Saturday, June 25, 2011

This is our 3rd week in Britian

Third Week

Now we are all packed and ready to leave London. We walked up Belgrave Road to get the car was, which seemed to take forever. Once we were on our way it was easy just followed what the Sat Nav said. We did not take one wrong turn to get the racetrack, which was built in 1903. We were lucky to strike some motor racing on. It was a day of motoring trails for classic cars going back to when cars were first built. The cars have about eight different events to participate in the class for which they were all timed. The oldest car was 1901 three-wheeled Morgan, which had a 50cc engine up to the biggest car, which had a 27-litre Rolls Royce Engine in. between showers we looked at the cars on display. There was 100
s of classic cars on show and competing.

This track closed in the 1930s.

After a short trip, we drove to Farnham about 10 miles away. James wanted to see the grave of Mike Hawthorn who was the 1958 f1 World Champion. He retired because racing was getting to dangerous and was killed 4 months later racing a team owner and hit a tree and was killed.

We then drove on the quickest shortest road to Southampton and the hotel. After checking in, we caught a bus into Southampton for a look around. It was pouring rain when we got off the bus, and guess what?

I bought the umbrellas this time. We went into a shopping centre until the rain stopped, which it did, after about 10 minutes.

We wanted to go to the Old Town so off to find a Visitors Centre. They were just ready to close, we asked for a map. (Of course we left the map back at the hotel) we were given the wrong directions and after about walking for a couple of blocks we turned around and read the map properly.

We walked through the old part of Southampton and down to where the Mayflower left. We also walked along the old part of the wall that surrounded the old city.

After walking for a couple of hours, we found the bus stop and caught it back to the hotel for a nice shower and rest.

19th June

After leaving the hotel, we drove to Beaulieu Car Museum. That took what seemed forever. One thing that I am doing in future is checking on the map as I think that we were taken the wrong way or the long way round. Anyway, finally we got there. There was a car show on in the grounds. All sorts of different English cars were on show. There also were quite a few American cars there more than we expected. This time I think that, we are just on time - not too late and not too early - for these sorts of unplanned things.
We looked through the museum.
We rode on the monorail to get to the other side of the park where there were lovely gardens.
We also walked down the castle and it was lovely not too big and not to small. Just nice and it was nice to be welcomed into the castle by the butler and the maid.
Then we thought that it was getting a little late so we decided to hurry to Gabber Farm in Plymouth. I did not think that it would take so long to drive, but as usual, it did. I think that I will have to put the sat nav onto kilometres instead of miles as I think that the kilometres go faster.go figure.

I thought that we would never get to the turn off for the farm and when we did, I thought that we would never get to the farm. I must be very tired again. I know that James is very tired.

After a little rest, we went for a drive.yes again. The little lanes with the bushes right up to the road, are very intimidating, and more so when another big 4WD is coming towards you. There are little pull offs where the car can just fit. If the person coming towards is closer to one of these pull offs he will flash his lights just to let you know that he wants you go by. When you do go buy he gives a little wave. So English.

20th June Monday.

We left Thomas Downs a tiny little village to go to Plymouth city and then onto Saltash. We got to Plymouth and had a drive around the waterfront. It is fascinating to see the wall ruins. It was pity we did not have time to stop and have a better look around but we had to be on our way. That is what is wrong when you book accommodation ahead of time. Penzance is the last place where we have made prior arrangement for the night’s accommodation.

We were listening to the sat nav and we went 15 miles out of our way. We turned around and went back to the A 38, and it was only a little way to Saltash, whereas the sat nav was taking us 20 miles out of our way. Now I go by the map but looking occasional at the sat nav. After driving through Saltash [it is a lot larger than our Salt Ash] we were on our way again to a church at Camborne

Then it started to rain, and then got very foggy. Of course, when we reached Penzance it was still sort of misty light nuisance, or like a sea mist just heavier. We reached Penzance and drove around to find the B&B, which really was not hard but as we did not know where we were going it was confusing with all the little lane ways. James is fed up with driving here. When we finally got to the B&B, we were talking about this with the woman who owns the B&B, she told us to put a P plate on the car and then drivers will be a bit more considerate. Maybe she is correct, as that is what she does when she drives to London.

After checking in, we went for a walk up to the High Street where all the shops are. We also walked down to the waterfront but could not see anything except fog. We walked back to the B&B through all the little alleyways and there are a lot of them.

We have asked a couple of people over the time we have been here for directions but we have always asked visitors.

We walked just around the corner to the pub for dinner. Don’t you love it when you walk in and everyone stops and looks at you? Even walking down the street everyone looks, sometimes they even stop and look. I wonder if it is the way we are dressed. NO Coat.

21st June

We had a very enjoyable breakfast at Penzance and a chat to the lady who owned and worked the B&B with her husband. There were many photos on the walls throughout the house of entertainers. She told us that her husband worked with most of them. He worked for one of the TV studios. She said that some of them were nice and some where not. He also worked at NO 10. After the children had grown, they moved for a simpler life and they love it.

The sun was shining so we had a little drive around the waterfront of Penzance and the drove to Port Isaac. Port Isaac is where Doc Martin was made. The travel time was a little over an hour. Port Isaac is a tiny little working inlet. The roads are so narrow that the public are not allowed to drive into town at all. We all had to park up the top of an extremely steep hill and walk into town. I did not think that I would make into town or for that matter backup the hill again. I think it was harder going into town than coming back. We saw the school, the restaurant where Doc proposed, the house he lived in, and the house where he had his surgery. In fact, we saw everything. We had lunch, pasties, which were still not as good as, what I make. We sat down on the waterfront wall to eat, as there was nowhere to set anywhere else to sit. I have never seen a town so full of tourist on a weekday. They even have coach trips to Port Isaac, the town is so popular. We had a good walk around and then decided if we did not leave soon we would never get to Bath or even get a B&B for the night. Very soon, we were at Bath and it was crowded with cars and the narrow streets. We saw lots of B&B’s but they were all full. We just kept driving and driving not knowing where we were going. Finally we reached a town and went to a couple of B&B’s they had no vacancies. Finally, we went to the pub and asked if he had a room for the night but he was full. No room at the Inn…lol

However, he rang a friend and found a room for us. It is Tog Hill House Farm and just lovely, nice surroundings, going to cost us an arm and leg I am sure.

We went back into the village for dinner, which was only a couple of miles, and on the way back we bought some coke for rum and coke and sleep.

22nd Wednesday

The B&B we had last night was just wonderful and that was because it did not cost us an arm and leg at all. We were in the Stable rooms. This house has always been a hotel from about the 18 century and had attached stables. There was the nicest breakfast I have even seen. Something out of the movies I would say. We even had Royal Dalton dinnerware, which made you feel important, special. As usual it was raining when we left the farm but by the time we got to Bath it had stopped and was quiet warmish. We found a park very quick and it was very cheap. The metres were broken. What a bonus. Offcourse we walked the wrong way into the centre of town, probably twice as far as we should have walked. It was a nice walk and we saw some things we would not have seen otherwise. We finally found the baths and had a tour of them, which was extremely interesting. The baths date back to 76 AD which is a long time ago. We also visited the Bath Abby. We were asked where we came from and when he found out we were Australian he told us to go to bath --------------- where Admiral Philip was buried. He wanted to know if we knew if he was buried in Bath we did not know at all. (For those that do not know, He is was know as Captain Arthur Phillip, the Commander of the first fleet in 1788.

The First Fleet transported the convicts out to colonise Australia. For doing this Captain Arthur Phillip was made the first Governor of New South Wales. There was no Australia at that time. The country was known as New South Wales. )

After finding our car, which took a bit of doing as we didn’t’ have clue where we left it and we did not have a good map. We drove out to Bath , which was easier to find than finding our car back at Bath. In the church on the wall we found Admiral Arthur Phillip’s commemorative plaque saying he was buried below. There was an Australian flag above him.

We then drove to Stratford-upon-Avon, which was only 70 miles away, but as usual we saw different parts of the countryside to what we should have.

There are so many round-a-bouts here even on the major highways. It seems every couple of miles. Get the speed up and then slow down, we even go through little towns, sorry villages that we have to slow right down for. Now wonder it takes so long to get around from one place to another.

Before we did anything we got ourselves some accommodation. Then decided to drive into town, which we did. Then we drove back to the hotel as we were only half a mile away from the city centre. That’s what happens when you don’t’ have a map or a clue where you are going. Anyway we drove back, parked the car, and walk the little way into Stratford.

We walked along the River Avon looking at the birds and canal boats. We walked to Shakespeare’s Church and grave site and the whole family was buried together in the Church. We then walked a mile of so back into Stratford along the river to where he was born and lived for a short time. We took a tour of his house, which is in the main street.

The building here have walls of about 2 foot thick and with the double glazing you don’t’ hear a sound outside. Just wonderful for sleeping.

We had some dinner and walked back to the B&B totally wore out. Again.

23rd June Thursday

Another day, started sunny and then rainy and then cloudy and then we reached our destination. Well with little stops along the way.

Our first stop was Ann Hathaway’s house. Nice, lovely garden. Very easy to find and for us to find our way back onto the highway again.

Our second stop for the day was up the highway without any trouble to the Jaguar Museum for a look. There was one Jag there that was made from polished aluminium. The car was covered in fingerprints,. I think that it would be a problem keeping it clean all the time. James’ favourite car was there a British racing green D Type Jag. It was lovely. We found the museum very easily and back to the highway to go to Castle Donington, where we are going to spend the night. First we had a drive around and we took a couple of wrong turns. Again. The countryside if beautiful, green, and orderly. We also drove through a few tiny villages. They were quaint.

We decided to spend some time at Donington museum and it took us 2 hours to go through it. There was the biggest display of racing cars I have ever seen, and the outside did not look that big. This is a biggest display of F1 racing cars in the world, all owned by one man and they are raced and loaned out for displays. We were there that long I thought that the men that were walking past us every now and again where making sure we weren’t doing anything wrong, but they were looking for a car and finally found it right at the end of the display.

We also had to ring to find out how to get to the hotel. I think it was secret and they wanted to keep it that way. Little did I know it was on the highway.

After booking in and resting for a little while we went to get something to eat. We asked at the desk if there was anything near to have something to eat. We were given directions and off we set. Me, thinking we will never get back again ever. Somehow we did. Don’t ask how I have no idea.

We had dinner at the Clock Warehouse Pub which was quaint and right beside the canal. We saw some canal boats going through the lock at the back of the pub. On the was out of the town we saw a ‘parking station’ for all canal boats. There were hundreds of them all moored and we didn’t have the camera with us to take a photo.

24th June

Again on the road straight up the M6 to Cumbria it was an extremely quick trip, which was great.

Booked into the hotel which is castle. Abby House Castle. Very impressive. I must say we are getting a bit better finding the hotels we are booked at. We had a cuppa and started to have a look around. We decided to go to Coniston about 20 mile away. I had the instructions on how to get there which we followed to the letter. Coniston is a tiny little village ( well I know that nearly all the villages are little or tiny) which is on the Coniston Lake. Coniston is famous for Donald Campbell breaking the world water speed record. This race killed him on the Lake. Also John Ruskin lived and died in the area. He was a very interesting man. There was in the Ruskin Museum for both Donald Campbell and John Ruskin. In the museum I saw some Ruskin Lace. I don’t think that my eyesight would be able to stand doing something like that. The museum held some memorabilia on Donald Campbell John Ruskin. There were videos and artwork, photographs and of course the Ruskin lace which was just so lovely.

I didn’t take an photos of it as I had to pay to the privilege of taking them. We found Donald Campbell gravesite and memorial in the park . After doing all that walking around Coniston Village we took a boat ride on the Lake. The lake is lovely and the slow boat ride was just what we needed to relax a bit after being and to go for so long. There have been a few movies made around this area because it is so picturesque.

The Campbell family have donated the boat to the museum and are in the process of raising money to restore it back to the original condition. The museum have permission to run it on the lake up to 100 mph when it is finished. In the museum there is a piece of the Bluebird body and jet engine.

We took the scenic route home ( yes we took the wrong turn and had a little adventure). The road to Coniston was typically British, narrow and very winding.

25th June Saturday

We had a trip into town and a drive around the waterfront and the river. As nothing was doing there we decided to go to Lake Windermere. It was quite a nice drive along side the lake, the only thing wrong was it was sort of raining. An extremely light drizzle just enough to make it miserable, but we soldiered on. The mist was covering the mountains which looked great but not good for taking photos. On arriving at Lake Windermere we had a walk around and a cup of coffee and then started for the hotel again. I couldn’t believe the amount of people that were there and how many were lined up for the cruises on the Lake.

The hotel we are staying at I called Abby House Hotel, and is very luxurious. Now off the have some dinner in the Abby Restaurant.

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