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Trip Report Ira's Visit to the UK and France

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Hi all,

We have just returned from 3 wks in Scotland, Wales and England and a week in France.

Except for an upper respiratory infection that pursued us almost the whole trip, it was great.

Lowlight of the trip: Opel Corsa from Europcar; noisy, bumpy, gas guzzler.

Highlight of the trip:

Visit to Highgrove, the home of The POW and the Duchess of Cornwall. (http://www.highgrovegardens.com/)

We found this to be a charming, quiet, well-guided, informative visit to a well-planned, very nicely landscaped home. It is the sort of place that one would be happy to have for oneself - if one really liked gardening.

However, what really made this visit the highpoint of our month abroad was our interaction with the Staff.

My Lady Wife, always certain that I will drive the car into a ditch, or that the GPS will lead us far astray, insisted that we must leave 1 hr ahead for a 30 min drive.

Despite my best efforts to delay, and some strange driving about in circles by the TomTom, we arrived 15 min early.

Highgrove isn't very large, so that tours must be carefully timed.

After he had checked our tickets and ID, a very nice police officer asked us to wait for a while. During the next 15 min, we engaged in desultory conversation regarding various this's and thats's, including how the GPS had managed to make a straightforward drive somewhat erratic.

We where invited to proceed to the parking lot.

As you approach the lot, a large arrow points to the parking area, and various people help direct you to your exact spot.

All very good.

We toured the gardens (Well worth the price of admission), had lunch at the tea shop (not bad), purchased several souveniers, loaded the car and headed back to Bibury.

I slowly retraced our path up to the point at which had entered the car park. The GPS said "Go left", and the screen showed an arrow pointing left.

So I went left, even though both of us thought that we had come in from the right.

Sure enough, we were on the path to the house, not to the main road.

Not wishing to intrude on anyone's privacy, I slowly and quietly drove around the entrance and headed back they way I had come.

Here came the friendly policeman double timing it up the path.

We had set off the intruder alarms and rousted out the dozen or so guards in our area. Fortunately, since we had spent some time with him, the officer immediately identified us (AS what, he didn't say) and everyone stood down.

We were escorted out, so that we wouldn't get lost again.

More to come:

((I))

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