Two months have passed, since my return from a Spring-time trip to England. The summer has been taken up with house painting, inside and out, along with some gardening and generally enjoying life. So, now, finally, I'll review my lovely trip to England and get the pictures online for you.
On May 10, 2006, my flights were from Syracuse, NY, to Philadelphia, PA, to Manchester, England. We arrived an hour late in Manchester due only to sitting on the runway at Philly waiting for an hour to take off. It's such a busy airport. An overnight flight, I watched the sunrise over the ocean, lovely. My friend met me and hadn't waited at all, due to the teletext information system on the television, which, among many other services, provides arrival times of all commercial flights coming into the country. As a result, she knew my flight was late and she was able to adjust her schedule accordingly.
Now, it's the 11th of May. We did our errands in preparation for our trip south to Cornwall. We gassed up the car, cashed in traveler's checks to a not-so-good exchange rate for some Pounds in my pocket. Off to bed early, at 9 p.m., since I didn't sleep the night before on the plane. I had a good night's sleep, with a chortling rooster awakening me at 6 a.m.
After breakfast, we loaded the car with our luggage and headed south on the M6 and the M5 and drove as far as Exeter. The gorse was in bloom and as we got further south, we also started to see the rape in bloom. It has a nasty smell, which bothers my friend's allergies. We ran into lots of road construction to slow the pace, but we arrived in good time. We visited Killerton, a National Trust house with hillside gardens. The house was enveloped in beautiful wisteria in full bloom. In the house, we saw a special display of pretty, period, cocktail dance dresses. We found our supper next door to the motel at Harry Ramsden's Fish and Chips. Welcome back to England!
Next day, from Exeter, we made our way to the Eden Project. We ate lunch at the cafeteria, a pasty. Welcome back to Cornwall! At Eden, the domes house a tropical biome and a more temperate biome. In the tropical biome or conservatory, so very hot and humid, we shed our jackets, sweaters, etc. Outside the gardens are terraced. The Eden Project is fun and well worth visiting. At the end of the day, we drove on country roads to our self-catering bungalow in Penzance. Supper, TV, postcards and bed!
On Sunday, the 14th, after breakfast, we drove the short distance to Marazion and St. Michael's Mount. We walked across the cobbled causeway to the island. The tide was out until 3 p.m. The climb to the castle on top was mostly cobbled, a bit rough at the top (similar to Whiteface Mountain). The castle is beautiful and the views, just fabulous. Our next stop was Trengwainton Garden, another National Trust site. Here were the azaleas, rhododendrons, and bluebells in glorious bloom. Back to the bungalow for the evening.
The next morning we got off to a late start, no matter. We posted my cards. We put gas in the car and then headed east to The Lost Gardens of Heligan. We were on one-lane country roads and got lost, figuring the gardens were truly lost. We asked directions three times before we found the place. It was a tough day of walking and climbing, very steep paths, but the gardens were lovely. The plants, trees and shrubs were thick and lush. Make sure to note the Giant's Head when you look at the picture albums. He was special.
We drove into Mevagissey and got caught in traffic on a narrow street. Three cars (us included) backed into a parking lot, until the other cars cleared out. Then we were on our way.
After this long day, we treated ourselves and ate supper at a pub, Coach and Horses. We had lamb shank, jacket potato, veg with a Foster's. The meat was excellent - it fell off the bone. The veg was rutabaga, known there as swede. Lovely meal.
On Tuesday the 16th, we went to St Ives. The day brought back memories of my first visit there. We shopped at the Edinburgh Woolen Mills store, in another store bought a Ty beanie Kernow, which is Cornish for Cornwall, and then walked down to the harbour. We bought pasties for lunch and a custard tart. We were walking along the sea wall eating our pasties, when a gull came gliding in (no sound of flapping wings) over my right shoulder and attacked my pasty. I yelled and the devil left, not to return! He may have got a bite, but no more than that. The rain came down hard and we got wet, but no harm. We had a big pot of tea in a spot overlooking the sea. Then we drove to St. Just and walked to the church. Called the St.Just-in-Penwith Parish Church, the walls of stone were 2-3 feet thick and the arches and beams were of wood. The church is very old. Apparently, at least four churches have been on the site since the 6th century and traces of the fourteenth century building can be seen incorporated into the fifteenth century additions (from a postcard I bought there.) Then we drove to Mousehole (pron. mouz'l) a typical Cornish fishing village. Salmon tonight at the bungalow.
Boscastle has been near and dear to my heart ever since I visited there in July 2000. When it was flooded in August 2004, I was saddened at the extensive damage and was interested to find a picture exhibition of the flood the next year at the Queen's House in Greenwich, England. My friend and I drove to Boscastle from Penzance this year. We found repairs underway and I was heartened to see the lovely town nearly back to its former beauty. Our next stop was the stately home, a National Trust property, Trerice (pron. tre rice - long i). This house was my favorite. If someone wants to give me a stately home, I'll take this one! This evening we decided to eat out and headed to Marazion to see what was there. We had to wait until six p.m. for the places to open, so we walked down to the causeway to St. Michael's Mount. The tide was nearly all the way in and most of the causeway was covered with water. After dinner, we went back to the shore and tide was all the way in and high. The causeway had disappeared.
The next day we went to two National Trust gardens, Trelissick and then, Glendurgan. There was a lot of walking and climbing this day, but the gorgeous plants and blossoms make it all worthwhile. Glendurgan was the place where I saw carpets of bluebells. We then made our way to Falmouth for dinner in a restaurant overlooking the harbour. Fish and chips was again the order of the day with a pasty for lunch earlier at Glendurgan.
Back to St. Ives to buy Cornish fudge and clotted cream. We watched the surf and surfers at Porthmeor Beach. We had lunch on the road at a cafeteria at a garden center. Very nice. Then on to the Lizard, the southern most point of England. The wind was blowing and the rain coming down, but I got out of the car to stand on the edge of the cliff and take pictures. They actually aren't too bad. Then we drove a short way to Cadgwith, the area where Ladies in Lavender was filmed. The road was very steep down into the little town, around a curve and right back up another steep hill out of town. We headed for home in the mist, wind and rain.
Our visit to Cornwall at an end, on May 20, 2006, we left our bungalow in Penzance (Gulval) and headed east and north on the M5. We arrived at Knightshayes Court near Tiverton in the early afternoon for a tour of the house and gardens. The topiary and water lily pond were special features here as well as an old Norfolk Island pine. We had reservations at a B & B this evening and after finding it and unloading some luggage, we found a pub for a supper.
The following day, following a lovely breakfast at the B & B, we made our way north to Lancashire. It rained a good part of the day, otherwise the sky was overcast and we had spray from the wet roads the whole way. After our supper, the sky cleared. Go figure.
Rest day, laundry. The next day, after lunch, we drove to Castleton. We drove down a very steep hill, Winnats Pass, to get there. Castleton is a picturesque area with nice shops. That evening we went out to dinner at the Bella Vista, an Italian restaurant.
My luggage needed reorganizing and packing for the next leg of the trip. That done, we headed out to a place north of Yorkshire. But, we took an unplanned detour to Skipton and shopped at EWM and never went to the original destination. The Yorkshire Dales are beautiful, as is the entire Peak District. The drives through that area are very enjoyable to me.
Up very early on the 25th, to be picked up by a taxi and delivered to the bus in Rochdale, which will carry us to London. Our rooms weren't ready when we arrived, so we disembarked at Hyde Park and took a walk to the Serpentine Bridge and across into the Kensington Gardens. We went to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain which is quite lovely. It was smaller than I had imagined, but peaceful and pretty. Also, across the street, where the bus dropped us, there was a monument to the animals that have served in the wars. Those pictures will be in the albums.
Our hotel was next to the Tower Bridge at St. Katherine's Dock on the Thames. This location was quite thrilling for me, since I'd never stayed on this side of town before. The next day our bus picked us up at 9 a.m. for the trip across town to drop us off at the Chelsea Flower Show. Oh my! Words aren't enough to describe the beautiful flowers, plants, displays, gardens. We saw everything we wanted. The place got really crowded in the afternoon and we left around 3 p.m. We caught a bus up to Sloane Square and had a look in Peter Jones, a department store. Then we took the tube to Westminster and walked to the London Eye and bought tickets for a flight. We found supper at Weatherspoons pub, steak and mushroom pie, nice.
On the Saturday, we took a boat from “our” dock, St. Katherine's Pier to Greenwich. We hit the market day. Yes! I bought some Turkish Delight aka lokum. It rained hard that day. In the evening we went to Haymarket for dinner and theater. The play, Hay Fever, starring Dame Judi Dench and Peter Bowles was very enjoyable. Judi is a treasure. The play was a lot of fun, farcical, light, and laugh-out-loud funny. A woman (from the USA) from the newsgroup, As Time Goes By, that I follow was sitting one seat from me, next to my friend. What a coincidence. We took the tube back to Tower Hill and our hotel. I found the tube to be perfectly safe at night and would go on it alone in the future.
Sunday we left the hotel at 10 a.m. and went to the Kew Gardens. Places I didn't see the first time I was there included the cactus garden, the rock garden and the rose garden, which wasn't in bloom at this time of year. Lunch at the Orangery and at 3 p.m. we headed north for home.
On Monday, we drove to Derbyshire to see the well dressings. At Monyash, we saw three wells and at Middleton-by-Youlgreave, one well. We drove into Wickworth, but the streets were too busy with people and activities for a stop to see those wells. In the evening we went to Oldham for dinner at Compo's Fish and Chips restaurant. You'll recognize the name and the pictures, only if you watch The Last of the Summer Wine, one of my very favorite British comedies.
Good-bye to Park Bridge, Lancashire, my dear friend, her lovely family and England. I always miss them for days and days when I get back home.
Throughout this trip I tried to get some cash from the ATM machines, which were everywhere. No luck. When I arrived home I found I'd been using the wrong PIN #. A new card had been issued to me with a new #, which Joyce promptly forgot!
The flight home, on May 31, 2006, was smooth and uneventful. In Philly, the small plane to Syracuse was on the runway for 45 minutes awaiting take-off. Didn't this trip start out that way?
Be prepared to see a LOT of pictures of flowers in these albums. And remember, you can search on the Internet, Google is good, for any of the places I've mentioned and get lots more information. I write only a summary.
The pictures of the England 2006 trip are on my website:
England Part One
England Part Two
England Part Three
England Part Four
Tip: If you close (temporarily) all of the Toolbars in your browser, you will see the whole page of my albums, including the annotations. Then, when you're finished, you can recheck the toolbars that you like to use.
Joyce N. Church
Written July 2006
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