25 July 2013

The Journey to Capernwray

To avoid duplicating so many posts, I will refer you back to some posts on Picture Britain for information about my adventures in Liverpool: around the Albert Dock Part I and Part II, and visiting Speke Hall.

Now on to my journey to Capernwray.


I'm full of anticipation. I packed up my things this morning, did more computer work while I still had internet (I've heard terrifying things about the quality of internet at the school). I went down to Mark and Lydia's in time to get a cheesecake out of the oven, then we piled my stuff into the car with Mark. I was a little nervy about getting through Lime Street Station by myself (this is my first experience with long-distance railway travel, after all), but my good friend guided me through the first part and then the rest went like clockwork.

There was a nice old lady at Platform 3 that reminded me of my great-grandma with a helping of Miss Marple, who let me know that I was getting on the right train. We talked about how she was going to visit her sister and I was going to Bible school. I'm trying to speak to as many people as possible while I'm here, and it's working out so far.

The first stop was Wilton Northwestern, where saw that my train was going to be a few minutes late. My first encounter with a problem. I was ready to wait, but then got up the gumption to ask a blond young woman standing beside me, who said that a Glasgow train was going to be less late, and would be stopping in Lancaster. She turned out to be a college student from Wilton. We talked a bit on the platform, then when I decided to take her advice I followed her onto the train (a bit nervewracking as it wasn't on my schedule). I wrestled by luggage through the cramped corridor and into a rack, and hoped for the best.

Lo and behold, I made it to Lancaster, then it was pretty straightforward going to Carnforth. I snapped photos out the window of the sheep grazing on green, rolling fields (quite the relief from Liverpool's littered streets). It looks just like the photos and videos I've been looking at for years--it was staggering.


It's hard to believe that you can think of a place, make decisions, spend some money, and hey presto, it comes true.

Here I am, sitting in the Carnforth Station. Its claim to fame is that the movie Brief Encounter was filmed here. This movie is considered one of the greatest British films ever made, and perhaps the greatest romance, and I watched it a week or two ago because I knew I'd be coming here. Hence the Brief Encounter Refreshment Room, a little tearoom/restaurant they have restored to its 1940s glory. This is where I have just finished eating a chicken, stuffing, and gravy sandwich. When I arrived there was a Jazz band playing live music in the next room, giving the place even more atmosphere, and the room was packed with their fans--middle-aged and elderly English men and women sipping tea and eating scones. I found a spare stool at the bar and counted up my money--which has dwindled to a striking level. I have just a few pounds left, most of which I spend on dinner. I haven't used an ATM since Monday. Not quite five days and I've already gone through £100! That's traveling for you.


I spent another pound and some change on a pot of tea and nursed it for about half an hour. I have arranged to stay at Capernwray House bed and breakfast (no connection to the school, but located very close by) with some fellow students I connected with on Facebook, and my roommate-to-be was supposed to meet my at the station at 12:30. However, the best-laid plans go awry and she was severely delayed. After waiting a long while, making friends with the refreshment room staff, and traipsing into town to visit an ATM, I called my bed and breakfast host and he very kindly arranged for me to be picked up.


This is a gorgeous bed and breakfast--warm stone exterior, homey interiors, and a staff that treats me like family. I deposited my 300 lb. backpack in my room and found refreshments waiting in the lounge: a French press coffee maker, milk, sugar lumps, and a carefully crafted cupcake with a spiral of cream on top.
It was Heaven.

I met a couple of other girls from Calgary, Alberta who had come in earlier and were staying in a room near mine. A little while later two more girls came, sisters from Clearlake, Iowa. They were planning to go to the Eagles Head Inn in Carnforth, and the rest of us girls joined in. Just before we left, my roommate arrived and we all got into our hosts' cars to drive down to the pub.

We had a fantastic time introducing ourselves, learning our backgrounds, getting a feel for what we're expecting. The food was great (I had steak pie with new potatoes). By the time we left we were chums. We walked back to the B & B, giving plenty of time to talk. When we got back, my jet-lagged companions just wanted to shower and crash.

I got to bed pretty late after watching some melodramatic British programming, but couldn't sleep for a long time. Nerves, I guess.


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