Southern England

Southern England (July 7-22)


 We flew from Belfast to Heathrow and stayed one night in an old pub not far from the airport, the Ostrich Inn. It's supposed to be haunted, but we didn't see any ghosts.

        That evening, we went out for dinner with our friends, Jackie and Terry, but we didn't get any photographs.

        Next day, we visited Hampton Court, the home of Henry VIII.

        It's a strange mix of architectural styles - Tudor on one side and Georgian on the other.

        We focused mostly on the Tudor buildings as so much history happened here.

The Great Hall

The Ale House - they drank a lot of beer in Tudor times, because the water was unsafe.

Just one of the many kitchens

An astronomical clock, when the Sun still rotated around the earth

The formal gardens from the Georgian era - clearly copying the formal gardens at Versailles.


        The same day, we drove to Swindon, where we stayed and the following day went to the village of Shrivenham where Paul lived as a child. 

        The Manor House where he lived is long gone, but the Prince of Wales pub, which was his Dad's local, is still there.

We walked to the Church, which Mum and Paul visited occasionally.

        We spent some time inside the church chatting to the locals, but as it's more than sixty five years since we lived there, they couldn't tell us very much.

Paul and  his Mum Freddie at The Manor House, probably in 1954

 That same day, we set out to find the school where Freddie taught when we lived in Shrivenham. We found it - it was called Lydiard Park and the park is still there. In the 1950s, it was used to house local  eople who had been made homeless during the war. The school  which was part of the camp closed in 1960

Bath (July 9-11)

        We drove on to Bath, where we spent three days. Although Paul lived there as a child, I have almost no memories of the place. 

        The day we arrived, there was some sort of a street festival going on.

        To this day, we are still not sure what the festival was about and we only caught the tail end, but it was colorful and noisy.

        Besides being a very beautiful city, Bath is quintessentially British. From our hotel, we could watch a bowling match and a short walk away, a cricket match.

All very British on a warm summer's afternoon

 And another Great British tradition - a proper breakfast served every morning at our hotel.

        Of course, a highlight of Bath are the Roman Baths, built by the Romans almost two thousand years ago and now restored to almost the same historic state. 

        The baths are in the heart of the city - that's the Abbey Church just behind the baths.

        The main baths shown here would have been used as a swimming pool in Roman Times, but now they are purely a tourist attraction.

        Re-enactors show how the baths might have looked in Roman times. Great hairdo !

        As this model shows, some parts of the bath complex are long gone, but some parts of the old baths still exist, underground.

        We took a walking tour of the City, which has many fine buildings from the Georgian era. We started at the Abbey Church which is not designated as a Cathedral, because the Bishop is located at Wells Cathedral, not  here.

        It has a splendid ceiling

        The shopping streets are very elegant

        This is the Royal Crescent where Paul lived as a small child. In the 1950's, it was very run down and we lived in a second floor flat. Now it's VERY desirable. It was built between 1767 and 1774.

        Bath is located on the River Avon and the weir and bridge behind is are prominent landmarks in the city center.

        So on our last night in Bath - dinner by the river.

Lyme Regis - July 12/13        

After leaving Bath, we drove to Lyme Regis, but along the way, we stopped at Wells Cathedral. The Cathedral façade is spectacular.

        And the interior is even better. We took a tour....

        The "scissor arches" (there are three) were built in the 14th century to stabilize the tower, which had been sinking.

        The astronomical clock from 1325. Again, the sun goes around the earth - this predates Copernicus and Galileo.

        The spectacular ceiling in The Chapter House

        Very close to the Cathedral is the small town center of Wells. It's so picturesque and looks just like a movie set.

        The Bishops House and the Deanery are next to the Cathedral.

        In Lyme Regis, we stayed with Helena an old friend, first of Sarah's and now of Paul and Kristine (and Sarah.)

Then and now: Pamela (Helena's sister), Helena, Sarah and Paul around 1960

Helena and her Mum, Corinne today

Lyme Regis sea front

Helena and Kristine at the port - it was a little windy that day

Helena's English Country Garden

Cowes -The Isle of Wight - July 14/15

We drove from Lyme Regis to Cowes, almost missing the ferry. 

The next day, we drove around the island. Our first stop was "The Needles" where we took a boat tour.

The colored sand in the cliffs are one of the features of this area.

We took the chairlift back to the top of the cliff.

We spent the rest of the day driving along the coast and finished up in Ryde.

IOW Coastline


Ryde Pier

Salisbury via Portsmouth

Next day we took the ferry back to the mainland and stopped in Portsmouth to see the "Mary Rose".

The Mary Rose was the flagship of Henry VIII and sank unexpectedly in 1545. The remains of the ship were recovered in 1982 and are now preserved in a museum at the Naval Dockyards.

Only half of the ship remains - the rest rotted away

Many artifacts were recovered from the ship, including  these cannons

The dockyards have many other exhibits besides the Mary Rose, including Nelson's flagship, the Victory, which fought at the Battle of Trafalgar. 

We drove on to Salisbury, intending to see the Cathedral, but by the time we arrived, it was closed for the day. It's still an impressive structure, but we didn't get to see the inside.

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

The Bishop's Palace, adjacent to the Cathedral