Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tea, Mice, Box Hill and the Queen's Quarter. . .

I'm hoping to catch up with this blogpost. We have been on the run for some time, but the last two days we slowed down a bit. Yesterday I celebrated my birthday in two cities: York and London. If the truth be told, if we had to live in a city in England (one we have visited), it would definitely be York! It has everything. Culture, history, shops, charm, fairly easily navigated, and the most lovely tea room . . .Bettys.

That's were I chose to have my birthday breakfast. It was so nice to relax with a pot of Yorkshire Tea (the best. . .even when strong, it's not bitter), poached eggs with asparagus and a bun. (A once in a blue moon treat)!

We were relieved to drop off our rental car (a Vauxhall) the night before. The two of us cheered when I turned off the ignition for the last time. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed our travels. But the narrow streets and the constant dodging of parked cars, bikers, hikers and the occasional sheep left me tense at the very end of it all. But, I'm so grateful for God's protection through it all.

So, on to London. We took the rail, found our way to the hotel, rested a bit, then headed to dinner and a play. The crowds were enormous. Discovered today that the Queen was in town with pomp and ceremony to open the first day of Parliment since the election. The buses took forever, and we were unsure of what stop to exit at, so a kind man got off at the same stop and walked us half way there!

We have found everyone SO helpful with directions, almost going overboard for us. Another blessing!

After dinner, we walked to our theatre, St. Martins, which featured the longest running play in London. . .over 60 years! Mousetrap, an Agatha Christie mystery, never made it to publication, but was made into a very popular stage production.

We weren't allowed to take photos, so here is a pic of the cast from a poster in the lobby:

And the curtains . . .

It was very well done, and, as usual, I couldn't work out the plot, and was surprised by the ending. We took the tube home, and even at 22h30, the station was mobbed with people. When we arrived at Paddington Station, it took us a good ten minutes to find the way out that would lead to our hotel. We ended up walking through an empty parking garage and up a ramp to get there! Thankfully, there were security guards around.

Today, friends took us to Box Hill, a scene in Austen's novel, "Emma". She has never been out of her district, so going quite a few miles from her home is a big deal. Emma and a number of friends go on a picnic, but it is ruined when Emma plays a silly game that thoughtlessly offends one of the older women on her party. Mr. Knightly chides her with "Badly done, Emma. Badly done!"

The view is stunning. . .there were even picnickers where Emma and her party would have sat!

Here was a funny tombstone we found along the way:

After Box Hill, we took a drive to Eton and Windsor (the Queen was NOT in residence):

The town of Eton, home of the well-known Eton College boy's school.




Some of the boy's Eton 'house' (think: fraternity) uniforms. . . 

The boy's houses, or dorms. . .

The Eton College library. . .

Olivia tries to 'get into' Eton. . .with no luck!

Then, we walked over the bridge and took a stroll down the Thames on the Windsor side:

A swarm of swans. . .

The Thames. . .

Egyptian Ducks

Then, into town . . .the Old and the Newer

The original Victoria rail station:

Windsor Castle. . .with a statue of Queen Victoria:

A lovely time was had by all. Tomorrow, Olivia and I will meet another friend for breakfast, and attempt to fit in three museums in one day. Cherrio!

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Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel