Saturday, 22 February 2014

Our Anniversary Break Away

 It's Thursday morning, and so far the week has been ok, and I have managed to get some work done. Today however, I am sat here at 9.10am, and looking out on rain yet again. The forecast is for it to brighten up a little in the middle of the day, before it gets nasty again. I'm trying to use some of the enforced home time to at least catch up on some paperwork, particularly the accounts. It's mind boggling going through six months of income and expenditure, and accounting for every penny with proof of some kind. But the taxman is as he is, and no doubt he would bring back corporal punishment if he could.
 I'm actually using some secateurs here and there when it's sunny, and one such task was removing all of the dead growth from these. Although I love the was Yuccas look in a garden, very architectural and formal, with striking towers of cream coloured flowers each year, they are a swine to work on. I'm just grateful for my glasses, which protect my eyes from the dagger like leaves that catch you unaware while delving in to work, but they always draw blood and cause pain elsewhere, when they find a piece of flesh.
I always remove some of the lower green growth first, so that damage to myself is minimised, and then work on the dead stuff, leaving things much tidier. There are four of these brutes here, one on each corner. Like everywhere else, the grass has suffered due to the constant wetness, but all will have to be attended to in the latter end of next month, by which time, hopefully, the rain will have stopped.

Anyway, the weekend was our wedding anniversary, and we headed to Winchester, about an hour away. Once the capital of England, with monarchs buried in the cathedral going back to King Egbert in 839, it's most famous ruler of the time was King Alfred, and the square has a great big bronze statue to remind us of this.
There is no doubt that this place is very old indeed, going back to when the kings of Wessex ruled the land from here. We had come mainly to see the cathedral and the Great Hall.

 It's always hard to whittle down the number of photographs to put on this blog, not only to make it less tiresome, but to also avoid being a free source of advertising for the various tourist boards, but reduce them I must, as there were just too many from the cathedral alone. It's beautiful here, and awesome.
The word nave is from the latin navis, meaning keel, and when one looks up into this, as with so many other churches, you can see why.
We spent a long time in here, and enjoyed a personal tour of the library, and the room containing the Winchester Bible, the largest and finest of all surviving 12th-century English bibles, beautifully written, and illuminated in gold leaf and lapiz lazuli.
We are also both Jane Austen fans, and hunted out her final resting place, so beautiful.
 We walked and walked and walked, and explored all of those parts not still flooded. One of the four main rivers in the area, the River Itchen, flows through the lower half of the city, and there were still vast areas of public parks, and private houses still under water. Everywhere at the end of these houses was a 'no go' zone.

The river breaks up into several parts, all flowing underneath the buildings, which as you can imagine has brought severe problems to those who live here. Even after two dryish days, the water was thundering through, and pumps were taking water from further up the river to try and alleviate the problem.
 A lot of shops and houses at this end were abandoned.
 And so, having found that this end of town was tricky, we headed back to the other side in search of the Great Hall. Apart from the Sally Ports, which are still visible going underneath the surrounding buildings, and in which one can explore a little as in the photo below, the Great Hall is the only surviving part of the original castle built in 1067.
 A beautiful building inside, very simple, with an incredible and huge pair of modern stainless steel gates at one end, which look like they have come straight from the land of Mordor. At the other end, the round table of Arthurian legend. Not the actual table mind you, as King Arthur is just that, a legend, but nonetheless, made in 1290 by the order of Edward I, and used for the marriage ceremony of one of his daughters.
After heading out and through Queen Eleanor's Garden, we walked yet more, and took in the military gardens nearby.....

 and turned this corner and that corner, checking out what hidden treasures were to be found, and one such treasure we came across through a small and insignificant ancient wooden doorway, tucked away to one side of a backstreet. St. Swithun-upon-Kingsgate, a lovely little church, still very much used, and situated

We had walked so much that I felt a little like this chap here, and so we headed to the local pub for a reviver before setting off for home.
All in all a lovely couple of days.

Bye for now 


  1. Hello Gary:
    This beautifully illustrated post takes us back to a time when we lived in Hampshire and made frequent forays into Winchester. The cathedral remains one of our all time favourites.
    The flooding looks to be terrible and we are so conscious from all that we read of the distress caused by so much bad weather to so many people.
    A belated Happy Anniversary.

    1. Hi Jane and Lance,
      It's been a long time. It was quite something to see even church entrances with sandbags piled high, but Winchester is a beautiful city nonetheless. How exciting to have lived there!

  2. Belated Happy Anniversary Gary and Amanda ~ I'm glad you had a couple of days away.

    The flooding looks terrible I hope it all subsides soon.

    Yucca plants are dangerous!

    Love and hugs to you both and have a great week, hopefully a drier one.


    1. Good morning Lorraine,
      Thanks for the kind wishes. Those Yuccas are evil things and always make me cry out in pain at some point.

  3. Gary,
    So while you are at it, could I get you to organize my tax information also (smiling/nodding head and holding a shoe box full of various pieces of paper out). You guys always go to the most extraordinary places and I am most grateful for your sharing them with us. And though it’s somewhat late, Happy Anniversary to you both. – gary

    1. Hi Gary,
      Please, please, no more paperwork. We do though enjoy making the most of the time that work hasn't got a grip on, and there is so much to see just in our immediate area, which we are forever thankful for.

  4. Happy anniversary!
    You've given a super photo tour of Winchester.
    The flooding is amazing. we've heard a few things about the terrible weather you've had.

    1. Hello Red,
      It's always hard to leave some things out, but one has to with so many things to see. Glad you enjoyed.

  5. Happy Anniversary!!!!
    What a fun adventure checking out all those churches and little streets ands shops. Sorry to see the water being such a problem.
    Same doing taxes here. We've gotten pretty good at filing through the year to make the process of gathering the information easier than it used to be.

  6. Hello Sherlock,
    Thanks. As for the accounts, I am hoping that from this April, that I shall do things daily and keep on top a little better.

  7. A grand look round Winchester. It's a very impressive place.

    1. You would never want to put your camera down Adrian.

  8. I totally relate to your comments on doing your taxes...we are doing that right now as well, or at least my husband is...always a big involved job that takes a lot of time and stresses hubby out. I loved your pictures of Winchester. I have never been to England although I have good English blood flowing in my veins through my ancestors. I want so much to go and see England some day! Thanks for this post and belated Happy Anniversary!

    1. Good afternoon Deb,
      No sooner am I immersed in the accounts, that now the months invoices have to be drawn up. Laptop has to go with me to the pub tonight, while I wait for Amanda can you believe? I hope you guys can make it ti England soon.