Showing posts from September, 2009

England Vacation 2009 -- August 23

Karen has dumped the suitcases and got started on her laundry. Helen Anne put pictures onto Karen’s computer. We had synchronized the clocks on our cameras but they are out by seconds so not all the photos sorted correctly. Close enough though – much better than the year we were out but hours and minutes. We finally headed over to the train station and got the12:2? something train to Victoria. We were going to get the open top bus tour but the coupons for the discounts, if you have come by train, are being done differently now and we decided it wasn't worth it. So, we jumped on a double decker bus and had fun riding from Victoria out to Hammersmith on the 211. We then got the 9 or 10 bus back and jumped off at Hyde Park. We went and stuck our feet in the Diana Memorial Fountain and got them nice and cold. It felt rather good as the day was nice and warm. We then wandered through Hyde Park, had an ice cream, and eventually made our way to the gates near Buckingham Palace

England Vacation 2009 -- August 22

Today, we went to Alum Bay and then home to Karen’s flat. We left our suitcases in the office and came back for them after seeing Alum Bay. Alum Bay opens at 10 so we got the 9:20 bus (the buses run hourly from Freshwater Bay) and arrived about 9:45. Some of the shops were open but the chair lift down to the beach didn't start until after 10. It is possible to walk down but involves over 200 steps. Karen's toe didn't think that was a good idea. They sold a book of twelve tickets that could be shared. With the chair lift, and two demos there was enough tickets in one book for both of us. We got one of the first chairs down and discovered a short boat trip out to the Needles at the base of the chair. So we got the first boat tour out. Good one to get as it wasn't very full and the tide was still low enough that our feet didn't get too wet going across to the dock. The next few groups of passengers we saw going to and from the boat were getting wet feet. Ap

England Vacation 2009 -- August 21

Today we did the medium walk Winkle Street to Hulverstone. It was 14 km (8.5 miles) and 300m (975ft) of ascent. We were dropped off in Calbourne (SZ 424868) and walked back to the house. The walk started with a visit to the Calbourne church. There is a brass memorial from 1379 in the church placed there by the Earl of Salisbury in memory of his son William. William was jousting with his father and was blinded by the lance and later died. From the church we headed to Winkle Street (or Barrington Row). There are a couple of explanations for the name Winkle Street – Winkle use to mean “to twinkle”. It also meant a lane that goes around a corner but doesn’t lead anywhere. It might also refer to a type of seashell. The lane has some older stone cottages and thatched cottages on one side and a stream on the other. At one spot in the stream there is a stone wall with vertical groves down into the stream. They can drop wooden pieces into the vertical groove and let the water come up.

England Vacation 2009 -- August 20

For the last few days the forecast has been for heavy rain today however this morning it was for light rain between 10 and 1 so we went hiking. Helen Anne took just the little camera in its waterproof container. All the walks were circular walks from Godshill (SZ528816). We did the alternative easier walk – Godshill, the Worsley Obelisk and the Donkey Sanctuary. It was 9.7km (6mi) and 210m (675ft) of ascent. It was raining as the bus drove into Godshill so everyone was busy pulling on wet gear (jackets mostly). Before we were 10 minutes up the road, we stopped to put the jackets away. It did rain again for a minute or two after lunch but not enough to bother with jackets again although the pack covers did stay on. From Godshill, we headed out via the Sunshine path to a Donkey Sanctuary where we had our morning break. The donkey sanctuary takes in donkey’s that are in need of care. They really didn't want anyone to feed the donkeys -- we counted at least six “Don’t feed th

England Vacation 2009 -- August 19

Helen Anne I got up early and went to take some photos in the bay area at sunrise. All the articles I’ve been reading about photography say that first hour and the last hour are the best time (only time in some) to take photos. Karen stayed in bed. Last night, for once, I was in bed and ready to sleep and she wasn't. I stayed down for the first part of the evening then went up to read. Karen stayed down for the whole evening and had fun playing games. The leaders have organized an optional trip to Osborne house for the rest day today. Both First the bus took us to Whippingham to see St. Mildred’s Church. Prince Albert helped design the church. He died before the church was finished. In the design, the choir loft was moved to the back of the church so that no-one would be able to stare at Queen Victoria during worship. Near her chair is a memorial to Prince Albert. There is a church calico cat name Henrietta that came to get attention from Karen. Apparently Henrietta w

England Vacation 2009 -- August 18

We were ready for the bus a little early this morning so took some photos overlooking the bay and the grounds. We did the easier hike today called Hills & Hollows from Shorwell (SZ456829) to Carisbrooke Castle. It was 9.5km (6miles) and 255m (825 ft) of ascent. By doing the easier hike, we had a few hours to go into Carisbrooke Castle and wander around. The first stop was the Church of St. Peter in Shorwell. The church was founded in 1100. There is a mural of St. Christopher from 1440 over the doorway. It was covered over during Cromwell's time but uncovered when renovations were being done. During Tudor times, every town and village was required to have a cannon. Like many towns, Shorwell kept theirs at the church. The bricked up doorway is still visible. In the church there are some old bibles and prayer books on display. One of the bibles is called the Vinegar Bible (1717). Its a King James bible. For some reason, the sub-heading for Luke 20:4-16 is “The parable

England Vacation 2009 -- August 17

The hike today was called The Northeast Coast & Bembridge Trail. It was a medium walk and covered 15 km (9.25 miles) and 115m (375 ft) of ascent. We started at Ryde Pier (SZ593928) and walked along the coast to Bembridge and then inland to Brading. The bus dropped us at the Ryde Pier and we walked out past where two hovercrafts were parked. We stood at the edge of the pier admiring them. The military became interested in developing viable hovercraft after D-Day because they needed a better way to land troops on beaches. According to the leaders notes, one of the first commerically operated hovercraft ran from Portsmouth to Ryde starting in August 1962. It takes 10 minutes for the hovercraft journey. The catamaran journey is 18 minutes. If you are coming by car, its 40 minutes on the car ferry then 10 minutes drive back to Ryde. While we were standing there a hovercraft arrived from Portsmouth. We got a little damp from the spray. Up the beach a little ways was a coastal