‘That accent’s not from around here.’
We were at a lay-by on the road from York to Harrogate. It’s 8am on a flipping freezing Saturday morning. The temperature indicator on the car tells me it’s 1 degree, but it feels colder. A couple of the cars in the lay-by have what looks suspiciously like ice on their windscreens.
We’ve called in at the food van to grab something quick for brekky, a bacon butty and a coffee, before joining the A1(M) for the run north. There’s another few people standing around sipping at coffees. The atmosphere is weirdly social for 8am on a cold Saturday morning.
‘No,’ I replied. It’s from Australia.
‘Australia’s a big place, I hear,’ the cook in the van said.
‘Oh aye,’ said man 1, sipping at his coffee. ‘It’s like when I go abroad and say I’m from Yorkshire and someone says to me, “aye, I had a pint with a lad from Yorkshire once. His name was John. Do you know him?”‘
‘Would that be big John or little John?’ quipped a policeman who’d just arrived to place an order.
‘I had a beer with a man called John once,’ I said.
It had snowed during the night. Just a light dusting on the hills around Yorkshire, but as we got further into Northumberland, it was quite heavy on the ground.
The roads were slippy too. We turned off just outside West Auckland onto the B6306 to head into Blanchland, we literally slid around the corner.
We accidentally found this town when we were here 20 years ago. It’s one of those close to the border towns that was important in the days when the Scots would regularly come over the border for a little marauding, and for when the English would head north to do the same.
I remember having a pint and something to eat in the Lord Carew Arms. The fire was blazing in a fireplace large enough to hold a man- in fact, that’s exactly what it had to do, as there was a priest hole either just behind it or below it- I can’t remember which.
This time the pub was closed for a private wedding, so we had to make do with coffee and scones at the White Monk. Besides, it really was too early for a pint.
This village is so well preserved that it’s been used in a number of movies requiring authentic looking, well preserved villages…it’s not hard to see why.
Back on the road, our next stop was the border.
Man, it was cold! But oh so pretty…
From here it wasn’t far into Jedburgh- important from a Mary Queen of Scots viewpoint, and all the cross border battles that occurred for hundreds of years between England and Scotland. I took a quick photo of the Abbey, and we moved on and into Melrose- our home for the night.