Books I've Read

Friday, November 18, 2005

A "Day off"

Well...first it has been brought to my attention that I actually got one of the town messed up...THE town that had the neat monument was NOT Woking it was actually Cocking...I plead jet lag and forgiveness (hehe). Well after being all over the south of England over the past two days I was exhausted and so was easyily convinced that I should take a day off...SO instead of having poor patient Mark dirve me all over the UK I was content to spend the day in Midhurst...

So we headed into town and spent the morning wandering around I went inside the above church and in several shops...It was quite neat...Then after lunch we decided that we would go for a bike ride...Unfortunaly of no ones mistake we ended up locked out of the house and with one of the bikes was pretty funny. Thankfully it was not too cold out and Mark's mom returned shortly then we were off. We biked through a path by the river...and to the ruins.

The Cowdry Mansion ruins was amazing...we ended up crawling over a broken down piece of fence and exploered inside of it...It was amazing. Each stone had a story and you could almost smell the fires that would have been burning in the fireplaces to give heat and light to the inhabitants!

It was neat to see the places where there used to be floors AND brickwork that used to be the foundation for reliefs...I mean It is incredible to think that those people left such a obvious and beautiful mark on our world for furture generations to enjoy....I wonder what people in 400 years will think of our ruins?? Anyways it was a nice relaxing day...Still in honesty pretty exciting for me...but at least I did rest up a bit...before I would set out the next day to (drum rool please - LONDON).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Trip to Bath (all the rest)

So you are riding along in a car miding your own business and you round a corner and there it is up on the top of a hill. Stonehenge!
My heart picked up a few beats just at the site of it! So beautiful, so mysterious. And there it was right in front of me. We drove past the entrance to a farmers drive parked the car and then walked back. The actual gates were closed, BUT I don't think I would have paid to go in anyways. You aren't really allowed that much closer than the outside fence. So I just stared and took tons of pictures. The hardest thing for me was that I wanted to touch a rock

There was one that I might have been able to touch as it was really close to the fence. BUT although I was pretty sure that I would be able to get my hand through I wasn't sure that I would get it back. So I restrained EVEN thoug it was really hard. I can't really find the right words that would describe what it was like to be there, maybe astonding...Not sure But I really enjoyed the experience!

Rode was this beautiful little village. We got there dropped of our bags and I was intoduced to Dale and his dog Baxter (with matching hair -- long, blond and curly). Dale's wife Gail was to meet up with us later. We had dinner at Kings cross and I had local pheasant. It was good! With locally made ice cream for dessert. We walked back to their house where Dale light a fire with scrap wood from pallets of stones from his landscaping business. The reason I mention this is for my Dad the pallets instead of being made out of cheap pine they were made out of Magohany! WE had good fun sitting around the fire and getting to know each other. Very nice people!
The next morning Mark and I headed in to Bath. What a gorgeous city! It is stunning. The buildings are all (or basically all) made from this pale yellow sandstone and the arictecure is beautiful. This is the city were most of the new Vanity Fair (Reese Witherspoon) was filmed. In addition to being a huge center where alot of English Lit's used to wirte and hang out. My favorites being Jane Austin and Dickens...But Mary Shelly also...And the list goes on! We got a bus tour around the city and therefore got to see the majority of the city! WOW. Is about all I can say.
The high sidewalks were everywhere in Bath. Elevated so that hemlines would not get muddy and would provide a place for the members of high society to strut their stuff! It was neat just to see this, close my eyes and see the corseted, bustled, and gloved women promenading on the sidewalk!
WE also took a tour of the Roman Baths. I do beleive that this is the oldest stucture that I have ever been in! They were just leeting us wander around on the orginal stones that the romans used to walk on! Who knows what famous centurion had sat where I am sitting in the above picture. It was also neat to learn about the "healing powers" of the water! You could taste it for 50p BUT After smelling it and seeing the amount of algea in the water I decided against it. I did however put my hand in it. It was REALLY hot. It was also incredible to see and learn about the Roman ability to pipe water! First hand!! Stuff that I had read about in my history books right there under my feet!
From Bath we left later afternoon so that we could make it to the "secret" place before it got to dark. On the way to the secret place I actually got to see two of the ancient white hillside carvings of horse! They were incredible BUT as this was the speed tour of England we didn't stop and although I tired to snap a picture of the horses I was unable to was they were too far away and the light just wasn't right. Oh well. The secret place made up for it!

Avebury! Another circle of stons. This one was not as tight as stonehenge and was much larger. Also this one is open to the public so you can just wander in and out of the stones touching them if you I did! It was incredible. It really makes you wonder why these people whould have the stone circles and what they were used for. Outside of this ston circle there was a very obvious embankment. We walked along the top of it...I was busy dreaming different reasons why the embankment It was incredible. BUT it soon got dark and it had been a busy two days and there was about an hour and a half of driving before we would get back to Midhurst SO off we went!

(sorry about the color of this picture but it was almost dark so I had to play with the light settings of my camera in order to get this much to show up)

Trip to Bath (New Forest and New Milton)

New Forest.It is kind of like a national park...ONLY there are roads all the way through it as well as little villages. Also you don'thave to pay to go in. This park in particular the cows (As you can see in the above picture) and the wild ponies have the run of the park. There are no fences and you just have to drive carefully as they can be around the corner! Just hanging out in the middle of the road AND the more you try and rush them the greater the chance it that they will settle down in the middle of the road! Mark got a little lost in New forest as there were a bunch of roads that were closed and there were no "diversion" (aka detour) signs. But believe it or not without any goading on my part he pulled over and asked hikers for directions!
One of the many thatched cottages in New Forest
New Milton. The sea. The wind was whipping. The smell of the sea was thick in the air. And after a brief walk Mark and I decided that it would be much warmer to eat the lunch that his mom had provided for us in the car than on a bench over looking the sea! It was still incredible!
Now before I leave New Milton I mus point out that I did see the needles too! In the above pictures they are the little lumps that are poking out of the sea at the end of the point. You'll have to trust me that even at this distance they were much more impressive. They are white spikey cliffs that stick out of the sea. Incredible this world that God created!

From New Milton we truned slightly north (as south would have required a boat) and headed toward (drumroll please) Stonehenge. On the way (I think) we drove through Salisbury so I go to briefly see the Salisbury cathedral...Sorry it is SO crocked BUT there was no stopping at this place so the pictures we taken on the go...I'm just happy that I got the spire and not a blurry wall like some of my other pictures. hehe! High speed sight seeing!

The trip to Bath (GoodWood)

Well the following day I packed and over night bag as Mark had arranged for he and I to stay at friends of his near Bath so that I could see that. We (he) had planned several stops along the way and so this post will be the tale that goes along with this adventure -- SO hold on to your hat as we stopped at alot of places and saw a lot in a short time! First stop was Good Wood. This place was really neat. All in one spot there was an old fashioned horse race track, car race track, and airstrip...(in WWII) spitfires used to land there! Mark had wanted to stop here in order to check out a helicopter pilots training center there. I wandered around and when I'd look at the grandstand I could close my eyes and imagine (still goes on every summer) women dressed in all their finery with "My Fair Lady" hats on their hair. Men standing around in top hats and monkey tails...I giggle with excitment just thinking about it. Then when I'd turn and look at the air strip I could see spitfires making their landings with holes from enemy fire making the limping landing look that mcuh more spectacular! It was incredible!
Mark had a good talk with the guys there and then we piled back into the car and headed to the next stop "New Milton" and other stop that Mark wanted to make as he wanted to visit his Grandma whose birthday was the following day. In order to get there SO that I could see a bit more of England and things that you are suposed to see Mark drove through New Forest.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I keep prattling on about coming back to Midhust (as that is where I was staying, at Mark's Parent's house) But I haven't put up any pictures of the town yet SO... The one on the top is the church. The following are just pictures of the buildings in the town. A beautiful place.

The furry buildings -- The vines growing on this build were about a foot thick!!

The library -- the roof line looks a little scary But still Quite safe and a VERY old buildingMore furry buildings -- I quite liked these!! Can't tell in these photos BUT the leaves were a deep bright crimson color...Very pretty!Just another old build built most likely before North America was even discovered!

Spinnaker tower (again) Posted by Picasa

Spinnaker Tower Posted by Picasa

HMS Victories Lines (which one do I pull?) Posted by Picasa

HMS Victory (me by the door) Posted by Picasa

HMS Victory (Mark by the door) Posted by Picasa

Petersfield Book Shop Posted by Picasa


The next day Mark and I headed out to Portsmouth, he the driver and tour guide and me the giddey tourist! He knowing my LOVE for books stopped off in this village called Petersfeild and took me to this amazing bookshop! I couldn't believe my eyes. It was one of those bookshops that make biblophiles drool, madly caress the spines of books and have an insane desire to spend countless hours just looking! I think two hours later (maybe not quite that long) I was able to tear myself away. I made a purchase of four books, and 6 illustration plates and ONLY spent 6 pounds! I was VERY impressed and SO happy!

Headed back to where he had parked the car and there was this little market SO, being the tourist I draged him through it! However, he ended up buying 4 belgian bun (kind of like a cinnamon roll only has rasians, currents in it with a much thincker layer of icing on the top! Also these things were HUGE. They had the diameter of a small plate! By the end of the day they were all gone. I only had one and 1/4 where the other 2 and 3/4 buns went I'll leave up to your imagination!

WE reached Portsmouth and had a bit of a wander about the "docks" we bought tickets for admission to the HMS Victory! Hooray for student discount. There were preparations all around for the Nelson/Trafalagar celcbrations to occur the next day. Which made things a bit more hectic. But still is was really neat to be walking in the dock area of an Old port where some pretty amazing expeditions set out from. As we turned to gain entrance to the HMS Victory the gentleman looked up at Mark and said,
"You been here before sir?"
"Yes, when I was ten"
"Well I have bad've grown but the boat hasn't, so please be careful"

As you can see from the pictures the doorways weren't very tall (Mark is 6'5") inside it the ceilings were even lower! Even I was bent over at the waist! It was amazing to think that people really were this short! I mean a tall man would have been pushing 5'!! It was really neat to walk the various decks and see how the sailors lived and died. It was a bit disapointed as there were no guided tours SO there was very little information that was given out. But I found out the origin of the saying "square meals". Their dinner came on square trays! A few of the guys that were posted around the boat to answer questions were quite helpful BUT not the same as a guided tour. Oh well. The top deck was stunning the amount of lines and rigging was baffleing! And the cannon balls were terribley heavy! It is really astounding how spoiled we are with technology!

When we finished that tour we began to wander through the Naval Musem and the gift shop! By the time it was closing we were ready to be done. We headed over to the recently opened (second day) Spinnaker tower with full intention to take a ride up it...BUT by the time we got there it was closed :( So we shopped for a bit before climbing into the car and heading Back to Mark's Parents place. Just in time for Supper and another great night of chatting with them infront of the fire after another good homemade English meal.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I forgot about Woking

I don't know how I could forget Woking -- I think it was on the first day that I was in England -- I must remember to look in my journal before trying to write more on this site about my trip...we just packed SO much in in such a short time it is kind of all blending together into one long day! hehe

So Woking is this tiny little village with its claim to fame being this really neat monument.
This picture doesn't capture the whole thing. But it is a pillar that chronicals events in history (on the banner) and what those major events in history coinceded with the local history of Woking (on the plaques) I have included my favorite plaques that I could manage to get pictures of...
How funny is that a small boy blows up the village cross (1859) - I wonder if he meant to...or if he was just being a boy and experimenting with some things he found laying about and accidently blew something up!
Progress the landowener allows small branches to be collected for firewood. Such a different world!! All Cowdry cottages are still recognizable in Woking as well as other villages by the Yellow orange window sills.
It was really neat just to see the history unfold in buildings and monuments representing such a long period of time in England. Canada's history is rich BUT so much shorter! WE just haven't been around as long! I mean buildings I walked past had dates of building in the 16oo's!

England Take 1

Arrived in England...VERY tired. I did manage to sleep some on the plane BUT still exhausted from it all. This was the first on ground picture I took. Everything went well at the airport, No lost bags NO waiting caught the "coach" to Woking where Mark's Mom was to pick Mark and I up SO that she wouldn't have to sit in heavy traffic. She took me and Mark and a whirlwind tour of the area. Stopped to see Mark's House in Guildford, saw several little villages on the way to midhurst. There we drove through town and stop to see the ruins. It was funny as I was So tired and just out of it that the things I kept remarking at kept on making Sue (Mark's Mom) laugh. I couldn't get over the difference in the signs they had an elderly persons crossing neat is that! I have no clue what time it was when we got back to their house "Treetops" but we had breakfast and relaxed for a bit. In the afternoon, we (Mark, Sue, and I plus J.D. and Charlie -- two dogs) went up "The Downs" for a walk.
It was beautiful! It was a bit chilly, after a few of the hills I was warm. The path was made primarily of either white chalk or Black Flint! It was really pretty tough walking BUT me and my ankle did okay...It was sore that night but that's what Advil was invented for! The walk was amazing. Pheasants in the brush kept the dogs highly amused and the country side kept me amused. It seemed very familiar yet nothing like I had ever seen before. I think it was because I have read so many Classic English books set in the country and it was exactly as I imagined it! I kept on expecting Mr. Darcy to ride up. Although we did see a few riders none were in top hats. It was really quite the experience. I was totally excited as within the first 24 hours of being in England I had already crossed one of the top things I wanted to do off my list...a walk in the English country side. Although the rain held off it was appropriately misty!! The rest of the day was spent attempting to recovery for the traveling and getting to know Mr. and Mrs. A. (Marks parents - Mike and Sue. I also got to meet one of their family friends and the owner of J.D. - Jane. They all made me feel welcome, but I felt a bit like I was in a movie of something as I was surrounded by variations on the English accent. I was quick to catch most of what they were saying but the first few days I really had to pay more attention in order to catch all of what everyone was saying! It is amazing how different the English language can sound!