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Posts Tagged ‘Cindy’s Travels in the UK’

One of my favourite and most prolific categories in Project 101 is visiting places named in the 1066 Domesday Book; a survey undertaken by William the Conqueror after he invaded England and defeated King Harold and his forces during the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of Normans, Bretons, Flemish, and men from other French provinces, all led by the Duke of Normandy later styled William the Conqueror. Ref wikipedia

Usually I find that the towns and villages especially, have some way of advertising their links with 1066, either in the form of a village sign or remnants of their links are noted in a book or some historical objects.

Nettlestone, Isle of Wight

In the case of Stoke Gabriel, its a tree – a first! I initially noticed this on Google when I was researching the village prior to my visit a few months ago.

Domesday Book tree – alive before the 1066 Norman Invasion
Domesday Book tree, St Mary & St Gabriel Church, Stoke Gabriel
Domesday Book tree

Of course as soon as I could, I made haste to see this for myself. Its quite extraordinary to be in the same proximity as a living, breathing creature that was already well established before the invasion even took place nearly 1000 years ago.

How you might wonder is it that much a thing remains….so

Domesday Book tree

Why does every churchyard have a Yew tree? The answer has to be that the early Christians built their churches on the ancient Druid and Pagan sites of worship and the planting of yew trees in modern churchyards reflects the early assimilation of the old religions into the new religion.

I’m guessing that because they live in churchyards they’ve survived progress by living on sacred grounds. I found a fascinating article about yew trees that you might enjoy, and from which I noted the information above in italics : why does every churchyard have a yew tree Their contemporaries were not as lucky…and as usual were destroyed by progress….

The longbow (so called because it is 6’ in length) was the premier weapon of the middle ages and made from yew. The volume of yew wood needed for war archery from the early 13th to the late 16th century was far too great to be supplied by from trees grown in churchyards. After all of the yew stands in Britain and Ireland had been depleted, the English crown began to import yew wood from all over Europe including Austria, Poland and Russia.

Nevertheless, this marvellous creature remains to remind us of history and our mortality…whether it does or does not thrive on the bones of the dead is irrelevant, its here for us to enjoy and be amazed.

Domesday Book tree – arms spread wide
Domesday Book tree, thriving on the bones of the dead ☠☠

Some of the events this tree has lived through:

Domesday Book tree – it has seen historical events come and go

I followed the instructions, but unfortunately no-one was there to witness my endeavour

Walk ye backward round about me 7 times…

In fact the tree is even older than the church by a few centuries…

The interior of the church was no less interesting

Church of St Mary and St Gabriel, Stoke Gabriel
Beautiful carving on the pulpit
Church of St Mary and St Gabriel, Stoke Gabriel
Church of St Mary and St Gabriel, Stoke Gabriel, Devon

The church building was originally constructed in the early 13th century, of which only the Norman tower survives today. In 1268, Bishop Bronescombe of Exeter dedicated the church to St Gabriel, resulting in the name change of the parish from “Stoke” to the more distinctive “Stoke Gabriel”.

I often included the churchyard in my many daily walks around Stoke Gabriel and occassionally I forgot about adding kms to my virtual challenges and instead I just sat on one of the benches or under that glorious, ancient tree and enjoyed the peace and quiet.

And I shall once again include it in my walks when I return to SG later this month…

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Just popping in quickly to share a photo from this morning’s sunrise.

I’m currently in South Devon, started a new booking today, but travelled here on Monday and spent 2 nights and a day in Paignton, with a visit to Torquay and Brixham and a walk along the South West Coast Path (more on that to come).

Meanwhile I went down to the seafront at 6am to watch the sunrise and I was not disappointed

You can just see the 2 cruise ships to the middle and far right

I’ll write soon about the trip….

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Today I’m on my way….heading home.

Its really nice to be able to say ‘home’, even though it’s a room in a shared house, its a base and home – for now. Although it was quite suitable in the past to stay in a b&b or guesthouse between jobs, the security of having a base is so much better.

Part of the reason I enjoyed staying at b&bs etc was because I used to travel between jobs, but now my little 💙 lives in Ramsgate and I have a powerful reason to want a base to return to so I can spend precious time with him.

So today has finally arrived after what has, once again, been a very stressful 2 weeks. I’ve had 3 very stressful assignments since the beginning of the year and my goddess I’m tired.

I was hoping to start working again next week, but as has been the case in the last year, the agency do not have much work available. So I’ve accepted a position in Devon that only starts on 31st. Although this will have a slightly negative impact on my income, it does mean I have a good break and space to breathe.

I’ve started the process for claiming my pension, albeit insufficient to even pay my rent, it will give me a wee boost to save for my walking trips. I’ve not worked in the country long enough to qualify for a decent amount, but as the blurb goes….every little bit helps.

So talking of trips, crikey – after much rejigging my dates for my planned 🤔🤔🤔 Thames Path walk in April, and trying for the last 2 days to squeeze the dates etc, I finally got a decent looking schedule worked out, sat down last night to start changing the dates for the bookings I had already made, only to find that the prices are almost double in May. So that puts paid to that little escapade. Ugh. My head.

Back to square one as they say. I was so upset last night that I just shut my computer, used a few choice words at commercialism 🤬🤬🤬 and went to bed.

So over the next few days I’m going to go back to basics, cancel all the bookings I made for April since I can’t travel then anyway, do a new search. Thank goodness for booking.com where you can reserve a place, but have the option of cancelling within a reasonable time.

However, I am determined to do this trip….

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Hahaha, yes, after my blithe words yesterday about being pragmatic about plans changing…guess what??

Yeah…..that….can I bite my tongue?? 🤪🤪🤪

So after hours working out the route, checking the days/dates over and over to make sure they were correct and I didn’t miss any, calculating the distances to make sure the days are not too long, researching accommodation, then booking the dates, and double checking the dates, I got an email this morning confirming my booking but….

“Good afternoon,

Though most restrictions are lifted from 12th April, unfortunately for public who intend to stay in hotel for leisure are allowed only from 17th May. Till this time only key workers are permitted to stay overnight in hotels. Kind regards”

Don’t you just love a big old ‘but’? Although ‘butt’ would be more appropriate now, coz I’m kicking mine…😝😝

I understood from the government website that from 12 April Members of the same household can take a holiday in the UK in self-contained accommodation.

Couldn’t the government have been a little more specific and added “you may not stay in hotels “. For people like me 😁😁😁

Apparently hotels do not fall under that category 🤨🤨🤨 Who knew?? 🤣🤣🤣 I think I misinterpreted that little clause because I am fed up now with not being able to travel, and want to do my walk.

I know there are still Covid related issues, but seriously, the hotels and places like that are taking so many precautions and they are sterilising their premises and following guidelines for masks etc, that I think its quite ridiculous that we can’t yet travel locally. I get all the overseas restrictions and precautions etc, but the virus is invariably spread by close contact in enclosed environments, big crowds, or feckless people not taking precautions, and you’re seldom in close contact in a hotel. Especially the bigger chains.

So yeah, that’s my little whinge 😏😏😏

I have a headache 🤕🤕🥵 Ugh. I had other plans for today. Or maybe I shouldn’t use the word ‘plans’ for the foreseeable future.

Note to self…

I’m now in the process of reworking all my dates, because I have my actual work dates to reschedule as well.

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I guess my previous Walking the River Thames post would count as Stage 1 since that’s when I did more research on the river and the route itself….

In which case, getting it down on paper (so to speak) would be the next stage; Stage 2…and that I have done! Hoorah. I spent nearly all my free time yesterday setting up the spreadsheet, doing further research on the actual walk itself and planning my distances. It’s a good thing it was raining heavily so I didn’t feel guilty about not getting out to walk.

I found 3 amazing websites by people who have walked the Thames Path and written about it, and conveniently also posted images of the walk. The usefulness varies in as much as they say how far they walked each day, approximately how long it took, transport links, but not where they stayed. I also found 2 official websites; the Thames Path is one of 16 National Trails in the UK – they note the trail can be walked over 16 days, so I’m happy with my 19, 1 of which includes the section from Erith to the Thames Barrier.

Planning the distance and number of days has proved to be quite tricky because a lot depends on accommodation available. And it is NOT cheap. So far my estimates are £1300 for 19 days. I could do 2 caminos in Spain for that!! The accommodation is outrageously expensive and I am going to have to do some further research. I did find some nice places on booking.com and what’s useful about that is you have a decent amount of time, for a small price increase, to cancel if needs be. I’m ever so pragmatic about things like having to cancel trips…because you know… Covid and things like that.

One of the most useful aspects though of walking in the UK is the transport links. Albeit very pricey, if you have any accidents it’s easy enough to get home. Also there are numerous little towns along the route, so I won’t have to carry my weight in water…LOL I remember in Spain the constant daily fear of running out of water… although it only happened once and I managed to convey my need for “aqua por favor” to a delightful little old Spanish couple, who reprimanded me soundly…although I didn’t understand a word they said, their tone and expressions made it very clear 🙂 But they filled up my bottle. It was one of those days when it was scorching hot and I sent my water bladder ahead with my backpack by accident…

So the spreadsheet is up, the dates/days are estimated, the travel costs are determined, the food costs will be like I did on the camino….I existed on fruit and sandwiches and occasional bowls of soup or omelettes, and the accommodation has been identified and priced (ouch) and 75% booked. I’ve mostly booked all the places I found via booking.com and then do a further search on airbnb. Either way, I have to make a final decision before month end on dates etc.

Also, besides the 1st stage from Erith to the Thames Barrier planned for 21/03, I’m also going to do stages 2 & 3 on separate days; namely 15/04 & 18/04 and travel back home. It will be cheaper than overnight stays and means I can take a few days break between each stage before the big push which will begin from Hampton Court on 24th. I’m also planning on spending the day in Hampton Court and hopefully meeting up with my family and visiting the palace on the 23rd.

Of course, like all plans, it is subject to change, but once I make the bookings, that’s it…..Cindy travels again. I’m really excited about this walk and also a little trepidatious because my body is 2 years older since I finished the Pilgrim’s Way (talking of which, I really need to finish those posts!!) and not as robust as it was 4 years ago when I walked the Camino. I haven’t hoisted my backpack onto my back for nearly 2 years!!! I think I’m going to travel light!! LOL

Be that as it may, I shall keep walking as long as I have life in me old legs. So I’ve listed the websites below that I discovered in the event they are of interest to you dear reader.

  1. I enjoyed reading about Jason’s journey, although he started at the source, and I was excited to discover someone else who had walked the Saxon Shore Way https://www.macadder.net/walking/thames_path/stage01.html
    He also mentions Offa’s Dyke and The Fosse Way, both of which I’m interested in. Jason does mention the distance walked and his figures more or less correlate to mine…whew! I’m looking forward to reading all his other days; 13 in all. I was well impressed to note that he has done 28 walks!! That’s quite extraordinary. A couple of them are familiar to me, and a few piqued my interest. I guess I’ll just have to add them to the list LOL I mean who wouldn’t want to do the 1066 Country Walk, or St Swithun’s Way, St Michael’s Way or the Strawberry Line Path (I so love this one) – anyone say ‘cheese’?

2. Then there’s Brian’s Walks – he appears to have walked the same direction as which I am going to; from sea to source. http://www.brians-walks.co.uk/thames-path-cricklade-to-kemble.html Brian did this walk over 9 days so I suspect he put in some serious distances each day; as in roughly 35kms…which I do not plan to do. My maximum distance before it gets unbearable is 28kms, and I only have 2 days when I will walk that distance. His blog is amazing in that he lists his daily statistics (of which I shall make careful note).

3. With this site I was unable to find a name (perhaps as I read further I may discover it) but I loved the name of the blog http://www.tamesis-fluvius.co.uk/index.php I was highly amused by his comment “During the course of the two weeks, I took well in excess of two thousand photographs and a selection of them are included on each page“. Oh my goddess, if that doesn’t sound like a kindred spirit then I don’t know what does. 🤣🤣🤣 I am a demon when it comes to taking photos and I invariably only share possibly 5% of the photos I take on each walk. They did the walk over 15 days, so my already 19 days is not too bad.

I also stumbled upon what appears to be an ‘official’ website. https://www.thames-path.org.uk/thames_cricklade_source.html I found quite a lot of useful information here as well as transport links….especially for the upper reaches of the Thames near the source.

The National Trail website lists all trails in the UK and if I had enough time and money, I’d do them all…don’t you just love what they have to say about the Thames Path – it sounds so romantic…

“The Thames Path is a long distance walking trail, following England’s best known river for 184 miles (294 Km) as it meanders from its source in the Cotswolds through several rural counties and on into the heart of London. On its way the Trail passes peaceful water meadows rich in wildlife, historic towns and cities and many lovely villages, finishing at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich just a few miles from the sea”.

Can I go now please ☺☺☺

I’ll be following the Cabot Trail virtual challenge while walking the Thames Path coz its very conveniently 299.4kms which is almost the same distance…although I’m sure my kms will be more than what they suggest it is…294kms.

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I noticed earlier on my weather app that tomorrow and Thursday were going to be rainy days, so since today was simply gorgeous I had a look on Google maps to see where else I could walk to besides Lloyd Park and spotted a windmill.

Post Mill Windmill is located in an area called Shirley and on the other side of Coombe Park from where I am currently located.

So just after 2pm I set off to find a windmill. And I was not disappointed. Its beautiful, and even though Google erroneously says its open, it was in fact closed – which I expected.

It was quite a walk at 30 minutes and OMG, asphalt does kill my feet 🥴🥴🥺🥺 but worth it to find this beauty.

I also spotted these beauties in one of the gardens on my route back

crocuses in spring
lilac crocuses in spring

When I got back to the house I did a bit of research and with thanks to wikipedia: The post mill is the earliest type of European windmill. Its defining feature is that the whole body of the mill that houses the machinery is mounted on a single vertical post, around which it can be turned to bring the sails into the wind. All post mills have an arm projecting from them on the side opposite the sails and reaching down to near ground level. With some, as at Saxtead Green, the arm carries a fantail to turn the mill automatically. With the others the arm serves to rotate the mill into the wind by hand. The earliest post mills in England are thought to have been built in the 12th century.

Then I had a look on Google to find out more about the Post Mill windmill in Shirley and find that they have a dedicated website and are open for visits at various times of the year…just not today 🤪 https://www.shirleywindmill.org.uk/

I’ve discovered and visited many a windmill over the last 13 years and when I was up in Nottingham a few years ago, I bought some freshly milled flour for my son-in-law who bakes delicious cakes.

One of the prettiest windmills I visited was in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight managed by the National Trust

bembridge windmill isle of wight
Bembridge windmill Isle of Wight

and in Rye, East Sussex (converted into a gorgeous but pricey B&B)

rye windmill
Rye Windmill

I love visiting windmills and find them absolutely fascinating, and no matter if I’ve visited numerous windmills already, I still enjoy another visit to the next discovery. I guess that I shall have to plan a visit out this way again sometime in summer and see if I can visit this one.

Meanwhile I got in another 6.1kms towards my 2021 virtual challenge of 2,600kms and another stretch of the Ring Road Iceland (1332.5kms) under my belt…or should I say feet 🚶🏻‍♀️🚶🏻‍♀️👣👣 which are not very happy atm. I think I’ll have a shorter walk tomorrow – weather dependant. But on the plus side, I’ve completed 474.2kms since January 1st on the 2021 challenge, and 56km of the Ring Road Iceland challenge…only 1,276.5kms to go 😄😄😄

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Last night I arrived in Salisbury for my next booking. Just 1 week but enough time to enjoy the area and explore. I’ve visited Salisbury and the Cathedral in pre-covid days, and love this area.

Because I only officially started work at 11am today, I was free to go walkabout last night and again this morning…. which I duly did.

I’m working very close to the cathedral and can virtually see it from the front door of the house. Its an incredibly historic area and there’s a medieval hall within walking distance…like about 100 yards. Its amazing.

Because it was quite dark I didn’t stray too far, and didn’t take too many photos…but nonetheless, my camera was busy once again.

Here are a few images to whet your appetite

The main entrance

The original Salisbury Cathedral was completed at Old Sarum in 1092 under Osmund, the first Bishop of Salisbury. In 1220 the foundations were laid for the Cathedral at the site it is today.

Stunning carving of Madonna and child above the entrance

There are an amazing array of sculptures dotted around the cathedral grounds….

String Quartet
St Anne’s Gate
A bricked in door next to Malmesbury House
History on the wall at Malmesbury House
The Chapter House – outside the cathedral walls
Outside the cathedral walls
I’d love to know how old that house is
Love love this
Salisbury Cathedral looking ethereal in the dark

Salisbury Cathedral, formally known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury, England. The cathedral is regarded as one of the leading examples of early English Gothic architecture. The main body was completed in 38 years, from 1220 to 1258.

At 80 acres, the cathedral has the largest cloister and the largest cathedral close in Britain. It contains a clock which is among the oldest working examples in the world. Salisbury Cathedral has the best surviving of the four original copies of Magna Carta. I was lucky enough to see the Magna Carta on my last visit.

In 2008, the cathedral celebrated the 750th anniversary of its consecration.

I’ll post some more photos taken this morning of the sculptures in the grounds, of which there is an amazing array, well as of the river Avon and some of the buildings in the city.

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With just 4 days left in Lewes, today I was determined to find and follow the Egrets Way.

At least now I know where it starts, I didn’t waste 3/4 of my break trying to find the route.

But first I stopped off at Trinity Church, Southover. I’d been past it a number of times but it was always closed – today it was open 😃😃 There’s quite a history attached; “The church of Southover originated as a ‘hospitium’ or guest house to serve the nearby Priory of Saint Pancras founded by William de Warenne and his wife Gundrada in 1077 AD.

The tower was built in stages between 1714 and 1738, after the collapse of the earlier tower with spire in 1698. This may have been caused by hanging a ‘Great Bell’ in the previous year, which proved too much for the earlier structure. The location of the earlier tower is not certainly known,
but from what evidence is available probably stood where the Gundrada Chapel is built now.

I was delighted to find a scallop shell in one of the glass windows with St James right above it ❤❤

After my brief visit to the church I walked down St James’s Street to have a closer look at the house at the end of the cul de sac – it looked like a gingerbread house. Imagine my amusement when on closer inspection I discovered the name of the house; The Gingerbread House ☺☺ Just perfect!!

The Gingerbread House ☺☺

I made my way towards the river via the carpark and soon picked up the Egrets Way. I’m dead keen to walk along the riverside to the little village of Southease, also a Domesday Book village and near to where Virginia Woolf, who at the time lived in nearby Rodmell, committed suicide in 1941 in the River Ouse.

Of course with all the rain over the last few days, and boy has it rained, the river is in full tumultuous flow and the riverside path is mostly a muddy quagmire, placing obstacles of watery pools in the way.

Fast flowing River Ouse

But I trudged along, determined to get as far as I could, zig-zagging from one side of the path to the other trying to find the least squelchy and muddy bits to traverse. Thanks be for my walking poles, as always they kept me upright when the mud was determined to see me on my bottom.

I arrived at one gate to find a pool of water right in the middle surrounded by mud, so balancing precariously on the wooden edges and hugging the upright struts I sort of swung my way around and through the gate….but I didn’t get very much further since the path at the next gate was just too muddy; and so I said “no, just no!”.

I beat a retreat and returned the way I had come.

Once past all the muddy puddles et al, I crossed a grassy patch and picked up the cycle/walking path that is sensibly gravelled and continued on my way.

The riverside path will have to wait for another time – perhaps when I eventually walk the South Downs Way that passes through Lewes, I may just divert for a few days and actually walk along the river to Southease….if it hasn’t been raining!!

Time will tell.

Meanwhile I followed the path, beneath the grim and dreary railway underpass, through a fine, new wooden gate and before too long I recognised the place I had originally seen the signpost for the Egrets Way, near the recycling centre. It also gave me the opportunity to see where I had gone so very wrong at my last attempt

Dreary underpass, fine wooden gate

Once I realized the error of my ways, the what and why became apparent. Instead of turning left, I was endeavouring to find a way through to the right 🤪🤪🤪👉❌👈 which of course would have taken me onto the railway line….clearly I need to do a map reading course 🤣🤣🤣 Even with the help of Google maps I still went wrong. How have I managed to not get lost on previous walks! Luck, I guess 🤭🤭🤞🤞

So now that I  know my daft mistake, it doesn’t really matter since its unlikely I’ll walk that way again while here…but I’m glad I resolved the issue.

So whizzing along I made my way back into town, passing some interesting houses, the only surviving section of the Franciscan Friary

Amazing relic from 1224!!

and while chatting on the phone to the relief carer who’d just left due to issues at the house, I once again went off piste….I had planned to go to Tesco for a packet of my secret vice, but since I was so completely not going in the right direction, I gave up and went back to the house.

On the way I passed the castle for another look and more photos 😁😁…wish the weather had been this fine on Saturday!!

Lewes Castle

Next a brief stop to take a few more photos of the 15th century  bookshop windows….and spotted another book I would dearly love to buy – bad luck, the shop won’t be open again till Friday afternoon and by then I’ll be on my way….

I’m on the home straight. Hoorah!!

A little video with some more images from my walkabout today. The weather was fantastic

Lewes

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You know how sometimes you feel like you want to visit a place and it seems like a good idea, then you go and it’s not …..🤣🤣🤣

Well yesterday I did just that..

Mistake #1 I didn’t do any research

Mistake #2 I got off the train at Newhaven Harbour

Mistake #3 I didn’t do any research

So the lessons I learned: do my research and get off at Newhaven Town stop not the harbour.

Anywayyyyy…..I went, I saw, I can tick it off my list – I didn’t get the t-shirt 🤪🤪🤪🤪

So, Newhaven. If I’d done my research, this is what I would have learned.

1. Newhaven Harbour is a grim industrial area, and on the wrong side of the river. In my imagination I pictured a lovely pretty harbour with colourful boats and twee huts. It isn’t. I couldn’t even bear to take a photo it’s so depressing. There is a boat marina on the opposite side.

Found some colourful boats, but obscured

2. It’s a 10 minute walk back to Newhaven Town. Which to be fair, except for the interesting wooden houses close to the riverside, is almost as depressing. I normally like a bit of decay and love old Victorian houses, but seriously…

These houses near the riverside were quite interesting

3. Even town centre is depressing.

Town Centre

4. Ho Chi Minh landed here in 1913? He was a Vietnamese revolutionary and politician. He served as Prime Minister of North Vietnam from 1945 to 1955 and President from 1945 to 1969. 

After I returned last night I ‘did some research’ 🤪🤪 and this is what I found:

Newhaven: A channel ferry port in East Sussex.

Looking downstream of the River Ouse

There was a Bronze Age fort on what is now Castle Hill.

In about 480 AD the Saxons established a village near to where Newhaven now stands; named “Meeching” aka known as “Myching” or “Mitching”.
The settlement began to be known as the “new haven”.

Part of the Holmstrow hundred until the abolition of hundreds in the 19th c but not mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book 🤨😒😒


Lies at the mouth of the River Ouse, westward from Seaford, one of the Cinque Ports formed by Henry VIII.

In 1848, the exiled French King Louis Philippe I landed here in disguise after abdicating his throne.

The village was of little maritime importance until the opening of the railway line to Lewes in 1847.
The railway reached the port in 1847.

Dredging of the channel and other improvements to the harbour between 1850 and 1878, enabled the port to be used by cross channel ferries.
In 1863 the LB&SCR and the Chemin de Fer de l’Ouest introduced the Newhaven-Dieppe passenger service.

The most colourful part of Newhaven was in a pedestrian underpass

The London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) constructed their own wharf and facilities on the east side of the river, and opened the Newhaven harbour railway station.
The area then became known as the ‘new haven’, and officially recognised as ‘The Port of Newhaven’ in 1882.

Imports then included French farm products and manufactures, timber, granite and slates.

The present breakwater was built in 1890.

Newhaven harbour was designated as the principal port for the movement of men and material to the European continent during World War I.
Between 22 September 1916 and 2 December 1918, the port and town of Newhaven were designated a ‘Special Military Area’ under the ‘Defence of the Realm Regulations’, and the Harbour station was closed to the public.

During World War II, large numbers of Canadian troops were stationed at Newhaven, and the ill-fated Dieppe Raid in 1942 was largely launched from the harbour.

A Poppy Trail

When Lord Lucan vanished in 1974, his car was found in Newhaven, in Norman Road, with two types of blood in it.

Newhaven offers regular passenger services to Dieppe.

All the above research ref wikipedia

I did my best and walked in a huge circle trying to find something really interesting, and some of the little sculptures came to the party, but in all honesty, it didn’t have the magic….that thrill of exploring a new place. In retrospect I could rather have gone to Seaford. Maybe next week. Meanwhile I cut my visit short by an hour and went back to Lewes.

If you can bear it here’s a short video

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On Friday,on one of my many walks about town, I took a different route and went downhill over the railway bridge to Barnards Green, and from there I headed back uphill to the Blue Bird Tearoom on Church Street; I had decided it was high time I paid them a visit!  There is nothing I enjoy more than a cup of tea and a scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream…is there any other way to eat a scone?

the blue bird tearoom and edward elgar

Statue of Edward Elgar on Belle Vue Terrace & The Blue Bird Tearoom, Great Malvern

The Blue Bird Tearoom was opened in 1913 and is recognised for one of it’s most famous patrons…Sir Edward Elgar, the well-known English Composer, famous for composing ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ who visited frequently there with his friend Troyte Griffith.

Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet,
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.’

Most of the furniture dates back to when the tearoom opened and some of the tables date back to the 1700’s. I wonder if I sat in the same chair that Edward himself did? 😉

This delightful little tearoom, up a flight of stairs, separated into two dining areas is just big enough for a few parties without being over-crowded. The settee at the top of the stairs looks very comfortable and very inviting! I can imagine lounging about with a good book and a tray with a large pot of tea….

I found myself a table facing the window with a view of Belle Vue Terrace and at a pinch the hills behind the town. A very young and hesitant young man took my order in due course and in no time at all my pot of tea arrived. A delicately flower patterned china ensemble that fit right in with the olde worlde atmosphere. Mind you, I would have been delighted if my tea had arrived in a silver teapot!! After a couple of minutes my fruit scone with strawberry jam and fresh clotted cream arrived….time to tuck in.

scones and tea at the Blue Bird Tearoom in Great Malvern

scones and tea at the Blue Bird Tearoom in Great Malvern

The scone was absolutely delicious…freshly made and bursting with plump juicy sultanas…just as I love it. The strawberry jam, although minimal was in fact just enough to spread generously over both sides of the scone, the clotted cream soft and fresh was also just enough to top the jam. Personally I love to heap the cream on top of the jam, but the quantities were just enough to send my taste-buds into a spin but not too much to increase my cholesterol exponentially.

I relaxed into the atmosphere and toyed again with the idea that perhaps Edward E had sat in the very chair I was sitting in 😉 Through the windowpanes I could see life in the town bustling on.

a statue edward elgar stands on Belle vue terrace, blue bird tearoom great malvern

the statue of Edward Elgar stands on the Belle Vue Terrace with a most marvellous view over the Severn Valley

I do so enjoy this little town and surprisingly, Great Malvern, when you look at it on a map is not very big at all….and yet, into that small space is packed an enormous amount of history. Great Malvern is an area of the spa town of Malvern, Worcestershire, England. It lies at the foot of the Malvern Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty….and it really is a beautiful area.

I can highly recommend a Cream Tea at the Bluebird Tea Room. (9 Church St, Malvern WR14 2AA) All the food is freshly prepared on the premises and the prices are incredibly reasonable. I paid £3.95 for the scone with jam and cream and a pot of tea. A massive bargain in my opinion…the same thing in London would set you back between £5.95 and £8.95 depending on the location of the venue. I can’t even get it for that price in Broadstairs!

 

 

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