Tuesday-Sunday, April 28th-May 3rd / Monday-Wednesday, May 4th-6th / Thurday-Friday, May 7th-8th / Saturday-Sunday, May 9th-10th / Monday-Thursday, May 11th-14th
Thursday May 7, 2009
After a great night's sleep, and a slight flood in the bathroom due to the unusual design of the "shower curtain," we had a great breakfast at our B and B. Mom tried the "vegetarian sausage," which was truly delicious. I had my first (on this trip) English bacon...yum (sorry, Gil!).
Below, our Salisbury Bed and Breakfast, "Byways," on Fowler's Road.
Then we strolled over to the Martins, via our lovely path, to begin our day.
Dennis drove us to the nearby town of Harnham, where we picked up the Town Path through the water meadows outside of Salisbury, at the Old Mill Inn.
The water meadows were an early innovation in scientific agriculture; they involve rivers and ditches to create sheets of water running across the land. This helped preserve grass frost-free year round to feed livestock, even in the dead of winter. The meadows are probably best known from the paintings of the Cathedral by Constable. We enjoyed feeding the ducks at the Old Mill (they gave me two bags of bread at the Inn), the lovely path, and the adorable lambs.
Dennis joined us in Elizabeth Park, and led us into central Salisbury. There are many fine ancient buildings here, many dating from the 14th century and still in commercial use.
Below is a rare example of a "Doom Painting," seen at Sarum St Thomas Church.
The Medieval Poultry Cross (below)
The new, weekly "French Market" in central Salisbury, where French people (more or less) sell French things (more or less) (below)
No, "Madeleine" clones have not arrived in Salisbury, and these adorable moppets (below) are not even French. Barbara informed me they are from a local Girl's School, the Godolphin School (where renowned author Dorothy Sayers went to school). These busy schoolgirls are practicing their French and filling out questionnaires on their adorable clipboards.
For luncheon, the Martins treated us to a unique treat (below) - a 3-course lunch at the local college, where students can complete a 2-year course in culinary studies, including cooking and serving. It was delicious, and fun being part of the educational process.
Onwards to Wilton House, in the nearby town of Wilton. The Earls of Pembroke have lived here for many centuries. We're on the 18th Earl, presently. He is a young and handsome man, and lives with his fiancee in the House. Although we did not meet the Earl (we learned that if we WERE to meet him, the correct title would be "my lord," although I doubt we would be encouraged to speak to him), we did get to see - from afar - his very handsome dog, who looked like a deerhound-ish sort; black and white.
No, that's not the Earl - that's Dennis, in the forecourt!
And that's me (self portrait) by the Palladian Bridge (designed by a talented earlier Earl) on the grounds.
And here's me, taking the above shot (photo courtesy of Awanna)
Why yes, I do believe I could live here....
After an exceptional tour of some of the rooms, Dennis drove us to the adjacent town of Wilton, to see the unique Italian style Church of England, built by an earlier Earl in the 1800's.
Then we enjoyed a quick drive home, through the lovely Wiltshire hills.
After a brief rest back in the B and B, we walked back to the Martin's. I admired this gate along the way.
Dennis and Barbara whipped up a light supper of omelettes, bacon and bread pudding, which we enjoyed while talking about old times. I also talked to Lily in Scotland - it was so good to hear her cheery voice. Gil and I hope to visit Scotland and Lily in the near future.
Well, that rounds out this day.
Becky and Awanna
Friday May 8, 2009
Today was our expedition to Fishbourne Palace, a Roman villa (started first century, A.D.) on the south coast, near Chichester. This was a special treat for me, because the palace figured prominently in a "Falco" detective novel by Lindsey Davis, entitled "A Body in the Bathhouse."
There is much to see at Fishbourne: a museum with many artifacts and informative displays, small theatre, in-situ Roman mosaics, recreated Roman style gardens, and archaeological conservation and storage center.
They've even started to recreate the gardens at the Villa, based on archaeological and horticultural evidence (below).
Below, a model of the complex.
Half way through our visit, we took time out to enjoy the lovely picnic lunch Barbara put together. We found a picnic table sheltered from the wind.
The grassy hill right next to us was too much to resist. We climbed the hill, and Barbara climbed a tree. Then I decided to roll down the hill (something I haven't done since I was a child). Hmmm...very dizzy afterwards, and - as I was rolling and picking up speed down the steep hill - it occurred to me that I was 55 years old and that this sort of activity could lead to lots of bruising. We'll see how I am tomorrow morning! I tried to get Barbara to roll down as well, but she figured that climbing nimbly up the tree was adventure enough.
Dennis took this charming photo of the tree-climbing Barbara!
We headed to the New Forest (and by "new" I mean 1066 and a bit later....it's William the Conqueror's New Forest). The New Forest is filled with free-roaming horses and cattle, which have the right of way (and are not to be fed). Note the new foal lying down on the grass taking a nap.
Our goal (besides avoiding running down the livestock) was the 900 year old All Saints Minstead Church.
The church's lychgate, with oak coffin rest in the middle (below).
Below, kind of makes you want to go to church, doesn't it?
We enjoyed the jumble of architectural styles, including a Saxon font, which was buried in the rector's garden during the Civil War, rediscovered centuries later and reinstalled in Victorian times.
Stern Vicar Awanna (below) (Luckily Mom and I took turns standing in the raised pulpit BEFORE the organist arrived....)
"Steel True, Blade Straight." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, among others, is buried with his second wife Jean in the churchyard. Someone had left a calabash pipe on the tomb, which seemed appropriate.
Barbara and Den have been teaching us to recognize the true English bluebell, which has a curved stem with flowers coming off a single side. Lately, a Spanish version has begun to invade England. It has flowers radiating from all sides of the stalk and is generally more upright. Here, Barbara and I get "up close and personal" with the "real thing." Mom picked one to press in her new Unitarian hymnal.
As we were leaving the church through the lychgate, I decided to give Gil a call, as it should be about 8:00 a.m. back home. Yes indeed, he was just sitting down to breakfast and had just minutes ago checked the Spot website, so he said "Hey, you are in the New Forest." It was so good to hear his voice.
Back on the road to home, and later to dinner in Salisbury. Along the streets of Salisbury near the car, was another fascinating building. It's a movie theatre like no other. It's on the bottom floor of a Medieval merchant's house, complete with elaborate wooden ceiling, chandelier, paneling and fireplace. The people of Salisbury are masters at putting even ancient buildings to work, which is probably how so many of them have been preserved.
Our dinner venue was Wagamama's. Dennis and Barbara had not yet been there, so we decided to try it together, especially since Mom and I had such a good experience back in London. Here we are, having coconut ice cream for dessert.
And here's young Callum, who was having a birthday the next table over. He let me take his photo with his very fancy "Top Gear" cake. For fans of this British show, such as Gil and myself, you will be amused to know that the wording on the side of the cake says "I am the Stig."
Now it's time to repack our suitcases, preparatory to tomorrow's adventure ...renting a car and driving for the next five days - yikes!
Good night, dear friends and family, Becky and Awanna
P.S. Care to see a photo of my "office" at the Byways Bed and Breakfast? Here I am working away. I set the camera on the fireplace mantle and used the self-timer.
Hill...oops! (this one especially cracks me up)
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