Up bright and early for the second part of my summer holiday. I packed the van and got the awning put away and said goodbye to Whitby.
The journey to Durham was to be broken by a stop for supplies at a big Sainsburys at a retail park in a place called Pity Me. In addition to the food, I bought a small brush for the van. The grass had been cut the previous day at Whitby and I’d managed to drag it all through the van. Durham Grange Caravan Club Site was 30mins across town and just off the A1M. Parked up, got the electrics on and then wrestled with the awning. I had taken care to pack it away neatly but somehow in transit, it had tangled itself up. But I got the thing up then went for a shower as the day was getting hot and humid. Sure enough, there was a downpour but this passed and the ground dried quickly. The shower block is of the usual CC standard and looks pretty new.
The afternoon was spent reading the paper, mostly about the Higgs Boson and the continuing fall out from Barclays. Plans were hatched to visit the Beamish museum. Then dinner, an episode of Sherlock and bed time.
First full day in Durham dawned with torrential rain. This was the cause of some extra snoozing but by 7:30am or so it was off and I ventured out for a shower. The shower block has only 4 showers so there was a bit of a queue.
Showered, breakfasted and teeth nice and clean it was time to head in to Durham proper. He easiest way in was via the Belmont park and ride. However, this involved crossing a dual carriageway that despite the footpath was still a bit scary. But soon I was on the bus and lost. I got off at a random stop and by sheer luck was close to the centre. I found my way to market square hoping to visit the tourist information. Only to find it was gone, replaced by a couple of guys with umbrellas. I wandered round the shops, picked up a couple of DVDs then headed for the Cathedral and Castle.
The Castle is part of Durham university so access is only by tour and I missed the sole tour that day. So it was into the Cathedral. Very impressive structure. Massive inside with an amazing pointed arch roof. Apparently the very first in England. No tours available so I wandered round. No cameras allowed inside either. I saw the shrine of St Cuthbert whose followers founded Durham while looking for somewhere safer than Lindesfarne. The story goes they found the location by following a milk maid who was looking for a lost cow.
Next stop was the university’s archeology museum. This was the prehistory of Durham from stone age to the Romans. Then onto another museum which told the story from the middle ages through to the present.
The weather had stayed reasonably good so lunch was eaten in Market Square then I found the right bus stop to get back to the park and ride, crossed he roads to get back to the campsite and made it back before he rain.
Another load of washing was required as I’d managed to drop both tea-towels on the floor. No breakage occurred and there was just enough time to squeeze in a nap before dinner.
DVD was one of the new ones I bought Scott & Bailey. Then time for bed to the sound of more rain.
Second full day in Durham dawned with overcast skies but with the rain having burnt itself out overnight. Plan was to go to the Beamish open air museum. With that in mind, I was on the bus into town at 9:30am. There is a direct bus from the bus station to the museum on a Saturday and I made the 9:45 one. 40minutes later I was at the front gate of the museum and completely forgot I got a discount with membership of the caravan club.
The museum is massive and incorporates its’ own tramway, two villages, a farm, a coal mine and a large house. The idea of the place is that you take the tram to each part then see people in costume working in the various areas. The staff are amazing and really know their stuff. They’re willing to discuss aspects of life from the early 20th century/late 19th century. So much to see and hear about. Spent ages here and the weather was fantastic.
Back to the van via Tescos. As the weather had been good, the awning was dry and this seemed to be an opportune moment to take it down.
Dinner then a few episodes of the Big Bang Theory then bed.
Up the next day, showered, breakfasted it was time to break camp. Did this by 9am and was on the road north. Journey home was uneventful apart from getting stuck behind a refrigerated lorry that dripping refrigerant all over the road and a couple of other lorries that were doing 35mph on a 60mph road.
Home, unpacked it was time for dinner and to think about a holiday that was interesting and that the rain didn’t really spoil.