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Maurice’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 06 Aug 2008

Location: England

MapHello there
We have now been in England just over a week and the beauty of the
place hasn't diminished. From June and Graham taking us from Stanstead
airport to their home in St Albans, to the moors of Yorkshire, I have
revelled in the lovely countryside and quaint villages which are to
me, the essence of England.

June and Graham have a beautiful garden and during the time we were
with them the weather was lovely, we ate all meals alfresco style
emersed in the fragrance of an English garden on balmy summer
evenings. It only rained once, and that was at night, so it didn't
affect our activities one bit, it was very warm (in the high
twenties), sunny and very enjoyable.

We visited Hatfield House, an old stately home in Herfordshire, where,
or at least in the old house next door, Queen Elizabeth I, heard of
the death of Henry VIII, and that she was to be queen, We also visited
Woburn, where the Duke of Bedford has created a safari park. I
initially thought the £20 entrance fee was a bit steep, but we spent
most of the day there and it was exceptional, with visitors allowed to
drive the circuit as many times as they wish. We went around twice,
and each time got a different view of lions, tigers, zebras, giraffes
and monkeys as well as other species. It was a very interesting,
enjoyable and a great value for money day. Thanks to June and Graham
for the hospitality and the chaufeuring.

Next we moved up to Yorkshire by train, to be met by my long time mate
Frank at the Guiseley station. Unfortunately our welcome to Guiseley
was wet as it had started raining as we journeyed up on the train, and
by the time he met us it was teeming down. Fortunately we weren't too
wet by the time we arrived home and Brenda, his wife, greeted us.
Frank also has a beautiful garden and takes great pride in it. he and
brenda put in the hours to make it beautiful. Nice gardens just don't
happen. Anyway it looked a picture the next day when the sun came out,
Jan immediately went looking for weeds, fortunately Frank and Brenda
had done a good job and Jan couldn't find any.

After settling in for a couple of days, and doing some essential
business in town, we were ready to take another look at my beautiful
Yorkshire. I think it is the most beautiful of all the English
counties, but then I am biased (but it is still the best) having been
born in this blessed county. We decided on some exercise and so Jan
and I agreed we would 'do a walk', and as Frank and Brenda live almost
on the edge of the moors, we would walk over to Ilkley. Frank took us
to the traditional start for the walk over Ilkley Moor which is Dick

Dick Hudson's is a pub on the very edge of the moor and in the late
1800s and early 1900s, the 'mill lasses' and 'lads', families and
courting couples would escape the 'dark satanic mills' and industry of
Bradford and, on Sunday, their only day off, would flock to the moors
to clear their lungs of the grime and smell of the mills and breathe
the fresh air . Consequently the path over the moor from Eldwick to
Ilkley is well worn from their's and later generation's feet.

Apart from the path, the moor is covered with purple heather either
side, almost as far as the eye can see. The path winds gently upwards
and the exposed moor can be quite windy and cold, but today it was
breezy but freshening. No doubt the exposure one could get gave the
inspiration for the writer to pen the Yorkshire anthem, "On Ilkla Moor
Baht 'At", a song that describes the result of going on the moor
without a hat. The story is : first you die of a cold, then we bury
you, then the worms eat you, then the ducks eat the worms, then we eat
the ducks and so in fact we eat you, should you be foolish enough to
on the moor without a hat.

Jan and I had an enjoyable 2 hour walk over the moor and so far we are
still in very good health. We walked over to Ilkley and caught the
train back to Guisely. It is an easy walk on that well trodden path,
but the number of people using it has diminished even from the time I
was a youngster, let alone Victorian times. The next day we walked
over Shipley Glen, another popular (in my childhood) spot for an
outing. Shipley Glen is a valley clad with beech and silver birch
trees,with lots of fern or bracken for ground cover. A stream wends
its way along the bottom and the 'glen' and is part of the moors walk
for the more hardy. Once again a lovely refreshing walk unblessed by
the masses. It used to have a cable railway, maybe it still does, that
took people from the village of Saltaire up to the start of the glen
all for a penny.(All this reminiscing, I must be getting old!!)

I couldn't help but wonder if 'more' people (no pun intended), and
especially the young, got out from in front of the tellie and walked
these walks now and again, there might be a little less obesity (and
crime). Lecture over!

England is a beautiful place. Rolling hills, leafy lanes, majestic
oak, elm, and beech grace the hedgerowed fields. Whilst here in
Yorkshire dry-stonewalls replace the hedgerows. England and especially
Yorkshire,replete in all its calm splendour almost beckons me to
return to live here, then I remember the rest of it. I think I'll stay
in beautiful New Zealand.

Next stop Egypt