The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

King Richard II Slept Here

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October 16, 2011

Our last night at the Rockside Guest House was spent munching on gorgeous chocolate cupcakes and Lemon Muffins while laying in bed watching “Strictly Come Dancing” and “The X Factor”. Why not!! Our last night and we were going to make the most of it.

Down to the dining room, had another great breakfast, paid our bill and we were on the road again. After some discussion last night, we had decided to make a side trip to Carlisle Castle, which was on our way home, plus wind our way out of the Lake District via a different route from that which we came in on. A little daring for the two of us, but we had built up our confidence driving around between different villages the past three days.

It didn’t take us long to find the Castle, as it stood above the buildings within the City of Carlisle, and was well sign-posted.  The Castle made an imposing shadow as it stood far afield from other City buildings but across the street from a Museum, shop and cafe accessible via tunnel under a main road from the Castle itself. Local residents whizzed by this massive rusty-coloured brick building as if it was just another office tower.

Visitors were allowed to wander about as they wished and go exploring up deep and narrow stone steps into huge gathering rooms, down even narrower, smaller stone steps to little tiny dungeon cells. One portion of the second storey of the Castle contained a display regarding Bonnie Prince Charlie, but the steps leading up the way were narrow, steep and winding. Nat, having made an advance look, admitted I’d be unable to make the trek with the way my hip was now acting. A tad disappointed, we began to meander throughout the rest of the courtyard, in and out of other passageways that wove their way throughout this medieval structure. We made our way up to the top where we could peek through little turrets that over-looked all of Carlisle, and with the sun now shining we    looked beyond the castle walls, up towards the sky, where a now-fading rainbow had been strutting its stuff.

This massive structure was turning out to be never-ending and as my leg and hip were beginning to act up, we made our tour shorter than we would have liked. With King Richard III having slept within those walls and Bonnie Prince Charlie having stopped by on his treks across England and Scotland, the history was fascinating and it was hard to believe you were walking within the same walls.

With our self-made tour over, we made our way down to the tunnel, under the main road to the cafe in the Museum where we grabbed a quick bite to eat and decided to make our way back to Bedlington.  Now three-quarters the way home the drive was uneventful and quiet. We were soon surprised, however, once we arrived back at Jenny’s. As is the usual routine in her little home on a Sunday, some of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will wander in for a visit, coming in shifts, having a cup of tea and visit and then, as if on cue, leave for the next shift to drop by. We enjoyed each and everyone while roaring with laughter as Julie and Sharon relayed their stories of misbehaviour and shenanigans.

As the evening began to settle in, Vicki and her 3-1/2 year old son, Michael, dropped by and we enjoyed their company while having our tea. Wee Michael was a joy to watch as he  took hold of the remote control, turned on one of his little shows while snuggled in his Mom’s lap, played games on his Mom’s mobile, and then enjoyed a little sandwich with the rest of us. A lovely end to a very lovely weekend.

And so it begins – the last week. The final trek of our trip. The week where we’ll have to get our train tickets to Manchester, try and get our mobile unlocked so we can take it back to Canada, and then the packing! Oh God, the packing!! This wasn’t even one of those trips where I shopped ’til I dropped – not enough time, not close enough to great shops and to be truthful, nothing that exciting that jumped out at me. Go figure!! Having said that, however, I did manage to buy a few things – that’s a given – and I’m still going to struggle to get the suitcases packed. Oh God, the packing!!

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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