Always Stop

I drove from Oxford to Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago, to participate in the wedding of two very dear friends if mine. I was a bridesmaid and also the florist so my beat up mx-5 was full of eucalyptus cuttings, cut glass containers and craft supplies.

Kielder Forest Park

Kielder Forest Park

I did the first section (Oxford to York) after work on a Tuesday. I was staying with friends there and didn't want to arrive too late, so it was head down and minimal stops en route.

Kielder Forest Park

Kielder Forest Park

The next day though was far more relaxed. I was in the car by 9.30am, having got up to have breakfast with my hosts before they had to go to work. I elected to take the east coast route from York, Up the A1 and peeling off through Northumberland after Newcastle.

Kielder Forest Park

Kielder Forest Park

It would have been a spectacular drive, if it hadn't been so misty. As I drove through the Northumbria National Park, I went up into the clouds and back down again.

The only sun of the day, Scotland-England Border

The only sun of the day, Scotland-England Border

I stopped frequently: a turn off at Kielder Forest Park for a conversation with my plasterer; just past the border, when the sun finally broke through; at Jedburgh for a late lunch (carrot and parsnip soup (excellent) and a cheese and tomato toastie) and found one of those wonderful antique shops that have an amazing array of treasures and pleasingly low prices. I had to talk myself down from buying the boar's head (no way it would fit in the car).

Jedburgh Abbey

Jedburgh Abbey

Jedburgh Abbey

Jedburgh Abbey

Grove Antiques Scotland

Grove Antiques Scotland

Grove Antiques Scotland

Grove Antiques Scotland

Grove Antiques Scotland

Grove Antiques Scotland

When I was recounting the story to a colleague this week I said I hadn't stopped at The Angel of the North, even though I'd never seen it up close, because it was so misty you could barely see the head. I noted that actually I regretted that; it would have be deserted and atmospheric.

"Always stop," he said "if there's the choice, always stop."