On reading this Travel Diary over, I feel I should explain a little about my personal reaction to England and Scotland. We had been brought up reading English books- Beatrix Potter, A.A.Milne (family story, baby Linda at the age of 18 months, got the point when her Daddy was reading about Pooh knocking on Rabbit’s door and being told that there was no one at home, and laughed, thus impressing her father with her accuity…), Wind in the Willows, the William books, Robin Hood legends, Narnia, Noel Streatfield, and so on. Yes, I read American books too- 19th century Alcott, Coolidge, and series like Nancy Drew, and Sue Barton: Nurse, but I liked ‘Jean Tours a Hospital’ and the rest just as much and enjoyed the contrast between the hospital cultures (dated though they were). My favourite series came through my mother’s keeping of the first three of Elinor M.Brent Dyer’s Chalet School books from her childhood, and I added to them whenever I could. (I now have them all. Yay internet.)
The 15 year-old bookworm writing the travel diary had read countless teen historical novels- Hilda Lewis, Cynthia Harnett, Geoffrey Trease, and gone on to read her parent’s adult books set in England, Agatha Christie, Dornford Yates, Maurice Walsh, C.S.Forester, Georgette Heyer; and in Scotland, O. Douglas (Anna Buchan, sister of Canada’s wartime Governor General) and Jane Duncan’s ‘My Friend…’ series, and in doing so absorbed all the lore of the countryside- without ever having seen a bluebell (let alone a bluebell wood) or heather, or lavender growing, or a stile to cross a fence, or, in fact , a hedge- yes, we had one separating our lawn from the neighbours’ but it was nothing like an English roadside hedge! So while we visited friends, Linda dug around in their bookcases, and when we went sightseeing she was recognizing and enjoying things she had read about, and connecting with the history she had learned.
On Saturday we left Canterbury for London, left luggage, dropped off car and saw Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton in Taming of the Shrew – lovely. We took the sleeper up to Glasgow – and hardly a wink of sleep did I get it, though my family did better – and grabbed our hired car and headed off for Kelvin & Mary Tyler’s for lunch. This visit was rather a farce – we had expected to have fun with their two little girls but they were at their grandparents so Charlie & I just sat.
In the afternoon we went up to Loch Lomond and stayed the night at Luss. It is a village which is very pretty but too “ye olde worlde picturesque cottagee”– perhaps this impression came because large number of trippers but I felt that they had gardens for effect rather than enjoyment.
There was a nice little church there but we felt that we couldn’t just march in like cathedrals so we didn’t see the inside. The hotel was crowded & noisy. Charlie & I wanted to walk on the hills around & Daddy came with us. Just as we had got away from civilization and the path began to be exciting he got tired and we had to take him home. He said it was too dangerous for us to go on without him! He, who was puffing & slipping while we ran, was protection but us alone would have been danger! I went to bed in a temper – the hills (I can’t call the mountains really) are really beautiful.
On Monday we went up through the Trossachs. I didn’t envy Sandy his Pennine Way walking tour, but I would love to tramp up there, I saw heather close, both kinds and I approve. We walked along Loch Katrine and threw pennies in to come back. We went on to Edinburgh. And the Firth of Fourth that I’ve so often read about. On the way we saw the Wallace Memorial on a hill against the sky and here in Edinburgh there is another of the same type to Scott. It embodies for me the statement in O. Douglas’s ‘The Setons’ — “We have all of us, we Scots, a queer daftness in our blood. We pretend to be dour and cautious, but the fact is that at heart we are the most emotional and sentimental people on earth.” I am getting horribly sentimental myself, I hope you like it. Paper lures me on sometimes. I find we have no picture of either memorial- Bother ! – Yes I do, I found one. Will stick it in. LC
In the Shetland Shop I bought a beautiful dull gold kilt & sweater (10 £). All my friends admired it greatly. Kilts are all the fashion. We saw over Edinburgh Castle – sweet tiny chapel, walked down the Royal Mile to Hollyrood but Daddy got angry at the guide and stalked out, leaving us to trail out behind miserable but obedient. What it is to be ruled by an autocrat!
We got on the train and went to Newcastle. We had tea at the Sheedy’s. Bobby & Patrick were very nice. Old Mrs. Sheedy made a great fuss of me, she said she didn’t have a granddaughter. Aren’t you lucky? Then we went to the Coopers and I had a lovely time with the three little boys. Then we went to Pam & Sam Fay’s for dinner. We got on the train and went to London. On the train we saw Durham Castle lit up – lovely.