The Centennial Project

[So sorry about the hiatus- blame climate change: isolated island life, West Coast winter weather, cancelled ferries, though nothing like the disasters in the BC interior. I will try and catch up.]

The Costain Family, off to Britain!

It is perhaps not surprising that Cyn’s Centennial Project, as an immigrant to Canada, was to return to England for the first time in eighteen years. Cec and Cyn had been planning this for years- but the demands of family, finances, and work had put off the trip. Cec had visited there and seen friends, as he passed through on work- related travels, and Cyn had kept in touch with letters, but the summer of 1967 was carefully organized to see as many friends, and as much of the U.K. as possible in a month. Cyn’s friend, Jessie Aldridge, who lived in London, helped set it up there.
The letter to her mother is missing, but Carol kept the itinerary page, which must have been a help when Linda’s Travel Diary of the trip was finally sent to St.Vincent. So here is Page 6, with Cyn signing off.

… they came up to Expo, that they might do that after their holiday in Maine in August.
I am going to stop now and try and get our Itinerary on this piece of paper – our postage has gone up too, so I must be economical. Much love from us all to you and Auntie Moo and lots of love from the children.
Much love Cyn. [handwritten in pencil]

July 7 Fri. Leave Ottawa – direct 1st Class Charter Flight. 11 PM
8 Sat. Arr. London airport 11 AM. Hotel in Little Venice, London, booked by Norman and Jessie for us.
9 Sun. Go to see Jessie and Norman.
10 Mon. Sightsee- leave by train for Manchester around 6 PM. Met by Nan and Dick and to stay with them.
11 Tues. Linda and Charlie going to school with Barbara & Sandy for the fun of it!
12 Wed. Might fly over to the Isle of Man for the day, but if it is too expensive will skip it. [Didn’t happen.] Pick up car.
13 Thurs. Leave for Bangor, North Wales, and stay with Prof. Sheridan and his family on Isle of Anglesey. He is a friend of Cec’s and has stayed with us here a few times.
14 Fri. Still with Sheridans.
15 Sat. Drive to Sutton Coldfield to stay with Dottie. Peter and his fiancé will be there.
16 Sun. Dottie’s.
17 Mon. Dottie is booking us tickets at the theatre in Stratford, so will drive over and sightsee and come back to sleep.
18 Tues. Drive to Oxford and hope to see Jean and Peter for lunch. Drive on towards Bath and stay wherever we find a place.
19 Wed. See Bath and drive to Wells for tea with Ruth and family. Charlie has given up his home in N/cle and is there with them, so will see them all. Drive on towards Salisbury and spend the night somewhere on the way.
20 Thurs. See Stonehenge, Salisbury, to Portsmouth to see Nelson’s ship ‘Victory’ and then find a place to stay.
21 Fri. Drive along South Coast to Canterbury and spend the night.
22 Sat. Drive to London, turn in the car, and take the train to Glasgow with sleepers overnight.
23 Sun. Pick up are another car in Glasgow. Drive to friends the Tylers who were here for 2 years & have lunch. Drive on to Loch Lomond where we have a hotel booked at Luss.
24 Mon. Drive around the Trossachs and to Edinburgh. Spend the night.
25 Tues. Sightsee. Catch a train in late afternoon to N/cle and visit Sheedys, Cooper’s etc. Catch night train at midnight to London with sleepers.
26 Wed. London – back to hotel at Little Venice. Sightsee and visit Mary Ewing and relatives etc. til
31 Mon.
Aug. 1 Tues. To Cambridge till we go back to London Airport and catch the plane for Ottawa
3 Thurs.

A few comments to finish this off. When I read this plan, I am amazed. All that driving- so Canadian- from one side of the country to the other! I wonder what their friends thought of it? I lived in England for a year, visited over the years several times on my own and with my husband, and never saw as much of the U.K. as we covered in this month. For my brother and I, the visiting of friends was a strain- the adults sat upstairs talking and laughing, having a lovely time catching up, and we sat downstairs with the friend’s children in polite silence, having little to say to these new acquaintances. (I believe I protested loudly when we were on our own about what I described as ‘Quaker meetings’.) Once we were on our own it was fine, even though we liked different things- Charlie got tired of cathedrals. But I remember the sea in Wales, where we gathered lovely stones on the beach and transported them in the car until they were ‘forgotten’ when we changed transportation. I remember stops on the road at pubs for lunch, where Charlie and I had to eat in the gardens, which was no punishment, and the unusual but delicious sandwiches we had. (Nothing exciting, but cheese and tomato and ploughmans were new to us.) And I remember shopping- books of course, but also going to Carnaby Street in London, buying a kilt in Edinburgh, and getting trinkets to remember the places we saw. Finally postcards- I may not have sent many, but I bought them, and made a scrapbook of my own with my collection once I got home. It was a fabulous holiday.

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