Catching up with family and other days

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November 4th 2007
Published: November 6th 2007
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Sunday 4th November

Awakening early we had intentions of a quiet day and started with the morning papers and a few chores, however the Indian summer continues and we felt guilty wasting the sunshine. We thought a walk would be great so headed toward Hatfield Forest some 30 minutes away.

Arriving we discovered we weren't the only ones with a walk in mind. The place was packed with families enjoying the sunshine, children on scooters and bikes and couples walking their dogs. We were glad we'd thought to pack sandwiches as the queue for food was 20 metres long! We set off toward the lake where we found a wooden boardwalk. We were surprised that the forest didn't meet our definition of a forest as it had small groves of trees and large grassed areas. Looking it up on the Net later I discovered those groves were known as coppices and the definition of a forest is 'a partly wooded and managed area where past royalty could hunt for deer etc'. We'd hoped to see some wildlife, perhaps a deer but had to settle for a couple of squirrels and not too many of those. We felt a little let down and after eating our sandwiches on a fallen log and walking a bit more we left.

We set off on a different route home and went through a village called Stansted Mountfitchet where we had a wander and saw an old mill and a Norman village. We'd both had enough so headed home where we were early enough to actually have a “nanny” nap, our first in many weeks, needed due to our early start and poor sleeping the previous evening.

Awakening with renewed energy a pot of pumpkin soup and a delicious pasta sauce were made for dinner. We opened the bottle of elderberry wine that Judy had bought for Rags in Burley and both enjoyed the slightly sweeter taste of this red.

Monday 5 November

All went smoothly this morning until Judy said, “Take the next exit”. She chose the next minute to look down at the next direction and when she looked up we were driving past the exit ramp to the M25 (known as the London Orbital). Oh no! We turned instead on to the inner ring road around London and this seemed to be travelling well so we stayed on it past where we could have easily turned off only to have it slow down to almost nil speed. We then had to wait almost an hour before we could exit it and go back to the M25. By this time it was moving freely but it was still after noon before we reached Michelle's home in Crawley. (about 3 and a half hours since we'd left home!)

Judy and Michelle chatted animatedly about the family with Judy collecting the details as they spoke onto her family history program on the computer. Rags helped out by photographing certificates when needed but otherwise lost himself in his novel.

After about an hour we piled into the car and went to Michelle's grandparents for afternoon tea. (Jean wonderfully made us some sandwiches as we hadn't eaten lunch). Once again Judy tried to record the dates and the essence of the stories on the laptop. Before we knew it the afternoon had fled and it was time to pick up children from school so we also left for Brighton. With no intention of making the long drive back today we'd earlier packed an overnight bag and decided to spend the night in Brighton as it seemed to have a few attractions.

Brighton is quite large and it took a while to find a B & B but we finally found somewhere to stay, "The Brighton Hotel" quite close to the Brighton Pier. We could see it from our window on the third floor! Dinner was had after a wander along the pier and through the pedestrianised streets at a popular old pub called “The Druid's Head”. Once back in our room we were entertained by the many fireworks that even now we can hear being let off outside on the beach as it's Guy Fawkes night tonight.

Tuesday 6th November

Had a reasonable sleep last night despite the room next door having their TV on loudly and despite the ‘whoosh & bang’ of fireworks being set off on the beach outside our room in the Brighton Hotel.

An excellent breakfast was served in the basement dining room, after which we donned warm clothing before setting off in the clear, cold morning with not a cloud in sight. We can’t get over how lucky we have been with the weather; we have had a few cold mornings and a few grey skies, but no rain.

Photos were taken of the pier and the beach, Brighton in this respect being just what we had imagined from stories and pictures we have seen in the past.

Next we walked around the Royal Pavilion, which started as a small farmhouse for King George 4th and his wife Mrs Fitzherbert, who he is thought to have secretly married. This house was then expanded to what it now is in 1822.

From there we walked through the area known as The Lanes, a maze of antique and jewellery shops set in the streets of Brighthelmstone, the original village.

After leaving Brighton we came across the huge Brighton Marina that consists of a fishing harbour, leisure boat area, various boating type shops, holiday units, large ASDA supermarket, outlet stores, restaurants etc. It took us quite some time to explore it fully.

Driving east along the coast we passed through the quaint town of Newhaven before heading north. We intended stopping at Lewes but were a bit put off by the 2 pound parking they wanted for an hour!

Instead lunch was at Sheffield Park gardens, a magnificently landscaped garden centred around 3 lakes and overlooked by what looks like a castle where the owner lives. A cynic may say that the owners gave the gardens to the National Trust because it was so expensive to maintain, thereby still getting the pleasure of it without the pain!

We decided to take the M25 home in an anticlockwise direction rather than traveling back the way we'd come as it seemed to be much shorter (even without the unwanted deviations we made) even though it is classed as a toll road. We were pleasantly surprised that the toll was only £1, and this was payable just before we entered the Dartford Tunnel under the Thames. It took us just over 2 hours of driving before we were unpacking our bags "at home".

We made the decision to have a day relaxing before we take off again. This time we will be driving to "The North" (as it is called on the road signs) We aren't sure how far we'll get but hope to get to Edinburgh and Perth. We'll leave on Thursday.

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


Druid's Head PubDruid's Head Pub
Druid's Head Pub

Had a lovely meal here last night.
Regency styleRegency style
Regency style

This is where we stayed - Brighton Hotel. One of the main reasons we chose it was because parking was included. It was very difficult to find free parking in Brighton.
Brighton BeachBrighton Beach
Brighton Beach

Not quite the sandy beaches we are used to in Perth! You'd need Crocs to walk on this beach!
Brighton PavilionBrighton Pavilion
Brighton Pavilion

Former royal residence of a Prince regent and given to the people of Brighton by Queen Victoria. Between 1815 an 1822 John Nash redesigned the former palace and its his work that is seen here.
Brighton PierBrighton Pier
Brighton Pier

Full of amusements and things kids love.
The old burnt out pier.The old burnt out pier.
The old burnt out pier.

The old pier, burnt out in 2003 by arson attacks.
Built up area on Brighton BeachBuilt up area on Brighton Beach
Built up area on Brighton Beach

The beach front has several miles of beautiful three story regency style buildings.
Brighton MarinaBrighton Marina
Brighton Marina

A lot of holiday homes lined the marina reminiscent of Sorrento Quay. (but many more)
The MarinaThe Marina
The Marina

We enjoyed the walk around the marina looking at the boats.
The white cliffs of BrightonThe white cliffs of Brighton
The white cliffs of Brighton

We may have to be happy with these as it doesn't look like we're going to make Dover! The building you can see is the flash looking Roedean School for Girls.
Beautiful Sheffield HouseBeautiful Sheffield House
Beautiful Sheffield House

This can be seen from the garden but isn't open to the public.

7th November 2007

Hi Jude and Rags: the heading of this comment is China because I have Dana sitting here with me telling me about China. I think she has things she would like to suggest to you for when you reach China. Would you send her an invitation to view your Blog and to make comments. Dana has vital info regarding China ! Hope you trip tp Scotland is going well Will either talk to you on Skype or send an E-mail when you return. Love Ya Mum
7th November 2007

At long last the Icome's history. Did you get information about Mary Ann and Charles being cousins, and about her father Thomas who was a soldier. What regiment and where was he stationed. Also where was Mary Ann born (High seas) tells us nothing. I am excited. If you get a chance please pass on the information to me... Pat
9th November 2007

family visits
we go back to england/scotland every couple of years to visit the ever expanding family. it's great to find those that you have never met. we are now in vallarta and very glad to be home. neighbours have told us how judy had the turista and poor old rags was not as accommodating as he should have been. tsk tsk tsk. all your old friends say hello. thanks for the great perth baseball cap. much appreciated. we live vicariously through you very complete journals. ciao jim

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