If you’ve been following along, you might have noticed that there was a gap between visiting Oxford/Cambridge and going to a play in the West End. No, we didn’t fly home and pick up the box, that post was actually by Tom.
Instead, we kind of went off the grid for a while. We’ve been home for a week now, but we’re just starting to get caught up. So here’s what we did during that gap.
After Cambridge, we went down to Cornwall (by way of Bath) to visit my mum. My sister Rachel was also visiting.
Mum and Tom had moved to Cornwall about two years ago, and this was the first time we’d visited them in their new digs. They are nearly all the way to Land’s End where Cornwall ends up looking a little bleak and the wind blows all the time, but it’s quite beautiful as you can see.
We got to see a number of different places in Cornwall including St Ives. St Ives was still pretty busy on a grey October day, I can’t imagine how crowded it would be on a sunny August Day. They’re also just a couple of miles away from Portreath which seems to be a mecca for surfers. (We were also surprised by the fact that Cornish waters have the same turquoise color you see in the Caribbean)
One evening we took a walk along the beach and watched the surfers perform hair-raising tricks catching waves along the sea wall. We also had a very nice afternoon touring and sampling cider at Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm. I have to say their reserve cyders are particularly nice, and well worth a visit.
We left Cornwall and headed to Lyndhurst in the New Forest for a couple of days to ourselves at a very nice B&B. We stopped off in Exeter on our way there. We had a special treat while visiting Exeter Cathedral as there was a rehearsal for a performance of Noye’s Fludde by Benjamin Britten. We got to hear the children’s chorus (in the cutest costumes), accompanied by the giant organ. Those are some of the lower register organ pipes behind Mike!
I had never been to the New Forest when I lived in England, so that was a new experience for me. By the way, it was “new” in 1079 when it was established by William the Conqueror. It is famous for the New Forest ponies, that are wild and simply wander around wherever they want to including blocking traffic at times.
The New Forest is also home to the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu. (Beaulieu is pronounced “bewley”). In addition to having a wonderful collection of old vehicles, they also house some of the classic vehicles built by the guys on Top Gear, so it was a pretty fun day out.
On our way out out of Lyndhurst we stopped in Salisbury to see the Cathedral, Old Sarum to see the remains of the earlier settlement, and Stonehenge. It was a pretty nice day in Salisbury and Old Sarum, but as we drove up to Stonehenge the clouds that had been threatening all morning finally let loose with a deluge. So we only ended up doing a quick circuit of the stones and getting back in the car to make our way to Kent.
As we left, the sun came back out, but we were already on our way to visit my old friends Alison and Richard whose twenty fifth wedding anniversary (and 50th Birthday) we would be celebrating at the weekend. Their party was a great time, reconnecting with old friends and meeting lots of interesting new people.
Finally, we dumped the minivan back at Heathrow and spent a couple of days up in London before we left.
We spent a very nice morning at the Tate Modern, and got to walk across the Millennium Bridge from St. Paul’s. Then we had a lovely luncheon with Val and Geoff near Tower Bridge on historic Shad Thames street.
Finally, as our flight wasn’t until late in the afternoon, we took a lovely walk around Kensington Gardens to stretch our legs before grabbing the bags and heading to Heathrow via Paddington Station.