A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

The Reason and the Plan

Visiting Cornwall and Yorkshire

Bob is a big fan of two public TV series "Doc Martin" and "Last of the Summer Wine" He was becoming more reluctant to travel, but I was not ready to stop. So I proposed to that we go to England and visit the places where those series were filmed and he accepted that idea. This was the first of four trips we took in 2015. Bob had been to England twice before and I had visited three times. His first visit was in 1956 on his plebe cruise at the US Naval Academy. The second time was when we visited our daughter and went on a 2002 Narrowboat cruise. My first visit was in 1950 with my parents, and I went back to London for a few days in 2007 with my grandson.

In Doc Martin, Martin Clunes plays Dr Martin Ellingham, a brilliant and successful surgeon, who has developed haemophobia (a fear of blood), forcing him to stop practising surgery. He ends up as the sole GP in the sleepy Cornish village of Portwenn (In real life, Port Isaac). Despite his medical expertise, Ellingham is grouchy, pugnacious, and lacks social skills. He feels he is performing his duties in a professional and by-the-book manner, not wasting time chatting. This doesn't sit well with the local villagers. "Doc Martin" as the villages call him, dresses formally in a business suit and tie, regardless of the weather or the occasion, and he never takes off his jacket, even when delivering babies.
doc.JPG
The village of Portween is almost another charcter in the series, and the photography of the village is one of the reasons to watch.

So after we got back from St Croix in December 2014, we decided to visit the Doc Martin location in Port Isaac before filming started because Bob thought that the village would be too crowded when they were filming. After many inquiries, I found that filming was to start March 23rd so we were going to go in the middle of March - In spite of the fact that our daughter who had lived in England thought that the weather would be terrible - rainy and cold at that time of year.

Over the years, we have both watched Last of the Summer Wine which which is one of the longest running series ever. The first episode was filmed January 4, 1973. and the last episode date was August 29, 2010. The series was set and filmed in and around Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, England, so we were also going to visit Holmfirth.
Cleggy, Compo and Foggy of Last of the Summer Wine

Cleggy, Compo and Foggy of Last of the Summer Wine


Last of the Summer Wine centred on a trio of old men and their misadventures. Cleggy (Norman Clegg played by Peter Salis) was the one character who did the whole series. Compo (Compo Simonite) was played by Bill Owen who died in 1999 and was replaced by his son Tom Owen who played Tom Simonite. The third old man varied. Originally it was Cyril Blamire played by Michael Bates. For a short time it was Seymour Utterthwaite played by Michael Aldridge. Sometimes it was Foggy Dewhirst played by Brandon Wilde, and most of the rest of the time it was it was Herbert Truelove (Truly of the Yard) played by Frank Thornton.

Lynde came on Thursday and got me packed. Bob started packing Friday while I was watching the Utah Regional (the robotics competition that our grandson was competing in). Jean the cat sitter came to pick up the house keys Saturday.

My_computer_grandchild_walpaper.  The grandson competing in robotics is on the far right

My_computer_grandchild_walpaper. The grandson competing in robotics is on the far right


Sunday 15 March 2015
I started to do email today and the computer malfunctioned, so I've had it in the hands of the Geek Squad for the last two hours. They think I have accidentally activated hot keys. I have to have better control of the little finger of my left hand. Either that or look to see what I'm typing.

So we are going to leave in about an hour.
This was to be our schedule.
March 15 - Driving to BWI and leaving the car at the Hampton Inn
Flying BA to London
Staying in the Best Western Paddington Court
Monday, March 16, 2015 (2:00 PM - 12:00 AM)
Check-out Tuesday March 17, 2015 (until 12:00 PM)

March 17, 2015
Taking train to Cornwall and renting a car. Staying at
The Slipway Hotel
Address: The Harbour Front, Port Isaac
Port Isaac, PL29 3RH, United Kingdom
Phone: +441208880264
Monday, March 17, 2015 (2:00 PM - 11:00 PM)
To Friday, March 20, 2015

March 20, 2015
Flying to Manchester and renting a car. From March 20 to March 23 staying at

Woodman Inn
Thunderbridge Lane
Huddersfield, HD8 0PX, United Kingdom
Phone: +4401484605778

March 24 turning in the car, flying Manchester, to Heathrow, to BWI

March 24 staying at the Hampton Inn - driving home March 25th

Posted by greatgrandmaR 14:05 Archived in USA Comments (4)

Elevator Out of Service

Navigating the Airports


View 2015 Compo and Doc Martin on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Left turn light near BWI

Left turn light near BWI

March 15, 2015

We left for the airport about 3:15 and got to the Hampton Inn a little before 5. Bob sent me in to check in and the front desk person about gave me a heart attack saying that she didn't know if they would have space for the car. Given that in order to have guarenteed space, we will have to pay the rate of the airport parking lot across the street, I think maybe we will find another place to stay. I like the Hampton Inn as a rule, but their TV channels are from DISH and they don't have all the ones we like to watch.

But she did agree finally to let us park and pretty soon a cheerful black girl came to take us to the airport. BA doesn't have curbside check so Bob got the scooter out and I took my carryon, my pocket book and my cane and scootered in. I had reserved Club Class because I thought it would be more comfortable and also because I thought we would have better luck with the scooter which I am for the first time bringing WITHOUT the suitcase.

So we went to check in and there was the usual kerfluffle about the scooter battery and they also made Bob fold the scooter up so that they could see how big it was.
100_0811.JPGBob folding the scooter

Bob folding the scooter


Originally they were going to have the battery taken and put in the hold, but apparently they decided that they didn't need to do that and Bob could just put it in his carry on.

So Bob carried his carry on and pulled the scooter and I was in the wheelchair with my carry on and my pocketbook and we went through security where I had to take off my hat, my coat, my camera, my passport case, and my camera vest (but not my shoes) and went through security. Apparently our business class ticket allows us admission to the Chesapeake Lounge and they will come and get us when it is time to board.
Boarding pass

Boarding pass


Boarding will start in about an hour.
Bob sitting in the BWI lounge

Bob sitting in the BWI lounge


I had a (free) cup of broccoli cheese soup and Bob had a tiny chicken sandwich. He also had them fill our bottles of water. And then he got some water to take his pills and had another tiny sandwich - this one ham and cheese.
Bob's ham sandwich

Bob's ham sandwich


It got to be about 7:15 and we started getting antzy about boarding which I thought would start about 7:40. I caught the attention of the lady in charge and she said we didn't have to worry until 7:30 - then she found that it was almost 7:25 so she called for a wheelchair - which came. He wheeled us to the first class boarding aisle and we waited a bit. Then he handed us over to a second person to go down the gangway, and half way down they handed me off to another person. We got on and one of the people there took the scooter and put it in the wheelchair place. The Club (Business) section was only about half full, but I think the back was more crowded - although I think there were some stand-bys that got seats.

I was by the window facing forward and Bob was on the aisle facing backward.
Looking out the window

Looking out the window


I did not like the seats. I had no place to put anything since under the seats was solid and I could not reach the back of the seat in front of me. The controller in my seat arm would NOT come out - eventually the flight attendant pried it out with a knife. And the sound in the earphones kept going to max volume. They came around with hot washcloths and champagne, water or orange juice. Bob had the OJ - I had water.

They served us dinner -
Dinner menu

Dinner menu


Appetizer - the reddish things are grapefruit

Appetizer - the reddish things are grapefruit


Bob's salmon

Bob's salmon

My steak

My steak


They gave us a landing card to fill out but I couldn't find my passport to give them the passport number (which I don't have memorized).

I put the blanket over me and reclined and dozed. Bob slept some too. I got up about midnight (EDT) and went to the bathroom and got my pocketbook down out of the overhead and found my passport, but since it was dark, I couldn't find the passport holder which is black to put it in. Bob went to the bathroom a little later. It was quite a bumpy flight.

16 March 2015

Sunrise

Sunrise

TV screen on the plane in the morning

TV screen on the plane in the morning

Breakfast menu

Breakfast menu


They gave us breakfast - fruit which was good, OJ again, and a bacon sandwich - it was very fatty English bacon.

We landed in the cloud and rain - I could hardly see the ground until we were almost down. They gave us a Fast Track pass for immigration but I don't know if it was particularly fast. I got on a wheelchair to come up to the airport lounge and then they put us on a golf cart thing, and then they waited until they collected another person (the scooter took one seat).
Airport

Airport


We got to Immigration and just sat in line waiting for some time. I started up a conversation with the man in the cart behind me who lived at Stonehenge when he was a boy. The driver of his cart had never heard of Stonehenge.
Cart behind us in the airport on the Fast track through Immigration

Cart behind us in the airport on the Fast track through Immigration


Eventually we got to the passport person who took a photo of us and then gave us back our passports and they took us down to the luggage area. They asked if we wanted a 'trolley' but Bob did not understand that this was what we call a luggage cart. So he put the battery back in the scooter from his carryon and we went and got a trolley and got our luggage. We went out through the Nothing to Declare door.

There are three ways to get to and from the airport on the ground
1) National Express Bus which costs $8 per person
2) Train: Train options include
- Heathrow Express £21.50 per person (£43.00 for two)
- Heathrow Connect £10.10 per person to Paddington
- London Underground's Piccadilly Line. £5.70 per person
3) Motor Vehicle (Which would mean a rental car, a minicab or taxi.)
I did not want to rent a car right after an eight hour flight and were jet lagged when we would be driving on the left. Taxi is the most expensive.

The bus or the Underground would be the cheapest. But I felt that getting to, into and out of a train with a scooter and luggage would be too difficult, so I asked our hotel to book a minicab for us, and this worked well. It cost us £59 for the two of us, a scooter and four pieces of luggage. The Heathrow Express would have been £43.00 and would have been more hassle.

When we exited through the "nothing to declare" door, there were what looked like thousands of men holding cards with people's names on them. But I found our driver quite quickly, and we got loaded into his van.
Heathrow garrage

Heathrow garrage


I sat up front and talked to the driver as we drove to London and took photos.
Private Hire

Private Hire

Billboard

Billboard


He explained that Black Cabs are no longer always black. Sometimes they are painted colorfully with advertisements We talked about his children,
No longer Black Taxicab

No longer Black Taxicab


speed cameras, how many trips he would have a day, and a myriad of subjects
Speed camera

Speed camera


It took us about 90 minutes to drive in to the hotel - the rain was letting up.

I booked this hotel (which at that time was the Best Western Shaftesbury Paddington Court) because on Virtual Tourist it was close to the location of Paddington and I thought I could go easily from the hotel to visit Hyde Park. The part of VT that led me to make a wrong hotel reservation was the VT placement of the marker for Paddington which was between Hyde Park Gate and Kensington Gate. After I booked the hotel based on VT's Paddington location found out that there were hotels that were much closer to the station. There was even one (the Hilton London Paddington hotel) which is linked to Paddington Station by footbridge. I had wanted to go to Hyde Park to see the dog cemetery which I thought I could see through the fence. But the hotel was too far away from Hyde Park for it to be an easy visit.

The hotel was close to Paddington Station and it had free wi-fi and I booked it because there was an elevator and I thought I could get to my room without doing steps. I specifically asked for a room where I didn't have to do steps. The scooter is very good, but it does not do steps

We got to the hotel and there was a step up to the entrance. Bob has to lift the scooter up steps
Paddington Hotel entrance with ONE STEP

Paddington Hotel entrance with ONE STEP


I registered and paid I declined the £11 each breakfast.

Then they said that their elevator was out of service so they had put us across the street where we could be on the ground floor. They did not seem to notice that to get there we had to go down a step to get out of the hotel, then down the curb, cross the street, up the curb on the other side (I guess we could have gone up to the corner and crossed there and that would eliminate the curbs, but we were too tired to think of that), and then up two steps to the hotel entrance and then go through three doors in quick succession. Non-handicapped accessible doors, so they had to be opened and held open to pass through them. This is not what I would call accessible. It seems that when I ask for no steps, people do not think that just one step counts as steps.

There were a US, a UK and a European outlet for plugs and the hotel information book in the room stated that all the plugs worked. They did not. We had to get an adapter and use the UK outlet.
Scooter charging - backed up to the desk which has phone and some plugs

Scooter charging - backed up to the desk which has phone and some plugs


We had a TV,
TV

TV


a microwave and a small fridge.
Mirror and mini bar over microwave and fridge

Mirror and mini bar over microwave and fridge


The bathroom is fancy with a heated floor, but there is no place to put anything in it.
Sink

Sink

Shower

Shower


Bob charged the scooter (first having to call over and ask how to make the US plug work and finding out that it didn't) Then we reorganized and took a nap until about 3. The room is freezing cold and we cannot figure out how to turn the heat up. It was so cold that I couldn't sleep much even though I was wearing my coat and was under all the covers.
Window on the street

Window on the street


I had booked on the Great Western to go to Cornwall. I was advised to buy tickets in advance, but since there wasn't enough time to get them mailed to me, I opted to pick them up at the station. We needed to 'suss out' where we needed to go. So we set off for Paddington Station. I looked for it on Google maps and determined that we turned left out of the door and left at the end of the street. Almost the first thing we saw was a sign advertising English Breakfast all day for £4.95. Bob went into a money changing place and changed some money and got some money smaller than a five pound note (for tips)
Money exchange

Money exchange


I belong to a photography group which the topic this week is SIGNS, so I was taking photos of signs as I went. Sign in a window

Sign in a window


WAIT

WAIT


Sidewalk sign outside the station

Sidewalk sign outside the station


Paddington station

Paddington station

IMG_0080.JPGDirection lines on the Floor of Paddington

Direction lines on the Floor of Paddington

Photo of the station map

Photo of the station map

Paddington station

Paddington station


We found Paddington and went to the first Information desk (I am not tall enough on the scooter to see over the top of the counter, but they peeked around in the glass section).

Here, they told us that we needed the reference number to pick up the tickets but if we went to the information booth on the other side of the station, they could figure it out with our names. So we went there and they did that. We have a train ticket and a seat ticket. It is perhaps fortunate that we have a seat reservation because we found later that the train is usually crowded.
Paddington Bear

Paddington Bear


One of the things we saw in the station was a shop selling Paddington Bear souvenirs. I had heard of Paddington Bear, but did not really know the story. So I looked it up.
In 1956, a BBC cameraman bought a small toy bear left alone on a shelf in Selfridges store, London, for his wife Brenda. He named the bear Paddington, after the station close to his home. The bear inspires him to write a series of stories about the bear. In the stories, after a deadly earthquake destroys his home in Peruvian rainforest, a young bear makes his way to England in search of a new home. The bear, dubbed "Paddington" for the london train station, finds shelter with the family of Henry and Mary Brown .

[It occurs to me that earthquakes do not really hurt a rainforest that much, and the Peru coast is very dry and the only rain forests are an extension of the Amazon rain forests on the edge of Brazil]

I went scootering around the station
Stationary shop in the station

Stationary shop in the station


There was a
Burger King in Paddington station

Burger King in Paddington station


and a McDonalds and also a sushi place with a little revolving conveyor with dishes on it. The sign said Sit,Take, Eat, Pay.
Sit, Take, Eat, Pay

Sit, Take, Eat, Pay


As we were looking around a big black man asked if he could help us and when we told him that we were going to be taking the train tomorrow, he insisted that we go register for handicapped help. So we did that.
Handicapped entrance to trains

Handicapped entrance to trains


Bob thinks he can put two suitcases together and that we can get to the station just as we did this afternoon. I think we will have to take a cab.

I decided that we would eat a late lunch/early dinner and I saw a Garfunkles near the station, so we went in.
Garfunkle's menu

Garfunkle's menu


Their website says: We’re in the perfect location for hungry commuters, guests arriving into London via the Heathrow Express and sightseers. The lunch menu (cheaper) was in effect from 11:30 am to 5 pm and it was a little after four when we entered.
Mirror over our table in Garfunkles

Mirror over our table in Garfunkles


We each had a
Set price lunch menu hamburger (which came with fries and a kind of purple cole slaw) two of them were £15.90

Set price lunch menu hamburger (which came with fries and a kind of purple cole slaw) two of them were £15.90

Bob's milkshake £3.95

Bob's milkshake £3.95


and Bob had a milk shake. That cost £20 or about $30.37 which is expensive for lunch, but not bad for dinner

I was trying to figure out which side of the sidewalk to be on so I didn't keep running into people walking the other way. The cars drive on the left and a lot of people walk on the left, but some don't.
This woman

This woman


was walking straight down the middle and it was about the same pace as my scooter. So I followed behind her as she parted the pedestrians and cleared the way.

We came back to the hotel but we couldn't remember which door of the several identical ones was ours.
Ground floor entrance with TWO steps

Ground floor entrance with TWO steps


We had closed the curtains (the window is right on the street) so we went until we came to a window with closed curtains. You hold your card up to the door to get it to open. The cards are absolutely blank plastic with nothing written on them. We also have to use one of the cards to have light.

So we are here more or less intact. Bob fell asleep watching the TV and I was starting to get sleepy too but the room was still very cold. He called the main desk (again -second time - the first time was about the plug that didn't work) and asked about the heat. A man with very broken English came over and basically Bob couldn't understand the accent of what he was saying and the man couldn't understand what Bob was saying plus the temps were in C. Bob had it set on 35 which would be 90+ but they did something to it and eventually it got warmer and I could take off my coat. Bob got into his pjs and went to bed. I wrote up the day with my phone on but attached to the computer. Then I turned things off and went to sleep.

We go to Cornwall tomorrow.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 13:33 Archived in England Comments (6)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 11) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 »