England 2008

Dove-tailing on a work trip to visit my friends at Manchester University, Elizabeth joined me for a week of Summer holidays in England. We started out in Cheshire, about an hour east of Manchester, before heading south to London and Brighton, where a distant cousin of hers lives.

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Here we are enjoying a traditional English tea with Mashhuda & Nick at Tatton Garden

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Like many old homesteads, Tatton Manor was turned over to the British government for safe-keeping in the public trust. Here is a photo of the baking cellar taken by Mashhuda.

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World Domination
This is the first in my "Mocking of the Saints" series.

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Tatton Garden

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At one time, pineapples were considered "exotic" and having them in your garden was a sign of great status.

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Enjoying the view (Eliz took the photo).

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Elizabeth & Mashhuda

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There was some sort of incorporated art exhibit going on during our visit to Tatton Garden.

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Performance art

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BIG Leaves

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The Curry Mile in Manchester (Rusholme).

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At dinner.

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The following day, Nick drove us all up to Beeston Castle, about an hour west of Manchester.

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Eliz was smitten by one of the guides at the castle museum. (Lucky for me, the relationship was shallow and didn't survive the afternoon.)

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The actual castle itself was in ruins, of course. This part of the ramparts looks like it got rammed.

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The moat was dry, but green.

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Another HDR photo of the castle remains.

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Me & Eliz exploring.

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The view of the surrounding countryside was lovely as well.

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Nick (taken by Mashhuda).

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Mashhuda was also taking photos of us unawares.

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Eliz posing as an archer.

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Posing as...? (Shiva?)

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Team Red

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A Prius with the driver on the right.

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Fish & Chips
We sat down to a traditional English lunch in Chester, where we subsequently explored the old city wall.

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Elizabeth took this arty shot of the grocery carts before being told by two flirty security guys that photography was not permitted on store premises.

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Mashhuda & Nick on the main walk in downtown Chester. The clock in the background is a major landmark mounted atop one of the old city gates.

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Me in front of said gate.

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Mash & Eliz before the main cathedral.

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Chester Cathedral

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These are the windows to the cathedral courtyard.

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A view from the high-rent pews.

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Mashhuda took this nice photo of Elizabeth in front of some of the older stained glasswork.

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Mash also shot this of a bishop's tomb back of the pipe organ.

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The front of the pipe organ, complete with practicing organist.

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This was a coal-fired heater, several of which were scattered about the main pews.

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Some of the sculptures were quite nice.

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I liked the way the light from the courtyard played on the hallway, and asked Eliz to pose for me.

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These guys volunteered their own pose, celebrating the end of the races that were going on that day.

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Eliz was very fond of the traditional English phone booths, which are getting harder to find in spots, though there seemed to be plenty around Chester.

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The city streets were an interesting mix of many different periods.

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I have a whole series of facade photos. This is one of the nicer ones.

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A lamp post adorning and alighting the northern wall of the city.

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This is where King Charles was purported to have his last stand in 1645.

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I guess this could have been my last stand (but it wasn't).

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The lucky people living in this housing row had their yards backing up onto a canal.

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Enjoying tea and saying "good-bye" to our friends for a bit, as they had work the next day.

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We spent all of Monday in Chester, wandering the city on foot and taking in the sights. This is a view of the River Dee south of the city.

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Another nice on in the facade series.

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A somewhat eerie antique doll shop.

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Another tourist shot this for us.

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Queen Victoria Park (I think) under the northern wall.

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Another part of the park.

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A view of some (evidently disused) boats along the canal.

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A "boat lift," a.k.a. a lock to move boats to different levels in the canal.

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One of the nicer canal boats. People commonly use these as an alternative to outrageous apartment prices in the U.K.

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Chester street life.

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People enjoying their midday meal.

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Where will the youth of the country congregate to use their mobiles, once all the phone booths are gone?

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Eliz took many of these photos -- the statue featured in the middle is either a knight or a king, in full armor.

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Elizabeth loved this hat shop, and wished she could have visited it with her daughters.

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Our view out the sub-street window of a lovely little "tea house" Eliz spotted.

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Enjoying an English lunch together. Note the various wall constructions.

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I liked this scene of young people out of school, relaxing in the cathedral gardens.

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A close-up of the town clock.

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St. John's Church
This is an old church south of the city wall, near the River Dee and adjacent an old Roman ampitheater that's been recently excavated.

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There were a few old frescos on the columns, all but disappeared now.

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Effigy of a Lady

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At a nearby park, children played on the pieces of the old Roman ampitheater that had apparently been left out for that purpose.

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Eliz & I crossed the Queens Park Bridge to the park continued on the opposite bank of the River Dee.

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Buoys & Gulls

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Exploring a little side-street west of the main Cathedral.

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This area was called "The Rows," where the main walks and shops were raised a floor above the street by housing on the lower level.

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Yet another photo in the facade series. (I'm not showing you 1/10th of them!)

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Deterioration in portions of the old Roman structures has forced the city to some extreme measures.

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Don't lean on it too hard!

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Some tweeners enjoying a semi-sunny afternoon in Grosvenor Park.

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A (hopefully) drinking-age fellow insisting on having his photo taken with a brew in each hand.

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In the evening, we enjoyed a lovely meal at a local pub (The Cross Keys) recommended by our B&B hostess.

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Cheshire Cat
On the walk home, we happened upon the Cheshire Cat.

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He was most insistent on some attention...

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So, naturally, we obliged.

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The following morning, we took a cab to the rail station, where we boarded a train to London. Here we are in the afternoon in front of a quintessential row of houses.

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Here is the view out our hotel window. Someone had a garden party that evening, which made sleeping quite a challenge.

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Smart cars were taking up half-spots everywhere!

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Kensington House
This is the main gate to the palace where the reigning Queen Elizabeth grew up, which was rebuilt for Diana & Charles.

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This is the walkway to The Orangery, a grand tea house in Kensington Garden, where we had some grand tea (with cakes).

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The Orangery

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Relaxing after our tea.

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We then took the London Underground (or "Tube") to visit the Tate Modern, which was fab.

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I wasn't permitted to take photos in any of the exhibits, but was allowed to use my camera in the other areas.

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Here is a photo I took in one of the exhibits.

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We just barely made it to the museum shop, which closed the same time as the exhibits (6pm).

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Afterward, we walked to Covent Gardens, crossing the Millenium Bridge, shown here.

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These are the Halls of Justice, which were some of the most amazing buildings I've seen, anywhere.

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Quite a sculpture, eh? eh?

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The front entrance, I think. Justice through intimidation.

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A slightly wider view.

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Covent Gardens
Not really a garden so much as a set of restaurants and shops. I'm sure there's a logic to British naming conventions, but they don't seem to use it.

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One of the many street performers who frequents the area.

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This is the pub where we had dinner.

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No shortage of beer, or beer drinkers in England.

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The food at this place was amazing.

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Afterwards, we visited this very unusual clothing store nearby. Yes, the mannequins are hanged.

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The following morning, we took the train down to the coastal city of Brighton to meet one of Elizabeth's distant cousins.

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That's Suzie Gimpleson (a.k.a. Gilson) on the right.

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Suzie is a semi-retired actress and drama teacher.

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She is also a ventriloquist, and has an act we wished we had time to see that day.

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That afternoon, we met up with my friend John, who happened to be in London entertaining some relatives earlier the same week. We had lunch on the sidewalk of a popular Chinese restaurant (not bad), then headed back for the train station. The flowers were a gift from Suzie, which we left to Mashhuda & Nick as they weren't going to make it back home intact.

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Our original train was supposed to leave from Euston Station, but a switching problem in Rugby had disrupted all departures, so the three of us ended up taking a different train out of St. Pancras, instead.

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Page created Aug 23 2008 7:23:15a