From Cambridge to London

Trip Start Aug 03, 2010
Trip End Aug 31, 2010

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Where I stayed
Tony's and Rita's

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Friday, August 13, 2010

August 13, 2010 Friday: Back to Ashford Commons, London

I slept in a little today as we didn't need to leave until 10:30.  I had a scare in the night and had a hard time getting back to sleep.  About 3:30 am the motion sensor light outside my room went on twice in about a minute.  Then when I got up to check it out a sensor in the corner of the ceiling started to blink orange and red light.  I debated whether to wake Jane and Jake but decided that if it was a problem with all of the technology in their house, it would notify them some way.  When I told them about it in the morning they said it was probably a cat or fox outside and it was me moving about inside.

I had fresh eggs again this morning, this time scrambled eggs on toast, something I grew up eating.  Before we left I went over to Jane’s and Jake’s office to see the pictures of the building of the house.  They were amazing.  A crane had to lift most of the prefab pieces over the old farmhouse to put them in place.  It all went up and was under roof in 5 days and one of those days the crane was broken.  Jane and Jake have a design business.  They showed me some of the projects they which they have done.  If I ever write a book that needs illustrations, I know who I want to do it.

We drove for about an hour and arrived at Hatfield Hall.  Hatfield Hall was built in the 1500’s and the original banqueting hall still stands.  King Henry the VIII’s children were raised here.  Elizabeth was there until her succession to the throne.  The gardens were really good.  There was a very long arbor of lime trees that provided shade for walking outside.  The aromatic garden had all kinds of plants and trees with wonderful smells, including lavender, roses, herbs, and boxwood hedges.  The hedges are very sculptural and elaborate with many cozy seating places.  The knot garden was elaborate and meticulously cut. 

The inside of the house was redone to Elizabethan times even though Elizabeth I never stayed there.  The house where she lived was torn down.  There were several famous pictures of Elizabeth in the home.  There is a famous carved stairway that was amazing for the time.  We saw the long hall where women did their walking called the gallery.  The chapel stained glass windows depicted Old Testament scenes that were matched with New Testament events, like the visit of the angel to Abraham in the OT and the Annunciation of Mary in the NT.  The kitchen and scullery were very interesting.  When we were finished we went for lunch at the restaurant in the carriage house.  We got two sandwiches, cheddar and pickle and smoked salmon, and shared them.  We stopped in the gift shop and I got a couple of fridge magnets.  In the garden shop Jane bought some raffia and some seeds.

When we left we missing our turning but eventually got on the right road.  When we got on the M25, the circle road around London, it was in construction most of the way to Rita’s so we didn’t get there until after 3:30.  Jane stayed long enough to have a "cuppa."  She set off for home about 4:00.  I spent some time telling Tony and Rita about my travels, especially about how all the family is doing.  I also spent some time looking at maps of where I have been.  Then Tony showed me some pictures of when they have traveled in Scotland and Wales.  We eventually looked at some of the old pictures of the family. It rained hard for awhile and then the sun came out with a rainbow across the back garden.  I took a picture of it with my own camera.  I also took a couple of pictures of the screen covers Rita had gotten to cover vegetables which have trouble with butterfly larvae, like cabbage.   Rita fixed salmon with potatoes, green beans and carrots from the garden.  For pudding we had mango with yogurt and of course tea.

We watched some TV during which all of us dozed.  We watched a track meet, a game show, and a comedy.  Then I did this blog and went to bed.
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