27.06.2014 - 06.07.2014
Just over a week ago we took to the road again and headed for Stratford on Avon (or Stratford upon Avon, depending on which side of the river you are on). We had originally booked accommodation in Shipston on Stour, a small town just south of Stratford. However, on arriving, we found our room was small, very hot, with a window that wasn't lockable, and opened to a fire escape. The bed wasn't too comfortable, and to top it all off there was a live band playing in the evenings that weekend, and we could hear it very clearly, even with the window shut. All in all, not a happy experience, so moved on after 1 night, and found a better place in Stratford itself. We enjoyed Stratford - did a bus tour, a river cruise, went to Tudor World, and enjoyed just wandering about.
From there southwards, via Bourton on the Water, where we spent some time at the Bird Park, before going on to Yate (near Bristol) to spend a few nights with an old college friend of Lesley's. Visited the SS Great Britain, a ship designed by Brunel, which was the first ship to be built using steel instead of wood. At one stage it was used to carry passengers to Australia, and it was interesting to see the conditions in which they travelled, especially steerage class - must have seemed a very long journey.
Have spent the last few days in St Austell in Cornwall. First stop was the Eden Project, an ecological trust whose aim was to convert an old clay quarry into a global garden featuring 2 biomes, one tropical, and one Mediterranean. We enjoyed seeing not only plants we have at home, but also some that we wouldn't otherwise see, such as some from Africa etc. Yesterday we drove to St Ives, a coastal town about an hour away from St Austell. The narrow streets reminded us somewhat of those in the Greek Islands - even a few whitewashed houses to complete the illusion. We decided we should have a genuine Cornish pasty for lunch, so sat on a seat on the esplanade enjoying the pasties and view of the beach and harbour. We found that we weren't the only ones with a view - very large herring gulls were also on the lookout for a free lunch, and one swooped from behind and helped itself to Graham's pasty! Graham bought himself another, but was very careful to keep that one out of reach of any marauding birds! However, we must admit to being quite entertained watching other people being stalked and harassed! Today we met an old school friend of Lesley's - another chance for a chinwag and catch up on the last 50 years, then headed to Fowey (pronounced Foy), a nearby coastal town which exports china clay.
Tomorrow we head off to Dorset. Must admit that although we're enjoying the chance to visit all these places, we are having a few 'are we there yet' moments.