Monday, February 28, 2011

Kingston Upon Hull

Driving along the eastern coast of England next to the North Sea, we found ourselves leaving Scarborough where the fair had been held as a 45-day event starting mid August to the end of September. Norway, Denmark and the Baltic States came to the English fair.  In 1383 prosperity of the fair slumped and closed in the 17th century but was started again in the 18th century.  Alas, it finally ended in 1788, but there was a Fair in July 2006 with Medieval Jousting Competitions. 

North Froddingham was our next stop; I found the church where my Thomas Beecroft was christened in 1772. Notice the moss growing on the steeple.

 The older stones  surrounding the church from the 1700s have not survived the harsh wind and rain (unreadable) and are no help at all. The only ones that survived are the inscriptions within the church and those under trees. As I was taking photos, a gigantic group of bicyclists flew (about 50) by on their bikes.  Right away they knew we were tourists.

After arriving in Kingston Upon Hull, we bought a city map at a petro station.  Even with a map it was hard to find the churches I was seeking.  I had no clue that this would be so hard. We still had to ask someone how to find Holy Trinity.  We had walked 5 to 6 blocks in the wrong direction. Found Holy Trinity and St. Mary's was only just down the block from it.  

Now, my Robert Dobson from York had wanderlust and moved his family from York to Hull. His daughter Margaret met Thomas Beecroft who had moved from North Froddingham to Hull. They were married at Holy Trinity in 1792.  Robert and his wife Ann were both buried there. I found the street where they had lived but the buildings had been demolished and turned into a car park.
Just my luck; Holy Trinity was closed, they were renovating this church and St. Mary's. My great great grandmother Emma Beecroft was christened at Holy Trinity. She and her family joined the Mormons, took a train to Liverpool, boarded a ship to America and crossed the plains to Utah.

St. Mary's was a Scottish church where my William Fraser married Catharine Cripps (he was from King Edward, Aberdeen, Scotland).  Their daughter Isabella Fraser married Henry Beecroft (parents of my Emma). They are the ones who became pioneers and crossed the plains not only once but a second time as well.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ermine Earrings

I love these earrings. They remind me of mink and ermine so I called them Ermina on Etsy. I never knew there was such a shell but there is one called "black lip". Who ever polished these beauties, did an excellent job.

See my Etsy shop.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme! Remember that song? Well, there is a castle at Scarborough.  I didn't know.  Did you know? I would like to go back there when the fair is the happening event.  Put that one on the list.

Castle walk

What's left of Scarborough Castle

Looking down from the Castle

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thornton le Dale

This absolutely delightful cottage took my breath away and is apparently one of the most photographed cottages in England.  In front of this cottage is a clear stream of slowly moving water that runs throughout the village, reminding me of a calm running river filled with trout.  Talk about picturesque and quaint, it was the very essence. We stopped in Thornton le Dale because that is where our Dobson family had lived before they moved to the large compacted city of people in York.

Thornton le Dale Church

After walking about, looking at tombstones in the front and back of the church, we decided to travel onward toward my goal of reaching Kingston Upon Hull.  If I had known how quickly we could reach the eastern side of England, we would have spent a bit more time in York and Thornton le Dale.  Oh well, such is life!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Green Door in York

What's behind that green door?  It's so small too! Is there music? Can I come in? Oh, if we only had more time to explore the green door and York but we were on a schedule.  

We did, however, climb the stairs on Bootham Bar, looked out cross shaped holes that were made for weapons when the guards were guarding the city, walked the stone wall that surrounded the city.  We could look right into people's backyards from the wall.  I would really hate it if my house was next to a wall where people could look into my backyard.  Where's the privacy? One clever thing was that a lot of yards had steps up to the wall so maybe, the guards lived in those houses at one time and that was their way to go to work.  Bar was a gate and gate was a street - part of the Viking language.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Shambles

While looking for another church in York, we came across the Shambles.  Walking was very difficult on the cobblestones within this narrow walkway. Being the oldest street in Europe and also being mentioned in the Domesday Book, it has become a tourist area full of quaint little shops.  Originally, it was a street of butchers.  Some places in the street are so narrow that if you stand in the middle with outstretched arms, you can touch houses on both sides.  

A lady who lives in York stopped to chat with us because I asked if she knew where Christ's Church was.  She had no idea.  As we came out of the Shambles, it opened up into King's Square and right in the middle was a monument and a tree dedicated to the very church that I was searching for. Looking at the brick flooring, we found that there was still epitaphs of the departed who were buried there. This church that is no longer there was where my 4th great grandmother was christened in 1773.

Not far from King's Square, we found a Thai Restaurant which by the way, had excellent food.  I kept hearing that the food in the UK was awful and boring but apparently, those people are ones that go on tours and only eat where the tour buses stop. 

One of the very intriguing gates of York:
Michael Bar

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I love the City of York

Can I state it again?  I loved York.  It was fascinating - the shambles, boat trips, ghost story tales, Roman ruins, my ancestors lived there, the vikings, there was never enough time to do all that I wanted to do and see in York.  I want to go back. 

Right next door to York Minster was St. Michael Le Belfry;  my 5th great grandfather Robert Dobson married Ann Haddock in 1768 in this church. He was a basket maker so he needed to be in a city where he could sell his wares.  

With my luck, the church was closed so I could not go inside. Being the last pre-reformation church to be built in York (1525 to 1536) by John Forman, it was called Le Belfry from its closeness to the bells in the SW tower of York Minster.  It is the only ancient church in the city that was completely erected at one time. To walk the streets and see the churches where my ancestors were married and christened, just gives me chills.  It is an incredible feeling that is hard to describe.

We stayed at the Cottage Hotel at 3 Clifton Green but I would not recommend it because it is above a pub which was rather loud and noisy.

All Saints Pavement Church is where my Robert was christened in 1780.  His family was hard to find because sometimes it was written as Dopson; apparently, back when spelling was not an issue, Dopson and Dobson were interchangeable.

All Saints Pavement Church stands in the center of the earliest paved streets; hence the name. It is mostly 14th century although there has been a church there on this site since Saxon times.

Small green door.  Darla is only 5'5" and she is taller than the door. Does anyone remember that song about the green door?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

York -York Minster was astounding

We found a map of the city at the museum.  We used the map to do a walking tour. From the map we discovered that the ruins on the grounds adjacent to the museum was St. Mary's Abbey.

The first gate we passed through on our way to York Minster was Bootham Bar (they called their gates Bar).

Bootham Bar still has the walls attached to it on both sides that was part of the Roman fortress. The walls connected to four gates and surrounded the city. It is the oldest gate in York; parts of the gate date from the 11th century but most was built during the 12th and 13th centuries.

We walked through the gate without knowing any of this history and onto York Minster which took my breath away.  

It is so large that it is hard to get the whole building in a photograph. Below is a shot of the ceiling inside in one section.

The astronomical clock

The apostles. 

One of the large chapels; there were more chapels in this gothic cathedral which just amazed me. This is the largest gothic cathedral in Europe. There were small chapels on the sides, large chapels in the middle - it was absolutely astounding.  I have never seen anything like it.
The west window.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Barden Tower

My navigator directed me to drive north to Barden Tower, one of the six hunting lodges in the Forest of Barden.

Next, she had me turn south through the Valley of Desolation.  Just the name is a bit scary but it also turned into one of those freakin one-lane roads and this time, I was driving a stick shift.  I had a hard time finding the right gear for the hills on this cow path and I dreaded the thought of having to turn around on a one-lane road, but all was well and she reads a map very well because we finally came to a main road and headed for York.

Before we found the road to York, we came across a very strange sight. They looked like dozens of round white balls which seemed about a story high.  We stopped and took pictures but I don't think the guard at the entrance was very pleased.  Later, we found out it had something to do with their military.

Giant Gold Balls

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire Dales

On our way toward York, we stopped at Bolton Abbey, which covers 30,000 acres of breath taking countryside.  Yorkshire estate belongs to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

This is their residence; daffodils grow wild in England and Wales. Bolton means "an enclosure with a house". Bolton Abbey is a quaint village adjacent to Bolton Priory, a ruined Cistercian monastery on the banks of the River Wharfe, just north of the spa town Iikley (iikley).

Next to the Abbey besides tombstones was the Priory Church.

The guide inside Priory church was very nice and easy to understand. He was a very charming man with silver hair and we talked about genealogy, but mostly he told us about the architecture and history of this 14th century building. 

We had lunch in another building in the village which turned out to be surprising.  I am always trying new kinds of food and this day was no different. I ordered a cheese, tomato and pickle sandwich thinking how I loved pickle sandwiches at home. The pickle was a dark almost black color and was different from any pickle that I have ever tasted.  I was not quite sure if I would ever grow to like that pickle or not but I ate it anyway.  We had to try a crumpet, which is very much like a pancake.  I bought myself a hat because of the wind and Darla thought that I was becoming very European wearing a hat!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Liverpool to Manchester

An American Express office exchanged my travelers check without charging an extra fee, which banks usually do. I cashed in $800 and got back 520 sterling pounds. Took a taxi to Alamo to pick up our rental car.  They did not have my reservation, would not accept the discount coupon and they did not have an automatic transmission car so we had to take a manual drive car - ugh!  I have not driven a manual drive in years let alone drive on the other side of the road and have to shift with my left hand.  Make sure your reservations are confirmed and firm, otherwise you end up with a manual drive.

There's a good reason to use roundabouts in Ireland because you cannot go around the block and come back to where you were before.  At least the roads in England were an immediate improvement over the roads in Ireland but in some places the roundabouts were very complicated. At times there were mini roundabouts within the large roundabout.  Talk about confusing!  

There were also places to park on the side of the road in England - not so much in Ireland. In Ireland people parked half on the sidewalk and half in the road leaving a one-lane road through the middle of town, where you had to take turns with the oncoming traffic. It is a totally different type of driving in western America where there is lots of room on the side of the road, lanes are larger, and if you miss a turn, you can go around the block to get back to the turn.

While driving towards Manchester on the motorway, our car started talking to us. Every time we came close to a large city, there were electronic devices on the motorway and our car talked to us. We were listening to music from a tape but the device triggered an interruption and would tell us the road conditions such as, "There will be a five minute delay on M4". Darla found a way to turn it off because after awhile, it become very annoying.  We stopped in Oldham, found a car park and ate at a chippy place (as Darla called them). She had beef and kidney pie, marrowfat peas and chips (fries) with vinegar and salt. I had fish and chips; I tasted her pie which was very rich.  The peas were different but I liked them.  They call them mushy peas. I tried to reach my friend by phone but she wasn't home.

We drove northward toward Chorley where the LDS Preston Temple is located just off the motorway. We were able to get a room there for 7 pounds each.

Top of Preston LDS Temple

Temple grounds

The reason we were able to stay there so cheap is that we attended a temple session, cleaned our own room by putting towels and linens outside the door. There are also microwave ovens and mini kitchens so that a family could stay and fix meals. It was very clean and nice.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vintage Rhinestone Brooch

This dazzling brooch is 60s vintage.  It was brilliant then and still brilliant.  What do you think?  It has fringes like a western leather jacket that move when you move.

If you are interested, take a look at my Etsy shop.

Today, I saw two people who wear their pockets well. One was a very tall young woman, who looked stunning in her Levis, had butt pockets that were just the right shape for her figure; the white stitching on the pockets were flowers and they really stood out.  They were very attractive.

The second young woman I saw today in Levis had a jag across the back pockets like a lightening bolt of brown stitching.  She didn't need any spectacular pockets to bring attention to her bum; she had just the right figure with tight fitting pants all the way from her waist down to her mid calfs.  The only problem was that from  her mid-calf down to her shoes, her pants were baggy - strange look!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


We arrived in Liverpool at 5 PM.  Took a taxi to the Dolby Hotel on Queen's Dock right next to the River.  Our view from the room looked out onto the docking water where we watched a group of students learning to navigate kayaks. The room was very compact with bunkbeds; Darla slept in the upper bunk. It was a moderately priced (36 pounds or $52.19) hotel, very clean and nice. Darla said that the bathroom was so compact and small that it reminded her of the bathrooms on airplanes. Later, in their cafe, we had nachos and hot chocolate. The nachos were extremely spicy hot although we ordered mild - a very small amount of peppers but our mouths were burning. They don't have Mexican restaurants in Ireland.
Albert Dock

The next day we did a walking tour of where the Beatles were famous - there were life-sized bronze statues of them inside the Cavern mall area. We walked to Albert Dock and found the Beatles Story so we bought tickets.  It was okay but perhaps the bus tour would have been better.  I enjoyed the dock more than the Beatles Story; there was even an area where they do a weather report from floating pieces shaped liked Ireland and the UK. Darla said she had seen it often on the telly.

Floating weather station

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blennerville, Ireland

Who would ever think that there would be a windmill in Ireland? I was very surprised and basically, it is the first time I have ever seen a real windmill and toured one.

Darla and I climbed to the very top of the windmill.  That was a good workout I can tell you! Whew!

This was a shop in Adare, Ireland.  We passed it before we came to the windmill. I wish we had stopped to graze.  Oh well, hind sight - not much good.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Back to Dublin

We finally made it back to Dublin.  I turned in the rental car; it was like being free of a headache.  We found a B&B called Tara Hill and had a dinner date with Robby, a friend of Darla's.  He took us south of Dublin into the mountains to a town called Bray. We had dinner in a nice pub and a tour of Bray.

In the morning while waiting for our taxi to take us to the Irish ferry, we struck up a conversation with an English man.  He professed to being related to Jackie Gleason. He asked Darla to send him a postcard from Utah. The only reservations that we made the whole trip through Ireland was the car rental and the first B&B in Dublin.

It took us four hours to cross the Irish Sea to Liverpool, our next adventure.

I loved the red door.

Fancy McDonalds in Bray, Ireland

Monday, February 14, 2011

Irish Special Places

Notice the beehive rock house to the right.

Farthest western point of Ireland - Grotto on Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Things I loved about Ireland

Their mouth watering chocolate. Not one chocolate factory in America can compete.
The best hot chocolate that I've ever had in my entire life time. It was rich dark and dangerously yummy.
The friendly and hospitable people who live there.
The kindred spirits who have moved there.
Ancient documents.
Mysterious ancient sights and places.
The friendly visitors from other parts of Europe.
The young Irish man who had me follow him in his car so that I could find the bed and breakfast where I had reservations.
The wonderful breakfasts served at the B&Bs.
Ireland didn't mess up my car reservations like England did.
The mission office in Dublin let me phone London to see if someone had turned in my passport.  Someone had and the airport held it until we left the UK.  That was a load off my mind.
Using tablespoon size spoons and not tiny teaspoons.
The extremely talented drivers who live in Ireland like the young man who came out of an alleyway in Limerick with a lorry and missed hitting the widow of a shop on the opposite corner by inches.
Rainbow colored tissues in a kleenex box.
Gigantic portions of fish - in America we get about a third size of what you get in the UK.
The B&Bs who did laundry service for a minimal fee.  What a time saver since I only took one small carry-on suitcase and enough clothes for a week intending to spend three weeks in Europe.  My friend couldn't believe that I only took one suitcase!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Things I Disliked about Ireland

The Maguire Castle was closed.

I could not visit New Grange, Knoth or Dowth; they were closed because of foot and mouth. They are some of the most historic wonders in Ireland.  I was very disappointed.  I had them all mapped out and they were all closed.

We were searched when we left Northern Ireland by the boarder patrol (Garda) although they clearly could see that we were tourists in a car rental. But they did want to know if we had anything dairy or meat products.

We made the mistake of driving southeast of Belfast to Newcastle, which is on the Irish seacoast.  This resort town reminded me of Vegas - noisy, a complete mess with people everywhere. It took us an hour to drive through this town which was not that big. It was bumper to bumper, creep and crawl, dodging cars and trying not to hit people who just crossed the road in any spot they wanted to. They just walked right in front of us. We were probably going all of 5 miles an hour.

We passed through three areas going south toward Dublin where they disinfected our car; a precaution of the foot and mouth disease. They checked our trunk twice and I got so nervous that when the Garda asked me to open the trunk the first time, I pulled a lever in the car which opened the gas tank. He told me that I needed to open the trunk, not the gas cap. In first and second area, they just washed our tires but the third area, we had to drive through a machine which washed the entire car.

Several hostels that we tried to find had been converted into other places parts of the guidebook was not up-to-date - that of course is not Ireland's fault though.

Friday, February 11, 2011


We tried to find a B&B in Holywood (pronounced Hollywood), a suburb of Belfast but had no luck.  We visited with Sylvia and her mother Sadie Connor (Darla's friends). Sylvia helped us make reservations at the Jury Inn in city center.  We were lucky to get a room because of Easter weekend. Every place we called was booked and Monday was a bank holiday.  She fixed dinner for all of us. It was nothing fancy but very tasty. 

Everyone that we met in Ireland was delightful.  Of course, I had a lot of trouble understanding most people there but I had my interpreter with me.  Since Darla had been in Ireland almost two years, she could understand any accent and even knew what part of Ireland they were from. 

After we left to drive to city center to our hotel, Darla insisted that I parallel park beside the hotel backing in from the left side.  Well, it took at least 10 minutes to get the car into the parking spot - ugh!

Breakfast came with our room - that was nice.  Not as good as a B&B with more home cooked food but better than what most middle-priced American hotels offer for breakfast. Across the street was a huge old church building that had been converted into a mall. Bank holiday - it was closed - bummer.

The best tour was at the Ulster Folk Museum; we arrived just as it opened at 11 AM. There was an old Irish village there and all types of craftsmen and women were working in different buildings. There was yarn spinning, knitting, bread making, Easter egg  coloring and rug making. The fireplaces burned dried sod - not the best fire smell in the world. We bought an ice cream cone with a chocolate stick stuck in it. Yum! For lunch we ate Irish stew.  In the old school house, there was a map of the United States when Utah was a territory (about 1880 or so). I tried to take a photo of it but got mostly Texas. We tried calligraphy.  Some parts of the park were closed because of foot and mouth disease.  Upstairs in one of the homes, a very talented storyteller was creating his version of Cinderella. He was exceptionally good.

Monkey tree at Ulster Museum

Caught a shuttle bus to the transportation museum, and was amused at some of the old cars, trains, busses, bikes, etc. The whole place was very fascinating and well worth our time.  We walked and walked until I couldn't walk anymore.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm International

I sold my first jewelry set to a lady in Russia.  I kept thinking that I would lose money on the deal because I never thought in a million years that anyone from Europe or Russia would order from me, but I was wrong.  It didn't cost that much for postage so I actually made a profit.  

I received an order from another Etsy shop today and was surprised that it came from Canada. I've had excellent trade from shops in Canada.

Missouri trip at the end of March: After looking at airfares and train fares, we have decided that a road trip will have to do because traveling with 2 children, 2 adults and a two-month-old baby is not easy no matter how we travel.  Grant suggested a train trip but then we would still have to rent a car to get to Fort Leonard Wood. The only time that a train leaves from here is 3 AM and arrives in Chicago at 3 PM. It sounded like lots of fun to stay a night in Chicago; we would call Paulette and perhaps, she and her sister and brother-in-law would come into Chicago to have dinner with us.  Darla was saying that she would love to meet Paulette. Then the next day we would take another train to St. Louis, rent a car and drive to Fort Leonard Wood.  The biggest problem is that we need to bring a car seat for the baby, a stroller and the play N pack and there is no way that I would travel well by leaving at 3 AM - I would be worse than I am normally and couldn't mentally functional at all.  So the road trip it is (I hope the weather is good by then).  

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