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Beyond the Lone Islands

Friday, 12 February 2010

About Me And Languages (7)

Britain 1974

In June 1974, just after my graduation from 'senior high school', I went on my last family trip abroad with my parents and brother. Again, we went back to Britain. (As life turned out, I've never been back to Britain since. Always meant to, but never happened.)

Much of this trip - as so many of our family holidays! - was planned around my Dad's fascination with railways. I'm not sure if I've mentioned that before. But the fact is, before I moved away from home, I had been riding on a lot more old steam-trains than on modern trains. And when I say a lot, then I mean A LOT more than I ever cared to count, in Sweden as well as in Britain.

Still, I have to say I preferred the railway museums and actual steam engines and trains to hunting down possible remains of no-longer-there railway tracks and station houses buried deep in some forest, which is how many of our holiday trips in Sweden were spent! Which basically meant Dad running around a lot with his camera with the rest of the family spending hours just waiting in the car, since we hadn't the faintest idea how to go about looking for something that was not actually there.

But I digress. Back to Britain 1974. The list below is just a small selection of a much greater number of railways we visited on this trip. These are all just narrow gauge railways in Wales. There are many more such railways in other parts of Britain. There are also tramways, and train museums, and...


Don't worry. I'm not going to include all of them here.

The Great Orme Railway, Llandudno, is not really a railway but a tramway, first climbing up a very steep road, and then continuing far up above the town.

Up on the summit: If you look closesly at the background here, it is vaguely distinguishable that in this place it had become a tradition for people to place white stones in patterns and words that could be seen from above and afar. (I tried looking for pictures on the internet to see if this is still so, but could not find any. The tramway seems still to be going strong, though.)

These old photos of mine in the old albums are all so washed out by now... It's fascinating to see that my new scanner (bought last summer) and other photo editing software still manages to bring some life and colour back to some of them. I should probably scan all my old albums before the pictures fade out altogheter, but that's a big job!

Me at Conwy Castle on the North Wales coast.

I think my Mum probably did have some say in making up the tour too, because besides railways, we also did visit quite a few castles and abbey ruins and other historical places.

Here however we're queueing for another railway, up Mt Snowdon.

Here's the proof that we did go up, and did not just buy the postcard!

Probably the most famous railway station in Wales, because of the name. (I checked, but they did not bother to include it in my edition of  Everyman's English Pronouncing Dictionary...)

Another Welsh narrow gauge railway.

A Celtic Cross bought in a souvenir shop at Devil's Bridge and to this day one of my favourite pieces of jewellry. It can be worn either as a brooch or on a chain around the neck.

A scene repeated many times on our journeys.

Badbury Rings, an Iron Age hill fort in east Dorset.

I'm not sure how important this trip was to me from pure language point of view. However, I think it did lay a further foundation for my interest in the Celtic culture and especially the King Arthur stories.


In Cornwall, among the places we visited were Tintagel (castle connected to the Arthurian legends) and Land's End, but for some reason I don't have any photos of my own from either of those places, just postcards.

From Cornwall, we continued our journey along the south coast:

Brighton: Beach life (above) and Palace Pier (below)

Dover Castle

After our tour of the south, we went back up to Yorkshire. Above and below: Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire, founded by Cistercian monks in 1132, and the largest monastic ruin in Britain.
My Mum posing in the picture below. 

The very last day of the trip I revisited the family I had been staying with for a whole month two years before, in a small village near Doncaster in Yorkshire. 


rae said...

These photos are so cool! And the name of that railway station is overwhelming.

Sandra said...

I would have been in 7th heaven to be with you on your train and castle tours. I love old ruins and old houses and old castles and especailly love trains. My mother was born in Florida, my dad in Georgia, the train ride was 10 hours and I love every minute of it. I spent the first 18 years of my life riding the rails back and forth. I can still feel the rocking motion and here the clack clack of the wheels on the rail. thanks for bringing back the memories and I love this post, every word of it.

Don said...

Family vacations certainly leave imprints. I grew up in California, but every three years we'd make a trek (2 1/2 days of hard driving) to Iowa, to visit my mom's family.

Trips to Arizona and Washington state were also trips we took.

Travel is a contagion: a good one.

GB said...

Of course I left a comment on this posting. I know I did! But what happened to it? No idea. I know I commented because I said that there were too many things to comment on. It had so many reminders of my younger days in Wales. More recently I have been to Brighton quite a few times (I used to meet a friend who lived near there). I never saw so many people on the beach though. I think people go to warmer climes nowadays.

And there was Llandudno. And Snowdon.

And the cars.

And I distinctly remember saying that I couldn't ever recall going to Fountains Abbey.

A treasury of riches.

And the mystery of the disappearing comments? Solved I suspect by being sent at a moment when the broadband failed and I didn't notice on that occasion.

DawnTreader said...

@ GB - Ah. I should have thought of that, knowing the trouble you've been having with the broadband. Thanks for coming back! :)

It has happened to me too a few times that comments I know I wrote got lost. In my case I suspect I might have failed to notice that word verification didn't get approved, or something of that kind.


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