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London- Part 1

JH 10Fresh from the Yorkshire Dales, which could not be topped- we thought- we headed to London on the train – a rather fast train which didn’t enable much sight seeing. We discovered a confusing system of seat booking which many travellers, including us, ignored. This led to the occasional travel rage amongst those who had actually tried to reserve a seat. I also left one of our tickets in the machine in Sheffield- so if you are travelling by train in the UK, please be aware that the machine spits out an extra summary ticket. Luckily I was able to have the missing ticket re-issued.

We had massive plans for our London visit, just as we did for all our travel- see as much as you can in the short time you are there. The skies were overcast and threatening rain as we checked into our hotel in King’s Cross. We immediately set off on foot to find the travel information booth where we could purchase our Big Bus tickets.

With three days of bus travel purchased, we jumped on the nearest Big Bus and took a tour of the city, taking in St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and landmarks like the Shard, Big Ben and the London Eye. The city of London is an interesting mix of ancient and new. We soon determined our focus would be on the ancient and the Tower of London was pencilled in for the next day.

It was just our luck that Big Ben was getting a makeover – but then we realised it had been damaged in that episode of Doctor Who. You know the one. There was all manner of centuries-old architecture to admire including many pubs. But I couldn’t get over the ever present contrast between modern architecture and loved old landmarks.

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We finished our first day in London, uncertain of what the next day would bring and convinced that Yorkshire and Scotland were far superior.

GreenwichStay tuned for London Day 2, when we explore the Thames, Greenwich and the Tower of London.

Until next week!

Bernadette x

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Chatsworth House

Chats 17Chatsworth house was another spectacular sight in a whole list of them in our first week in the UK. It was a short drive from our base in Dore, Sheffield and we went with our son, Tom and his partner, Monique. The weather was magnificent and so was this stately home. We were permitted to take any photos we wished and took full advantage of the invitation.
While Michael and I toured the palace, Monique and Tom saved a few pounds and checked out the gardens. I was totally overwhelmed by the opulence of Chatsworth House. Sculptures, huge paintings and other treasures abounded. Even the ceilings were works of art.

I was fascinated by the paintings which took up all the walls of one of the main staircases, the ceiling of which was a magnificent dome.


My imagination was captured by several displays which I have included here.

Some of the rooms were a little dark to photograph well but there was still plenty to add to my iphone.

Chats 13The formal dining room was perfection as you can see below. Not a detail was missed, even in the ceiling.


There was a whole room of statues on the way out to the gardens.

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We found Tom and Monique lounging in the sun with plenty of other sight seers. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

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The maze was my favourite part of the gardens after the stunning flowers.

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I’ll leave you with two stunning images- the first looking from the mansion up to the head of the water feature and the second looking in reverse. Enjoy!

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Please join me next week when we hit the road again, this time it’s North Yorkshire!

Bernadette x

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UK Getaway

Stone Wall South YorkshireMy husband and I just returned from the best holiday of our lives. We spent three weeks based in Dore, Sheffield in southern Yorkshire and wracked up some miles. We tackled a new currency or two, dealt with a foreign language and soaked up all the strangeness that goes along with travelling outside your country.

Tom 50! YorkshireI think we chose wisely for our first long-haul overseas trip. The people of the United Kingdom speak the same language we do, albeit in dozens of different accents, it’s a place of great antiquity and also of rare beauty. Added to that, our son was playing cricket in Sheffield and it was a no-brainer.

 

Castle ruinsAs a fantasy author whose stories are mired in medieval images, the cobbled lanes, stone houses and both intact and ruined castles, were a goldmine of inspiration for my stories.

Castle photo and meAs a side-story, I took along with me a bucket hat from Budgy Smuggler-an Australian company better known for manufacturing swimming attire. You can see the white embroidered budgerigar on the front. It’s a great little hat, light enough to tuck in your handbag and quite stylish, I think.

Over the coming months, I’ll post a series of blogs on my travels, including images from our week-long cruise to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, which we enjoyed before we headed to the United Kingdom.

Eiffel TowerBut before I go, here’s the iconic Eiffel Tower. It’s such a dominant structure and much larger than I ever imagined.

Until next time, happy reading!