We’re in Sunderland — a city in northeastern England. We arrived at Heathrow around 11 am and promptly got a plane to Newcastle.
We’ve rented a car since we’ll be doing a good amount of moving around throughout England. Oddly, they just give you the keys and within seconds you’re on a major motorway, driving on the opposite side of the road filled with these crazy things called “roundabouts,” and running on about 2 hours of sleep. One scraped hubcap and 2 holy-crap moments later, we really got the hang of it! They really should have a small driver’s training course at the airport for American drivers.
My mom was from Sunderland, where she lived until her early 20s when she joined Pan Am as a stewardess. I spent a good amount of time in Sunderland as a little girl; we would come over to England during the summers when I was very small, but it’s been about 15 years since I spent any significant time in the area. My uncle (my mom’s brother), aunt and cousin live in Peterlee, about 15 minutes or so from Sunderland. Dave never met my mom so I thought it’d be fun for him to see where she grew up and meet her brother.
Sunderland has seen a lot of renovation over the years. When my mom grew up here, it was primarily an industrial area, and they were dealing with rationing and bombings from World War II. My grandpa was a coal miner, and my nana raised three children — my mom and her two younger brothers. There were actually four boys total but two died in infancy.
As expected, Sunderland sees its fair share of rain and its raining now. But, it’s right on the coast and I love a gloomy ocean. We’re staying at the Marriott Sunderland. Resting up tonight — and seeing the family tomorrow!
Our dogsitter’s flash on his camera phone is broken — he’s in college; it’s easy to drop your phone when you’re holding 4 solo cups! — so his proof-of-life photos are not stellar thus far. So we’ll leave you with this…