Day Seventy

You know I’m glad I kept this diary. It does quite effectively track
where we have been and what we have seen. And for once I will
know which photos are taken where. Facebook helps there too.

Now that we are in the short end of the trip, looking at all the things
we won’t have time to do, it occurs to us that there is so much to
see, that we could take the same route again, and have a
completely different trip. Quite extraordinary really, how many
lovely places and attractions there are.

We won’t get time to go to Ireland. It’s a shame, but we wouldn’t
be able to do it justice so it will have to be next year. I was very
much looking forward to hearing some Irish blarney and a lot of
“tanks-a-lot” “grand” and “to be sure, to be sure”. Perhaps the
occasional “tirty tree” Not to worry. I suspect they won’t run out any
time soon.

Today was a day for exploring Durham. It’s quite a large town,
university and college based with some 10 schools and universities
on its outskirts. The town itself is set on a large river and is famous
for its 1,000+ year cathedral and castle.

We walk and caught a bus into town – many of these old towns have
a “park and ride” service where you park out of town and bus in and
back. It’s designed to protect the town from traffic. Works quite

Very upsettingly, on the way we see a fox cub who has been hit by a
car. Poor baby, he was so little. He was on the side of the road and
looks as if he was caught mid twirly. Poor little pet. Very sad, and it
stays with me all day. I hate seeing animals hurt through people’s
carelessness. Can’t they drive a little more carefully and give the
badgers and little ones a chance.

The town is packed. Probably everyone on term break. We explore
the streets – full of little shops, cafes and restaurants, and in the end
plump for a chilli hit at a Thai restaurant that overlooks the river. I
order a very pretty tea called “butterfly longs for summer”. It’s a tea
ball, which unfurles in my glass the reveal four flowers within, the
smallest on top being a jasmine flower, and the “butterfly” resting
on the pink flower below, which is sitting on a yellow
chrysanthemum, which must be the sun, for “summer”. The green
tea leaf forms the outer petals of the last flower. Apart from tasting
delightful, it’s so pretty. A tea art form, served in a large wine glass
to show it off to best effect.

After lunch we walk up the hill to the cathedral which proves to be a
surprise. It’s enormous, glorious in design and spectacle. In addition
to the grandeur of the main cathedral, there is the cloisters, a
stunningly detailed choral area that reminds me of Westminster
Abbey, an ancient archival library with floor to ceiling books, the
monks quarters, Viking grave stones and a display of prehistoric and
Viking stones and markers.

We are lucky enough to be here during the set up of a flower
festival. The cathedral has been chosen to showcase it, and
everywhere we look are teams putting together their displays. There
is some really stunning, imaginative work and every spare surface is
covered in flowers and greenery waiting to be placed. It will be
spectacular when its finished, thousands of flowers.

The Lindisfarne choir is in town too, and we can hear them
rehearsing in the in the courtyard.

We explore a little more, stop for coffee, and decide we are
“castled out” and decide instead to head home.

Chris holds my hand and makes me look the other way when we
pass the poor little cub. I wish I could make him well again and let
him run off to join his foxy family. His mother would have grieved for