And so farewell to Kerstin, our wonderful host of the past three days. She assured us she would cry all day, which was very flattering. I think she actually went to the beach.

There was a certain amount of shaking-down in the matter of map-reading. I seem to be the appointed driver, nebulous British road rules (and crazy British drivers) notwithstanding. My navigator was apt to get tetchy and use the word ‘fuck’ quite a lot – perhaps it was because he bumped his head on the corner of Kerstin’s overhead window before we left; or perhaps it was because he is still feeling fairly unwell and is sick to death of coughing and all it manifests.

Anyway, it cast a certain pall on our first day of driving. But we settled down, somewhat tetchily on my part as there was a lot of driving to do.  About 6 hours of it.

We eventually found our way out of the spider’s web of Norfolk roads and got onto the A47. My navigator insisted that we deviate into the city of King’s Lynn for a looksee, and against my better judgement I did what I was told. So we wasted quite a lot of time being lost in King’s Lynn, and seeing nothing of interest, and ended up eating our fish & chips lunch (only the fish for me) in a deserted car park.

I eyed off the vacant lot adjacent for its quick-and-discreet pee potential, but decided the better of it. Blackberry bushes on bare bottom was not an appealing thought. Instead we picked ripe blackberries for dessert. We managed to find the A47 again – but not before I had gone around the same roundabout, and passed the same labouring cyclist, three times. I think I might have said ‘fuck’ then too.

It was of course not my fault.

Onto the Lincolnshire plains and memories of Pride & Prejudice and the Lincolnshire regiment – wasn’t it? Anyway, I thought of P&P out of respect. There were more hedgerows, open fields of ripe wheat, potato crops, cabbage crops, Sherwood Forest – all whizzed by in a blur, nary a hill in sight. A wide brown-and-green land.

A special treat was realising that the grey hedge whizzing along beside us was in fact a drystone wall for miles and miles. Drystone walls being my personal specialty I was thrilled. But the road did not encourage or even allow for stopping, so we had to assume we would see more in a place that was more photographer-friendly.

The A47 morphed into the A1 and we knew we were on the right road for Scotland. With a certain amount of tetchiness again, and reading the map wrong and saying “No, don’t go there” so that we nearly missed York altogether, (I’m really going to have to deal with that navigator) we managed to find a motel in the centre of York, and discovered that York’s reputation as a city of wonders is more than justified.

Jane Grieve