The trigger for our trip is the arrival of a visitor from the US, my sister. We hope that the days and days of planning by Bernard, the best travel agent around, guarantees a comfortable and well-organized journey north. There are always unknowns. That’s part of the fun, they say. But at our ages, unknowns are less adventure and more cause for alarm, sleep and hot water taking on ever more importance. So off we go to our first stop for lunch, Stamford. Stamford is an old market town in Lincolnshire. Bernard has reserved at a hotel called The George, which looks like something straight out of Dickens. The gardens are lovely, the architecture appropriately Georgian, and the interior a little gloomy. I opt for mussels in cream sauce and "chips", English fried potatoes, and regret my choice. The mussels are huge, the chips stodgy, and I end up with strings of mussel tendons laced around my teeth.
A stroll along a corridor of the hotel takes us to a painting of a very fat man, famous in these parts for his immense size. His name is Daniel Lambert, who weighed in at upwards of 700 pounds, a lightweight by some of the obese today. The framed essay alongside the painting says he lived on water for 12 years in an effort to reduce, and didn’t lose a pound. I expect he cheated, though. His walking stick, hanging underneath the painting, was as thick as his own chubby wrist. I imagine he didn’t do much walkilng, though.
After this interlude, we set off for our overnight stop in York, another 2 and l/2 hour drive north under gray skies and some rain, hoping for the predicted sunshine tomorrow.