Sorry to leave home with such wonderful weather we have been having but we set sail towards the clouds and the rain covering the UK.
First stop after navigating the heavy rain is Charingworth Manor, a delightful retreat in the Cotswolds near Chipping Campden and a driveway with a sense of humour.
Phillip and Sylvia share a wedding anniversary with us tomorrow and this hotel very much “fitted the bill” for a chill out near the end of a very busy year.
Bedrooms, all very warm, are named rather than numbered and relate to previous owners and local dignatories although some of the rooms are somewhat of a walk from the main hotel’s lounge area.
Dinner in the hotel was part of the package and the hotel did us proud with a well presented spread, especially welcome as we hadn’t really had much lunch.
A wet day for our anniversary and a look around Anne Hathaway’s house and gardens (she of Shakespeare wife fame) along with a large party of French students.
Grounds obviously now past their best but you can see the potential for a summer flower display so perhaps a return visit at a different time is called for.
A walk around the grounds and gardens whilst the rain held off before heading into the house which contains many original items.
Some of the furniture is old and unique including what the guides seem to think is a birthing chair from the 18th C, rather similar to one my mother had.
Onwards into Stratford-on-Avon for a brief walk around avoiding the school parties, the Japanese and the rain drops. We finished our honeymoon at the White Swan there back in 1972 so the walk past the Hotel
How did we find out where to stay back then, no trip advisor, no internet just an AA or RAC hotel guide.
Back to hotel for our welcome tea postponed from yesterday due to our late arrival followed by another lovely meal.
89 collective years of marriage to the day celebrated.
Still wet but not quite as bad as yesterday. Check out and off towards Snowshill, a Country pile previously owned by a Mr Webb who died in 1956 without children and bequeathed it to the National Trust.
Mr Webb was a hoarder and a kleptomaniac so the whole house is stuffed with toys and gadgets of all ages, including various ancient suits of armour.
Because of the delicate nature of the items, the lighting was subdued, curtains drawn so photographs not good. Not enough time to take in all the 20,000 items on show and although no school parties there, it was still crowded.
My advice, don’t go in just as the doors open, leave it 15 minutes or so as hopefully the queue to get round will be less.
Before Snowshill a visit to Gift shop is an interesting diversion although you may need deep pockets for many of the items.
Say our goodbyes and drive almost due Eastwards to Bromham and an overnight with John & Dierdre to catch up and finalise some Australia organisation.
Also managed to catch up with daughter Jill and granddaughter, Lizzie.
Head south down A1 towards Woodford Green and a meet up with our third set of friends in 24 hours, Pete and Lorraine. Although Lorraine is an excellent cook, better be careful here is Sally is an excellent cook as well, we dine out at a local Italian restaurant, Pizeria Bel Sit. Pete and Lorraine’s son Tyran recently married in Cyprus so the many photos they had were interesting as that is one country we have not yet been to.
All too soon, we head off for an overnight in Holiday Inn Express at North Woolwich somewhat exhausted.
Park up at the O2 car park for the day and try the skyline cable car over the Thames.
Not overly crowded and we manage a gondola to ourselves although the going rate for exclusive use in crowded times is £88.00.
Some Jetlev-Flyers on the water and lovely views over the O2, Thames barrier, Olympic village and greater East London before dropping down and then walking to the DLR for a ride into Tower Gateway.
A fantastic show of all the poppies at the Tower of London installed as an art installation.
Some have questioned whether this is correct to commercialised the sale of the poppies but personally, they are both an appropriate method to commemorate those who gave their lives in what we now know as the 1st World War which started 100 years ago this year.
Loads of people viewing the art installation of the poppies at the Tower of London created for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1st World War.
Sit by the Thames and contemplate the crowds of people milling around, both British and of course all nationalities. Interspersed are the faithful lunchtime runners and joggers from the nearby offices as well as a few in wheelchairs trying to negotiate both the cobbles and the crowds.
Return on DLR to Canary Wharf for a late lunch / early dinner at Pizza Express which by now is not so crowded, most office workers filtering back to their mundane desk jobs. A book purchase later and the tube back to the O2 for a long wait pre a Caro Emerald concert.
Seats at the back were a good choice although a bit draughty and only a few trying to get past us. The support act, Kris Berry, was good but of course everyone wanted to see Caro Emerald in her first O2 concert. She was obviously excited about it as were we and she treated us to many of her songs in a show that personally I thought was better than the one we saw in Oxford 13 months ago.
We were even photographed, along with possibly 8000 other people by Caro with the picture being immediately put on Facebook. Can’t tag myself on it but we are towards the back on the right hand side. My only regret was not bringing with me a CD of hers to listen to on the drive away from the O2.
The Highways Agency on the roadworks website had shown the slip roads from the M25 to the M23 as being closed overnight so we thought that a long diversion via Dorking was in store; however, the website was totally inaccurate and we sailed down to Gatwick for our overnight at the Premier Inn, North Terminal. Meet and Greet worked well and we stopped outside the hotel, so not many steps to take to reach the hotel for a good night’s sleep.
Off to Morocco tomorrow.