I'm going to do a short summary of the past few days as I know I've fallen behind. The days kept getting longer and longer as I tried to fill them from morning to night, leaving little time for recording.
On Saturday, I took the train to Windsor to see Windsor Castle. On the train, were a whole bunch of people and many of them exited at Twickenham -- all wearing rugby shirts. It turns out that there was a huge rugby tournament going on that day and, later, I heard yells coming from pubs as one team or another scored.
I broke down and went to McDonald's for lunch when I got to Windsor -- primarily because I didn't want to spend a lot of time eating. Getting a real diet Coke was so nice, but their idea of large over here is more like our medium size in America. Menu items are similar, but there are far fewer choices and, apparently, no one likes grilled chicken here -- only fried.
Windsor Castle was absolutely amazing -- by far my favorite of everything I've seen. It's enormous and beautiful and looks like you'd expect a castle to look. St. George's Chapel is the burial site of Henry VIII and the parents of the current Queen, and it is just the most beautiful cathedral! The State Apartments are also open to the public, and many of the paintings of past monarchs hang there.
On Sunday, I took the train again to Hampton Court. This one was built by Cardinal Wolesey during the reign of Henry VIII (he must have been a very rich cardinal), and eventually "gifted" it to Henry when he fell out of favor. Didn't do any good -- he was thrown into prison anyway. The grounds are astonishingly huge. I don't think I've ever seen such a large building that wasn't occupied as a government office. There were characters wandering about the grounds so, on occasion, the King would wander through the room you were in and it was important that you stop whatever you were doing and bow. It was a hoot. In this particular palace, the Great Hall was the most impressive room for me.
Because I'll be returning to the same B&B in London when I get back there on Sunday, I was able to leave a duffle bag full of stuff there (thankfully) so the luggage I'm carrying with me now is manageable. Of course, as I keep filling it with things that I'm buying, it will undoubtedly get heavier.
I left London yesterday for Bath. I'm joining a Pride & Prejudice tour that will be visiting the sites used in the filming of my favorite BBC adaptation of P&P. Turns out there will be 36 of us on this tour -- the largest group they've ever had. It is so much fun for me to be able to discuss not only P&P, but all of the Jane Austen books and films with others who share my enthusiasm. There are even 3 men in the group -- 2 who enjoy P&P, and 1 who came along on condition that he gets to attend a soccer game and stop in Monte Carlo on the way home. All very nice people.
In direct contrast to my modest accommodations last night in the converted coach house, I have a room at the Red Lion in Lacock this evening with a view down the very street where P&P was filmed. Additionally, some of the Harry Potter scenes were filmed down the street at the abbey. Tonight, we're having a large group dinner at a local home that was used in the filming of P&P. There are several members of the Jane Asten Society of North America here with us, and they've brought Regency dress that they'll be wearing this evening.
This tour was kind of expensive and I was a bit apprehensive about whether it would be worthwhile. So far, it has been absolutely fantastic and I'm thoroughly enjoying every second.