One particular signifier that we are making this trip in the 21st century, rather than the 14th, or indeed the 20th, is the somewhat frightening amount of technology we are carting with us. Each of us has a laptop, a phone, a camera, a Kindle, and all the associated cables, chargers and USB gizmos. And Bob has her DS.
I hasten to state that this is not some sort of boast, but instead a marvel at how travellers in the past might have dealt with some of the problems we have faced without these aides and the internet.
Google maps on both phones and laptops has been invaluable, even if sometimes the suggested walking routes prove odd. Luckily the 3G coverage and service here is good and fast by our previous Australian experiences, and at every town we've felt comfortable just wandering randomly with no concern of getting lost.
The laptops, and to a lesser extent the phones, are critical for finding accommodation and transport: the routes and timetables displayed at the stations assume that the customer already knows the services. A good example of that was the route from Bath to Birmingham today. We had to change trains part way along the route, the first service was described as going to Bristol Temple Meads, and the second as going to Glasgow. Fortunately the train and bus information web sites here are clear, informative, and reasonably easy to use.
The Kindles were initially purchased with a view to using them on the plane, but we both find that we are reading more by reading in smaller spaces, and are very glad to have plenty to read without lugging books around.
The internet provides other blessings and conveniences for us - we are throwing backups of documents onto Dropbox, and sharing materials through that. And we get to talk at you via this medium, and via BookFace and Twitter. But above all of these is Google Maps, even if the user interface is terrible.