Tuesday, 3 August 2010

County hopping

No sooner have we hit the shores of Southampton and we board a train for a short half journey to Bournemouth to visit Jules’ aunty and uncle. It is now a familiar spot for us and seems to always welcome us back with a warm sunny day. As part of our stay this time we visit the bustling township of Poole, which looks so picturesque with its views of a sparkling boat filled inlet. There is certainly a holiday atmosphere, with the tempting smell of chips and vinegar wafting through the air. After a few days of generous hospitality we head back to London for a quick pit stop before hitting the road again to visit Jules’ second cousin and his family in Norwich. We had visited several years ago, but this time we have more time to explore the surrounding area. This includes a quaint little seaside town called Sheringham; with it’s tumbled stone beach and an impressive links golf course that hugs the rugged coast. Further inland we explore a very grand residence called Blickling Hall, formally home to Anne Boleyn, the ill-fated wife of Henry VIII. We wander around admiring the considerable collection of art as well as the ornate ceilings and fireplaces. However, closer to Jules heart is the expansive kitchen downstairs that reveals a glimpse of life in service providing good English fare for dignitaries such as Queen Mary. After a short stay in Norwich we continue our travels with another short train trip to the cathedral city of Ely, which was famously home to Oliver Cromwell at the time of England’s short-lived revolution. It is here that my cousin is to be married and the big event brings friends and family together from far and wide. It is very much a village wedding, complete with horse and cart and the reception is held in a beautiful apple orchard that overlooks the rural surrounds. As the sun sets and with a celebratory glass of champagne in hand, we gaze admiringly over a classic English pastoral scene that we imagine wouldn’t have changed too much over time.

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