From Kent to Cheshire and a few places in between
16 March 2015 | Village of Manley outside of Chester
Karyn cold and cloudy with occasional sun
Hello again from the UK. As I downloaded our pictures, I realized just how many places we have visited since I last blogged. Challenges or not, we are seeing lots of the world on this adventure. We loved our time in the little village of Staple, Kent. We were halfway between Sandwich and Canterbury which gave us lots of opportunity to see interesting things. The house was lovely and the owners more than hospitable. We attended the little C of E church and also the Canterbury Cathedral. They were both moving experiences. The folks in the village entertained us and we loved the Springer Spaniel, Juno. She was so much fun. It was a nice experience, and when you look at the gallery you will see beautiful places like Leeds and Dover Castles.
We had three days between sits and chose to stop in Oxford, Gloucester and Stratford on Avon. This being the 50th anniversary of Churchill's death, we wanted to see his childhood home, Blenheim Palace.
We loved Oxford. We had a wonderful guide who took us through the University and told us how it functions here in England. It is a very interesting educational system and would be a wonderful place for anyone to be educated. Our room was right on the River Thames. Leaving Oxford, we drove to Blenheim and spent the day at the Palace. This is the current home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. Churchill is a direct relation. They can no longer keep the whole place, so they live in part and have tours in the other. The grounds are beautiful and the family stories fascinating. I bought the book written by the 9th Duchess, Consuelo Vanderbilt. Not a great read, but an opportunity to learn more about the day-to-day goings on of the aristocracy here in the UK.
That night we were on the hill above Gloucester, in a lodge created from an old stone home with views to the sea. We met some lovely people and shared dinner with them. It was a nice evening. Then off through the Cotswolds to Stratford on Avon. I had always wanted to see the Cotswolds. We weren't exactly sure how to do it, but went to the first little town "I" center and got a driving/attractions map and some friendly advice. It was a very nice day and we hope to get a house-sit in that area sometime. It is beautiful. Some towns have narrow rivers running through them with little bridges all along...very quaint.
We were at a B & B in Stratford and the young woman who ran it was remarkable. She had recently lost her husband and had a 6 year-old daughter. She was trained as an OB/GYN, but felt at this time she needed to be home with Rebecca...thus the B & B. She did it right, and with her help we were able to get tickets to see the Shakespeare play "Much Ado About Nothing" or as it is more recently called, "Love's Labor's Won". The period for the play was changed from Elizabethan to Post WWI. During this year's 100th anniversary of the outbreak of war, we've seen much done here in the UK to honor and remember it. Of course we did the regular tourist things as well.
Then on to our next sit, where we are now. We are in the Village of Manley in Cheshire...just like the Cheshire Cat. It is an old farm house that's been turned into a make-shift B & B. The folks have gone on a cruise to Norway and beyond to see the Northern Lights. We have a kitty here: "Bubbles". She is wonderful and has adjusted well. We first visited the close-by old Roman Town of Chester, with its city walls and interesting architecture. On another day, some people who we met on the Danube Cruise took us to Liverpool, his home, and we had a great day with them. Yesterday, we drove to Wales. It had been on Bob's bucket list and it did not disappoint. You will see pictures of Conwy Castle and some of the countryside in the gallery. It was really amazing. We have about 10 days left here and have several excursions planned. We are seeing HMS Pinafore this weekend. Keep in touch. We're getting closer and closer to getting back to the US and can't wait. More later.