28th & 29th June 2013
After picking my new found relative’s brain, I had another little mission in Marlborough the next day – to go find the London Rd address where the Chandlers lived and worked. Sadly, it was an Indian restaurant that has been closed for some time, the building all boarded up and unloved. All the same, it was another connection with Grandma and her family.
I also did a little shopping in preparation for decamping to warmer places. I discovered a clothes store in York called White Stuff with lovely summer skirts and tops. I didn’t buy anything due to lack of space, but…… now, I need to buy cooler clothes and ditch some of the winter ones – and guess what – there’s one in Marlborough, yay!! I was wondering why such a seeming small unimportant town had so many nice clothes places – and it’s just hit me, it would most likely be because of the Marlborough College students – it takes a while sometimes. Wandering the streets, shopping and doing some writing passed the time quickly until I headed off to Folkestone, near Dover. It was a long, long day to get there, but no hassles, thank goodness.
I was going to book a couple of nights at Dover, but a few people said Folkestone was much more pleasant and not far away. I’m so pleased I listened to them. First impressions of Folkestone weren’t terribly wonderful but when I made the trip to Dover it was very obviously a town struggling.
Folkestone reminded me a little of Scarborough, mainly because of the big beautiful old buildings that look like the holiday hotels you read about in English literature of a certain time. For some reason they remind me of the Agatha Christie novels. Quite a number of them along the esplanade and the streets nearby seem to be loved again, but, there’s still many looking quite derelict. The hotel I stayed in was somewhere in the middle, it’s seen better days but it’s not a wreck, a warren of little rooms everywhere, windows that rattle all night and a beautiful view out over the English Channel.
I braved the local bus to get to Dover and was lucky enough to find a company running tours to see the cliffs. Seeing as my whole reasoning for leaving for Paris from there was to see them, I guess I’d have been kicking myself if I hadn’t. The tour was in an inflatable boat with only room for the skipper and 7 passengers, all sitting astride seats like saw horses. Being the only single person, I scored the front seat, beside the skipper, which made me feel a little safer. I figured if I started to fly out the side he might shoot out his arm and drag me back. Not really, but it was pretty cool to be in the front.
Dover played a huge role in WW2 and there are reminders of this all along the cliffs. There’s also a number of long vertical scars running down the cliffs from where ropes have been used to salvage cargo from shipwrecks or where they’ve tried to re-float ships that have come to grief. The skipper was full of information about shipwrecks, war stories and pointing out different landmarks along the way. I was surprised how far along the coast we went, it really was well worth going. Just the ride was awesome, a bit rough in places, but the circle work was great fun.
I don’t know if you can really feel sorry for a city, but if you can, then I feel sorry for Dover. So many people pass through there each year, but no-one seems to stop and it just doesn’t seem to have very much chance of turning things around. But, I’m guessing it’s not going to die while the port is there, I think someone said it’s the busiest port in England.
So, early start again tomorrow – and PARIS!!!!
Monthly Archives: October 2013
26th June 2013
I had spare time this morning around the city and took heaps more photos of the river and weir. The shape is very cool and with the bridge in the background is just begging to be photographed.
Then it was on the bus to Marlborough, where my Dad was born. His dad was in WW1 and at the end of the war, instead of being sent home to Australia straight away, was billeted to a farming family near here.
He obviously met my Grandma, Violet Chandler, they married, Dad was born and when he was 6 months old Grandad took them home to Australia. My poor Grandma, I often think about her, coming from quite a refined family in beautiful green England, to living in a tent in the wilds of Queensland. Dad told me once that on lots of occasions, after storms, she scoured around where they were living for hours looking for her bits and pieces that had blown away. As a kid I loved her dresser with all the Willow pattern crockery stacked inside. I wonder now whether any of it came out from England with her and survived the tent years.
Anyhow, enough reminiscing, I actually had to catch a bus from Bath to reach Marlborough, there’s no train service there. It was once a major market town, but now is probably more famous as where Kate Middleton attended high school, at Marlborough College.
A few of the people on the bus pointed things out to me along the way, they were all pensioners who’d been to town for the morning and were heading home again. They’re all very lovely and want to know all about my travels, where I’ve been and which places I like best. One of the women who was sitting near me was telling me she has never been to London, and she’d have to be in here 70’s!
I got a photo of one of the famous white horses because one of the women pointed him out for me. I was also lucky enough to grab a photo of a funny little brick bridge thing over the road that joins buildings on both sides, very unusual and cute.
My hotel was just across the road from the bus stop in the high street, so no worries about finding my way today. When I booked in, the girl said, ah, you’ve got the party bathroom!! Didn’t know what she was on about until I saw it, but she was completely right, you could have a party in there.
The pub is gorgeous; to get to the bedrooms, you go through a little door in the bar and up a couple of flights of weeny curving stairs that are all uneven and cramped. But then, walking around my room just about made me seasick – it was so up and down. It’s difficult to explain but it was just hilarious, the bed had 6″ chocks of wood under the legs at one end to try and even it up and every time I went up or down the stairs to the party bathroom I stumbled because something was weird about the spacing. Every time I did it, I chuckled to myself and said, next time I’ll remember that, but I never did. For all the wobbly bits, it was a lovely old place and the staff were all nice, friendly, helpful girls, it was a real treat to stay there.
So, first thing was to go look for Chandlers Yard because I remember when Mum and Dad visited they had photos taken there. It couldn’t have been easier to find either, almost directly across the road from the hotel and the back of the building still looks the same as it did in their photos. The building that faces on to the high street was Grandma’s family’s saddlery shop years ago.
How strange is this, it’s now a book shop, so of course I had to have a look around and I even asked the woman there if she knew any of the history of the building, but no luck there. So…. as I was looking around, I found a book written by Jesse Chandler and updated by his son David!!! It’s a book about place names and short walks around Marlborough. Wow, imagine my joy, a real life link to my Grandma’s family.
Of course, I bought a copy and asked the woman if she knew if David still lived around Marlborough. She was a bit coy, but I guess, I could have been some crazy axe murderer or something, so I toddled off to the library to see what else I could find – I’ve often said I’d make a good detective! Not long later, I came up with his address and phone number, made a call, explained who I was and organised to meet him and his wife later that night for a drink at the pub, how cool was that, I was stoked.
David and his wife Jo both came and had a drink at the pub then invited me to their house for coffee – in the next little lane, about 20 steps from the pub, you just wouldn’t read about it would you?
We worked out that my Grandma and his Grandfather were brother and sister so we’re not very distantly related. And he dug out some photos for me of the saddlery shop with some of the menfolk out front. They really were another lovely English couple
What an awesome day, couldn’t ask for more.
25th June 2013
Last full day in Bath today and I keep finding new places to see and things to do. I feel a bit like a stalker sometimes, I seem to end up in the same places about four times every day. I’m pretty sure I don’t really go in circles because I keep seeing new things but I must just go back to where I started or something!! Maybe I’ve just got a goldfish 3 second memory – oh, look there’s something new, and again, and again – nah, just joking.
Had a look through the Guildhall Markets, there’s a book stall in there that would make a library proud, except you could make a complete mess just by taking one book from the bottom of a couple of stacks. They have books stacked about 6′ high! There’s also a ribbon and button stall with more buttons than you can poke a stick at – thousands, I say, thousands!
The Victoria Art Gallery was a bit different, it had lovely big couches in the middle of some of the rooms. The contents were pretty good too – it wasn’t just all about sitting around doing nothing. The glass collection was fantastic, I’m always a fan of coloured glass or all sorts, some of the bottles were just gorgeous.
A cruise down the River Avon was a lovely little break away from museums and art galleries. There’s not really that much to see but it was nice just cruising along peeking in people’s back yards. There’s another weir at Bathampton where the boat turns around to go back to Bath.
The captain told the same story about why there are so many ‘River Avon’s’ in England as the guy from my Hadrian’s Wall tour. The Romans kept asking what the rivers were called and the Celts kept telling them ‘Avon’ meaning river. The Romans thought they meant that was the name of the river – so they called them ‘River Avon’. So really they were calling them River River, heeheehee. Doesn’t take much to amuse me at times does it?
I haven’t been very adventurous with dinners in Bath, I found a great place at the uni to eat; so back there again tonight, to sample something different off their menu, before tackling more navigational challenges tomorrow.Stalk
24th June 2013
I decided to walk to the Holburne Museum today, just down the hill, yeah right, it seems much closer in a bus than it actually was! The long walk was a good excuse for an early morning tea at their gorgeous café before starting to look around.
I wonder, if in another hundred years time, museums will be displaying collections donated by people who are alive now? The bulk of the museums items, 4,000 of them, were collected by Sir William Holburne and bequeathed to the people of Bath back in 1882. It amazes me how many of these collections must be around, I’ve seen probably at least 6 examples already where private collections have been the foundation for a city’s museum.
I thoroughly enjoyed this one, there weren’t many people around, I could stand and just look for as long as I liked, without feeling as if I was in the way; and it’s a very diverse collection too. That helps for those like me who get over looking at the same type of thing after a little while! The views from the front windows looking down Great Pulteney Street were some of the best around too, what an address to have had, back in the day.
I walked into town along Great Pulteney Street and across the Pulteney Bridge, a little like Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, with shops built on the edges. Everywhere you turn over here there’s some great building or stonework or statues to catch your eye. I’m in awe at the level of workmanship and patience these people must have had.
Short day today, all tuckered out after my over zealous walk this morning. Hope you enjoy the photos.