Winchester and Dummer

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

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Where I stayed
Tony and Rita's House

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

August 14, 2010 Saturday: Winchester and Dummer

Today we did my laundry first thing, so that I will have all clean clothes for Germany.  Rita has a tumble dryer but she hardly ever uses it.  She has several places in the house where she has drying racks.   But in order to get my stuff partially dry we put them in the dryer until we were ready to go.  Rita and I took Heidi, the dog, over to Ursula's for the day.  I got to meet her husband Warren and they are expecting a baby in September.  They are in the middle of putting and "extension" on their house.  It is a large addition that will be the kitchen, family room and office space.  They hope it will be finished by the time the baby arrives.

When we got back, I hung up the clothes that weren’t dry yet.  Then we set off for Winchester.  We drove south from London on the M3 for about an hour.  We parked at the Barfield Park and Ride and took the bus into the city.  We visited the tourist information center for another map.  The Abbey Gardens were close by and very pretty with colorful annual flowers.  We walked to Winchester Cathedral which has one of the longest bodies for a church in Europe.  Jane Austen was buried in Winchester Cathedral and I got a picture of her grave.  She lived close by in Chawton but died in Winchester at age 41.  There were lot of other graves there of people I didn’t recognize.  I was surprised by how many stained glass windows survived the destruction of the Reformation when Thomas Cromwell was tearing down statues and smashing windows for Henry the VIII.  The tomb of St. Swythen was in the cathedral as well.  St. Swythen asked to not be buried in the cathedral but he was buried there anyway and it rained for 40 days.  It stopped raining when they moved his body to a graveyard.  They still say in England that if it rains on St. Swythen’s day, July 15, it will rain for 39 more days.  But I guess people today aren’t quite as superstitious as his body is back in the cathedral. 

From the cathedral we went to the city museum which traced the history of Winchester from pre-Roman times.  There were lots of mosaics, coins, pottery and glass from Roman times.  After we were finished looking around we found the Oldest Pub in England to eat in.  It was in a very small alley off the High Street and was called the Old Oak.  It was a lot quieter than some of the other places to eat.  We all had fish and chips and mushy peas (mashed peas).   Tony had a beer and I had a shandy.

After lunch we walked up the High Street to West Gate, the gate of the old city.  We walked to the top to get the view down the High Street.  It was a pretty good view.  Then we walked to the Great Hall, the only remaining part of the castle that used to be in Winchester.  Some of the crumbling walls of the old castle were preserved.  The great hall was huge and on one end was the Round Table.  This is supposedly King Arthur’s Round Table.  It was huge, maybe 20 feet in diameter.  By this time it was time to catch the bus back to the car park and head to Clare’s, who is my cousin Annice’s daughter.

Clare lives in a little village called Dummer which was on the way back from Winchester.  She and her husband Greg are renting a house there as they are in the process of buying a new house.  The claim to fame of this village is that it is the childhood home of Princess Sarah Ferguson.   It had been gray and misty all day but when we reached Dummer the sun was out and we were able to sit in the back garden for a “cuppa” tea and biscuits.  We had a good visit and I got to see their two sons, Richard and Christopher.  We stopped at Tesco Supermarket on the way back.  Rita had some rugs to pick up and I bought some McVitties biscuits to take to Germany.

We got back to Ashford Common in time to stop off at the house before we went to mass.  The name of the parish we went to is St. John Fisher who was a cardinal who lost his head at the time of Henry VIII.  The priest who said the mass was from the states, New Freedom, PA.  He came over for a month to relieve the pastor who spends August in Florida serving a parish there while he is on holiday.  There was no one to play the music so they used instrumental recordings of the songs to help the congregation sing.

When we returned Ursula and Warren were at Rita’s doing some cooking and dropping off the dog.  I worked on getting my laundry done and Rita made supper.  When I was done with laundry I helped prepare the meal.  We ate lighter with lunch meat, cole slaw, salad and very tiny potatoes from the garden.  We sat and talked for a long time after the meal and had a piece of fruit for pudding.

After supper I packed and got everything in, thank goodness.  I have a road atlas and three cryptic crossword books for mom, several souvenirs, plus jelly babies and two packs of biscuits.  I think the saving grace is that I will wear my tennis shoes tomorrow and not my sandals.  That cuts down on the bulkiness of suitcase.
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