Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
The picture above is not of a town—it’s of a single house: Knole in Sevenoaks, Kent.
Knole was our first destination outside London. We took the Tube to Charing Cross Station and caught a train for the roughly half hour ride to Sevenoaks. If there was signage in the train station pointing us toward Knole, we missed it, so we wandered around Sevenoaks until we finally found a visitor’s center (or centre, as it would be spelled there) and got directions to the main entrance. It wasn't until we were leaving that we found the footpath I’d been looking for when we arrived.
Nice, yes? From here we would have gone up through the medieval deer park to the house.
Fallow and Sika deer roam the grounds—I’m not sure which kind these are—or perhaps there are some of both.
We arrived before the house was open to visitors, so we walked around the wall that encloses the grounds.
Mr. M is 6’3” (when he stands up straight) so you can see the wall is formidable—and the doorways are sometimes short.
What wasn’t enclosed by the wall was protected by a beautiful fence.
And here’s the entrance—note the blue speck (moi).
Once inside the entrance, you’re in the Green Court.
From the Green Court, you pass through the Inner Wicket (again, I’m a blue speck)
to the Stone Court (this is the other side of the Inner Wicket taken from the Stone Court)
and the entrance to the Great Hall.
I hope I got that all correct—I’m working from my feeble memory and the map in the guide book I (thankfully) purchased.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
I'll confess I wasn't ever a huge fan of dating. Maybe it was me; maybe it was the era I grew up in. I suppose going to an all girls' Catholic high school had something to do with it--and then going to an all male Catholic university the year it went coed. Dating just felt artificial, awkward, and uncomfortable.
Hmm. Should a romance writer admit that?
My favorite dating disaster story comes from my senior prom. A friend fixed me up with a boy from one of the area's all male high schools. He worked part time at a funeral home and wanted to be a priest.
Right. This is sounding real promising. But it gets better!
I had terminal cramps at the dinner before the prom. They were so bad, I had to go upstairs at my hostess's house to lie down. He came up to pat my hand and practice being sympathetic for when he was a priest, I guess. I sort of think the funeral home didn't let the high school guys anywhere near the bereaved.
When we got to the prom, some guy got sick in the bathroom and my date ditched me to tend to him.
I did go to his prom a few weeks later. It must have been completely normal, since I can't recall a single detail.
Or, wait, maybe I can. I think we might have double dated with the friend who'd set me up with the guy in the first place. Her date--whom I think was in my class in grade school--held forth with some argument about ants having souls and being of the same "value" as people. My friend was scandalized by this, and ardent debater that she was, argued vehemently with him for the rest of the date.
Needless to say, this wasn't the beginning of a budding romance, though I think my friend actually dated the ant guy for quite a while.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Back to our London trip. The Jewel Tower was something else we probably wouldn’t have seen if we hadn’t gotten the London Pass.
You might think there would be jewels in the Jewel Tower, but you would be wrong. It did once hold Edward III’s treasures.
It had some seriously low doorways, as Mr. M. demonstrates. Fortunately, he didn’t literally demonstrate by whacking his head. There was a helpful sign on the other side that said: “Low Doorway. Please mind the step.”
The stairs were like many we encountered in the historic buildings—these are probably better than most of the Tower’s stairs.
I’m happy to report we managed NOT to fall down any of them.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I’ll confess we saw some sights we wouldn’t have if we hadn’t gotten the London Pass before we left home. The Monument was one of these. We stumbled upon it in our trek from the Tower to St. Paul’s. It was built by Sir Christopher Wren between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire that decimated London in 1666, so it’s possible my characters could have visited it. It stood out from its surroundings more back then.
This is a sketch of the Monument in 1811 taken from the Monument web site here.
We climbed the 311 steps to the top, took some pictures, and climbed down—and got a certificate to mark our accomplishment.
Monday, October 4, 2010
(My daughter-in-law told me about Windows Live Writer—I’m testing it out to see if it makes managing the blog better…or not!)
Friday I talked about the London Eye and how it seemed to dominate the London skyline. The Eye isn’t the only usual structure in London, of course. Mr. M. brought one to my attention even before we even left the States—”The Gherkin” or, more formally, 30 St. Mary Axe.
In my opinion, it’s not as jarring to the senses as the Eye because it blends in with its surroundings more.
I had fun looking for it from my varied vantage points above London. I confess it reminded me a bit of searching for the pickle when I read the Richard Scarry books to the kids.