Friday, September 20, 2013


We enjoyed London but as we leave we are looking forward to being in the country.  We schlep our bags to the Victoria Station, catch the tube to Kings Cross Station and hop the train to York.  After a two hour train journey through the English countryside we arrive in the rain at York.  We head to the rental car agency and sign all the necessary documents and obtain the keys.

Ok, now we've got a car, with GPS no less and we opt to leave it in the parking lot at the train station and walk to the National Rail Museum.  Only a short distance away and the best option allowing me to postpone the inevitable, driving on the wrong side of the road.  The rail museum was free as are all national museums here in the UK.  A great collection of historic steam trains and all the stuff that goes with them.

Now the time has come to overcome my fears and drive on the wrong side, or the left side which is the right side here in England.  The first thing to get used to is that the steering wheel is on the wrong side which is the right side.  The gear shift is still in the middle but because you're sitting on the right it is to your left.  The foot pedals are all in the same position as we're use to so we won't be confused.  Now that we have that all cleared up it's time to figure out how to get out of the parking lot. We managed to enter our destination in the GPS and we head out.  With Cathie in the left seat, she has been assigned the daunting task of keeping me on the right side which is the left side of the road.  Now remember right turns are like our left turns and left turns are like our right turns, all perfectly clear, Right?  When I first drove a car in France on a previous trip,  I heard all kinds of things shouted at me by other drivers. The thing was that they were speaking French so I couldn't understand what they were saying.  Here in the UK I had no trouble understanding the words thrown at me as we drove about. Once while I was on the right side, which is the wrong side there was an oncoming car who stopped before he hit me.  I corrected my error and pulled along side him and apologized explaining that I was from America.  He laughed and asked how long we were visiting for.  When I told him three weeks, he said, "well then you have plenty of time to kill someone".

We get out of the city without killing anyone and onto the more rural roads where I see what this baby could do.


After following the directions given to us by Daniella (the name of our gps, named after the girl who solved my gps problem) we arrive at Hazelwood Farm in the village of Crayke  having only driven on the wrong (right) side of the road twice, hitting three curbs and narrowly missing several sheep.  We are greeted by Annette who is a bundle of energy and our hostess for the next three nights.  This woman never stops moving, catering to all our needs, answering our questions and making sure we are comfortable.  She even did our laundry.  Hazelwood Farm is a working farm where the family still raises wheat.  The B&B section of the house is a beautiful addition consisting of 3 rooms rented out to guests.  In addition there is a breakfast room and parlor.  Annette, or Netty as she is called, runs a first class operation, comfortable beds, large rooms, Egyptian Cotton bathrobes and a huge cooked to order breakfast.  In addition, there is yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice and toast.  The bar has been raised as we will now compare all future B&B's to Netty's establishment.


After a long day we were zonked, so Netty sent us to the local pub for dinner where we ate way more than we should.  We had this really rich cheesy thing on toast that comes to your table sizzling hot accompanied by a salad.  Could barely eat it all, but we somehow managed.

The next day the sun was shining and Netty mapped out a route for us so we would get a good overview of the area.  The countryside in these here parts is just stunning.  She had us going through small stone villages, past ruined castles and out into the moors.  Driving on narrow one lane roads through sheep country and past those picturesque farms with stone walls around their fields that you only see in guide books.

The next day we drove to the local Park and Ride where we caught the bus into York.  We spent the better part of the day just walking around the city checking out the shops on the narrow streets. We paid a visit to the Castle Museum which was very interesting.  A large portion of the museum is dedicated to home interiors from Victorian times to the 60's.  Very well done displays, with items from the 50's and 60's that brought back memories of childhood.  One of the main attractions in York is the Minster or the cathedral.  We managed to miss it.  I know, I know, we should have gone, but we just weren't interested.  I guess part of the reason is that they charge you about $25 per person to see the inside and I just can't get my arms around a church charging you to go inside.

After three nights in Netty's wonderful home, we were sad to leave, but the Northumberlands and Scotland were calling.  I would like to return for a longer stay with Netty so I guess I better start working on Cathie.

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