Sometimes everything has to be enscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you. Sometimes it takes a great sky to find that small, bright, and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart. David Whyte

Memoir of Two Innocents Aboad: Part Three

on September 6, 2014

Leaving the countryside with its small villages, castles, cathedrals and gardens we started out early to head toward London. But not so fast. We made a stop to see William Churchill’s home Blenheim Castle, which is a beautiful estate. It wasn’t open yet so we couldn’t go in. We bought a booklet instead. Next we drove through Oxford but didn’t stop. The university buildings are old but the town of Oxford is up-to-date and thriving. We preferred the sleepy villages. Finally we reached London – nothing sleepy about London.

We found a beautiful new hotel that was in a perfect location for walking to many places we wanted to see. We decided new isn’t so bad after all. It was expensive so we planned to stay only two nights. After we checked in, even though it had started to rain, we started out on foot over to Trafalgar Square where there are pigeons and Lord Nelson’s statue. Then we walked by Number 10 Downing Street and Whitehall. We continued on to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, which was closed, so on we walked to Buckingham Palace. By then the sun was out and our feet were tired. We sat down on the wall of a fountain across the street from the palace and rested for a while. Then we walked past Princess Margaret’s house and happened to see the changing of her guard. Then on to see Piccadilly Circus followed by a walk down Bond Street. That night we walked to Soho to eat supper and see the night life. It was full of tourists. We were not impressed.

Next day we treated ourselves to a bus ride to the British Museum to see the Elgin Marbles and the Rosetta Stone. It happened that the jewels from King Tut’s tomb were there. The line to see the special exhibit wound around the block so instead we watched a film on how the tomb was discovered and about the life of King Tut, or what was known about his life. There were pictures of the jewels as well. After the film we stopped for lunch in a nearby restaurant and had kidney and mushroom pie – very English we thought. Then we walked towards Old Bailey and the Inns of Court. Old Bailey’s visitors section was full and we couldn’t get in. Afterwards we walked to St. Paul’s Cathedral but we didn’t go in there either. We took a bus back to Westminster Abbey and had a good look inside. I found this a very meaningful experience. I loved being there with all the poets and Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. And where the English Monarchs are crowned. Most of all I loved being there with the poets. Next we walked across the street and bought tickets for a boat tour on the Thames. We soon learned it was the last tour of the day and we were the only passengers. The tour was canceled so we decided to go back to our hotel to rest before dinner. We wanted to try out the night life again after our disappointing visit to Soho. We ate dinner in a better section for night life. however the night spots there were awfully expensive so we did not go in. Besides, the floor shows didn’t begin until 1 A.M.

In the morning we left London to stay near Ramsgate, a town on the English Channel from which our hovercraft would depart for France. In the town of Sandwich we booked a hotel room for the night that had a shared bathroom down the hall, our first such experience. It’s not so different from a college dorm. We set out in the afternoon to see Canterbury Cathedral. This cathedral had remains of an old wall around it which were interesting. It seemed so old and weathered. Canterbury Cathedral was the plainest we had seen, yet it is the home of the head of the Church of England. We saw where Beckett was murdered. Also on our afternoon drive we saw the White Cliffs of Dover and a wonderful old castle. Back at Sandwich we had a delicious meal of Dover sole and a lesson on how to use a fish knife. This was a fitting end to our week in England.

EDITORIAL REMARK: Earlier I talked about my husband’s frugal ways and how surprised I was that he suggested this trip. It is clear that he still clung to his frugality and that as a dutiful 50’s wife I followed right along. I am happy to report that I have learned to spend money and enjoy it in the forty years since this was written.

16 responses to “Memoir of Two Innocents Aboad: Part Three

  1. I’m glad you’ve overcame excessive frugality 🙂 There’s nothing wrong with being frugal in my opinion as long as it’s balanced by splurging-sprees 😉

  2. vivachange77 says:

    Actually I like being frugal. When it is necessary belt-tightening is quite satisfying and purposeful. You’re right, the secret is in the balance.

  3. I am enjoying your trip very much. The hovercraft would have been fun. I didn’t realise there were so many tourists then.

  4. carolyninjoy says:

    Reblogged this on Reviews & Recommendations and commented:
    This is a charming post. Hope you’ll enjoy it too.

  5. vivachange77 says:

    Thanks for reblogging my post. I’m grateful and touched.

  6. Silver Threading says:

    Wow! What a trip! Just fabulous! Glad you are sharing this ♡

  7. These are wonderful travel stories. How did I miss them before? Can’t wait to read more! I’m feeling my mother buzzing around-she wrote about travels with my father, England in particular.

  8. vivachange77 says:

    It is good to hear you are looking forward to more stories. So your mother and father spent time in England, too. I’ve been back about a half dozen times and always love it.

  9. My hubby is still frugal. But, since retire five years ago and after facing two life threatening illnesses, happiness, joy, peace means more. And, this sometimes means walking away from frugality. I am grateful for your gift of describing places and things I have never seen, and likely will not see in the future, Enjoying traveling you.

  10. vivachange77 says:

    I agree about letting go of the purse strings and feeling it is OK to spend on happiness and particularly on family. My second husband had no sense of money at all. He spent – and spent. I learned from him that I could spend some and there was still money in the pot. I’m not fearful of spending now, though I have no idea what old age costs and keep track of things wisely, I hope.

  11. Meredith says:

    Viv, I understand the limitations of a frugal husband.

    • vivachange77 says:

      One more connection! After I was divorced from my first husband I got married again to someone who was oblivious of how much money he spent. I learned to enjoy spending money – to a degree. Now that I’m divorced again I have struck a happy medium.

      • Meredith says:

        I’m divorced twice too! I thought when I was reading that it sounded like you were divorced twice. I think our connections are building.

  12. vivachange77 says:

    Yes! Our connections do build. Single life agrees with me. I haven’t had time and space to write until now.

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