Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

Frankenstein Sundae, 252

More about my 1999 visit to Newstead Abbey, the home of Lord Byron...

On April 17, 1999, I was in London in the second week of my Mary-Shelley adventures in England, Wales, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy (not actually in that order, of course), and I had planned an early morning train ride to Newstead, where I hoped to tour the Abbey, former home of Lord Byron. But it was a Saturday, and I discovered, to my dismay, that the home did not open to the public until noon. I could not stay that long. (Miles to go before I slept. I was going to leave for the continent the next day.) But I also learned that I could walk the grounds and take all the (exterior) photographs I wanted to.
The little train that runs from Nottingham to Newstead—only about a dozen miles—was called the “Robin Hood Line,” a name that delighted me because I’d loved Robin Hood stories my whole boyhood. I read books (Howard Pyle!), saw the films, loved the TV series with Richard Greene (The Adventures of Robin Hood, CBS, 1955–1960)—and even into my junior high years I had run around the woods near our home in Hiram, Ohio, imagining I was R. Hood on a mission to rescue Maid Marian (who would reward me with … what? I wasn’t all that sure in those days) or in flight from the Sheriff of Nottingham. And now I was in Nottingham, though I saw no Sheriff. Or Robin Hood, for that matter. I kind of—no, I really wanted to.
Off the train in Newstead, I saw a sign that said “Newstead Abbey, 4 miles.” There was nothing at the station but a small place to get on and off the train (not a true station) and a weathered hotel. No sign of any cabs or buses. So … I could either walk four miles each way. Or be a wimp and not see Newstead Abbey.
So off I went on a brisk morning walk.
Newstead (near train stop)
hotel near Newstead train stop

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