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Sunday, 18 August 2013

Tale of two cities and other things!

We had an outing last Saturday - again we took the train to EXETER.

Where we decided to follow the City Wall Trail which is a self guided walk round the various parts of the wall which remain - 70% of it is still in existence.

This lovely mosaic was near the end of the walk - isn't it beautiful?  Do click on the photos to enlarge them as then you can see the details better.

Not just a pile of old rubble but part of the ancient wall - originally built by the Romans about 200 AD but repaired by others over the centuries although some of the original Roman work still exists.

 Another section of the wall is situated in a peaceful grassy area - really quiet.

This information board was at the South Gate which had at one time been a prison and I was fascinated to see where the phrase "living on a shoe string" came from!  You learn something new every day!

Having completed the trail we had lunch in the Real Food Shop which I would definitely recommend.

Then yesterday we took advantage of South West Trains offer of £15 day returns to anywhere in their region on Saturdays and Sundays till beginning of September and went to LONDON

I liked the monochrome scene with just a little dash of red in the boat.  I tried later to get the same view with a couple of red buses crossing the bridge but ended up without St Pauls in the frame!

 I wanted to go here where I purchased a pair of sandals and from there we walked along the Brompton Road towards Knightsbridge passing Brompton Square where at one time my aunt had worked in one of these houses and I wanted to see it again - I remember visiting her occasionally when she lived here (watch out I feel another memories post coming on!)

I love the architecture you see especially if you look up when walking in London - this is of course the V and A.

After lunch we parted ways and I went to Covent Garden where I hoped to find this shop having been unable to do so last time I was in London.  This time I was in luck and spent a happy time browsing and finally left with a purchase.  Everywhere I saw so many flowers like this - wonder why it is mainly pubs which do this though?

We met up again and then made our way towards the South Bank and Waterloo station.  We climbed up the steps to visit this lovely area of garden - who would believe that it is on the roof of a building on the South Bank

It had been on my list of places to visit for a while and I will have to go again as I have just discovered that there is more than we saw as it has been extended over to the Hayward Gallery as well!

We were lucky with the weather as although there was a shower it was whilst we were inside but on the way home the skies darkened and it began to rain but by then we didn't care!

On Tuesday we went for a walk - an AA (as in Automobile Association and not Alcoholics Anonymous!) walk Mr M had found on the internet which sounded just our cup of tea being about 5.5 miles and taking around 3 hours.  I made us a picnic and filled a flask with tea and we set off for Minterne Magna.

We had printed out the instructions and a diagramatic map but fell at the first hurdle as the path stated had been closed and now it started back at the car park.  So we had wasted a quarter of an hour before we got going!

The route was lovely although at times we couldn't understand the instructions nor the map and indeed we met a lady with a couple of dogs who happened to be doing the same walk who was also having difficulty.

We reached The Cerne Giant about 1.30 and made use of one of the benches in the little viewing area there to sit and have our lunch. Not every lunchtime that we spend viewing a naked man whilst eating our sarnies!!

After lunch we set off again and soon reached the pretty village of Cerne Abbas.  Where I enquired at the Village shop whilst buying a bottle of water where we would find the Pottery mentioned on our instructions only to learn it had closed 10 years ago!

This path was quite difficult to walk along being so narrow and I felt a bit like a mountain goat or sheep but less agile.  There were many lovely wildflowers including  delicate pale blue harebells which I haven't seen for many years along with soft mauve scabious and lots of bees and butterflies flitting about.  We met a group of about 20 ramblers going the opposite direction and had to scramble to one side where the bank was a little wider to let them pass!  It did give us a few moments to get our breath back though.

 By now we were lost and none of the things we were told to look out for appeared to be where they should nor was the diagram much good either - moral here is to ensure the stated route is up to date and to take an Ordnance Survey map along as well!

 It was all very scenic though and we did eventually find our way back to Mintern Abbas...
 ... see here is the house and gardens I had wondered if we might visit when we got back thinking it might be about 3.30 but... is the church clock showing 5.15!!  We'd been walking for 5 hours apart from the sit down to eat our sandwiches.  It was a lovely route and would have been even more enjoyable had we known where we were going.

On Wednesday we had thought of going to Salisbury for the day but after our tiring day on Tuesday we stayed at home though I did walk into town to pick up a library book I had reserved.

Speaking of library books here are a couple of recommendations you might like:

 If you like Victoria Hislop's The Island and The Return you might like this one - I hadn't known much about modern Greek history, I am ashamed to say, so it was educational too for me as well as an enjoyable read.
This one is written by a husband and wife taking turns to tell of their voyage down through France by canal to the Mediterranean.  They left London with their two small children and set off into the unknown - a really interesting read.  Check this one out here.

If you are still with me - you deserve a medal!  And to think I said I was giving up blogging!

Thursday, 8 August 2013


A day out with a philosophical twist today - I haven't given you any philosophy for a while have I?!!

I had a day out in Winchester today where I met up with a couple of work colleagues - we go back a long way now of course!.  Traveling along the road to the station this morning I thought that the narrow road with its twists and turns could be seen as a metaphor for life.  In places the road ahead was clear in others it was impossible to see what was coming round the bends.  In some places I could see stunning views to the side of the road and in others we were between trees and high hedges and could not see anything other than the way ahead.

 Once on the train I was aware that the same could be said of the train journey except it was not possible to see ahead at all and we had to trust in the driver to take us the right way!  Those of a religious bent might say this could be seen as a metaphor for trusting God or whoever you perceive as the Greater Power to take control and guide us in the right direction perhaps?  Again in places we passed through beautiful countryside basking in the sunshine and in others we were trapped in deep cuttings where we couldn't even see the sky or maybe hemmed in by bushes and trees so that although I knew there was beautiful countryside beyond I couldn't see it.  There have been times in my life when I knew with my head that life was good but just couldn't see it or feel it that way just as I knew the countryside was there but for the moment it wasn't visible to me.

Then there were a couple of tunnels black and dark when I could see nothing other than my own reflection in the window glass.  These reminded me of the times in my life when I have been in the Slough of Despond and couldn't see any way out - seeing only myself and my problems and nothing beyond.  Luckily like the tunnel they didn't go on for ever and I did of course come out into the sunshine eventually!

 At one point along my route this morning some people got on the train with so many enormous suitcases they were at a loss as to know where to put them but other passengers suggested ways they might move their own cases and make room for them - some of us travel through life heavy laden too and there are often others who will help us to put down our baggages at least for a moment if only we let them. 

It struck me that we were all on a journey headed somewhere and all being well we would eventually reach our intended destination - just as we shall in life.  The journey will be so much more enjoyable if we trust the driver, believe that even when we can't see beyond the hedges on either side there is still beautiful countryside out there and we will come to it again if only we wait, that the dark tunnels are not infinite and we will see the sunshine again and if we accept that sometimes the sky clouds over and the rain falls but if we are involved in what we are doing this will not spoil our day.  Not that it did rain today and I really enjoyed my day out wandering round the city where these pictures were taken.

I always manage to find a bit of greenery even in the city and this was a pretty area along side the River Itchen.

 The River flowed clear and clean over pebbles and reminded me of the walk I did recently along the River Frome - again I wished I could sit on the edge and paddle my feet but my friends wouldn't let me!!

 Having made a circuit we ended up back on the High Street where we found a place to sit and enjoy a sandwich lunch and more gossip till it was time to head for the station for our respective trains home.  Good friends are what makes life's journey so enjoyable and their worth is more than gold.  I hope we don't leave it too long before we have another day together.