Sunday, August 4, 2013

England swings like a pendulum do...

I've always wondered about that lyric - with the use of the word "do" followed by the line "bobbies on bicycles two by two". If an Aussie wrote it it would probably be:

"England swings like a pendulum does, bobbies on bicycles - here come the fuzz"

Anyway, we stayed in an apartment/flat in a part of London called 'Little Venice' in Paddington. It was a great spot - very picturesque, quiet, near a number of restaurants and pubs, and near a couple of tube stations. Robert Browning lived there at one stage and is responsible for its name.

There were many barges on the canals - one of them a cafe berthed just outside our apartment where we had breakfast on two mornings. One other was named "Milton" so of course we took a photo. And another we took on a trip down the canal to the Camden markets.

As so many before us, we thought that the London Underground system was fantastic. And here's something that I didn't know (and that many of you already did): the London Underground was first opened in 1863!! And we have our current state government's greatest plan being yet another road link!

While the underground was great, it certainly wasn't matched by the tea and coffee. A number of good cafes have emerged over the last few years and they are mostly run by Aussies - but they are not easy to find in a big city. Judith, as a tea drinker, was expecting more from what she thought was the mother-country of proper tea.

We spent five days in London and managed to see a number of the most notable sights. These included Westminster Abbey, the houses of parliament (from the outside), the Tate Modern, the Wallace Collection, the Camden Markets, St Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace (again from the outside), the View from the Shard, the Liberty department store, and a live show - The 39 Steps.

We then took a train down to Dartford in Kent where we stayed three nights with some lovely distant relatives of Judith. Roy and Dulcie were very hospitable and showed us around their part of England.

Highlights of this part of the trip included a visit to the Church of the Holy Cross at Bearsted where some of Judith's forbears lived and were married, and Canterbury Cathedral. Canterbury town itself is a beautiful town and it claims to still have one of the original ducking stools. The cathedral is magnificent and bears testament (take the pun or not) to the power of religion and the church in the lives of the people of these times.


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