A new Stookie Post!

10 Jul

Hi All,

I just wanted to let you know that I have a new post up under the new blog – The Re-Education of Stookie Havers which you can find at: www.educatingstookie.wordpress.com.  Please don’t forget to sign-up to follow. I can’t keep leaving messages on this blog!

I have noticed that not many of you have signed up yet… well only three of you in fact have done so. So, please, please sign up! It will help to generate traffic to my blog and also help me feel less pathetic! While you’re at it, share it with your contacts too! This weekend I will be making fire without matches, and who would want to miss that!

Drum Roll, Please!

1 Jul

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itAOGRiYRLI&feature=player_detailpage

Okay, here it is! The official launch of my new blog! Thanks for all the input and keep it coming. Check out the new blog at:

http://educatingstookie.wordpress.com/

AND don’t forget to hit the FOLLOW button so that you will get email notifications when there is a new posting. Please feel free to share it with any and all of your contacts that you think might be interested.

Uh…Helluuuuu…Feedback, please!

22 Jun

Dear Readers:

I await your feedback…..I am quite truly a Stookie without it (“A uselessly immobile person”).  So far, only one….ONE of you have responded to my request for direction on what ways Stookie could become a better, more interesting woman and human being.  So far the input is that I should learn to  make beer/wine, and how to make a fire without matches!  Good suggestions, and I promise to ardently explore these…..with great fervor and enthusiasm, no less.

In fact, I am so eager to begin my active campaign of re-education that just today, I tried rubbing two Starbucks stir sticks together really aggressively during a slow period at work, to see if I could generate a flame. It didn’t work.  Well, obviously, right?  But, this is just to let you know, how eager I am to begin.

I agree too, that being able to say that I make my own beer and wine would definitely make me a more interesting woman/human being…but I have to wait on this until I am no longer living in my brother’s basement. I don’t think he and his wife would appreciate me turning their newly renovated basement into a booze can. So, please, send me your suggestions, whatever they may be, or all you will be reading about here is my pathetic efforts to make fire.

Awaiting your comments and suggestions….with eagerness – ardently, fervently, enthusiastically,

…and Sincerely,

Stookie

The Next Phase of Stookie Havers – Input Needed!

18 Jun

As many of you know, I am now back in Toronto, Canada.  My last month in Scotland was a deliciously perfect farewell. It involved:

– A girls’ weekend of hiking and biking in Cairngorms National Park,

– A cycle around East Lothian with my friend Louise,

– Daytrips to Melrose Abbey and Dunkeld,

– A trip up to the Orkney Islands (they are the islands off the north coast of Scotland which is on the same latitude as the Hudson Bay – for you Canadians out there),

–  A hike through the beautiful Glen Affric region of Scotland and a horse show in Inverness with my friend Iona,

– A road trip with my Northfield House family to Glamis Castle,

– A final East Lothian beach walk on beautiful Tyninghame Beach, with my friends Margaret and Louise,

– And a wonderful farewell party at Northfield House where I hosted a trivia game and the prizes were my belongings that couldn’t fit in my suitcase, for example the bottle remnants for my favourite  Scottish drink – The Whiskey Mac

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With the hum of Scotland still resonating through me at perfect pitch, and reintegration into my old life in Canada looming, it seems like the ideal time to embark on an active campaign of personal re-education.  Plus, I need something to keep blogging about.  So, without further ado I introduce to you my new blog – The Re-Education of Stookie Havers.

This new blog  will be an interactive blog whereby you, my readers, can suggest ways that I, Stookie, can become a better, more interesting woman and human being.  It will be a constant, interactive, work in progress. Having said that, suggestions like “you should learn to accept yourself the way you are” are unacceptable. However, suggestions like: “you should learn to operate an outboard motor”, or “you should become an expert of French film noir”,  or “you should learn how to converse effectively with the opposite sex“, or “you should bake bread regularly“, or “you should learn how to properly punctuate lists when you are writing”, or “you should stop biting your fingernails” – these are all perfectly acceptable suggestions.

Make no mistake, I am no circus monkey, and I may not take up every suggestion provided.  Without your input though, I can’t even begin….so, please, send me your suggestions (as many as you like) through my comments page at this blog.  I will compile and record all your suggestions in my new blog. I will then take some of them on as part of my campaign of re-education, and blog about it. Your feedback and input as I progress to becoming a better, more interesting woman and human being will be greatly appreciated.

Dear Readers!

8 May

Hey, Just a quick note to let you all know….that if you read my recent blog entry sometime before today, you might want to check back here and re-read that post….I inadvertently posted a draft on Friday, OOPS! But, after a lovely weekend hiking and biking in the highlands, I posted the completed blog (complete with photo links from my most recent trip to Spain and Morocco!)  today. I think you will find it is a much better read!

I guess, that’s what you get for leaving three months between blogs – you forget what you’re doing! Anyway, sorry for the confusion!

 

Helloooooooo, Again!

4 May

Some of you have been asking, “What gives, Stookie? Why haven’t you been blogging?” While I could concoct a widely creative excuse, the truth of the matter is that I am someone with a terrific penchant for over-reaching and underperforming. I am also a terrible time manager. These personal truths were brought into acute focus for me over the course of this past year – My “gap year” as they call it.

Now in the last month of my gap year, I realize that despite having no job and really no responsibilities to speak of whatsoever, I still have not done nearly a quarter of the things I thought I would do during this year off.  I haven’t, for example, awoken each morning to go for a jog and do yoga, as I had imagined myself doing. I kid you not when I say, I did yoga one morning this entire year. It was on July 13th. I haven’t bagged even one Munroe, let alone the “well, not all of them, but most of them”, that I had imagined bragging about upon my return. I did not develop a thriving, busy and wildly profitable cottage industry making jewellery, as I had hoped (still, thanks Kevin and Ingrid for your purchases).  I haven’t written a novel, or even blogged weekly like I said I would.  I have not met the man of my dreams.  In fact, I only went on two dates this entire year, which I suppose is at least better than my yoga efforts.

Maybe this is what a gap year gives you – with nothing else to get in your way but yourself, it gives you a chance to become intimately familiar with your weaknesses and personal failings.  It is a chance to stare those little bastards in the face, size them up, dance around them, poke and pull at them, and really get to know them.

Having said that, and this is a terrible thing to admit as a social worker, and perhaps another personal failing, quite probably a major one, but I have never been a big fan of self-awareness.  I mean what do you do with it? Maybe others do something with it, but not me. I never really have. It’s kinda of like when my friend Sandra’s cat got frostbite on her ear and it dried up and fell off, and she batted it around on the floor, meowed at it, and looked at it kind of strangely, not sure where it had come from, or why, or what to do with it.  That’s how I feel about self-awareness when I have it.  So I’ve got these faults, eh? Hunh….interesting….., and then that’s it.

Of course, all of this probably makes me sound horrifically ungrateful for this year abroad, but this is something I am most assuredly not. If anything this year has given me an even greater sense of gratitude for the life I do have, and the opportunities it provides, and particularly for all those people in my life, who love me despite my many, many failings.

I am also making it sound like I haven’t been doing anything at all, which is patently untrue. In case you are wondering, yes, minimizing my own experiences is indeed one of my personal failings.  It’s a BIG one. In fact, since my last blog entry I have:

– waitressed at the Edinburgh Conference Centre for several award events that have hosted the likes of Bob Geldof and Princess Margaret, and at a posh event at Murrayfield Stadium during the 6 Nation Rugby matches, that Daniel Craig attended.  That’s right – Bond. James Bond.

           – made two trips to London – which I LOVED. Trafalgar Square

– had a golf lesson at the Longniddry Golf Club, in the middle of February just for the experience of it, and really quite liked it, though it was blowing a snell wind http://ca.images.search.yahoo.com/images/view;_ylt=A0PDodt2oadPiGQAOX3tFAx.;_ylu=X3oDMTBlMTQ4cGxyBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1n?back=http%3A%2F%2Fca.images.search.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%2Fimages%3Fp%3Dwoman%2Bgolfing%2Bcartoon%26n%3D30%26ei%3Dutf-8%26y%3DSearch%26tab%3Dorganic%26ri%3D4&w=481&h=481&imgurl=www.cteconsultingservices.com%2Fimagestore%2Fgraphics%2F2010011402-female-golf-swing.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cteconsultingservices.com%2Fimagestore%2F2010011402-female-golf-swing.htm&size=154.5+KB&name=Female+Golf+Swing+|+Royalty+Free+Stock+Vector+Illustrations+...&p=woman+golfing+cartoon&oid=99ab02c8eec1df3c2d96c85cff4597a9&fr2=&fr=&rw=women+golfing+cartoon&tt=Female%2BGolf%2BSwing%2B%257C%2BRoyalty%2BFree%2BStock%2BVector%2BIllustrations%2B...&b=0&ni=84&no=4&tab=organic&ts=&sigr=12g81j7ee&sigb=13fhalrs4&sigi=12i1oet7c&.crumb=vw6KkkHooqp

– learned a little more Scottish, like, “snell wind”.

– made more pretty (I think) jewellery – (see my shop at Etsy – OiseauDesigns)

– after 26 years, made my return to ballet with adult classes at Dance Base in Edinburgh….not pretty….but way more enjoyable than I anticipated.  Started attending swimming and Pilates regularly again too. I cannot tell you how grateful my body is! Well, was…

– AND…..spent 6 weeks traveling around Spain and Morocco! Yep, it involved camels. Click on these photo links to see more:

So, not so bad, eh?  Really, quite, quite excellent.  And, I guess if it comes with a little self-awareness in the process, so be it.  It’s not like I’ll do anything with it anyway.

Robbie Burns Night

8 Feb

January is a bleak month in Scotland. There is very little daylight, with the sun only half-heartedly glancing at Scotland from around 8 am to 3pm. The weather doesn’t help. It is mostly rainy and drizzly, most of the time (Yes, two ‘mosts’. It’s a sentiment that requires it).  Dreich days as the Scots would say.  It isn’t particularly cold, but at the same time it is the worst cold I have ever experienced. So, it is no surprise that January 25th, the national celebration of Scottish poet Robbie Burns’ birth is met with great relief by Scottish people across the country.  Here is an opportunity to cozy up to a fire, eat warming traditional Scottish food, drink good whiskey, sing songs, play music, recite poetry, and essentially let the frost that has settled on your bones thaw for a while.

Though Robbie Burns Nights happen worldwide and wherever Scottish people have settled (which is really everywhere – intrepid Scots!), this was my first Robbie Burns celebration and I felt very excited to be celebrating it right here in Scotland – The motherland.

Always wanting to contribute, I offered yet again to make haggis from scratch.   This was met with silence and a rather pained looking eye twitch from Finlay (my Scottish host).  So, I let pass another haggis making opportunity for the sake of my relationship with my hosts, and opted instead to make Cranachan, a traditional Scottish dessert made with cream, whiskey, toasted oats and fresh fruit (traditionally raspberries).  This also seemed like a good opportunity to learn to make Meringues, a distinctly more prevalent dessert in these parts, and something I had been wanting to learn how to make.  Finlay and Kirsten agreed with this plan wholeheartedly.

The menu at a Burns Supper is pretty straight forward and given no one in Scotland actually makes haggis themselves anymore, a pretty easy meal to prepare.  There is the haggis, of course, which is a kind of jumbo-sized sausage made from the offal (innards) of a sheep, oatmeal, and pepper.  This is served with neeps and tatties (or mashed turnip and potatoes), and all of it is followed by a traditional Scottish dessert, most often Cranachan, and lots of good single malt whiskey.

Besides the food, which is very traditional, The Burns Supper is perhaps the most Scottish event of the year.  It is filled with singing, music, and poetry and it celebrates the life of a man who himself embodies the self-made, from lowly beginnings to fame and wealth character, which is so very Scottish (think: Carnegie, Alexander Mackenzie ,David Livingstone, Billy Conolly…). Robbie Burns was a ploughboy born in a two-room thatched cottage that his father had built. A family that, like many Scottish families, valued education above almost anything else, Burns’ father worked hard to provide his sons with their own tutor. An avid reader, much of Burns’ education, would later come through his own reading.  Burns went on to great fame and fortune through the publication of his poetry.  His most famous poems include: Auld Lang Syne; Tam O’ Shanter; and A Red, Red Rose.

The Burns Supper at Northfield House did not disappoint.  After a glass of champagne by the fire in the drawing-room, the 18 other guests and I were escorted to the dining room where a long table was set with porcelain, glass, and silver, all shimmering in candlelight. After we were seated, next on the night’s agenda was The Presentation of the Haggis.  It inspired awe and child-like excitement around the room, as the haggis was traditionally piped in, and rather untraditionally topped with two roman candles spurting light into the room.  Before we all dug in, the haggis was well and truly honoured by Finlay’s dramatic and  energetic (verging on manic but in a good way) recitation of the Address to A Haggis.  Red wine and heaping spoonfuls of haggis, neeps and tatties, made the rounds amongst jovial, excited chatter. And my Cranachan and Meringues were a hit! Also for dessert we had another creamed, boozy pudding called Dean’s Cream, brought by another guest.

It is traditional that guests should perform at a Burns Supper. In my excitement to participate as fully as I could in the experience, I had decided I would take this opportunity to do my first public performance of a song on my ukulele.  I chose the song, Lester the Lobster, a song that I felt was on one hand, a fun little song, representative of my family’s Prince Edward Island roots, a place predominantly settled by the Scottish and Irish, and on the other hand, only had three chords and an easy tune.  Only a few hours before the dinner, however, I came to my sense and decided not to perform.  THANK GOD, I came to my senses!

The performances at this Burns Supper were perfectly executed readings of poetry and prose that were either clever and witty, or breathtakingly beautiful.  There were heartbreaking (and not the achy breaky kind) songs, some sung in Gaelic, and brilliant personal creations.  Had I sung Lester the Lobster by Stevedore Steve, which would have been neither, clever, nor heartbreakingly beautiful, let alone perfectly performed, I fear I would have been left sitting there, red-faced and feeling like the bottom feeding crustacean the song is about.

Usually, deciding not to participate (which is frequent) leaves me feeling regretful and disappointed in myself. But, on this night, I felt very chuffed (a Scottish word for proud of oneself) about my wonderfully insightful decision.  Stevedore Steve’s Lester the Lobster is a song that still holds a dear place in my heart, with memories of family bonfire sing-alongs on the beach in Prince Edward Island.  It’s best not to tarnish these kind of memories by performing them badly internationally. Had I not had my eleventh-hour epiphany, it could have been one of those horrifically shame-filled nights that still make your stomach hurt when you recall them, like ten years later. Instead, it was a great, great night.

Christmas in Edinburgh

21 Jan

I had only one piece of shortbread during the entire holiday season in Edinburgh.  Only one…..In Scotland!!  Shocking and disappointing as this was, there was plenty of magic in Edinburgh’s festive season events to make up for it.

Each year, the city of Edinburgh turns on the Christmas cheer, drawing tourists in from around the world with the strange and wonderful.  This includes:  an ice rink surrounded by green grass and an open air water park; a giant neon lit Ferris wheel and amusement park at the foot of the iconic and historic Scott Monument; a German market; a parade of fire; and the awe-inspiring combination of tack and charm that is the Panto.  All of this then culminates with arguably the best New Year’s fireworks in the world.

I began to feel the warmth of the holiday season in earnest when I went into town with my friend Louise to do some Christmas shopping.  We had lunch at Henderson’s on Hanover Street – a favourite family run vegetarian restaurant that has been around since the 60’s.  With our bellies warmed with good homemade soup and bread, we set off shopping.  We sampled every hand cream on offer at Crabtree and Evelyn, bought Christmas craft supplies, oohed and ahhed at a little boutique selling local jewellery and gifts, and visited the haberdashery at John Lewis to pick up the yarn needed for my various Christmas knit projects.  We ended with a visit to Armstrong’s, a long-standing second-hand clothing shop in the Grassmarket area  of Edinburgh, where I was very excited to discover a whole wall of women’s second-hand cashmere sweaters – a whole wall! I bought a sweater and Louise bought a funky blue velvet jacket.  A good, cheery day.

Another pre-Christmas trip into Edinburgh with my friend Margaret to explore the German Market also contributed to my pre-Christmas festive mood. Most people go to the German Market for a mug of warmed german wine, but we were beside ourselves with glee to discover a vendor selling Danish Hotdogs – complete with sweet pickles and the little fried crispy onions – Heaven! We then had fun together shopping for the wee ones in our lives at Jenner’s toy shop, which is one of the cornerstone department stores of Prince’s Street, Edinburgh’s primary shopping strip. Carried away with the festive atmosphere surrounding the Market and the amusement park at the Scott Monument, both Margaret and I went a little snap happy with our cameras.  Here are some of my photos from that day(see slide show at the bottom for more photos):

 Finally, Christmas Eve was upon us. Finlay’s family began to arrive which set Northfield House into a bustle of festive activity.  There was food to cook, and a tree, as well as the rest of the house to decorate with candles, holly, ivy and sprays of yew branches.  I also made decorative hearts out of cranberries and wire, and Gisela, Finlay’s lovely sister, made a beautiful wreath.   A traditional Scottish fish pie dinner with some gift opening in the evening, and the lighting of the candles on the tree (Finlay’s mother is Dutch) marked the official start of Christmas at Northfield House.

Christmas Day was filled with more of the same, but culminated in a mid-day Christmas feast of roast chicken and ham and…Cumberland Sauce – Oh! Cumberland Sauce, how I love you!  Feeling satisfied  and satiated, we languidly lounged on the couches in the drawing-room, and at the appointed hour we, like every other British household, tuned in to watch the Downton Abbey Christmas Special and joined our voices to the collective sigh of relief heard across the UK, when Matthew and Mary finally agreed to marry.

While Christmas is special, it doesn’t hold a candle to the importance of the New Year in Scotland. Referred to in Scotland as Hogmanay, this is perhaps the most important public holiday in Scotland.  As a result, people come from all over the world to celebrate the New Year in Edinburgh.  Festivities last all weekend, and run the gamut from a candlelight concerts at St. Giles Cathedral to a plunge in the Firth of Forth called the Loony Dook.  There are Ceilidhs and concerts, and the New Year’s Games. All topped off with a massive street party and an incredible fireworks display set off over the spectacular Edinburgh Castle.

My favourite Hogmanay event however, was the Torchlight Parade up to Calton Hill on December 30th. What an incredible sight to see thousands of men, women and children, with torches ablaze, walking up Prince’s Street to the top of Calton Hill. The air was rich with the smell of wax, and the heat and light from so many torches replaced the damp, dark evening with a warming glow.  It was incredibly beautiful and such a special way to mark the end of one year and the beginning of a new year.  A show of fireworks and the burning of a giant wicker effigy to 2012 greeted the crowd at the top of Calton Hill. I am embarrassed to admit it but it was so beautiful, I actually cried, and these weren’t even the official fireworks!

While the fireworks on New Year’s Eve proper were incredible, and I was so glad I went to see them, it was this quieter and more subdued event of the torchlight parade on Dec. 30th that I will remember.  Here are some photos (see slide show at the bottom for more photos):

 Memorable would be an understatement in describing the Panto, the current incarnation of the British tradition of the Christmas Pantomime, which dates back to the 1800’s in England, but originated in Ancient Greece. Referred to as “The Panto”, it is a Christmas tradition particularly enjoyed in Scotland. For some reason, Scottish people in particular go batty over what is essentially a kid-friendly drag show musical, filled with boob and fart jokes, midgets, audience participation (“oh, yes it is!” and “he’s behind you”), and frighteningly tacky tributes to other musicals – And I loved it too!

My friend Ryann, a former Broadway employed writer of musicals herself, agreed to attend the Panto with me.  We chose the King’s Theatre production of Cinderella which considered the gold standard of all Christmas Pantomimes, promised to be the best Panto available.  In this particular version, Cinderella’s stepfather dies after losing everything including his house in a poker game to the evil twin sisters Gobina McPhlegm and Hocktoo McPhlegm

from "The List"

Under the new rule of these two, Cinderella, her drag queen mother, and Buttons their man-servant have a hard time, until Cinderella meets a Prince in the woods and gets help from a Fairy Godmother.  The rest of the plot is pretty much what you would expect, but at the same time not like anything you’ve seen before. It is hard to describe the magic of the Panto, and even harder to understand how it possibly could be described as magical, and yet still somehow it is.

And that, my friends, is Christmas in Edinburgh.  Happy New Year, Everyone!

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Staying Fit in Prestonpans

14 Jan

 

Sadly my electric blue, super-fast running shoes seem to be struggling with a bout of depression just at the moment, and sit dusty and dull in a corner of my room.  What they need probably is some good old-fashioned fresh air and exercise, but they just aren’t up for it.  Such a catch-22. So, knowing I can’t force the issue with my runners (I am a social worker after all), I made my way to the Prestonpans’ leisure centre and pool, to partake in my first Aquafit class. Not surprisingly, given it was mid morning, the pool quickly filled with pensioners who like me also clearly like their scotch pies and Bridies. “God help me and my love meat-stuffed pastry!” I thought to myself.

 

Awaiting the start of the Aquafit class, the grey haired, big bosomed matrons of Prestonpans encouragingly “och,ayed” each other as they chatted and bobbed effortlessly, with only the merest, occasional wave of a hand across the surface of the pool, (how do they do that anyway?). The instructor, surprisingly sporting a shaved head and full-body tattoos, appeared on deck to the thumping noises of his favorite club songs, and looked more the part of the rehabilitated bad boy come home to start again.

 

Prestonpans, or “The Pans”, as it has come to be known, is still considered by many to be nothing more than a rough and tumble, council house dominated tow, and negative stereotypes about the town and its people continue to abound. In truth, none of the stereotypes I have heard about “The Pans” reflect my own experience here. Welcoming and friendly, with a proud history, the town is filled, for the most part, with hard-working, community-oriented families that value humour, good conversation, and looking out for each other -Values born out of the town’s history of coal mining and it’s struggle against the ensueing poverty, when the mine was shut down.

 

                                                                                                         http://www.europealacarte.co.uk/scotland/eastlothian

 

Having said that, if all you had seen of Prestonpans was this Aquafit class you might have left with your misconceptions intack!  Still, I had a great time, and the instructor, with a cheery twinkle in his eyes, and a few jokes about ensuring our bathing suits were properly secured, put us through our paces. I am not sure what those paces were, as given his accent, the blaring/jarring dance music and the splash of water around me, I could not make out a word he said. Never the less, I diligently splashed around the pool, trying to keep up with the Women of the Pans, who can really move when they want to, and wished my runners were with me. They’d have enjoyed the class I think.

 

I was supposed to blog about Christmas and New Year’s Eve – Next time!

 

Crash Course – How to master the family road trip…in England

19 Dec

Recently I took a 10 day road trip across Northern England with my parents.  The last time we did such a thing, I was 16 years old.  Much, much, much time has passed, but little has changed.  For any family, be it a young family, or one made up of a middle-aged youngest child and her two senior parents, family road trips present their own unique challenges. For any of you considering such an adventure, here are some basic rules  that will help you master the family road trip:

Rule #1: When driving on the opposite side of the road it takes some getting used.  It is not uncommon to drift toward the shoulder to avoid the oncoming traffic.  A friend of mine warned me about this before the trip.  She’s Scottish (where they drive on the left hand side) and she relayed a story about how one day in France (where they drive on the right hand side), she borrowed a friend’s car and inadvertently drifted toward the curb, mounted it, and tore the side right off the car.  No one needs that while they are on vacation. So, it’s important to ensure that your dad keeps the car on the road when he is driving.  It’s probably fine when you are driving. So, to help your dad out, try yelling out at regular intervals things like – “Shoulder!”, or “Wall!” , or “Soft Verges, Soft Verges, the sign says Soft Verges!”

Rule #2: Don’t tell anyone a story like the one mentioned above before they embark on this kind of trip.

Rule #3: Always have snacks on hand in the car.  Some people, not mentioning any names, can become a big, old  grumpy Papa Bear when he gets hungry. My parents have been married for 50 years, with as many if not more road trips under their belts, but my mom only figured this important rule out on this trip. Learn this one early on.

Rule #4: It’s best just to let the person yelling “Shoulder!” “Wall” and “Soft Verges, Soft Verges!” to drive.  This way everyone wins!

Rule # 5: When you reach a roundabout, it’s important to yield. “YIELD!!” Again, don’t be afraid to shout this out to the driver.  It is a necessary evil. If you can’t yell, because you are so overwhelmed by the possibility that this time you might really die, try taking in one or two sudden, sharp inhales of breath, loud enough for the driver to hear.  These  act as a wonderful tonic to your adrenal glands, and also alert the driver at the same time.  You kill two birds with one stone with this technique!

Rule # 6:  Some roundabouts are poorly marked.  In this case, just run right through the middle of them.  These substandard roundabouts should be ashamed of themselves, and they don’t deserve your due diligence.

Rule #7 – Practice my brother’s cure for back seat driving – when you feel like saying something to the driver, look out the side window.  When that fails, return to back seat driving until the driver gives up and lets you take over.

Rule #8:  At an intersection, always look to your right first.  Except when you shouldn’t.  Wait, is this an intersection?

Rule #9:  Ensure that at least someone in the car can read a map.

Rule #10: Expect to get lost A LOT. This is part of the fun of a road trip.  No, really it is, but you may need to remind yourself of this over and over again.

Rule #11: Take time out for yourself.  If you are in the North of England, try walking Hadrian’s Wall.  It goes one for miles and miles and miles.

Rule #12:  Finish every day off with a meal in a pub and a pint of something. Look over your photos from the day together and have a good ol’ chuckle at what a day you’ve just had together.  If it’s necessary, this is a good time to apologize.

Rule #13:  When you get home, invite your friends and family over for a slide show highlighting all the best parts of your trip and none of the family histrionics.  They will love it and so will you.  Here’s a slide show of our trip – ENJOY!

Here you will see a small selection of our many photos:  The Edinburgh Castle; Views across the Firth of Forth from North Berwick; Rye Hill Farm – Our B and B in Hexham; The Traveller’s Rest – Our favourite pub!; Hadrian’s Wall and several examples of the many roman ruins in the area; Durham Cathedral; The City of York; The majestic York Minster; The Harbour of Whitby and Whitby Abbey; Our B and B in the Lake District; and standing stones outside of Keswick in the Lake District. – We saw some amazing things together!

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