A TRAIN TRIP AROUND THE UK, DIARY 1990,

Part Two: Days 2-3 (Hythe to York, via East Anglia)

August-September 1990

(Edited and adapted, January 2019 & June 2020)

Norwich Market Place (From my sketchbook/Diary)
 Day 2, THURSDAY30/08/1990HYTHE – IPSWICH – NORWICH

Hythe to Ipswich via London Charing Cross and Liverpool Street Mainline Stations: This journey, according to my dairy, went relatively smoothly, no incidents of note except that the train from Kent to London was ten minutes late.

Ipswich: My main reason for visiting the town was the ‘Wills and Faber’ building, designed by one of my architectural heroes, Norman Foster.  The building was very impressive on the outside, but I wasn’t allowed in.  Probably because it was a private firm (or possibly they didn’t want me to see any dodgy dealings that might have been going on!).

On the whole, the architecture was interesting particularly the ‘Tower Ram’ shopping centre which had some nice sexy details.  There was plenty of Tudor timber framing (real or fake), as well as some more modern buildings in the town centre.  However, I couldn’t find any green spaces to sit and have my lunch.  So it was a case of sitting on a bench on the main high street.

Ipswich to Norwich: After arriving by train at Norwich I had a long way to walk to the bus depot, then I had to wait for ages for my bus until, typically, three came along at the same time.  As I had a heavy rucksack on my back, this experience wasn’t the best.  After getting off the bus, the first time I asked for directions to the Youth Hostel I was completely ignored, but a second person was able to help.

Norwich Youth Hostel: The hostel was in a nice building, it was very clean and was run by an Aussie guy and a very attractive woman.  The food was good, pizza and jacket potato with coleslaw.  There weren’t many people in the hostel, some guys, and a group of women who were into ‘New Kids On the Block’ watching them on ‘Top of the Pops’.  From my notes, I didn’t think there was much chance of getting warm and cosy with anyone other than myself.

 Day 3, FRIDAY31/08/1990NORWICH – YORK

Norwich Youth Hostel: The showers were lovely and warm in the hostel.  No notes about breakfast, so I conclude it must have been ok.

Norwich: prior to my trip, I managed to mislay my TSB cashpoint card and no replacement came through before setting off.  This meant that to withdraw cash I needed to go into a TSB branch, write a cheque to myself and show my passport as proof identification.  On this particular day (a Friday), for some reason I wasn’t allowed to make a withdrawal.  This meant that the five pounds I already had on me had to last me make a whole weekend.

Apart from this little inconvenience, the city had a very nice continental feel to it.  There was a great outdoors market, a fantastic highly decorated shopping arcade and an interesting bandstand where I sat and ate my lunch.

Norwich to York via Peterborough: The scenery en route from Norwich was very flat and sparse, somewhere I would like to revisit.

At that time, as with most of my life, I was infatuated with a woman (or two, to be more accurate).  To cut a long story short on Peterborough Station Ithought I saw the boyfriend of one of the women.  I didn’t see her and I’m not quite sure if this was a relief or disappointment.  I got charged sixty pence for a small cup of coffee whilst waiting for my next train; I guess this must have been expensive at the time.

On my journey on to York, I sat opposite a squaddie based at Aldershot Army Base in Hampshire.  She came across as an interesting person as she told me about her life in the army and a story about doing a parachute jump.

I had another long wait at York Station for the bus to the youth hostel.  There were no other incidents of note that evening.

York Youth Hostel: This was very pleasant and clean, and good value for ten pound a night.  I sat and chatted with a South African woman who told me that she was travelling around the United Kingdom for a year.  She was off to Liverpool on the Sunday.  It’s a shame I wasn’t going back to Liverpool for a while as it would have been nice to catch up with her there and listen to some more of her tales from around the UK.

Jarmin Apple, June 2020

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