Tag Archives: England

I’ll be back.

I have photos and stories to post from our travels, but I seem to have been struck by some stomach thing.  It started yesterday midday and has really wiped me out. Don’t know if it was plane germs, or something I ate.  Should say “we” ate because my dear one also started feeling under the weather this morning.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of Folkestone where we stayed from Wednesday thru Saturday, a lovely seaside town.

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<Map source: The Property Purveyor>

The clock tower used to be a church but was destroyed in WW2, as per the plaque.  A memorial on the waterfront says that during WW1, 7 million men marched through the city on their way to war. (Don’t forget to click on the small pics to enlarge.)

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Monday Miscellany – there’s no place like home.

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We arrived home from England to a relatively quick hop through the airport, pleasant weather, and a hot Easter meal courtesy of my sister-in-law. Michael had stayed with them while we were away and so when we went to pick him up, we were ushered in to a lovely meal and our beautiful son, niece, and nephew.

I have a lot to blog about the trip, but I may go in reverse chronological order.  We spent our last 24 hours in London, ensconced in the Hilton London Metrople near Paddington Station.  The area is something of a “little Beirut” as my Beiruti husband called it.  Edgeware Road is lined with Middle Eastern restaurants, cafes, cellphone unlockers, groceries, shisha joints, and travel agencies.  The hotel concierge recommended a couple of restaurants and we had a lovely lunch at Al Araz, and I made use of their free wifi to catch up on some email.  

We headed out to Leicster Square to try to score some theatre tickets for the evening, but neither of our two choices (Wicked or The Children’s Hour) had anything of interest.  The latter was SRO and the former only had very poor seats at a low discount.  So we wandered around, and ended up walking back to our hotel along Oxford Circle, doing a little window shopping among the absolute throngs of people. We picked up fixings for a light dinner (and by light, I mean grapes, plain yogurt, chocolate covered Hobnobs, and apple cider.  We also had the remainder of a bottle of port that we’d purchased in Hailsham.) We both had books we wanted to finish and had a relatively early start the next morning, so we settled in for a lazy last night in England.

Yesterday morning, we hopped on the Heathrow Express train and after checking our bags, retired to the lounge for coffee and a Canadian paper. The flight was uneventful… I watched my first celebratory movie post-Lent (Owning Mahoney, a true story about a Canadian bank fraudster, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and a blonde Minnie Driver) and listened to my audiobook.

More later.  Off to do laundry, grocery shopping, and get started on our taxes.

Travel: Sunday

We got to breakfast by about 8:30, meeting the others. We had decided to go in to a small Catholic Church in Hailsham, St. Wilfrid’s, for Palm Sunday Mass, so we called Andrew, our cab driver from yesterday and had him pick us up at 10. 

St. Wilfrid’s is a small church, the third builton  that site. The present structure was built in 1952 and contains some lovely devotional articles.   The Mass was a usual Palm Sunday/Passion combination with two gospel readings. The congregation was small, but filled the church and the responses were fullsome. The stained glass window above the main entrance is of the martyr St. Margaret Clitherow.

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After mass, we walked northwards towards the centre of town and stopped into a Wetherspoons pub (The George Hotel) for lunch. Then we dropped into a Waitrose to pick up a few things and stopped at The Old School House, now Prezzo, for coffee and dessert before calling Andrew to pick us up.

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While we were waiting for the cab, I spotted this clever scupture outside Tesco:

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Sunday evening was the opening reception for the conference, and then dinner. Zouheir attended the opening session and I retired to read and relax.

Travel: Friday and Saturday

For a variety of reasons, too complex to go in to, our flights were booked under two different reservation codes.  Although we had adjacent seats on our Toronto-to-Heathrow flights at the time of booking, Air Canada changed the equipment to a smaller plane, which ended up separating our seats.  We discovered this late Thursday night as we were checking in online.  Calls to the travel agent and Air Canada couldn’t remedy the sitation, particularly as we learned that the flight was 30 seats overbooked.

We couldn’t get it dealt with Friday morning at the airport, so once we boarded we did some negotiating with the people around us and managed to finagle better seats, although it meant that I had a middle-of-three seat.  David Suzuki and his extended family were also on the flight and had also been split up.  I was originally seated next to his wife.  He had been upgraded to business, and his family were just in front of Zouheir.  His wife helped me in organizing a trade and by the time we took off, everyone was happy (more or less).

While we were late leaving Toronto, we landed in Heathrow on time and made our way to the London Heathrow Marriott where we spent the night before our trip to Hailsham Saturday morning.  At 11 pm, we ordered a light meal in the lobby bar and some featured drink using spiced rum and citrus. We were still on Toronto time, but forced ourselves to sleep so that we’d awaken early and try to get on UK time.

As we were checking out the next morning, we saw an incredibly attractive, multicultural flight crew from Emirates Airlines.

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I really liked the women’s uniforms, with the attractive hat and suggestion of a veil. 

We took the hotel shuttle back to Heathrow, the Express train to Paddington Station, the tube to Victoria Station, and then a train to Polegate, the closest station to Herstmonceaux Castle.  We grabbed a taxi driven by a retired advertising guy who used to work in London.  He was very interesting, is used to shuttling students and visitors to the Castle, and talked about the history and geography of the area,  He left us his number after dropping us off at the residence.

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After a little rest and recharge, we got a call from the conference organizer, Agnes Herzberg, who suggested we meet for dinner with her, her Joyce Zakos who is helping with the organization, and John Bailar who had already arrived.  There was a wedding going on in the Castle, so we had a light supper and retired for the eveinng after taking a walk in the gardens.