London cont'd...(incl Essex, Brighton & Arundel)

Trip Start Mar 14, 2012
Trip End Jun 15, 2012

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Faff's ramblings

On the morning of Saturday 5 May, we walked to York Street, near our apartment, to organise our hire car. We weren't picking up the car until Monday, but it was a Bank Holiday, so we had to organise it before then. We were getting a grey Volkswagon Golf. We also got a tom-tom. We walked to Westminster Abbey to get some more photos, because we hadn't gotten many when we had gone on Thursday. I (dangerously) went into the Abbey shop, and saw several books that I wanted to buy :P I also saw a pack of cards that used real royals, and the Joker was King Edward VIII (who abdicated in the 30s and married Wallis Simpson). I thought that was amusing :P We walked back over Westminster Bridge to Southbank and walked along the river. We walked past Tate Modern (art gallery) and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, which is a remake of the Globe Theatre that was used for Shakespeare's plays. We walked along the river to Southwark Bridge, and walked down Marshalsea, which is where Marshalsea Prison once was. It was where Charles Dickens' father was imprisoned, which forced Charles to have to work to help support the family at age 12 and which showed him the plight of the poor and inspired and influened his writing. We walked to Trinity Square, which I had read had a statue of Alfred the Great, and I had done a google map annd street view to find exactly where it was. I had done some research (on wikipedia) and traced our heritage back to Alfred the Great. It was on private property, so I couldn't get close to it, but we got a photo of me with the statue in the background.

We walked back to Borough train station (which we had passed on our way to the statue), and met up with cousin Lucy and her boyfriend Tom :D Lucy is my second cousin once removed :) She is my father's mother's father's sister's daughter's daughter :P My paternal Grandma was her mother's first cousin. Grandma and Granddad had visited Lucy and her family in Devon in the mid-90s, and I always remembered seeing the big old house with the stream running by it on the video they had taken :) Lucy visited Australia in 2007, and she stayed with us for a few days, with Michelle and Brad for a few days, and with Grandma's brother Alan and his wife Ann for a few weeks. So I hadn't seen Lucy in five years, since she was 19. We met up at the train station and walked to the Borough Markets, which are large food markets held under a railway bridge. We walked around the markets taste-testing all sorts of things :) I tasted cheese, hummus, olive oil, venison and wild boar sausages (didn't know it was venison when I tasted it, poor deer), apple jam, and salted caramel. I saw a butcher's stall that was selling squirrel!! And they had (dead) bunnies hanging upside-down from ropes beside the stall :(

We left the markets and walked to the river. We walked along to Tower Bridge and walked across. It was a massive bridge and the buildings and towers on it were much bigger than I had expected. And in a nicer condition! We walked past Mitre Square, which is where the second-last victim of Jack the Ripper was killed and her body found. We walked to Spitalfields and the Old Spitalfield Markets, which were around during Jack the Ripper's time, but they are more actual stores now. We went to the Ten Bells Pub (where the victims used to drink) and asked if they served food, but they didn't. So we went to an Italian-type restaurant next door. Dan and I were not ready for pizza and pasta yet (so soon after Italy), so we avoided those menu items :P

After lunch, we went to a retro camera store, which was interesting. Then we walked to Brick Lane, which is also known colloquially as "Banglatown" because it is packed full of Bangladeshi restaurants and stalls. Dan got some Bangladeshi food from one of the stalls, and he said it was awesome. We walked to another indoor markets, and Lucy was interested in a pretty, dark green dress with white birds on it. When we came back out of the markets, I bought it for her because it was her birthday the next day :) We walked up the rest of Brick Lane, and down to a building that looks down on ruins of the old London town walls. That was interesting to see :) We walked to the Museum of London and I had a quick wizz around the bottom floor, but most of the items were replicas of artifacts that are kept at other museums.

We walked to St Pauls Cathedral annd walked through the grounds, it was beautiful and very big! But I was disappointed at the size of the square at the front of the cathedral, because I had expected it to be much bigger. I kept getting the song "Feed the birds, tuppence a bag" from 'Mary Poppins' stuck in my head :P Lucy sang along with me :P We walked across a footbridge over the Thames that had views back to St Pauls, across to Tower Bridge, and over to the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern, which was cool. We went into Tate Modern but didn't look around (Dan and I don't like modern art galleries :P). We walked along the river and I was chatting to Lucy, and I found out that she loves potatoes as much as I do! So it must be a Hewitt thing :) We saw a man doing a large drawing in the sand that was exposed because of the Thames being at low tide, and his drawing was of Homer Simpson's head, and he had drawn different parts of Homer's brain for specific things (like food, TV, etc.), and one part of his brain was for donuts :P We found some more markets just off Waterloo Bridge and had a look around. I got a smoked cheddar and pumpkin tart annd Dan got falafel. We walked Lucy and Tom to Waterloo station and they got a train home. It was such a lovely day, and so great to see Lucy again and to meet Tom :) We got some supplies from the supermarket, and got some take-away Thai for dinner on the way back to the apartment.

Ultimate cultural experience of the day: visiting the Borough Markets :)

On the morning of Sunday 6 May, we walked to St James' Park and walked along The Mall towards Buckingham Palace. We walked through some of St James' Park on the way. We walked past Clarence House, and filmed and took photos outside Buckingham Palace. We walked around behind Buckingham Palace (to go a different way to previously) to Hyde Park. We walked through Hyde Park north of the Serpentine, and saw the old police building. We walked to the Italian ponds, and walked through Kensington Park to Kensington Palace. We saw some of the garden, which was beautiful, but we didn't go inside. We walked up to Notting Hill and along Portobello Road, but the markets had been on the previous day. We saw the famous blue door from the movie 'Notting Hill', which is now black. I bought two scarves for 2 each, because it was cold and I desperately needed a scarf. We walked back to Queens Way above Kensington Park and Dan bought some protein bars.

We tried to get the tube to Chalk Farm, but we heard over the loud speaker on the train that the end of the line was closed and everyone had to get off at Camden, so we got off there. But then we heard over the loud speaker at Camden station that the line we were on was actually open, so we got on the next train to Chalk Farm, which was only the next station. At Chalk Farm, we met up with Dan's friend Jason, who he met on the kibbutz. We walked along a street in Primrose Hill, which Jason said was near where Gwyneth Paltrow lives. We met up with Dan's friend Elliot, who he also knows from the kibbutz. We found a place to eat and had lunch.

After lunch, we walked up a hill in the park and looked at a nice view over London. We walked down through the park and back to the tube station. Jason and Elliot went to the pub to watch a soccer game, and we walked along the road to Camden and saw the markets, which were pretty interesting. Kind of a mix of bohemian and punk :P We got the tube to Charing Cross and went back to the Portrait Gallery to see the floor we hadn't had time to see during our first visit. We saw portraits of 19th Cenutry scientists, artists and authors (including the Brontes, Tennyson, Dickens and George Eliot), and I also looked at some photos and documents in relation to 'The Claimant', who I have read about before, possibly on wikipedia (see I think I found this case particularly interesting because it involved an Australian. There was a gallery with 20th Century paintings and photos. I liked the painting of Wallis Simpson, and a relaxed painting of the Queen and her parents and sister (see I also liked the photos by Daniel Farson. After the gallery, we walked home. Dan had dinner in, but we went back out to get Chinese or Thai for my dinner, but they were closed, so I got McDonalds.

Ultimate cultural experience of the day: walking around Notting Hill and the Camden Markets.

On the morning of Monday 7 May, we packed our luggage and walked to pick up our car. We worked out how to use the tom-tom (eventually) and drove through London and out to Harold Wood in Essex. On the way, we drove past beautiful yellow fields, which looked similar to my aunt Denise's photos I had seen of canola fields in South Australia. We parked the car at Harold Wood and walked along the road to Harold Court, which was built by (for) my great-great-great-grandfather William Richard-Preston, and was where he and his family lived. I had seen photos of the building before (now an apartment block), but it looks prettier in real life :) We filmed and took photos all around the outside, and I saw two bunnies in the backyard :) I was looking at the building and thinking,"My great-great-great grandfather lived here and saw this" :) In fact, so did my great-great-grandfather Thomas Holden Richard-Preston :) He was the Richard-Preston who moved to Australia :) (one of them). We walked back to the car and drove to the church in Blackmore. William Richard-Preston's father Christopher lived in a house called Jericho House next door to the church (Blackmore Priory). The house was also where Henry VIII's illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy was born. Incidentally, we are also descended from a man who married Henry Fitzroy's mother Elizabeth Blount :P We filmed and took photos. I wasn't exactly sure where Jericho House used to be (I had seen pictures but couldn't remember which side of the church it was on), so I filmed a 360 degree circle from the yard in front of the church. As it turns out, I did film approximately where the house used to be :) But I mainly filmed a field behind the church where I thought the house had been (but I was wrong).

After Blackmore (which was a pretty little village), we drove to Danbury and tried to get to where Danbury Palace is and where Danbury Place used to be. Danbury Place was where Frances Elizabeth Hillary (Christopher Richard-Preston's mother-in-law, and hence my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother) used to live. I had read that it was demolished and Danbury Palace was built on the land, but the foundations of Danbury Place could still be seen in the grass. But Danbury Palace is now a conference centre and the gate was locked, so we couldn't get to it. I called Mum and asked for the details about a plaque we had seen photos of for Frances Elizabeth Hillary. Mum told me that it was at St John the Baptist church. We drove up the road to the church, but all of the church doors seemed to be locked. We walked around in the churchyard and I asked a gardener if he knew if Frances Elizabeth's grave was there and where the plaque was, but he didn't know. I filmed the outside of the church and through the keyhole of the main door and through a window because I could see a plaque (though not clearly) and thought it might be it. I was walking back to the car when a man arrived at the church (I think he was going there to walk through the churchyard to get to a place behind it) and I asked him if he thought it would be alright to call the vicar or curator (their numbers were on a notice board) to ask if I could go into the church, and he said to go next door to the vicarage and visit in person. I started to walk there, but then the man called me back to the church and said that the church was actually open! I went to the west door, which we had tried to open but couldn't, and it turns out that it was unlocked :D There was a knocker on the door that you were supposed to turn, which we didn't realise because we thought it was just a knocker. So I went inside and on my right was a plaque on the wall for a woman, and I turned to my left and saw another, and it was for "Dame Frances Elizabeth Hillary" :D I filmed it and Dan took some photos :) I was very excited that we had gotten to see the plaque, because it was our only opportunity to see it during our trip :) Mum and Dad were happy too :)

After Essex, we drove to Brighton. We tried to stop at a petrol station for a coffee but we weren't sure where everything was because there were some buildings there separate to the station but no signs for stores, but there was lots of people. We were confused. So we left and found another one further down the road, and went in because there were signs at this one, and we realised that's how they do their shops at petrol stations - different to what we are used to. We continued on to Brighton and it was raining. There was a lot of traffic going in and it was very busy because it was a bank (public) holiday, and we later found out that about 25,000 people were going to Brighton for special bank holiday markets! We drove past the pier, but couldn't find a park. I went to a fish and chip shop and got our fish and chips, and we drove further along the Esplanade and parked. We walked onto the stony beach, but we went back to the car because it started to rain again. We ate our fish and chips in the car because it was raining, just like we did at Brighton in Melbourne because it had been raining then! I don't know what it is about us having fish and chips in a place called Brighton and it ending up raining and us having to eat in the car :P Dan took some photos of little change huts like in Brighton in Melbourne, when it wasn't raining as heavily.

We continued on to Arundel, and we could see the castle and the big cathedral as we were coming in - it looked awesome! We got to our B&B and dropped off our luggage. Dan drove me to the castle, but I didn't have a lot of time there because it was already after 3pm. We are descended from the Fitzalan family, who were the Earls of Arundel, and many generations of them lived in the castle. Richard Fitzalan 11th Earl of Arundel and his wife Elizabeth de Bohun (who we are descended from, they lived in the mid-late 1300s) are not buried in the Fitzalan Chapel at the castle. But I went to the keep and St Martin's Chapel above the keep (the oldest parts of the castle), which is apparently where the Earls of Arundel (and their wives) prayed, and I would say that included them :) I filmed a little of St Martin's Chapel but didn't take any photos inside because I don't think I was allowed to (probably not allowed to film either!). I got some photos of the outside of the keep and St Martin's Chapel as well. And I went into a room that Matilda (daughter of Henry I, great-great-grandmother of Edward I) had stayed in back in the day :) I walked around the main part of the castle, which is still lived in. I'm not sure if I saw any of the rooms that they still use because I rushed through the castle because I didn't have a lot of time! I liked the private chapel and the library. I went to the bookstore to look at a book about the castle to double-check that Richard Fitzalan was the 11th Earl, and I went down to the Fitzalan Chapel and had a look inside. I spoke to one of the castle staff in the chapel and asked if he knew if the 11th Earl of Arundel was buried in the chapel, and he said that he was, but the 11th Earl he was referring to was William Fitzalan, who lived in the late 1400s-early 1500s. He said that it can be confusing because the counting of the earls was restarted at one point, so Richard Fitzalan was the 11th Earl of Arundel, but he was actually the 4th Earl after they began the counting again, and William Fitzalan was the 18th Earl, but is the 11th Earl after the counting restart. But Richard Fitzalan commissioned the chapel to be built. The chapel was quite small, but pretty, and the grounds were lovely. They had some goats grazing on one of the hills :)

While I was at the castle, Dan walked around the town. I met back up with Dan, and we went to a local artists' gallery, and there were some lovely paintings. We walked up to the cathedral and went inside. It is quite a large cathedral and it looks very imposing from the outside. We walked home and then drove to the Black Rabbit pub for dinner. It is next to the Arundel wetlands and has a nice view up to the castle. We drove home and had a nice view of the castle and cathedral on the hill again during the drive, and we planned to get photos the next morning.

Ultimate cultural experience of the day: visiting ancestral homes and locations, and eating fish'n'chips in Brighton :)

Dan's perspective

- London has some great markets. Borough, Notting Hill and Camden. All worth a visit. 
- You can feed yourself on free tastings at the markets, a great way to get a freebie light lunch :P
- Some great architecture around the city. New contrasting with the old. 
- A great day with Lucy & Tom, thanks for the company!
- It was great taking Faff to visit her ancestral places. Some interesting little towns. 
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Cinda on

It looks absolutely freezing! Looking forward to seeing France and Scotland! Love the stories and the photos. Like that you are trying McDonalds in every country Faff!

Melli on

So awesome that you got to visit family stuff - it must feel surreal knowing that our rellies lived in these places hundreds of years ago :D
When you get back you will have to get fish'n'chips and eat them at Brighton beach in Brissie and see if it rains!

Freya on

Faff I am extremely jealous! Getting to see so much from our ancestry. I'm heading to London on the 27. I wish I managed to organise to see ome of the things you have. I'll ty and track it down though for dad!

Much Love xo

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