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Re: C.H.S. Hello

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  • Barbara Jenkins
    I listen to old time radio on KQV 1410 in the evenings.  Love hearing the old shows like the Shadow, Green Hornet, Lum @ Abner etc. The commericals are a trip
    Message 1 of 28 , Feb 25, 2013
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      I listen to old time radio on KQV 1410 in the evenings.�

      Love hearing the old shows like the Shadow, Green Hornet, Lum @ Abner etc.

      The commericals are a trip to the past. Try it when you get�back to PA�

      Barb Jenkins '59
    • Patricia Lied
      Today (Thursday) I was reading the Weekend Magazine in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.  I noted that an article on a new Indian restaurant in Carnegie
      Message 2 of 28 , Sep 12, 2013
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        Today (Thursday) I was reading the "Weekend Magazine" in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.  I noted that an article on a new Indian restaurant in Carnegie also explained that Holy Souls Church is now the Indian Community Center.  A 10-day celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi started there on Monday.
         
        Holy Souls Church was a small church with a beautiful traditional altar with all the attendant papier mache(sp?) saints and artistic stained glass windows. There was a balcony with an organ and a place for the choir. My grandfather was one of the charter members of this Italian church and Father Dominicis came from Italy to be the pastor.  I spent Saturday mornings there for Catechism and Sunday mornings for Mass.  Made my First Holy Communion and Confirmation there. My grandfather sang in the choir every Sunday and helped to raise the money to build the Hall and nun's house across the street from the church.  My grandfather starred in Italian plays presented in the Hall and I sang solos in Italian at intermission.  Hard for me to see this transition, however, once the Catholic Churches were consolidated in Carnegie, the church and the property must have become extraneous over time.  Over the years Carnegie has changed from the bustling shopping/entertainment town of my youth but this change really touched me. 

        Pat Valensky Lied, '59
        Presto, Pa.
      • Patricia Lied
        I took another trip in October. I left Dulles Airport on a flight to London, England, the first stop on a two week tour of England, Wales and Scotland. Upon
        Message 3 of 28 , Dec 6, 2014
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          I took another trip in October.  I left Dulles Airport on a flight to London, England, the first stop on a two week tour of England, Wales and Scotland.  Upon landing at 6 AM Sunday, I was picked up at Heathrow and taken to the Melia White House Hotel.  My guide, Wendy from Grand Circle, was planted in the lobby where she gave me and others arriving information on our rooms.   My friend from Baltimore, Nadyne, arrived about the same time and each of us were able to get into our rooms where we unpacked and met to get a taxi to the British Museum.  What a fabulous place, full of treasures from all over the world.

          Nadyne and I first toured the Egyptian area that included many massive stone sculptures.  The highlight was the Rosetta Stone, that was the key to translating Egyptian hieroglyphics.  I saw a copy of the stone in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo; the original is here in London.  Another area featured the Elgin Marbles (Parthenon Frieze), a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures, etc. that were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis.  From 1801 to 1912, the Earl of Elgin, Thomas Bruce, removed the sculptures to Britain.  In 1816, the Marbles were purchased for the British Museum.  The Marbles are currently in the news as Mrs. George Clooney is meeting with Greek officials in an attempt to get the return of these works of art to Greece. Nadyne and I almost missed them, perhaps because I was thinking that they were round marbles....however, we did see an exquisitely carved three dimensional facade depicting a battle of horsemen and other sculptures arrayed in a large room.

          We also saw a Moai from Easter Island (without its topknot).  These statues were carved from 1000 AD to about 1650. The one in the Museum was moved in 1868 by ship to England.  It weighs about 4 tons.  I'll not get to Easter Island, so I was glad to have an opportunity to view one from the Island.  Another outstanding exhibit are the Lewis Chessmen, a set of chess pieces, thought to be Norwegian, made about 1150-1200 AD and found on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.  The pieces consist of carved walrus, ivory and whale teeth in the forms of seated kings, queens, bishops, knights, warders and pawns.  All in great condition.

          As we toured, I noted the heavy traffic of people of all ages throughout the museum.  When we were too tired to tour further, we found a taxi at the entrance to take us back to the hotel to attend the Welcome Dinner with others in our tour group (40).  There was a large group from a travel club out of Alabama, a couple from Lebanon, Ohio, a couple from Texas and two couples from Massachusetts.  A nice group.  (The couple from Lebanon, where I have visited many times,  knows my best buddy from college and her family...small world experience.)

          Pat Valensky Lied, 1959      
          Cecil, PA

           
        • Patricia Lied
          Day 2 Bussed around London on a rainy morning. We were warm and comfy in the bus. Stopped at the Victoria and Albert Museum for a rest stop. A giant
          Message 4 of 28 , Dec 6, 2014
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            Day 2  Bussed around London on a rainy morning.  We were warm and comfy in the bus.  Stopped at the Victoria and Albert Museum for a rest stop.  A giant Chilhuly chandelier was just inside the entrance.  About noon, Nadyne and I left the bus at Trafalgar Square.  We walked past the electric blue Chanticleer (a large chicken sculpture done by a French artist now on a platform in Trafalgar Square) to St. Martin-in-the-Fields, an English Anglican church built from 1722-1724.  However, there has been a church on this site since Medieval times.  The draw to this church was the "Cafe in the Crypt", a restaurant that features 18th century architecture, historic tombstones beneath our feet and freshly  made lunch specials.  I had a carrot coriander soup and a ricotta, spinach and salmon sandwich. The bread was deliciously full of seeds and crushed nuts.  Had to pass on the bread served with the soup.  Just too much.  Nadyne had the soup but didn't like it.  Luckily, she enjoyed the thick slab of brown bread that came with the soup. 

             After consulting our maps, we decided to walk up a steep hill....we both needed oxygen..... to the Picadilly Tube station.  By the time we got there, bought tickets and walked to the tube train, we were both questioning our decision.  However, off we went to Harrods.  We entered Harrods through the sweet smelling cosmetic/perfume area.  We visited the small shrine with intertwined pictures of Princess Diana and Dodi at the top of a small waterfall and wishing pond.  Walking through the food areas, we spied elaborate desserts, counters of chocolates, tins of teas and biscuits (cookies) and jars of jams.  There was a special area just for dried date sales.  There seemed to be at least 10 different kinds of candied dates.  In the fresh produce area, I noticed two types of fresh dates.  There were walls of items for the tourists.  I bought another Harrods black patent shopping bag and two tins of clotted cream cookies.  It was hot and crowded.  Nadyne was ready for a "sit down" and found a bar where we ordered beers and caviar for two.  Around me, I noted other special areas where you could order roasted poultry, barbecue or seafood, raw or cooked.  The food area has really expanded since my last trip to Harrods. 

            We gathered out tired bodies  out of Harrods and easily found a taxi back to our hotel.  Later, I met Nadyne for a short walk to the Queen's Head and Artichoke pub for dinner.  The menu was extraordinary for a corner pub.  I had homemade gnocchi with spinach greens flavored just right with garlic and herbs.  Nadyne had a chicken dish.  We were both happy with our choices. 

            Pat Valensky Lied, 1959  
            Cecil, PA 


          • rut42
            Patricia, Great stories...keep them coming! Mike Rutledge, 71 Leland, NC
            Message 5 of 28 , Dec 7, 2014
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              Patricia,


              Great stories...keep them coming!


              Mike Rutledge, '71
              Leland, NC
            • Patricia Lied
              Day 3 Our tour group is a timely bunch of travelers. Most arrived early for our departure. We bussed to Oxford, where we took a walk down Broad Street. The
              Message 6 of 28 , Dec 7, 2014
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                Day 3  Our tour group is a timely bunch of travelers.  Most arrived early for our departure.  We bussed to Oxford, where we took a walk down Broad Street.  The town was buzzing as it was "Coming Up" day, the first day of the semester for the 38 colleges.  Lots of cars were in line in college gates with plenty of students hurriedly walking by.  Beautiful town with small shops lining the streets.  Costs to attend Oxford, if you can get accepted, is about 9000 Pounds Sterling (Abt. $13.5 USD) per year, excluding board, books, fees.   After our walk, Nadyne and I had lunch at the Asmolian Museum Cafe.  I had a ham and cheese sandwich with a red pepper coulis with a raspberry cookie for dessert.  (The English food has been good everywhere, so far.)

                Later, we met the group to bus on to Stonehenge.  Though I was here just a few years ago, the entry has changed.  The "entrance" is now about two miles away from the site.  A van takes you to the site which takes you to a walkway to the site, and  a walkway around the henge.  You can no longer walk among the stones as some of the group had experienced in the past.  The wind was brutal with wisps of rain now and then.  Upon my retreat from the site, I visited the new visitors' center with an ongoing video of Stonehenge in all kinds of weather and times of day.  Stonehenge in winter with a coating of white snow with floating white snow crystals was dramatic and eerie.  Also shown are cases of artifacts found in area "digs" and a reconstruction of huts used by the people who once used the site.   The site was developed over time in 2000 BC and prior.  Malcolm, our bus driver, also drove us by another henge that was integrated into a village, with houses and roads built around the large carved rocks.  Seems that these henges are in many places in England.  Many of the stones in these henges have been carried away and used to build other things.

                Dinner was at The Plough Inn where steak pie, carrots and French fries were served.  Meringue with lemon and creme fraiche was dessert....heavenly.

                Day 4  We bussed to Bath to visit the Roman baths there. Bath is named for the springs that well up in this city, producing about 500,000 gallons of water at 120 degrees F. each day.  The largest lead-lined bath, steps, column bases, and edging stones all date from Roman times.  The complex is large and hints of spas and saunas not unlike what we enjoy today.  The town later became a prosperous high society destination.  I also visited the nearby Bath Abbey, founded in 1499, a medieval stone church built in Gothic Revival style.  An Anglican parish church now, there are large impressive stained glass windows and fan vaulting.  I lost Nadyne in the tour of the baths, but I found her wanersing by as I was having pizza and a coke in a local deli.  We then walked to the bus pickup point for a ride to Stratford-on-Avon.

                It was a sunny, mild day and perfect to visit this quaint village with many small interesting shops on the Avon River.  I decided to forego the village walking tour in favor of a visit to Shakespeare's birthplace about 450 years ago.  It took 1.5 hours to walk through the Tudor-style house, with a lovely fall garden and gift shop.  It was here that Shakespeare lived with Anne Hathaway for 5 years after their marriage.  In the garden, there were three minstrels playing instruments and singing.  The house with its tiny rooms filled with period furniture has been maintained over the years.  On my way back to the bus, I stopped for a whipped cream-topped hot chocolate.  Saw many of our tour people enjoying pastries, coffee, etc. at the small shops. 

                Pat Valensky Lied, 1959  
                Cecil, PA  
              • Patricia Lied
                Day 5 Today is a travel day, taking us from west of London (Cheltenham) to Llangollen, a Welsh village on the side of the rippling rapids of the River Dee,
                Message 7 of 28 , Dec 8, 2014
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                  Day 5  Today is a travel day, taking us from west of London (Cheltenham) to Llangollen, a Welsh village on the side of the rippling rapids of the River Dee, where we stopped for lunch.  Nadyne and I ambled from narrow street to narrow street with gift shops, delis, meat and poultry shops, resale shops (very popular everywhere) and a bakery.  The Vintage Rose Tea Room with mismatched floral pottery where we initially envisioned lunch was closed so we had lunch at "The Pump", an ale house.  I ordered a sandwich and parsnip soup (4.95 Pounds Sterling).  

                  Back on the road, we enjoyed a Welsh men's choir DVD as we passed into Snowdonia National Park with forests, fields, cows, many Welsh hill sheep, distant waterfalls, a field of brown/red/green pheasants, and a herd of bison.    We found our hotel, The Celtic Royal Hotel in Caernarfon, (Wales) which features Victorian architecture.  There are 110 bedrooms and was refurbished in 1997.  Queen Victoria stayed here in 1832.  It is close to Caernarfon Castle, built by King Edward I in 1283.  It was at this castle that Prince Charles was officially invested a the Prince of Wales in 1969.  I still remember seeing that ceremony on the TV at the time.  

                  In the evening, Nadyne, four others and I set off in a taxi for a "home visit/dinner" with Kevin and Eleria Jones, a local Welsh family in Caernarfon.  We walked up the front path, passing by a crop of giant leeks with stalks 2.5 feet tall.  Had a "getting to know you" conversation by the warm and cozy fireplace where we learned that Kevin is a kidney transplant survivor and a Biology teacher with 25 years of experience.  His wife works for the local government as a secretary.  They have a boy in graduate school and a daughter in college.  Dinner included leek soup, a chicken/mushroom in herb sauce casserole, boiled potatoes and peas.  The dessert was fruit, ice cream and meringue or in Welsh, "Melysgyfolfa ffrwythaur hydref".  Got back to the hotel about 9:30 PM.  The hotel is very old, but is conveniently located with a nearby grocery/dryg store and the nearby castle.  

                  The longest word in the Welsh language is as follows:
                  Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch".  It means "St Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave".  Eleria was able to pronounce the Welsh for us but it was beyond her guests.  Note:  22% of  the Welsh population speak Welsh; 80% of Caernarfon residents speak Welsh.

                  Day 6  Bussed off to board the Ffestiniog Railway steam train.  At the depot, attendants were in period dress.  There was an organ grinder in a brightly colored outfit, playing his organ (without a monkey).  About 35 young children in period dress lined up near the train and serenaded us.  We rode from the coast of Porth Madog into the mountains at Blaenau Ffestiniog.  The trip was 13.5 miles and climbs 700 feet though the Snowdonia National Park.  Built originally in 1832 to carry slate, in 1864 it became a passenger train.  Spectacular scenery:  cottages, mountains, valleys, sheep, waterfalls.

                  Motored on to the village resort of Port Meirion for lunch by the sea.  This resort was built by architect Clough Williams-Ellis who bought the site in 1925 and spent 50 years building it.  Situated on a private peninsula overlooking a tidal estuary there are holiday cottages in bright pastels and hotel suites scattered over a steep mountainous terrain.  We had lunch in a formal dining room overlooking the water, with the Welsh Red Dragon flag standing taut in the wind.  There were some socializing rooms in another part of the building, all beautifully decorated.  One had a large fireplace above which were 10 black cat statues.  One room was done monochromatically, in light aqua, with large draped windows overlooking the sea.

                  Back on the bus, we then went on to the Welsh Slate Museum.  We passed mountains of slate debris and saw trails where slate moved from the mining area to the shipping areas.  We saw a movie about the once great industry here and an exhibit on slicing slate.  There are four small workers' houses on site, furnished in the period.  Union wages and competition from other countries shut down the industry in the 1970s here and in other parts of Wales.

                  Pat Valensky Lied 1959    
                  Cecil, PA
                • Patricia Lied
                  Day 7 Bussed to the ancient English town of Chester, with Roman roots and a well-preserved medieval center. Wendy, our tour guide, took us for a walking
                  Message 8 of 28 , Dec 8, 2014
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                    Day 7  Bussed to the ancient English town of Chester, with Roman roots and a well-preserved medieval center.  Wendy, our tour guide, took us for a walking tour.  The city has remnants of the city walls with ornate metal gates that protected it.  Located near the banks of the River Dee, the city still displays a Roman layout and has the remains of a Roman fortress.  Nadyne and I walked one of the streets with two-tiered shops in the historic town center.  We visited the Sweet Shop so Nadyne could replenish her supply of clotted cream fudge.  We then stopped at McDonald's for a fast lunch--same menu as in the states and the same quality.
                     
                    We walked to the large grey stone (Gothic) Chester Cathedral that features an ornately carved wooden choir area, heavy stone pillars, carved memorials, and stained glass windows.  There were a number of personal memorials of generous contributors to the church.  In one of the side rooms, there was a quilt show.  This church site has a long history back to a possible Druid temple.  In 1092, the Earl of Chester, nephew of William the Conqueror, founded a Romanesque monastery.  In 1260, the church was rebuilt in Gothic style and was added to until 1520.  It is constantly refurbished and many generations worked on the current church.  It was time to get to the bus pick up; luckily, the site was near a gelato shop and we were able to get some dessert before the bus showed up to take us to York, England.
                     
                    In York, our contemporary hotel, The Park Inn York, is centrally located and on the bank of the River Ouse.  We arrived in the late afternoon and once our baggage was stowed, Wendy took our group on a walk to the stone and stained glass York Minster Cathedral, built from 1220 to 1472.  There has been a Christian presence on this site since the 300s AD.  There are traces of Roman garrisons built before the 5th C. when York was called Eboracum and served as the military capital of northen Britannia.  In the 9th C., Vikings succeeded the Romans and the town was named Jorvik. (There is a Jorvik (Viking) museum in the middle of York, but we didn't have time to visit it.)
                     
                    In the Cathedral, we had a local guide who took us through the cathedral and explained the history of this, the largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps.  The stained glass here is extraordinary.  Among the many windows, the cathedral's Great East Window was completed in 1408 and is the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world.  It is 76 feet tall.  It is a dark window as there is a lot of metal in the window, as over time, as the glass broke here and there, it had to be repaired and the results are small pieces of glass with more metal.  It is still a wonderful sight to behold.
                     
                    The choir area is a massive display of carved wood with sparks of dark greens, blues, and reds and gilt.  The color appears on shields that note the various land sections of England that are inset about the seating area.  I saw "Cleveland" on one of the shields and found out that there is a section of England named "Cleveland".  There were memorials to parishioners. These were purchased by parishioners so that they would be remembered.  One husband had a memorial done for his wife, who was a "good woman, etc".  The guide told us that she had 24 children. Yikes!  The memorial that made me shake my head was the three-dimensional representation of a family in what looked like black Puritan dress, with ruffled collars and prayerful clasped hands.....the man, his first wife, his second wife, and his six children, all kneeling.  The memorial was about 5-6 feet tall.  The church put a stop to the memorials because, as the guide told us, the place would have runout of room. 
                     
                    There is a choir screen showing eight Kings of England.  All had long robes except for one who had a short skirt.  The carver showed by this dress difference that this man was not considered truly a king.  There is a large Rose window near the front of the cathedral that represents the union of the houses of Lancaster and York (Henry VII and Elizabeth of York) that ended the War of the Roses (1458-1485) and began the Tudor Dynasty.  This whole trip has us all awash in English history and Wendy helps to bring it to life for us.
                     
                    Pat Valensky Lied 1959 
                    Cecil, PA
                  • Patricia Lied
                    In today s Post Gazette, I saw an article about Mairi Cooper, the chairwoman of the high school music department and a teacher in the Fox Chapel School
                    Message 9 of 28 , Dec 9, 2014
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                      In today's Post Gazette, I saw an article about Mairi Cooper, the chairwoman of the high school music department and a teacher in the Fox Chapel School district.  When I read of her recent honor as Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year, my thoughts turned to Sigrid Gayvert, long a teacher of music in the Crafton School District. She touched the lives of many as she taught music for all 12 grades  in the Crafton School District (at least when I was in school).  She was an energy dynamo with a hint of humor and love of music.  It was a joy to be in her classes and in the choruses that she led.  

                      Pat Valensky Lied, 1959  
                      Cecil, PA
                    • Patricia Lied
                      Day 8 Skipped the planned York walk around this morning in favor of sleeping in, having a long leisurely shower and buffet breakfast. Met Nadyne at 12:30
                      Message 10 of 28 , Dec 9, 2014
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                        Day 8  Skipped the planned York "walk around" this morning in favor of sleeping in, having a long leisurely shower and buffet breakfast.  Met Nadyne at 12:30 PM and we walked to the York boat dock for an hour river cruise on the River Ouse.  We disembarked close to the end of the cruise to visit Fairfax House, a Georgian townhouse with 18th century grandeur. The ceilings are extensively carved as are the wainscotings and trim around windows and chair rails.  Furniture and accessories are of the period and all beautifully crafted.  The dining room table was set with heavy sterling silve, glass and procelains.  Original oils of the period adorn the walls, including one of Ann Fairfax for whom the house was purchased by her father, in hopes of attracting a husband for Ann.  I believe that Ann had 6 siblings but she was the only survivor and never married.  Her relatives settled Failfax County Virginia. 
                         
                        Nadyne and I took a walk through the town, stopping at a department store and an ATM before ending up at Betty's.  Betty's is a tea room that was recommended to us.  It is quite popular and there was a line of hopefuls out the door.  It was lunchtime and Nadyne and I waited a short time for a white-draped table for two.  We ordered the fancy high tea menu with Nadyne adding some champagne to her meal.  There were tiny sandwiches (salmon/cream cheese, ham/cheese and a chicken salad) and some fancy desserts.  Can't remember each but there was some heavy dark chocolate among them and of course, large pots of tea.  The place was crowded, both downstairs and on the main floor.  We really enjoyed our time at Betty's.
                         
                        We walked back to York Minster Church to see if we could catch the last service of the (Sunday) afternoon. Luckily, we did make it back to take a seat and listen to some uplifting organ music, singing and the homily for the day.  We watched the many altar boys parade from the sacristy in their red and white vestments, followed by many ministers in long, black vestments and then came the dean of the Church, a 59 year-old woman.  Once exiting the church altar area, they greeting the parishioners as they exited.  A lovely memory to end the afternoon as we made our way back to the hotel for dinner.
                         
                        Day 9  Bussed across heather-covered moors to Whitby Abbey in Whitby, North Yorkshire, England.  The Abbey ruins are perched high on a cliff above the seaside town of Whitby.  The first monastery was founded on this site in 657AD and after later raids by the Danes, was abandoned in about 867.  The Benedictine Abbey was refounded in 1078 and then disestablished by Henry VIII in 1538.  The remains belie the grandeur of the very large grey stone Abbey with a large cemetery of blackened grave stones that parallel the North Sea.  Saxon tombs were found in a ditch, where they remain.  Whitby Abbey was a key setting for Bran Stoker's "Dracula".  The site is owned by the Chomley family, who built a family residence close to the Abbey ruins.  (Whitby was renowned for creating jet jewelry that was a favorite of Queen vistori's.  The jewelry was made from the Monkey Puzzle Tree....I was able to sport one while in this area.)
                         
                        We then bussed into the town of Whitby, a local whaling port, where we had reservations for a fish and chips lunch.  Afterward, we bussed to Castle Howard, featured in "Brideshead Revisited", a Baroque masterpiece originally begun in 1699 and built over 100 years.  (The castle was recently featured in "Death Comes to Pemberly" that was on Masterpiece Theatre.)  The estate has almost 10,000 acres, featuring lakes, temples, a rose garden, fountains, decorative trees and bushes, other gardens a luncheon grill and a gift shop.  The house features fantastic period furniture, statues, two-story marble fireplaces, draperies, artwork, including Rubens and Gainsboroughs, and accessories.  The house and estate is now in a Trust and currently is home to the Honorable Simon and Mrs. Howard and their twins, Merlin and Octavia.  Love those names.  ("Honorable" is a step down title from royal titles such as Lord, Viscount, Earl, and Baron.)   
                      • Patricia Lied
                        Left York at 8 AM to journey to the Lake district of England. Had a hard time staying awake as we rode through (more) heather-covered moors and fields of
                        Message 11 of 28 , Dec 12, 2014
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                          Left York at 8 AM to journey to the Lake district of England.  Had a hard time staying awake as we rode through (more) heather-covered moors and fields of sheep.  Our first comfort stop was the hilly, small village of Settle, where we walked around the open market in the main square.  I purchased a cup of hot tea (80 pence) at a local tea shop that was next to "Ye Naked Man Inn".  I sat at an outdoor table with a local man and asked him how the Inn got its name.  He said that "there is no story and you would think that someone would have made something up by now".   He also pointed out a steep hill in the distance that he said was called Constitution Road and once you walked up that enormous hill, there was a grave yard at the end.  He though that was worth a chuckle.

                          Once back on the bus, we traveled up and down hills, with Malcolm, our bus driver, expertly driving on narrow winding roads that took us over a mountain range.  Our lunch stop was a local farm home built in the 1600's.  The aged home was one among many owned by Beatrix Potter in her day.  She was from this area and, after making money with her books, bought many homes/acreage in the area that she rented at reasonable rates to the locals.  Upon her death, she willed her properties to the Historical Trust.  The hostess for today's fare rents the stone house that has only one upstairs bathroom and 5 bedrooms. She raised 5 children in this house.   The family entertains bus groups three times a week and move their furniture within the house to accommodate luncheon diners.  Lunch included carrot soup, quite popular from what I see on menus, with terrific breads and dessert. 

                          After lunch, we bussed past the village of Gigglesworth and then on, through hills and dales covered with sheep and cows, to the Westmoreland Hotel, off one of the main highways in Penrith, Cumbria, England. Dinner this night was lamb roast dinner with sticky toffee pudding for dessert.  

                          Day 11  We had an early buffet breakfast while Malcolm loaded the bus.  Luggage is bulging as gift shops abound in every tourist attraction.  Even charity-linked thrift shops are in profusion and some of the tour group have made purchases that they are quite proud of.   

                          As we traveled, we saw a portion of Hadrian's Wall, the 73 mile northernmost border of the Roman Empire and occupation.  It was built at the narrowest point, east to west in that area.  Various Roman fortifications, now ruins, can be seen in passing fields.  The Romans collected taxes for those  people that crossed the border and kept out the "barbarian Scots".  Wendy  told us about the Vindolanda tablets that were wood tablets tied together with leather and used as letters sent to commanders between various forts.  The Vindolanda tables, referring to one of the northernmost forts that they came from, are maintained in the British Museum and are the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain. 

                          Our next (comfort) stop was Lanercost with priory ruins, a cemetery, a vicarage, a Bed and Breakfast, a tea room, gift shop, private housing and a modest church. I bought Chrismas Cards with an eye-catching picture of black-faced sheep in the snow.   Back on the bus to Gretna Green, which was our exit from the highway into Scotland,  Made another stop at Moffat, an old wool town for lunch at the Annadale Arms Hotel.  Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, parsnips, bokchoy and roasted potatoes..  Dessert was bread pudding with vanilla sauce...yum. 

                          Our next stop was The Blacksmith Shop.  Historically, this was where young people under the age of 21 went (from England) to get married.  You could get married in Scotland at age 18.  Blacksmiths were approved to marry couples "over their anvils".  This shop now provides a facility and accessories for weddings.  We sampled whiskies and shopped as there was a cluster of shops in this area.  Later, we drove on to Edinburgh.

                          Pat Valensky Lied,  1959  
                          Cecil, PA  
                        • Patricia Lied
                          Day 12 In Edinburgh, we landed at the Carlton Hotel, an older hotel, with creaks and groans, but centrally located in the tourist area. After another buffet
                          Message 12 of 28 , Dec 12, 2014
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                            Day 12  In Edinburgh, we landed at the Carlton Hotel, an older hotel, with creaks and groans, but centrally located in the tourist area.  After another buffet breakfast, we left for Edinburgh Castle.   Wendy warned of a long walk up a "gentle slope" to the castle.(the castle is located on top of an extinct volcano).    Nadyne and I were puffing when we arrived at the ticketing counter. We opted for a car ride to the castle further up a steep cobblestoned hill.   The castle includes many buildings and exhibits.  Nadyne and I did not tour the entire complex.

                            We toured the Royal Apartments, viewed the armory with spears, knives, armor, etc. , and walked through the Scottish National War Memorial that commemorates the dead of WWI and WWII and military campaigns since 1945. There was a special marble tablet memorializing the veterinary servicemen.   We saw the Stone of Destiny (used historically as a coronation seat) and the Scottish crown jewels (the Crown (1540), the Scepter (1494) and the Sword of State), the oldest crown jewels in the British Isles. 

                            While exiting the castle grounds, we viewed the city landscape over the parapet walls with large black cannons arranged every 6-7 feet.  We ambled down the steep hill to the castle ground exit and on to The Royal Mile, the road from Edinburg Castle to Holyrood Castle,  to have lunch in a pub, window shop and visit St. Giles Cathedral, another impressive Gothic stone cathedral.  Almost back to the hotel, Nadyne and I stopped for fancy desserts at a patisserie.  I had a cup of the best coffee since I landed in England.

                            That evening, we all went to the "Thistle" for dinner and Scottish entertainment.  Walking across the streets at rush hour was a real test of survival but we made it.  A Scottish bagpiper met us at the entrance.  My dinner was unmemorable but the show was terrific.  The show opened with an energetic MC dressed in a full Scottish dress.  He introduced the band (drums, keyboard and accordian).  The band featured an expert accordionist who also did a few solo pieces.  A young woman was introduced with her electric violin and did a great job on a number of Scottish pieces.  Three Scottish dancers were also part of the show.  The bagpiper did a memorable rendition of the spiritual "Amazing Grace" and piped in the Haggis, which was served with "turps and taters" (turnips and potatoes) at intermission.  The entire program was excellent. 

                            Day 13  Buffet breakfast (with haggis on my eggs), the bus pulled away for a tour of the Britannia, the royal yacht now in dry dock. Every area of the ship was worth a picture or two.   The Queen's bedroom, decorated in light colors with a single bed, uses linens purchased by Queen Victoria. The Prince's bedroom, also with a single bed, was done in masculine colors.  The bedroom for honeymooners (Diana and Charles, for instance) did have a double bed.  Though the furniture in some areas was a bit dated, it looked quite comfortable and efficient.  There are two spiffy enclosed motor boats and a large sailboat (The Bloodhound) also in this tour.

                            After the tour, we bussed to Holyrood Castle where (Catholic) Mary, Queen of Scots lived as did her son, King James VI of Scotland (who was eventually King James I of a united Scotland and England).    Holyrood is located at the other end of the Royal Mile, on a flat piece of land.  Holyrood is the official residence of the Monarch in Scotland.  On the grounds, there are ruins of an abbey.  Inside the castle, we toured ante chambers, the throne room, and a dining room.  We viewed Mary Queen of Scot's bedroom and saw the blood in the wooden floor of the closet, remnants of the brutal slaying of her secretary, David Rizzo in Mary's presence by her jealous husband, Lord Darnley.  We climbed thin spiral staircases and were guided through the Great Gallery, hung with Jacob de Wets portraits of  royal relatives, all with the same nose on men and women, according to the wishes of a king in an effort to show that they were all related.   

                            Nadyne and I went to Pizza Hut for a fast dinner and then back to the hotel for the last minute preparations for leaving Scotland tomorrow.

                            It was a terrific trip, made extra special by our knowledgeable, patient, and detail-oriented tour guide, Wendy. a resident of the Lake District.  


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