Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Husband Returns, Part I

An overnight flight and a couple of train rides delivered R to a very warm reception in Canterbury.  A sweeping tour of the campus, introductions to friends, the passing around of gifts and a short nap later it was time for The Heiress to show off the highlights of town life.  Canterbury Cathedral is the jewel in the crown and where the graduation ceremony for the university students usually takes place.  If you are familiar with the murder of Archbishop Thomas Beckett in 1170, then you will know it took place at this cathedral and if not then click here for details.

R took scads of photos of the High Street and interesting architecture but this one really struck me.  You can just imagine that at any moment a carriage will roll by or a peasant woman carrying a bundle of firewood will peddle her wares.  The contrast between the working man and the wealth of the church, the functional against the splendid, this photo is so simple but displays so much and I adore images that whip you back in time.  I was also completely enthralled with a story R was told about villagers sketching the window detail from above the front door on a letter for the post before addresses were common as a way of identifying the proper location.  Fascinating stuff!

Hopping on a bus, The Heiress gave her Dad a tour of Whitstable.  It was a cool day but they thoroughly enjoyed a bracing walk along the shore.  Huge piles of oyster shells deposited outside the nearby pub was an indication of just how popular the local catch is.  Choosing the table next to a roaring fire meant it was R's job to tend it, so every now and then he had to pitch on a log or poke at the embers while a band playing music from the 40s entertained the customers.  As he was basking in the warmth and glow he had a fright when he realized he had placed a bag containing something like twenty bars of chocolate from Thornton's under the table.  Thankfully all was well...phew!  A foreign sight was four dogs residing under the drinks table of their owners, something you would never see here but I wish we did.

After a weekend of being shown around the village by a gaggle of young lady friends of The Heiress and playing Dorm Dad it was time to move on to London.  This is Hogarth's House into which a dash was made for postcards and a peek around at my request.  The initial attraction which brought my husband to this area was a tour of Fuller's Brewery but I've decided to spare you the pictures of conveyor belts carrying kegs, a maze of pipeline, massive vats and transport vehicles.

Winding their way through the surrounding neighbourhoods they laughed at how the unmistakable aroma of yeast filled the air as the Thames flowed nearby.  My heart skipped a beat when R pointed out this photograph taken from the sidewalk looking down a lane (This is the house I mentioned, Mary).  It was a private drive so they couldn't venture along it but what I wouldn't give to know a bit more about the history of that house and what lies around the corner.  It also beckons to that bit of 'downstairs girl' that exists inside me and makes me want to take up a feather duster or copper pot.  Moving right along...
With only four days in London every second counted.  Covering hundreds of miles of tube track and city streets whether on foot or by cab, my two kept at it until exhaustion left them barely able to flick off the lights at the end of the day.  The Heiress and R saw two plays, Hay Fever which they enjoyed and The Ladykillers which they loved.  Admiring the flash of a brightly coloured sock on many men, my man chose an array for himself much to my delight.  A London Walk of the hidden pubs of London took them through alleyways and over cobblestones into several historic establishments, one being the hundreds year-old Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.  The photo above shows the London Aquarium taken during a ride on the London Eye.  The view of the city stretching before them was absolutely stunning and R marvelled at just how many people he spied on the banks of the Thames digging for historic treasure and sea glass.  An afternoon was also spent admiring the collection at the V&A, with R prodding the holes in the wall near an entrance left by shrapnel during WWII.  During a quiet stroll through Hyde Park to get away from the hustle and noise, father and daughter wondered how anyone could sit on a beach and do nothing during a vacation when there are so many interesting things to discover in such a fascinating city.  To each his own.  But this was most definitely a trip the two of them will remember for a lifetime.

Stay tuned for Part II of 'A Husband Returns' for the aftermath of souvenir shopping for a wife left behind.


  1. Oh really thrilled all about their adventures. It has made me think even more about getting a coach and getting yself up to my capital city and see some more sights.

    I would love to see the photos of the Queen in the V&A before the exhibition ends.

    Looking forward to part two. Glad to hear dad and daughter enjoyed their time.

  2. Lovely to read this post - especially the Canterbury parts.

  3. Oh what a fabulous visit. I've been dying to go to Whitstable for ages. Must make more of an effort this summer. And looking forward to seeing the souvenirs!

    K x

  4. Jo, You lucky thing, what are you waiting for!? We do tend to take what's in our backyard for granted but if I were a coach ride away from London I would be in the museums every month at least.

    Joan, My husband absolutely loved it in Canterbury and of all things he said it seemed like no two people had the same pair of shoes. Funny what a person notices isn't it?

    Kristina, Well that's your summer itinerary started! Just looking at his photos made me want an order of chips but of course then you have to fend off the gulls.

  5. Lovely post! Especially loved the Whitstable photo. Reminded me of Sarah Waters' opening lines for Tipping The Velvet, "Have you ever tasted a Whitstable oyster? If you have, you will remember it." :)


  6. Lovely post! Especially loved the Whitstable photo. Reminds me of the opening lines in Sarah Waters' Tipping The Velvet.
    "Have you ever tasted a Whitstable oyster? If you have, you will remember it." :)