Mistress Agnes Threatens to Elope

We move the van the short distance to Englethwaite Hall, a very pleasant wooded site lacking in facilities. Near here reddish sandstone cottages are becoming a feature of the villages. Our journey deliberately included a stop off at motorway services so I could balance my computer in one hand and download 200 emails with the other. We could of course have done this sitting at a table but a) we are too mean to invest in hugely expensive services beverages and b) neither of us had thought to bring money with us out of the car. We also get fuel and supplies at a local supermarket. There is no space to park the caravan so I am delegated to get the shopping while Chris gets the diesel. On the list are toilet rolls. I grab a bargain. This involved purchasing 16 toilet rolls; too late I wonder quite where we are going to store 16 toilet rolls until they are needed.

014 25 July 2014 Blacksmith's room Gretna GreenIn the afternoon we take a trip to Gretna Green, not I hasten to add in order to get married, although we are offered a ‘no need to book’ opportunity to be ‘hand fasted’ for £30. Inevitably the whole thing is ridiculously commercialised but rather like Land’s End, you feel you just have to see it when you are in the area. There are several ‘blacksmith’s shops’ posing as the real thing, though of course clandestine marriages did take place in more than one Gretna location. We have to dodge wedding parties as the complex is now a wedding venue. It is like a conveyor belt and one bridal group, having been marched in accompanied by bagpipes (and these so need to be heard out of doors not inside), are out again in no more than ten minutes. There are also some glaring errors of the most basic kind concerning the history of marriage legislation on display. I grit my teeth and try to ignore these. You can’t blame the locals for cashing in on the gullible tourists and I have to say that the gift shops did avoid the worst of the tourist tat. I guess few visitors are genuinely interested in the history of the place, which is probably just as well. We try out the ‘Courtship Maze’, where couples are supposed to enter by different entrances and see if they meet. I know how mazes work (always take the left hand option in and right hand option out) so I whizz round and even manage to meet Chris in the middle.



One comment on “Mistress Agnes Threatens to Elope

  1. Caro-Claire Wiles says:

    Thanks again for another very interesting read . Lots of adventures going on for you

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