Tag: National Trust

National Trust Beaches in North Cornwall: Rockpooling and a Walk in Duckpool

Looks like we’re not going to get an Indian summer after all so I’m digging through my collection of sun, beach and sea. Then again, we have a couple of weeks to go, you’ll never know.  After all, this is England known for its volatile weather…

Part II:

It was a rather “Autumny” afternoon when we decided to venture out for our second day adventure in search of the three National Trust beaches near to where we live.  The day started out badly, with heavy rains and the drop in the temperature.  For a while, I did think that we wouldn’t manage to go out and blow the cobwebs.  Thank goodness, by mid afternoon, the weather improved and so we grabbed our wellies, the dog and headed for the second beach.

Our next destination was, Duckpool, another National Trust beach in North Cornwall.

It was a bit blustery when we arrived.  I was glad to be wearing a thick coat, T on the other hand, seemed fine with her wooly jumper, although I put her coat in my bag, just in case, the rain decided to come back.  Luckily it didn’t.

There were a few cars on the parking lot.  I was really pleased to see a toilet block.  When you reach a certain age, these things are important 😉 I saw a path running up to the coastline and thought that it would be nice to go up there and have a little hike.

Duckpool beach is pebbly and wild, although it is beautiful, it isn’t suitable for swimming, especially since there aren’t any lifeguards around.  it is perfect though for rockpooling and just mooching around on the beach.  There were also a few dog walkers around and we also spied some eager hikers on their way down the coastal path.

As soon as we managed to pass through the rocky part of the beach, T and her dad set on trying to find some crab and other fish.

Before long, they caught their first catch of the day:

I like to joke and say that this is always the same crab my husband and T catches every time we go rock-pooling.  The crab always says “Bugger, it’s them again”.

Doc and I left the father-daughter team and decided to go near the water.  We stood by for a while just watching the sky and sea.  The waves weren’t as strong as I thought they would be.  There were other families around and so we didn’t allow Doc off the leash, in case he gets all excited and starts jumping on small people.  He seemed content though, just to sit by my side and watch the waves roll in.

After a while, we decided it was time to leave.  But not before setting off their catch of the day free.

Freedom!  cried the crab.  Hasta mañana!  I’m imagining the crab waves his claws at us, hoping to never see us again.  We replied “See you again soon!

We thought of going up the coastal-path, but as we looked up and realised how hight it was, we decided to look for another much gentler climb.  On our way to the beach, we noticed some signs to public footpaths and decided to explore that bit.  We saw one just as we rounded the corner.

It had an over-grown path and T said that it looked like a secret way to something mysterious. Don’t you just love their imagination?  We knew that the path was going to lead us back to Duckpool beach, but we didn’t know how close it would be.

There were loads of fat, ripe, blackberries everywhere.  We couldn’t resist but have a few of them and it was the sweetest blackberries I’ve ever tasted.

And Doc, well Doc, is happiest when he has a stick in his mouth.

And then we reached the bottom. It led us to the road to Duckpool beach.

We headed back up to the car and drove away.

Doc busy with his thoughts: I wonder where the next beach will be?  

You’re just going to have to wait for the next post!

Click here for directions on how to get to Duckpool beach.

And here for last week’s feature.

National Trust Beaches in North Cornwall: Blue Skies at Northcott Mouth

Part I:

Now that we’re finished with our Norfolk mini series, I’m going to do an even shorter series, this time closer to home.  As mentioned, we are National Trust members, and even though we’ve lived here in Cornwall for almost a decade, there are still places, especially beaches where we haven’t visited yet.  Shameful really.  Like I’ve mentioned in the past, when you live here, there are moments, when you take the place for granted and only remember when we have visitors down and wonder where to take them.

Last summer, gasp, do I really dare speak of it in past tense?  Whatever happened to my hope of an Indian summer?  I think that’s all a dream now especially since the temperature seems to be going nowhere but down.  I digress, last summer indeed.  When a friend visited, we decided to explore three of the National Trust beaches which we haven’t been to, considering they are not a long drive from where we live.

The first is the Nortcott Mouth Beach in Bude, the nearest town to us, about a 30-minute drive from our house.  We went there the last week of August.  Families were getting read to wind down from their summer holidays and go back to the routine of work and doing the school run.  But that day on the beach, no one really thought about it, or maybe, tried not to think about it, especially since it was one of those perfect days on the beach.  The sky was blue and the temperature was just right – a good combination of not too warm and not too cold.

And there she is, T the Cornish mouse, very rare and absolutely local to Cornwall.  You’ll find her mostly on the beach with her orange net, either in her swimsuit or wet-suit with bedraggled hair.  She loves going crab-hunting with her dad.

Catch of the day: a very sad looking crab.  I don’t think it was pleased to be caught by little T.

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And when she got tired of looking for poor crabs and fish, she decided that the water beckoned her.

Yes, it was indeed one perfect day beach day.

And after a turn on her bodyboard and letting her catch go, it was time to pack up and leave. Click here for directions on how to get to Northcott Mouth Beach.  Parking is free for National Trust members.  This beach has a cafe nearby, and seasonal lifeguards and of course, lovely headland walks too.  This is after all Cornwall 🙂

If you’ve missed our Norfolk Mini-Series, click here for a little read.

Have you ever been to a National Trust beach?

Norfolk Mini-Series: Visiting Oxburgh Hall

This is the 5th post of our mini series during our visit to Norfolk in early August.  Today is little T’s first day back in school.  I can’t believe the holidays are over, it’s certainly the shortest she’s ever had.  Let me take you back a few weeks earlier, when the sun was bright and the days were warm and long … 

The next day, we had two destinations in mind.  The first was a visit to Oxburgh Hall (you’ll hear about the second one in the next post), a late medieval country home in Oxborough.  It was built during the War of the Roses, not as a castle really, but more as a family home for Sir Edmund Bedingfield.  This magnificent house is a must-visit for all, you don’t even have to be a lover of history to appreciate this grand country home. You’ll be amazed to see how well-preserved, not just the house, but as well as what you can see inside the house.

Can you imagine this as your family home?

And yes, it has a beautiful moat surrounding this grand country home.

This moat is home to a family of pike and dragonflies.  Little T and my husband crouched down to try to see as many pikes and dragonflies as they can before entering the house, although I’ve only managed to take a couple of photos, there were actually loads of them!

Front of the house is certainly one grand entrance. I can’t believe that this was actually a family home and not a castle.  It has the opulence of one!  Don’t you agree?

Little T trying to take a photo of the sundial (photo above).  As you can see, at the time we visited, the place was going through some minor renovations.

Inside one of the many grand rooms in the house.

Everything about the house was grand, even this old chess-set.  If these pieces could speak, what would they say?  Do you think they’ll tell us stories about who played with them, what the conversations were said during the game?  Any secrets?

One of the most interesting facts about Oxburgh hall is that the Bedingfields were Catholics during the time Elizabeth I first became Queen in 1558.  She was a staunch Protestant who was determined to continue with her father’s reformation of the Church of England and because of their faith, the Bedingfield family was ostracised and also suffered sanctions.  It was also around this time when they decided to have a priest hole built beneath a  bricked-top door in the garderobe (a storeroom for valuables).

As you can see, it is a tiny space,my husband could barely fit in it as he tried to slide into the priest’s hole.

And this is how small it was inside that little hole.  Can you imagine being stuck in here for days with no window and fresh air?

We were only in that hole for a few minutes since there was a long queue to get in. I was certainly glad to be out in the open once again, definitely not one for the claustrophobic!

Visiting places like these, teeming with history and magnificence, makes me and my husband happy to be members of both the National Trust and English Heritage.  It’s nice to know that our membership fees helps in restoring and taking care of all these important historical places.  If not for them, I honestly doubt these places would be well taken care of, or may not even be standing here today.  I’ve mentioned this in past posts, being members is so worth it, especially when you have kids – you’ll always find something to do especially when the weather cooperates.

What’s your favourite historical place to visit?

Click here if you’re interested in visiting and want to know exactly how to get there.

A Country Kids Post: Easter Egg Hunt at Trerice

It was touch and go with the weather last Easter Sunday, so we weren’t really sure whether we would manage to go to an Easter Egg hunt.  But when you’re a parent of a young child, you have to take your chances, don’t you?  Armed with wellies and waterproof coats, we decided to brace it and head for a National Trust property that wasn’t too far from where we lived.

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We went to Trerice as mentioned on this post with its beautiful gardens, perfect for an Easter Egg hunt.  Although T was feeling a bit sad because her friends weren’t able to join us since they had a surprise visit from their grandparents from Somerset.  She had to make do with us instead, the grown-ups and a close friend visiting from Bristol.

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The Rules:

It wasn’t an ordinary Easter egg hunt, the kids had to read the clues and find the animals with paw prints on the sheet and then tick them off. In the end, they had to name which animal didn’t leave a paw print in the park before they could get their chocolate prize.

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 Here’s little T reading the clues with her dad.

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And off they went to find more clues.

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And this is where the trail ended.  Which animal didn’t leave a paw print?  Can you guess?

It was the rabbit!

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And it’s not surprising that the price turned out to be a chocolate Easter bunny 🙂

Did you go to an Easter Egg hunt?

It’s confession time:  How many Easter egg chocolates have you devoured since Sunday?

I only ate about three small ones.  Okay, fine.  Maybe five, six errr, ten?

Do share.

The Flowers of Trerice – A National Trust Property

It’s so worth it to be members of the National Trust and English Heritage when you have a little one to entertain.  During the holidays or weekends, when the weather is good (or even bad), a day out in any of their properties is sure to be a winner and of course not just for the little ones, but as well as for the grown-ups too.  There is a rich history behind each property which allows us to get a glimpse of what it was like to live in a certain era and they often come with lovely grounds and gardens great for exploring or just enjoying it’s beauty and splendour.

Trerice is a grand Elizabethan Manor near Newquay down here in Cornwall.  Just like all other National Trust properties, the gardens have beautiful plants, trees and flowers, but since it is still early spring, there wasn’t much abundance of them, but even the few that were there were still lovely and definitely worth a photo, or two, or more 😉

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Bluebells are one of my favourite spring flowers.  We didn’t find a lot of them, but still saw them dotted all over the gardens.

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We also spied a few pink ones too.  Aren’t they the prettiest?

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Beautiful red tulips.

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My favourite spring flowers are snowdrops, bluebells, tulips and of course daffodils.

What are yours?

Do you have any favourite National Trust or English Heritage property?

Do share.

A Country Kids Post: Climbing Trees and having fun at Lanhydrock

Lanhydrock is an elegant Victorian country home owned by the National Trust here in North Cornwall.  This is our go-to place when we have visitors.  They have a lovely garden and of course the stately home is well worth a visit too.

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In the spring time, around April – May, I like to go and see the lovely bluebells scattered all over the pretty gardens of Lanhydrock.  It was too early for that, when we visited last Sunday and was struck with the changes since we last went.  They seemed to have had a major renovation of their grounds, a bike trail and another cafe near the parking lot had been newly erected and also a fun play-ground which wasn’t there when we last visited.

Before we even got to the house, the children spied this enormous tree and all ran up to it and quickly climbed the tree with its huge branches and roots on the ground.

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As you can see, little T and her friends had a lovely time climbing up and down the branches like little monkeys.  Poor Doc had to watch all the fun happening around him while tied to one of the branches.

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He wasn’t a happy dog.  He wanted to play with the kids, but sadly, dogs aren’t allowed to go off leash on the grounds.

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After a while, we finally convinced the kids to leave their beloved tree and go and explore the rooms in the big mansion since they haven’t been inside it yet.  T led the way since she’s been to it a dozen a times already.

We went inside the house while T’s dad walked the poor Doc around the grounds, to make up for having to watch all the fun while tied to a branch.

Once we were done in the house, the kids of course wanted to play in the new playground near the parking lot.

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After a little picnic, it was time to go home because Doc wasn’t too happy tied to a fence watching everyone have fun except him.

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Doc has perfected his “Disney Dog look” making people stop to pet him.  He loved all the attention he got from people passing by.

I used to love climbing trees when I was a child.

Do you have memories of climbing trees when you were little?

Do share. 

An Easter Egg Hunt at Antony

“I want to go on an Easter Egg hunt Mummy!”  Says T.  So of we went to Antony, a lovely 18th Century Mansion, home to the Carew Pole family and also a National Trust Property.  It’s also known as the place where Tim Burton filmed his movie “Alice in Wonderland” starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen of Hearts and Mia Wasikowska as the curious Alice.

We’ve never been to Antony, that’s the reason why we chose to come here instead, even though we knew Lanhydrock which is closer to where we live had a similar activity.  But we’ve been there so many times, we wanted to go to somewhere different this time.

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Little T and her dad registering for the Easter Egg hunt.

I have memories of going on Easter egg hunts with my brother and I loved it as a child, although we didn’t have chocolate eggs.  But I still remember the excitement of it all.

When we arrived, there was already a long queue to the property, families with little children who were all excited to do the easter egg trail.

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The children had to look for 14 eggs, once they’ve found the first one, it had clues which would lead to the next egg and they also had to answer some easy questions.

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 And here’s little T filling up her sheet with the help of her dad.

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The problem though is that Antony had such lovely gardens and each nook and cranny were filled with lovely trees that would distract all the kids from the easter egg trail.

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Like this “Fairy tree” that had “magical voices”, it took ages for us to convince little T to leave the tree.  Only to be distracted again by …

croquet_littlestepsa game of croquet with her dad.

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And then we saw the loveliest tree with the most amazing branches, the kind childhood dreams are made of.  By the time we got to it, there were children riding each branch and loving every single minute of it.  I don’t blame them.  I wanted to climb the tree too!

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And of course, little T also had to have a go.

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It wasn’t just the children who were happily roaming around the garden.  Even the adults were impressed by the lovely Magnolia trees and flowers.

treeonwall_littlestepsI really loved the trees that were made to grow on the wall.  Here’s a pear tree, amazing isn’t it?

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And there was a story chair …

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And a fairy-tale bench.

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And finally the trail was over … thank goodness for that, because little T was getting a bit exhausted.

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But she did it and was so proud of herself!

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Here she is presenting her answers and then she was asked to choose her Easter egg which of course she devoured right away.  This was her third chocolate egg of the day and as I type this I can spy four more eggs on our shelves.

It was a lovely Easter Sunday.  We wanted to go back in the house and explore the garden more, but we didn’t have much time since my husband was cooking an Easter dinner and we also had a close friend coming over, so instead we headed home. But we’re definitely coming back!

What about you?

How was your Easter sunday?

Did you also go on an Easter egg hunt?

All About The Cows

Yep, the blimming cows!

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During autumn and winter, the National Trust who happens to own the headland near where we live, has an agreement with farmers in our area that allows their cows to graze on their property, which is supposed to help the wild flowers grow in the spring time.  I’m not really sure it’s working though …

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The problem with the blimming cows is that the enormous headland suddenly becomes small.  And all the dog-walkers of course have to put their dogs in leashes, and when it rains non-stop, the headland’s walk-path becomes really mucky, almost impassable.  If you’re lucky, your boots won’t get stuck in all mud.  The locals in our area are not pleased with the cows, I don’t blame them.

So the first thing we do, as soon as we get to the headland is to take note of where the cows are.  Then we choose which part of the headland to head for.  Sometimes though, you’ll find them littered all over the stitches – when that’s the case.  I usually take Doc to the other part of the headland, which is separated by thick hedges and bushes.  That way, the excitable Doc can still have a run around, without the fear of disturbing the blimming cows.

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Dear cows,

Please can we share the headland?

You can all stay on one side

and I’ll stay on the other side.

ps

I love the smell of your dung.

Love,

Doc

ANIMALTALES

Making New Christmas Traditions & Meeting a Tudor Father Christmas

This post was inspired by my blogger friend Kate, who wrote about the special Christmas ornaments her son has chosen over the years.  I just thought that it was a lovely tradition and I told her that this year, little T and I would start our own Christmas tradition of allowing T to choose a special ornament each year.

So last Saturday, we decided to go to Trerice, an Elizabethan National Trust manor house near Newquay. We are lucky to live in an area where there are lots of National Trust and English Heritage properties just a drive away.  So it’s really handy for us to be members of both organizations, especially since some of the places costs a lot to visit.  If you have a little one, being members of either the National Trust or English Heritage (like I mentioned already in other posts) is a must because these properties are great go-to-places to spend a lovely-family-day together, not to mention they always have fun activities planned for Christmas and other occasions as well.

Before going, we knew that they had a Tudor Father Christmas event going-on, but we weren’treally sure whether little T would want to see him again.  She’s seen him twice this year already.  But when we asked her, she seemed excited to see him once more.

Before the event, we had a chance to look around a bit.  The grand hall was lit-up with a fire, and a large grand dining table was all set Tudor style, while a woman dressed in a Tudor outfit was playing a hammered dulcimer.

And while waiting we also had the chance to dive into the National Trust gift shop and little T was able to choose her special Christmas ornament for this year.  I was actually saving this special chore when we go to Exeter’s Christmas market this week, but when I saw the little animal ornaments, I thought that T would actually want one and I was right.

In the photo above, she was actually choosing between a Christmas badger and a bunny. In the end, she chose the cutest little Christmas rabbit.  Then it was time to see Father Tudor Christmas.

It took awhile for it to start and the children were feeling a little bit impatient. And then we heard a loud knock, I thought T would be scared when the curtains opened and out came Father Tudor Christmas in his green robes as he greeted the kids with a Wassail!  (which means toasting to your good health in Old English).  He was really good actually.  He regaled the children with stories on what Christmas was like during the Tudor times.  Then it was time for the children to line-up for the presents.  I was really pleasantly surprised when little T went shyly on her own and even answered Father Tudor’s questions.

Can you see my daughter levitating?  Isn’t that photo weird?  My husband says it’s just the reflection on the floor or something?  Maybe it was Father Christmas’ magic working on my little T!  What do you think?

And when we came home, little T was excited to hang her Christmas ornament on our tree.  Yes, our tree is up already.  I’m doing a different post on that 🙂

Isn’t it the cutest Christmas bunny?  I wonder what next year’s ornament will be?  Thanks so much for the lovely idea Kate! 🙂

This post is linked-up with PODcast’s Whats the Story

And The Oliver’s Madhouse

Hope everyone has a lovely week ahead of them! 🙂

A Visit to Salisbury

Salisbury City is known as the city in the countryside.  Perhaps because it is surrounded by the beautiful English countryside, I bet if you live here, it won’t feel like you’re living in an urban area at all.  This medieval cathedral city with its old timbered buildings, world-famous Gothic cathedral and home to the magna carte is an absolute-must-visit when in  the UK.  So it isn’t surprising that after our trip to Stonehenge, a visit to Salisbury was on our next agenda.

Pub Lunch

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We were ravenous after our busy morning spent in the ancient stones of Stonehenge.  So as soon as we drove into Salisbury, we were on a hunt for a place to eat.  Lucky for us, the Cloisters, a mid-14th century pub was close to where we parked.  Not knowing anything about this pub, we didn’t know what to expect at all.

What can I say about The Cloisters?  Four words:  good food and great service.  In fact, we would rate this restaurant with a five star rating.  It was way past lunch-time on a Sunday when we visited.  It was busy, but we still managed to find a nice cosy corner to plant our weary selves in.

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You’ll see a lot of the lovely exposed beams and other 14th century features inside this lovely pub.  Since it was a sunday, the husband and J were able to sample their sunday roast which they absolutely loved. As for me, I had a mouthwatering chicken dish and T had fish fingers which were obviously made and not store-bought, so was really pleased and impressed by that.

But what really struck us was not the delicious food, there are loads of pubs and restaurants out there that serve really good food too.  What really impressed us was the outstanding service!  The lovely man who served us whom I think was the manager (though the husband had this feeling that he was also the owner of the pub) made us absolutely feel like important people.  After the meal, while on our way to the loo he asked T if she enjoyed the meal.  T said: Yes I did.  But I need a wee now.

It’s just a lovely feeling to go to a restaurant or a pub and there you are made to feel really, really welcome, as if they themselves personally invited you in.  That is priceless!  Wouldn’t it be great if all pubs and restaurants were like that?

So if you’re anywhere in Salisbury and want a lovely meal with superb service, do drop by The Cloisters for a visit.  You won’t regret it.  If you’re lucky enough, this nice man might be there to serve you. If you have an FB account, please like their page here and you’ll also find directions on how to find them on their page.  If not their address is: 83 Catherine Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 2DH or phone them at 01722 338102.  If you do get to visit, please tell the lovely man that T sends her regards.  It won’t be difficult to find him, he has white hair and will greet you with a lovely warm smile.  Yes, that’s him.

Around Salisbury

There are loads of things to do and see around this ancient city.  If you’re a National Trust member like us, you can drop by and see the elegant 18th century Mompesson House which was used in the movie Sense and Sensibility.

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Mompesson House seen from afar.

And for those Military history enthusiasts, you will enjoy the Rifles Museum which highlights the actions of the regiments over the last 270 years.

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If you’re not much into history like I am, walking around this city in the countryside will be enough to give you pleasure.  You will find an interesting building almost in every corner, like this one:

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Don’t you just love old buildings with their quirky walls and designs?

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And here’s a very old drain pipe.  I wonder what year it was installed?

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Ancient door and walls … If they could speak, what would it tell us?

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Novelist and Nobel Prize Winner William Golding used to be a schoolmaster in this former school-building.

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And I took a photo of this one because I liked what it said “Life is but a walking shadow” and also liked that it was set against a grey sky.

Salisbury Cathedral

And of course, a visit to Salisbury wouldn’t be complete without stepping inside it’s ancient Norman Cathedral.

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There it is!  

To be continued…