Christmas Lights in Morpeth

28 December 2008

We left London today.  I’d have never guessed three days ago, that I’d be really sad to leave London.  But, never before have we simply “enjoyed” London.  London has always been a place to “pass through” and maybe see a show.  We have learned on this trip to appreciate it much more, and find ourselves looking forward to returning in a week or so. 

But, with Hogmanay coming quickly, we are off to parts north.  Kyle went out this morning and picked up the rental car.  We had originally planned to take a train north, but the cost of doing so outweighed the advantages, so Avis was the answer.  We had a completely relaxed and uneventful trip today—even getting out of the London area was no problem.  We took it slow—stopping very frequently for food and loo breaks.  Once, we even stopped just to see if we could find a better map than the one we had.  We didn’t have a plan or know how far we’d get in one day, but we knew we wanted to put well over half the trip behind us before sleeping.

Fairly early in the trip, we were hungry, and decided to get off the big road to find food.  We happened across the  adorable little town of Potterspury, where we found a charming little pub called The Cock.  We were easily drawn in by the sign that read, “Fine Ale — Home -Cooked Food.”  Kyle had Cottage Pie, and I had my favourite English comfort food:  plaice and chips.  I fell in love with plaice as an eleven-year-old when I was fortunate enough to visit the UK for the first time with my family.  We didn’t linger long, because we had just barely beat the after church crowd into the tiny pub, and we knew our table was valuable real estate!  We traveled our way up the M1 and then the A1, and decided to start to look for a place to stay just north of Newcastle Upon Tyne.  Having gotten that far, we knew we were only about an hour and a half from Edinburgh—perfect!  We searched for a hotel or B&B in Morpeth, a very cute little town with few vacancies, all of them fairly expensive.  I did insist on taking some photos of their pretty holiday lights, one of which I’ve chosen to be today’s picture.  But, after that, we decided to continue on up the road and see if further afield the prices would be lower.  The next little town on the beaten path, was Alnwick, so we headed there.  By the time we’d driven that twenty minutes, Kyle had gone from “doing okay” to “really tired,” so we pulled into the first charming place we found. 

So, we are at The Oaks Hotel, with the most sporadic internet connection known to man! (Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration that will come back to haunt me.  Ignore that.)  The pub here is lovely, and the food we shared was tasty.  Our room is simple, but clean, and after all —what do we really need besides a bed (and maybe a hot shower!)  Here, we have both, and in the pub, at least, we can be online, too. 

Tomorrow morning we’ll explore Alnwick (pronounced a-nick, with the “a” as in “cat”) and then head into Edinburgh.  The Hogmanay festivities begin tomorrow night with a Torchlight Procession!  I’m so excited!