16 May 2008

Greetings from Maybel's high-tech pad!

Hi readers!
Here I am, sitting on the air mattress in Steve's mum's spare room, where we are currently staying, and I am using WiFi! It's a miracle! I decided to give it a try & I've hooked in to a neighbour's non-encrypted broadband. I feel like something out of a spy movie, minus the airbed. So, not sure when I will lose this connection...
We went to Castle Howard on Wednesday. It's in North Yorkshire, just north of York. Oh readers! You all know how I like a bit of a castle.... this one was rather fabulous. The gardens were incredible & I got the most fantastic photo of a peacock which I will post later. The Castle has been in the Howard family (ie Catherine Howard, Ann Boleyn) for thousands of years - though this Castle was built in the 16th century. I was having a lovely time strolling through the walled Rose Garden pretending to be "a lady" with my little parasol & my embroidery. Pure fantasy. There was a farmer's market on in the courtyard of the stable mews where we bought the sweetest, juiciest punnet of strawberries I have ever tasted. Interestingly, the farmers had meat & cheeses on display right on the tabletops with no refrigeration!
As for Manchester, well, we stayed right out of the city centre, which was crowded with about 20,000 drunken Scotsmen who left a fine mess behind them. Steve & I are truly amazed that the locals seem to be surprised that there was violence & chaos after the game. It was a hot day & the fans started throwing down the lagers at lunchtime. What a combination!!
So yesterday, rather than go into town, we headed to the Peak District, which is about an hour's drive east of Manchester. It is so, so pretty! Honestly, it's like I've landed in Jemima Puddleduck country & Peter Rabbit is about to hop out from under a cabbage leaf. And the villages... I think I am about to seriously overdose on cute stone cottages with colourful flowers growing out the front & tiny little windows and doors. It's all so beautiful and ... (hate to say it again) CUTE!!!!
We started off in a town called Bakewell but unfortunately, we drove down a pedestrian thoroughfare. I know I am the navigator but I never saw a sign! Worse still, we drove right past the local constabulary as we were breaking the law :o( Bakewell is another gorgeous little town full of CUTE STONE COTTAGES and lots & lots of pubs.
After pigging out on Bakewell tart and Ben & Jerry's ice-cream, we headed to the town of Eyams, a town which, in the plague of 1666, quarantined itself to save the other villages in the area. It was fascinating and there were even some CSC (cute stone cottages) dating back to that time. The museum there was also excellent & in the gift shop, you could buy your own rat to take home (plastic).
So now we are back in Manchester for our last day. We're going to hit the town centre today & check out Selfridges & Harvey Nicholls etc. Tomorrow we start our flight home. Better sign off now as I'm getting strange messages & I've already lost everything I wrote once this morning. Curse technology. I love it but I hate it too. Cheerio! xxxx

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