A Travellerspoint blog

May 2022

Home Sweet Home

rain 8 °C

Our return to the wide world has ended and we are now home on our Canadian isle waiting for spring to arrive. We are hoping our tans will survive long enough to carry us into summer. Before we left England we visited this place that followers of the T.V. series, Downton Abbey, will have no problem identifying…
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This is actually Highclere Castle in Hampshire, ancestral home of the Carnavon family. This 300 room stately home has been in the same family since it was built in 1679 by the Attorney General of King Charles II. The current occupiers are the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnavon who live in a cozy little mansion somewhere on the estate. However, specially invited guests are allowed to sleep in the castle’s bedrooms on beds that are usually occupied by Lady Cora, The Countess of Grantham, Lady Mary Crawley and her younger sister, Lady Edith. We were not specially invited, so we ended up on the self-guided tour. While no photos are allowed inside the building, this is the main hall…
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Having visited ‘Downton Abbey’ we just had to see the latest movie, “A New Era,” featuring all of our favourite characters. We were not disappointed.
Our final week in England was spent with friends and family. But one family member was in the Spanish Balearic Island of Mallorca which gave James a excuse to top up his tan with a flying visit. This is the enormous cathedral that dominates the waterfront of the capital, Palma…
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And this is the palm-lined waterfront promenade…
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The Balearic Islands are ritzy hotspots and the yachting season is about to start. The crews of most of the superyachts are tarting up their floating palaces ready for their well-heeled guests, however, a couple of the snazziest yachts won’t be going anywhere this summer. They have been seized by virtue of sanctions on Russian oligarchs.
After a night in Palma, James and his son took off for a tour of Mallorca and ended up in a hotel overlooking the historic central plaza of the mountain town of Soller…
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Unbeknown to the visitors, they had stumbled into the midst of the town’s biggest and noisiest annual festival when thousands cram into the plaza, setting off firecrackers and listening to rock bands until five in the morning. The Es Firo festival celebrates a 1561 battle between the Muslim Moors and Christians when Algerian invaders landed in the nearby port and marched to Soller town to claim it for the Arabs. But, according to legend, the women of Soller poured treacle on the streets and attacked the Moors with catapults when they became stuck. The heroic women are lauded along with the town’s other attraction – a historic tram that runs between the town and the port…
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This is the port...
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Like all Medieval European mountain villages, Soller is a tightly woven labyrinth of cobbled streets that are so narrow it is impossible to believe that any vehicles can get through – but they do. However, during the festival, most of the roads were closed to traffic and were filled with fairground rides and giant mannequins…
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So, that is it for now. We have dipped our toes back into the world and are already looking forward to our next adventure. Thank you for following along with our travels and we hope you join us next time. In the meantime, as this sign in Hyde Park, London, reminds us…
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Bye for now.

Posted by Hawkson 01:53 Archived in Canada Comments (7)

Blooming Britain

semi-overcast 17 °C

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As we wander down this leafy lane the words of an Ivor Novello song remind us of the beauty of spring in England.
"We’ll gather lilacs in the spring again
And walk together down an English lane
Until our hearts have learned to sing again
When you come home once more."

We are briefly back 'home' in England after a month in Spain and Britain is in full bloom. Spring came early this year and we enjoyed several weeks of balmy weather that brought out the daffodils and magnolias before we took off for Spain. But now we are back and the streets of London are scented with the blossoms of lilacs, wisteria, jasmine, and mock orange, while the woods and fields are simply carpeted with colour. These are woodland bluebells...
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And these are drifts of cowslips that thrive on open moorland in southern England...
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The rugged south coast of England is sculpted into numerous bays beneath towering cliffs of sandstone and chalk, and the windswept headlands are renowned for their abundance of golden gorse and broom...
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The wonderful 'coconut' fragrance of the flowering gorse at Hengistbury Head fills the air on a sunny afternoon and the view of Bournemouth Bay from the top of the cliffs is quite stunning...
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Rural England is particularly beautiful at this time of the year and we especially like the ancient villages and towns where historic buildings line the streets and surround the village common. For instance - this is the 900-year-old flint church in the village of Clapham in Sussex...
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All buildings of a certain age are protected by law and required to be maintained under strict supervision. They are known as 'Listed buildings' and are graded according to their historical importance. Owning a listed house or building can be very expensive and onerous and there are circumstances when it is necessary to take steps to preserve them. And that is where the Weald & Downland Living Museum comes in. This is a Medieval farmhouse that needed rescuing..
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This farmhouse, and many other buildings, have been moved to the museum in the beautiful Sussex countryside near Chichester where they have been lovingly restored and cared for. Houses, shops, farms, a school, and even a working flour mill, have all been reconstructed here. This is a substantial Tudor mansion...
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When we arrived, we thought we had slipped through a time warp back to the 16th century as costumed people wandered the streets and costermongers hawked their wares in the marketplace...
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We soon learned that they were actors making a Christmas movie. However, the museum is no stranger to the screen and a very popular BBC series titled, "The Repair Shop" is filmed in an ancient barn here. In the program, people bring heirlooms to be restored by expert craftsmen, but there is no point in turning up with granddads broken down bike to get the puncture repaired. Only specially selected guests get their knickknacks brought up to scratch.
On the subject of fixing things up on the screen, we have one more stop in England before returning home. See you soon.

Posted by Hawkson 12:25 Archived in England Comments (5)

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