A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: prosie

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Exploring HMS Victory

Our last full day in England and we drove about 30 minutes to Portsmouth to visit the historic dockyard. Park and Ride worked very well and although the Mary Rose and HMS Warrior attractions were both closed for renovation work, the main object of our attention the HMS Victory exceeded expectations. We began with a harbour cruise which was stunning in the beautiful warm sunny weather. Then we spent a couple of hours on board Victory, Nelson's ship on which he was killed in the battle of Trafalgar. It was not crowded and we were able to take our time, it was so interesting and wonderful for Doug who has dreamed of seeing this ever since his parents did so when he was a child. It is so well preserved and you get a really good picture of what life on board was like from the very informative naval personnel stationed at various points. Great not to have audio guides for once! One of the best attractions we have visited.
On our final evening walk back in Bishopstoke we met a lovely local gentleman who was so friendly, it just finished off the trip on a great note!
Tomorrow we begin the long haul home. We will have a last catch up with Jeff for dinner at Heathrow. It has been a varied, at times challenging but overall a marvelous trip. Looking forward to a great NZ flat white!

HMS Victory

HMS Victory

Doug on deck

Doug on deck

Cannon deck

Cannon deck

Steering the ship

Steering the ship

Breakfast

Breakfast

Spinnaker Tower

Spinnaker Tower

Dockyard cruise

Dockyard cruise

HMS Warrior

HMS Warrior

Friendly local

Friendly local

Posted by prosie 13:56 Archived in England Comments (0)

Maiden Castle and Dorchester

Driving from Devon through Dorset to Hampshire

This morning we left our cosy Cobblers cottage in Pennymoor and tonight we are in a lovely little bungalow in Bishopstoke, Eastleigh - our base for our final two nights in England. The drive lead us from the narrow and winding lanes of Devon, to the more open roads of Dorset, though the New Forest and finally onto the busy M27 and M3 highways in Hampshire.
Our first stop was Maiden Castle, the huge site of a Neolithic settlement and Iron Age fort. We walked to the top for amazing 360 degree views and Doug studied the incredible ramparts and earthworks that remain. The area was occupied until the Romans attacked and captured the fort, moving all the people to the nearly town that is now Dorchester, our next stop. We really liked this attractive town and enjoyed the Roman walk around the site of the original walls. Found a lovely park with an outdoor gym - very cool. A highlight was the Roman town house, where a glass-walled replica house has been placed over the stone ruins to protect them. You can see the remains of the mosaic floors as they were excavated. Like Maiden Castle, this site was free and we were able to wander around at our leisure, the only ones there - such a contrast from the long queue and approx $60 NZ to view the Roman baths in Bath!

Working out in the park!

Working out in the park!

Dorchester Town Pump

Dorchester Town Pump

Roman walk

Roman walk

Roman town house

Roman town house

Mosaic floor

Mosaic floor

View of Dorchester from top of Maiden Castle

View of Dorchester from top of Maiden Castle

Mega earthworks

Mega earthworks

Ramparts

Ramparts

Cute Dorset lambs

Cute Dorset lambs

Posted by prosie 15:34 Archived in England Comments (0)

The English Riviera

Totnes and Torquay

Following our morning in North Huish, we headed to the coast known as The English Riviera. Stopped for lunch in Totnes, delicious homemade soup and bread unfortunately served by a very bad-tempered young man who needs to get a different job! Most of the customer service here has been friendly, so this was our worst in the UK so far. Totnes has steep narrow streets with interesting boutique style shops eg saw one specialising in harps. An unexpected find for Doug was a perfect example of a motte and bailey castle.
On to Torquay, where we enjoyed a walk along the pier and delicious ice creams made with clotted cream A lovely warm sunny afternooon and it all looked picture perfect. The weather overall has been cool, although we haven't had a lot of rain. The locals are all commenting that it has been a colder than usual spring and many of the plants are several weeks behind in their flowering.

Torquay

Torquay

On the pier at Torquay

On the pier at Torquay

Doug relaxing on the pier

Doug relaxing on the pier

Totnes Castle - mottte and bailey

Totnes Castle - mottte and bailey

Totnes street

Totnes street

Pastel houses, Totnes

Pastel houses, Totnes

Posted by prosie 14:13 Archived in England Comments (1)

Family History

North Huish

It was a very special day for me today as we travelled to the tiny village of North Huish to visit the home and grave of George and Jessie Drury, my great great grandparents. We initially went into the church yard and easily found the grave, which was quite overgrown. Then along came Andrew Mitchell, who is the current owner of the Manor House next door to the church, once owned by George and Jessie. He lent us some pruners and we cut back all the growth that was covering the grave. We had also bought some moss remover so sprayed that on and it will soon look much better. Andrew invited us into the Manor for coffee. Dad, you will be amused to know that the piles of books you saw are still there and it was quite a squeeze to get into the kitchen! He has been there since 1961 and kept apologising for the state of the place, which is in severely bad repair. He cannot afford to fix it up, but does have a gardener working on clearing and restoring the garden and we met him too. The original manor probably dates from 1400-1500's but the Georgian house was built in 1800. We were shown upstairs and even into the servants quarters above, where bats reside and there are holes in the ceiling and walls. I have lots of photos to show those interested when we get home.
Despite the sad state of the house, it was wonderful to spend time in this place that I have heard about all my life. I imagined Jessie sitting at the window with the view of the church and the lovely Devon countryside, writing the letters back to her NZ family that we still have.
Andrew himself was born in NZ, went to St Peters school and moved to England at the age of 17 to join the navy. There are also several other NZ connections in the village. As soon as he saw us at the grave he said "I know you are from NZ!" I hope someone buys the Manor House and does it up one day, it must have been lovely in the past but it will take a huge sum of money to bring it back to its former glory.

The grave of my Great Great Grandparents, George and Jessie Drury

The grave of my Great Great Grandparents, George and Jessie Drury

Time for some pruning

Time for some pruning

Grave inscription

Grave inscription

The Manor House, with current owner Andrew Mitchell

The Manor House, with current owner Andrew Mitchell

Doug chats to the gardener who is restoring the garden and uncovered the pond

Doug chats to the gardener who is restoring the garden and uncovered the pond

Inside the Manor House - watch out readaholics, this is what happens when book collecting gets out of control!

Inside the Manor House - watch out readaholics, this is what happens when book collecting gets out of control!


The Manor House from the back garden

The Manor House from the back garden

Posted by prosie 11:02 Archived in England Comments (1)

Cream tea in Devon

Pennymoor and Exeter

Today we set off for Exeter, taking the most direct route. This turned out to be quite an experience as we negotiated miles of very narrow one lane roads lined with hedges. A bit hair-raising when we met a large truck coming the other way, but had glimpses of spectacular views as we traversed the hills! We decided to come back the long way via Tiverton which took less time and was mostly two-way roads. A very pretty drive, Devon is a beautiful area.
We loved Exeter, a very easy city to walk around and much less touristy than Bath. It was heavily bombed in WW2 and the old buildings that remain are interspersed with modern ones on wide pedestrian-only streets. The locals were out shopping up a storm on bank holiday Monday, but it felt relaxed and friendly. The cathedral is huge and surrounded by a lovey green. We went on a guided walking tour which gave us a fascinating insight into the city as it was and is now. The drizzly rain cleared in time for our cream tea beside the green in the late afternoon sun.

Cream tea in Devon

Cream tea in Devon

View of Devon from our lounge window at The Cobblers, Pennymoor

View of Devon from our lounge window at The Cobblers, Pennymoor

Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral

Saxon, Norman, Medieval buildings that survived the WW2 bombing of Exeter, including Mol's Tea House

Saxon, Norman, Medieval buildings that survived the WW2 bombing of Exeter, including Mol's Tea House

Roman city wall and remains of Rougemont Castle, built by Normans in 1068

Roman city wall and remains of Rougemont Castle, built by Normans in 1068

World's narrowest street, Parliament St in Exeter - only 25 inches wide at the far end, Doug had to walk sideways!

World's narrowest street, Parliament St in Exeter - only 25 inches wide at the far end, Doug had to walk sideways!

Posted by prosie 15:08 Archived in England Comments (0)

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