Jim & Jane have been excellent hosts during our stay in Solihull. It’s been great to visit all the sites with two fabulous tour guides. Jane worked Wednesday morning but joined the rest of the gang for a driving tour to Stow-On-The-Wold in the afternoon. Stow-On-The-Wold, at 750 ft is the highest Cotswold town, “where the wind blows cold” according to an old rhyme, is the meeting place of eight roads. The broad market square, with it’s restored stone market cross, is flanked by fine stone houses and shops. We wandered into St Edwards church to look at the wonderful stained glass windows. Afterwards, we enjoyed a nice supper at the Boat Inn. The service was a little slow because they were very busy but the food was pretty good. A pint of Guinness went down well while we waited.
Thursday morning they dropped us at Thrifty Car Rental in Birmingham to pick up our rental vehicle. We had reserved a VW Passat for Noon but the clerk apologized and said they did not have a Passat available, but we could have a VW Golf instead for the same rate. There is quite a size difference between the two models and the Golf was simply too small for our needs. Instead, we managed to get a Ford Modeo, the same car Jim has, which has plenty of room for 5 passengers. The annoying part was the clerk trying to pull a quick on us by giving us a smaller car for the same amount of money. I could have booked a Golf online for less money initially if I had wanted one, so there was simply no way I was going to pay more for it at time of pick up. We were on our way to FIley before 1 pm. Traffic was slow on the Motorway around Birmingham but thinned out nicely until we reached Goole in the northeast and it was slow going all the way into Filey from there.
Friday we walked all over Filey in the afternoon. We watched the royal wedding on tv in the morning. The town was alive with celebrations with lots of street and block parties in honor of the marriage of Prince William and Catharine Middleton. I believe they will both be known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
I managed to find a UK pay as you go sim card for my iPhone 4 with O2 mobile while in Birmingham. The card only cost £10 and also comes with 500 MB of data. I was supposed to work with my iPad 2 as well but it doesn’t. I spent some time calling O2 about that and they are certain there is no way to make the sim card work with my iPad 2. Saturday, we took the car into Scarborough and after checking with Orange and 3Mobile for an ipad solution, we finally managed to find a Vodafone pay as you go sim card designed specifically for the iPad, that is data only, no voice. For £5 you get 250 MB of data only which can be topped up online with a credit card. I didn’t want to use my credit card to pay for any add on, so I just bought a second sim card. The install was extremely simple. Open the sim card slot on the iPad and stick it in. The instructions received with the card are dead simple to use and with a couple of bits of fine tuning in the cell data area of the iPad, we were away. If only Canada and the USA would have pay as you go data plans for travelers. Last time I checked in Canada, all data plans were available under contract only. These pay as you go cards are wonderful and a godsend for visitors who do not need or want to enter any long term contracts.
So my iPad is functioning properly again and all is well with the world. I’m writing this blog entry with Blogsy and am hoping it will post without too much difficulty. We are looking forward to seeing Lindsay & Casey in a few days. The weather has been wonderful with hardly any rain since we arrived in England. All of today’s photos were taken with my iPhone 4 and uploaded to Flickr before being linked to this entry.