The End

Our last day of the holiday started at the British Museum. What an incredible variety of exhibits. Ducked into Bloomsbury Baptist Church as we walked past it and met an 80 year old lady who had been going there all her life. Strolled in Holland Park, then saw the Handel Museum and finished off with an organ recital in St Paul’s before leaving for the airport.

Now we are home after a wonderful holiday.


After several days in the city we felt in need of some open space so ventured to Kew Gardens to enjoy the warm, sunny weather. We felt so confident that we did not even take rain jackets or jumpers – a first! Kew Gardens are very extensive so we did not cover them all but enjoyed the Treetops walkway, Palm Glasshouse, Rhododendron Dell and more. Kew Palace was where George 2 and his family lived, and it is also in Kew Gardens. Julie-ann and I had a fascinating chat with a young room attendant about George’s family and his descendants. She was so interesting, just off the top of her head, that we had quite a crowd around us listening.

Our cultural education under the tutelage of Julie-ann and Lyle continued tonight when we attended the Mozart – Requiem by Candlelight at St Martin in the Fields near Trafalgar Square.



Lyle and Julie-ann talked us into the seeing Julius Caesar at the Globe tonight and it was the highlight of the day.  Afterwards we enjoyed a walk along the Thames and dessert.

We enjoyed the visit to the Tower Bridge exhibition and the Postman’s Park Memorial to People who have given their lives for others. The Royal Banqueting House built by Inigo Jones was worth a visit especially for the Rubens ceiling paintings and also because Charles 1 was beheaded just outside the House, under the orders of Oliver Cromwell.

The mosaics above the quire (choir) in St Paul’s Cathedral were spectacular and had my heart beating as did the climb up the hundreds of steps (528) to the top!


A great start to the day with the Wallace Collection and then a short sit in Hyde park for lunch. Fast paced through Victoria and Albert Museum and Kensington Palace, then more a leisurely walk to Little Venice canal and dinner.  Strolled along canals and poked around Lord’s Cricket Ground on the way home.



Here we are in London staying in an apartment with our Canberra friends Juile-ann and Lyle. The pace has been fast so I haven’t had a moment to blog. We are having a slightly more relaxed start today as every other day we have been out the door before 8:30am and not back till late.

So far we have done the London Eye, Tate Modern, Old Operating Theatre, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London as well seeing the musical Matilda and catching up with friends and family.



We had a lovely weekend with our friends Julie, Johnny, Jamie, Jemma and Josh Marshall. Enjoyed yet another National Trust property Waddeson Manor, previously owned by the Rothschilds, with a lavishly furnished house and extensive gardens. The Making of Harry Potter where we were surprised to bump into Jillian Churcher was fun. The day finished at 1am after watching England beaten by Italy in the World Cup on a 3m screen. Sunday included Windsor Castle and a picnic in Windsor Great Park.

Don’s Party

To complete the Cotswolds we spent our last day in Oxford. Started with an organised walking tour which gave us an interesting overview of the towns history and important buildings. We saw many students (future Dons?) who had just finished their exams celebrating with their peers and friends. Most of the students were covered in mess a ritual called thrashing.  We visited Christ Church College where the Harry Potter dining room is modelled on the one here but had to be built as this one only has 3 long dining tables and they needed 4 for the 4 Harry Potter houses.

Parr Excellence

Ten years ago Meryl’s brother and sister Keith and Kathy visited Sudeley Castle and they liked it and suggested we go. That was a good enough recommendation for the four of us to go and we all loved it.

The castle (big house) has an interesting history with Richard the 3rd taking it off its owner and making it a Royal Property in 1469. Katherine Parr, Henry the 8th’s sixth and last wife, lived here after Henry died. She married a schemer and rake Thomas Seymour, younger brother of Jane Seymour (Henry’s 3rd wife) shortly after Henry died.  Unfortunately Katherine herself died in 1548 shortly after marrying Thomas and giving birth to a daughter. She was buried here.

In 1649 during the civil war Oliver Cromwell had the castle slighted (destroyed) to show those Royals! For 180 years after the slighting the Castle lay neglected and derelict.

In the early 1800’s Katherine Parr’s tomb was discovered.  In 1837 the rich Dent Brothers bought the ruins and rebuilt parts of the Castle and restored the gardens to their former glory days.  The current owners are descendants of the Dents.  There is a suggestion that Charles Dickens modelled the Cheeryble brothers (Nicholas Nickleby) on the Dent Brothers – which would make them very nice chaps in deed!

The end of a lovely week in the Cotswolds with Terry and Julie.




Today was a mixed bag of activities. Starting with Cheltenham. It initially didn’t appeal to us. Montpellier Gardens were being set up for a garden show with workmen and tents everywhere. As we neared Pittville Pump Room the housing became interesting and the park was full of Mum’s and kids, the sun came out and our first impressions changed.

Next on the agenda Snowshill Manor. Charles Wade was a very weird fellow and his collections even stranger. The garden was pleasant. Glenn had his Raiders hat on and someone said go the Raiders. It was the wife of a guy I played tennis with. Amazing to bump into someone from home like that. Snowshill Village was delightful.

We drove through Winchcombe on the way to Snowshill and thought it looked interesting. Kathy and Keith had stayed there many years ago. So on the way back we stopped in for a wander. We marvelled that a church has been on the site since the late 700s.

Crickley Hill is very near where we are staying. The views were amazing. We could see to Hay-on-Wye. We walked a small distance on the Cotswolds Way up there. It was a hill fort before the Romans came.

The delightful village of Coberley is very near our unit. To visit the church we had to go through a barn door into a private garden. The Mother of Dick Whittington, of the nursery rhyme, is buried here.




Before we visited Chedworth Roman Villa I was thinking of what cake I would have with my coffee while I waited for Meryl to have a look around. But from the moment our guide Roger, PhD in Archaeology and expert on English history including the Roman period, started talking I knew I was in for an interesting and humorous visit.  He gave lots of interesting, high level information about how people lived.

We were told about how the 40,000 Romans arrived in AD 43 and asked shall we do this the hard way or the easy way.  Wisely the Celtic Brits said easy way please.  350 years later and the aristocratic English people who lived in the Villa were very rich from trading with the Romans.  The land is so fertile that even the 99.5 % of other people who lived in the Cotswolds ate well. The Romans introduced snails (still able to be easily seen) and showed the locals how to build so that the rooms were heated.

To complete our education on Roman Britain we visited the award winning Corinium Museum in Cirencester. People did not live in towns until the Romans came. Cirencester was the second largest city in Roman Britain. We liked it as it is today.

On our way home we ducked into the Duntisbourne villages and nearly had to drive through a creek.