Sunday, June 21, 2009


Oh dear, it's been over two months since I last posted! It's been a very busy time at school, with revision classes, exams, trying to organise new timetables, Sports' Day, visits from primary schools and a host of other things going on. In the evenings I have been trying to relax, spend time with H, watch some World Cinema using our projector, and generally trying to stay away from the computer.

However, I want to make a note of our excellent day out yesterday so I don't forget! Having enjoyed previous London Walks, we went on one of their Explorer Days for the first time. This meant getting up quite early in order to get to Waterloo for 9.45am. We arrived about half an hour early, and enjoyed watching all the women wandering around with big hats and fancy dresses, and men wearing top hat and tails, as they waited for their trains to Royal Ascot. Finally, we found the London Walk guides, and so began our big adventure.

The train takes about one and three quarter hours to reach Salisbury. When we arrived, we had a short walk along a beautiful stream in a green park. Myriads of ducks and sheep accompanied our meander along to a bridge from where Anthony Trollope was inspired to write the Chronicles of Barsetshire.

Our next stop was on the lawn - which we later discovered was a graveyard - in front of Salisbury Cathedral, an amazing building with the highest spire in the country. We learnt about the house for church widows, we saw Edward Heath's Arundels, and we learnt about the inspiration for Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure. Then we turned our attention to the cathedral.

It really is a beautiful building, and for me the piece de resistance is the beautiful font, which is full to overflowing, runs constantly, is sort of in the shape of a cross, and smoothly reflections the stained glass windows like a mirror. The window representing Prisoners of Conscience is also stunning, and the cloisters, open to a glowing green garden, were also uplifting.

We had a tasty lunch (I had tomato and basil soup with deliciously soft bread and butter), then met back with the tour group to take the coach to Stonehenge.

Richard, our guide, was excellent. He had a really good sense of suspense that left us wanting to know more. He also was a great revealer of obscure facts. As we travelled along the slightly twisting country roads, Richard pointed out both the thatched cottages and the Jacobean country home of Sting and Trudie Styler, where Madonna met Guy Ritchie, and where they had their honeymoon. A beautiful part of the country. Lucky them!

Finally, Stonehenge appeared before us on the horizon. I have to confess that, as we got closer, I whispered to H, "It's smaller than I imagined!" However, that did not diminish the excitement of seeing such an important and well known historical landmark. As Richard guided us round the circumference of the henge, we danced around, taking photos, jumping up and down and revelling in our surroundings. The huge grey stones make a great backdrop, but we were also interested in the long burial barrows, and the different type of burial they represent.

On our way back to the bus, we stopped off to buy a book and a mug, and discovered the rest of the party waiting for us by the coach. However, we still had about twenty minutes back in Salisbury to wander around the shops, before we arrived back at the station to take the London train home at 4.45pm.

When we arrived home, about 7pm or so, we were tired and very happy, with over 200 photos. We had had a lovely day, and once again, resolved that we should do more things like that more often. A very lovely day.