Our trip to the UK, June 2017 (part the third)

On our second Sunday in the UK (18th) my brother Mike and my sister in law Jeanette came down to spend a few hours with us. We went to church with Mum at St. Mary’s, Ketton…

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…and then we went out for Sunday dinner, followed by coffee and a nice visit at Mum’s place. My mum took this picture of the four of us:

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There is a very old hall in Oakham which goes by the name of ‘Oakham Castle‘. At one time it was the great hall of a much bigger castle, which is now in ruins. This picture was taken from the north side of the old castle wall, looking down on the hall and the old castle grounds, with All Saints’ Church in the background.

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There is a tradition that when members of the aristocracy visit Oakham in an official capacity they present a ceremonial horseshoe to Oakham Castle. This has been going on since the 1400s (the oldest surviving horseshoe was presented by King Edward IV in 1470), so there are now quite a few of them hanging up on the inside walls:

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On Wednesday 21st we left Oakham and travelled down to Cardiff, Wales to visit with Marci’s 2nd cousin once removed, Jane Williams, and her family. Here’s a selfie we took with my Mum at Oakham Station just before the train left.

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This trip was the first time we have ever met Jane Williams, who we had connected with through our family tree research on Ancestry. This is us with Jane and her husband Tony, and also her daughter Rachel, daughter in law Vicky, and grandson Thomas, plus Sky the cat.

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On Thursday 22nd Jane took us into Cardiff where we found the house where Marci’s grandfather, William Searles, was born in 1888. Here it is, and the street where it is located.

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When the Searles family ran this shop in the late 1800s it was a greengrocer’s; now it’s something different, but it’s the right location so we knew it was the right shop.

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Later that day Jane took us sightseeing; we got to have a wander around St. Fagan’s Castle and the outdoor museum, which is a bit like our Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village in Alberta – lots of old houses moved to a new location to give an idea of the past. Here are a couple of the pictures.

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Late that afternoon we also went to visit Cardiff Castle which was quite spectacular.

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That’s it for today; come back in the next day or two for the final gripping instalment!

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Our trip to the UK, June 2017 (part the second)

On Sunday June 9th we went with Mum to St. Mary’s, Ketton, the church she normally attends (Ketton is a small village a few miles from Oakham). I didn’t get a photo of the church that week, but Marci got one of Mum and me as we were walking up the sidewalk toward it.

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After the service we had a nice lunch with some of Mum’s friends, and then in the afternoon went to the nearby village of Greetham where they had an ‘open garden’ event. Gardens are not normally my thing, but this was rather beautiful. Here’s a picture I took of the group walking between houses; Marci seems to be conducting an invisible orchestra…

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These are rather nice, don’t you think?

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On the Tuesday and Wednesday Marci and I went into Leicester to stay with my Auntie Carole and Uncle Alan (Carole is my mum’s sister). They like getting out and about and we had a couple of nice trips, one to Watermead and the other to Bradgate Park. At Watermead I took what I think is one of the best bird pictures I’ve ever snapped, of a grey heron; here it is:

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Bradgate was once the estate of the Grey family (famous for Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for nine days after the death of Henry VIII, until the pro-Mary forces won and LJG was beheaded). Here’s the ruins off the old Grey pad:

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I always knew Bradgate was historic but recently there have been some interesting discoveries of 15,000 year old artifacts and the University of Leicester is now running a four year project there (see here for more details).

Marci and I climbed Old John, for old times’ sake:

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You get a pretty good view of the county of Leicestershire from up there.

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Here’s a nice picture of Marci and me with Carole and Alan, taken in their back yard (or ‘back garden’ as the English say).

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Back in Oakham, on the Thursday of that week we enjoyed a nice evening with my cousins Dave and Andy, and Andy’s wife Annie. I don’t very often get cousin snaps, so I rather like this one of Andy, Dave and me.

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A couple of days later my cousin Angela took us over to Loughborough to visit my Auntie Mary and Uncle Peter (Mary is my dad’s sister). Here we are along with Angela’s son Zack; the reason the camera is looking up our noses is that Marci had set it on a table and used the timer with a ten-second delay so she could get in the picture (she’s pretty good at doing that!).

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And that’s the end of this gripping instalment; stay tuned…

Our trip to the UK, June 2017 (part the first)

Last night Marci and I got back from three weeks in the UK. I’m going to write a few photo-diary posts sharing some of our experiences.

We decided to travel light for this trip – apart from my guitar, we took only hand luggage. Here’s the luggage, ready to go on Sunday afternoon.

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And here’s Marci ready to catch the bus from near our place down to the airport.

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Our journey consisted of (a) bus to Edmonton International Airport, (b) short hop down to Calgary by little Air Canada hedge hopper, (c) long hop to Heathrow by big Air Canada wide bodied jet, (d) London Underground to King’s Cross Station, (e) train to Peterborough, and (f) train to Oakham, Rutland (the town in central England where my Mum lives). We left our house about 3.15 p.m. Sunday 4th and arrived in Oakham about 4.30 p.m.  (9.30 a.m. Edmonton time) on Monday 5th. Mum met us at the station with a taxi, and before long we were drinking tea!

Every time I’ve visited Oakham in the past ten years I’ve enjoyed joining the small group of praying folks who meet every day for Morning Prayer at All Saints’ Church. The group has changed over the years (people have left, others have been added), but I still enjoy the nice anchor it gives to my holiday prayer life. Here’s All Saints:

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And here’s the interior of the church, although we actually prayed Morning Prayer in one of the small side chapels..

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Most days, after morning Prayer I went to one of the local coffee shops to write for a bit until Marci and my mum joined me. Here they are at Costa on our first morning.

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Later on, this very nice establishment became my preferred coffee shop. It’s in the market square, a two minute walk from All Saints’ Church.

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Oakham on market day:

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My mum lives in a seniors’ apartment building, and on Wednesday evening a few of the folks gathered in the common room for a little gig with the visiting Canadian folk singer. I think there were maybe fifteen people and they gave me a very warm welcome. Here’s the only decent picture of the evening.

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On Friday 9th Marci and I made a train trip to Cambridge – not for sightseeing, but to visit with my old friend Jan and her husband Mark. Jan and I met in our first year of high school so we’ve known each other since September of 1970! They live within easy driving distance of Cambridge, so we met at the station and basically spent most of the next few hours in the café at the Botanical Gardens, catching up! Here we are:

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And finally, to cap off this first gripping instalment, here are a couple of photos of Oakham that I took from Brooke Hill, looking down on the town and then out toward Oakham Water.

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Stay tuned for the next gripping instalment!