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S: Summer 2011

1: July 7th | T | The official first day of The British Trip. The drive through to Boulderwood was magnificent. However, it was the kind of scene that could not be captured on film. Remember to hold the image of those glorious trees in your long term memory. The deer here are mostly Sitka, although they are not native to the area, the Red and Roe deer are indigenous to Britain but the Sitkas are so pretty. The behaviour of the deer is quite interesting. The stags group together, as do the does and fawns also. When the agister came with the food pellets, it is the stags that first brave the area and once it is deemed safe the does and fawns follow. It doesn't appear to be that the stags eat first because their does and fawns don't give them enough time to eat it all. One could assume it is a safety measure or just male dominance.

2: A day to reconnoitre the Dorset coast. Finishing with Lulworth Cove which is always worth the visit.

3: July 11th The drive to London was uneventful but joyful in watching the English countryside pass. As we came out of the ticket office buying our bus passes, we were greeted by the Horse Guard. Very fitting. It made our entrance to London seem as if we were being especially greeted. | LONDON

4: Victoria Station at its best. A great hub of London. | Is that a regal wave from Victoria!

5: We had to take the underground to get to West Ham, and we obeyed the rules. | The 2012 official Olympics logo.

6: This is the biggest hole in England!!

7: This is the East End of London. The area of East and West Ham, now called Newham. The boundaries of London were extended and many factories had to be relocated leaving a large wasteland. Thus it was easy for London to use this empty space to create the Olympic site. They washed all the contaminated earth before starting the build - for health reasons. Their goal is | to go green rather than try to better China. | Wenlock/Manderville are the official mascots. These are named after two men. Wenlock inspired a Frenchman, after seeing him organize mini races based on Olympic history, and Manderville ran contests for the physical challenged which has grown into the modern Para-Olympics.

8: Hangman's square. Many famous historical figures were hanged. Sir Thomas More being the most famous. This was part of Trinity Gardens, a war memorial to the 24,000 sailors lost at sea in WWII and also the memory of our first Wetherspoons of the trip.

9: The Lord Mayor London's offices amongst other modern office buildings, juxaposed with the battlements of the Tower of London.

10: The closing of the keys ceremony. It was fun and totally impractical. The Yeomen had to take it so seriously that it was hard not to laugh. However, they did give a lot of information about the tower. The lion sculpture is made of chicken wire and was very impressive.

11: Standing astride the prime meridian. | An artsy shot of London roofs. | At Greenwich.

12: Shots of the Greenwich ball which standardizes time. This is the site of the equestrian venue of the 2012 Olympics and so the tents are temporary.

13: Shots of the inside of the Greenwich Old Sailors establishment. Very upscale but the old sailors actually never got out of the basement when it came to eating.

14: River views from Bermondsey. Bermondsey was known for its 5 P's - piracy, pillaging, pastures, painting and picknicking. Lovely river walk created for silver Jubilee. | Rotherhithe, next door to Bermondsey is famous for its story of the Mayflower, whose captain came from Rotherhithe.

15: The Brunel tunnel Marc Brunel was the originator of the underground tunnel. At the time there was so many boats on the Thames that it was often impossible to get across. So he decided to go under. It is still used by trains, although originally used by horses. He was the father of Isambard Kingdom Brunel who became a noted engineer and naval architect.

16: Camden Market A totally unexpected surprise. The venue was once a large stable yard and the market is filled with bronze sculptures of horses. These sculptures were magnificent and around every corner was another fantastic piece of art.

17: As I said, around every corner was another piece that one wanted to capture.

18: The South Bank Graffiti at its best. It was really funky and made one smile to see. | A dance team making use of public space and creating entertainment at the same time.

19: The South Bank Festival. Celebrating the Festival of Britain which was in 1951, Crystal Palace etc. Here they replicated the south coast beaches. Many beach huts with decorated interiors such as the picture above. | Wish you were here.

20: Other activities that were taking place along the south bank.

21: A trip on the London Eye was a worth while endeavour.

22: St. Pancras was worth the visit. After having stood empty for years it is now a resplendent hotel. It is thanks to St. Pancras station now being the Eurostar depot that this lovely building has been brought back to it former glory. I don't know if our outfits were quite fitting for the grand staircase.

23: Londoners having an after office drink. | Covent Garden buskers. | Some position their subjects better than others.

24: At the National Gallery - a living piece of art work. Superb.

25: The Olympic count down at Trafalgar Square. | St. James Park. A place for relaxationin the heart of London.

26: A St. James' Park pelican | Who are you gonna call? | We cannot forget our trip to Westminster Abbey for evensong. The close, Dean's Yard, - where Westminster School is situated - which is right behind the abbey is a gem and should be revisited. So who managed to stay awake throughout the evensong service? We managed to get a feel for the abbey and its beauty.

27: The roof top gardens lived up to expectations. The flamingos, the flowers, the views - all were exceptional. A lovely finale to London.

28: In England it is necessary to count the chimney pots!

29: A meal to remember. Who could forget the pea soup! Well, the coffee was also a point of order. The elegance necessitated a skirt - a memory in itself. Another element of fascination was the aquarium that separated the male and female washrooms. Both sides enjoyed the fish swimming at leisure much like ourselves over a two hour plus lunch.

30: Next stop - Essex to visit Sam and Steve. A rainy weekend but a pleasant visit to Southend to see Cuba honeymoon couple and then to Leigh on Sea. On Sunday we ended up in St. Lawrence Bay and here we are libating.

31: A birthday celebration. Went to Maldon which had a lovely harbour on the Blackwater. Tony had found a lovely Italian restaurant at half price, what more could we ask. Well - great company and we got it.

32: Cambridge and its joys. The river, the punting, it colleges and its Wetherspoons.

33: The Bridge of Sighs at Cambridge because they have to cross it take exams.

34: Beautiful old college buildings juxtaposed to a 1950's nightmare which is now a listed building.

35: Some architectural elements of Cambridge | Whose bicycle is whose? How many bicycles can one city hold!

36: Still healing the sick in 2011. | Lopsided Ely Cathedral but still beautiful.

37: A great entrance and a magnificent ceiling. The whole cathedral was awe inspiring. So what was our guide's previous occupation?

38: Trying to win a halo by behaving in church? | Some more gems of Ely.

39: Even more gems of the town of Ely.

40: It was an inclement day for our trip to Darlington but it really didn't deter us at all. We drove through many areas and visited the Bowes Lyon museum. It has never been lived in just a depository for antiques. We finished at Barnard Castle that wasn't a castle just a town. | Just an inclusion of some Yorkshire poppies.

41: A lovely Yorkshire town - Thirsk, where the Slingers come from and so does Jim Wright aka James Herriot of All Creatures Great and Small. St. Mary's Church where the vicar had just returned from Cambridge, ON. Visited Jim Wright's surgery which is now a museum.

42: The great city of York. The cathedral was magnificent especially these little statues of the all the kings of England before York was built. The whole city was a joy to experience. Even the tourist centre's architecture was wonderful. - to the right. | YORK

43: How does this building continue to survive?

44: One old gate and city wall still exist. The wall is still walkable. The little church that put out tables and chairs especially for us to eat our lunch on and make York a special memory.

45: The church door especially for the Devil to leave by. Below a bus stop within the city. | The Shambles

46: RIPON A wonderful town not on the major tourist path and yet was a joy. The cathedral had the most fabulous needlepoint cushions done as a millennium project and accomplished by people of the town. Also the Wetherspoons was just there when we needed it.

47: Fountains Abbey. Quite the achievement for its time. Now ruins thanks to Henry VIII.

48: Having a little fun at Fountains Abbey. So, who said the public phone booth is dead? | The great Durham Cathedral. Again, a very pleasant surprise. Majestic and well worth the visit. The cloisters were really lovely.

49: Yorkshire's living museum at Beamish. Remember the fish and chips and how long they took? It certainly was a step back in history.

51: More fun at Beamish.

52: Bempton. It was a sunny morning when we left. But boy was it bracing on the coast and I mean bracing. | The elusive Puffin that we just missed.

53: Whitby - a popular seaside town of Yorkshire. And was it popular!! We got on the boat to avoid the people. Below our Yorkshire hosts - Hilary and Tommy with their very expensive fish and their lovely garden.

54: The castle is still inhabited. A lovely wild, windy and salty island. Lovely lunch in the village square opposite this house with a tremendous garden. | Holy Island.

55: The castle's walled garden was a delight. Well worth the walk. It was magical to sit amongst the colours and look up at the castle and out to sea.

56: EDINBURGH | Just the greatest city in the sunshine. So many wonderful architectural and historic features. One week is not enough to see all the facets of this fabulous city.

57: The closes give on to fantastic views of the city. The Gladstone's Land was an interesting stop on our tour.

58: The Canongate Kirk where Zara and Mike were married while we were there. | The hidden gems of the closes. The close where we found a picnic table to have lunch with one of the locals. The close next to Canongate Kirk which is a wonderful garden. Peace itself.

59: More elements of The Royal Mile including St. Giles Cathedral. | An oasis within the city proper, Sir Walter Scott Memorial Park.

60: The new Scottish Parliament buildings. Old and new have been blended rather well and given the Scots a very unique building. | The new living museum with the hills that surround Edinburgh, which add to the beauty of the city.

61: The Trossachs. | Quintessential Scotland and glorious. Loch Lomond and its village of Luss known for its unique stone cottages. Our lunch was watching the city escapees noisily enjoying the beautiful summer day.

63: Charles Rene Mackintosh. Scotland's answer to Frank Lloyd Wright and just as interesting. The interior was magnificent. Too bad we couldn't take photographs.

64: Our one rainy day which really was a disaster. The lunch at the Cramond pub was awful - a bowl of flavoured water with an excuse for bread on the side. The Edinburgh museum didn't open again until the next day, so we gave up. | Next day Perth - fantastic Charity shops, and then on to Dundee for lunch where we ate lunch at the Hilton. Nothing but the best. | The quintessential fisherman in a quintessential Scottish river.

65: St. Andrews Could it get more Scottish than this? The plus fours just made it. The famous bridge and the sand dunes were a worthwhile experience.

66: Who knew that St. Andrews had such a phenomenal beach? The ruins were an interest too, in fact all the architecture was, especially the university. | Just your average Scottish door man of an average hotel.

67: Some even joined in with the local Scottish dancing classes. The university were William and Kate met. It definitely had an element of grandeur. Oh to be rich and young!

68: Glasgow | A full Scottish breakfast with Sir Walter Scott in the old bank. Some beautiful old architecture around Glasgow but there just wasn't enough of it.

69: Memories of Glasgow. The university and George Square. | Warm enough for sun bathing.

70: A very sheepish ending. | The view from the restaurant where we had our final meal out in Edinburgh. A great ending to a great trip.

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