Friday, August 05, 2011


Ready for a trip? How is the weather where you live? We're experiencing killer heat here in North Central Texas, and I long to go where it's cool. Power usage in the heat has our microwave server the victim of rolling brown outs--which means our uploading/downloading speed is dial up slow. The electric company has just issued a rolling 45-minute brown out alert for all users. Let's run away, shall we? How about a quick trip to England?

Obviously, I can’t give you a full English tour. There are simply too many memorable places to include in one post. I’ll hit a few high spots and feature others another time. For now, I'll include only two places in the London metropolitan area.

Harrod's Unique Store
The first is Harrod’s. We’ve heard about this department store because of the owner’s relationship, through his son, to Lady Diana at the time of her death. The store is legendary for many, many reasons. Harrod’s is huge and has everything you can imagine--and many you never dreamed existed. But if they don’t have it, they can get it for you. I love just walking through the store, watching people and absorbing the charm. Harrod’s tea room is a lovely place to enjoy lunch. No, I didn't do any major shopping there.

Cutty Sark Building
Does it make you
A fun building not far away is the corporate office of Cutty Sark (for you non-drinkers, that's the whiskey firm). The building is shaped like a ship. Sorry the photo isn’t better, but I snapped it through the bus window. Seeing this ship-shaped building always makes me smile. But let’s visit some rural areas, shall we?

For years Hero didn’t think he’d like travel with a tour group. Once he tried it on a short trip with friends, he learned he loved relaxing and letting someone else deal with reservations, luggage, and driving. In other words, he also gets a vacation. The one drawback is that if there’s somewhere off the tour route you want to see, you're out of luck. Driving through Northumberland and Yorkshire, where many of my ancestors lived, pleased me. No chance to stop and investigate, because we were with a tour group, but driving through gave me a connection to the past.

Tombstone in front is Wordsworth's. I hope
daffodils bloog here in spring.
One of the prettiest places we stopped was Grassmere, a small village in the Lake District around Windermere. In Dove Cottage at Grassmere,  William Wordsworth lived and wrote. Did you learn his poem, “The Daffodils” in school? Growing up in West Texas, I couldn’t image a land where "clouds of daffodils" grew wild. In fact, it's still hard for me to wrap my mind around the concept. Too bad we were at the wrong time of year for daffodils. There were still plenty of other varieties of lovely, colorful  flowers blooming.

After dining on--what else?--English fish and chips, we took a brief boat ride on Lake Windermere. Hero and I used to live in Windermere, Florida, which allegedly was named after this one in England. I see why the Lake District is a favorite vacation spot for the English.

Beatrix Potter's former home
While on the boat ride, I snapped this photo of Beatrix Potter’s home, but my hasty photo does not convey the beauty of the actual scene. The lawn slopes down to the water's edge, and tall trees along the shore offer privacy. Her home is operated by a trust and open for visitors, but we weren't able to work a tour into our schedule. I loved glimpsing her home even at a distance, and imagined Peter Rabbit munching away in her garden. 

Hero and I at Stonehenge.

Stonehenge is an impressive sight. Seeing it pop into view on the plain is quite a surprise. Regardless of your opinions of how and why it was built, don’t you agree it’s an astonishing accomplishment?  We were fortunate to have also visited Stonehenge years ago when visitors were allowed to walk among the stones. Now, one must remain outside the chain fence circling the stones.
Roman Bath at Bath, England
Another pretty place was the city of Bath. I love Regency and Victorian set novels, and someone’s always going off to Bath in those books. Once I saw the city, I certainly understood why. The Roman baths are an amazing feat and I enjoyed touring them. Imagine buildings that age that are still safe enough to walk through. But the beauty is in the city itself.  Looking down from the hills when sunlight catches the golden hues of Bath’s honey-colored stone is awe-inspiring.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this mini-tour and that it enhanced your staycation. Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

Karen C said...

Loved the mini tour, Caroline, thank you. Our electric is with a co-op and we haven't had to deal with rolling brown outs, yet.