Andrew and I walked to Goldhawk Rd. Station to catch the Hammersmith and City tube line to Euston Square where we had to catch our train to Carlisle. Our train departed at 10:30am and we timed it perfectly having 10 minutes spare. The journey lasted 3 hours and 20 minutes so we arrived in Carlisle at 1:50pm and we only had to wait for 10 minutes until Anne and Richard's train turned up. We spotted them on the platform and we all headed out the front of the station to wait for Amy Balfour (Andrew's second cousins' wife) to collect us from the station. Amy is originally from Australia but married a Scotsman (David Balfour) and they live in Gretna where we will be staying for the weekend. Andrew and I are staying with Amy and David and Anne and Richard with Marion (David's mother) who lives in the same street as does Amos who is Anne's Uncle. It took us about 15 minutes to get to Gretna from Carlisle and when we arrived Marion had lunch ready for us so we were very warmly welcomed. Amy and David are so lovely and hospitable and I just knew straight away that it was going to be an easy, stress free and truly fabulous weekend.
After lunch at Marion's we all headed off in two cars to see Hadrian's Wall which was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain and was the most heavily fortified border in the Empire. In addition to its role as a military fortification, it is thought that many of the gates through the wall would have served as customs posts to allow trade and levy taxation. A significant portion of the wall still exists, having been rescued in the 19th century and it is a World Heritage site that is described as "the most important monument built by the Romans in Britain". We had a walk along part of the remains of the wall and it was incredible to see.
We then went back to Carlisle to visit the house and street where Anne grew up before the family moved to New Zealand. We also visited Anne's brother Stuart's gravestone in the cemetery her Grandparents were buried as well. Anne's brother Stuart died at the age of 6 in a tragic accident crossing a road so as you can imagine this was a very sad situation for her and the family but it was important that she visited his gravestone while she was here. Although this was a somber experience it was special and meant a lot to Anne.
We all had dinner at Amy and David's place which was an amazing banquet of Thai/Indian inspired dishes that Amy whipped up for us. Simply superb! We had a lovely evening! Bring on the weekend ahead!