Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Done and dusted...

My fortnight of entertaining visitors from overseas is over. I have missed my daily excursions around Blogland. I have missed making dinner every night. I have missed my own company of an evening. But I have enjoyed re-visiting some of England's finest places as I became a tour guide for a while.

Stonehenge is a constant source of fascination to me and No2. We have been there several times on our way to or from other destinations in that part of the world.

A new place for me to pay a visit was Salisbury, a few miles down the road from Stonehenge. Its cathedral, which has the tallest spire in Great Britain (123m to be precise), was breath-taking. The architecture both inside and out is just stunning. My neck ached from constant upward-gazing into the vaulted ceilings and at the magnificent stained glass windows.

I had a special reason for wanting to go there too. In the process of creating a memorial stone for Tom's grave, I was lucky enough to have met and commissioned Robin Golden-Hann, a lettercutter and stone mason. Together we worked on a suitable piece for Tom (this is a story in itself, which I will share in more detail at another time. I think it deserves a post of its own). Robin has been involved in some of the huge restoration project at Salisbury Cathedral and also made the memorial stone for Sir Edward Heath which can be found inside the cathedral. On finding it, I had another chance to admire Robin's beautiful work.

Our next destination was Warwick. I am lucky enough to know Warwick well, as one of my closest friends lived there for 10 years. I had forgotten how wonderful the castle was, steeped in history and dating back to William the Conqueror's reign.

The Royal Weekend Party exhibit is very atmospheric - I loved all the detail in each of the roomsets.

No2 has an on-going fascination with all things armour and swords, so there was plenty to tick his boxes.

It was bitterly cold and we froze at the top of the tower despite a climb of a few hundred steps to get us there. We had a giggle on the ghost tour...well, actually, we screamed...quite alot! It was hard to tell the difference between the live actors and the wax models in the dark and with the smoke! They insisted on jumping out on you from behind doors...

Had it been warmer, I would have spent more time in the peacock garden taking in the views and marvelling at the colours of the peacock's tail feathers, but it got to the point where we really just wanted to be warm again.

Our final destination was Stratford-upon-Avon, with all things Shakespeare. After booking into a hotel for the night, we ate a delicious dinner in Carluccio's - thank you, Anna, for the recommendation! I left my visitors to do their own thing the next morning before coming back home thoroughly exhausted.

And so, now back to real life. I have gardening to do, yarn to use and fabric waiting in the wings to be transformed into another quilt.

Oh yes, I also made a deal with myself that once the spring holiday is over, I would start studying in preparation for my course in September...maybe next week...


  1. It can be such fun, being a tourist at home. And the thing which I remember most about my visit to Warwick Castle (a loooong time ago) is the scarily accurate eau-de-stable pong they piped in for additional atmosphere.

    Tom must have a very special memorial stone judging from your photos.

  2. Can you believe that despite my recommendations on Carluccios, Stratford, etc. that I have NEVER been to Warwick Castle? Disgraceful behaviour! I shall be sorting that ASAP! Looks like you all had a lovely time, hope you are now enjoying a well deserved rest!xx

  3. Oooh, some of my very favourite places. And now Ali mentiones it, the Warwick castle aroma is only matched in my memory by the open sewer smell they put in the Jorvik Centre in York.

    Robin Golden-Hann certainly does create beautiful pieces.

  4. It sounds as though you have had a wonderful break from everyday - I bet that after all that sightseeing you are ready to lie on the sofa and eat chocolates for a while.

    What a talented stonemason - craftsmen like that deserve all the publicity you can give them because it is very difficult to find one when you need it most.

  5. I have REALLY enjoyed this.

    Imagine putting on a suit of armour on a cold day!!


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