"Antiques Roadshow"

Trip Start Sep 22, 2012
Trip End Oct 19, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, September 27, 2012

We finish this stay in London with another fine English breakfast and collect Hilary and our hire car from nearby. We have received an upgrade from a standard sedan and are now travelling in a Ford Galaxy 4x4 7-seater. No squishing required here! Navigation out of London is easy from Paddington and we are soon cruising west along the M4.

First stop is Windsor for a quick peek at the castle. The 10 Vodafone microsim l have bought for the iPad is not connecting so without maps, we circle Windsor aiming for the turrets and finding what will undoubtedly become the next two week's norm... Impossibly narrow and one-way streets and outrageously priced carparks!

The castle dates from the time of William The Conquerer with all eras of style since, but it is the large round towers from the 1100's that capture the eye.

Thirty years ago, Rod and l wandered into the main front lawn area of Windsor for free. Now - surprise! - there is a hefty admission charge (to pay for the restoration of the part that burnt down a few years back) and we elect instead to cruise the shops and grab lunch. The Edinburgh Woollen shop just outside the castle is still there, thirty years on. I remember looking at a tartan skirt kit there and deciding we'd find one cheaper up north and away from the tourist haunts. Never did. This time l admire the cashmere jumpers and again defer...

We wander down to the Thames and find river boats and scores of white swans being fed by tourists.

Another couple of hours finds us at Stonehenge just out of Amesbury. We are almost alarmed when it pops up on the top of a rise and at the fork of two busy roads.

People are spread along the cyclone fence snapping through the wires but we pay the admission. We arm ourselves with the included audio guide and circumnavigate the stones closer up albeit from a marked path. From pictures, l had expected a wider taller circle than it actually is, but the story of the pre-historic collection and transport of these stones from 300 miles away is impressive. Antiques indeed!

Without my Google maps to navigate, and a lack of helpful road signage, we are left to Hilary's phone and it's new Apple Maps app. It cannot locate our village, so with only a postcode as it's reference, it takes us cross-country on single lane horse trails but it does not fail us. We arrive successfully at Midway Place B&B in Fairleigh Wick, about 5 miles south of Bath. It has rated highly on booking.com and we are not disappointed by the charming building, rooms or hostess, Nita.

Dinner is at the well regarded "Fox & Hounds" inn next door, dating from 1741. There is widespread disappointment when we learn that the recommended hog roasts for the evening have run out, but the meals we order are excellent and an earlier dinner tomorrow is definitely planned!
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