Wiping the rain from our eyes (it was a sunny day, but Jo wasn’t crying ) as we left Scotland..we headed into England. That night we were to stay with our great friend and Sept 05 doyenne Sarah -but first we were going to visit one of the great highlights of the trip Vinadolanda. A huge Roman fort excavation on the route of Hadrian’s wall (originally built to keep us pesky Scots at bay during the Roman occupation). I was beyond excited. I love “old stuff”. It was an exciting and envigorating drive to Vindolanda. The route that my husband had chosen for us seemed more scenic than direct and there seemed to be an element of roller coaster Alpine style navigation to enjoy. We threw ourselves into it and whooped and hollered as we crested each preciptious rise in the road. We were too newly together to admit that this seemed like a bad idea and we should cut our losses and head for the undoubted comforts of wine o’clock at Sarah’s. Those awkward first few days of a relationship when you will do anything to appear everything to one another and be damned polite while you’re about it.

I hope you’ve clicked on the link to Vindolanda – because I can’t tell you anthing about it. It was shut when we arrived. We were now on the no sleep, no eat, looking at dug up fields through a fence tour. We turned for Newcastle – a quick trip up the A1 – when we arrived, (only a couple of hours late) Sarah and Ahmed cheerfully told us that we could have seen some of Hadrian’s wall in Newcastle…

Newcastle has a reputation as a party town and we had a blast. A refined blast at the rather wonderful sixbaltic. We loved everything about our pre dinner drinks, the setting, our meal, the waiting staff, the view – which is especially stunning from the ladies restroom – . Now, restrooms – there was a thing..the little language difficulties and dissimilarities that we kept finding.. You say restroom ..I say toilet – You look horrified. Terribly rude in Canada apparently. You have NO idea how often I found a reason to say toilet over the next week.


There was an incredible menu and we loved the food. Unfortunately, we were talking so much I missed everything in between the gin and the macaroon. But believe me it was divine. Here’s a sample menu


Tasty morsels and a toilet with a view.

I hadn’t seen Sarah for a year and she and Jo had never met. There was a lot of catching up, a lot of getting to know you for real, and a lot of Sept 05 to be reminisced about. As we all met on line our friendships grew cautiously at first. (Our husbands and partners are all convinced that the other “girls” are, in fact,  50 something male loners sitting in their pants at the computer.) When we meet in “real life” our friendships leap forward at pace. We talked and laughed very late into the night. A huge thanks are owed to our handsome chaffeur for the evening who so charmingly ignored the inner school girl in us all that emerged late at night.

The next day was Sunday. That meant York and Birmingham where we had another dinner date. First a family breakfast, dance practice for the girls and another round of hugs good bye. It seemed to be raining again as we left.


Jo and the beautiful Sarah


Feet. Dancing, wellie clad, travel journal writing feet. I’ll photograph anything that helps to tell the story and particularly enjoy these visual snippets.



Jo messaged me to ask where this image was taken. I think my tour guide abilities were less than memorable in YORK.

York is a wonder. A beautiful ancient town with so much to see and do and I loved showing Jo around. We were awe struck in the Minster. Loved rambling through the shambles, where we happened upon some Morris men. It was everything we had expected. But what we really truly remember of York is that this is where the directions my husband had created ran out. Stopped. Were no more. We grew heartily sick of the ring road and REALLY really didn’t want to drive past the Railway Museum six times before we finally left York. But it was there and then that the beauty of a road trip with a girl friend was utterly cemented. No cross words about navigation. And when we drove around the same block in inner Brimingham repeatedly that same evening we simply laughed it off. We drank straight from the bottle that Sarah had thoughtfully packed in that day’s picnic once we got to our room – but we laughed.


Birmingham was a joy. I have never visited before and perhaps had some poor notions of what inner Birmingham might be like. I was bowled over by the loveliness of the locals. On an early summer’s evening the whole of Birmingham seemed to be eating outside and laughing and flirting and chatting and kids ran around everywhere. We met Laura and Kerry who are a backbone to September 05 and inspirational in their own inimitable ways and their lovely Sept 05 kids. We joined in with the laid back mood. Laughing and chatting and eating with friends. Birmingham was good for the soul.

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The next morning we had a 3 hour drive down the motorway to Bath, then to Stonehenge (old stones that Jo had to see) and to meet with a friend, followed by the final push to Fowey to meet the TMK team. We both look back on that drive as one of our favourite parts of the trip. God knows, we both love music ( I sing,  Jo plays bass, her husband tours constantly with his band Appaloosa) but not once did we turn on the radio or plug in an ipod. We talked and we talked and we talked. That tiny space, the small cabin of that car became our entire world and, at times, our confessional. 


When Jo got bored with my chat she turned the camera on unsuspecting motorists.

Bath was a whirlwind. Jo had decided to let me sleep in that morning. Which meant we ran approximately 2 hours late for the first half of the day. We ran around. We ooh’d and aah’d. We enjoyed a hour in the sunshine. We didn’t get in to see the Roman Baths. I had a particular image that I wanted to create in the baths. Always frustrating to the photographer to be prevented from getting an idea for an image out of your head and onto the back of your camera. Actually, just strolling around Bath in the sunshine with a coffee was a perfect way to enjoy the architecture and vibe that is Bath. The next hour that we spent trying to leave Bath and totally mis navigating was less fun. Jo was frustrated with Bath’s lack of grid street layout (what the medieval planners were thinking I have no idea), I was confused by the placing of direction signs (England you put them after the turnoff….) and the fuel gauge was pinging, flashing and tapping pointedly on the empty marker. Jo, used to Canadian autos and fuel prices was stunned that we had driven from Scotland to the very south of England without once stopping for fuel. Even more stunned when she saw the price of a litre of diesel. 

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We started to feel a little pressure. We knew that at Stonehenge one of our Sept 05 girls was waiting. Luckily, the divine Diana is the most gentle and forgiving soul ever. With amazing selfless ness she thanked us for the two hours of peace she had spent waiting for us under clear blue English summer skies. (It turns out that her husband Richard was at home packing for their holiday the next day and entertaining the children. Perhaps she actually meant it!) We tumbled across the road to peek at Stonehenge and to have a fun photo shoot. But I can’t tell you how much I will treasure the hour or so we spent nursing a coffee and sitting in a field chatting like old friends (that we are) catching up with news about our children. The way we fit and fall in to place when we come together is something truly special.

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But we had to leave. If this was Tuesday we had to be in Fowey – and we were only 3 hours late….and it was a 3 hour drive away… was I putting off meeting the TMK team?….

Rosie x

Photography (both i phone and on a real camera) Rosie Woodhouse at Love Skye Photography