York instead, England's "second" cathedral city. Because it is much nearer and to suit the availability of cheap fares we left rather later than we often do and returned rather earlier, having our dinner together in central Stamford instead of choosing a restaurant somewhere on the way back.
Through the trip updates were posted on the Twitter account twitter.com/mwtrips so that we could be followed by those not with us: perhaps more will come next time!
We met at Stamford station and, each with our tickets, boarded the train for Peterborough where we had a little while before our connection to York.
Because of the changes to the timetable necessitated by the works which caused us to abandon our plan to travel to Canterbury, our train was actually starting from Peterborough so we did not have to wait long for it, just long enough for the cleaning team to do a quick run through and then we could board and chat to each other in our places as we waited to go: the crew had just got the seat reservation cards in place as we arrived to take our seats. Six of us travelling First Class meant that we could easily sit together in a group, two one side of the aisle and four the other; a civilised way to travel together.
Saturday's First Class catering is not as high a standard as on weekdays but was pleasant enough. We were served the weekend breakfast menu: fruit juice, croissant, muesli yogurt, coffee. Very nice. One member of the party had also brought some chocolate along which we shared after breakfast, just before arriving in York.
Most of the party went straight to the Minster first and spend an hour or so there, then some of us walked a section of the city wall, some of us meeting at The Maltings, a Black Sheep pub not far from the station, at lunch time, and then going on to the National Railway Museum for the rest of the afternoon. Regrettably our schedule did not allow attendance at worship at the Minster but some of the party caught the regular daytime prayers.
We reconvened at the station to catch our train back to Peterborough and again travelled together in our reserved seats, this time enjoying the "all day" menu of tea, sandwiches and cake, well-suited to this time of day ... and it was as well that we'd booked supper in Stamford rather than Peterborough as this gave a chance to recover our appetite before the next meal! There may be no cooked meals on East Coast First Class at weekends, but they do not let you go hungry! And I was able to update the church website using the free wifi connection - a job I do from my desk most Saturdays!
And so to our connection for Stamford, for some of us via the bar of the Great Northern Hotel which makes a convenient waiting room: our East Coast train was very early getting to Peterborough, so there was longer to wait for the Stamford train. A pleasant stroll across the meadows where we were greeted at Melbourn Bros for supper by our landlord Mark, and homeward at the end of a pleasant day out.