England, Scotland & Wales # 5 of 5 September 2013
I love railroads & everything to do with them. This is Liverpool's train station.
Their high-speed trains look so cool.
We were having a tea in the hotel and I thought I'd do what the teens do--take a shot of what we're having. Not a shot others care about, but it does bring back the memory of it. Maybe the kids have something going here.
Let's all run out and grab a pair of these "toe shoes". Won't we be the talk of the town.
A king in Cardiff Castle loved animals so much that he decorated the walls around the castle with them.
Helping the needy.
Back to the 50's... a bathroom in a hotel in the Scottish Highlands.
Good idea, driver.
A colorful place to have a coffee. Maybe too colorful? The chairs don't look comfy.
Bikes are popular for ads. I think this guy needs a bite to eat before he goes any further.
Before we left home we thought we'd be on major highways all the time and wouldn't get to see any quiet country backroads. Luckily we were wrong. We were on lots of them. They're like something out of a poem.
Out the back window of the bus... no way anyone can pass us. They had to be patient and follow along. We met a few coming at us. They kindly backed up (sometimes a quarter mile or so) and let us pass.
A picturesque church in the hills...
A mix of fast & slow in the village.
Sheep were everywhere, including this parking lot. They're strutting along like they own the place.
An inviting door that makes me want to open it to see what's inside.
No barb-wire fences here either. The road runs between high hedgerows.
The patterns can get quite intricate.
At Glastonbury Abbey--more ruins, but it's King Arthur country. School's out.
How smart is this. Two for the ladies, one for the men. And we all know why that is. Just think ladies, when the hordes of tourists arrive, the line would only be half as long.
Also at the Abbey
The baths at Bath
Time for a sit-down while I take a couple more shots.
I'm always interested in the price of gas in other countries. At £1.369/litre it works out to $10.50 CDN per UK/Cdn gallon. Our price is now $1.19/litre or $5.40 per gallon, so they're paying about twice what we are. I based this on the exchange rate we paid-- $1.69 for a £. It's no surprise that you see very few large cars over there. The American gallon is 80% of ours, so with that and the exchange rate, they come out a bit better with the math--well, sort of.
When I rented a car in Portugal in 2001, I paid about $5 CDN per gallon. I was paying about half that at home. When will we hit $10/gallon? I expect we'll be seeing more small cars on our roads in the years ahead.
Brighten your ride.
One-stop shopping. Buy yourself a suitcase, pack it with a bunch of tacky souvenirs, and you're good to go.
Another inviting door. Don't you just want open the door and see what the yard looks like?
Over the years, in movies and books, I'd read of heather & gorse "over 'ome". Always wondered what they looked like. Saw heather earlier, now some gorse. They both look gorgeous when they cover a hill.
Don't remind me.
We had wonderful weather, as we were often reminded, but we did get a fair number of overcast skies, which lead to what photographers call "bald skies" in photos. With Photoshop, you just put a new sky in the shot, as I did with this one (see below).
We're back in Scotland here by the way. Keeping things in perfect order is too much bother.
And I can't be bothered with replacing skies for most trip shots either. It's not worth the effort to my way of thinking, even though it only takes a couple minutes. It does improve the shot though.
I can't resist a good sign.
Thought I'd throw in a bit of nature. I do love fungi. These were in Scotland too.
As was this plant/weed with its unusually colored violet seed pods.
This scene could be in Ontario, but the reason I took the shot is the variety of breeds in such a small herd. Probably a story there.
As opposed to an abattoir?
This was through a shop window from the street. We watched the craftsman work for a few minutes. I think he's had that radio for a while. Probably doesn't play MP3s.
I had to try this. It was on the counter where you paid your bill. I actually thought I could likely do it. I tried a few times. Should've known better. I would have donated a winner to the cause in any case. A good idea for charity.
With our germaphobic society, this is probably coming our way. Press the top button for soap, the middle one for water, and the bottom one for forced air. Only your finger-tip can pick up germs. A true germaphobic probably wouldn't even press the last button. They'd just air-dry their hands.
I think we all looked forward to seeing Stonehenge. It's on the Salisbury Plains. You can still get quite close to the stones (100 meters or less). This is a wide-angle shot so it looks like we were farther away than we actually were.
The stones weigh between 20 and 50 tons each. The most popular theories as to how they lifted the horizontal lintels involve sand or dirt ramps and logs.
The bird on one of the stones gives a rough idea of scale. We all have our preconceptions. They're not quite as large as I thought they'd be, but they were larger than Jane expected.
A bird again with a zoomed view.
The people in the background are about 100 meters the other side of the stones so the scale is exaggerated. It's another wide-angle shot.
I was very impressed, but standing next to the stones would have been much more awe-inspiring I'm sure. A 100 meters makes a big difference.
It did make me think of the 'unfinished obelisk' I saw in Egypt in 2003 in a quarry near Aswan:
Its estimated weight is just under 1200 tons. It developed a crack before it was completed so the Egyptians abandoned it. They had already prepared the bottom portion; it's resting on some granite stubs. Hand tools were found in the channel beside it.
How were they intending to lift it out of the quarry? I haven't been able to find any references to explain that. It's easy to understand why the "alien connection" theory is rampant for this type of mystery.
It's one thing to lift 20-50 ton rocks like those at Stonehenge, on relatively flat land, where ramps, logs and ropes might be used, but how in the world could the ancients possibly lift a 1200 ton piece of granite out of a rock bed? It truly boggles the mind.
An image of it from the web...
A shopkeeper checking "the look of things".
Our dollar stores passed the $1 mark with some of their stuff a while back. Time to update their sign too.
Another good name for a bar. It looks boring but apparently it gets pretty lively at times.
Note the "Family Hostile" quip. 'Dogs allowed in the bar' sounds accommodating.
Can you figure this one out? Hint: Birds
Outside a cathedral.
Love the flowers. Love the bike.
Now that's a basket.
Jane's English heritage led us to a pasty shop. Delicious.
Note: They're Păsties, not Pāsties :-)
At a pit stop along the highway. Did I already post this one?
Does their dog chew the mail? Solve the problem with a high mail slot and a basket inside?
The queen's bedroom on the yacht. What surprises most people are the simple furnishings on the yacht. The queen chose them herself. Word has it that she loved her time on the yacht. She probably enjoyed 'slumming it', away from all the gold and red carpets of the palace.
A spot to relax on the yacht.
When dignitaries are on board.
Back in London... low tide on the Thames.
How the other half lives. These condos have their own private lock off the Thames to moor their boats/yachts.
No grass to cut.
This bus is off to the World's End.
"Listen to the walls whisper". Jane is beside one of the 'hidden' speakers, listening to the royal gossip. The recording was in a whisper.
An interesting thing here was the windows. They are made with a type of 'prism glass' so when you look out them to the left or straight ahead, you can see the outside gardens in front of the palace where the public wanders about, but if you look to the right (where the royals could be strolling in their enclosed private area), the glass becomes completely 'fogged' so you can't see a thing.
'Had to' take this shot. We didn't get to see it but according to Wikipedia:
Canada Water is a freshwater lake and wildlife refuge in south-east London. The lake is named after the former Canada Dock, of which Canada Water is the surviving northern third, and which was mainly used by ships from Canada.
Somewhere along the way.
I love your country, Liz. Rule, Britannia!
Sculpture at the airport. Not something I'd choose, but to each his own.
I always check these screens on flights. We're in a metal tube, at this point over 11 km (almost 7 miles) above the ground, flying at 517 mph and it's 51° below outside. Are we sure we should be doing this?
As Jane walks off into the sunset (well, into the sun at least), I'll join her in spirit, and leave with her.
It was a great trip. Saw lots, did lots, ate some delicious English pastries and the best steak & kidney pie I've ever had. Had some haggis. Met some wonderful people, both tour-mates & locals. Our tour guide was exceptional. The weather was wonderful. What more could we ask for?
A takeaway from the trip:
I wish more shops & businesses on this side of the pond would put flowers outside their places of business. Brighten up our streets, lift our spirits.
- fini -