Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Wiltshire, August 2013

Hiring a car was going to assist us with the next part of our travels.  Visiting friends from Thailand in Wiltshire. Satnavs (GPS, Tom Tom, Garmin whatever you are used to calling them) are fantastic.  It was our first time using one.  After a late nights catch up accompanied by several wines, we ticked a huge thing off our "bucket" list.  Stonehenge is very close to Ffion & Les's home.  It's always somewhat amazing to see something you've read about, in real life.  Apparently everyone says this, "It wasn't as big as I thought"!  However it was pretty awe inspiring being close to something with so much history & mystery.  How did they move and shape those enormous stones?   And why?  Quite incredible.  A trip to Salisbury Cathedral was special and rounded off day one very nicely.  The camera suffered though !!  The following day saw us on the road to take in more history.  Bath is a great city.  After taking the tour bus around the city and establishing where Jane Austin (a personal favourite author of mine) lived and wrote her novels, "Northanger Abbey" & "Persuasion", we visited the Roman Baths and lost ourselves in Roman history for several hours. A wonderful experience. The following day Les & Robert took on the golf course while Ffion & I visited Avesbury.  For those who saw the program, it's the show Penelope Keith hosted where a group of local historians did up the manor and the process was filmed.  Each room was done in a different period.   Visitors are encouraged to sit on, touch and use the displays.  It's the best historical house I've ever visited.  Next day after lunch at Carol & Richard Smith's (friends we also knew in Thailand) beautiful home & garden we drove to Wales. But that's another chapter.  Here is a visual tour of our time in Wiltshire, made very special for us by the wonderful friends who hosted our stay. Thank you Ffion & Les. 
And of course Buddy. 

Stonehenge.  It really was fabulous.  How on earth did they actually move these great monoliths when we have trouble doing it today with all our technology?!

Their engineering expertise was amazing.  They shaped 
a point on the top of the vertical pillars, plus a hollow in 
the horizontal stones so they sat on top without falling.   
But WHY????    No one seems to know.  It is truly incredible.  

   A really beautiful gothic cathedral.  Made special for 
   us because the choir came in to rehearse while we 
   were there. 

This is the baptismal font.  Amazing eh?  The reflections were stunning from every angle. The blue dots are coins. 

       Some of the decorations on the arches within the cathedral. 

The Cathedral is home to a renowned children's choir.  This is the Bumping stone. The depression on the right has been made over the centuries by the initiation of new boys who have auditioned and been accepted into the choir.  When a young boy is added to the choir, they have to come onto the church and bump their head  on this stone.  Girls are now included into the choir but they have a different initiation ceremony.

      On our way to Bath, we stopped in the small historical town of Bradford on Avon.
Walking the narrow windy streets we came across houses like this.  I think you could stand in the middle of the room and touch the walls on either side!!  Quaint and beautiful.

                   This church dates back to the Saxons.  It was incredible.
 After taking the photo, we turned to walk along the footpath and saw a strange creature, about the size of a squirrel running away from two adults at the other end of the street, and running straight towards us!  As it came within a couple of metres, it stopped, went whoops more humans, scampered across the road and disappeared into the church grounds.  Apparently it was a stoat, and it's very rare to see one.  Lucky us.

So this is Loch Master Burns.  It was interesting to see a loch gate, unfortunately we just missed seeing it in action, but as we didn't have time to wait while it filled up, it was just as well!

We're now in Bath.  I am standing looking over the Roman 
bath, with the Bath cathedral in the distance.  We spent hours 
reading and taking in Roman history.  It was fascinating.

        Avesbury.  The Sitting Room, my favourite room, done in Art Deco period.  Fabulous eh!

           Ffion and I enjoying the Tudor room.

I am now in the dining room.  the wall paper was all hand painted to depict the life and travels of Lord Avesbury.  I'm sitting in the exercise chair.  Apparently you did't go outside and walk around the beautiful gardens to get exercise.  You sat on this chair and bounced up and down.  
The leather seat housed a padded cushion under which were strong springs. Incredible!!

I am now in the bedroom done in Queen Anne style.  Very opulent.  The walls were panelled wood that had been painted to look as if the walls were marble. Red marble in this case. Apparently this was the vogue during this period of history, to make the room look more expensive.  The decor in this room was done up to show what it was like during Queen Anne's time.  She was supposed to stay here on her way to Bath, so a room was made ready for the Royal visit.  In the end she didn't stay.  The bed was very soft and a small room beyond would have housed the ladies in waiting and the travel trunks. Not nearly as opulently decorated.

           A stroll through the gardens, revealed these enormous onions.
       Dame Edna would be very proud of these beauties.  The were gorgeous, Darlings.

        So Avesbury has a ring of stones too.  
No one knows, why or what for, but as you see they were huge.  Remember one third of their size was buried in the ground!!
       One of the beautiful cottages still left in the village.

         Lunch at Carol & Richard Smith's.  Friends we met while living in Thailand.
 Note their fabulous back yard.  A stream runs along the back.  They do all the work maintaining their little oasis.  It was so peaceful and beautiful.

After lunch with these fine folk, we drove to Llandovery to stay for a couple of nights and explore some of Wales.  I'll leave that for the next blog.
The Tourin'Travellers 

No comments:

Post a Comment