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Away from the City

Around here Nancy still has me cleaning out closets. Yesterday we took everything out of what used to be Dave and Bill's closet, trashing some things, others are awaiting their removal from the garage. Not only are there baseball cards, but all of their modeling pictures, advertisements they were in, tax returns from when Dave was trading online, original photos from Bill's cd, Internal Flames and the list goes on. Calling both of them I gave them a three day ultimatum to get their stuff.  I'm pretty confidant that the threat of their high school yearbooks going out to the trash will do the trick! We shall see.

I'm up early today, a little before 5 because Mr. Baxter felt the need to go out. Probably because Bruce was already gone, having to catch a 5:30AM flight. For whatever reason, I'm up and ready to show you a few sights outside the city.

Mostly a photographer's job is best done solo, or at least for me, that is what works best. I can compose in my head, not worrying about lagging behind others, and more importantly, pick my timing. As such, traveling via train and working within a set time table, not to mention, less than ideal light conditions--I think I could do better, but here's what we've got--I hope you like them.

Traveling just outside London, immediately the lush green countryside appears, albeit at 100 miles an hour and through a tinted window no less which explains some of the coloring below.
I, of course, snagged the window seat on our way to Bath. I never did get a good picture of the hedgerows, a term I've read about in countless books, although I did recognize them immediately. So very lovely and straight--my word they were straight as was all the plowing. Goodness me I was impressed.

So you know we went to Stonehenge but did you know we saw other cool sights? Driving through the countryside our tour guide pulled off the road long enough for photography enthusiasts to take a few shots of this:
You may be wondering right about now, what the heck is that? I'm not sure if this is the same one or not, but the link does give you a little bit of info on this strange and wonderful phenomenon of horses carved into the chalk hillside.

From there we continued traveling until we came to another amazing sight, Silbury Hill, a chalk mound which scientists think is over 4,000 years old. It's hard to fathom a man-made hill covering over 5,000 acres, but we saw it with our very own eyes and camera.
We learned that at one point there were tunnels dug through it in search of gold. No luck---only chalk.

Avebury was our next stop. You've never heard of it? Neither had I. On our way, showers came and went just before our arrival. A really remarkable feature of this area were the stones lining the road, much like you'd see a tree lined drive. Apparently, in earlier, and I mean much earlier times, the stones were used to lead the worshipers to the stone circle. Obviously there's no way, short of an aerial photo to show you the circle, so we'll just have to content ourselves with small portions.
Matt and Tom began the walk around it, however, time got the better of that plan. Here's another view that I particularly like:
The great thing about Avebury is that you can touch the stones all you like. There's something about being out in the landscape with these weird huge stones that is very appealing. One last link which explains the term henge for those who like all the information they can get!

While Matt and Tom were walking amongst the stones, I wandered behind the museum and could NOT get over how beautiful this house is:
Perfection right? The lavender lining the walk just about took my breath away. Don't you just wonder what it looks like inside? Oh, if only we'd had more time....

That, of course, is the bad thing about being part of a tour, however, in this case the good things prevailed. Like as in, he knew where he was going. Furthermore, some of the roads we took were so narrow, for the life of me, I don't know how he managed.

The following day we took our "Costwolds Discovery Tour", covering some of the same ground as the day before. Our first guide, John, was very chatty. Tom, on day two, not so much, which suited some just fine. Me, I'm all for chatty. Chatty or not, Tom drove like a champ. At one point he pulled onto the tiniest little drive, heading into what seemed like a field to show us a house used for filming a British television show, of which I was unfamiliar. Who I am familiar with is Joanne Trollope, an excellent British writer who lives down the lane as well. Plus, we got to see these cute llamas:
Everyone on the bus was charmed with their freshly-shorn coats and lively personalities. Swiftly they came right up to the fence to say hi to the curious onlookers.

Sheep. Sheep. But not as many as there used to be. The Costwolds fortunes were made from sheep's wool long ago when wool was the primary fabric used for everything. Not so much anymore what with all the choices to be had, however, the legacy remains. I mentioned that we took a little walk through what I'm calling a sheep meadow. This time, instead of the boys I was traveling with, I'll show you some lovely sheep surrounded by wildflowers which, by the way, were everywhere!
The lyrics from the Eagle's song, "peaceful, easy feeling" come to mind for me. So now you know there is chalk, seran stones, and wildflowers growing everywhere. Another very strong feature of this are are a different kind of stone made from limestone. They are used for not only homes, but fences (the actual term escapes me), both the sides and the tops. Amazingly, all done without any type of mortar--I believe the term is "dry stone." What craftmanship!
According to our guides, the walls were built just to the height that a sheep can jump. I sure wouldn't want to climb over this would you? I could go on and on about the beauty of that region!

So, Melton Mowbray is not really the country. Nor is Jane's garden, however, beauty is where you find it and we found it there. There was a koi pond with water lilies, an apple espalier, a term Tom taught me while we were at the Geffrye Museum, climbing roses just a wee past their peak, and more, and more, and more. Lavender pots!
There's that sweet kitty again too. What's more, there were flowers I'd never seen before, not surprising given our wildly disparate climates.
Lovely, lovely, lovely--that's all I can say about the tiny bit of English countryside we experienced. Just as the English people are polite and civilized, the countryside seemed that way as well. Straight lines, clean and neat. Nancy would be impressed.

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