Dwight Peck's personal website

It's October 2004 -- so it's time for another visit to Devon and Cornwall

Time's up! We'll have to come back again to finish off this interminable Southwest Coast Path

Now we're headed for Oxford and environs to see what they've got up there.

You 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.)

Goodbye, lovely Trebarwith Strand at high tide . . .

. . . with big waves.

Goodbye, 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

This 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

The 13th-century church next door in Northmoor (on the way to the pub on the other side)

The 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!!

The 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).]

Blenheim 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 the time).

It 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.

Very 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.

Nearby a 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.


Somewhere here there must be someone who's got the flu vaccine!

Dead 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 consultants.

And all of them with their feet propped on the Dog of Faithfulness

But 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.

In 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

Still in Gloucester, here are Kristin and son George (who's studying nearby at Somerville College, Oxford), planning his future, or his future expenses.

"No entry!" You can leave the church, if you must, but you cannot go in.

Half-timbered old shacks in Gloucester (Evocative of history!, but would the floors bear our 21st century weight?)

One 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 15th century.

Beautiful! Back when the tall guys topped 5' 4".

Cirencester on a cloudy day, 24 October 2004.

Cirencester, 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.

Berkeley Castle, a stunning great pile of bricks dating nearly from the time of the Conquest, still brightening the view between Gloucester and Bristol.

Excellent 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.

The 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.

"Wedding, Conference, Function? Berkeley Castle is the ideal venue for your special event." (http://www.berkeley-castle.com/)

Cornwall and Devon, October 2004

Eternal continuous praying

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 11 March 2005, revised 20 September 2008, 10 May 2013, 9 March 2021.

Devon and Cornwall, 2009

Devon and Cornwall, 2006

Devon and Cornwall, 2004

Devon and Cornwall, 2003