October 2004 -- so it's time for another visit to Devon and Cornwall
up! We'll have to come back again to finish off this interminable Southwest Coast
we're headed for Oxford and environs to see what they've got up there.
may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a
good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught
up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
"No service at this counter." Okay, we're off.
(Don't be fooled by the Carlsberg and Stella taps, they had drinkable selections as well.)
lovely Trebarwith Strand at high tide . . .
. . . with big waves.
Gull Rock, 21 October 2004
Hello, Trerice -- a quick tourist visit. An excellent and relatively intact Elizabethan
manor first built in the 1570s by one of the branches of the locally important
Arundell family, now a National Trust property with its very own tearoom and gift
shop. (Much of Mr Peck's historical work had to do with another nearby branch
of the Arundells.)
The classic Tudor manor
is the Rectory Farm B+B in tiny Northmoor, just next to the pub and the village
church, just 18km southwest of Oxford. An excellent Elizabethan era building with
a compact, symmetrical, and solid charm.
Our room in the Rectory Farm
13th-century church next door in Northmoor (on the way to the pub on the other
Rectory Farm: very nice old rooms, lots and lots of period charm, reasonable prices,
proprietors who if not overly friendly do lay on a nice breakfast and keep the
linen clean. And there are Tudor fireplaces!!
back of the Rectory Farm. The Web site is at http://www.oxtowns.co.uk/rectoryfarm/ (non-smoking and no kids in the main building). [Sorry, that link is no longer working (2021).]
Palace, more than a
little overdone! Built as a gift from Queen Anne's government to John Churchill,
Duke of Marlborough, as a wildly extravagant kind of thanks for his having whacked
the French army of Louis XIV at Blenheim on the Danube in 1704, thus saving the
Austrians from French domination (must have sounded like a good thing to do at
was built between 1705 and 1722 by the great Vanbrugh. The Queen didn't actually
pay up, as it turned out, and in 1712 the work was stopped -- but Marlborough
had been picking up some consultancies and speaking fees over the years, and he
paid for the rest of it himself.
likely the Palace is extremely pretty, and very popular, too, judging from the
car park for buses nearby. But actually we bypassed the Palace and were just walking
the hiking trail north of Woodstock, through the ample Palace grounds and meadows,
and back past the stately pile itself to Woodstock. This, luckily, is as close
as we got to it.
local death hostel, with the guests spilling out of their creaky old beds. Kristin
had a look in on them between darting about the town of Woodstock looking for
someone who'd give her a flu vaccination, since none were available in the USA.
here there must be someone who's got the flu vaccine!
folks in Gloucester. It's astonishing
how many of these old dudes (even the ones who died in their late '70s) got themselves
memorialized in full armor. Like Vietnam Vets who just can't let go. Very very
few sarcophagi have statues on them of guys dressed up as poets, chefs, or management
And all of them with their feet propped on the Dog of Faithfulness
in addition to knightly warriors, we do have lots of stark staring Christian businessmen
and their stark staring Christian wives as well, grim folks!, with all the little
ones carved out across the bottom. Still no poets, so far.
Gloucester, as elsewhere, many of these dead people live in much nicer habitations
than I ever have, and I'm not even dead yet.
A little more of Gloucester in the rain
in Gloucester, here are Kristin and son George (who's studying nearby at Somerville
College, Oxford), planning his future, or his future expenses.
entry!" You can leave the church, if you must, but you cannot go in.
old shacks in Gloucester (Evocative of history!, but would the floors bear our
21st century weight?)
of these late 15th century pharmacies has got to have the flu vaccine. They've
run out of it already in the US, but things were planned more sensibly in the
Beautiful! Back when the tall guys topped 5' 4".
Cirencester on a cloudy day, 24 October 2004.
with possibly a pharmacy on the high street that has still got the flu vaccine.
More stark staring Christians with money to spend on the extra touches.
The old ex-soldiers were shown with one hand on the swordhilts and the other on the bible -- the burghers and their wives are all just praying, non-stop, forever. And everybody's got their feet propped up on the faithful old dog.
Castle, a stunning
great pile of bricks dating nearly from the time of the Conquest, still brightening
the view between Gloucester and Bristol.
guided tours of the 850-year-old castle are deeply rewarding, but much of the
castle is off limits to visitors because (you may not believe me) the Berkeleys
still live there.
main keep was first completed by one of the FitzHardings in 1153, built upon a
Saxon-era mound fort -- King Edward II was imprisoned here and murdered in 1327,
trust me, you really really do not want to know how.
Conference, Function? Berkeley Castle is the ideal venue for your special event."