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Sunny day exploring Cornwall…

St Michael’s Mount, the extraordinary Minack Theatre, Lands End and more…  These are the highlights from yet another glorious day exploring…

Starting in our lovely manor as the sun was beaming in the beautiful bay window, Karen and I met up and the headed off…

…and in case we were peckish, we had some Rudolph jerky on which to nibble…

Arriving in Marazion to horses on the road and on the beach – I love it!

St Michael’s Mount at high tide is an island, and at low tide is a tiny outcrop of land.  There has been one form of monastery or other on the site since the 8th century.

Its Cornish name is Karrek Loos yn Koos, literally meaning ‘the grey rock in a wood’.

At high tide, the man-made causeway is completely under water.

 

 

Next stop, the Minack Theatre…

The Minack Theatre (or Gwaryjy Minack in Cornish), gives one the feeling of being in an exotic location in Italy or similar…

According to Wikipedia:  “The theatre was the brainchild of Rowena Cade, who moved to Cornwall after the First World War and built a house for herself and her mother on land at Minack Point for £100.[3] Her sister was the feminist dystopian author Katharine Burdekin and her partner lived with them from the 1920s.  In 1929, a local village group of players had staged Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a nearby meadow at Crean, repeating the production the next year. They decided that their next production would be The Tempest and Miss Cade offered the garden of her house as a suitable location, as it was beside the sea. Miss Cade and her gardener, Billy Rawlings, made a terrace and rough seating, hauling materials down from the house or up via the winding path from the beach below. In 1932, The Tempest was performed with the sea as a dramatic backdrop, to great success. Miss Cade resolved to improve the theatre, working over the course of the winter months each year throughout her life (with the help of Billy Rawlings and Charles Angove) so that others might perform each summer.”

Hmmmmmm, yes – my thinks that is stating the obvious!  🙂

…and here is when the alien space ship finally came down to collect us…

From there, it was meandering over to Land’s End…

…and along the way being stopped by traffic geese…

…and then suddenly I felt as though I had been transported to a cheap American theme park…  Welcome to Land’s End.

Needless to say, we didn’t stay long and instead headed off in search of somewhere lovely for lunch…

…and the dip in the roof is unfortunately not an optical illusion…

Anywhere that has fresh yellow roses and books is a winner with me!

After a lovely lunch and live music (smooth, cool jazz feel) that I could have listened to for hours and hours, we headed toward home base…

…grabbed a cab and went into Falmouth for wine, food, wine and more wine…

No, this is not a huge chimney for the building – well, not exactly…  read on…

This building used to be Customs House…

…right next to the Harbour Master’s office, complete with lookout bay window…

This is Jack – local celebrity…

He orders his drinks at the bar…

This is our trusty bartender with Karen’s chocolate Baileys…

Back to Jack – he has a calendar, raising money for the air ambulance.  When I adopt my next fluffy, me thinks we will do something similar for a local cause…

Then we arrived back to the manor and, being the only residents, duly sat in the bar consuming a nightcap (or two) and singing a range of songs, much to the amusement of the bartender!

The following morning (Monday) we set out to head back to Torquay, with a minor detour…  Karen needed to run an errand along the way so while she was taking care of that, I headed off to do some more exploring…

…and we stopped for lunch at one of my favourite quirky pubs…  The Highwayman Inn…

Then back to sunshine in Torquay…

…dropped Karen at the train station, dropped my luggage at home, then off for dinner and drinks with another lovely friend, Rachael…

…and now finally back home…

This weekend feels like it was a month full of fun – I had such a wonderful time, full of laughs, fabulous company, interesting scenery…

I feel so very, very blessed…

~ Bella

Awe-inspiring Elgin Cathedral

Upon leaving my northern Scottish castle in Tain, the sun was shining, and it was a magnificent day!

I did have to sit in the car for a while to warm it up and to remove the eighth-inch layer of ice on the windscreen before heading off in 2oC / 35oF temperature – and I could not have asked for a more perfect day!

Along the way, there was field after field with bales of hay – thanks to such a fabulous winter!  There has been so much sun, that the farmers have been able to get two cuttings of hay – a feat that hasn’t been achieved for many years…

My initial destination, Elgin Cathedral ruins…  I was expecting something lovely – but this was amazing!

Upon setting my eyes on the cathedral ruins, I felt a greater sense of awe than sighting the Colosseum for the first time!

From Wikipedia:  Elgin Cathedral is a historic ruin in Elgin, Moray, north-east Scotland. The cathedral—dedicated to the Holy Trinity—was established in 1224 on land granted by King Alexander II outside the burgh of Elgin and close to the River Lossie. It replaced the cathedral at Spynie, 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) to the north, that was served by a small chapter of eight clerics.

The new and bigger cathedral was staffed with 18 canons in 1226 and then increased to 23 by 1242. After a damaging fire in 1270, a rebuilding programme greatly enlarged the building. It was unaffected by the Wars of Scottish Independence but again suffered extensive fire damage in 1390 following an attack by Robert III’s brother Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, also known as the Wolf of Badenoch.

In 1402 the cathedral precinct again suffered an incendiary attack by the followers of the Lord of the Isles. The number of clerics required to staff the cathedral continued to grow, as did the number of craftsmen needed to maintain the buildings and surrounds. The number of canons had increased to 25 by the time of the Scottish Reformation in 1560, when the cathedral was abandoned and its services transferred to Elgin’s parish church of St Giles.

After the removal of the lead that waterproofed the roof in 1567, the cathedral steadily fell into decay. Its deterioration was arrested in the 19th century, by which time the building was in a substantially ruinous condition.

The cathedral went through periods of enlargement and renovation following the fires of 1270 and 1390 that included the doubling in length of the choir, the provision of outer aisles to the northern and southern walls of both the nave and choir. Today, these walls are at full height in places and at foundation level in others yet the overall cruciform shape is still discernible.

A mostly intact octagonal chapter-house dates from the major enlargement after the fire of 1270. The gable wall above the double door entrance that links the west towers is nearly complete and was rebuilt following the fire of 1390. It accommodates a large window opening that now only contains stub tracery work and fragments of a large rose window. Recessed and chest tombs in both transepts and in the south aisle of the choir contain effigies of bishops and knights, and large flat slabs in the now grass-covered floor of the cathedral mark the positions of early graves. The homes of the dignitaries and canons, or manses, stood in the chanonry and were destroyed by fire on three occasions: in 1270, 1390 and 1402.

The two towers of the west front are mostly complete and were part of the first phase of construction. Only the precentor’s manse is substantially intact; two others have been incorporated into private buildings. A protective wall of massive proportions surrounded the cathedral precinct, but only a small section has survived. The wall had four access gates, one of which—the Pans Port—still exists.

Across the road from the cathedral is the ‘Biblical Garden’…

From the website:  “The creation of the garden, the first of its kind in Scotland, is particularly appropriate on this site, as Moray has for over fourteen centuries played an important role in the development and changing fortunes of the church, similarly, its close proximity to Elgin’s historic cathedral, literally just over the wall make this site the obvious choice.

Whilst using the Bible as its reference point and including all one hundred and ten plants mentioned therein, together with sculptures depicting the parables, it is clearly intended that this garden as well as being of considerable interest to those who study the scriptures, will also encourage anyone who enjoys gardens and gardening, to visit.”

I forgot that today being Boxing Day (the day after Christmas), that it would be closed, but I am very much looking forward to returning on many occasions with a folding chair and a blank notebook…  This place is so very inspiring…

I truly didn’t want to leave Elgin Cathedral, but needs as must… so on my way to my other Scottish castle, I thought I would detour to view the Dyce symbol stones…

…but alas, the same fate awaited me…  closed gates for Boxing Day…  Undeterred, I again hit the road and headed for my next ‘home’ in Scotland – at least for the next week or so…

Welcome to my home away from home…  Ardoe House…

I’ll give you more information on this place later…  For now I have some work to get done…

Sending love and smiles to all…

~ Bella

Winter Solstice Cruising Loch Ness

The Winter Solstice marks the darkest day and shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere due to the sun being at it’s most southern position, directly above the Tropic of Capricorn.

Today, for the first time since 1664, the sun and Saturn actually line up – and this has resulted in many, many astrologers all over America stating this would be one of the worst days on record for just about anything that anyone wanted to do.  Obviously I didn’t get that memo as my day has been delightful!

There is no parking near where the boat leaves, but it was just a short trek from where I could leave Prince, my trusty vehicular conveyance. 🙂

…back over the Caledonian Canal…

I was a little early so thought I would go to the Clansman Centre that is located in the old schoolhouse, but alas it was locked up – presumably for the season.

So instead I went for a short wander…

What I find refreshing is that this is the one and only place I have seen so far with tacky Nessie merchandise!  I am sure it is available elsewhere, but I have not seen any sign of it.

I came across this wonderful glass blowing shop and gallery…

OK, time to set sail…

The crew let me on before the masses (it pays to be friendly), and when James, our guide asked me, “do you believe in the Loch Ness Monster?” I replied, “I don’t believe she’s a monster.”  He smiled, “that’s the first right answer I have heard.”  He went on to say that hardly anyone says they believe a creature as described even exists…  I said, “there are so many things on this planet about which we have no knowledge – I believe she exists and I believe we should leave her in peace.”

…with a gazillion Japanese tourists – who were obsessive about making certain there was not one speck of water on their seats…

Out through the mouth of the canal and into Loch Ness…

The water is so black because of the peat deposits the water seeps through on its way into the Loch.

Legend says this geological feature is where Nessie attempted to claw her way out of the Loch before sliding back in…

The Japanese visitors were terrified of this pooch…  He couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about…

OK, see this goat in this zoomed close-up?

Now find him…!

Same with this one…

Can you find him now?

James our guide gave an excellent commentary on the use of the sonar and some fascinating facts about the Loch…

Its surface is 16 metres above sea level, over 35km long, with a depth in some places of around 225m / 750ft!

We did see something swimming below the boat that was about the size of a human, but no sign of Nessie… although James mentioned that twice the crew have seen something about the size of a car in the water below – all they can confirm is the depth and that it was a living, moving object.

I also like that James went on to say although people refer to Nessie as a ‘monster’, “if we humans found her, we would trap her, study her, most likely do something to result in her death and then chop her up and study her some more.  So who is the monster now?”

…but wait!!!  Is this Nessie?  🙂

Remember the Mill Shop from yesterday’s post?  I couldn’t resist…

Locally-made pure cashmere scarf and incredible silvery jewellery made from Scottish heather!

From their website:  “Heathergems is a unique and imaginative range of Scottish jewellery and giftware, made in Pitlochry, Scotland from natural heather stems. We are the only manufacturers of this unique Scottish product anywhere in the world.”

…and now I have seen everything – haggis-flavoured crisps!

~ Bella

 

Loch Eil to Loch Ness

Leaving beautiful Fort William this morning, I came across the WWII Commando Memorial.

 

It’s sad that so many memorial halls and monuments were erected after WWI when the nation felt that nothing on that scale could ever happen again…  and then…

I could have happily seated myself beside the Caledonian Canal Locks at Fort Augustus for hours……….  Actually, since I am here for another few days, weather-dependent, I think I just might!

 

 

The canal was constructed in the early nineteenth century by Scottish engineer Thomas Telford.

Sitting on the shore of Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle was founded in the 13th century.

Hmmmm, I guess sometimes we need to point out the obvious…

…and this is home sweet home for the next few days…

…did I mention I LOVE IT HERE…?  🙂

~ Bella

PS:  after back to back calls since 2:00pm, at 9:00pm I headed downstairs to the bar to get a glass of wine (or two) and something to eat, since I hadn’t had dinner.

The waitress told me that the kitchen was already closed but the chef was still here – “what would you like?”

I said, “he doesn’t need to go to any trouble – even cheese on toast will do…”

This is what turned up!  Bacon, cranberry and brie on toasted ciabatta with side salad and dressing…  YUM! …and all of £5!  (and, btw, I had lunch early today here – sooooooooo good!  I told the staff to tell the chef I am abducting him to travel with me!)

There was an older man at the bar watching the end of the soccer game between Manchester United and Bristol.

I seemed to win extra points that I not only knew the ins and outs of soccer (and btw, that of both rugby league and American football), but also my commentary, such as, “excuse me, Mr Referee – your jersey is impartial blue, not Bristol maroon!” or “that was NOT an interference!  That was an Academy Award audition!”…

I don’t follow soccer and don’t have an affinity for either side, but early on, the Bristol team were hamming it up and getting penalty after penalty – and that was an affront to my ‘fair play’ gene – so I went for Manchester – the same team as the older man at the bar (and there were only two of us in the bar!)

I am having such a good time here!!!  Such FUN!!!

Welcome to the Scottish Highlands…

As I begin writing this post, I am already curled up in the Scottish Highlands – and for those who have been following my posts on both the Luxurious Nomad site and also the LeighStJohn.com site, you would know that it wasn’t until I was in my fifties, did I know what “home” felt like.  That ‘home’ is South Devon – a place I love dearly that is definitely ‘home’.

Upon approaching the Highlands, however, that feeling of ‘home’ was multiplied a thousand-fold.  I adore it here!  As I said to friends, I have never felt so alive with all my senses heightened, rejoicing, and free, while at the same time feeling a solid, never-ending part of the granite underfoot…

So, the journey started in Bournemouth (after an ‘interesting’ stay at a hotel there.  I was attending a Christmas party with friends and the stay was ‘interesting’ because without exception, every French-speaking staff member was less than professional – through to one fellow who I actually chastised for being rude and arrogant!  Well, technically, I said in a very harsh tone, “belligerence suits you however I refuse to accept it!”…  Anyway…  Leaving Bournemouth at sunrise…

The entire drive from there to my first real stop was just under eleven hours so I had originally intended to stop when it started to get dark and continue on the next day – however we (Prince (beloved convertible) and I) made such fabulous time (the roads were wonderful!) that I decided to press on and go all the way to Fort William.

The blue and white sign says “Welcome to Scotland”.

Arriving at my hotel…  Situated on the banks of Loch Linnhie, the Chuachan Hotel is just lovely… and my wonderful Prince managed an average of 41.6mpg for the trip.  Happy Princess Pixie!

Hmmmmmm…  Deep fried haggis…  I don’t think so.

View from my room…

The next morning (today) I was off around sunrise to go exploring…  It’s not every day one sees a timber lorry in the middle of town…

Beware – killer ducks…

It was a brisk 3oC / 37oF and I was happily cruising around with both windows open…

This (below) is the Glenfinnan Monument, honouring those who fought and died fighting the Jacobite cause…

When I pulled over to view this beautiful church, a man pulled up beside me and said, “I saw that you stopped earlier at the viaduct parking but then left – you know that you can park there and although it looks a long way away, it’s only about a 300m walk and you can see the steam train crossing the viaduct.  It goes past just after quarter-to-eleven.”

I thanked him – for yes, I did stop there and it looked like the viewing point was a mile hike so I wasn’t going to do it…

He then said, “the church is lovely – if you go to the back, you get a fabulous view!”

Again I thanked him – he said, “Ok, cheerio and Merry Christmas!” and drove off!

He was right about the view from the back of the church…

After checking out the church, I explored for a while longer before heading back to the viaduct area…

 

 

 

 

Parking Prince here, I set off on foot to find the viaduct…

It was soooooo incredibly peaceful and quiet…….

Found it!

Harry Potter fans may find this view familiar…

These guys…

…were all the way up here!

…to get a view of this…

The Jacobite train – and again, yes, this is the same train used in the Harry Potter films…

I was taking photos of these very cute sheep…

…and this fellow came over to tell me that he was out walking and he thought they were lovely as well – and since I wasn’t from here (that came up in conversation) I should continue on this road to the Old Inverlochy Castle…

So, continue I did – over the “weak bridge” – doesn’t exactly fill one with confidence!…

The castle was built in the 13th century…

I went to drive down this road (below) and the man waved me down and told me it was just a muddy track around the bend…  He was ever so friendly – everyone I have encountered here is just LOVELY!

Decided to deliver Prince back safe and sound to the hotel and take a taxi to a cute-looking restaurant I had spied on the loch…

…had I not done the Brixham Fish Market experience, the intricacies of this painting would be lost on me…

I was there literally for five hours…  Working, eating and drinking, chatting with new friends… and watching the sky change…

 

Most dogs find a stick – this one finds a chunk of lumber! 🙂

Bringing in the catch…

…and on my way home, my taxi driver told me about what life is like as a crofter – that’s her other life!  Btw, crofting is basically a type of small-scale farming up here in the Highlands…

I love the Scottish Highlands more than I knew it was possible to love a place…

…and I have only been here one day!  It feels like months…

~ Bella

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch and Snowdonia…

After a FABULOUS breakfast of smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, and lots of accouterments…

…I headed off on my way back for the six-or-so hour drive back to Torquay… and while I have seen a lot of warning signs for deer etc, this is the first warning sign about DUCKS!

First stop along the way…  Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch!  Yet another place on my Bucket List

It is the longest place name in Europe and the second longest official one-word place name in the world…  I shudder to think what is the longest!

…oh, and the picture of the lobster-looking creature?  That is for the “sea zoo” – that’s what an aquarium or marine park is called in Wales…

…the Brittannia Bridge (or Pont Brittania in Welsh), over the Menai Strait between the island of Anglesey and the Welsh mainland.

…no ducks of which to be wary, just cows…

…and people riding horses… (oh, and Wales is the land of a gazillion trillion speed cameras!)

…and if anyone can tell me what this is, I will sing your praises!

Portmeirion is also on my Bucket List, and since I was basically going past the front door, decided to stop by…

…however then I discovered that one needed to park the car up the hill, pay for admission, and then walk down the hill to the village…  On another day, perhaps…

Hmmmm, now one needs to watch out for wayward sheep…

…and Rudolph…

…and watching out for cars swerving around adults walking with children…

…and cows…

I don’t know if you can make it out (it is quite overgrown) but every mile or so, there was an old mounting block to assist people getting back up on to their horse or carriage…  I love this!

…and eventually Prince (trust convertible) and I arrived back in Torquay…

What a WONDERFUL trip!

Now to rest up for a few days, then off on a road trip to Scotland and Loch Ness for Christmas!  Stay tuned…

~ Bella

Vintage Rail Trip From Wales to Scotland

Leaving Torquay and driving up to Wales, at one point I was travelling along the freeway and closing behind me was a magnificent piece of automotive elegance – a glorious fluro-yellow Bentley…

I watched it in my rear vision mirror come closer and closer in the lane beside me, and as it started to pull alongside I thought, “I wonder who is in that stunning car?” – and as it slowly passed me, I noticed an equally stunning man behind the wheel.

I then said to myself, “I wonder where one meets a man just like that, someone who is cute and loves Bentleys?”

Proceeding along about ten minutes later, I saw a service centre and, although I didn’t yet need to top up with gas/petrol, something said, “take this exit and get some gas”.  Seemed like a sensible enough option, so I did.

I was pulling in behind a fellow who decided to stop mid-way between the pumps (I thought, “seriously???”) but simply reversed back, drove around the huge truck that was next to us and into the next bay where… in front of me, was the yellow Bentley!

He was finishing putting gas in his car as I pulled up and said, “I was lusting after your car as you drove past me on the freeway…”

That started a wonderful banter and he seemed just as lovely on the inside as he was on the outside.

Now, don’t get any ideas…  We went our separate ways – but it was lovely that I asked the question – and received the answer only minutes later!  Hmmmm, perhaps next time I need to ask a different/better question!  🙂

Finally, I arrived at the glorious BnB in Holyhead, where the lovely, lovely, lovely people who own it had to attend a funeral but had hidden a key for me so I could let myself in.

Across the road was this beautiful cemetery – I love old cemeteries…

I basically unpacked, relaxed, caught up on some emails and they had an early night – for the following morning my alarm was set for 04:30 AM!!!

Pearl, the owner of the BnB, had arranged for a taxi to collect me at 05:00 am to take me to Holyhead Station where I was to board the Statesman vintage Pullman rail journey from Wales to Edinburgh and return – first class, fine dining all the way…

…although when I arrived, there seemed to be no one home!

Eventually, I managed to be united with my train – and what a train!

Seat 1A in first class – does it get any better?  Well, yes, it does!

I was thinking… “As much as it will be lovely to have a stranger to share my journey, it would be reeeeeally lovely if I had the entire space to myself…”

A few moments later the Steward came through and told me that the person due to sit in the seat opposite had to cancel at the last minute, so I would have the table to myself…”  🙂

Breakfast began with a Buck’s Fizz… always a good omen when one starts the day with champagne before the sun is even out of its pajamas…

…oh, and there was a woman on the train with a lovely pink Louis Vuiton bag – we bonded over our Louis-s-s-s…  🙂

This (below) was coooool…  We were stopped at a station and the train next to us was stopped as well.  I saw the couple looking at our train and so we began a conversation…

I held up the booklet and menu etc to the window so they could read them, and we were talking via hand signals…  Sooooooo much fun!

You can tell just how still it is out there – the smoke is totally vertical!  Not a breath of wind…

As they served a scrumptious late morning tea, the sun came peeking around the curtains…

In case you can’t make it out, that is ice on the side of the embankment…

…and about 8 hours from the time we left, welcome to Edinburgh…

All along our journey, there were men in fields with cameras on tripods; men standing in the rain on platforms with cameras as we went past; and when we arrived in Edinburgh, there were ten or more people there as well, photographing and videoing the arrival of the Statesman Pullman train…  I think it’s lovely that there are still so many people who love this history…

A huge amount of work is being done to Edinburgh Waverly Station…

 

 

We had some time to kill in Edinburgh, so rather than battle with the German Christmas Market crowds, I decided to turn a taxi into a limo and turned the taxi driver my chauffeur – driving me around Edinburgh…

 

 

Back at Edinburgh Waverly Station…

…that has one of the most glorious waiting rooms!

I spent ages admiring the beauty of it all…

…and it was funny – the next night after this journey, after a day of exploring, I was relaxing watching television in my cute BnB, and Julie Walters, on her railway program, was doing what???  Spending ages admiring the beauty of this very same waiting room at Edinburgh Waverly Station!

…the incredible beginning of a four-course dinner…

…this seafood risotto was yummier than it looks…

…followed by delicious soup…

I couldn’t fit in dessert so the people next to me allowed me to photograph theirs…

…only 21:32:21..???  Still hours to go……..

Made it home safe and sound to my lovely BnB… (where not only was the place itself lovely, but I wanted to roll the mattress up, tuck it under my arm and take it around the world with me – it was sooooo comfy!)

After taking this trip, I fell in love with Scotland to the extent that in a fortnight, Prince (my trusty convertible) and I are headed on a road trip to Scotland, to do another vintage rail trip that is on my Bucket List, and to visit Loch Ness in the process…

That is my Christmas present to myself…

Stay tuned!

…and still more posts to come from this journey to and through Wales…

~ Bella

Exploring Historic Dunster, Minehead and more…

Prince, my beloved convertible, and I headed off for a day of exploring and working, heading north from the English Riviera toward the Bristol Channel…

When we arrived in historic Dunster, I thought I would check out Dunster Castle and Water Mill, however when I discovered that one would need to walk about a half a mile or more from the closest place to park the car, that option became less appealing…  🙂

So, we continued on…

This building below is the old Yarn Market in Dunster, built around 1609.  It was damaged during the Civil War, but restored in 1647.

Minehead is lovely and settlement here dates back to the Bronze Age…

My ‘office’ for the afternoon has been The Old Ship Aground pub – and it was wonderful!

View into the kitchen…

No, this isn’t Dubai…

The food was amazing!  I hadn’t had breakfast, so decided to order both a starter and mains…  This was the starter!  Fresh muscles in a green curry Thai-ish sauce…  Yum….!  …and for only £5.85..!

…and main meal of trout…

I curled up here for several hours working – it was wonderful!  (and their wifi was lightning fast compared to most!)

Now a tea-room, this building below has quite the history!  Here is an excerpt from the Minehead Town Council’s website:

“[The] old building was the scene of much activity when the harbour was full of tall-rigged ships and was the home of Minehead’s famous ‘Whistling Ghost’: Old Mother Leakey.

It is said that Mrs Leakey, who died in 1634, became notorious after her death by her unpleasant habit of whistling up a storm whenever one of her son’s ships neared port. The townsfolk became so anxious that the Bishop of Bath and Wells presided over a commission to inquire into the matter. This resulted in a statement being issued to the effect that the elect commission doubted the credibility of the witnesses and did not believe that such an apparition as Mother Leakey’s ghost existed.”

…and a magnificent sunset to finish off a magnificent day exploring…

~ Bella

 

 

Champagne Reception at Downton Abbey

After a lovely night in Derbyshire, I set out under a veeeery strange sky toward Highclere Castle, home of the famous Downton Abbey.

The sun was an eerie red colour through the clouds – and at one point, the whole sky turned an unusual colour – well, unusual for the sky, anyway…

…but I eventually made it safe and sound to my destination of the Carnarvon Arms.  Built by Lord Carnarvon (I don’t recall which one) as a coach house, this place is quite lovely and the staff are excellent and ever so friendly…

…and the food was superb!

So, it’s time to head off in our finest attire to Highclere Castle for a charity champagne reception hosted by Lord and Lady Carnarvon, and with David Robb (who played the doctor in Downton Abbey and is such a lovely man in person) in attendance.

Although no photos were permitted inside, we largely had free run of much of the main rooms in the castle, as well as visiting the extraordinary Egyptian exhibit in the bowels of the building.

In case you are not aware, it was the fifth Lord Carnarvon who, along with Howard Carter, discovered King Tut’s tomb – and many of the antiquities are still at Highclere Castle.

It is extraordinary to look at some of the jewellery and consider that thousands of years ago, that was being worn by a real life, flesh and blood, breathing person – someone just like us – but literally thousands of years ago…  What were they thinking as they put on the artifact?  What thoughts occupied their daily lives?  What were their dreams?

If you have read / are reading Bridgit’s story (my Quantum Lace series), you know that she uses personal touchstones including jewellery as her vibrational links (and if you have no idea what I am talking about, you’ll just have to read the book!) – and I wonder what she would have made of these items…

We have to thank the current Lord Carnarvon, a very lovely gentleman, for having the foresight to take all of the artifacts and put them together into such a fascinating exhibit.

Carriages were at 9:00pm and I then came together for wine with two new friends – Ginger from America and Naomi from Japan, both of whom were visiting England.  We were especially impressed by Naomi who, with very little English, was travelling by herself on a ten-day tour.

…then off to a glorious slumber in a huge bed fit for a princess.

~ Bella