This morning its raining, a steady drizzle as we eat breakfast and watch the start of the NRL Grand Final (kickoff is 9:30am in the UK) whiler we eat out pasties and drink our tea. The Penrith Panthers give the Eels a bit of a touch up we find out later, the final score is 28-12 to the Penrith Panthers.
Paul’s first drive of the Merc today, its a lovely car but has some quirks that take a bit of getting used to, all the electronics, the auto gear lever on the steering column, the parking brake on the same lever, the sat nav with its UK postcode requirement and a few other things.
Today we’re driving west from Rye in East Susex to Salisbury a medieval city in Wiltshire. Salisbury is 16km from Stonehenge and not far from Glastonbury where the big music festival is held every year. The plan to go across country via villages, if we can.
First we drive to Hastings, along the coast, heading toward Chichester for lunch, not that we need much as breakfast filled us up. Paul has a little fright early on, the road in the rain and the navigation don’t help him but soon its all under control. The initial bit is on motorways but after stopping in Chichester, having an apple and blackcurrent flapjack slice with a coffee we hatch a new plan involving Google Maps and frog hopping to villages to our destination.
We drive through Arundel, the stunning Arundel Castle, the home of Richard Fitzalan 1306-1376 (my 17th Great Grandfather) the 10th Earl of Arundel and my 13th Great Grandmother Eleanor of Lancaster (1311-1372) a Plantagenet and tied to the Beaumont name. The history goes way back and I now need to research this more as this family has soem interesting things going on in their past.
Chichester is a bit of a surprise, located in West Sussex, an ancient church in a former Roman and Anglo Saxon market town. Chichester Cathedral is beatutiful, it was founded as a Cathedral in 1075 but is famous for a few modern things, in particular the art, a spectacular stained glass window by Marc Chagall and some tapestries by other well known artists.
As we leave the church a voice says to Genelle from behind, “where do you come from in Australia?”, we say Dubbo and they say ” Oh we’re from Bowral” , as we do we chat some more and find we have a common link in an interest in rugby. He is not a tall man, a South African accent and she has an accent that I can’t pick but later find out its Swiss. I sa y that I had a bit to do with the NRC and he says “oh thats great our son played a bit of higher level rugby”, I say ” what was your son’s name, sorry what is his name?” They say ” Our son is Dan Vickerman and using was is appropriate, you weren’t to know”.
A bit of background for those not familiar with Dan Vickerman.
Dan Vickerman was born 1979 in South Africa, he was a 204cm 119kg lock who played 63 tests for the Wallabies. He had to retire early at 28 due to injuries and was studying a degree in Land Economics at Cambridge. He was married with 2 children. He struggled with life after rugby and no doubt had issues with multiple concussions and publicly spoke openly of these issues. Unfortunatley in 2017 he took his own life. He was their only child. We spoke and we said that we had something in common, losing a child, even though the circumstances were a little different,the impact is similar and something thats always with you. Given his competitive nature and seemingly happy disposition it was a shock to me when I heard what had happened to him. A reminder that we need to look after ourselves and take heed of the signs of menal health issues in friends and family if we se them. So Vickerman family our thoughts are with you and we wish you all the best.
We now have a driving plan, we head for South Harting through beautiful villages, hedgerows, ploughed paddocks, sheep, dairy cattle. Then on to Petersfield a town with great looking pubs and loevely houses. Then on to a tiny village called Privett in Hampshire with a stunning medieval Norman Church – Holy Trinity with a soaring spire. We then drive to Hinton and Temple Valley with their thatched rooves. Its English country overload, by a fluke we’ve picked a stunning route to drive and experience southern England.
Next stop is Winchester, a stop reccomended by friend Dave, and Dave never lets us down. Its Sunday, there is a market going, people are everywhere, there is a millstream with a stunning stone bridge over it, and, there is Winchester Cathedral. This is important for 2 reasons. One – Winchester Cathedral was a hit in 1966 by the New Vaudeville Band, their only hit. It was a corny love song on no significance. Two – The actual Cathedral is magnificent, Catheral Church of the Holy Trinity Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Swithun. Now I know of Paul (good bloke), Peter (OK but not as good as Paul, but who the f… was Saint Swithun? Building commenced in 1079. It is a huge church, the 6th largest cathedral in the UK. So Winchester is a hit, The Navigator gets a bit of shopping done, and she’s happy.
We continue driving west to Salisbury which is in Wiltshire and arrive about 6pm. Our accomodation is at The Cricketers Arms B&B, very well priced and lovely rooms, a high end B&B I reckon. Its between Salisbury and Wilton. Now what we didn;t know is that Wilton, just down the road and where we go for dinner is home to Wilton House, an actual mansion and land granted by henry VIII to the Herbert family and where Bridgerton, The Crown and many other TV shows and movies have had lots of episodes filmed. We’ll explore that tomorrow. The home is still owned by the Herbert family.
Our host Helen, she is lovely, books us into the Pembroke Arms for dinner. The food is lovely, so well done Helen, good reccomendation.
Tomorrow we’re heading across country via Gloucester, Hereford to Hay On Wye.
Ciao, Cherio, Arividerci from Salisbury in Wiltshire UK – Pauolo