Archive for the ‘England’ Category

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Somerset Christmas

January 2, 2017

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

cathedral sanctuary with vaulted ceiling and scissor shaped arch

Wells Cathedral

We had a very pleasant Christmas week in Somerset. It wasn’t snowy, but we did get a couple of frozen days with fog and frost. Rupert took us to Bruton and Wells.

coastline and wooden pier

Clevedon Pier

We roamed around Clevedon on Christmas day.

poster for theater performance

Pantomime

Boxing Day involved going to Weston-super-Mare to see the pantomime. The cast was talented, but a pantomime is an acquired taste. I think you have to grow up watching them to find them enjoyable. Per Wikipedia: “Modern pantomime includes songs, gags, slapstick comedy and dancing, employs gender-crossing actors, and combines topical humour with a story loosely based on a well-known fairy tale, fable or folk tale. It is a participatory form of theatre, in which the audience is expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers.” It also involves popular songs with rewritten lyrics and a baking skit involving pie in the face.

TIntern Abbey medieval stone ruin

Tintern Abbey

We went up through the Wye River valley stopping to see the Tintern Abbey. It was a very cold day and everything was beautifully frosted.

medieval cathedral on a foggy day

Hereford Cathedral

We stayed overnight in Hereford meeting with more friends. The next day we were off to Ledbury and caught a train to Oxford. One night in Oxford was too short, but we tried to make the most of it.

medieval church

St Michael at the North Gate, 11th century

Photos:

Somerset – part one – 109 photos

Somerset – part two – 76 photos

Somerset – part three – 14 photos

Tintern – Hereford – Ledbury -Oxford – 328 photos

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Wandering East London

December 24, 2016

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

four story brick building

Spitalfields Market

If you have followed our travels previously, you should know that we tend to wander around neighborhoods just to see what we can see, instead of following a typical tourist itinerary filled with museums and touristic sights. We stayed in Whitechapel, but did not bother with the Jack the Ripper tour.

This trip was heavily influenced by the fact that Daddybird has been following the Spitalfields Life blog, so many of the buildings and places we sought out are historical places mentioned in that blog.

neoclassical church colonnade and spire

St Leonard’s Anglican Church, Shoreditch 1740

We wandered into the Shoreditch neighborhood and happened upon St. Leonard’s Church which had a sign announcing a carol service that evening at 6 pm, so we made a point of coming back in time for a bit of Christmas music.

red stone building with arched windows

The Jamaica Wine House – used to be the first coffee house in England ca 1652

Daddybird’s itinerary included buildings like the one above which was the first coffee shop back when coffee was the new, exotic drink.

root beer float

What have we been eating? (surely you wonder about this) Our breakfasts have been English, but all other meals have ranged from Turkish to Pakistani to American. I generally don’t drink soda/pop/cola (whatever you call it), so having a root beer float was a pretty fantastic blast from the past.

fried chicken and waffles

I had not had fried chicken and waffles before, but now I understand. I understand.

See Day 1 pictures here. (129 photos)

See Day 2 pictures here. (89 photos, 3 videos)

See Day 3-5 pictures here. (131 photos)

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Travel By Book: Bryson’s Britain

July 31, 2012

Posted by Kanga.

Bryson, Bill. Notes from a small island. London: Black Swan, 1996. Print.

During this two week stay at home vacation I am visiting Britain through the eyes of Bill Bryson. We have a very similar sense of humor and perspective on the world, so reading a Bryson book usually results in my laughing out loud and then reading the passage aloud for DaddyBird.

Bryson is at his best when he is making up words, like imaginary (but believable) place names – the Buggered Ploughman pub, Ram’s Droppings bypass, or the rail crossing at Great Shagging. Or mocking the formality of a restaurant menu by asking for “a lustre of water freshly drawn from the house tap and presented au nature in a cylinder of glass.”

His description of Daniel’s department store in Windsor makes me want to explore it. The sad part is that it is probably not there anymore. In this book Bryson is describing his “farewell tour” of Britain in the early 90’s. He combines flashbacks to the 70’s when he first arrived in England and his 90’s observations giving a taste of nostalgia for the things already lost to the passage of time. His travel plan was to use only public transportation (bus and train), but 1990’s reality was that much of the public transport network had disappeared.

Travel by book means that I have no pictures to show my daily adventure. However, having been to Britain a time or two, I will slip in one of my favorite pictures from a previous trip.

street in Southwark

Southwark, London 2009

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Idyllic view

August 9, 2009

FelthamBogThis is in Feltham, the neighborhood near Heathrow where we stayed before leaving. It’s not as idyllic as it looks in this picture because you can’t see the rubbish floating in this pond. Sometimes illusion is a good thing.

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Heathrow

August 8, 2009

BritAirBus1We had a unique experience at Heathrow. When we arrived at our gate, we found not a plane, but buses. We were all loaded onto buses and then driven a significant distance to the plane. This confused several of the young children in the crowd. I heard them saying to their parents, “I thought we were going on a plane.”

BritAirBus2

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Banksy

August 4, 2009

[First let me say that these pictures may give you trouble and not load quickly or completely. Try refreshing your browser screen or click on the spot where the picture should be to get it to appear.]

So, we got up early (actually didn’t sleep much due to noise from the disco night club somewhere near the hotel and when that died down the seagulls began screaming), checked out of the hotel and walked down to the museum.

We got in line at about 8:40 am and we entered the museum about 10:15 am.

BanksyExhibitSign

I’ll post just a few of the works we found the most poignant or amusing. The exhibit included original paintings:

BanksyAnarchistsMother

BanksyRickshaw
Sculptures:
BanksyShoppingVenus
And animatronics:
BanksyChickMcNuggetsOne of Banksy’s main targets is McDonalds. These chicken McNuggets were animated and drinking out of the BBQ sauce cup. Kinda creepy.
BanksyJaguar1We approached this from the back and it looked like a very realistic Jaguar twitching it’s tail. However, from the front…
BanksyJaguar2
It is actually a fur jacket.

Banksy also likes to take paintings or prints by other artists, usually of idyllic scenes and add his own touch to them. These were sprinkled throughout the normal museum displays, so it was like hunting for Easter eggs.
BanksySmokeBreak
BanksyUfo
When we left, this was the line of people waiting to go in.
BanksyQueSunday
We exited the museum a little after noon. The last bus from Hereford to Hay-on-Wye was at about 4 pm. It was clear we weren’t going to make it, no matter how good the train connections were. Had we gotten any sleep in the Clifton Hotel, I might have suggested we stay another night, but it was noisy, shabby and overpriced. So, we headed for the train and Hereford. We did indeed miss the bus. There was another one listed on the bus stop sign, but further investigation showed that it only went to the edge of Hereford, not to Hay. So, we approached a taxi at the train station and inquired if he would take us to Hay and how much would it likely be. It was affordable, so we had a nice taxi ride home.

So, what seemed might be an exercise in futility worked out rather nicely, on the whole.

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Bristol

August 3, 2009

Saturday we took the bus and three trains in order to reach Bristol with the intention of seeing the Banksy art exhibit. We left Hay-on-Wye at 10 am and reached Bristol, checked into the hotel and walked to the museum 5 hours later. We had fairly good connections between the bus and each of the trains.

Bristol Temple Mead train station

Bristol Temple Mead train station

Here is our hotel – the Clifton Hotel (the neighborhood is called Clifton).

Clifton Hotel, Bristol

Clifton Hotel, Bristol

Across the street from our hotel –

St Paul's Church, Clifton

St Paul's Church, Clifton

We walked a short distance to the museum.

a street in Bristol

a street in Bristol

We arrived to find this line of people waiting to get into the museum.

People in line to see the Banksy exhibit

People in line to see the Banksy exhibit

The museum closed at 5 pm. They stopped allowing people to join the line at 3 pm. It was just a few minutes after 3 pm. So, we were out of luck for getting in on Saturday. We had to travel (5 hours) back to Hay-on-Wye the next day, so it appeared that we might have come all this way for nothing. The museum was to open at 10 am the next morning and they advised us that people started lining up around 8:30 am. That was going to make it a very close call.

I’ll tell you the rest of the story tomorrow. It’s cruel, I know.