wide valley – low hills – lots of green. There was an abundance of green throughout the entire trip.
Hillsides full of sheep - stone walls around much larger fields – pasture land as seen through much of England and Scotland – clumps and rows of trees – small towns with red roofs dotted down the valley next to a little river – low stone walls running along the roadside – my first glimpse of a stile, looking like a wooden folding ladder set across a stone fence.
Hadrian’s Wall was built by Roman soldiers about the time of the first century. The Romans discovered that they couldn’t conquer the people who were known later as the Scots. They retreated south a few miles and built a stone Wall across the entire island at its narrowest spot. Forts were set up every few miles. That worked for about three centuries until Rome had enough troubles of its own and abandoned Britain.
Gradually the Wall and the forts fell into disrepair. People looted the sites for stones with which to build their own homes and farm buildings. About one hundred and fifty years ago educated men began a campaign to stop the dismantling of the forts and Wall and began to excavate and examine the ruins.
Now the statues of Mars and Venus and other gods the Romans soldiers worshipped are in museums and the Wall is mapped out and available for walking tours.
The section of Hadrian’s Wall we saw ran in broken strips across the fields. Some of it was covered with a layer of dirt and grass. In other places the stones were exposed, grey and weathered.
Housestead Fort was situated on the top a ridge and connected to the Wall at two places. The coach parked in a lot down by the road. We trudged up a steep, steep hill on a winding gravel path. It was a public walk on private land so we stuck to the path. Also, there were dozens of sheep that lived in the private pastures and that was another good reason to stay on the path. I think some of these sheep got a stipend from the National Trust. I swear I saw some of them posing for the tourists. I got an unusual souvenir by picking up clumps of raw wool caught on thistles near the path.
Half-way up the hill was a dry-stone wall and a wooden gate. I took a picture of it because that was the closest I had been to a dry-stone fence the entire trip.
Near the top of the hill was a stone-built farmstead. The barn housed farm equipment of the National Trust. The farmhouse was converted to a Wall museum and gift shop. The other gift shop and parking lot for cars and buses down at the bottom of the hill had been camouflaged with trees so that from the crest of the hill the vista for miles around looked as it did when the Romans were there.
I checked out the museum. Inside were information panels, shards of pottery and large standing idols evacuated from the old fort. A small scale model of the original fort was set out on a table.
Finally I made it to Housestead on the hilltop. Housestead Fort was a ruin of stones made by a wall encircling five acres in a rectangular shape with rounded corners. The corners are rounded because those were where some of the old towers were located. The fort also contained barracks, baths, latrines, kitchens, mess halls, granaries, the commander’s headquarters and other offices. Left and right down the Wall were smaller watchtowers. There was a water source along the Wall a short distance east from the fort.
Many of the people from our tour were visible walking among the ruins. They took pictures. A row of kids walked along the top stones of one edge. Strangers from the cars parked below also climbed among the ruins. Some of us were already starting down the hill.
After that very tough climb up to Housestead Fort, I sat on the edge of the fort on a pile of stones in the cheerful sunshine. The land was spread out before me and all I could hear was the soft bleating of sheep. I saw low rolling hills covered with yellow-green pastureland. I thought about the Roman soldiers left there by the Roman Empire with no orders to return south. They would have had to have stayed here and made new lives for themselves and their families, surrounded by nothing but rocks and sheep. Perfidious sheep that would pose for tourists. I knew it was time to head back to the bus.
I got there in good time. Everyone else was aboard except our own chaperones, Bill H. and Dan C. Jim signaled Dave the coach driver to fake pulling out when he saw those two headed for the bus. We did stop and picked them up. A good laugh was enjoyed by all.
Impressions – headed south thru Durham and Richmond – still many sheep but the land was flatter and one could see for miles – Durham has a valley with a river down the middle – houses on the hillsides – we drove over an auto bridge.
It was 6:30 pm. The bus was very quiet. Tomorrow was our last day of sightseeing. Then we would fly home on Saturday. I was so glad I wrote all this down. It was totally inadequate in describing our trip, but at least I tried and it would help me remember. Gosh, I had enjoyed this, even with all the walking and climbing steps and my poor knees and feet. I was so glad I did this. I shall have something to talk about in the nursing home, with photos to prove my tales.
Onward to the city of Wakefield and our hotel. Very large fields now, bordered with trees and hedges. The wire fences that protected the dry-stone walls were back. Gradually the stone fences disappeared. I began to see row crops (barley? wheat?). It was very flat, trees and more trees and more trees being planted.
Our hotel, the Chasley, was in Wakefield. The city was not much like the book (“Vicar of Wakefield”). Someone on the bus compared it to Janesville, WI (pop. 60,000) but with all the homes made of brick. The hotel was downtown and had such a tiny parking lot that Dave was forced to unload the bus and park it somewhere else. The boys were pressed into baggage handling.

A light streamed down the stairs, and an instant later the man who bore it was framed in the Gothic archway.
Shoscombe Old Place

The hotel had its good points, like an excellent continental breakfast of orange juice, corn flakes, chocolate muffins, croissants with honey and tea and in my room a remote for my TV set.
However there were some down points. The building was undergoing renovations and it showed. The elevator was stripped down to its essentials, gliding up and down with scraped walls and a bare spot where a mirror once hung. It held six people or six suitcases or a combination of both. It was the slowest elevator in captivity, but I was consoled by the “Otis” sign it carried in steel on the threshold. That meant its origins were American. Otis invented the modern elevator in New York City back in the 19th century.
Fortunately, I liked a hard bed and the window sills were plenty wide enough to hold my suitcases. There was lots of hot water in the tub/shower too, even if it dripped. That was fixed the next day.
Most of the complaints I heard about next morning concerned the loud party in the bar (birthday? wedding? England in the finals?) and the sound of church bells and garbage trucks beneath our windows that kept interrupting everyone’s sleep. There was so much noise I never even noticed the night club entrance beneath my window until the next day. Personally, I liked the church bells.
When I inquired later, I was told that the bar party was an awards night for the local insurance salesmen. Ah, those wild and crazy English guys!
The morning sun rose on Friday the 29th. On BBC Morning, the lead stories were the two solders kidnapped in Palestine and the heat. We on the tour had enjoyed perfect weather, except for the bits of rain, with temperatures of 76 to 78, but apparently England and Scotland was sweltering in the midst of a heat wave. That schoolgirl on the London tube had mentioned the heat. I had talked to coach driver Dave about global warming, which he believed in. TV reports of Wimbledon tennis match preparation talked of the steamy grounds and how the athletes had to practice indoors so they didn’t collapse of heat stroke. London was at about 83 degrees.
After breakfast, we boarded the coach for York. York was one of the oldest cities in Britain, founded by Vikings. After the Vikings were the Romans, then the Vikings came back, then the Normans showed up. Talk about a little something for everyone! We were promised a tour of York Minster, the oldest medieval church in Europe, a walking tour of the center of town, a trip to the York Castle Museum and free time to shop. I heard murmurs about the Hard Rock Café behind me, but I ignored them.
Our coach pulled up in front of the York Minster and we were met by a specialized guide. The ancient Gothic cathedral was huge, much larger than St. Paul’s in London, and most impressive. The building was constructed of buff-colored stone and decorated with many pointed arches, pinnacles, and much stone tracery, with statues of kings and saints mounted in outside niches, and finished off with carved wooden doors fourteen feet tall at the entrances.
Inside we stood in the middle of a vast nave. 4000 worshippers could fit inside this building. Marble columns the size of young sequoias supported the vaulted and groined ceilings that arched overhead. They stretched down the nave and across the transept, and continued into the chancel beyond. The entire place was longer than the length of the Evansville High School building.
Side chapels were guarded by iron screens and lit by votive candles. Elaborate stained glass windows let in the morning light, augmented by hanging globes arranged into chandeliers. The floors glowed with reflected light that bounced off the tiles and flagstones.
A stone screen covered with carved figures of kings and angels stood beneath the bell tower. A wooden hand-crafted fifty-six hundred pipe organ case was placed on the stone screen. The inside of the screen held the Quire with its enclosed pews and hand-carved wooden decorations. They gleamed with polish.
In the chancel at the far end was a large altar draped in a pale blue cloth embroidered with a golden sunburst. Behind it, hung on the wall beneath the huge ancient stained glass window was a reredo of hand-carved figures under a filigreed canopy of wood. The window above covered an acre in size and held some of the oldest medieval glass in existence.
Rows after rows of wooden chairs were set out for congregational use. They were cleverly designed to link together at the chair backs in a jig-saw manner.
Memorials and monuments lined the walls. Following the guide beside the wooden Quire, I glimpsed standing against the wall a large marble monument to a man with the last name of Musgrave. Of course, that was the Sherlock Holmes connection. In “The Musgrave Ritual”, Holmes spoke of the “the northern Musgraves” from which a cadet branch settled in western Sussex and whose descendant was at college with Holmes.
No written description could ever do the Minster justice. We spent time in the Chapterhouse, a large and beautiful circular room off the main portion of the church. It was used by the Dean and other clerics for meetings about the management of the Minster.
Soaring stained glass windows let in light. Under the windows were carved stone canopies over the ring of stone stalls, each marked with an official’s name. The stone canopies were notable for the many little faces and figures, happy or angry, scary or sad, humans or devils, angels and animals, which were carved on their down-jutting points. The faces were put there to scare away evil influences. The guide pointed out a tiny figure of the Madonna and Child overlooked by Oliver Cromwell’s troops when they came to “purify” the church of all “popish” signs in the 17th century.
Beneath our feet was an elaborate tile floor while over our heads was a magnificent domed ceiling featuring carved bosses set into the stonework.
The guide said, “Someone once asked why the priests would sit around the edge of the Chapterhouse on the stone seats, so far away from each other? Why couldn’t a large table be placed in the center and they sit around it to conduct Minster business?”
“So it was tried, but the large table and its chairs were soon taken away. It was discovered that seated around the table, not one could hear another. The acoustics wouldn’t allow it. The clerics went back to the ways of their wiser predecessors.”
Suddenly, Jim the tour director interrupted the special guide to speak sharply to some of the Virginia group who had been talking in the back.
He said that this tour was very educational and it had been paid for by them. If they were going to just keep talking about hamburgers and pizza at a time like this he invited them to leave now and rejoin the group at 6:30 pm. He was angry. Nobody left.
The Minster guide continued, telling us more about the history of York Minster. It was built on the ruins of the York Roman headquarters. It was added to and built bigger each century. Therefore it contained many different styles of architecture. A crazy person tried to burn it down in the early 1800s by piling all the hymnbooks together inside the wooden Quire and setting it on fire.
A passing boy saw the smoke and raised the alarm. The arsonist was clearly mad as a hatter and was swiftly sent to an insane asylum. Considering the accepted treatments for the insane at that time, it may have been kinder to have sent him to prison.
She told us how they excavated the foundations of the great tower of the Minster after extensive cracking of its walls. The workmen discovered that hundreds of years ago, the tower had been built on three columns of the original Roman headquarters.
But, the fourth corner of the tower rested on dirt. No wonder it was about to fall down! They installed a strong complete foundation and put one of the Roman columns on display in a little area across the street.
The guide pointed out more carved and painted bosses on another part of the Minister’s ceiling. These were more modern and had been designed by children. One was an astronaut!

“Ring for our boots, and tell them to order a cab.”
The Cardboard Box

After the Minster tour, we walked to a nearby authentic medieval street. Large show windows of many tiny panes bulged out of the ground floor walls next to low wooden doorways. Overhead, the second and third stories, made of timber bracing and plaster, were built out over the street until they nearly met the corresponding walls of the houses on the opposite side. It was called the Shambles and was where butchers of the Middle Ages killed and prepared meat for sale. The meat was then laid out on benches next to the shops’ front doors. People had to walk thru the blood and gore to pick out their families’ dinners. Rain was very welcomed in York.
Certain buildings in the ancient streets still had carved figures over the doors and at the corners of the half-timbered buildings. They were early shop signs, created when most people couldn’t read. Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, leaning on a pile of books designated a bookstore. We took a group picture of us for the website under a carving of a red devil that announced a print shop.
Printers’ devils were boys who helped apply the inks to the presses that produced books and newspapers. The black inks smeared easily and turned the boys “as black as the devil”. Hence the nickname.
We had one and one-half hours for lunch. I bought three T-shirts and used up all my cash. I found an ATM and got 30 pounds, about $60.00. I found the York outdoor market and looked around. It sold everything from old books and toys to fresh fish and vegetables. There were a lot of clothing booths. I found an outdoor diner with tables and ordered a “chicken burger with salad.” That was a lightly breaded chicken breast with mayo on a bun with lettuce and tomato.
I asked a middle-aged woman if I could share her table. She agreed and told me her name was Pam. She said it softly but it sounded harsh in my Midwestern accent. She was in for the day from Leeds. Bill H., his lunch in hand, found me and I introduced him to Pam. We ate together and talked of all the places our tour had taken us.
We met up with Jim the tour director after lunch. We walked around the old city wall that partly encircled the Minster. From the old City gates some of us walked to the York Castle Museum, a unique place constructed out of two discontinued prisons across the street from the ruined Clifford’s Tower. Clifford’s Tower was a fortification first authorized by William the Conqueror. On the way I saw a pub sign for the Hansom Cab pub. On the sign, a man in an Inverness coat and a deerstalker cap was hailing a hansom cab. I got a quick photo.
The Victorian Rooms within the Museum were laid out as reconstructed typical 19th century streets. They connected to the old York debtor’s prison next door, former residence of the infamous highwayman, Dick Turpin, of the 17th century.
It reminded me of the Streets of Yesterday at the House on the Rock attraction near Spring Green, WI, but this was twenty times better. Everything was authentic, everything was organized and everything was presented in a clear and informative manner. The displays covered items from Victoria’s time, the 1830s, to the 1950s.
Cobblestones covered the street where a hansom cab, complete with horse, waited for passengers. Fully equipped shops lined the street and exhibit cases in other rooms displayed baby layettes, Victorian fashions and old-fashioned coffins. Another cobblestone street was occupied by the full rig of a Victorian horse-drawn glass-walled hearse. One case displayed popular toys and another showed off nearly one hundred years’ worth of bathing suits.
Every aspect of life was covered. I became fascinated with a display of cooking utensils and stoves.
It started with the spits and kettles of the old enormous fireplaces, like the ones I saw at Anne Hathaway’s cottage. Gradually improved iron implements were introduced for better cooking. One was a metal oven, shaped like a giant wall sconce, open in the front, which fit inside a small fireplace. A rectangular pan below held the Yorkshire pudding dough. A clockwork vertical spit held the roast in a downward direction and slowly turned it so the juices dripped into the Yorkshire pudding pan as the meat roasted over the coal heat below.
Later more features like hot water heaters and ovens were incorporated into large units that fit into the old huge fireplaces. Now boiling, baking, heating and roasting all happened at once during meal preparation.
The exhibit continued until a modern kitchen of the 1950s with a stove, sink and refrigerator stood in an exhibit, complete with built–in cabinets and a white painted dinette set laid for tea.
I walked thru the entire museum including the close confines of the debtors’ prison. Whitewashed cells with barred windows and narrow corridors made me think of Charles Dickens’ book, “Little Dorrit”.
Outside in the sunny weather, I bought an ice cream cone from a 1930’s ice cream truck. After resting and eating the cone, I walked back toward the market place.

“My Biblical knowledge is a trifle rusty, I fear…”
The Crooked Man

I didn’t know Woolworth’s stores still existed, so I went into the first one I found. I bought several items, including a lot of chocolate for my daughter and her kids and a paperback copy of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, printed by the Bloomsbury Publishing House. I picked up the edition marked Adult and saw there was a thinner volume next to it marked Children. I didn’t realize there were two different editions of the same story like that. Later I regretted not buying the child’s version.
My TV Guide bag had been falling apart for the second half of the trip. The seams had given way and the zipper broke. I had to put a belt around it leaving the last hotel.
Now, in Woolworth’s, I found a blue and red sport bag with England printed on one side and St. George’s cross printed on the end. It was the only one in stock and I bought it for 6 pounds. My other purchases fit inside and I carried it back to the open-air market.
I looked thru the booths again and talked to a young man dressed as a Roman soldier. He told me of the Roman history of York. I took his picture.
I also bought some raspberries and ate them sitting on a park bench. After that, I walked back to our meeting place. Jim was going to Evensong at York Minister and had invited any who wished to join him to meet together out front.
I sat on a bench across from the Minster and spoke to some people from New Zealand going home via Los Angeles. I also talked to an English former schoolteacher and his family who were in York for the celebration of his son’s graduation from Durham University. We made jokes about how with a PhD. in Latin and Greek he had a brilliant job future before him.
We also talked about British education, Columbine and 9/11. I told the father that not one of us had changed our minds about the trip after the Underground bombings in London last year.
Our tour group gathered and we went into York Minster for the Evensong service, which was regularly sung there beginning at 5:30 pm every day.
We sat inside the enclosed pews of the Quire. Carved wooden stalls edged all sides of this open room within the Minster. Each pew had a little door that led into it and sloping wooden ledges inside that held the Bibles, hymnbooks and orders of service ready for use. Down by the solid walls that supported the ledges were fat red plush footstools used as kneelers. The woodwork was dark and polished.
We were seated near the Church of England priests that conducted the service. They wore black cassocks and white clerical collars that hung down in front in two long white tabs. Each of the priests wore either a broad black or red sash around their middles. During the service they wore white surplices with lawn sleeves.
A mixed choir of men and girls from Norway sang several psalms. The small congregation sang a couple of hymns. The service lasted about forty-five minutes and was very solemn and very impressive. I was glad I saw it.
After that, our coach headed back to Wakefield to our hotel. Tomorrow we must be packed and ready to go to breakfast at 6:30 am. At 7:30 am the coach will leave for the city of Manchester where our groups will divide and fly home. The Oklahoma group and our group will go back to Chicago. The Virginia group will go on to Wales for three more days. How do you say “Hard Rock Café” in Welsh?
The weather had been balmy the entire trip with just a little rain and we could not have asked for better. Everyone we met had been friendly, kind, helpful and welcoming to us in their country. Except that one guy with the cell phone.

“We can talk it over more comfortably at home,” said he.
The Yellow Face

Saturday was July 1st. I repacked everything the night before so I was ready to go. Every one of my hotel rooms had had the same funny little wastebasket. It was about sixteen inches high, circular, with a lid connected to a tiny lever operated by foot. It never worked. In five different hotels, the lever never worked. I got to looking for it at each stop.
I stuffed this last one full with the cardboards and plastic wrappings of the new T-shirts I had bought in York. The new sport bag did hold more than the TV Guide bag, so I left the old bag on the bathroom floor next to the tiny trash can.
That first full morning in London, a few of us had been late for the tour bus. Now at the end of the tour everyone was on the coach fifteen minutes ahead of schedule. We had discovered Coach Lombardi time. We cheerfully left the Wakefield Chasley Hotel with all its renovations.
The sun was out and the air was cool. Last impressions of England – steps leading up the roadside bank to the top of the hill from the major highway – brick houses with chimneys at both ends next to others with one chimney in the middle of the roof - subdivisions with semi- detached houses all of the same pattern – (brick rectangles with hip roofs, two stories high with white trim around doors and windows) – radio and cell phone towers – how stone and brick weathered so attractively – slate roofs on some old houses – roadside banks of exposed rock and grass with set backs cut in lines parallel to traffic so they look like paths next to the highway – the blocky, cubist-like cut rocks of the roadsides near Manchester – dry-stone walls overhung with white flower bushes – vast rolling low brown hills called “The Downs” – “Wuthering Heights” country – crossed with foot paths – the Bronte sisters lived near here.
There were more sheep and cattle pastures - not a tree in sight – old Victorian factories with brick smokestacks and tall pointed windows like those of a Gothic Church – using wood to shelter animals, brick to shelter people and stone to build churches and castles – flint and slate uses – during our entire trip we never saw a wooden American-style home used to shelter people – multi-arched brick railway bridges going over the roadway – wild magpies with their black and white plumage – half-timbered buildings in York with storage or apartments upstairs – commercial buildings made of metal and glass looking out of place unless they had tall brick ground floors – odd looking little cars – trucks smaller than those in the U.S. with fabric side panels tied down.
Convenience stores where we bought cheap tabloids to read – they had racks back in the corners loaded with “girly” magazines – finding signs like “Slippery When Wet” and “Men” and “Women” toilet signs with the little figures on them were universal – saying “toilet” all the time instead of “bathroom” – the money (I brought examples home) – old factories made into shopping centers – cars that displayed “England” flags like we displayed “Green Bay Packers”, on staffs attached to the rear windows – long white or yellow license plates with big black letters – assigned to a driver for life – no vanity plates, so if a fortunate combination occurred the plate owner could sell it for big bucks – traffic support people and road workmen who wore bright yellow vests with grey reflective strips – cute little taxis with ads painted on them.
By now I had devised some travel tips of my own. Days before your trip begins choose everything you plan to pack. Either there will be no chance to do laundry on your trip, or you will have much better things to do. Decide if you want to wash certain items while gone. Rinse them out in your bathroom sink, squeeze them dry and hang them up. If the items don’t dry in ten hours, don’t pack them. Or at least don’t try to rinse them.
Take multiple cotton bandanas to use as washcloths, towels for the public loos, and to mop your brow. Wear your crew socks twice. Keep them dry.
Pack fewer shirts than you think you will need, and wear the souvenir shirts you will buy. Do the same for other items of clothing. Take two pairs of walking shoes and never wear flip-flops or sandals for sightseeing. You can sleep in shorts and a t-shirt.
Bring a bottle of something like Febreze and don’t be afraid to use it. Coach drivers like smaller suitcases because they are easier to tuck into places under the coach.
Manchester airport!
The British TV shows of Sherlock Holmes, starring Jeremy Brett, were shot at the Quay Street Studios of Granada Studios in Manchester. The elaborate set of Baker Street, complete with Georgian houses, fanlights, and cobblestones, was kept up for several years and served as a tourist attraction. It had been torn down only a few years ago.
We, seasoned travelers that we were, rushed through the International Terminal as fast as the lines would let us. We went through Security’s x-ray slick as a whistle with no mention of removing shoes. Our group boarded a big Airbus plane, flight BD705 and again I had an aisle seat.
Bill H. was seated beside me and some of the kids were near. Takeoff was old hat and we were soon served a dinner of chewy beef tips with mushy peas and boiled potatoes. What, no strange pasty lid? The salad was too bitter to eat but the chocolate ice cream was delicious. Again I turned down the alcohol.
Again the flight was at least six hours and I couldn’t get to sleep. Duty-free expensive watches and bottles of whisky were offered for sale by the plane’s crew. Bottles of water were handed out and toward the end of the flight a meal of fruit, a muffin, milk, tea or coffee, a bacon sandwich and a Kit-Kat bar was served.
I watched the little animated plane again as we crossed the Atlantic Ocean and part of Canada. I looked down as we circled O’Hare Field. As I looked down at the little suburbs by O’Hare Field, I suddenly I realized that I had not seen one bulbous-shaped municipal water tower in all of the UK.
We landed safely and disembarked down a long carpeted ramp into the International Terminal. It was July 1st. Our luggage appeared, except for Mariah H.’s. She was upset, but the bags appeared on her porch a few days later.
The Oklahoma group got on another plane to make the rest of their way home.
We found our Van Galder bus waiting for us outside the window of the area we slept in the first night when our flight was cancelled.
Bill H. promised to work to get some money back from BMI Airlines for our lost day.

But come in. You must be weary, for you have had a long day.”
The Man with the Twisted Lip

On the bus I ate my bacon sandwich. Weekend traffic out of Chicago sent us on the “scenic route” home. That involved going thru Algonquin, Crystal Lake and Harvard, IL up to Walworth, Janesville and home. We planned to arrive back in Evansville about eleven o’clock pm English time. That would be five o’clock pm Wisconsin time.
It was a wonderful trip, but it was good to be home. Just when my feet stopped hurting, the trip ended!
I saw a wide open USA landscape very different than that of the United Kingdom. Before us spread fields of corn, lawns with no stone walls to hide them, red and white pennants at a Dodge car dealership, all different than what we had grown used to. It was all American.
Our drive home took us thru Harvard, IL, my birthplace. From Evansville to Cheshire back to Harvard, I really felt that I had completed some kind of mystic ancestral circle voyage.
I called out “I was born here!” as we went thru Harvard. Dan C. was looking out of the bus window at the shopping center and the convenience stores.
“You were born in a gas station?” he asked.
I pointed out the fiberglass cow on a plinth at the Five Corners and told Dan C. about Harvard’s Milk Day Celebration. Harvard calls itself “The Milk Capital of the World” and throws a heck of a party the first weekend of every June.
I saw miles of corn fields. I saw wooden red-painted barns with grey concrete silos next to white farmhouses. And I saw road construction. Yes, we were home. I saw the large brown wooden sign shaped like the state of Wisconsin with the legend “Wisconsin Welcomes You,” that was placed at the state line. We drove on to Walworth and Janesville.
I realized after seeing the wooden farmhouses here that in the American Mid-West there is a generosity, an expansive feel to these homes that was not as evident in the UK. Our added rooms, porches, decks and attached garages all speak of a need to grow, to improve, to build up a property, not to be constrained by the dry-stone walls set up by our ancestors hundreds of years ago. We like the vastness, the size, the sheer elbow room America gives us. We don’t want our vistas shortened or restricted, no matter how quaint or beautiful it makes the landscape appear. Britain is old and full of history, but the United States is young and full of promise. England was a nice place to visit but I didn’t want to live there.
Judy Garland in the “Wizard of Oz” movie was right: There is no place like home.
We reached the Evansville High School at 5:30 pm. It was the 4th of July weekend and my daughter Gayla, an Emergency Medical Technician, and her oldest son, Andrew, active in festivities in the park, knew they would be too busy to wait and greet me. They left my car in visitors’ parking by the school so I wouldn’t have to walk home. But I was so exhausted that I didn’t even recognize it. I got a hug and some good words from Bill H. and a ride home from Mindy R. Andrew brought my car home later.
I checked the mail and the plant, talked briefly to Gayla and my friend Joanne, and then I dropped, exhausted, into bed and didn’t get up for eleven hours. It would take me days to straighten out my sleep cycle.
I had to get my photos developed, write up my notes, and arrange my souvenirs into an easy-to-understand pack to show my family and friends.
I was glad to be home, but I wouldn’t have missed this trip for anything.

The End

7 Comments:

Blogger Askinstoo said...

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12:16 AM  
Blogger Askinstoo said...

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2:22 AM  
Blogger Askinstoo said...

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5:22 AM  
Blogger Gayle Lange Puhl said...

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2:32 PM  
Blogger shaun said...

Check out the Carfax tower,and it's webcam mate.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Dear Gayle,

Please contact me at susan221bee@gmail.com. I am currently working on a history of the Baker Street Irregulars in the 1960s, and your name cropped up in some of the correspondence. I'm working with Peter Blau, an old friend of yours and have read your Sherlockian Primer in the Shaw collection at the University of Minnesota. Please get in touch as I'd love to learn more about you.

I enjoyed your blog and was delighted to learn you are still an enthusiastic Sherlockian!

Warm regards,
Susan Rice, ASH, BSI

3:48 PM  
Blogger j_remley said...

Hi Mrs. Puhl, I enjoyed reading your blog. You're an excellent writer and it was really interesting!
Jane Remley

6:57 PM  

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