25.12.2014 - 25.12.2014
After spending time with Kayleigh and Iain in London there came time to head north to meet Emma. We had arranged to meet in York on the 23rd but our travel arrangements changed and we went to York on the 22nd, giving us extra time to see this wonderful castle town. The train trip from Banbury (Cross) was lengthy and we realised that British Rail over subscribed seating as xmas gets closer so it was about an hour before I could take my seat as there was no room for luggage storage in the carriage, and eventually I had to leave the bags outside the carriage looked after by a nice guy happy to read his book and look after ours as well as his own bag.
on arrival we grabbed a bag to Friars Rest, our accommodation and then dinner at The Lighthorseman, about 100m down the road. We had been advised that it had an Italian menu and we had a garlic bread starter (which came topped with caramalised onions) and in hindsight with a beer miggt have been enough. Still when the mains arrived we knew we were in trouble - neither of us able to finish substantial meals. The B n B had 3 breakfast options, however after the full English the following morning (even with sending the baked beans back) we realised that one of the 'other' options would suit us best the next day - but not the vegetarian option. We wandered around looking at the sights until it was time for Emma to arrive by train. Sharon was very excited, and it was hard for her to hide her anxiety as we waited at the York Railway Station. Eventually the train pulled in and this statuesque blond bombshell stepped out across the platform. The hugs we long and hard as it has been a long time since we shared the same location. We took her bags to the B n B and had a great afternoon wandering York as the sun set and the xmas lights gave the city a beautiful light. The markets we had gone to see were closed, unfortunately, but there were plenty of replacement activities. We did attempt the York Castle just on closing, walking up the 60 steep stairs to find it closed. A hard grind repeated again on the 24th again to find that, this time, it was closed for xmas. We also walked the historic walls of the city on the 24th with a plan to look through the Norvik Centre at the conclusion only to find that it also was closed for xmas.
So with our shopping done for Christmas Day (important things like wine, black pudding, and last minute present shopping) and with York closing down we headed to the Mason's Arms (after finding the Red Horse full) for a beer and some snacks before picking up the bags from Friars Rest and heading to the railway station to rail to Sunderland where we will spend Christmas with Emma and Anthony.
A quick trip to Mobrary Park on arrival in Sunderland proved Emma to be correct when she suggested that it'd be colder up north. The wind was bitter, but our UK adventure is still pretty much rain free, and still quite warm.
We'll see how long this lasts.