Monday, 19 September 2011

This is England

There is nothing quite like a warm summers day eating fish and chips at the sea side. I recently visited Whitby in North Yorkshire which was fabulous. Not only is it a pretty seaside town it boasts historic interest too. The small harbour and sandy beaches are overlooked by St. Mary's Church and St. Hilda's Abbey. By walking up the 199 steps to the church you are welcomed by a panoramic view that is straight off a post card. Inside the church you are treated to most eclectic building I think I've ever been into. Architecture from all eras, balcony's, triple decker pulpit and box pews. Magnificent to say the least. From it's 11th century beginnings, it's kept and built on it's religious bonds. You can circle the graveyard and spend many a moment breathing in the sea air whilst imagining a time gone by.

From a spiritual journey to a material one. Whitby also showed me the loveliness that is Whitby Jet. All around the town you can find Whitby Jet Jewellery in all shapes and sizes and prices. From small antique shops to those who carve it on site, Jet is the Gem of Yorskhire.

I only visited for the day and I was surprised by its mix of traditional sea side appeal and it's metropolitan bars and cafes. A good mix of ice creams, candy floss, olives and gin.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Unfair Fare

As a regular user of trains I am saddened my Young Person's Railcard will run out soon. For years I've enjoyed reduced fares and to be honest, it hasn't been until recently that I've really made use of the discount.

Over the years the journeys I have taken have been 1 hour long...maybe 3 hours at a real push. Having the rail card benefitted me, but even if my train fare was normal price I could probably have afforded it. Now, that concept has gone. Over the last few months I've been traveling to Newcastle quite a lot. An epic 5 1/2 hours on the train if I'm lucky. With a rail card and booking massively in advance I have managed to buy a return journey for around £65, at the most £80. I believe these prices to be a distant memory.

Even over the last 6 months I have seen the prices increase. Because of timings and not wanting to spend more than 6 1/2 hours on a train, most return tickets are about £100, including the railcard saving. Not good. Without the railcard saving? We are talking about £150. I feel a bit sick just thinking about it. Spending that much money just to travel in my own country. For the same price I can get return flights to Amsterdam or Paris.

In fact, I'm traveling to Newcastle this weekend and it's cheaper to fly than get the train. I try and be environmentally friendly but when I'm spending nearly one hundred pounds on rail fare something has got to give. And there are benefits of flying that make the journey far more peaceful.

I know I definitely get a seat on a aircraft which is more than can be said for trains. It's a direct flight. I'm less likely to be running late if I take a plane. When my railcard eventually does run out, I can see myself becoming quite familiar with Bristol Airport.