kitgordon: the atlantic near st just (Default)
kitgordon ([personal profile] kitgordon) wrote2013-12-02 01:20 pm

reflections on travel to England

We returned on Saturday from our two week sojourn in England: twelve days in Cornwall, and one full day in London. Cornwall was, as always, amazing, beautiful, friendly, "home." We were based in Penzance where we rented a self-catering flat from Romer Robins--a wonderful place. Romer is married to Dave Mynne, one of the founders of Kneehigh Theatre--and even before we knew this, we had purchased tickets to see a one-person version of Great Expectations and the one person turned out to be Dave! How very cool that was. Over the course of our stay, we did lots of walking in the area (throughout Penzance, as well as to Newlyn and Marazion), used a bus pass to visit Falmouth (including the National Maritime Museum of Cornwall), the Geevor Tin Mine, St. Just and Cape Cornwall, St. Ives, Truro, and the Lizard. We did most of our own cooking, but did have several dinners out--at the Dolphin, the Dock Inn (Sunday roast), the Pirate's Rest fish and chips shop. We did talk with a few estate agents and it's possible we could afford to buy something in the area, but most housing is seriously out of our price range. The visa situation would also need investigating: until 2008, it was possible for retirees with sufficient income to get a visa to live in the UK, but no more. Six month visas are possible, but we really wanted to live there for five years or so (without flying back and forth) to facilitate exploring the UK, Europe, and the Mediterranean. Weather was mostly in the mid-40s, flowers were still blooming, some days were cloudy, others were sunny, and quite a few were both. A little rain, but nothing significant. A completely glorious stay. (We also got to see the 50th anniversary Dr. Who special, as well as a number of other Dr. Who events, which was much fun.)

We took the train back to London on Thursday, and Thursday night had our traditional Thanksgiving meal--at The Clay Oven, a wonderful Indian restaurant in Ealing, near the bed and breakfast where we stayed. On Friday we went into central London where we spent the first part of the day at the British Library, which is amazing--I got to see the Beowulf manuscript and many other remarkable treasures. We had planned to have lunch at Speedy's Deli, which is adjacent to the stand-in for 221B Baker Street in the BBC Sherlock series; when we arrived, we found a crown of fans surrounding a flower-filled hearse proclaiming the broadcast date of the third season (01-01-14), sponsored by #SherlockLives. We took pictures of course, and then made our way into the deli, where Bob had the "Sherlock" and I had the "Watson" (both delicious and inexpensive). We took a few pictures outside after lunch (the fans and hearse had left by then)--"Look, I'm standing where Martin Freeman stood!" We then headed to the Embankment and walked around for a bit (including a stop at the National Theatre), before joining the weekly London Walk "In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes," a remarkable two hour trek to places important in the stories and in Arthur Conan Doyle's life. For dinner, we stayed with the theme and ate at the Sherlock Holmes pub (including a lovely sticky toffee pudding). We headed back to the B&B to pack, but the day was finally complete when we watched BBC3's rebroadcast of "A Scandal in Bohemia."

Here's a link to some photos of the hearse: