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My Trip to England

Author: King Ables
Date of Trip: September 2001

In the evening, I went to see The Comedy Of Errors put on by the Royal Shakespeare Company. During intermission (known there as "the interval"), I stood on a balcony just out of reach of a light rain, sipping a glass of wine and chatting with a a charming English lass. If her boyfriend hadn't eventually come around, I'd probably still be there! I walked back to the hotel after the performance in a light rain along the River Avon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2000
Today I saw a performance of my favorite Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet by the RSC. They also had a special gathering after the performance where the actors talked to audience members and answered questions, it was very interesting to learn how they decide on the set and the little "extras" they've added to the play.

Wednesday, September 27, 2000
The tour of Stratford-Upon-Avon was coming to an end, but on our way to London (where many people were departing but I was moving on to another phase of my trip), we stopped off and toured Windsor Castle. A few of us were touring London and wandered around the area around our hotel (the Grosvenor House-- very nice!) and had dinner at the Aubrey pub in London. Sean Connery was rumored to have been in the hotel bar 30 minutes before I went down to have a beer, but of course I missed him.

Thursday, September 28, 2000
Today we toured Buckingham Palace, to complete our list of all the Royal family residences! Wandering around London a bit I ran across "The Texas Embassy" (a restaurant). I also had a chance to sit in Berkeley Square and watch the world go by for a while. That evening, a few of us saw Mousetrap at the St. Martin's Theater. This is the longest running show in London, it's been going for 48 years.

Friday, September 29, 2000
Today I toured the Cabinet War rooms where Churchill ran WWII. It was a fascinating look into what really happened. Also saw the changing of the guard at St. James Palace.

Saturday, September 30, 2000
Got up early and went for a run through Hyde Park & Kennsington Gardens. At one point I looked up and found I was right outside the Royal Albert Hall! Later that day I caught a train to Basingstoke to meet up with my friend Chris (the birthday boy) and his wife Gill. As I got to Basingstoke early, I spent a couple of hours in the Queen's Arms pub hanging with the locals, watching rugby on TV, and having lunch and a couple of beers.

Wednesday, October 4, 2000
I took a few days off and did absolutely nothing but laundry and visiting with Chris and Gill. It was great to have time to just relax after having been going and going and going for 10 days. This evening we drove down to South Hampton to see the movie Space Cowboys. Movies in the UK are interesting, they have reserved seating! And I bought popcorn, but not reading the labels closely, I wound up getting sugared popcorn, what a concept.

Friday, October 6, 2000
Today I jumped on a train to go up to Cambridge to visit some other friends. Rick used to work at Schlumberger in Austin when I was doing some contracting there and we've stayed in touch. I went up to visit him and his family. He and his wife Joan picked me up at the train station and Joan showed me the village of Impington, where they live. That night Rick took me to the Red Lion pub and we hung out with some of his friends. Cambridge is supposedly where Sir Isaac Newton had his inspiration about gravity from an apple, there are apple trees everywhere.

Saturday, October 7, 2000
Rick and I went to the American Cemetery in Cambridge, 30 acres of land donated by the University of Cambridge. It's the only American Cemetery in the British Isles and is mostly fallen soldiers from WWII. As with most such cemeteries, it was very moving.

Sunday, October 8, 2000
Returned to Basingstoke by train through London.

Tuesday, October 10, 2000
Saw Blood Brothers in London.

Wednesday, October 11, 2000
Today we went from Chris' house to Stonehenge, about 25 miles! He said he drives by it all the time, but it's just another place on the highway. He had never even been since he lived where he lives! Another ring of stones in the area is the Avebury ring. This one is much larger but not as stark. There's even a pub (where we had lunch) in the middle of the circle. We spent the afternoon shopping in the town of Marlbourgh.

Thursday, October 12, 2000
Today was Chris' day. We went to one of his favorite places, the Hawk Conservancy. We learned how to hold and fly Harris Hawks, saw Perigrine Falcons, and even a Bald Eagle! This picture is Chris holding a barn owl, one of his favorites.

Friday, October 13, 2000
Today Kathy and Bill and I went to London by train to tour around. We wound up spending pretty much the whole day at the Tower of London. The last time I was here we only went by, we didn't get to go in. We took the tour, and wandered around and saw the whole place.

Saturday, October 14, 2000
The reason for the trip is Chris' 50th birthday party and today is the day. We spent the day setting up and the evening enjoying the party at Woolding's Vineyard & Winery in Whitchurch, the town Chris and Gill live near. It was fun to see some people that we saw at his 40th party!

Sunday, October 15, 2000
Today was recovery and a little bit of clean up from yesterday.

Monday, October 16, 2000
Back to London to tour around, we first took a tour of the rebuilt Globe Theater. This completed my total emersion in all things Shakespeare! As with my trip 10 years ago, Bill and I climbed the stairs to the top of St Paul's Cathedral (only one day off from when I did it 10 years ago!). Then we took a riverboat ride up the Thames and caught the tube out to Ruislip to visit another friend who is lucky enough to live in the London area!

Tuesday, October 17, 2000
My final full day of my UK trip we all drove out to Bath (past Stonehenge!). We saw the Bath Abbey and wandered around the town. The Romans really knew what was important, they built an entire city around what is basically a big hot tub!

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