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!!!!
Category Archives: England
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.
23rd June 2013 (take 2)
Well, after finally dumping my gear, and not having ridden the buses nearly enough for one day, I bussed back to town and caught the hop on hop off bus for a loop on the Skyline Tour.
Eventually, I took to the streets and happened to find the Assembly Rooms and Costume Museum just as it started to rain. Having a look through them instead of being in the rain sounded like a good plan. I was surprised that I enjoyed the Costume Museum a much as I did, there’s oodles of fashion history there.
The Assembly Rooms is where some of my chandelier photos were taken and I even roughly sketched a few of the dresses, but didn’t get round to adding colour – maybe one day.
I’d always wondered what the meaning was of, say, Picadilly Circus – there’s no circus there. There’s a Circus in Bath too and I found out today it comes from the Latin word meaning “circle”, and it’s a round open space at a street junction – quite ordinary really isn’t it? Anyhow, I wandered around the Circus in Bath on my way to find The Royal Crescent!
The Royal Crescent is another gorgeous place I’ve often seen photos of and thought it was very cool but not known where it was. Now I know, and have been inside No 1, The Royal Crescent, Bath – for a price, of course. Although it’s a gorgeous place I don’t think I’d like to live at the Crescent, crowds of people taking photos all the time would put me off. The inside of No. 1 has been restored back to its Georgian past, all the furnishings, paintings, everything is apparently authentic to that era.
Thank goodness for those hop on hop off buses, my poor feet weren’t looking forward to walking all the way back to town to see the Roman Baths. This is one place I’ve been looking forward to visiting, and really, I wasn’t disappointed even though it was hugely crowded – okay, if I could have, I’d have told them all to go home, but …..
I was pretty happy with the level of access allowed at the baths actually, I thought it might be more restricted. It just didn’t give me the same sense as some places I’ve been, like Hadrian’s Wall, the Colosseum, or the Acropolis, where I was really in awe and felt totally immersed in the place and time. Even though the Colosseum and the Acropolis were bot full of people, I could still find a quiet spot to just let it all soak in. All the same, I spent a few hours there and thoroughly loved seeing everything, there’s masses to see, and fell victim to the souvenir shop too. I bought post cards to send home and a little bottle of body oil – I figure the body oil is something I can use now so it doesn’t really count!!
Still not finished, and because it was almost next door to the baths, I also visited Bath Abbey. Some days you must be more receptive to places than others, because, for some reason, Bath Abbey grabbed me more than most, even thought most of what I found interesting wasn’t religious. I found those interesting lights with tentacles, floor grates with great (hahahha) patterns, fascinating plaques to read, gorgeous carvings and stunning architecture – so worth a visit.
On the way back to the bus station, a little book shop was calling me in; I so, so, wanted to buy this book, and that book and another book – so many great books and no way to carry them, bugger! Back I toddled to my little room at the uni, no books but a whole lot of memories.