So, on both Friday and Saturday I went to Cricket House in Cricket St Thomas, in Somerset. On Friday it was on purpose, on Saturday it was to pick up my backpack, which I'd left outside the doors on Friday.|
It will be familiar to anyone who has watched the TV series To The Manor Born.
Me at the front gates:
I went inside to collect my backpack, and discovered the memorable staircase where Audrey and Richard married, among other scenes:
Notes for fans of the show: The Old Lodge is also in Cricket St Thomas, but is much further from the Manor than I'd imagined.
The countryside around is utterly lovely, and they seem to keep many, many sheep in the area, but this isn't unusual in rural England, so far as I've seen - there's sheep everywhere. And cows, too, but there's a lot of sheep. (Bear in mind that I've spent most of my time so far in the Cotswolds.)
As for driving to Scotland: It's hard to make a call on whether Cumbria or Lancashire is more utterly lovely, as far as the view from the M6 goes. Scotland is beautiful, and in many respects superior to England as far as driving goes, because while the roads are still narrow and twisty and in places quite bumpy, they have actual signposts - even speed signs.
Having said that, Scotland also has warning signs about ice, which are faintly ominous as winter approaches.
This morning I need to repack my car a bit, to free up the passenger seat, and to arrange so I can actually use my cabin bag as an overnight bag as I intended. I've just offloaded and backed up all my photos so far.
So. This morning I woke at 4am, and headed out in time to get to Stonehenge before dawn. Driving through the countryside at dawn is kind of amazing for seeing small creatures at the edges of the light.|
Sadly, I did discover that nowadays, Stonehenge kind of sucks, and it's "closed" until 9:30am. Still, since nowadays you're not allowed to walk close to the stones or anything, I'm told you see it just as much from the side of the road.
Especially if, as I did, you have a telephoto lens for your camera:
I will say, Stonehenge is a pretty awe-inspiring sight when you come around a curve and suddenly it's right there - I nearly pitched into a ditch.
So, having walked about a bit, and started the truly impressive collection of mud the footwell of my car has already acquired, and also wanting to get some munchies, I went to the nearby village of Amesbury and did some grocery shopping. My munchies for most of the morning: A pound of the most delicious strawberries I've ever tasted, along with a bottle of gold top Jersey/Guernsey cow-sourced milk that was also utterly delicious.
Oh, I also got some delicious local cheese.
After that, I headed for Longleat, the estate and stately home of the Marquess of Bath.
After that I headed back towards my current home base. I went past Stonehenge again, but it was raining really hard so I wasn't very tempted to stop. However, my trip was temporarily delayed by encountering something I had to stop and photograph - and the rain had by then abated.
This is one of the White Horses around the Vale of the White Horse. Not the coolest, but the one I suddenly found out ahead of me.
After that I went on to Avebury, which is rather one of the world's best-kept secrets. You see, where Stonehenge is a church, Avebury is a cathedral - two stone circles *and* a whole lot of other stones, that wrap through and around the village centre.
This stone has been there for six thousand years.
This is the path along the hill above the Sun Circle. The surface is chalk. Wet chalk, it turns out, is hideously slick and slippery - I pitched down hard into the hillside, but fortunately didn't land on nettles or sheep poo.
The rest of the day is rather less interesting, although after a delicious dinner with my uncle, aunt and cousin, I also spoke first to my cousin Mary and then to my cousin Hilda, and have confirmed arrangements for my visiting Scotland next week. I'm going to Edinburgh from Sunday to Wednesday, then to Aberdeenshire and the historic family farm until I head down to Newcastle to catch the ferry to Amsterdam.
Anyway, the full set of today's photos is here.
Current Location: Ramsbury, Wiltshire, UK