ENGLAND and WALES

SEPTEMBER 1981

 

 

September11-12

 

Walked Hyde Park -- along long water.Lunch at Serpentine Buffet.Very gray.Overly welcoming pigeons (sit on the table.) Along Ring to Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall.Say "hi" to the kids waiting in line for the last of the "Prom Concerts" tonight -- shades of me in NY.Walk down Exhibition Road then over towards Knightsbridge.One wedding couple in horse drawn carriage -- groom gave me an embarrassed smile when I grabbed for my camera.I only got the rear view.Then tube to Leicester Sq.; none of the shows appealed (exhaustion?) so I walked to Covent Garden.Thought I might go to Sadlers Wells performance so tubed there, but the neighborhood seemed iffy and I knew I couldn't last an evening so back to Marble Arch.No picture even; it doesn't count without a performance.

 

Walked back through the park - - now sunshine.Usual pickup tries -- could be Central Park.("1'm Peter what's your name? Shall we have coffee?" Atleast he was a cut above bagman.)Moped in my closet at the Talbot Court, then found San Marino for dinner.I was exiled to a pleasant but hidden back room where eventually I was joined by a South African sailor (Abe Lincoln type) and two Texan couples.All quite jolly actually.I had a fine time and didn't feel conspicuous.I'm glad I'm here.Back at the closet, I sat and listened to the Prom concert on the radio so didnít miss it after all.

 

 

September13

 

I hiked my little tootsies off today.First tubed to Charing Cross, walked to Mall in time to seehorse guards go by -- ugly uniform, don't know what regiment.On down to Buckingham Pal.†† Passed wedding present line: 4 hours before opening.Along Birdcage Walk to Westminster.Abbey closed for special service.Whitehall (nice horsies) to Trafalgar, pigeons and all.Looked in at St. Martin in the Fields which I liked, then lunch.Pall Mall, Regent St. and Piccadilly, through Pic Square past Ritz.Along Green Park, then Knightsbridge along Hyde Park to Albert Hall and ticket buying for Tchaikovsky tonight.Then through park to hotel and put my feet up.

 

Change, back through park, snack at Serpentine Buffet, then Albert Hall.(Plus a 20-block reconnaissance-of tube stops.)Concert was fun -- orchestra not great but Nutcracker, Piano Concerto, Marche Slave, Capriccio Italien, and 1812 not bad.I had 4th row side seat next to orchestra.†† (French horn player tried a few furtive pickup signals.)For 2nd half, Irish Guards band joined in for volume.Cannon fired from top balcony.(I prefer fireworks).I love the hall though.Enormous, round, warm red.Really fun.Who knows about the sound.Standees roam the cloudslike Harvard Stadium.Tube home and sleep.Still not in the traveling alone rhythm.

 

 

September14

 

Traveling day mostly.Met a pleasant guy over breakfast who lives in Laguna Beach but was Harvard, visits NY often.We chatted a long time before I headed off.Airbus to Heathrow, picked up car -- yellow Fiesta this time -- and whizzed off happily.Not one stall.(Very forgiving clutch.)Comfortable drive to and through North Cotswolds.Hoped for Heritage Circle house in Stow, but bombed out.Went on to Moreton and with some agonizing found B&B with Mr. and Mrs. Newbury.Lovely folks. Not very talky, but super pleasant and it feels like heaven, more Amer-like home than most I'll bet: wall to wall, BIG living room, nice twin bedded bedroom AND hot water bottle for bed.Grand.Chinese dinner in Moreton.(Tea was in Stow.) All and all comfortable.Much happier out of London.

 

 

September15

 

Left Moreton and drove through Bourton on the Water.I love the warm stone and the "toy" lookto it all.Down side: all tourist.I'd hate to be there in mid-summer.Then on to Gloucester for cathedral.Lunch in "refectory."Passed by Bibury and thought of CZK and Chuck.Drove off then to Tintern.Going through valley got buzzed by air force jet.It was straight out of Star Wars.Great roar -- I was paralyzed and sure it was SOMETHING about to flatten me.Then thesound went over and I saw the plane going on VERY low and speedy.Then it did some turns anddisappeared.It could have flipped for all I know.It scared the wits out of me.

 

Tintern was neat, but not staggering -- nowhere near as moving as Glastonbury.Still I liked the feel and decided to splurge with a real hotel (need to wash the hair) directly opposite the abbey.Walked up to a ruined chapel on the hill then crashed until dinner in the hotel.

 

 

September 16

 

To Chepstow.Checked out castle view.Met old geezer Reginald who made the obligatory pass.To Caerphilly -- neat castle.DJ would love it.Then along the M4 to Tenby.Finally Tourist Info sent me to one Kinlock Inn on cliff overlooking beach.Lovely place.Usual single room, but very pleasant fitting.Dinner included.Definitely higher class -- tables matched, etc.After met up with three young couples in the bar and chatted it up until 11:30.So much for an early night.Crummy weather by teatime.Nowrainy,FOGGY, and blasts of wind.Hope tomorrow looks better.Should do less driving more looking.

 

 

September17

 

Left Tenby hoping to see St. Govan's Chapel, but artillery practice had the area closed.Ergo on to St.David's which was grand.The cathedral is down right cozy.St. David patron of Wales, relics and all.The Bishop's Palace ruins are pretty extensive too.After a tea garden lunch on upcoast via A487 (Through Fishguard).Scenery got progressively more attractive -- coastal green, mountainous, sheep EVERYWHERE.Went as far as Dolgellan (don't ask) where found hotel --Golden Lion -- with B&B + dinner for 16.75 pounds.Not bad.I'm calling it early tonight.I'mtired but more upbeat.

 

 

September18

 

Note: Fiesta gets 44mpg.That's Imperial gallons.Took scenic route to Harlech (looked for Precipice Walk and got so lost I went on to the castle instead.)Nice castle.Then lunch at a tearoom and back towards Dogellan via coast.This time found Precipice Walk (via 4 miles of Fiesta-wide track) and it may be the best thing yet.Path was quite easy (little hard climbing) yet managed to wind around mountaintop with views of Llanfarrech village, Barmouth estuary, and Llyn-something, the localreservoir.Path was narrow and rocky, hanging on steep, heather/slate mountainside.Saw more of air force fighter jets going through valleys BELOW me while on mountain.Fabulous country.Fabulous views.Sheep everywhere, but kept their distance.Felt alone and relaxed.Back to hotel for dinner .

 

 

September19

 

Off this morning for Caernarfon via Dinas Emrys.Never figured out which was the proper hilltop, but did get spectacular views of Lln Gwannant and hills.Then through Llanberis pass which was awesome.Ever better to drive with 3-foot stonewalls between car and infinity.†† Liked castle at Caernarfon even though only the walls are left.After lunch on to Conwy.Rain started and castle did nothing for me.On to Ruthen where I had hell of a time calling Pentre Coch Manor -- phone was out.Locals couldn't give reliable directions.Took an hour but found it at last.(It's buried, but good.)Weather is now simple filthy.Rain, wind, ugh.This place may be my Bibury though.I have light, twin-bedded room with leaded windows set in the deep walls.(Looks out on rain-drowned garden.) Couple running it seem delightful: Peter and Fiona Howell Williams.Will see more after dinner, etc.Part of house dates from 1568.

 

 

September 20

 

Peter and Fiona did turn out to be delightful.I joined them for sherry before dinner then ate insolitary splendor in the paneled dining room -- lamb, FRESH peas, zucchini, squash, andpotatoes.After we met again for coffee (Ugh).Then to bed.Weather still FlLTHY.††† am showed sun (obviously an error.)Headed off to Chester which was both lovely town andcathedral.The "rows" are neat -- arcades one flight up from the street.Drove on to Hereford getting pub lunch (trauma survived) on the way.Checked into a real hotel(Green Dragon) for use of phones then hit evensong at the Cathedral.Will go back to tour in am.Note: on trip to Chester, before Mold, just outside Loggerheads (really!) passed Carreg CainMarch Arthur - stone bearing imprint of Arthur's horseshoe when he landed after jumping fromMoel Fammar over River Alyn.So goes the legend.†† Had room service sandwich for dinner while watching The Sting and pining for Redford.So niceto be in foreign -country .

 

 

September 21

 

Did Hereford Cathedral nicely this am then drove on down to Gloucester.Called Sue and went to their home right around lunchtime.I don't think the two of us have a whole lot to talk about, but it was very pleasant and I hit it off with the kids Johanna and Louise right away.Martyn too is a dear so the whole stay has been grand.I was tucked into Louise's bed while the girls shared the bunk bed in Jo's room.Couldn't be made more welcome.

 

 

September 22

 

Cozy day.Hung around until the kids were off to school, then took myself off to Cheltenham (so-so) and Sudeley Castle (great) Katherine Parr lived here and is buried here.††† After tea took Sue, Louise, and Johanna on a toot to Painswick and then an abbey where themonks do a lot of pottery work.Back to the house for dinner and evening by the telly and music.†† Feel more comfortable now.

 

 

September 23

 

Safe drive back to Heathrow via Marlow.Had lunch at Burgers which lives up to the review given me by Sue and Martyn.Shared a table with a lovely chatty lady.†† Then into London to meet and Eileen and train back to Mitcham for a feast attended by Audrey , Eileen, the parents and me.Tomorrow is their 59th wedding anniversary.

 

 

September 24

 

Slept in this am then tubed to London and hit Harrods.Then stroll round Covent Garden, St.Paul's church, and shops.Tea at Richoux then met Eileen and trained back for dinner out at Italian restaurant for anniversary celebration.

 
     
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