Friday, September 12, 2014

What's Making Me Happy: England

Standing on the south coast of England
I was extremely fortunate to be able to travel to the UK last week. I'd known for a while my husband was going there on a business trip—he goes about twice a year—but I didn't know he was working behind the scenes to arrange for me to come along. He contacted a good friend of mine there and asked if she was free to put me up for a few days while he worked. He researched fares. He got our kids squared away. By the time I found out, the trip was just around the corner. What a pleasant surprise! I married a good 'un.

Without further ado, I'll let the photos tell the rest. (You can click on each one to embiggen for details.)

Exeter, one of my favorite English towns

An odd sign outside a restroom. Turns out the blue light makes it hard to locate veins.

The beach in Exmouth. Green mossy stepping stones lead to tide pools.

Beach cliffs at Exmouth

Ammonite lampposts in Lyme Regis, an area famous for its fossils.
I read Tracy Chevalier's novel Remarkable Creatures a few years ago,
which follows the life of Mary Anning, a working-class woman
who lived in Lyme Regis and was one of the first to figure out
what the ammonite fossils meant. Turns out some of the most remarkable
scientific discoveries of the 19th century were made by women.

Sunset in Lyme Regis

My friend Di standing on the Cobb in Lyme Regis. Fans of Jane Austen
may recognize the Cobb from the novel Persuasion.

Di is posing in front of King Arthur's roundtable in the Great Hall of Winchester Castle.
The table dates back "only" to around 1250 AD, hundreds of years
after the first Arthurian legends were recorded. It was likely built for a
Round Table tournament. There's no solid historical evidence King Arthur
actually existed, but his legends was known to all by the time this artifact was created.

Me staring up at the Wedding Gates in the Great Hall. They were built
to commemorate the wedding of Charles and Diana, and they do look as welcoming
as that unfortunate marriage, don't they? Di calls them the Entrance to Mordor.

The cloisters as Winchester Cathedral

The Jurassic Coast of England,
showcasing beauty and millions of years of geologic history 

From our boat tour of the Jurassic Coast

Another dramatic shot of the rock stacks

Over a doorway in London

In a stall on Maltby Street

Maltby Street Market, a great place to grab gourmet street food

The Shard

A Soviet propaganda poster in the Tate Modern:
"The Butchers Are Torturing Ukraine! Death to the Butchers!"
Poignant, considering.

A lovely afternoon view from one of the many Thames bridges

The Black Friar pub, right near Blackfriars Bridge

On the wall of the Black Friar pub

Fleet Street, once famous as the journalism district

Ye Olde Cock Tavern
(Nothing more need be said.)

The poppies! This art exhibit has made the news: In commemoration
of World War I, a red poppy is added to this display for every British life lost in
that war. (888,246, in case you wondered.)
The public can buy poppies as well: proceeds go to charity.

The poppy "river of blood" has progressively filled the moat surrounding the Tower of London.
Poppies spill out of windows as well, artfully suspended on a wire support.
For more information, click here.

Obligatory London Bridge photo.

Our friends in Greenwich took us to this spot, where the remains of Christopher Marlowe lie.
Marlowe was a contemporary of Shakespeare, and met a tragic and pointless end—
stabbed to death at the age of 29 years old, reputedly in a drunken fight.

An amusing sign in Greenwich

This skull-and-crossbones on the gatepost of St. Nicholas's Church in Greenwich
is said to be the inspiration of the "Jolly Roger" pirate flag. You can see why.

This man, sitting near a statue of Peter the Great, was smoking a pipe while
he tapped away at his iPhone with a stylus. It was like Hemingway had
spontaneously regenerated in the 21st century.

Just a sweet couple in Greenwich Park. The park is 180 acres, a former
hunting park, first enclosed in 1433. A huge, lush, green space
right in the middle of a teeming city.

View of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, from the bottom of the hill


  1. How perfectly wonderful that this was something you were surprised with. Wow. I'm so glad you got to go!

    1. Me too! And somehow my lead photo, of me on the seashore, got lost in the publication. So I put it back up. I thought you'd like it — atmospheric. :)

    2. I came back, noticed it, and do like it. Very nice.

  2. I want desperately to go to England. Thank you for sharing your photos.


    1. I hope you are able to go someday! I was very fortunate to be able to stay with a friend, cut down on cost considerably.


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