F 1 D 0 -- 02 05 26 at 11 45 Backaches. I have had a few of them. Before actually arriving in Manchester, I was succombed to something in my middle back, where there was a spasm like a knife in my ribs. Normally we think of a back ache affecting action, but mine affected how I slept, and how I was able to use my right arm. In Thunder Bay, I brought on the spasm by slicing onions. I'm serious. Nothing harder than that. I was so overcome by the pain that walking was a chore. Here in UK, at Manchester airport, I did myself in by putting down two styrofoam coffee cups. Again, it was not heavy duty work that made the difference, but a certain pose. I will beat this pain, somehow. But until I do, I'm slower than I like to be. I have a bad knee, and that goes bad. Not by running and jumping, but when I'm at rest, a certain imperceptible motion will make the knee jump the track, and then I'll be fidgity and irritated until I can get it back in place, hopefully before I have to use it. My knee goes with a loud click. Here in Great Ayton, we have been experimenting with how to sleep. The house is *amazing*. It isn't the old fashioned kind of cottage that people oooh and aaah for. Instead it is all on one level, with three bedrooms, a den, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen. It has a back yard complete with a glass shed, ready to become a green house. There is a large garage here, full of things in storage; that's a lie. Nothing here is Full of anything, but it has some stuff in it. The bed in the master bedroom is fine, but came with a very very soft 3/4 double bed. This bed is ideal for someone who likes the bed to them selves, and wants extra room. Also for someone who needs soft rather than a hard bed. I figure that I'm a tuff guy, so I separated the 3/4 bed into box spring, and mattress. I slept on that. I can't say it was a good idea. It had some very soft spots, some very hard wooden beams, and some persistent springs. So much for bright ideas. Two nights ago, we switched the box spring for a single mattress from the next room. I think this is satisfactory. I'm still waking up with back ache, but I'm sleeping in between. The new ache is not a spasm at all. I feel unable to turn my head. It has a preferred place: looking forward. Trying to look (say) left without turning most of me in that direction causes a warning pain. Interesting, that's as bad as this new ache gets. Warning pain. I was soooo certain I'd packed the Entrophen. That is a pill with Robaxacol in it. I've had good luck with it in the past. They team it up with aspirin (Robaxasol), tylenol (Robaxacet), or motrin (Robaxaprophen). Anyway, I can't find them. They don't put me to sleep, but stop the spasm pains, and the warning pains, without dulling anything else. I'm wearing a canvas bag full of Marrowroot Peas. It was hard for us to find some kind raw bean! It isn't hard to make this kind of bag, if you can find the goodies. Put about a pound of beans into a canvas bag, and nuke it in the microwave until it is very warm. If you've never done it before, then check every 30 seconds. If you have, then you already know how long it takes for your unit to warm but not fry the poor bag. We managed toasting (literally) a towel. Ann made me a warm towel, and it now has these burn holes. It happens, all too easily. Things are smaller here than elsewhere. So Great Ayton isn't a big place, but it is bigger than Little Ayton, which is nearby. Both seem to be villages. Great Ayton has it's main street right next to a stream or river. There are a few cafes here, a pub or so, a library, a couple of food places. There is a bakery here, a bike shop, a bank, a pizza place, and more too. Little Ayton has about a dozen buildings. One is a farm, another is Ann's brother John's place. So let me try to remember the places I've seen. Yesterday Ann had stuff to do in Stokesley. That's a nice town with a lot of town square stuff in it. Like a main street organized around a parking lot. After that, we found our way to John + Inez, where we did a walk. There were some bright bluebells they wanted us to see in the forest. When we got there, John was sad by how the season is winding up, and how they're just not as bright as a week ago. We got to the forest by following the signs to Faceby, and walking along side a farm until we got to a yellow arrow, suggesting a foot path. The day before, we went to Whitby. It is a seaside town, full of boats and small stores. I'm told in the summer, the streets are full of people ready to buy candy floss and be good tourists. And the shops are ready to comply offering them postcards and souvenirs. Whitby is twinned with Whitby, Ontario in Canada. I wish I understood what that really means. But the sign said so. If you don't mind climbing 200 steps, you can visit the Abbey there. It is just a shell, really. It was robbed hundreds of years ago, when England waged war against its churches. But the real destruction happened during World War 2, when Germany bombed it. So we have these pretty walls, with grass on both sides. Many new buildings, including a new church, a new meeting hall, a new stone garden, have been erected in a traditional style. So they look old. It is hard to describe to you how high this place is. So just take my word for it. You have to really climb up to get there. We did fish and chips in Whitby. We wanted to eat at Haddie's place, but they closed just as we decided it was time. The place across the street wasn't as famous, but did fine. We found a bench in the harbour that still had some sunshine on it (That took some hunting). The pidgeons got my attention. Oh, there were seagulls and something like a magpie, and some small birdies. It was the pidgeons who could be trained to take food from my fingers. By the time I finished eating all the fries I wanted, I dropped many of them on the ground for the birds. But the pidgeons I'd been hand feeding preferred taking them from my fingers. They had the happy look of a fed bird, with soft french fry all over their beaks. Ooop, maybe they're called Chips here. But you know what I mean. The day before that we drove through the moors. In particular, our trip was in the North York Moors. This is a national park, protected by the government. It is a very big place, with 25000 people living there. The history of the moors is long. Perhaps 1500 years ago, it was all forest. The people living there didn't write any history, but cut down many of the trees. Say 800 years ago, the monks moved in, seeking quiet. They also found a place where they could farm sheep, making money by selling the wool. Around 400 years ago, lords owned the land, and rented it out to people who farmed it as payment. This created windy roads which led from the places they worked to the place they were allowed to live. And now? Now we see very winding roads between isolated small villages. Farms spot the moor. Sheep are sometimes on the farm, sometimes just running freely in the moor. The road in the moor is very narrow. It is wide enough for Exactly Two Cars, but not their rear view mirrors. If the roads were straight, this would not be any problem at all. But the path is exceptionally twisty, with sudden blind spots and narrow bridges. I figure the road is best taken at 20mph, but everyone goes much faster. I found myself jumping in my seat each time a car passed us. I mean that. Dancing happens here, but we may not be able to connect with it for another week yet. We got a hold of a contact just after having missed the weekly dance. We'll be going to Exeter on Monday, which has some kind of stuff, I'm sure, but I've not found out exactly where yet. Foreign Correspondents: Congratulations on your new camera! I like the bunny. There are lots of them here, but they don't commune with people the way the ducks and the pidgeons are happy to. I spent long time walking in the moors trying to talk to some sheep during our Moor visit, but the sheep were determined. I could only get about 20 feet from them, and then they'd start to run. But if I stayed inside the car, they'd stay happily in the middle of the road, leaving in their own good time. Also: the laptop computer is working, but for some reason, I'm not hearing a dial tone when plugging into the telephone line. I have a free internet CD here, for FreeServe.com and it INSISTED on installing MSIE version 6. And a new media player, and and and. Grrrr. All I wanted was for it to connect to the host, and take me to a sign up page. But after it installed all of this stuff, it didn't actually connect to the host. It has to dial the English Equivalent of a 1-800 number, so it can get me a local dialling number. My problem is that the phone is different, at least a little bit. I'm not getting a dial tone. When I use the handset connection, I get tone, but it won't actually dial. When I handdial, it hears the modem training tones, but doesn't grip them, so they get tired of singing, and hang up. So this journal is being written on diskette, and I'll go to John's place and upload it from there. Today I'll go get the bicycle John has fixed up for me to use. Today is the day to ride it, because we are out of the area for a week after that. That's all I know.