Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The first week in England

I can't believe it is over a week now since we have been back, funny how life settles back so quickly...

(Paris through my taxi window)

Our journey to England was very, very, long, I remember thinking when we got to Singapore that we were only a third of the way into our journey!!! I am glad we did it the way we did though as I have now had a glimpse of Germany and France. I loved all the little villages we passed on the train, all the houses clustered around tall church spires. (building materials are different in this part of the world compared to ours). In Paris all the trees were just coming into leaf and the city was so beautiful as it whisked past my window on the way to the bus stop ( I thought of my friend Carine not so far away). I was trying very hard to see the French countryside go by as we headed towards the tunnel to England but my eyes were finding it very hard to stay open. 48 hours of traveling had taken its tole.

We finally arrived in England and were told to get off the bus at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere as the bus driver didn't go to Folkestone where we were getting picked up from anymore!!! It is funny now as I look back but a bit scary before we were finally found by Stuart's Aunt and Uncle.

(Ben waiting in the middle of nowhere waiting to be picked up and you can see Stuart way off down the road trying to find where we were)

We finally got to Stuart's Aunt and Uncle's at about 9:30pm Thursday night, I told Ben this was going to be our new home for the next few weeks and as we walked in the door so did the cat and Ben said our cat has changed colour!

We spent the next few days hanging around home, visiting relatives, and a friends parents and going to the supermarket... they are so much cooler then ours!!! I LOVE ASDAS! I didn't seem to suffer from jet lag so much but I felt quite wobbly, like when you have been skating and you take your skates off and you still feel like your feet are moving, weird feeling. We spent Easter Sunday at home with a lot of family visiting for tea. It was really nice to meet everyone, and see some again that I hadn't seen for a while.

On Monday we took the train to Royal Tunbridge Wells to meet a friend of Stuart's who he used to teach with... She took us to her home in Five Ashes and fed us a lovely meal (I love the names of the towns in England). Then we did a tour around the places Stuart used to teach and visit when he was living there. And I saw a piles of dirt left by moles (we don't have moles in New Zealand so this was rather exciting). One thing I have noticed about England is that most houses are built of stone or brick, whereas in New Zealand ours are usually wood.

(shopping in The Pantiles)

On Tuesday Uncle Denis came and picked us up and we went to see the Cotswolds! I was so very excited, I had been wanting to go here for a very long time. It took about 3 hours and I could tell we were there, the houses changed from orange/red brick to the light coloured stone I had seen in so many pictures. It felt just amazing to be surrounded by them and so old, there were so many houses that were built hundreds of years ago. We came to the Slaughters, a place I had saved on our map at home to go see one day. We stopped in Lower Slaughter, after spying and chasing a squirrel through the St Mary's graveyard we had a look through the Church. Just beautiful! Every little village we went through was just so perfect, you could spend weeks discovering little towns down the hedged lanes.

(Lower Slaughter)

On Wednesday we went up to Ludlow castle, what an amazing ruin, you could spend the whole day here looking around. The day was rather bleak which I think suited the castle, it gave it a whole lot of atmosphere. I bought two coffee cups at the gift shop here and I meet the potter who made them, he was pleased his cups were traveling to New Zealand.
(Ludlow Castle)

(castle doors)

After Ludlow castle we went to a place called Bridgenorth where they had a train that went up hill to Upper Bridgenorth. Once off the train there was this wall that went around a walkway with doors here and there, I loved it. You got a small glimpse of the garden beyond the wall by what was sprouting above. Further around there was a castle ruin, just a wall really that looked as though it was about to fall over.

(you can look over the fence on the right down to Lower Bridgenorth)

(I found this little plaque which interested me... it says "This cave was occupied as a dwelling until the year 1856")

On Thursday we stopped in a few other little villages in the Cotswolds, Stow on the wold and Bibury (really beautiful little village, pic from the last blog post) and I had my first cider in a real thatched roof English pub.

(The Black Horse first cider in a thatched pub)

(a house, Stow on the wold)

(shops in Burton on the Water)

We made our way back to London stopping at one of the many Swan pubs for tea ('The Swan' and 'The Kings head' seem to be very popular names for pubs).

On Friday Uncle Ken took us to Rye a little seaside village with cobbled streets. It too had a castle but when we were going to look the gates were closed for lunch... Most of Rye seemed to close for lunch, a lot of the shops had signs saying be back in an hour. But we had fun window shopping anyway.

(cobbled steet in Rye, a bit hard on the feet)

(Ben and the cannons and cannon balls)

(a little tudor style house in Rye across the road from a graveyard)

After Rye we went to see an old friend of Stuart's Gran, she lived a small drive from New Romney. A very desolate place, lots of marshes and some kind of army type training ground or something like that with high fences? Very moody.

Well that is pretty much the first week of our trip... will post the next week in a few days.


gryphon said...

It was years ago now but I remember going to the cotswolds. I remember the Slaughter's. Lower was better than Upper if I recall. And I remember too going to Stow-On-The-Wold and to Ludlow castle. I poured over my Cotswold map for ages planning all the little villages I wanted to see. You would've had a lovely time :)

Brenda said...

It's lovely to have you back and so interesting to read about your trip and see the beautiful photos.

tangled sky studio said...

what an amazing journey for you and your family...the amount of history and connection you experienced is amazing....


melodie said...

What a wonderful trip... Soak it all up!!

justagirl said...


We will have to talk about the cotswolds one day...


Thanks, it is good to be back and catch up with everyone.


It was an amazing trip...


We had such a good time, I am still soaking it up... thanks