12 December 1997

Welcome in Durham town

FROM the moment I was called "Flower" on my arrival in Durham I felt we were in for a good weekend.

I was joined in this friendly city by almost 30 intrepid travellers intent on enjoying their visit. The weather was kind to us, it was very mild in spite of the fact – or probably because – Id packed my winter woollies on the advice of the television weathermen.

The city which is surrounded on three sides by the River Wear, was home to the Prince Bishops and our history lesson continued while touring the castle which is now home to university students.

I climbed the 325 steps to the top of the cathedral tower and was bemused by the behaviour of fellow tourists – a delightful Moslem family counting the stairs, an American who had to be asked to remove his cap in church and lastly an English skinhead using bad language when he discovered that payment was expected.

Even Saturday evenings crazy card game after a sumptious gala dinner didnt produce anyone pulling a gun on the card sharps from Worc-estershire although some felt the rules were made up as they went along.

The following morning some of the party dragged themselves out of the comfort of the Royal County Hotel for an early Sunday morning walk along the river bank, although others preferred to use the leisure club. Many of us attended a service in the cathedral after which the heavens opened and the rain continued all afternoon. But what could have been more suitable than a visit to the Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle on a gloomy November afternoon?

All too soon this happy-go-lucky break was over – many members and their husbands resolving to meet again in Torquay in January.JH