"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese

Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tales From the Trip: #6 Time of Tide Waits for No Man

Blighty's Blog recently spent a fortnight in the United Queendom. We came back with some great "tales from the trip". Here's another one.

At the insistence of SWMBO (She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed), a family reunion in the north-east of England was punctuated by a trip even further north to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne just off the Northumberland coast near the Scottish border.

Celtics 1 Vikings 1
SWMBO wanted to immerse herself in the Celtic culture celebrated on the Island. I was drawn there by another instinct. Over a thousand years ago, my ancestors crossed the North Sea in small boats intent on rape, pillage and plunder.

Rape, Pillage & Plunder
The Vikings made their first British landing on Lindisfarne. They proceeded to import their own unique stlye of brutal nordic tourism up and down the east coast of England, establishing a Viking presence in Britain that lasted several hundred years.

Twice a Day
Lindisfarne is actually only a true island twice a day. It is connected to the mainland of Northumberland by a three mile long causeway. At low tide, hundreds of cars pour onto the island to soak up its ancient culture and visit its historic priory and castle.

Pay Attention!
There is an ancient English phrase "time and tide wait for no man". No one knows the origin of the phrase but visitors to Lindisfarne should pay particular attention to it. If you are planning on crossing the causeway, never ignore the fact that the time of the local North Sea tide really doesn't wait for anybody.

Saved From a Watery Grave
Every year a few foolhardy tourists seem to want to find out whether their cars are amphibious. They usually become clients of the Royal Air Force whose helicopters, based at nearby RAF Boulmer, pluck them from the crude and uninviting rescue towers along the causeway.

The tidal currents are very strong and, even though the RAF or the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute) may be able to rescue the foolhardy, their cars remain at the unforgiving mercy of the North Sea.

Rush Hour
Tide tables are available online and safe crossing times are posted at each end of the causeway. But here's a tip from Blighty's Blog: if you wait until the latest possible safe crossing time you may be competing with hundreds of other cars trying to squeeze a few extra minutes on the island.

And whatever you do, don't run out of petrol on the causeway!

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