UK TRIP – DAY 33,34,35

June 25, 2018 Leave a comment

Day 33 was a little quieter as there was no road trip. I am actually thankful as I have not really enjoyed the driving. We spent the morning looking at an online auction, just to get a feel for the process, because as you know we love an auction.

The afternoon we spent wandering around Bath doing a little shopping. We picked up a few presents, but not many so don’t get your hopes up. Just like at home, even touristy items are not made locally, though here they spread it around. We have seen labels for Made in China, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

I think the hills here in Bath are  a bit much for mum, though she soldiers on.

Day 34 we had to take the car back and Horrah, there wasn’t a single scratch. We caught the train to Bristol and did a fair bit of walking, from the train station to the old town. The old town has a permanent market and on Saturday there was also a flea market. A lot of the stuff was the usual made in India stuff, so not that interesting.

A lot out he old part of the town is gone but there is still a medieval church that was part of the original city wall and is in almost original condition. We even got to go into the bell tower.

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Day 34 was the end of our Bath odyssey so on Day 35 we caught a taxi down to the train station and got the train to London. We are staying on the just across the road from the Apollo theatre, but to get there we had to catch the underground from Paddington to Victoria station, which with heavy bags to drag along was not that easy, as Victoria station doesn’t have lifts.

The hotel is very basic, but I wanted something close to the the theatre and near to a station so we could get to Heathrow, except I changed my mind. The Heathrow express would cost us 60 pounds. The bus is only 12 pounds.

We went for a walk when we got here, and the area is a bit dodgy; rubbish on the streets, beggars and homeless people. It’s literally minutes from Victoria station, so very central but nowhere as nice as Fitzrovia where we stayed earlier.

We went looking for a scale as we were afraid our bags were too heavy; we found one if the first shop we looked into which was super lucky. And even better, the bags are way below weight. We could have bought much more, except the bags are full. We really did bring too many clothes.

Only one more day in the UK. I’ll let you know what we get up to.

 

 

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UK TRIP – DAY 32

June 22, 2018 Leave a comment

Today I managed to get the car out of the carport without doing any damage. It’s a scary procedure as the space is rather tight.

Then we headed off for Lacock, a little town only 30 minutes from Bath that is famous for it’s Manor house created from an abbey, taken over when the religious houses were dismantled.

Although the abbey was taken over, much of it was left intact with the new owners building a huge new extension to live in. There is still a lovely courtyard surrounded on three sides by the original covered corridors used by the nuns for quiet contemplation. The other side was demolished for the new house.

The house was at one time owned by the chap who developed the photographic process, and there was a museum in town dedicated to photography.

Lacock is also famous because the town is almost in original condition, with no street signs, no visible power lines or other intrusive elements. Consequently it has been used in numerous movies and TV shows, including Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice.

When we got back to Bath the car had to go back into the garage because there was no street parking; it only took three goes this time, so I am improving. It was still early so I walked down to the post office to send a parcel home containing the overflow of our clothes. We wanted to make room in our bags for the odds and ends we have purchased, but once I got to the post office and they informed me it would cost 98 pounds to send a 5.7kg parcel home, I changed my mind. I then tried mailbox, which specialises in shipping stuff worldwide, but the best price they could offer was 55 pounds.

We will be throwing things out rather than paying that sort of price. And that was the cheap option, going by sea! Disgusting.

Unfortunately that meant I had to shlep the box back up the hill, no small job let me tell you. Of course mum didn’t care; she was ensconced back at the apartment on the couch watching TV. Her foot has good days and bad days.

 

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UK TRIP – DAY 30 AND 31

June 21, 2018 Leave a comment

We had a really full day today. We walked down into the centre of Bath. The Bath Assembly rooms mentioned in many of the Georgette Heyer novels is only about 5-10 minutes walk from were we are staying. You can tour the rooms for free if they haven’t been booked for a function and we were lucky enough tha there was nothing on.

The rooms are impressively large and ornate and you can just imagine what one of the assemblies would have been like with hopeful young ladies congregating in groups or promenading around the rooms, hoping to catch the eye of some eligible gentleman.

Under the assembly rooms is probably one of the finest displays of fashion I have seen. There is 100 items of clothing spanning the 1600s to the present. It was fascinating to see how fashions changed from one decade to another. I wish they had a book of the exhibition because I would have purchased it for Fiona, but unfortunately they didn’t have one. We spent all morning there as they had an audio guide for each of the 100 items.

After a quick lunch in the assembly room cafe, which would have been nothing like what was served back in the day, we moved onto the art gallery. They had a special display of Kaffee Fasset, a well known quilt designer. In the same exhibition there was another artist, Candace Bahouth and she had created a number mosaic items, including mirrors. She used old china, some broken and some intact to create the frame for the mirrors. I think mum was most impressed and I can see some mosaic mirrors in our future.

After the gallery we ended off for the Roman Baths; they were absolutely packed with other tourists. It is very well organised to funnel people through so it didn’t feel too crowded.

It was a lot to get through in one day, but well worth it.

Day 30 was much quieter. We headed down again and this time went into the Abbey. So many churches. So much stained glass.

We wandered around town for a few hours, did a bit of shopping and had lunch at a vegan restaurant, not on purposes of course.

Indian for dinner, a dozen episodes of Antique Road trip, and we are done for the night.

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UK TRIP – DAY 29

June 19, 2018 Leave a comment

We have arrived in Bath. It is much bigger than I was expecting, and very hilly. But more of that later.

We left Hungerford this morning and rather than going directly to Bath we decided to stop at Stourhead house and gardens, another of Roger’s recommendations. I am running out of superlatives for these gardens. This one was created around a man made lake, and when you make your own lake you obviously build four of five follys around the edges, plus a grotto or two. There is a trail around the lake, about 1.2 miles, which was probably a bit too far for mum’s foot once we had added in the house as well.

OMG, this house has the best surviving example of a Georgian Library.

Mum said: I am the one to tell you about the library   Nats eyes literally spun in her head,  I have never seen her so overwhelmed.   She said that she would be happy for the rest of her life if she could work in that library.  She could not stop smiling.  The furniture in there was made by Chippendale the younger and was superb.  Back to nats.

The rest of the house was not up to the standard of the library, but was still amazing. The house is now owned by the National Trust, but when it was handed over, the previous owner made a provision that someone from the Hoare family should be allowed to continue living there, so there is a two room apartment set aside for some lucky Hoare.

We drove past Stonehenge on the way but didn’t stop. We hardly needed to, as it is so close to the road, and it was swarming with people, even on a Monday morning.

The apartment in Bath is so much nicer than Hungerford. The only sticky bit was parking the car. There is a minute garage which I had to back into, after we had unloaded all the bags. It isn’t exactly square to the road and isn’t quite long enough for the car so once I had parked, I had go get out of the passenger side door and we can’t close the garage door. Parking is a real problem here and apparently the traffic is horrendous so we will be hoofing it or taking the bus.

 

 

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UK TRIP – DAY 28

June 18, 2018 Leave a comment

We had a slow start this morning because I wanted to get a load of washing done first and didn’t dare leave the machine going when we weren’t there. Did I mention I hated combo washer/dryers?

Anyway, we went to Avebury, a site with a whole lot to see. First there was a manor house that had been converted for some BBC program so each room was restored to represent a different era from the house’s history. There was a Tudor room, with a magnificent dress displayed in it which had been made totally by hand by methods from the period. It took two years to make and was superb. There was a red velvet under dress with a brown silk overdress, plus all the petticoats with the frame.

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The other rooms were equally as interesting and they put a lot of work into each room. The dining room was made in the Victorian style and had hand painted wallpaper, in the Chinese style. Mum had a lot of fun on the exercise machine.

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The gardens are wonderfully laid out, with a couple of walled gardens.

We then went on a tour of the Avebury standing stones, which like Stonehenge has circles of large standing stones, only it is considerably larger than Stonehenge. There are smal circles inside larger circles inside a huge ditch with the soil mounded on the far side of the ditch. It is from the Neolithic period and of course nobody knows what they were for, but as usual with archaeologists when they don’t know what they are for, they always say it is for religious purposes.

The work involved just in the ditch runs into the millions of man hours, no idea what was involved in moving the stones. Really amazing.

Not far from the stone circles is Silsbury Hill, a huge man made hill. Again, no idea why. Then we drove a few minutes from there to West Kennet long barrow. It was about a 10 minute walk from the road, so mum stayed in the car because she didn’t want to risk her foot. It was another fascinating site and had been used for burials in the Neolithic.

On the way back to Hungerford, we stopped at Littlecock Hotel, which has a complete Roman Mosaic floor in their grounds. I’m afraid mum may be rethinking her plans for the vegetable garden in the back yard now, combining the walled garden and Roman mosaic themes.

Why did the pheasant cross the road? Don’t know, but we saw one on the way back from Littlecock hotel. I dont think I have ever seen a more beautiful bird in the wild.

 

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UK TRIP – DAY 26 AND 27

June 17, 2018 Leave a comment

We said goodbye to Stow on the Wold with some regret. The apartment was charming and well appointed and the town really appealing. The aim was to get to Hungerford, where we have booked three nights as it is a bit of a pain moving every day. On the way, via a short detour, we stopped at Cirencester for an antique fair. Mum picked up a few small items. We then spent quite a bit of time wandering around the town. We liked it a lot, and it would stay there if we ever came here again. There is lots of buildings from different periods squashed in together. Fascinating. The church, St Johns, has parts dated from the 1100’s and has been extensively changed over the centuries. So much history.

We moved on to Hungerford, where we are staying in a modern apartment complex. Probably the worst place we have stayed, definitely needs some updates. Broken toilet seat, missing shelf in fridge, poorly laid carpet, crappy thin towels. Just a bit disappointing. And the beds; so very very uncomfortable. You can feel every spring.

Still, we can cook and wash our clothes, but I just want to say, do NOT buy a combined washer/dryer. We’ve used several of them now and even when there is instructions I haven’t been able to get the drying function to work well. Maybe they never dry properly.

There was another antique fair in Hungerford today, and again mum picked up a few small items. We also scoured all of the antique shops, and there were many, but don’t get your hopes up guys. The really nice stuff is way outside our price range.

We finally had a proper high tea. We wandered into a pub in Hungerford and they served up a delicious high tea. Sandwiches with the crusts cut off, warm and fluffy scones and a selection of delicate little cakes. Yum. We wont have to worry about cooking dinner tonight. Full as a goog.

I think I may have broken mum; her foot is giving her grief, so we took it quiet in the afternoon. We want to keep something in the tank for Bath.

Mum said: She hasn’t broken me yet, dented maybe.

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UK TRIP – DAY 24 AND 25

June 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Below is the view from my bedroom. Mum has a view of the church from her window,

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We have had a quiet time in the Cotswolds. We have been on the move since we arrived and were due a day off.  The village here is delightful. All of the buildings are made of this pale yellowish stone, with slate on the roof. Most of the shops are either antique shops or tea rooms. I think we have been in every one of the antique shops, but didn’t buy anything. Everything seems to have been rather overpriced, but that is probably because we have been looking at auctions online.

The alarm in the apartment went off yesterday, it was extremely loud and piercing. I panicked, thinking there was a fire but it was a problem wiith the shop downstairs. No idea what caused it but probably not a break in, as who would break into a funeral parlour. Maybe someone was breaking out? Actually it’s not that sort of parlour; shop front only – I think.

The church here has parts dating back to the 1200s. One of the doors has trees growing on either side, but they have got so big and were planted so close, they are now incorporated into the building, making it look like something out of lord of the rings.

We haven’t been to any of the tea rooms here, I am a bit disillusioned with the cream teas, but mum did go into the patisserie. The owner was trained in France. The pastry on the French vanilla slice was the nicest I have ever had, but the lemon tart was really really tart.

You can understand why people visit here, the architecture makes you feel like you have stepped back in time, but it probably isn’t as wonderful for the locals. There are a lot of charity shops here and quite a few vacant shops as well.

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