Posts Tagged ‘King John’

Llangollen (Part 2)

Morning, readers. It’s time for Rambler5319 to finish a story he started telling us a few weeks back. Enjoy!


If you remember my post from a couple of weeks ago (The Aqueduct, 4.9.13) well this is part 2 of that trip (or the rest of day 1). After the aqueduct we headed out of town just a couple of miles to what is called Valle Crucis Abbey. It means valley of the cross. (You’d never have guessed that would you?) The cross in question is actually another ancient monument which we’ll come to later. Now LLM was mentioning old stuff in her Monday post so I couldn’t resist this as I can beat her, twice actually! Firstly this Cistercian abbey was built during the reign of King John in 1201 – that’s 14 years before the Magna Carta and beats her sink by about 124 years! (If you remember the post from 15.5.13 on St Winifred’s Well, Basingwerk Abbey was also Cistercian & Welsh, from 1132, so pre-dated Valle Crucis by about 70 years.)

Here’s a pic.


You’ll prob notice things like no roof or glass in windows. Apparently there were about 3 fires in its early days and that’s the reason for some of the damage and the brown tinge on the light coloured stone around the arched doorway. However the chapterhouse around the grass quadrangle is in better condition.


Here’s the arch at the end of that block. You can see the different types of stone and the crack above the arch. And a view looking inside


As part of their subsistence living the monks at Valle Crucis had a large fish pond; apparently monks were forbidden to eat meat from animals with four legs. For any of you searching for monastic fish ponds in Wales look no further – I can tell you this is the only surviving one!


This small building, next to the pond, had a date stone showing 1773 over the door so much later than the original abbey.


Coming out of there we walked along the road to find the “cross” which the abbey is named after. Here it is unfortunately surrounded by railings so you can’t get close up to it. It is called Eliseg’s Pillar and is built on top of a burial mound.


And here’s the info board


Now the number is not that clear but it does say the 9th century. Yep, read that again, THE 9TH, which means built in the 800s. This is the second time I beat LLM’s sink but this time by about 500 years!

Think it’s worth saying though that it’s not just the age that is interesting. I agree with LLM that once I’ve told you it’s nearly 1200 years old and you’ve said “Wow!” you do just move on. No, for me the interest is in the stories behind the object, building or place and their connections to the present day. I’m imagining how in the 800s a guy commissioned a stone mason to make the pillar and then for it to be moved to where they put it up. I wonder how much he was paid as it was a royal commission. Was it put on a horse and cart to take it there? Did the guy work on the stone first then move it or work on it at the spot where it is now? What made the man who commissioned it want to do it? A person? An event or historic victory? It’s all those sorts of things which make it interesting.

Another thing which makes historical things interesting is their rarity or in some cases uniqueness: the fish pond for instance being the only one in Wales; the pillar, as we’ll find out later, celebrating a king and a victory. If you know there’s only one of something and you’ve seen it you kind of feel as if you’ve achieved something in finding it or coming across it if you hadn’t gone looking for it.

At the Abbey I’m wondering how these monks actually got all the work done to build the place and then to grow, fish or hunt enough to survive in what is a fairly isolated place. Some questions can be answered by referring to other historical documents and sources but some remain cases for speculation. Basically I suppose I think places of historical interest are as interesting as you the viewer want them to be. One person can be very excited at the surroundings and the stories associated with them but another may just think it’s boring. (“Each to his own” comes to mind.) I think the most interesting historical bits you come across are those that relate to your own family history. Knowing about the history of the area around Llangollen is one thing but know about where your actual ancestors (grandparents, great-grandparents etc) lived makes it so much more relevant and personal to you. It’s your story and it means something because your family is associated with that place. If any of you watch that programme Who Do You Think You Are? You can’t fail to notice how emotional some people get when they’re taken to places their ancestors lived or worked or had something tragic happen there or meet living relatives of their ancestors. There’s a kind of bond even though they’ve never met before.

So, back to the pillar. I can tell you that it was erected by Cyngen, the last king of an area of Wales called Powys, in memory of his great-grandfather Eliseg who recovered the land of Powys from the English. It commemorates a great victory. The inscription also tells us that Eliseg was a descendent of Vortigern, a 5th century warlord, who after a tragedy in his own family apparently took refuge in North Wales and also, via marriage, of the 4th century Emperor Magnus Maximus one of the last Roman rulers of Britain.

Then it was back to the hotel and a quick change. We met up outside for a short walk to our evening meal. It was in a converted mill. Here’s the info sign. You might recognise a connection with our earlier visit to the abbey.


You see how those bits of history link up. The monks from the Abbey we’d just visited 2 miles up the road were responsible for building this.

Not surprisingly it is called The Corn Mill. We had a great meal & good service – no complaints at all. While we were sitting at our table I noticed an old advertising sign which had been framed and was hanging on the wall.


If you can see it (or enlarge it) at the bottom it says the firm is based in London. In my own family history I am researching a possible connection with the company. My paternal grandmother, who lived in London in the area near their factory, may have worked for them back in 1901 so that made this sign very interesting for me. There we were eating in a mill originally founded by the monks who built the abbey we had visited earlier in the day and with a possible connection to my family ancestors. For you it’s very probably a shrug and move on to the next bit because it has no connections for you but for me it’s those connections that make it interesting and that’s history. Getting things into a context with events at the time and a historical timeline are what bring the story together. And that’s as interesting as you personally want it to be.

We did a brief walk around the town before heading back to the hotel.

Here’s an interesting little building.


And then there was this display in Gale’s of Llangollen Wine shop window


I could only get the first three in the display. There were another 6 going down in size so a total of 9 bottles.

For those of you who are not familiar with champagne bottle sizes. The standard measure is 75cl (0.75L) and is actually called a bottle (should serve 8 glasses). All the sizes going up from this one are multiples of the “bottle” size so it goes Magnum (2 bottles, 16 glasses) = 1.5L, Jeroboam (4 bottles) = 3L, Reheboam (6 bottles) = 4.5L, Methuselah (8 bottles) = 6L, Salmanazar (12 bottles) = 9L, Balthazar (16 bottles) = 12L & finally Nebuchadnezzar (20 bottles, should serve a whopping 160 glasses!) = 15L. The full Nebuchadnezzar is going to weigh you down a bit as it tips the scales at 38 kilos! Not something your plastic supermarket bag is going to cope with. And I guess it’s going to empty your wallet too! (I checked on line and some brands retail at about £1200/$1911!)

In case you’re wondering where the names for these sizes come from there seems to be no definitive answer. One source thinks it’s because a French Benedictine monk (Dom Perignon, 1638-1715) was involved. One Bordeaux wine maker says that they have been using the name Jeroboam since 1725 and that the Champagne region then adopted it. The larger sizes, it is said, came in during the 1940s.

So who were these guys who got champagne bottle sizes named after them (going in order):

Jeroboam (3L) -The nation of Israel had been just one nation until after the reigns of King David & then his son Solomon. During the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam there was a revolt. The kingdom split into two. Jeroboam became the first king of the ten tribes who revolted and formed a completely separate nation in the north of the country. He reigned from about 931BC-910BC.

Rehoboam (4.5L) – His dates seem to be somewhat disputed but from anywhere from about 937BC to around 907BC. After Jeroboam’s revolt he ended up king over the two tribes who remained in the south of the country.

Methuselah (6L) – You probably all know of this guy. He’s the person who has lived longer than anyone else. The book of Genesis gives his age as 969 years. He was the grandfather of Noah (of Noah’s Ark fame).

Salmanazar (9L) – He was king of Assyria 727-722BC and defeated the ten northern tribes who had revolted against him. They were taken into exile.

Balthazar (12L) – Might refer to one of the three kings (Balthasar, Gaspar (or Casper), and Melchior) who came to see the baby Jesus. Could refer to Daniel (of lion’s den fame) who was renamed Belteshazzar by the Babylonians who took him and his three friends away from their homeland to live in Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar (15L) – This is probably Nebuchadnezzar II (605BC-562BC). He had a number of dreams which Daniel interpreted for him as his own “magicians and astrologers” couldn’t. (His son Belshazzar was the king who saw “the fingers of a man’s hand writing on the wall” at a feast he was having. Very probably this is where we get our expression “the writing’s on the wall” from.)

And there you have it. Some strange connections but interesting I think.  

Day Trip 1

Good morning all! It’s time for Rambler5319 to give us a guest post about his recent holiday. Enjoy!


Over the next few weeks I’ll be describing some days out on my holiday a couple of weeks ago.

Today is that day we all look forward to – the first day of our holiday, the journey and hopefully arrival unless it’s a long long way. We’ve been looking forward to it for quite a while and for some it may even have been a whole year since the last one. It’s very exciting but also very stressful. Have we packed everything? Have we got the tickets & passports if we’re flying? If we’re driving, have we checked the car over the night before: fuel, oil, water, windscreen water level (remember it’s illegal to drive with the bottle empty!), brakes, all indicators & lights working, extra air in the tyres for a fully loaded vehicle etc. I actually think it’s a good idea to have a check list for stuff to take. Mine has built up over a number of years and the written version is now a spreadsheet. Occasionally an item gets added as I find there’s something that would be useful. (Previous years have seen me forget things like an alarm clock although nowadays a mobile phone will do, a torch, food containers for sandwiches for days out, bread, some tinned food & vegetables so you don’t have to run to the shops on the first day you arrive at your self-catering place and so on. Of course if you’re flying your list will be very different. Have you got a “holiday list”?

So once the list is checked off I get into the car and go. Suddenly the familiar roads which normally are the ones I travel to work take on a different feel because I’m NOT working and I won’t be coming back along them to go home after a day’s work. No, today they’re different because they’re taking me far away on my holiday!

This year my first stop was 130 miles away for 2 nights in Southwell (Notts). I have friends there and we catch up a bit on what’s been happening over the year: what the kids have been doing, what we’re doing and planning to do etc. The following day, as they were working, I visited Newark, a short drive away. It’s a town with a very long history.

Newark was established in the early 900s AD by King Edward “the Elder”. Remember the king numbering system we know today (Edward I, Edward II, Edward III and so on) didn’t start until after the Norman Conquest so kings were given other adjectival names to distinguish them from those with the same name; another Edward at a slightly later time was called Edward “the Martyr” (half brother of Aethelred “the Unready” who was murdered at Corfe Castle in 978 AD. For those of you who enjoy trivia connections remember Corfe Castle was the inspiration for Kirrin Castle in Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books). Anyway Edward “the Elder” was a son of King Alfred the Great and Queen Ealhswith (of Mercia). He had battles with the Danes from Northumbria and East Anglia. Owing to its geographical significance being at the junction of the Great North Road (A1), the Fosse Way (runs NE from Exeter up to Lincoln) and the River Trent Newark became an important place to build defensive fortifications and then erect a castle. Originally built as an earthwork construction of a motte and bailey type it was replaced in stone by Bishop Alexander (the Magnificent, apparently). It took 10 years to build and was completed in 1133.

In Oct 1216 King John (of Magna Carta fame) arrived at Newark Castle but just 2/3 days later he died. A year prior to his death he had been challenged by the barons: men who held land in exchange for providing soldiers to the king and who had to attend the feudal court a kind of early form of parliament. (A nearby barony to me is that of Chester; the first recorded holder – in 1070AD – was a guy called Gherbod the Fleming who it is believed got it as a gift for fighting in the victorious army of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings.) The barons wanted certain guarantees and a limiting of the king’s power and this was set down in writing in the document we know today as the Magna Carta. King John is portrayed as a bad king in the Robin Hood stories where Robin – a supporter of Richard the Lionheart (John’s brother) – was usually found holed up in nearby Sherwood Forest with his band of “Merry Men”. (Curiously after Richard’s death, parts of his body were buried at 3 different places in France: his heart in Rouen, his brain in Poitou, his body in Fontvrault and nothing in England!)

Pictures of Newark Castle give the impression of a fully-fledged building but behind the 3 main exterior walls little remains of the original building itself. image

Note the section of repaired wall in this next pic. Apparently at various times in its history, if it was left unprotected, stone robbers would come in and steal the actual blocks which had been used to build the castle walls.image

Then a view over the castle walls looking along the River Trent back towards the locks.image

Here’s one posted by someone on Flickr looking from the locks back towards the castle.

Note the lock keeper’s “cottage” is a nice modern two storey brick building. I left the castle and crossed the river by that “cottage”. I carried on along the path to where there was a boat repair yard. Here’s the sign on the gate.


Then I passed the Trent Navigation Wharf Warehouse


Next was where I turned left back over the river but this narrow stone bridge, in the next pic, carried on to the SE. There is a weir to the right of the pic with the usual warning sign that if you decide to go over it in a canoe (or anything else) the waterways authority will not be responsible for any injuries incurred. Of course, I threw away the piece of driftwood I’d been hoping to use as a surfboard down the near 90 deg slope!


Back along the road towards the town centre and over what looks like originally was a passage way between houses is this sign saying Cottam’s Yard.


Originally it would have led to a yard in which a number of dwellings would have been found. Often places like these would become slum areas owing to them generally housing the poorest classes of society. Check out this old map of the area at

Towards the top right you can see Simnitt’s Yard which was renamed as Cottam’s Yard. Look at the number of dwellings opening into the alleyway: I count 10 plus the two facing out on the main street! (The next yard down – Taylor’s Yard – is not quite so cramped with only two buildings along one side.)

I continued along the road and decided to draw some money out at the bank. I reached into my pocket, pulled out my card wallet and flicked through the pockets to where I always keep the bank card. It was at this point I had one of those panic moments – the plastic pocket which should have contained my bank card was EMPTY!! I hunted in both my trouser pockets. I rummaged through once, twice, three times but it was not there. I emptied the rucksack and repacked it TWICE! Nothing. At this point I reached for the wall to stop myself falling over in shock. Oh no! First day of my holiday and the card was gone. (Unless you’ve ever lost a card and had all the hassle associated with it I don’t expect you know how this sort of thing feels. Worse by far is of course losing the whole wallet or purse with ALL the different cards in. It’s a feeling you can definitely do without!) Had I been robbed? Had I put the bag down somewhere? No, I was sure it had been with me the whole time. Where had it gone? How could it possibly be lost? I’m always so careful. I have a routine: after each use it goes back into the wallet pocket, the same pocket every time. Ok, so sharp intake of breath. I have to get back to where I’m staying to see if somehow it’s there and if not get onto the phone to cancel it ASAP. The rest of my leisurely afternoon wander around Newark is now cancelled. I hot foot it back to the car. I reach the car park where I’ve used less than 2 hours of my all day ticket. Newark made money out of me that day! All the way back I’m reliving the previous 24 hours trying to think of everything I’ve done. Suddenly I remember that on the journey down I had stopped at a motorway service area and used the card to buy some stuff. I will ring them to see if it’s been handed in. However, I think I remember putting it in my pocket after buying the stuff and yet it’s not there now. I’m thinking perhaps I dropped it when I’d been putting into my pocket. You wouldn’t hear a plastic card drop with all the noise in places like that. Mind still racing I charge upstairs to my room. My overnight bag was searched. Nothing. As I was about to pick up the phone I saw my Youth Hostel card by the side of the bed. Now this is not just a plastic card on its own – it is held on the back page of a small cardboard covered booklet with a few paper pages inside on which you can collect the rubber stamps issued by each hostel when you stay overnight. It is just slightly larger than a plastic card. For some unknown reason I picked it up and out fell my bank card! Yippee! – heart rate slowed. Of course I remembered that I’d put it in my pocket to go away with in case I needed to use a hostel at any time. When I’d made my purchases at the service station I had indeed put the bank card back in my pocket but it had slipped right between the pages of my little YHA booklet and stuck there. Before going out to Newark I’d thought – no need to take the YHA card with me as I’m back here for tonight. I’d placed it carefully on the bedside table and driven off. Day 1 of the holiday was over – and what a drama filled one at that. I could do without any more scares like that.  

Search terms 5

There’s been quite a bit of underwear-related traffic coming to my blog recently so I figured it was time to do a post about it. I’d also like to know where to get me a roll of this wrapping paper that someone has come to my blog looking for……

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To Aslan’s Mountain with a wisdom stick

Everything was perfect. The weather was sunny. I had the afternoon off. I had a bag of snacks and water. And I was ready for an adventure.

Off we went, Danda and I, in search of the highest point in South East England. It was quite easy going at first so we were tricked into thinking it might just be a gentle stroll. We each found a stick to use, to make us look like seasoned ramblers. I felt mine made me look quite wise. So we started referring to them as Wisdom Sticks.


As we pottered along, admiring the views and how lovely the evening sun was, we came to an area where all the trees had been chopped down. It looked so out of place, in the middle of such dense forest, to have a field which had been cleared so abruptly. I remember thinking that I hope there was a valid reason for chopping down all those trees. On the other hand, some of the moss covered stumps made for beautiful photographs.


We had barely left this empty field when we found ourselves in a tiny little hamlet called Friday Street. I’m not sure why it is named that but I bet there’s some interesting history behind so I’ll Google it later and let you know the story. Anyway, aside from its unusual name, this hamlet is significant for another reason. The Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1200s, a major influence in the drafting of the Magna Carta, was born here. His name was Stephan Langton and the first thing we came upon in Friday Street was a pub named after him.

Legend has it that he was involved with King John in various ways. Good old King John of the Silent Pool from last week’s post, Searching for Agatha. And he’s not any more likeable in the legends that connect him to Stephan Langton and Friday Street.

Stephan was living in Albury when he was 18 and had fallen in love with a girl called Alice, later to become the Abbess of St Catherine’s in Guildford. Stephan and Alice were walking along in the woods one day when they were attacked by King John and his followers. I think King John needs to have a long hard look at his behaviour and make up his mind to act like a king, rather than a career criminal. (Actually, this story is quite hard to marry with historical fact as King John was around 1 year old when this was said to have happened!) Anyway, the king kidnapped Alice – more kidnapping – and took her to his hunting lodge nearby. If Stephan had had a Wisdom Stick, he could have fought the king off. Just saying. Wisdom Sticks are useful.

Stephan followed, then set fire to the house. I’m told it was in an attempt to rescue Alice but he apparently buggered off without her when she fainted from the smoke.

The logical outcome from this series of events? Well, of course he ran off, became a monk and was chosen by the Pope to be Archbishop of Canterbury. Of course. King John refused to accept him as Archbishop, Rome got grumpy, France threatened to invade… It was all going downhill. Until Stephan stepped in and the Magna Carta made its appearance in 1215.

In the meantime, Alice became an Abbess (I can’t stop saying ‘absess’ in my head when I write that word). They were both at Mass in a church years later and were reunited. But she was apparently so overcome with emotion that she died in his arms. I’m sorry? She was so emotional when she saw him that she DIED!? She died of ’emotion’. I bet Stephan realised how rubbish she was then. I bet that’s why he left her in the house after he set fire to it.

Anyway, back to Friday Street. It was gorgeous. I could have been anywhere, the French Alps, an Italian lake, the Swiss Mountains. It was just so pretty and picturesque.



We came across this little sign as we were leaving the village and I obviously got two jars.


We also came across a sign for duck eggs and chicken eggs, £1.50 a box, which I would have loved, but there were none left. All in all, Friday Street was one of the highlights of the walk, so small and peaceful, the houses just like a bit of the countryside. They had a way of seeming like they belonged there just as much as the trees did. I did wonder where people get stuff from though, there were no shops at all.

After leaving Friday Street, the going got tougher. Steep inclines and sharp drops saw me making lots of ‘oo’ noises as I almost fell yet again. My Wisdom Stick was invaluable for this section of the walk. I started to get a bit breathless and requested a Chocolate Stop. To be honest, I’d been asking for a Chocolate Stop since we started and Danda hadn’t allowed me one, said I was being a greedy guts. I didn’t dispute this fact, but I still wanted a Chocolate Stop. This was our view during our stop. Beautiful.


Next we started the climb to our main destination, Leith Tower. The hill is at 965 feet above sea level so the tower was apparently built because someone (I forget who) wanted to be 1000 feet above sea level. I couldn’t wait to get up there, climb the tower, look out, get some great pictures to show you all.

On our way we came unexpectedly across this beautiful waterfall….


.. and stood marvelling at it for a while. As we turned to leave, there was a surreal from-a-film moment, when a load of flying ladybirds attacked us. I say ‘attacked’, they didn’t really. They were were just flying and they were near us. But it was bizarre, some did fly into us. I spent forever trying to get shots of bugs on flowers and finally got an ok one.


Anyway, we kept on our way and got to the tower finally. Remember how excited I was to go up it? To see the view?….


It seems the English countryside closes when Laura goes for a walk…. This happened last time in Shere, everything closed. Anyway, never mind. The views were still stunning.


You can see sheets of rain coming down from the clouds on the left and a patch of sun breaking through to the right. It was amazing how far I could see. I felt a bit like Simba and Mufasa, you know the scene where Mufasa is like, “Everything you can see belongs to us. Everywhere the light touches.”

Talking of lions, the walk back to our start point was equally as beautiful. The hilltop feels so high up, I imagine this is what Aslan’s Mountain is like. If any of you have read the entire Chronicles of Narnia, you’ll know what I mean. The last book, The Last Battle, finishes on Aslan’s Mountain, and Prince Caspian, the fourth book, starts on Aslan’s Mountain. In my mind, it’s like this.



After standing around, imagining I was in Narnia for a while, we wandered back to the start point to finish the walk, where I gave my Wisdom Stick back to nature…


…and said an emotional goodbye to it. Not emotional enough to die, mind you.


Searching for Agatha

Yesterday I thought I’d go for another walk. My day in Highgate was so lovely, I thought I’d try another one. I decided to go to Newlands Corner, near Guildford and potter about in the countryside for a while.

The area is linked to Agatha Christie’s ‘death’ because this is where thousands of people met up to scour the area looking for her body. Her husband had apparently told her one day that he was off to spend the weekend with their nanny! (There’s bound to be a lot more to it than that, but anyway, that’s what we know.) She flipped, obviously. In the middle of the night she got in the car, leaving the dog and baby at home, and sped away into the night. Her car was found at Chalk Pit, a little further down from where I started my walk but Agatha was nowhere to be seen. Stories covered every newspaper. The husband came under scrutiny and became the murder suspect. People searched the countryside and woods for her body. Ten days later she was found, chilling in a little B&B in Harrogate. As you do.

Anyway, yesterday I thought I’d go on a little Agatha search of my own through the woods. It started near a beautiful organic vineyard…

….and my path followed it along it’s edge until I passed another spot with some mysterious history.

The Silent Pool is strangely silent, as the name suggests. The water is totally still and clear. You’d expect, if water was that still, that it would be stagnant, or growing a bit of algae. But this water is clear.

You can see where the water line is, from the reflection of the stick, but the grass and ground underneath are still really visible.

Anyway, the story goes like this. A girl and her brother were bathing in the Silent Pool when King John rode past on his horse. He decided to take the girl with him, but she was not so easily captured. Her and the brother fought against him, waded too far and drowned together. Since then, a ghostly white figure is seen at night bathing in the moonlight. *cue scary X-Files music*

As it was the daytime, I saw no bathing ghosts and kept on my walk, which became a huge steep hill within minutes. I pretended not to be panting like mad and powered on up, every minute wondering when it would stop rising. It finally levelled out and I was deep in a thick forest.

It started raining very lightly but I just ignored it. The forest walk went on for a good hour or so, lovely dense trees and one little windy path through them that I followed unquestioningly. I wish I had questioned it more, actually, because not knowing where I was became a bit of a theme for the day…! But in going slightly off route, I stumbled across some amazing little things. Like this statue of a man with a hook for an arm and his dog…

… some chickens, some grand houses that were all but hidden in the foliage until you passed directly in front of the gate and a quiet little pub, where it became impossible to ignore the rain, which had by now made me a little damp and cold all over. I also realised that I was in Gomshall, which is not Shere, where I was supposed to be. It was Gomshall. The wrong place. Gomshall wasn’t even on my Newland’s Corner map. And I hadn’t gone under the A25 like I was supposed to have. I pretended all was fine and I sat in the warmth of the country pub, munching away on a freshly baked baguette which may be the best bread I’ve ever eaten. It was still warm and so soft.

As I gazed forlornly out of the window, watching the rain get heavier, the man behind the bar warned me, “You’re no good waiting for it to get better, it won’t. This is it for the day now.”


“Yup. Where are you trying to get to?”


“It’s the second on your left, about a half an hour walk away.”

I finally admitted it was raining and took my waterproof jacket out of my bag. Like a wearied soldier heading back to the battlefield, I donned my jacket, shouldered my rucksack and headed into the rain to Shere. I was thankful for the waterproof but maybe the jeans weren’t helping matters. It wasn’t a long way to Shere but I figured I should stop for another cup of tea when I got there or I might drown! So I looked…

…and looked….

Well, at least the museum will have something, I guessed. That’s what I’d come into Shere for anyway. I had done my research, I knew the museum was open on a Thursday. Making my way there under the shelter of overhanging trees, I arrived at the door to see this …

… It was 4.30pm…

So I figured it was time to head back to my starting point to finish the walk and head home to dry off. On my way, there was loads of bunting around. Some looked to be leftover Jubilee stuff and some said London 2012 on it. It turns out that next week, the Olympic torch is coming through the area. I’ll just say this, they’d better be bloody open then! I won’t say ‘I hope it doesn’t rain’ because I don’t want to jinx it.

Anyway, the walk back to the beginning/end point was quite pretty, even though the rain fell harder and harder….!

And not once did I see Agatha Christie…. O wait, she was in Harrogate, wasn’t she…?