Today was a great day! Lynette and I went to Kingsclere and Newbury which is by the site Watership Down which is in the book of the same name. This book was Lynette’s favourite book as a kid and since I have known her since I was 8 I read it too. The book follows a warren of rabbits as they leave their home and head towards Watership Down a large hill where they hope to make their new home. This venture was much easier than either of us thought. Thankfully since we are located next to Paddington Station we just had to hop on a train from there to get to Newbury. This was the larger city next to Kingsclere, the town you start your journey from to get to the down. The bus station was actually conveniently located next to the train station and the signage was perfect, so we had no problem finding the station. Unfortunately Lynette left a bag at the bus station which contained her fancy new umbrella and some flip flops. She had been worried about something like this happening and it finally did. I keep asking her how it is possible as I always do one final visual sweep before I move on. (I overcompensate for being forgetful myself). Thanks to the helpful bus driver we got off at a good station to walk to the down from. WE bought gum at a convenience store and asked that lady for directions as well. Both them cautioned us it was really far to get to, but we persevered. The down was a bit of a walk down a tiny country lane but we didn’t get hit so that’s always good!!! We found the foot path to the down without any glitches and started our ascent up the down. It was pretty rough, but I was fully enjoying myself. The view was absolutely stunning and we even saw rabbits, just like in the book. I squealed so loud I scared them off though!!!
Lynette saw some of the sights from the book, but it was mostly just really beautiful to be there. Of course when we got to the top we found the car park located at the top and realized had we had a car we could have drove up it! I have been so proud of our use of public transit. Besides the first day in Glasgow we have not used Taxis even once relying solely on trains, the underground , the bus system and walking. Thank God for cities where all of the above run smoothly well into the night.
When we got back to KIngsclere we had to locate our return stop, which was not easily identifiable. In the process we found the George and Horn an Inn which I had thought to stay at when if we only stayed there instead of London. We ate in the pub and I had GOOD fish and chips for the first time this whole trip. That first batch at the Freemason Arms was NASTY. The George and Horn has six hotel rooms above the pub and is truly a country inn. I can just imagine horses and carriages pulling up there on their journey and staying the night.
The repeat journey home was also uneventful, and we continued on our journey on the underground to Old London so I could see Chancery Lane, and some Dicken’s stuff from the book I am reading right now: Great Expectations. When Pip comes to London with his guardian he stays near the Inns of Court which are grouping of Lawyers who all had to practice Law in one of the various Inns. We walked on High Holborn street where Pip walked his first day and I also saw the Inns of Court , the Courthouse and Chancery Lane which is in Bleak House.
While on our bus tour we passed all the Old pubs in Old London and I really wanted to try one of them. One book suggested Ye Olde Cock Tavern which is a narrow pub that partially survived the fire of London. Dickens favoured this pub, as did Tennyson who even wrote a poem about it which is displayed in the front window. When we first passed the Cock Tavern it was full so we carried on our way to Ye Olde Chesire Cheese but that was full too. Since I really wanted to try one in this district we checked back into Ye Olde Cock Tavern and it was finally empty. We made the mistake of attempting to arrive at the pubs as all the Lawyers were leaving work so we caught the after work rush. Lynette and I ordered Bangers and Mash which were good, but not after also having fish and chips that day! It was the last of London Pub food we had yet to try. We also ordered a Fuller’s Bitter Ale which is brewed in a London Brewery we passed on our way to Stonehenge. It was again, not bad and we stayed for awhile to enjoy ourselves.
Lynette and I have a crazy stressful adventure tomorrow to Kim’s wedding as there are several tube closures on the weekend. Our journey will be extra long as a result of (yet again) having to take the long way around. I can’t wait to see my old roommate and good friend, Kim gets married tomorrow in Chichester. We will be staying in the George and Dragon which is another old country Inn. Our rooms are located in the stables attached to the pub and Kim tells me this is her favourite pub in Chichester. If we get there early enough before the wedding I hope to have lunch there. We will have one last day in London after that before heading back to Canada the next day. I apologize for the dryness of these blogs as I usually try to make them a bit silly, and funny. Sadly we have done soooo much each day it takes me long enough just getting the bare details out. Thanks for coming along on the journey with me. I love to hear what people think of all we’ve done (although these notes can hardly be considered literary masterpieces!)