Famous Alaska saying: Sometimes you catch the bear, sometimes the bear catches you.
Today we had what might charitably be called a stand-off.
For our final sightseeing day, we thought we'd travel to Stanhope, where some family members had been miners two hundred years ago. We figured we'd The Bishop's Castle walk to the bus station and grab a bus to Stanhope.
The Bus office was closed on Sunday, and oddly enough, all the posted schedules were for Monday through Saturday. We asked a driver. "I don't go there, you'd better ask another driver." We thought perhaps we could change at Crook, so we asked the driver of the bus to Crook. He thought a bit. "Change at Bishop Auckland."
We don't know why we didn't ask the driver of the bus to Bishop Auckland, we just bought our two return tickets for eight-pounds-sixty total and enjoyed the ride over the Durham hills to Bishop Auckland. So then, as we debarked in Bishop Auckland, we did inquire. First we asked where we'd board the return bus to Durham, then where we'd catch the bus to Stanhope.
He thought a bit. "Change at Crook." We tried to keep a straight face, and said that after all we thought we'd just walk around Bishop Auckland a bit. "See the castle," he advised us. It had just stopped raining hard, and the sidewalks were still wet.
The castle, being the residence of the archbishop, who has work to do on Sunday, was closed for the day. We could walk through his 800-acre estate, Bishop Auckland Town Hall if we wished, and we started out to see the deer, but these were wild deer, not tame ones, and had long since disappeared into the woods to avoid people like us. Besides the grasses were quite wet. We could hear the bear growling.
We took pictures of the castle. It isn't the bishop of Auckland at all, but rather the palace of the archbishop of Durham who, at some time in the past, found the higher and hillier surroundings at Auckland better for his health, so it's said.
We had ancestors who dwelt in Bishop Auckland, but it was hard to imagine where; they were coal miners, and no doubt lived in miners' cottages near the collieries. Modern Bishop Auckland seemed to contain mostly newer buildings. We walked up and down the shopping streets, admired the new shopping center under construction, and boarded the next bus back.
As it turned out, we reached our cottage just before the rain began in earnest, with thunder and lightning. So we turned on the furnace and got out the computer games and decided to declare victory, as we were not caught out in the country in Stanhope in a blinding rainstorm! So perhaps we caught the bear, today, after all.