Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Gargrave (but not by boat)

Monday was an early start as we had to be at the Barbican in London by nine for Catherine’s master’s graduation.  OK, I know commuters do it most days and many get to London well before nine, but we had to get Buddy to the dog sitter in Thame first, and we’re retired.

Karen’s mum, Ann, picked us up from the basin at seven and drove us to Thame and, after dropping Buddy off, we drove to the station at Haddenham.

Apart from initially going to the wrong address, and Karen being offered a seat on the tube for the first time in her life, we had an uneventful journey and met up with a happy Catherine just before the ceremony.

Catherine before receiving her masters in Portuguese & Spanish conference interpreting
For some reason we didn’t get a picture of her with her proud mum but at least we got one with her proud step dad 😉

Proof I own a suit
After the ceremony we walked down to Smithfield market and had a really good lunch at an Italian restaurant called Apulia.  Yes, we saw a couple of VR boxes on the way, but sadly they were ones we had seen before.

After saying goodbye to Catherine, we made our way back to Marylebone, passing Dorset Fields just outside the station which I hadn’t realised was the original Lords cricket field.

Dorset Fields in Dorset Square

Commemorative & informative (to me) plaques
We picked Buddy up from the dog minder and he appeared to have had a wonderful time, so we would be happy to leave him there again if the need arises.

Tuesday morning saw us off to London again, this time with Buddy but not with Ann.  We were on our way up to Yorkshire to visit my parents and sister and pick up the car which we will need when we are on holiday over Christmas.

Fortunately, it wasn’t such an early start and we had a quick look at the lock which is now closed and stopping us leaving Aylesbury for the next few weeks.

Entrance barred at the town end of the lock
A large generator and pump were already in place ready to drain the water out of the lock once the stanking planks are in place.

Lock now fenced off
At the top end of the lock, work boats had assembled with the works paraphernalia and new lock gates:

The first leg of the journey to Yorkshire was a train to Marylebone.  Today we caught a train from Aylesbury rather than Haddenham and the station is only a ten-minute walk from where we are moored.

The only spare seats for the three of us were in a quiet coach and I always end up laughing in these as Karen whispers but in a normal voice volume

We walked from Marylebone to Kings Cross to catch a train to Leeds.  The train was packed making it feel like a Friday evening rather than early afternoon on a Tuesday.  It was so busy that people were standing all the way to Doncaster and the only space for Buddy was in the aisle which is incredibly impractical on intercity trains.  There seems to be constant traffic to the loos, the buffet car and general walking about.  Then of course the buffet trolley doesn’t help as it is as wide as an aisle and Buddy had to get under our and our neighbours’ feet every time it went past.  Luckily the girls we were each sitting next to were both OK with dogs and found the whole experience funny and felt sorry for us, especially when Buddy farted.  

We bought our tickets to Yorkshire a couple of months ago, so they cost just over £20 each; the tickets just to London yesterday had cost £45 each!

Talking about our neighbours laughing at/with us reminds me that at one point Karen, who was knitting, couldn’t find the end of a new ball of wall.  Despite both of us trying it took ages to find it and kept the girls amused for a while.

We took Buddy for a little walk around Leeds before catching yet another packed train, this time to Gargrave where we stayed at my parents' house for the night. 

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