A Diary from our trip to England in 1997
After lunch we drove road 45. When near Mora gear nr 5 began to make trouble. On a Sunday! No help, we tried everywhere, we contacted Per via mobile telephone. A nervous driving, but we managed to go further if we used just gear 4 and nothing else - -. Relived we could send a message to Per that we had arrived to our lodging.
Next morning July 21 we managed to reach Saffle where they should have a repair shop for Mazda cars. It was shut down...We drove on. Nervously. In Mellerud he talked to a man who seemed to know something about gears.
His advise: "Dont go further, hire a car instead-".
We contacted Mazda agency, we contacted our ensurance company, we phoned Per and got no good answer. When arriving at Skandia harbour we met Per and his family in the queue to the ferry. The ferry was late so the queue was immense. And the heat was ....
After a long time of waiting we could board the ferry at last. And the car had managed this far in spite of all that funny noise ...
Tuesday evening July 22 we arrived at the harbour of Harwich and the car accepted to be driven left hand traffic to Colchester where we had booked room for that night, both families, at "Rose & Crown" an old inn advertizing "The eldest Inn in the eldest Town in England"
Per's family got a very old room in the old part of the inn and the children enjoyed that very much. We got a more modern room and there we found that the room was equipped with a shower.That was the kind of luxury I wanted. The best restaurant in town belonged to that inn and we were very well met by the Italian chief cook.
Next day Wednesday July 23
Carin, the children and I went for a walk. We passed the river Colne and the tide was out so it was quite empty of water, muddy and stinking. We looked at the castle and the park and the children admired the gold fish in the pond. The plantations were very beautiful. A playground for children up to 12 was the place to stop for a long while.
R and Per was to a car repair place and they told us that the gearbox had to be exchanged and that they were able to do that in a week. Per and his famly drove on but we had to wait for a leasing car. We drove around to be acquainted with the car, the left hand traffic and the steering wheel to the right...... The car was a small Metro and very stiff to manage. The gear and the brake to the left of the driver was difficult for R as his weak hand is the left hand.
Thursday morning July 24
we entered the car and went westwards at last, one day belated. Towards Cotswolds! We could not take the roads we had planned as we were one day after our schedule.
Eastern England is fairly flat but the more western we came the more undulating the landscape.
We often noticed red poppies on the verge, even whole fields bright red of poppies. The harvest was well under way.
Well in Cotswolds we drove to Bourton-on-the Water but that town was full of tourists so we didn't find a parking place and couldn't book a room for the night.
But we got a glimpse of that charming place. Ducks walked undisturbed around buy the river Windrush.
Instead we drove to Stow on the Wold, where the Tourist Office helped us to a room in The Old Stock Hotel.
Our room was at the bottom and had thick walls of stone, nearly one metre wide.
That town is an old market place and now full of Antique Shops. You can find the eldest still used inn in England there. It dates from 947BC.
R was very tired. We were both tired. The day had been bothersome. An unknown car and left hand traffic and lots of roundabouts for R and intensive mapreading and observing all the road signs for me....
Old time pension - you assemble in the bar, take a drink while studying the meny, and then they advised a table for you.
Friday morning July 25
R did not want to see more of the town so we made a start westwards, towards road M5.
We drove the road passing Broadway and for that reason touched upon the area where we had spent our honey moon. But we failed to find the turn to Chipping Camden, where we stayed that time.
Forest in these areas are mostly oaken but you see many different kind och leafed trees. Whre it is the beeches which dominate you may think it is faily dark and the the ground is naked. The landscape is undulated and Broadway hill was steep.
Then we had the motorway to Bridgewater. Much easier to drive on the motorway as you had not to do so many gear changings and you had not so many road signs to watch. In Bridgewater we took the wrong road and then stopped at N Petherton for a pub lunch, then turned back and found the correct road A39, drove through the beautiful landscape of Somerset to the medieval town Dunster where we found the road to Timberscombe - the small country village where we had hired a house for one week.
We arrived at "The Great Big House" just around three o'clock. Soon another car came - an English car hired by Bjorn and Gunilla. And not long time afterwards Birgitta's and Kristina's families arrived. But Per's family did not arrive until late in the evening. They had totally misjudged how far they had to drive and the state of the roads in Cornwall where they had spent that day.
The families installed themselves. The house was a stone building and for that reason a bit chilly and damp in spite of the warm sunny weather.
A thrilling house with 14 rooms, among them two lounges, one dinner room, one billiard room and the rest were bedrooms. There were seven bathrooms and one large kitchen with a grand stove, refrigerators and freezers, cooking and serving equipment enough for large parties. There was a pentry with some breakfast equipment at the sitting room at "our" etage. A grill outside in the garden. The garden was walled so Daniel could be left there without any fear that he should go out in the road.
A nice little village with old houses. A brook had it's way through the village down to the bigger watercourse down in the valley. The forest behind the house was very steep so no walking in the forest for me.......
The forest was full of brambles so you could not walk in any other place than on the paths, they said.
All seventeen of us were on the spot late in the evening, the children in bed and we grown-ups had the opportunity to assemble and talk together having a little drink. And we could give Birgitta congratulations as it was her birthday..
Saturday July 26 26/7
breakfast at our own, then I followed Björn and Gunilla to Minehead. Bought some books and a new handbag as my old "Mumin-mother-bag" had broken. The weather was still nice and sunny but we had some showers of rain. Several singing birds and mostly the same kinds as those we have at home. Especially the blackbird - I think they are near everywhere in England.
In the afternoon we had a small party with congratulation strawberry cakes celebrating Birgitta and R.
In the evening our chldren treated R with a dinner to celebrate his 70:th birthday. They had hired a catering-lady. They had made a model of a garden with sitting places and parasols and that was a gift voucher for their gift to him: money to buy new furniture for our garden at home. We cheered ... and of course could not avoid thinking of the eighteenth of us, Erik, who is not among the living any more.... He should really have appreciated this meeting, that was just that kind of celebrating he liked.
Sunday July 27
Everyone went to Dunster and saw the castle and the water mill. Nice garden with hortensia, fuchsia etc. Somerset-cream-tea -- mmmm
In the evening grilling in the garden. The young men handled the grill and the serving of that supper.
Monday July 28The golden plover was flying over the heath, making his special sound. After the tour on the heath we were driven on small roads through tunnels of trees, up and down. That was very nice but not that kind of road r likes to drive. He was very pleased that we were invited to accompany.
A sunny day and the families with children drove to Anchor Beach. Some took the museum railway Somerset Railway, from Minehead.
In the evening Dom drove us up on the heath of Exmoor by Dunkery Beacon, the most high point of Exmoorden högsta toppen i Exmoor. A nice walk surrouded by heather of different kind which made the heath intensely violet in some areas.
Tuesday July 29 Everywhere you saw the lambs, even on the road. Back we took the altenative road downhills Porlock Hill. En wonderful view from that road, e g Porlock Bay . The road the last part down to Porlock way is going in serpentines nearly making knots of itself.. A green winding tunnel
Bjorn and Gunilla drove to Tintagel. The younger families drove to Dunkery Beacon. R and myself drove the coast road weastwards from Minehead which is said to be the highest coast way in England. We really experienced that........ When driving from Porlock on Porlock Hill we nearly could not manage the steel road, (25%)
We turned back at the border stone between Somerset and Devon. The place called Country Gate. Here we found a well equipped information and view place. The heath was so beautiful with the colours of violet heather and yellow genista.
We had cream tea at a coffee shop, named "Lorna Doone".
In the evening we were driven to Anchor Bay and watched the tide out. When they had been there yesterday the tide had been in. The children were very interested as we have no tide in Sweden.
Wednesday July 30
In the morning we had a picnic tour to Sydenham Combe. It seemed to be the wrong day of the week. Nothing open. But the forest was nice and full of birdsong, and there were squirrels, droppings after deer and lots of flowers to look at and study for the children. The flora seemed to be about the same as in southern Sweden.
In the afternoon we had a childrens party with treasure hunting and lots of presents, and we had an opportuity to take a picture of the whole great family.Och så blev det tillfälle att ta ett kort av hela den stora familjen
In the evening we parked the children by the video and had an Indian Party - we had bought ready made food at a shop in town, we celebrated all and everyone and everything. Chicken Tikka and other kind of chicken dishes, spiced rice of different kind and pastries och vegetables and we had ice water and some wine.
Thursday, the last day in The Great House, we were all out in different directions. R and myself accompanied Kristina's family to Watermeet, a place of nature view deep down in a ravine where two rivers meet.
The road is the high coast road A39 uphills Porlock Hill and downhill to Lynmouth.
R does not like driving on such a road but we trust in the driver Jan-Olof. Up on the heath we saw besides the sheep and lamb a rabbit , a ferret and a bird of prey, and big flocks of black crow.
Arriving at Watermeet we had lunch and admired the nature scenery and especially the giant pine tree under which the serving place had their tables on the point between the two rivers.
For dinner we had left-overs and late in the evening cheese and bisquits and wine.
The next day August 1
time to leave this house. Great parting, especially to Birgitta who is to leave for USA with her family. This common holiday has been very nice and it seems that everyone is liking this way to be together. Sometimes in common, sometimes each family for themselves. The house was good because of that there were no delicate things except in the room where we elderly people lived, there were lots of corners and nooks and staircases for the children to play in.