We were awake by 7:30am and out the door by around 8:30am, briefly bumping into Peggy and Marge in the process. We decided to skip the full English breakfast today in favor of going to Pret…cuz we could, LOL! (oh, and since 2 sets of people have asked, “LOL” means “Laugh Out Loud”, not “Lots Of Love”. Both Joe and I thought it was very funny and sort of cute that BOTH sets of people thought it meant the same, albeit erroneous thing, LOL!) (also, for those of you who have followed my travel blogs for a few years, yes, Pret trumps Starbucks. Starbucks is awesome because it’s consistently “normal, decent” coffee anywhere in the world but Pret, besides also having decent – and organic! – coffee, is a novelty, LOL!) (See, there’s that “LOL” again!)

We went back to the hotel and, after a quick stop at the room, met everyone down in the lobby. John showed up a few minutes after and we shared stories of what we had all done yesterday. Caroline arrived a little while later and once we had rough directions for everywhere we were going, we were on our way, with Joe, Steve, Carol and I in Caroline’s car and Peggy, Marcia, Barb and Marge in John’s.

The plan was for all of us to go together with one car following the other, but with John’s lead foot, his car was out of sight literally at the first red light that we hit (he made it through while it was still green), LOL! We didn’t see them again for HOURS…

Our plan was to go to Whitby, to eat fish & chips at the Magpie but with a quick stop at a small town called Goathland to see where the scenes at the Hogwarts train station scenes have been filmed in the Harry Potter movies. The town was on the way but a little off the beaten path so we used Caroline’s GPS and Joe’s written instructions, as well as a map to eventually find it, going past a theme park called Flamingoland (!!!) in the process.

Goathland Train Station

As seen in the Harry Potter movies

We arrived in Goathland and, after trying to call John several times to find out where they all were (it turned out his phone was dead), we eventually found a place to park the car and check out the train station – it was built in 1836 and is still in operation. It satisfied the Harry Potter geekdom within us…thanks to everyone for going along!

We continued on the road to Whitby, which was only about 15 or 20 minutes past Goathland, passing acre upon acre of England’s green and pleasant land on the way.. We still didn’t know where John & Co. were, or what time they planned to go to the Magpie, so Caroline suggested that we visit Whitby Abbey. I had gone there last year, but Joe, Carol and Steve hadn’t. Plus I had REALLY enjoyed visiting it, so it was a win-win for everyone. It was around 1pm by this time and Caroline dropped us off because she had been there many times and wanted to try to find John, plus I think get some shopping done in the town. So with plans for her to pick us up at 2:30pm, the 4 of us were on our own.

The Abbey hasn’t changed much in the past 7 months…it seems to happen that way with building ruins that are several hundred years old, LOL! It still made for some really cool pictures, though.

Whitby as seen from the Abbey

We were done by 2:10ish and Caroline arrived a few minutes before 2:30pm. She said she had found John & the other ladies at a pub called The Pier near the Magpie and they would wait for us until we arrived. So off to The Pier we went. A pint later, we queued up at the Magpie.

We were only on line for 10 minutes or so, when they were able to give us a table of 4 (Barb, Marcia, Caroline and Peggy) and 6 (Me, Joe, Marge, John, Carol and Steve) right next to each other. Most of us got the Haddock and Chips, although Steve and Marcia got hamburgers. Joe got mushy peas, which seemed to make John’s day (he did his little excited wiggle, LOL!), which got even better when he (and I) liked them! The food was, of course, wonderful.

The von Trapp Elevator Singers?

Haddock & Chips, Mushy peas and a pint (or more?!) of Newcastle

St. Bartholomew's

Sing Live Northern had a rehearsal for their upcoming Gospel concert tonight so we agreed, under John’s suggestion, to be “international pod hoppers.” So from Whitby back to Leeds we went (I slept for most of this leg of the journey). The rehearsal was to be held at St. Bartholomew’s, which was the same church where we had gone to RAH rehearsals in Leeds last year. I was pleasantly surprised to see Nancy (we had met on the Alaskan cruise last year) and a few other familiar faces and everyone was very nice and seemed very happy to see us. One sweet lady reminded us to get cushions from the corner to put on our seats so we wouldn’t get “bum ache”, LOL!

Before the rehearsal began, Caroline gave us our packages that contained our Night of 1000 Voices shirts (the logo is once again not embroidered, but does look quite nice, with a picture of RAH), our train tickets to get us to London on Thursday, information on our seating in the concert, etc. My shirt was indeed shortened (THANK-YOU, LARAINE!). Joe didn’t get his shirt though…I don’t know the whole story but apparently it somehow got left at John’s parents’ house. So I believe Caroline is going to pick it up and bring it with her to London. We also had the opportunity to buy some Sing Live logo “stuff” – mainly little stuff like lanyards, mugs, keychains, etc. I bought a few things – not much, though. I’m holding out until Sing Live “stuff” is available from the Sing Live USA website.

Anyway, so we rehearsed the Gospel concert. The vocal coach was Laura, who I was told, usually works with Sing Live Northeast – her approach reminded me of Dirk’s, which is always a good thing. The “pod coordinator”, Jane, introduced us and asked us to stand up. I AM standing up! I sat with Nancy (also a 2nd soprano) so I had access to the sheet music. Fortunately for me, who (not surprisingly) knows few gospel songs, I actually was familiar with 2 of the 3 songs we did (“Joyful Joyful” and “Amazing Grace”). I didn’t necessarily know them well, but well enough to actually follow along. “Something Inside So Strong” was totally foreign to me though, so I was more of a listener for that one. Anyway, religious aspects set aside, the songs were arranged beautifully and although it was still early in their rehearsals for the concert (it’s not until June 19th), I could see how the harmonies are going to be awesome by the time June rolls around and it all comes together. John took some time around the break to say hi to everyone in that pod, and spoke about us being here and how, if any of them are on vacation on the States, that they could come visit our pods in Orlando or Tampa. I chimed in and oh-so-helpfully reminded John in front of everyone that they call it “holiday” here, not “vacation”, LOLOL! Wise ass? Me? Never!

Back of Joe's head (brown shirt) while Laura conducted us

Laura conducting in her slippers!

John was going to bring “the ladies” back to the hotel but Caroline lived in the other direction so instead of her driving us “home” and then all the way back to her house, Carol and Steve got a ride from a gentleman named Derek, while a man named Colin volunteered to take Joe and I back. Alan was very nice – a founding member of Sing Live, no less. We made small talk in the car, about the volcano, performing at RAH, etc. He dropped us off near our hotel (not “at” it – with all of the one-way streets it’s apparently VERY difficult to get exactly TO our hotel…but Joe and I had walked around enough by this time that we could find our way from a few landmarks. As it turned out, he coincidentally dropped us off across the street from the restaurant we had gone to last night) and, after a quick stop at the Tesco Metro (think 7-Eleven) to get Joe a sandwich, we were back at our hotel within 5 minutes.