A Travellerspoint blog

Machines have feelings too

TomTom must be obeyed!

rain 17 °C

After a quick trip to the post office to send off about 8kgs of booklets, postcards etc (not a cheap undertaking), we took a quick walk down the high street of Dorchester in case there was something we had missed when last shopping (which there was!). We then took a leisurely trip across the countryside, headed for Poole and ultimately a destination just north of Bournemouth. After leaving the motorway due to heavy traffic and taking a quick trip through the cute village of Bere Regis, we reached Wareham. This is yet another historic market town (just about every town seems to have that on their welcome sign!). As there was no easy parking there, we decided to head to Lytchett Minster (a famiily history town for me). We plugged in our destination on TomTom and started to follow the verbal directions, until we saw a sign for another town we wanted to visit (in the opposite direction to our destination). Well, TomTom got a little upset with this and repeatedly tolf us to turn around when possible. We did not follow orders and found somewhere to park in the town of Corfe Castle, had lunch and walked around for the 1 hour parking we had managed to find.

When we hit the road again and headed for Lytchett Minster for real, TomTom decided that we needed punishing for not following orders to our last destination. So, she did not voice any directions the whole trip. We just had to follow what was on screen and hope we had it right. We tried switching voice commands off and on. No change. We tried switching TomTom off and on. No change. We tried apologising to TomTom. No change. Clearly, we had really upset it by not following instructions!

We made it to both Lytchett Minster and then into Poole where we took a walk of the old town, where once again, my ancestors would have walked the same roads in the last 400 years as well. It rained a bit unfortunately as we were doing the walk but I still managed to
get a lot of pic's. We also came across a wedding at the registry office between a burgundy dressed woman with a lot of tattoos (and two young children) and her husband also had quote a few tattoos. Most of the them retired to the pub across the road for celebratory drinks.

Having finished our walking tour and with the rain threatening yet again, we headed off to Dawn's aunt's place in Ferndown (just north of Bournemouth).

We were treated to yet another fabulous meal and I got to pat their cat Simba (a Birman). Sorry Tilly and Bailey but I was suffering from cat withdrawal, so any cat would do. He was a beautiful one though (Till and Bailey, close your ears!).

The next day dawned rainy and cool. Dawn's aunt and uncle took us around the local area. We started at Christchurch Priory. We just had enough time to go around before they closed the church for a wedding. We therefore got to hear the choir rehearsing the hymns and also the pealing of the church bells, which were wonderful. After a quick walk around the carnival that was on that day, we then headed for nearby Highcliffe Castle. Once again, there was a wedding on, this time the bride arrived in a horse drawn carriage, just making inside before the heavens opened up again and drenched the ground. We had a cream tea in the cafe there then took a walk down to the neach (another stony one) where we could see the Isle of Wight in the distance.

Last port of call for the day was the little town of Burley in the New Forest. Horses are allowed to graze the forest land and are rounded up once a year. As such, they roam the side of the road (most houses have a cattle grid to prevent them from entering their yards). We saw a few horses out in the car parks, some wild, some with brands on them. Once again the weather closed in and pelted with rain. So after an ice cream, we headed back home. We quickly visited Dawn's other aunt and uncle in their new apartment before dinner, then it was time for farewell's as Dawn was leaving the next morning as I headed off to Chichester.

Today I visited Fishbourne Palace, an ancient Roman huge villa (the largest in Britain) dating back to about 70 AD, not long after the Romans came to Britain. There were some amazing mosaic tiled floors and they had reinstated hedges in the garden to the way they had them upon initial excavation. I then headed to Arundel Castle, which was very busy but thankfully the trip back to the hotel just out of Chichester was not as busy. The hire car goes back tomorrow afternoon and then I head to Budapest the next day. Not long before I head for home again.

Posted by burgeea 10:14 Archived in England Comments (0)

Shop till you drop then Sea as far as the eye can see

Glastonbury to Dorchester

semi-overcast 20 °C

After another lovely breakfast around the table with the other guests at the Magdelene Inn, we set the GPS for Street. Not a Street, Street the town, where there happened to be an outlet shopping village. After about 5 minutes of travel, we arrived. After about 30 minutes of shopping, we had only made it out of two stores. Our initial plan of 1 hour of shopping turned into 2 and we both came away with some good bargains - just no room in our cases for them!!!!! Something will have to give!

After that we went down to just outside Yeovil to see Montacute House (which has also featured in Sense and Sensability) and their gardens. We then travelled some back lanes to visit some family history towns for me before setting sail for Lyme Regis and the first bit of ocean I have seen on my trip here.

TomTom once again sent us down some single vehicle country lanes. In Australia we have the one finger wave of acknowledgement (especially in the country), here it is the four fingered wave and it is used very frequently because you constantly have to stop on the narrow roads to let oncoming traffic through. The light flash is also used to beckon somone on, unfortunately I am still getting used to the lights being on the other side so when I tried to do that today, all I achieved was to set the front and back windshield wipers working which Dawn thought was very funny.

We are spending the night in Dorchester and head to Bournemouth tomorrow.

Posted by burgeea 13:13 Archived in England Comments (0)

Up Hill and over Dale

Glastonbury

sunny 21 °C

After yet another scrummy cooked breakfast we headed across the road to Glastonbury Abbey and wandered around the ruins of there. We saw the tree that supposedly was used for the crown of thorns on Jesus and the reputed burial place of King Arthur and Guinevere (both the original and moved locations!). Many ancient religious connections are associated with this place and the size of the abbey would have been huge. Henry VIII 's men would have had a rough time tearing it down but clealry they succeeded with most of it.
After getting sustenance from a bakery called Burns the Bread (which burnt nothing and had very yummy food), we made the bold decision to walk up the Glastonbury Tor. which is visible for miles around. A tower from the 1500's still stands on top of the Tor but it does have a gruesome history with an abbot being hung there during the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1500's. There also used to be a church up there and I don't envy the congregation who had to tramp up that hill every week to go to church. It is a very steep climb but we did it in about 20 minutes. It was worth the effort because you get a 360 degree view of the countryside, which today was easy to see as the sun was shining again (although there were a few ominous clouds in the morning). Naturally the walk down was much easier.

With weary feet we walked down the High Street and looked in the various eclectic shops before heading off to Wells, a town about 15 minutes away that also has a Cathedral dating back to the 10th century (and earlier). We had seen this from the top of the Tor but managed to get confused when we arrived in town because there was another church close to where we parked with a massive tower but it just didn't seem big enough. So we kept walking and found the proper one (about 20 times as large as the wrong one!). Yet another amazing building, this one with a unique wishbone style in the centre of the Cathedral that was done in the 1300's to help strengthen the sinking foundations. Strikingly beautiful. We then strolled around the moat of the Bishop's Palace before heading back to Glastonbury and dinner in the same pub as last night. Both of us can barely walk another step and will no doubt feel the effects of that big hill tomorrow.

Posted by burgeea 12:57 Archived in England Comments (0)

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

Lacock, Wiltshire

rain 18 °C

Ah yes. Another sunny day in England...is what I was wishing for and was sadly disappointed to not receive today. It rained the whole day, quite heavily at stages, so I was rather damp by the end of the day. All that rain seems to have caused some accidents as we got detoured a couple of times on the way to Glastonbury (one within 2 kms of our destination!) so what should have been a 1 hour trip ended up taking about double that - not helped by then not being able to find the B&B and circlilng the high street of Glastonbury in search (finally calling them and having them stand out the front so we knew where it was!). However, that was all at the end of the day.

The start of the day we drove down to the main town of Bradford-on-Avon where we had stayed just outside of the night before. Just for something completely different there were roadworks happening on the high street and as we sat there for an interminable amount of time, the rain started in earnest. So we decided to skip Bradford and head straight for Lacock. For anyone interested, you have probably seen parts of Lacock either in a period film or drama or for Jane in Harry Potter! The whole village is actually a National Trust site and next to it is Lacock Abbey which dates back to the early 1200's. A pity it was raining so hard the whole time but we still had a great time and took many pictures of us dripping wet! We ate at the stable yard cafe after being turned away by two establishments. The first had a toothless proprietor who despite having a menu board out the front, then told us they didn't do food any more (and even went so far as to show us a menu of what we could not get there). Go figure. The second (The Angel Cafe) supposedly had a ghost resident but was also not serving food when we arrived because it was too late. They sent us to their other cafe the Stable Yard and there we had a nice Ploughman's lunch (Max, remember that classic video??????) with Somerset Brie and Dawn indulged in a Victoria Sponge as they can't get them in Canada (she was praying as she was in the queue that no-one else wanted it as there was only one slice left). We both thought we were seeing things as we looked out the window at the rain and saw a gum tree! What was it doing here???? On closer examination, it was a gum tree and a very healthy one at that. We waded back to the car and set TomTom for Glastonbury, having to tell it to avoid roadblocks a couple of times as previously mentioned and ending up on a very narrow road to avoid travelling backwards for another hour when within sniffing distance of Glastonbury.

We took a quick walk around town and past the abbey to get the lay of the land for tomorrow as everything was already shut. Dinner was in a pub nearby called the "Who'd Have Thought It".

Posted by burgeea 13:19 Archived in England Comments (0)

Gloucestershire and Bath

Everything is still old!

rain 20 °C

Dawn arrived from Canada Saturday morning and we drove north of Gloucester to her relatives place near Tewkesbury. They took us around the local area up to Tewkesbury abbey which was closed for a concert but we walked down the lovely streets of Tewkesbury (once the pelting rain had calmed down) - lots of Tudor buildings leaning down into the street. We then went down to Gloucester Cathedral (Harry Potter was filmed there Jane) but it also had rehearsal for a concert going so we could not access all areas. However it was lovely walking through with the choir singers performing. Dinner was in a 17th century pub in the middle of nowhere but extremely popular as parking was very hard. It used to be a glassworks making windows from inception.

Sunday was spent doing a loop around Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. We started off at Ross-on-Wye, yet another lovely town with a Tudor Market Square. From there we headed to Ledbury which had a beautiful cobbled street with Tudor buildings leading up to the 15th century church. We then headed to Malvern and the Norman abbey celebrating 925 years of existence this year. Finally to Upton-on-Severn for a drink by the river in the sunshine. Once back at their place we trooped across the fields on the public walkway (trying to avoid all the stinging nettles) for a stroll around the lake at Newent.

Monday Dawn and I headed off to Bath via Cirencester. We took a self guided walking tour around the town in the sunshine but the moment we headed back to the car, rain started to fall. It was steady drizzle most of the drive down to Bath but once we arrived the rain held off, so we were pretty lucky.

We partook of a cream tea in the Pump Room then went to the Fashion Museum and Assembly Rooms. I sat waiting for Mr Darcy to come and ask me to dance but alas he did not appear! So instead we headed down to the Roman Bath's and took in their splendour before heading off to the hotel (a lovely old country house with great views of the valley) and dinner there.

Posted by burgeea 01:52 Archived in England Comments (0)

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