Durham..a perambulating pilgrimage..

I don’t like going back to the UK…there, I’ve said it. No doubt I’ll get flack for mentioning a dislike for my birth country, but I’ve returned more or less each year of the last sixteen and sadly I am less enamoured on each visit. Living in rural seclusion here probably colours my view, though you can’t disregard the noise, crowds, traffic and general scruffy clutter. If a UK resident came here for six months then returned, I’m sure they’d see my point of view.

We’ll be visiting my Mum in the middle of June. She lives near Durham, a city which will always remain close to my heart, both for it’s intrinsic charm and beauty and it’s links to the mining industry and therefore my heritage as both my grandfathers were coalface workers.

Susie first saw Durham a couple of years ago. She was awed by the cathedral, fascinated by the Oriental Museum and we expanded our stomachs at Bells fish and chips in Durham Market Place. Durham is an easy city to get round, as long as you like walking up hills. There are plenty of places to eat and drink, after all it has a large student body to feed, water and keep amused.

This year we hope to get further afield, Fountains Abbey and Beamish are on the list but both being largely open air will be weather dependent. Pushing an 88 year old lady round in a wheelchair in the rain is neither fun for the passenger or driver (though Mum may have an electric scooter at Fountains).

Perambulating (walking slowly or strolling) round Durham is not a chore, in fact it can be distinctly pleasurable, as long as you avoid other pedestrians with their heads and ears attached to mobile devices. Is it a pilgrimage? In the strict sense no. It is however something I feel a need to do, to reconnect with my roots so to speak…..as long as it’s only once a year…..

2 thoughts on “Durham..a perambulating pilgrimage..

  1. margaret21

    No, I don’t agree actually. The part of the UK you once called home compares quite strongly with the part of France where Susie and I lived. All the negatives you observe apply to both areas. I do miss France a lot and love many aspects of life there, but positives can be found here too. Although post the Brexit vote, there’s an increasing amount to despair of too.And after the election there may be even more.


    • Pete Fitzgerald

      Maybe I made it too negative. I’ve only experienced the Ariege as a transient tourist (sorry, explorer), probably too briefly and wearing heavily rose tinted spectacles to notice the negatives. I was really comparing this area of largely untouched rural France to England in general, perhaps unfairly. Having to sit in queues of traffic on motorways certainly taints ones views..


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