Sorry for the long wait. We are still busy.
We woke up Tuesday morning after a good night's sleep, took turns in the bathroom, and had a cooked-to-order breakfast. Our hostess was great, the food was good. Howbeck Lodge was worth it all. After breakfast we walked around the farmyard and saw the puppies, goats, rabbits, chickens, etc. It was fun, but raining.
We drove on up to Carlisle, not far at all, and toured the castle there. Then we went on further north into Scotland, to Gretna Green. It used to be a place for elopements, and is now a tourist trap. Dad got a souvenir plate and we bought a few other little things.
Then we headed toward Hadrian's Wall. There are a dozen stops along the wall, and we stopped at two of them. At the first one, we were just coming up the hill when we saw a regiment of Roman soldiers marching away, down the wall. Dad asked in the shop, and we were told it was a group of UK soldiers and sailors who dressed up and walked the length of the wall as a fundraiser. We would have stopped more, but the weather was discouraging.
That night we stayed at a Premier Inn in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. There was a Table Table restaurant next door, and we had dinner there. They had a table for 10 in its own dining room, and we enjoyed that very much. Service was great, food was good (the duck packet starter was wonderful), and the children's meals came with ice cream (they shared). SO back to the rooms, where we were surprised to find a Bible in the room. It is standard in the States, but the first one I've seen in the UK. The room was comfortable enough, with two small beds for the children, instead of the full-size sofa for 2 to share. Breakfast wasn't included, but we decided it would be worth it at 7.50GBP for the adults, and free for the children. The cooked food was okay, not exactly our style, but there was plenty of toast and fruit and yogurt to make up for it.
We went over to Tynemouth to see the "Castle and Priory" there, only it was just a priory, not a castle. That's where the children dressed up, as seen on my Flickr. Soft rain on and off. From there we headed to York. We stopped in Richmond to see the castle. Very pretty setting, just above a river.
Got to our Holiday Inn Express in York in time for dinner at the adjoining restaurant. It was a "carvery" - almost a buffet - and the food was decent, but the walls were covered with R-rated cartoons. I hadn't noticed them until we were seated, or I'm sure we would have left. As it was, we tried to keep our eyes on the food. It was good to have some vegetables.
This Holiday Inn was the friendliest we've been in. The man at the counter (both when we checked in and in the morning) was very friendly and personable. We were made comfortable for the night.
Had the free continental breakfast, which kept the staff hopping to keep stocked. They didn't begrudge it, though. After we were all stuffed we went into the city. Found parking easily enough (if not as close as we'd like), but we could only get a 2hour ticket. So we went down to York Minster, where we almost decided not to go in (it was a little pricey), but then went for it. Joined a free tour that was very interesting, but a little slow. We had to break off half-way through in order to use the toilets, finish up, and rush back to the van. It was now approaching lunch time, and we had a long drive home.
We made a pitstop for toilets and snacks, but didn't really "stop" for anything until we got to Boston. We got there as it was closing up, but went on over to the "Stump" and walked around it. We looked at having dinner there, but the adults weren't really interested, so we drove on toward home. Stopped at a McDonald's later, and then home and to bed.
Yeah, no details here. But I got the highlights down, for posterity. :-)