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"It Will Rain Tomorrow." England Weathers The MaiTai Four.

"It Will Rain Tomorrow." England Weathers The MaiTai Four.

Old Nov 20th, 2013, 04:32 AM
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>>>my last name (which, by the way, is a very, very famous English surname)<<<

Cromwell? Churchill? Tudor? LOL
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 05:34 AM
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Smith
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 06:12 AM
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Windsor? Cobourg-Saxon?
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 06:14 AM
  #124  
 
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Tudor is Welsh!
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 06:59 AM
  #125  
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....not only is my last name famous, it is novel.

<B>NEXT: CHAPTER SEVEN – Hey Where’s The Steering Wheel, Yes It’s DIESEL, The New Vaudeville Band Is Here Somewhere, Diver Bill Saves The Day, You’re Early, Cloisters With Food, What…Another Magna Carta, Tower Of Power, Church Of Doom, Plopping our Buttocks At The Buttock, Now That’s A Bad Hand, Without A Kir In The World, Sunset Dinner and Cathedral Under The Stars</B>

Our day of reckoning was finally upon us. Today was the day we were to pick up our rental car. We were picked up at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel at 7:30 a.m. by our affable and chatty Just Airports driver (originally from Pakistan…the guy was a hoot), and headed to the Avis car rental facility at Heathrow. Soon, our lives would be turned upside down (or at least to the wrong way).

Kim paid some extra quids to be the “other” driver, and once outside, he said, “Get behind the steering wheel.” I instinctively got into the left side of the car and said, “Hey, where’s the steering wheel?” I was on the passenger side.

Truth be told, although I have been the primary driver on all of our other European escapades (and rather anal about it), it was Kim who had experience driving the “wrong way.” He and Mary have visited Ireland, so discretion being the better part of valor and all that rot, we decided it would be best for Kim to be our driver on this trip. One catastrophe averted…we hoped.

We all saw the huge “DIESEL” sticker on the Audi’s dashboard (where were you all those years ago), and it was time to get going. Next of kin notified, after a few minutes of hesitation, we were on the way as Kim cautiously navigated the first few streets.

As we zipped along toward our first destination, I was happy Kim was behind the wheel. Although I’m sure I would not have killed us all (well, pretty sure), I think we all felt better with a veteran behind the wheel.

As passengers, we did have an important job (besides the occasional catnaps). When Kim would come to an intersection, we would help remind our driver to go “left, left” for instance. That way he would hopefully not drive head-on into an oncoming lorry. This worked fairly well for the entire trip, and Kim only threatened to kill us a few times for too many directions coming from the peanut gallery.

Nearing our first destination, I started whistling. That’s because the song in my head was Winchester Cathedral by The New Vaudeville Band. I’m glad to tell you that Winchester Cathedral did not bring us down.

About 90 minutes from Heathrow, Winchester Cathedral is located on a site where there has been a cathedral for about 1,000 years and it is one of the largest medieval churches in the world. After parking and before entering the cathedral, we walked in to the cute little town of Winchester and grabbed coffee and some breakfast pastries. It was market day, and Tracy was quite enamored by Winchester as we zipped up and down the main drag.

Winchester Cathedral cost £7 to enter, but Mary, Kim and I got the old folks price of £5. Once inside, we were greeted by a funny docent (I don’t think we’ve ever met a funny docent). When he found out we were from California, he told us how much he loved The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. He was dubbed our “Surfer Docent.”

We had also arrived just in time, because docent Jennifer was about to lead a free tour (tours are on the hour except for noon because of high mass). Jennifer, who was British, spent much of her life in Pittsburgh (her husband worked for Price-Waterhouse(. She had no insight into the next Academy Award winners, however.

The 40-minute tour hit all the high points of the Cathedral from the Jane Austen Memorial to the Great Screen that is a backdrop for the High Altar to the St. Swithin (England’s official weatherman) Shrine to various chapels, including the beautiful Lady Chapel.

There were also a couple of statues of “Diver Bill” who is depicted wearing his “old-fashioned diving suit.” William Walker was a famed English diver at the turn of the 20th century. For the better part of six years, he spent six hours a day in his diver’s suit (and in complete darkness) shoring up two sides of Winchester Cathedral.

After the tour we went upstairs to the library and saw two globes circa 1635 that showed California as an island. Hopefully they were not predicting “the big one.” We also got a glimpse of the Winchester Bible. We could have climbed to the top, but it was time to go and we had a climb scheduled for mid-afternoon in another town.

Leaving Winchester, it was a relatively short drive to Salisbury. We dropped out bags at our b&b (after circling the place for a few minutes while lost). Our host, Steve was a little surprised to see us as he thought we’d be at Cathedral View closer to 3 than 1:30. He didn’t know we’d have Kim Andretti behind the wheel. For lunch, he recommended The Cloisters, a cute pub we had seen as we drove around town looking for our lodging.

Steve also provided us with great directions to park our car and gave us with a map that he had marked with some Salisbury points of interest.

It was at The Cloisters I had my first of a few Beef & Ale pies on this trip. It was wonderful. All the food was good here, from Tracy’s veggie sandwich on ciabatta bread to a couple of salads for Kim and Mary, including Kim’s 10th (I might be exaggerating) Caesar salad of the trip.

At about 3 p.m. we arrived for our 3:15 Tower Tour of Salisbury Cathedral. I had purchased these tickets online (£10 apiece) a few months before we left for England. We walked around the cathedral waiting for the tour, and I was told an original Magna Carta could be found here. “Another Magna Carta,” I yawned. “You’ve seen three, you’ve seen them all (although Steve told us the next morning that this was the best preserved Magna Carta).” In any event, it was time to climb.

Speaking of time, before the climb, we saw the oldest (1380s) working clock in the world. Hopefully we'd keep on ticking when we climbed the tower.

Once again, our guide for a tour was a woman named Jennifer. This Jennifer was a spry, 76-year-old jackrabbit that had a much younger couple and the four of us scurrying to keep up with her for two hours.

The Salisbury Cathedral Tower Tour ranks as one of the coolest tours we’ve taken in Europe. We learned about the history of the tower as Jennifer led us up and up and up, 332 steps in all, to the top. And guess who added some reinforcements to the cathedral in 1668…none other than workaholic Sir Christopher Wren.

There were many stops along the way to the top so we could learn more about the construction of the cathedral and, more importantly, take a breather.

At the top, we were able to go outside and take in the spectacular views. Looking up at the spire (the tallest in England), Jennifer told us that fire brigade members are required to climb to the top of the spire in order to change lights or anything else the cathedral might need. Whatever they get paid, it’s not enough.

After our tour was complete, we walked through town over to St. Thomas’s Church to see a painting Steve told us about, but we were doomed by the lack of lighting in the church. On the Chancel Arch is “The Doom Painting” that depicts The Last Judgment. I don’t know if I’ll go to heaven or hell with this suggestion, but if you come to Salisbury my suggestion would be to look at it online before you leave (where you can actually make out any of the figures in the painting) and instead head directly to a nearby pub, which we, as usual, did.

We visited the unusually named Haunch Of Venison (like other pubs have normal names), and planted our haunches down. This pub is listed as one of the most historic interiors in the UK, and it’s where I mustered up some Courage bitter dark beer.

We sat for a while in the Upper House Of Lords Bar to rest our legs and watched while some old man (probably our age) told a lovely young lady the story of “The ghost of the cheating card player.” Unbeknownst to us, until we heard this guy’s ghost story, we were drinking our beer very near the cheater’s mummified hand that is on display in the room. And I thought my poker hands were bad.

Dinner that night would be at the Côte de Brasserie, which is a chain restaurant, but one that had been recommended when we were in London. The other reason we chose it was because by presenting a little piece of paper showing we were staying at the Cathedral View b&b, we all received a free Kir Royale…and we all love free.

The Early Evening menu prices (before 7 p.m.) were still available. “Dear God, we’ve become our parents,” I said. Oh well, the two-course meal was £9.95 and the three-course menu was £11.90, so suddenly we didn't care that we had become old geezers.

Starting out, we ordered an appetizer of mixed olives marinated in olive oil, garlic and herbs (£2.25). I have never been an olive person, but even I enjoyed these. Our entire experience here was great. The wait staff was really good, and the food was, in our opinion, better than the French restaurant we dined at in London. Total cost was £80 (yes wine can up the price of a meal).

As we strolled back to The Cathedral View, we decided to get a nighttime view of the actual cathedral. It was stunning, and we took some really good photographs.

The drive would not be long mileage wise the following day, but we had a lot of places to pack in along the way, including a bunch of rocks, an abbey and another cathedral, all before we reached our appointed destination of Bath.

<B>NEXT: Chapter Eight – Breakfast Is Served, Rock On, A Trip To See King Arthur, All’s Wells That Ends Wells, Cat’s Meow, The Out-Of-Towners, We’re Just Wild About Harry, Lawful Assembly and Dinner At Hall & Oates</B>
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 07:12 AM
  #126  
 
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Guess you weren't the only one to forget diesel!

Tours sounded wonderful.
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 08:32 AM
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 09:01 AM
  #128  
 
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Salisbury Cathedral is my favorite one, I sang in it as a child and queued for its very small loos in the freezing cold. Glad you enjoyed. The best views are over the water-meadows to the south at sunrise.
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 09:09 AM
  #129  
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Thanks bb. If anyone visits Salisbury Cathedral, I cannot recommend that Tower Tour enough. The cathedral itself is beautiful, too...both inside and out.

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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 09:44 AM
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Enjoying your report very much and have had some good laughs! We head to London and Bath on Saturday and I have made note of your restaurant and pub recommendations. Will likely also do a day trip to Salisbury, so many thanks for the tips!
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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Love, love, love this!
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 10:44 AM
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Can never decide whether I prefer Wells or Salisbury cathedrals, you're certainly seeing the best. Must make a note of that restaurant.
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 02:33 PM
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thursdaysd, it's a tough call. I'm happy just to call it a draw and even more happy we got to see both.

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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 03:48 PM
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While I was reading this I was wishing cw could be here to join in (especially about fish n chips, pubs and. Winchester . . . ).
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 04:25 PM
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In memory of cw...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnVYa2svIQQ

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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 05:19 PM
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Hi Tom,

Continuing to enjoy your adventure. You wrote: “We learned about the history of the tower as Jennifer led us up and up and up, 332 steps in all, to the top.” Wow, that climb was some 32 steps beyond Mont St. Michel in France which I really found a challenge.

I loved Salisbury Cathedral. Did you notice those contemporary figurines/statues scattered throughout the building. I guess they represent contemporary pilgrims like ourselves, eh?

Looking forward to the next episode….
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Old Nov 21st, 2013, 01:16 AM
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I liked the "infinity font" in the Cathedral. And (at the risk of derailing the thread) when I went, there was an American lady looking increasingly puzzled as she walked round the Magna Carta display, and finally said "But there's nothing in it about the right to bear arms?".
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Old Nov 21st, 2013, 02:22 AM
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Just a point, none of the four Magna Cartas are the original they are all copies of the original.

Love the "But there's nothing in it about the right to bear arms" I guess she looked in the original US constitution for it too.
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Old Nov 21st, 2013, 04:33 AM
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I had an elderly American friend who had saved all her life to visit England.
She was a very early riser and peeped into Salisbury Cathedral wondering if she was allowed in.
She was hailed by some splendid ladies who introduced themselves as the "holy dusters". They showed her all sorts of things that she wouldn't have discovered for herself.
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Old Nov 21st, 2013, 04:37 AM
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I just found this
http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk...volunteers.php
There are my friend's dear lady dusters, just below the flower ladies
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