Saturday, August 27, 2011

England 1985 - part II

August 12

Brief showers. Sunny, cool.

After breakfast we three took the tube to St. James and walked to Buckinham Palace. Thousands of tourists were already in place 45 minutes before the changing of the guard. Gram was lucky as we found her a bit of wall to sit on within view of the courtyard. It was exactly as seen on TV, only it poured for about five minutes during the ceremony. Went to Fortnum and Masons for lunch and then to Selfridges where I bought my china. John bought shoes at Church’s in Burlington Arcade. Gram is tired. The stores and sidewalks are mobbed. We had supper in our rooms.

August 13

John went to pick up our car and I went to Au Lengies for Gram. The trip out of London was traumatic. Driving is like hari-kari: few signs to guide you. We were okay once out of London, except for mistakes made due to lack of signs. Cambridge in time for tea at Aunties – the best scones we’ve tasted. We did see very little of the town, but hope tomorrow we’ll see the colleges. Our hotel is in St. Ives – quaint little town, lovely old manor house and a fabulous restaurant: Rugeleys. We have to limit our walking with Gram and driving is so difficult we are hampered somewhat. Flowers everywhere in huge pots – mixed bouquets, pinks, purples, reds, whites, climbing roses and gorgeous pink hydrangeas.

August 14

Slope Hall, St. Ives.

Left St. Ives – lovely old town with 15th century arch bridge. Drove to Cambridge, short distance. Visited Trinity, St. John’s, Kings, St. Catherine’s. Lunch at University Center – planned to take a picnic but rain and timing spoiled plan. The bicycles have taken over and it is even hard to cross a street. We wish we had ours with us. Drove to Chipping Campden – 3 ½-hours. Beautiful old wool town. Settled in at Noel Arms and went to a little pub for supper. After supper we walked all over town and early to bed.

August 15

Cool, cloudy. Occasional sun and showers.

Nail Arms – 600 years old. Breakfast at hotel then off to Broadway. Perfect example of the Cotswold Village – lovely! Then to Snowshill. The houses have moss growing on their roofs – saw many thatched roofs. Then to Woodstock and Blenheim Palace. It is magnificent with best art collection we have seen. Many Sargents and Van Dykes and magnificent tapestries. The gardens of over 200 acres were more than we could see, but those close to the palace were great. Lunch in a pub in Woodstock where we shopped before leaving for Oxford. Visited Blackwell Book Store – terrific! Back to Chipping Campden for late dinner.

August 16

Rain and cloudy. Nail Arms – Chipping Campden.

Left chipping Campden for Stratford on Avon. Took bus tour of Shakesepeare’s area including house tour of Anne Hathaways Cottage and Mary Arden’s homestead – mother of William Shakespeare. The tour guides were excellent – spooning some origins: square meal, worth your salt, upper crust butter. Shopped Stratford – disappointed in town, but Elizabethan buildings are charming. Town is a giant tourist trap. Drove to Royal Leamington Spa and found a charming B&B called Adams House Hotel – old manor house restored. Learned that there are 2,000 miles of canals on which you can take canal trips in US. Dinner at Julians on Clement Street – fabulous French food. Julian was so hospitable – glad to have Americans. Salmon steak with hollandaise was unforgettable. Great evening.

August 17

Clear, sunny.

Adam Hotel, 22 Avenue Road, Royal Leamington Spa. Breakfast was a party with everyone giving us directions and help. They love the Americans. Our chef from Julian’s, Julian himself, dropped by before 9 to give us some travel tips. We went to see the Jephson Gardens first and they were fantastic. Then off to Haslingden. Annie was so excited to see her cousin Evelyn and she had tea prepared for us. It is a dark, poor-looking town – many row houses and attached houses, crowded lots. Annie took us on a tour to show us 10 Watson Street, home of John’s Great Grandfather, Ormerod. Then to Bernard’s house, her nephew. Fabulous family –warm. They had a wonderful dinner of steak and mushroom pie, peas and pan-browned potatoes. Chicken soup, apple and sultan pie, fresh fruit: all with double cream!

August 18

Rain. Large breakfast at Bernard and Rosemary’s of sausage, bacon, eggs, etc, before going to the churchyard. On the way we ran into a local parade to memorialize VJ day. The churchyard was old and overgrown and I was afraid of falling into a grave – and it was raining. The names were familiar English N.B names: Warebarton, Heap, Geenewood, etc… Some Ormerods but not the correct ones. We spent the day finding Arsendel Street and Farefield Street where Gram was born and lived. Bernard showed us around Haslingden. It is lovely green hills – no trees on them and the houses are all in the valley – dark stone and brick close together. Took all 13 to Dog Inn for dinner. Lovely view at night from top of hill. Wonderful family – kids Ian (eleven), Sarah (eight) and Stephen (nine).

August 19

Cloudy, cold. David and Sherre Pickup’s home. One of the places we saw yesterday was Mossley – real old mill town cut in side of hill right out of a storybook. Dark depressing little row houses, but not shabby or slummy – well built of dark stone. Mills in valley – huge smoke stacks. Drove through North Wales along coast – breathtaking views. Stopped and walked out steel pile in Llanberis. Found an absolute beautiful B&B in Aber – met gal from Chatham named Hanafer – lives across from Chatham Barn Inn. Knows Ginnie Deals in Cotuit Bay Shores. Dinner at Aber Inn – cute Welsh pub. The B&B is an old rectory dating to 1605 overlooking the ocean.

August 20

Rain – cold, raw. The Rectory – Aber, Wales.

After pleasant, friendly visit at breakfast with Hanafees and Newzoms, we drove to Bangor for boat reservations. Visited Plas Newydd, home of the Earl of Anglesey as we drove to wait for 5:30 ferry to Dublin. It is a magnificent house with a wonderful art collection. The most memorable art by Rex Whistler who was killed in action at age 36 leaving one painting unfinished. His work is very unusual and encompasses stage settings, as well as portraits and costume design, home decoration. Our room has a mural which takes an entire wall. Crossing is rough – John seasick – me too a bit. Jury’s looked good – we felt like refugees on that boat.

August 21

Cloudy. Jury’s Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.

Face cloths and water pressure here are great. Drove through midlands to Tourmakeady. Jurys was great!! The midlands are very flat and not until you get to Mayo is there any scenery, but when you get to Loch Mask it is beautiful. I recognized the boateen and we went up to Nellie's right away. She looks wonderful! Then to Bruge and Paulrich where they had our supper waiting. Everyone dropped by – Bruges’ brother, Paulrick and Ursula. We liked them so much and john power who is a super guy. Everyone was off to Maura Lukes after dinner for drinking and dancing. Irish accordion player and country western – great fun! Even Grammy came!

August 22

Sunny. Paulrick and Bruge Tourmakeady.

First thing was a giant Irish breakfast and juice, cereal and sausage, bacon and eggs, and homemade bread and marmalade. Then John and I donned our Wellingtons and Paulrick took us to the Locke and Annaough. It is so beautiful, it is breathtaking. John and I are tempted to buy a piece of land here.

Then we went off to Factory Store and then to Westport. Saw Don McGiny’s son and shopped for Irish sweaters. Grammy didn’t feel too good so we took it slow. Back to Aunt Nellie's for dinner. Sarah, John, Cahol and Fergle were with is. The baby is darling and Cahol is such fun at 20 months. Dinner of lamb was great! Aunt Nellie’s knee is bad.

August 23

Rainy, cloudy. Annaugh view, Tourmakeady.

After breakfast we had a trip to the factory store, then off to Galway with Gram and Aunt Nellie. The drive is magnificent over the mountains – nothing to compare with it, green hills clotted with white cottages and grazing sheep. It is steep and you come over a hill and there lies a lake down in the valley. The fields are divided by rock walls. As you get close to the ocean it becomes more rocky. Sha sha, Sabrina and Nan were waiting for us. Then Nora Boyle dropped in and out came Paddy’s. After Paddys and 7up we had lunch (more like dinner). They were so happy to see us. The hospitality was overwhelming. Home to supper at Sarah’s: drinks and a fabulous supper. Her house is charming and loved her and John. Great couple. Back to evening with Paulrick, Bruge, Paulrick & Ursula.

August 24

Annaugh View. Sunny!!!

Nellie came over to say goodbye as we left Annaugh View. We were finally able to take a couple pictures. We drove to Ashford Castle about 25 minutes away. It is beautiful and is now a lovely hotel located on Lough Coick. Their gardens are lovely and we enjoyed the beautiful rooms off the lobby all done in magnificent paneling with interesting art – all Irish locations – one of Lough Mask. Quick lunch in Galway at Lydons – lovely pastry shop with tearoom atmosphere. Put Gram on 4:30 flight to Boston for Shannon. Then on to Killarney – beautiful scenery along the way. Weather holding with occasional sprinkles. Dinner at Rooney's – very good. Castle Rosse just OK but fabulous view of Killarney Lake from our room.

August 25

Castle Rosse, Killarney. Rainy, bad, foggy, cool.

Went to mass at the cathedral and nearly froze in church – gray stone, massive church, ceiling must be five stories high. Beautiful, but stark. Killarney is a dirty, honkey tonk town but the weather is lifting so we will do Ring of Kerry. It was spectacular! It took us 8 hours with a side trip to Portmagee near Valencia Island and up to the top of a mountain. Stopped at Waterville for lunch at Smugglers Inn on the beach and another stop at a cozy beach before driving through Killarney Natl. Park on way back, by all the lakes and through a beautiful fern forest. The whale day was one of oohs & ahs. The scenic views are indescribable and more spectacular than any we have seen before in our life. A day to remember. Saw people in swimming clothes.

August 26

Cloudy. Castle Rosse, Killarney.

Breakfast here then to Dublin via N21 and N7. Stopped at Adare for coffee and cakes and a little shopping. It is a quaint town. Arrived Dublin in 5 ½ hours and went to Casper and Gambini's, a pub and restaurant for dinner – very good at reasonable by Killarney standards. After dinner we went to Davey Byrnes pub for Irish coffee – of Ulysses fame – great portrait of Joyce against background of his titles. We met an interesting pair from Australia on their way to walk the Ring of Kerry starting tomorrow. We were able to give them some tips. Back to Egans for an early night as tomorrow we cross the Irish Sea again. Window shopped on Grafton Street and saw Trinity College exterior.

August 27

Sunny off and on.

Egans, 7 Lona Court, Dublin. Old townhouse B&B picked out of Country Inn Book. OK place. Left Egans after breakfast (very light) for the B&I line. Met two girls from Philadelphia, PA at Murrays Rent-a-car and shared a ride to the ferry – also shared our Dramamine. The crossing was smoother than last week and John slept all the way. We drove through Snowdonia Natl. Park in Wales all the way to Shrewsbury. Snowdonia is magnificent and a great holiday place. We stopped late and found a B&B on our route that is undistinguished but very clean and we’re up in the garret. We always get a few laughs from the showers or lack of them or their concessions to the USA tourist. Off to the South. Would love to go back to Batoy – coed in Wales.

August 28

Cloudy, late afternoon sun. Sydney’s Hotel, Shrewsbury's. Drove to Ross ou Wye for lunch and a couple of hours visit. It is a quaint town. Driving through the country was lovely. Stopped at Dartmouth for the night – the most beautiful harbor protected on all sides by mountains clotted with homes. The Royal Naval Academy is here and this is the royal regatta weekend. Tonight we stopped for supper at the Royal Castle Hotel and met a wonderful local couple, Douglas and Brenda Roberts. We are going to their home tomorrow. This is the harbor the pilgrims started their voyage to America from. A castle stands at the entrance to the ocean. At night it is glorious. A frigette is in the harbor and many small yachts with lights and the homes dotting the hillside. Fabulous!!

August 29

Cloudy. Cownstol Farm Guests. Dartmouth, England.

We are torn as we’ve been invited to a private tour of the Naval Academy and the 9 red arrows are performing here on Friday, but we’re going to move on to see this coast after visiting the Roberts this morning. This is a dream harbor at the mouth of the Dart River. The people don’t see many Americans and have been especially cordial. The Roberts’ house was a dream – beautifully decorated and located about 100 feet from the edge of the cliff with a 250 ft drop to the ocean. She served coffee and homemade scones with currant jam and clotted cream. It was exquisite on her terrace. Her gardens were lovely, but the view was incredible. They had a little settee on the edge of the cliff, but I couldn’t stand the thrill. All of her rooms had giant windows overlooking this magnificence. They are like old friends already. It was the way I want to remember England.

Drove through Kingsbridge and Plymouth to Cornwall. Took the ferry over the Fal River – The King Harry Ferry. It was beautiful as the sun is out. We stopped at St. Just in Rouland for Cream Tea and scones before taking the ferry. We are really full of clotted cream. Falmouth is an old resort with large hotels. We found a hotel that is old, near the water. It is clean but unremarkable. Dinner at a vegetarian restaurant after cocktails at Greenback and Falmouth Hotels.

Turned out to be the best day of summer. Hot and sunny.

August 30

Sprinkles/cloudy. Gyllybare House Hotel, Falmouth.

Spent our morning shopping. The most fascinating stores are food shops – especially pastry and the Cornish Pastry is delicious. Took the boat to St. Marves across the bay. It is a darling town and we wish we had stayed there but it is small, although quaint. Spent a great deal of time in art galleries, which are excellent. Visited the Pendennis Castle, which guards the harbor, the 2nd deepest natural harbor in the world. The people remember the US sailors here, as VE landings were launched from here.

Dinner at the Seafood Bar after drinks at Hotel Duchy (swish) then took in Summer Theatre production of “The Corn is Green.” Very good! Called Sue – all is well at home. We’ll sleep better tonight.

August 31

Rainy start, ended up sunny. Gyllybare House Hotel, Falmouth.

Left for Wells at 10 a.m. expecting to arrive in 4 ½ hours. It took seven hours due to weekend travelers. Even M roads were packed. We stopped at a pub for lunch and arrived in Wells as the stores were closing – nice looking town. We had time to see the Wells Cathedral, which is truly outstanding. The exterior is spectacular with statuary in riches. The side streets near the Cathedral were lovely – cobblestones and row houses with beautiful windows and chimneys. The street lanterns were on one side and there was an archway at street entrance. Must be home to priests or Viguers. Found a nice B&B in Box and had dinner with a Californian couple (Gums) staying in same place. They are here for two months. It was fun to talk to an American.

September 1

Cloudy and sun. Farleigh Lodge, Box, England.

John has become an expert English driver: fast and aggressive, but he is still too polite behind the wheel. We travel at 70 and people pass us as if we were standing still. Breakfast was interesting – 3 couples: California (Gums), Dover (Kelley's), us and Peggy (owner) all trying to outdo each other with puns. Peggy kissed us goodbye and we spent most of the day on tour of Bath and Roman Baths. Some stores were open and it looked like an interesting town for shopping – nice stores.

Left for Windsor, arriving late afternoon. Stayed at Harte & Garter Hotel right across from the castle. We can look in the windows with our binoculars, but it is a work area so nothing much visible. We went on a walking tour around walls. Dinner at Castle Hotel – it was wonderful – lovely dining rooms, excellent service, fabulous fish dinner. Bed early for our trip home tomorrow. We are ready to go. The British people have been very warm and friendly, but driving is still difficult. Tired of pub grub and B&B breakfasts and cold weather. The flowers are magnificent everywhere.

September 2

Sunny morning. Left Heathrow at 12 o’clock. Uneventful flight, thank goodness. That airport was jammed, but we quickly bought some scotch in the Duty Free shop. Arrived in Philadelphia at seven our time and two their time. We kept our watches on London time so we wouldn’t stay up too late. Alls well that ends well!!!

Everyone called: Pris, John, Jane and Susan to talk with us.

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