Weekend at an English Manor HouseMarch 25, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C
Mike and I left Victoria, once again, on Wednesday morning. Our first stop on this trip is England where we will spend a total of 7nights. Mike’s brother Alun turned 70 on March 22 and we are here to celebrate with the extended Parrys.
Our trip over to Europe was pleasantly uneventful as we enjoyed premium economy, bulk head seats, the airport lounges and a glass or two of vino to make things easier. We rented a car in Manchester - an SUV with a funny name (it has 2 Qs in the name?) Poor Mike has to take the burden of all the driving in the UK and coming off a plane tired and having to immediately navigate round-abouts ( traffic circles) going the wrong way... well you can understand why one needs a refreshment upon arrival. Actually, we rested and then took Al “out to pub” for his birthday dinner.
Friday A.M. we packed up some food and ++ cases of champagne and set off north to the Lake District. For those unfamiliar with English geography, the Lake District is in the county of Cumbria on England’s west coast. It is the hilly region of the country with the highest peak, Scarfell. There are many beautiful lakes in the area. It is probably the most popular holiday area of the country for Brits who cottage there and enjoy the walking while all the overseas tourists are crowding places like London, Oxford and the likes.
Mike and I spent Friday exploring some small picturesque towns like Windemere where we spent time with Ron and Diane a few years ago. Mike pointed out some of the spots he and Ron hiked last year on their coast to coast hike. I have a new appreciation for how challenging their 2 week walking adventure must have been.
We arrived at our weekend home away from home , a beautifully restored Manor house called Melmerby Hall located in the small village of Melmerby. Not quite Downton Abbey scale but certainly very large and beautifully appointed. There are many common rooms, some formal and some less formal. There are 9 bedrooms with ensuites. There is a massive industrial type kitchen and a kitchen table that can seat 20. There is a formal dining room which we used last night. We all agree it would be a spectacular property in which to live if it had a Mr Carson and a couple of Mrs Hughes.
The entire weekend gang arrived at about 530 Friday night and there was lots of hugging, oohing and awing over the children we hadn’t met yet-and lots of group pictures. Besides ourselves and Al and Natalie, there are Al’s 3 sons, 2 partners, 4 children ,Al’s brother-in-law Eric and his wife from Plymouth whom we stayed with last year , and two couples who are close friends of Al’s. On Friday we had our meet and greet at the local pub which is only a few hundred metres up the road.
Yesterday Helen arrived by train from London. We also managed a very long walk to a nearby village and then back over the fields. The British system of rights of way is so interesting as there are marked walking trails in virtually every direction. The fields are full of sheep and their babies as they have just birthed. A few of them might have ended up at dinner last but.... they are rather sweet to see. There were lots of horses to pet along the way so the children were happy. Mike and I decided not to travel with heavy hiking shoes/ boots for this part of the trip so we were a bit mucky by the end of the walk.
Last night (Saturday) was the big birthday event and we all got dressed up to celebrate. The men looked particularly handsome in their tuxedos. Mike borrowed one and we hitched up the pant hems and squeezed him into a borrowed shirt. The party was a great success with a wonderful dinner that Al had catered. There was free flowing champagne and a few toasts. After dinner we moved back the rugs and danced. We were missing you Jon on DJ duty. I think that Al was very pleased with how things went and having the family and his closest friends around.
Today we were all moving a bit more slowly. The children including a 7month old, a 2 year old like our Malcolm named after Mike’s Dad Frank , a very chatty 3 year old girl named Lowrie and Chris’s daughter Lilly were all up at their usual time. I think one of the parents Susanna was on kid duty so the rest could lie in.
We enjoyed another very scenic walk today up and down the local farmer’s fields. The weather is holding but promises to get cooler for the rest of the week.
Helen took the train back to London this afternoon. She puts her head down for a few days of work and then we RV again on Thursday night for the second leg of our trip in Portugal. Until Thursday, Mike and I are planning to spend a few more days exploring the Lake District and the Yorkshire dales. We are actually looking forward to a couple of quiet days as things have been a fast-paced blur for the past few months.
That’s all the news from the Manor house. Ta ta for now!
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