Farewell to the Old Dart

The man and I are wrapping up our time in England. With the flexibility of a hire car, we have travelled up and down the country, from the Thanet region of South-East Kent to Barrow-in-Furness in North-West Cumbria, and back again. On the way we had a dinner in the docklands revitalisation of East London, had a couple of nights in Cambridge to visit and go punting on the river Cam, had eight nights near Bradford for research, four nights on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border visiting again, and venturing into the Lake District in the search for even more ancestors, a splendid Italian meal in Birmingham with friends, and two nights in Oxford for more visiting and sight-seeing, and it was there that the long Indian Summer finally broke into heavy rain. Watching the nightly weather forecast reminded me what a narrow island this is. As the weather squalls go around and around in circular lows, the colour coding on the map changes from clear to rain to clear again. Which explains why the same town can be sunny in the morning and raining in the afternoon or vice-versa. We had experienced a short rainfall in Cambridge the previous week, and being Aussies unaccustomed to needing umbrellas, we of course, left ours behind when it had fined up by the time we were leaving that visit. We only just bought a replacement yesterday.

England is a small island, but densely inhabited, quite a different experience to our road trips in New South Wales, which can be long and lonely. The motorway system criss-crossing England is amazing. The pin-point accuracy of the postcodes is doubly amazing, and Gary – the Irishman who lives inside the satnav we borrowed – got us to our destination every time just on that basis. Although he did sometimes take us on bizarre small roads to get there, for example, arriving into Bradford, he felt compelled to show us some of the most narrow and run-down streets of the entire area. Not properly representative of the city at all. The only negative with the motorways, and maybe all driving in England (not sure?) is that it always takes longer than it should, because, if you are travelling any distance, no matter which day of the week, or which time of day, there is always a moment when one finds oneself crawling in bumper to bumper traffic. By a quick ‘back of the envelope’ calculation, I determined that car ownership is currently 0.7 vehicles per capita, and that is before trucks and tourists are added to the equation. What happens when that increases further? it does not seem possible that even more motorways can be added to the already comprehensive system. It seems a pity that a country which pioneered the railway system (circa 1840s?) could now have spurned public transport. Well, maybe not spurned, but it did not seem the transport of choice. We found it hard to choose on economic grounds. We were able to hire the car for twelve pound per day, and spent maybe one hundred and fifty on petrol. That sounds like a lot of money, but is a fraction of the cost of train travel for the two of us. And of course, the more people sharing the car, the worse the cost-benefit analysis becomes from the public transport perspective. Of course, if you lived here and could plan ahead, you could reduce the cost of the train ticket. And if you want to think laterally, train travel is probably safer than being on the road. But there is still the question of what you do at the end of your journey to get to your final destination.

As an aside, while the CAR only cost us twelve pound per day, had we hired the satnav from the same company, that item would have cost us fifteen pound per day. Go figure.

We didn’t spurn rail travel entirely. We did have a ride on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. Five miles of nostalgia. We travelled a diesel engine outbound and steam engine on the return. Each station is a nod to their Victorian hey-day, and we got off at Haworth for a morning exploring the Bronte Parsonage Museum. Very interesting. Then we got back early as we needed to catch up with the washing. So we toured the laundrette at Shipley. Not so interesting and we kept running out of small coins 🙂

Since it is time to up stumps I will leave off there for the moment. Hopefully the next post will be a photographic story board of our time in the Old Dart. We have Just time for one last visit to our “almost” new grandson and then next stop is France for a bit of R&R at a farmstay in the Dordogne region.

 

 

18 thoughts on “Farewell to the Old Dart

  1. Gary the Irishman, very funny. Yes, traveling in Europe is altogether very different than traveling in Australia, I don’t think it’ll matter much which country it is in the end. So jealous, I’m itching terribly to get around in the world again.

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  2. Great to hear from you both, sounds like a great holiday, Flynn and Zarlee are 13 today so we are celebrating today, also Lindsay’s sister is 80 and we are going to a surprise party for her for lunch. Not much happening at Links, gardener still not employed, lost our happy hours again Tuesday and Saturday and garage work underway also windows washed, sounds dull doesn’t it. The new shopping center opened on Thursday last and look good. Lots of whales and the weather has been terrific.
    I see you have a funny reply from Donna Knok JoJo’s email came via her also she offered me the same deal as in yours.
    Marion and Lindsay

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    • Thanks Marion. I have had several goes at answering your comment, and the Internet fails each time. Anyway! Much as it may sound dull at home, I think you will find Bill will be ecstatic to be back on familiar ground and able to get a couple of rounds of golf in. By the way, we heard about the severe storms in Sydney, and he noticed that only three played on Wednesday. Guess the course was underwater? Bad time to have the window washer in, what do you reckon? Imagine Flynn and Zarlee being teenagers already. You know what that means don’t you – we must be ancient! LOL.

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  3. Hi! We’ve done the wedding and Cornwall – off to the Midlands tomorrow. Have had various stages of tiredness, despair and being totally knackered at times. We’re on the last leg of travelling round this island and have 12 days back here at the end of next week! Enjoy France! Love JoJo and Rob xx

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  4. Oh gt to hear your news!!!!! We have been thinking of u!!!

    All good here we r just back from a week out west!! Dubbo coonerbabran and hillend – very beautiful places.

    Do take care and enjoy – sounds beautiful..

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  5. LOL about the cost of the satnav compared to the rental car; we’ve found the same here. I have an iPad now (compliments of my workplace) so don’t need to pay for a ridiculously priced GPS.
    Many years ago I had a lovely train journey from London to Edinburgh.

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    • We bought an iPad last year and scorned paying the extra for the version that took a microchip. Of course now, I understand the relevancy of portable internet access. Anyway, we were lucky enough to borrow a Satnav in England, and on the trip we have just done in France, one came built into the car. Bill and I were just commenting on how useful they are when we misunderstood a direction in Bordeaux and went over the same bridge three times before I pulled out a map and realised it was trying to tell us to take a tiny road that ran down along the side of the river. When I was younger my map reading and navigational skills were excellent, but I am afraid the eyesight lets me down now, even when wearing spectacles. On the subject of train trips, I was looking forward to doing a couple in Scotland last year, but had to cancel our plans when we needed to come home early for family reasons. So am not sure if we will ever revisit that plan, but going up the west coast looks spectacular.

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  6. Sounds like a very interesting trip so far. Hope you are going to post about your thoughts on the Brontë Parsonage. By the way did somebody set your satnav Gary to take you the scenic/tourist routes? At least when you’ll be in France the autoroutes will be pretty empty compared to here. Perhaps we should have a lot more toll roads. Enjoy your stay in Dordogne-shire as it’s known in some quarters!

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    • I hope to do a few stories on what we explored in England, although I may condense it. I was fascinated with the trip to the parsonage, not only for the stories of their life, but also because my ancestor was also born in Thornton at the same time. So I could treat it as a parallel to how he would have lived his life. He married the daughter of a baptist minister, so there may even be some devotional similarities. Or I’ll jut make them up, teehee.

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      • Ooo the parallels and connections look very promising. It all sounds as if you have got plenty to stir up the imagination. My old tutor was always going on about the ‘historical imagination’ where you attempt to breathe life into the old documents and records. I think he was trying to encourage us to shut our modern eyes and attempt to re-look at the Victorian world through their recorded experiences. Easier said that done, don’t you think?

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        • HI Agnes, I could have sworn I replied to this comment, but there does not seem to be anything recorded, and I know my Internet access died several times while I was in the middle of typing last week. I remember saying I would have loved to have met your tutor. I could use his urging and insight. I am in Paris now, and just about to start the memoir writing course which is the reason I came to Europe. I have to decide what or which project I will work on. I have a half completed first draft of a travel memoir based on last year’s trip, or I could start fresh on the historical novel inspired by my findings in Bradford. I lean towards the latter, particularly as it could sit as an extension to the memoir I have completed. I guess speaking with the course facilitator will help me decide. If I can imagine myself as my g grandmother writing her own memoir it could work, but as you say, getting inside the head of a Victorian lady is easier said than done. Is it just me that sees an anachronism in bashing away on a laptop at the same time as pretending to be her in an age before electricity and bright lights?

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          • No need to apologise re replies – conversations do get a bit disjointed from time to time – nature of this internet ‘beast’. Really hope you are enjoying your memoir writing course and getting a lot out of it. Just being with other like-minded people is often a great catalyst. Totally agree with you about bashing the ol’ computer keyboard. I try to combat its 21st-century tyranny by sticking some period music on. As a writer you might want to try Charles Dickens’ approach apparently he constructed his work in his head whilst taking long walks. Walking round Paris, sounds great to me! Hope you are savouring your time in such a great city. Agnes

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          • I am thinking about getting some kind of recording device which I can strap to my arm and dictate into as I walk, as I am starting to suspect that is my best story construction time also. I can’t say inspiration has swamped me here yet, even though I have walked for miles and miles in Paris. In fact, I never used the metro for the first five days and only took one bus. But I believe if I stayed long enough to get completely comfortable, stop looking out for pickpockets and also stop looking like a tourist, then I would catch the Parisienne inspiration bug.

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